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  1. The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil (DVD) (Korea Version) The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil (DVD) (Korea Version) Lee Won Tae (Director) | Ma Dong Seok (Actor) | Kim Moo Yeol (Actor) | Kim Sung Gyu (Actor)
    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]
  2. Bring Me Home (2DVD) (Korea Version) Bring Me Home (2DVD) (Korea Version) Lee Young Ae (Actor) | Park Hae Joon (Actor) | Lee Won Geun (Actor) | Heo Dong Won (Actor)
    In her 12-year acting career from 1993 to 2005, Lee Young Ae had only appeared in five films (not counting her cameo in First Kiss). However, the films that she chose – including Hur Jin Ho's One Fine Spring Day as well as Park Chan Wook's Joint Security Area and Lady Vengeance – and her mega-hit TV series Jewel in the Palace left such an impression on viewers at home and abroad that she remained one of the most memorable faces of the Korean Wave. After making her long-awaited acting comeback in 2017 with TV series Saimdang, Memoir of Colors, Lee finally makes her sixth film with Bring Me Home, the directorial debut of writer-director Kim Seung Woo. The film's main promotional poster shows... [read more]
  3. The Battle: Roar to Victory (DVD) (Korea Version) The Battle: Roar to Victory (DVD) (Korea Version) Yu Hae Jin (Actor) | Ryu Jun Yeol (Actor) | Kitamura Kazuki | Choi Yu Hwa (Actor)
    Films like Taegukgi and The Front Line have long proven that the South Korean film industry has the resources and talent to make spectacular war films comparable to Hollywood. And since there will always be demand in South Korea for patriotic war films that celebrate its victories on the battlefield, we now have The Battle: Roar to Victory. The latest film by Won Shin Yun (Memoir of a Murderer) doesn't reach the dramatic heights of the aforementioned predecessors, but its impressively mounted battle sequences provide plenty for fans of the genre to enjoy. Set during the Japanese occupation of Korea, The Battle centers on the battle of Fengwudong (called Bondo-dong in the film) in 1920, when... [read more]
  4. News (Japan Version) News (Japan Version) Tokyo Incidents (Tokyo Jihen)
    Tokyo Incidents may have officially disbanded in 2012, but it feels like they've never really gone away. Ringleader Sheena Ringo is prolific as ever in her solo career with guitarist Ukigumo in her backing band. The band even reunited for "EGO-ism" and "JIYU-dom" on her latest solo album, Sandokushi. Fortunately for fans, goodbyes in the music world are often not truly goodbyes. Eight years after their supposed swan song, Color Bars, Tokyo Jihen has reunited with their comeback EP, News. Tokyo Incidents started out as an exercise that could've just been renamed "Sheena Ringo and Her Backing Band," but the band eventually became a true team effort as Sheena relegated composition duties to... [read more]
  5. Birthday (DVD) (Korea Version) Birthday (DVD) (Korea Version) Sol Kyung Gu (Actor) | Jeon Do Yeon (Actor) | Park Jong Hwan (Actor) | Kim Bo Minb (Actor)
    In 2014, the MV Sewol sank during a voyage from Incheon to Jeju. The ferry disaster left 304 people dead, including 250 students from the same high school, and set off widespread public condemnation of the ferry operator, regulators and president Park Geun Hye. However, Birthday is not a film about the accident itself or the pursuit for accountability. In fact, it didn't even necessarily have to be about the Sewol disaster. Like Robert Redford's Ordinary People and Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter, Birthday is equally effective as an intimate story about the lingering psychological scars that remain in one family long after the trauma. Five years have passed since Soon Nam (Jeon Do Yeon)... [read more]
  6. Detention (2019) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Detention (2019) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Ceng Jing Hua (Actor) | Gingle Wang (Actor) | Pang Chin Yu (Actor) | Yun Zhong Yue (Actor)
    Detention starts out like a fairly by-the-numbers horror film – two teenagers wake up in an abandoned high school in the middle of the night. There's no electricity, there are weird noises everywhere, and before you know it, spooky things that go bump in the night start showing up. On the surface, Detention fits in perfectly with films like The Tag-Along series, The Rope Curse and recent box office hit The Bridge Curse as part of Taiwan cinema's recent horror resurgence. But two things set this surprise blockbuster apart from its contemporaries: It's Taiwan cinema's first adaptation of a homegrown video game, and it tells a story that is deeply rooted in a dark chapter of Taiwan's real... [read more]
