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  1. The Con-Heartist (2020) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) The Con-Heartist (2020) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Nadech Kugimiya (Actor) | Baifern Pimchanok Luevisadpaibul (Actor) | Mam Kathaleeya McIntosh (Actor) | Ter Chantavit Dhanasevi (Actor)
    Heart, humor and hijinks
    July 1, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    When it comes to glossy commercial films that hit you in the feels and the funny bone, it's hard to go wrong with GDH. The 2020 comedy The Con-Heartist deploys the blockbuster studio's tried-and-true formula of pretty people engaging in cute romance and wacky comedy, but this crowd-pleaser leads with crime caper elements. Romcom favorite Baifern Pimchanok gives one of her most lovable performances as Ina, a humble banker who wears her heart on her sleeve. That's how she ended up getting scammed by ex-boyfriend Petch (a wily, smiley Thiti Mahayotaruk) and saddled with debt. When she encounters suave con artist Tower, played by Channel 3 heartthrob Nadech Kugimiya, she ropes him into helping... [read more]
  2. Future Cops (1993) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Future Cops (1993) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Jacky Cheung (Actor) | Chingmy Yau (Actor) | Aaron Kwok (Actor) | Andy Lau (Actor)
    90s Hong Kong comedy at its craziest
    June 30, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Some people may say that Future Cops is a terrible motion picture. And those people would not be wrong, but that doesn't stop me from wholeheartedly loving this wacky 90s Hong Kong classic. The sci-fi action comedy is directed by – who else? – Hong Kong cinema's king of low-brow comedies Wong Jing, and it aims to entertain by throwing everything but the kitchen sink into its nonsensical fun. One of the biggest draws of Future Cops is that it's packed with stars, and they all dress up in ridiculous cosplay-quality costumes, as the film giddily rips off characters from Street Fighter II. Future Cops enjoys the distinction of having three Heavenly Kings – Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung and Aaron Kwok... [read more]
  3. Magic Touch / Beating Hearts [Type A] (SINGLE+DVD)  (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Magic Touch / Beating Hearts [Type A] (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) King & Prince
    The two sides of King & Prince
    May 31, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Since their debut in 2018, King & Prince has personified the characteristic Johnny's look and sound for a newer generation. Their image is youthful, fresh-faced and princely, and their singles are mostly very bright and very pop in that warm, familiar and dated Johnny's way. Last year's Mazy Night, however, showed that King & Prince would very much suit an edgier look and more updated sound. And that edgier look and sound comes this year in the single Magic Touch. Magic Touch is co-composed by Adrian McKinnon, who is known for his work on SM artist songs like EXO's Obsession and NCT 127's Superhuman. This song is a total bop from the moment its beats slide in, and Hirano Sho sets the tone... [read more]
  4. Start-Up (2019) (Blu-ray) (Korea Version) Start-Up (2019) (Blu-ray) (Korea Version) Park Jung Min (Actor) | Yeom Jung Ah (Actor) | Choi Jeong Yeol (Director) | Jung Hae In (Actor)
    Growing pains
    May 26, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Not to be confused with the 2020 Korean TV series Start-Up about a group of ambitious youths trying to launch a start-up business, the 2019 Korean film Start-Up is about a group of unambitious youths just trying to start up their lives. Based on a popular webtoon, Start-Up stars Park Jung Min and Jung Hae In as academically uninclined buddies Taek Il and Sang Pil, who are on the cusp of adulthood but have nothing much going for them. Taek Il runs away from home after getting into a fight with his mother (Yeom Jung Ah). He ends up doing deliveries for a Chinese restaurant, along the way meeting a troubled girl with a mean punch (newcomer Choi Sung Eun). Hoping to make money to support his... [read more]
  5. A Little Reunion (2019) (DVD) (Ep. 1-49) (End) (China Version) A Little Reunion (2019) (DVD) (Ep. 1-49) (End) (China Version) Hai Qing (Actor) | Huang Lei (Actor) | Sha Yi (Actor) | Tao Hong (Actor)
    A little something called family
    April 30, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    With the family drama A Love for Dilemma currently trending in China, now seems like a good time to revisit the acclaimed 2019 series that came before it, A Little Reunion. A Love for Dilemma, A Little Reunion and 2016's A Love for Separation are all family stories based on novels by Lu Yingong. All three are worthwhile watches, but A Little Reunion is the highest-rated on Douban for good reason. A Little Reunion is centered around three families during a crucial period: the final year of high school when students prepare for the gaokao, China's all-important national college entrance exam. A Love for Separation's Huang Lei and Hai Qing return as parental figures of free-spirited,... [read more]
