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  1. Futatsu no Kotoba [Type A] (Japan Version) Futatsu no Kotoba [Type A] (Japan Version) MADKID
    MADKID's Futatsu no Kotoba serves as the opening theme of the anime Welcome Home based on the manga by Ichikawa Ichi. Also on the single is Dream Journey. This edition comes with a DVD containing Futatsu no Kotoba music video and behind-the-scenes.... [read more]
  2. Bodyguards And Assassins (2009) (Blu-ray) (2023 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Bodyguards And Assassins (2009) (Blu-ray) (2023 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Donnie Yen (Actor) | Nicholas Tse (Actor) | Tony Leung Ka Fai (Actor) | Peter Chan (Producer)
    After 10 years of tumultuous production history that included rainstorms, labor disputes, suicide, and two spells of depression, Teddy Chan's Bodyguards and Assassins has finally arrived. Anticipation is high, as everything here seems to be screaming "quality": a solid ensemble cast, an intriguing pseudo-historical gimmick, and even Peter Chan's producer stamp of approval (this is the first film under his new Cinema Popular label). Given all the above, it may disappoint some to know that this isn't the best movie of the year. However, it's still an admirable attempt to create a Hollywood-scale Chinese-language blockbuster. One can say Bodyguards is Hollywood-like in terms of scale - the... [read more]
  3. Protege (2007) (Blu-ray) (2023 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Protege (2007) (Blu-ray) (2023 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Andy Lau (Actor) | Daniel Wu (Actor) | Louis Koo (Actor) | Liu Kai Chi (Actor)
    Hong Kong Cinema gets a shot in the arm - both literally and figuratively - with Protégé, a powerful drug drama directed by Derek Yee, who was last seen slumming with the routine romantic comedy Drink-Drank-Drunk. Protégé brings Yee back to his strengths, telling a detailed and thoughtful narrative in riveting, emotional style. The themes in Protégé are nothing new, and how could they be? We live in a global community, and by now everybody has (hopefully) seen Traffic, be it the BBC drama or Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning film. Yee brings a similar tale to Hong Kong, and he does so in a way that creates an immediate emotional response. Protégé prods its audience to feel and react,... [read more]
  4. Stand by Me Doraemon 2 (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Stand by Me Doraemon 2 (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Fujiko F. Fujio (Writer) | Yamazaki Takashi (Director) | Yagi Ryuichi (Director)
    For the past four decades, the Doraemon 2D animation franchise has seen Nobita, Doraemon and their friends go on exotic, otherworldly adventures. However, this lifelong Doraemon fan has always felt that those adventures strayed slightly too far from the canon established in the manga by Fujiko F. Fujio (a.k.a. Fujimoto Hiroshi and Abiko Motoo). Instead, I prefer the sitcom-like short story format that makes up the original manga and the long-running television series. The short stories almost always follow the same formula – Nobita gets into trouble, Doraemon introduces a magical futuristic gadget that can solve Nobita's problems, and then Nobita gets into even bigger trouble by exploiting... [read more]
  5. Shock Wave 2 (2020) (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Shock Wave 2 (2020) (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Lau Ching Wan (Actor) | Andy Lau (Actor) | Tse Kwan Ho (Actor) | Ni Ni (Actor)
    Shock Wave 2 opens with possibly one of the most visually ambitious opening sequences ever in Hong Kong cinema: From multiple angles, Hong Kong International Airport is ripped apart in the blink of an eye by a nuclear explosion. Even though audiences are immediately spoiled by the voice of Lau Ching Wan saying that the nuclear explosion will be stopped in time in reality, the rest of Shock Wave 2 doesn't pull any punches in bringing the pyrotechnics and firepower, albeit in smaller scale than the opening tease. Once best known in the industry as a director who can execute modestly budgeted films on time and on budget, director Herman Yau proves with Shock Wave 2 that he has comfortably... [read more]
  6. True Mothers (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) True Mothers (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) Nagasaku Hiromi | Iura Arata | Makita Aju | Asada Miyoko