  7. Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2DVD) (Korea Version) Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2DVD) (Korea Version) Lee Jung Jae (Actor) | Lee Jae In (Actor) | Yoo Ji Tae (Actor) | Jin Seon Kyu (Actor)
    It's no surprise that the makers of Svaha: The Sixth Finger got into trouble with Korean religious groups. After all, a film that features a hero whose mission is to expose religious cults in a country where, as one character says, "freedom of religion is overly protected" is bound to rile a few people. But Svaha isn't a provocative take on religious canon like Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ. Instead, director Jang Jae Hyun's follow-up to The Priests shares more in common with horror-tinged supernatural thrillers like Constantine or The X-Files. Part detective procedural and part occult thriller, this stylish and smartly crafted film may very well provide star Lee Jung Jae... [read more]
  8. Lost in Time (2003) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Lost in Time (2003) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Lau Ching Wan (Actor) | Cecilia Cheung (Actor) | Harashima Daichi (Actor) | Paul Chun (Actor)
    Director Derek Yee returns after a four-absence with Lost in Time, a remarkably subtle and restrained romantic drama which could mark a major turning point for controversial actress/singer Cecilia Cheung. Cheung is Siu Wai, a willful young woman who gets thrown a curve ball when her dashing fiancee Man (Louis Koo) is killed in a two-car collision. Man was a minibus driver, and the bus (numbered 1314) was totaled in the fatal accident. Against her parents' wishes—and probably the common sense of most—Siu Wai decides to have the bus repaired, and takes on Man's job as her own. Her reasons are understandable, if not a little unrealistic. The bus was where Man and Siu Wai first met, and also... [read more]
  9. No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti (Blu-ray) (2020 Reprint) (Taiwan Version) No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti (Blu-ray) (2020 Reprint) (Taiwan Version) Leon Dai (Director) | Chen Wen Bin (Producer, Actor) | Lin Zhi Ru (Actor) | Chao Yo Hsuan (Actor)
    Actor-director Leon Dai takes a 180-degree turn from Twenty Something Taipei for the unassuming black-and-white drama No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti. Meaning "cannot live without you", No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti tells the based-on-a-true-story tale of an uneducated man in Kaohsiung who finds himself victim to an impersonal bureaucracy. However, despite that description, this is not really a social drama. The film opens with a television broadcast of the man threatening to jump off a bridge along with a young girl, with the media reporting, the police trying to intervene, and numerous onlookers watching and sometimes commenting cynically. His beef: that life and society have treated him unfairly. Flash... [read more]
  10. Seven Swords (2005) (Blu-ray) (2019 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Seven Swords (2005) (Blu-ray) (2019 Reprint) (Hong Kong Version) Charlie Young (Actor) | Leon Lai (Actor) | Angie Lam | Lu Yi (Actor)
    After too long Tsui Hark makes a return to the director's chair for Seven Swords, an ambitious martial arts epic based on "The Seven Swordsmen from Mountain Tian", a wuxia novel by Liang Yu-Sheng. Tsui's absence from Hong Kong Cinema has been felt, though the feeling has been a mixed one. After all, Tsui's last two features were the special effects-assisted Black Mask II and The Legend of Zu. One was an egregious comic book movie, the other an ambitious fantasy that was more sensory overload than success. This reviewer even referred to the once-annointed cinema master as "George Lucas on crack." Does Seven Swords further that designation? Or does it mark the return of arguably Hong Kong's... [read more]
  11. The Age of Shadows (Blu-ray) (Full Slip Steelbook Limited Edition B) (Korea Version) The Age of Shadows (Blu-ray) (Full Slip Steelbook Limited Edition B) (Korea Version) Kim Jee Woon (Director) | Shin Sung Rok (Actor) | Um Tae Goo (Actor) | Song Kang Ho (Actor)