  6. DOWN TOWN / Ganbarenaiyo [Type A] (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) DOWN TOWN / Ganbarenaiyo [Type A] (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Juice=Juice
    Fun update of a city pop classic
    April 29, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Juice=Juice has often sounded like a girl group from a different era, because their music digs very squarely into the standard idol J-pop sound, even in comparison to other Hello! Project groups. Last year, they went deliberately old school with the single Pop Music, which playfully referenced kayo pop music of yesteryear. Now they bring a cover of Sugar Babe's 1975 city pop classic DOWN TOWN for their first single of the year. City pop has seen a revival of late. Whether it's old songs going viral or younger artists reinterpreting the genre, the nostalgic sound has found a new audience, and not just in Japan. As the OG of all city pop, Sugar Babe's DOWN TOWN has been covered many times... [read more]
  7. Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! (Blu-ray Box) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! (Blu-ray Box) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) Akaso Eiji | Machida Keita | YUTARO | Asaka Kodai
    The cherry on top
    March 31, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    There is no shortage of live-action BL dramas lately, but the winner of most amusing title has to go to Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! Just for that curious title alone, I had to watch this 2020 TV Tokyo series based on Toyota Yuu's same-titled manga. As signaled in the title, urban legend says that 30 years of virginity will bestow one with "magic." The magical power that protagonist Adachi Kiyoshi (Akaso Eiji) reluctantly gains on his 30th birthday is mind reading. The timid, everyday office worker can suddenly read the minds of anyone he touches, but this special power is bothersome more than anything for him. One day, while squeezed into a packed... [read more]
  8. Get The Hell Out (2020) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Get The Hell Out (2020) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Megan Lai (Actor) | Wang Zhong Huang (Actor) | Tuo Zong Hua (Actor) | Bruce Hung (Actor)
    Zombies in parliament
    March 31, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    The zombie genre gets a zany, blood-spurting entry in the Taiwan horror action comedy Get the Hell Out. If you've ever thought politicians are just blood-sucking creatures who prey on the people, then Wang I Fan's debut feature is here to validate your suspicions with unsubtle satire and lots of blood. Bruce Hung plays Wang You Wei, who is on security detail at the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan's parliament, for his alternative military service. He has a crush on short-tempered legislator Hsiung Ying Ying (Megan Lai), who became a politician to block the construction of a foreign chemical plant in her hometown. Rumors are that the chemicals are linked to a new rabies virus. After Hsiung is... [read more]
  9. Peninsula (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Peninsula (2020) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Lee Jung Hyun (Actor) | Kang Dong Won (Actor) | Lee Re (Actor) | Kwon Hae Hyo (Actor)
    After the Zombie Apocalypse
    February 28, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    It seems like there have been more Korean zombie productions than you can shake a stick at the last few years, and the film that started the trend was, of course, Yeon Sang Ho's 2016 blockbuster Train to Busan. Arriving four years later, Peninsula is a sequel set four years after the events of Train to Busan. Like Seoul Station, this film tells another side of the zombie story with different characters. We start out learning that the cautious hope afforded at the end of Train to Busan was for naught, because South Korea was lost in a day and the Korean peninsula has been quarantined by the rest of world. Kang Dong Won plays former soldier Jung Seok who escaped to Hong Kong on one of the... [read more]
  10. Dramatic ni Kanpai  (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Dramatic ni Kanpai (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Yamamoto Sayaka
    From Idol to Singer-Songwriter