    Since 2015's Sweet Bean (a.k.a. An), director Kawase Naomi has left behind the sparse storytelling style that marked much of her career for more narrative-driven works that spend more time on character development than fawning over natural scenery. The second adaptation of the novel by Tsujimura Mizuki, True Mothers is still thematically consistent with her previous meditations on motherhood, adoption and parental abandonment (Suzaku, Shara and several of her documentaries), but Kawase's emphasis on story over mood this time around may bring her a few new converts. Told non-linearly in three sections, True Mothers examines its issues through the perspectives of two women connected to a... [read more]
  7. The Eight Hundred (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) The Eight Hundred (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Guan Hu (Director, Writer) | Jiang Wu (Actor) | Oho Ou (Actor) | Wang Qian Yuan (Actor)
    Chinese director Guan Hu (The Chef, the Actor, the Scoundrel, Mr. Six) takes a major leap forward as a filmmaker with The Eight Hundred, one of the biggest Chinese productions of all time. Staging the famous 1937 Defense of Sihang Warehouse in Shanghai with technical prowess and impeccable filmmaking craft, Guan's violent and unflinching vision of the hellish battle will surely be remembered as one of the best Chinese war films ever made. During the early days of the Sino-Japanese War, the Sihang Warehouse was the site of an intense five-day siege in which over 400 Chinese soldiers fended off the relentless attacks of the Japanese Imperial Army. Comparable to the Alamo siege or the Dunkirk... [read more]
  8. Last Letter (2020) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Last Letter (2020) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Hirose Suzu (Actor) | Matsu Takako (Actor) | Fukuyama Masaharu (Actor) | Kamiki Ryunosuke (Actor)
    In 2017, Iwai Shunji achieved a decade-long dream with Last Letter, his first Chinese-language film. Despite being backed by Peter Chan as producer and superstar Zhou Xun as his lead, the dreamy romantic drama was largely met with indifference from Chinese filmgoers. Iwai brought the story back to Japan, publishing his Japanese-language novelization of the story and remaking the film in Japan with an even starrier cast. The new Last Letter is technically a remake, but it feels like the film that Iwai had meant to make all along. The 2020 version of Last Letter follows virtually the same story as the original film: After the untimely death of her older sister, Misaki, housewife Yuri (Matsu... [read more]
  9. My Missing Valentine (2020) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) My Missing Valentine (2020) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Liu Kuan Ting (Actor) | Patty Lee (Actor) | Duncan Chow (Actor) | Gu Bao Ming (Actor)
    No one really expected My Missing Valentine to be the biggest winner of this year's Golden Horse Awards. After all, it's a hybrid of romantic comedy and fantasy, two genres that always face an uphill climb at serious film awards like the Golden Horse Awards. This is all thanks to the ace up its sleeve: Chen Yu-hsun. The 58-year-old writer-director is one of the less prolific comedy directors in Taiwanese cinema – My Missing Valentine is only his fifth feature film since 1994 – but he is also one of its cleverest, thanks to his knack for blending charming humor with fantastic gimmicks. With My Missing Valentine, Chen has made a wonderfully whimsical return to form. Post office worker... [read more]
  10. Beyond the Dream (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Beyond the Dream (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Cecilia Choi (Actor) | Terrance Lau (Actor) | HUANG LAN (Actor) | Wei Qi Shan (Actor)
    As is the case with most film industries around the world, 2020 has not been a good year for Hong Kong cinema. However, there was one bright spot that nobody expected. The odds seemed to be against Beyond the Dream from the start – it's a heavy, emotionally intense story about mental illness; it's by a director who doesn't have a proven commercial track record; and it's led by two actors who have never had starring roles in a film before. Thanks to its nominations at the Hong Kong Film Awards, positive word-of-mouth from audiences over several months of preview screenings, and tabloid attention on the two stars after they admitted publicly that they started dating after the shoot, Beyond... [read more]
  11. One Night (2019) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) One Night (2019) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Matsuoka Mayu (Actor) | Satoh Takeru (Actor) | Kuwabara Yuko (Writer) | Suzuki Ryohei (Actor)