    Are there any directors more versatile than Kim Jee-woon? Looking at his CV, it would appear that there certainly can't be many, the Korean helmer having switched between action, comedy, horror, science fiction and quiet drama with assurance and ease, earning himself a slew of awards and a reputation as one of the country's most talented filmmakers in the process. Kim follows up his 2013 Hollywood outing The Last Stand with The Age of Shadows, which surely ranks as one of the biggest Korean films of recent years even if only due to the sheer amount of star power in front of the camera, including Song Kang-ho (The Throne), Gong Yoo (Train to Busan), Han Ji-min (The Fatal Encounter) and... [read more]
  12. Human Lanterns Human Lanterns Chen Kuan Tai | Tanny Tien | Anthony Lau | Lo Lieh
    Shaw Brothers made martial arts movies, and Shaw Brothers made horror movies, but when they made martial arts horror movies they really struck gold. Slowly, these shivery action flicks are being unearthed from the Shaw Brothers vaults and as each one is exposed to the light it gleams like pure gold. Human Lanterns (also known as “Human Skin Lanterns”) is a Technicolored marvel that looks like the kind of movie MGM would have produced if it had suddenly stopped making movies in the 1950’s and started making horror flicks: a lush, beautifully lit emotional epic that unfolds on a series of gargantuan soundstages. Chen Kuan-tai and Liu Yung play two tetchy noblemen locked in a long-running game... [read more]
  13. He's A Woman, She's A Man (1994) (DVD) (2019 Reprint) (Taiwan Version) He's A Woman, She's A Man (1994) (DVD) (2019 Reprint) (Taiwan Version) Leslie Cheung (Actor) | Anita Yuen (Actor) | Carina Lau (Actor) | Peter Chan (Director)
    Anita Yuen won her second consecutive HK best actress award in this winning UFO film from director Peter Chan Ho-Sun. Yuen plays Wing, a spritely girl who idolizes singer Rose (Carina Lau) and Rose's producer/boyfriend Sam Koo (Leslie Cheung). When the chance arises to meet her idols, she jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, that chance is an open talent search for a male singer. Wing is so desperate to meet the two that she masquerades as a boy to enter the contest. In typical sitcom fashion, Wing wins despite not having a whit of talent, and discovers that there's more to Sam and Rose's relationship than she knew. It turns out the two are dysfunctional lovers, each possibly loving... [read more]
  14. Asura: The City of Madness (2DVD) (Korea Version) Asura: The City of Madness (2DVD) (Korea Version) Jung Woo Sung (Actor) | Hwang Jung Min (Actor) | Ju Ji Hoon (Actor) | Kwak Do Won (Actor)
    Korean director Kim Sung-soo has had a very varied career, from romantic comedies like Please Teach me English and the demon hunting fantasy The Restless through to his recent blockbuster disaster movie The Flu. His latest offering Asura: The City of Madness sees him trying his hand at hardboiled gangster action, reuniting him with regular star Jung Woo-sung, who previously worked with him on Beat, City of the Rising Sun and Musa the Warrior. Its name drawn from Indian mythology, the film is a violent, brutal affair, which premiered at Toronto before going on to win acclaim at a number of other international festivals, picking up a series of awards at home and abroad. Jung Woo-sung plays... [read more]
  15. The General's Son Trilogy Boxset (Blu-ray) (3-Disc) (4K Remastering First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version) The General's Son Trilogy Boxset (Blu-ray) (3-Disc) (4K Remastering First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version) Oh Yeon Soo (Actor) | Park Sang Min (Actor) | Shin Hyun Jun (Actor) | Kim Seung Woo (Actor)
    The General's Son films are amongst the most famous works of renowned director Im Kwon Taek, undoubtedly one of the most important and influential figures in modern Korean cinema. Although in the West he is perhaps most associated with art house cinema as a result of the success of films such as Chihwaseon, which won him the 2002 best director award at Cannes, Im has a long history of more commercial fare, something which is unsurprising considering that he has over a hundred films to his credit in a career that spans more than five decades. The General's Son trilogy, which was based upon a novel by Hong Sung Yoo, certainly sees Im at the top of his game, being a great mixture of not only... [read more]
  16. Love Education (2017) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Love Education (2017) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Taiwan Version) Sylvia Chang (Actor, Writer, Director) | Tian Zhuang Zhuang (Actor) | Lang Yue Ting (Actor) | Song Zhu Feng (Actor)