    With films like Twisted Justice, Birds Without Names and The Blood of Wolves under his belt, director Shiraishi Kazuya has shown a talent in telling stories about the psychology of sinners and extreme justice. His latest film, One Night, doesn't stray from that interest. Adapted from a play by Kuwabara Yuko, the dark family drama shows how one mother's extreme act to protect her children ends up destroying their lives. Playing like a thematic continuation of his previous film Sea of Revival, about a gambling addict's desperate attempt to overcome his demons and restart his life in a countryside town, Shiraishi's latest is another gritty drama about difficult moral issues that is buoyed by a... [read more]
  12. Fukushima 50 (2020) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Fukushima 50 (2020) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Yoshioka Hidetaka (Actor) | Sato Koichi | Watanabe Ken (Actor) | Yoshioka Riho (Actor)
    When the resulting tsunami from the catastrophic 2011 Tohoku earthquake caused a series of nuclear accidents at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, it was a team of workers who stayed behind and risked their lives to prevent a nuclear disaster. Though the number of workers at the site was much higher, the foreign media dubbed the team "Fukushima 50," referring to the 50 employees who remained on site after the rest of the plant was evacuated. There has been a number of documentaries about the fallout of the nuclear disaster, which is still not fully resolved even today, but Fukushima 50 is the first direct dramatic recreation of the immediate aftermath. An island nation vulnerable to... [read more]
  13. Tora-san, Wish You Were Here (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled)  (Japan Version) Tora-san, Wish You Were Here (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) Yamamoto Naozumi | Yoshioka Hidetaka | Atsumi Kiyoshi | Maeda Gin
    In recent years, American film and television fans have seen reunions and reboots of beloved titles such as Full House, Will & Grace, Mary Poppins, Scooby Doo, 30 Rock and The Terminator. In Japan, television stations have also brought back old favorites with long-awaited new seasons of popular series like Kekkon Dekinai Otoko, Haken no Hinkaku, Hanzawa Naoki and even a newly cast season of Zettai Reido. Regardless of the quality of these reboots, media executives and producers still believe that nostalgia sells. With even Godzilla getting reboots in both Japan (Shin Godzilla) and the U.S. (as part of Warner Brother's new MonsterVerse), it's no surprise that 2019 would see the reunion of... [read more]
  14. Little Nights, Little Love (2019) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Little Nights, Little Love (2019) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Miura Haruma (Actor) | Tabe Mikako (Actor) | Yamato Yuma (Actor) | Mori Erika (Actor)
    The original Japanese title of Little Nights, Little Love is titled after Mozart's famous Eine kleine Nachtmusik, usually translated as "A Little Serenade" or, more literally, "A Little Night Music." Author Isaka Kotaro adapted the title for his 2011 novel, a collection of six interconnected short stories. In the film adaptation, a song by a train station busker – a literal case of "night music" – brings ten key characters together in unexpected ways. As the title suggests, the observations about love, destiny and relationships that these connections inspire aren't meant to be mind-blowing, but rather charming and clever in low-key ways. Who better to bring the material to screen than... [read more]
  15. Stray Sheep (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Stray Sheep (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Yonezu Kenshi
    2018 was a banner year for singer-songwriter Yonezu Kenshi. On the heels of award-winning album Bootleg and his hit collaboration single Uchiage Hanabi (with fellow Vocaloid artist Daoko), his March 2018 single Lemon broke YouTube records as the most-viewed Japanese music video ever with 608 million views and counting – a rare feat for a solo artist in an industry dominated by pop groups. Instead of rushing to release an album to cash in on his newfound global popularity, Yonezu spent nearly three years to put together Stray Sheep, his fifth solo album. If Bootleg tracked Yonezu’s ascendance to pop chart royalty, Stray Sheep is a test of his staying power. Stray Sheep features a total of 15... [read more]
  16. Special Actors (2019) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Special Actors (2019) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Kitaura Ayu (Actor) | Ueda Shinichiro (Director, Writer)
    Put yourself in the shoes of director Ueda Shinichiro for a minute. Your low-budget zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead has just become the most profitable film in the history of Japanese cinema. The anticipation for your next film is sky-high. How will you meet those expectations? Should you take advantage of your newfound clout and make a film with a sizable budget? Believe it or not, Ueda chose not to go down that route just yet. After writing and co-directing low-budget caper Aesop's Game with two fellow indie directors, Ueda sticks to his roots for Special Actors, another low-budget comedy that he had committed to before the commercial success of One Cut of the Dead. Though it's missing... [read more]
  17. Crazy Romance (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version) Crazy Romance (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version) Kim Rae Won (Actor) | Gong Hyo Jin (Actor) | Jang So Yeon (Actor) | Joo Min Kyung (Actor)
    The original Korean title of Crazy Romance roughly translates to "The Most Ordinary Romance." It feels like a more appropriately ironic title to this light romantic comedy considering that it depicts a relationship that is anything but normal. The feature directorial debut of Kim Han Gyul, Crazy Romance is a refreshingly mature story about two emotionally damaged people coming together in spite of a toxic work environment rife with gossip. Sharing the screen for the first time since the 2003 drama Snowman, Kim Rae Won and Gong Hyo Jin lead the film as the unlikely couple. Kim plays Jae Hoon, an employee in a small advertising agency who's been drowning his sorrows in alcohol after being... [read more]
  18. The Man Standing Next (DVD) (Korea Version) The Man Standing Next (DVD) (Korea Version) Lee Byung Hun (Actor) | Kwak Do Won (Actor) | Lee Hee Joon (Actor) | Lee Sung Min (Actor)
    One of the defining events of modern Korean political history, the assassination of president Park Chung Hee in 1979 was dramatized in detail in Im Sang Soo's The President's Last Bang. Fifteen years after that controversial film, Inside Men director Woo Min Ho covers the incident from another perspective with The Man Standing Next, based on a nonfiction novel about the most powerful figures in Park's regime that was serialized in a newspaper from 1990 to 1992. Woo reimagines the story of the assassination as a captivating John le Carré-esque spy drama about the feuds and betrayals that ultimately led to Kim Jae Gyu, the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), committing his... [read more]
  19. Black Money (Blu-ray) (Korea Version) Black Money (Blu-ray) (Korea Version) Cho Jin Woong (Actor) | Honey Lee (Actor) | Jo Han Chul (Actor) | Lee Kyung Young (Actor)
    Not only has veteran director Chung Ji Young spent much of his career making socially conscious films, he has also been an outspoken advocate concerning government policies that affect the film industry. It's no surprise that Black Money, his first directorial effort in seven years, is another riveting and angry indictment of the system. However, Black Money is a considerably more commercial and audience-friendly work than his previous film, National Security. This time, Chung and his writer Han Hyeon Geun use the "lone crusader takes on the system" formula to recreate a real-life controversy that raised questions about collusion between the government and the banking sector. The names have... [read more]
  20. The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil (DVD) (Korea Version) The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil (DVD) (Korea Version) Kim Sung Kyu (Actor) | Kim Moo Yeol (Actor) | Ma Dong Seok (Actor) | Lee Won Tae (Director)
    Since breaking out as an action star with Train to Busan, muscle man Ma Dong Seok has become so prolific that his films have become a genre unto itself. Though Ma does play against type once in a while – including comedies such as the recent Start-up and his amusing turn as a nerdy scientist in blockbuster Ashfall – his persona as the righteous, charismatic butt-kicker is so popular in Korea that it even earned him a major role in Marvel Studios' upcoming film The Eternals. Ma's post-Train to Busan output has been hit-and-miss, but The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil sees Ma in one of his best roles yet. The second film by Lee Won Tae (Man of Will), The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil has already... [read more]
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