    At first glance, Sylvia Chang has made movies similar to Love Education. Her latest film is a comedy-drama focusing on three generations of women, while her earlier 20:30:40 (2004) covered the experiences of three women at different life stages. Also, many of her films deal with relationships, family, womanhood or a combination of the three – which is a workable, if very succinct description of Love Education. But generalizing the film this way is dismissive. Chang may be devoted to particular themes, but her strength as a filmmaker lies in her ability to create fully realized characters through a balance of personality, situation and nuance. Sylvia Chang movies feature more than characters... [read more]
  17. The Mimic (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Korea Version) The Mimic (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Korea Version) Yeom Jung Ah (Actor) | Lee Joon Hyuk | Park Hyuk Kwon (Actor) | Huh Jung (Director)
    Korean writer director Huh Jung returns for the first time since his popular 2013 mystery thriller debut Hide and Seek with The Mimic, a brooding horror revolving around the myth of the Jangsanbum, an evil tiger spirit with the power to imitate human voices. Although things have been quiet on the Korean horror front for a while now, the film won critical acclaim as well as performing well at the local box office, becoming the first genre release to have broken the one million viewers landmark for over four years. The film opens with Yum Jung-ah (The Spies) and Park Hyuk-kwon (A Taxi Driver) as Hee-yeon and Mi-ho, a married couple who move to a house near the foot of Mount Jang in Busan,... [read more]
  18. Pandora (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Korea Version) Pandora (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Korea Version) Jung Jin Young (Actor) | Kim Nam Gil (Actor) | Kim Young Ae (Actor) | Kim Myung Min (Actor)
    Korean writer director Park Jung-woo follows up his 2012 virus thriller Deranged with another disaster-themed blockbuster in Pandora, convincingly depicting the devastating impact of a nuclear accident on everyday people. Inviting parallels with the 2011 nuclear and earthquake Fukushima disaster in Japan, the film is a markedly anti-authoritarian piece, Park offering a scathing portrayal of government incompetence and corruption. Kim Nam-gil (The Shameless) headlines as Jae-hyuk, a man who works in the local nuclear plant despite his father and brother having both died from radiation poisoning, much to the dismay of his mother (Kim Young-ae, Cart) and long-suffering girlfriend Yeon-joo (Kim... [read more]
  19. Midnight Runners (Blu-ray) (Scanavo Full Slip Numbering Limited Edition) (Korea Version) Midnight Runners (Blu-ray) (Scanavo Full Slip Numbering Limited Edition) (Korea Version) Kang Ha Neul (Actor) | Park Seo Joon (Actor) | Park Ha Sun (Actor) | Sung Dong Il (Actor)
    Korean writer-director Kim Ju-hwan (Koala, Goodbye My Smile) makes the step up from indie features to bigger-budgeted commercial fare with comedy actioner Midnight Runners, headlined by top young stars Park Seo-joon (Chronicles of Evil) and Kang Ha-neul (Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet). Following a couple of hot-headed young police academy cadets who start fighting crime on their own initiative, the film was both popular with audiences and a critical hit, being hailed as one of the Top 10 Films of the year by the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards as well as winning a number of nominations for Kim and his cast. The film opens with the rebellious risk-taker Ki-joon (Park Seo-joon) and... [read more]
  20. dahlia II (SACD) dahlia II (SACD) Hins Cheung (Singer)
    Hins Cheung recently held the Hinsideout concert series at the Hong Kong Coliseum with the gimmick of "dropping two octaves." He also released the HiFi album Dahlia II, which can be considered an extension of 2013's Pink Dahlia. Continuing with the concept of singing female artists' songs, he covers ten Wyman Wong-penned Cantonese classics. Looking at Hins's releases under EEG in recent years and his interviews, I feel that he has matured considerably. Besides his original artsy aura, he has gained a mature sophistication with age, and he has refined his pesonal taste, which is especially commendable in these trend-driven times. This kind of sophistication and discernment must come from... [read more]
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