    February 27, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    I had high hopes for Yamamoto Sayaka when she started her post-NMB career, because she's been one of the few 48 graduates to have both the established popularity and the legitimate musical and vocal talents to make it as a solo artist. She hasn't disappointed. In the past two years, Sayaka has built a credible and consistent body of work that solidifies her transition from idol to singer-songwriter. Like with her past singles, all three tracks on her latest Dramatic ni Kanpai single are self-written and self-composed. While characteristic of Sayaka's style of medium-tempo ballads and rock, Dramatic ni Kanpai ("Dramatically Toast") also stands out from her past singles with its carefree vibe... [read more]
  11. Gundala (2019) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) Gundala (2019) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) Donny Alamsyah (Actor) | Ario Bayu (Actor) | Arswendi Nasution (Actor) | Abimana Aryasatya (Actor)
    The beginning of the Bumilangit Cinematic Universe
    January 31, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    From The Raid series to the horror films Satan's Slaves and Impetigore, the international profile of Indonesian cinema has been on the up in recent years. As the director of those latter two horror hits, Joko Anwar is a key name in the rise of Indonesian genre films. His 2019 feature Gundala takes on that most commercially alluring and technically challenging of genres: comic book superhero. Gundala is the ambitious first film of the Bumilangit Cinematic Universe, Indonesia's answer to the MCU and DCEU. Created by Hasmi, the lightning-wielding Gundala made his first appearance in 1969, and has remained one of the country's most popular and classic comic characters. Typical of the first... [read more]
  12. We Are Champions (2019) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) We Are Champions (2019) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) Li Lin Fei (Actor) | Fandy Fan (Actor) | Berant Chu (Actor) | Liu Yu Ren (Actor)
    High school hoops and hopes
    January 27, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    High school basketball is a pretty big deal in Taiwan. While the island's professional leagues have struggled in recent years to maintain attendance and a sustainable business model, the High School Basketball League (HBL) has ballooned in popularity over the past decade. Bolstered by government support, big-name brand sponsorship and broadcast deals, the HBL commands a considerable following and boasts way higher attendance than the beleaguered SBL. HBL's Division 1 tournament is Taiwan's answer to March Madness, with final games held in packed stadiums. It's the HBL championship tournament that provides the crucial backdrop for Chang Jung Chi's 2019 youth film We Are Champions. The... [read more]
  13. Joy of Life Season One (2019) (H-DVD) (Ep. 1-46) (End) (China Version) Joy of Life Season One (2019) (H-DVD) (Ep. 1-46) (End) (China Version) Li Qin (Actor) | Chen Dao Ming (Actor) | Zhang Ruo Yun (Actor) | Yolanda Yuan (Actor)
    The joy of watching Joy of Life
    December 31, 2020 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    One of the dramas I'm most looking forward to in 2021 is the second season of Joy of Life. The first season that aired in 2019 was a big hit in China and made our year-end picks, thanks to its unique mix of wuxia, suspense, fantasy and pure wit. Based on Mao Ni's novel Qing Yu Nian, the period series stars Zhang Ruoyun as silver-tongued swordsman Fan Xian, who lives in ancient times but has modern-day knowledge. His mysterious origin links back to his even more mysterious mother, who came from an unknown place and left behind a great legacy of innovation and larger-than-life legends. Summoned to the capital by his father and the Emperor (Chen Daoming), Fan Xian searches for his origins and... [read more]
  14. Are We In Love? (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version) Are We In Love? (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version) Kim So Eun (Actor) | Sung Hoon (Actor) | Kim So Hye (Actor) | Jeon Mi Sun (Actor)
    A condensed K-Drama romance
    December 30, 2020 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Apparently, Are We In Love? was selected as one of Korea's worst films of 2020 in Sports Kyunghyang's "Raspberry Film Festival" survey of 25 reporters who cover domestic films. Clearly, these reporters don't know how to appreciate the joy of getting an entire K-Drama romance in condensed feature-length form. Are We In Love? puts all the classic elements of a Korean romance series into a short and sweet movie. We have two likable television stars, Kim So Eun and Sung Hoon, playing typical romcom protagonists – bumbling baker So Jung, who's totally cute yet hopelessly single, and cafe owner Seung Jae, who seems cold and curt but is actually a big softie. Of course, these two are meant for... [read more]
  15. BETTER [Type A] (SINGLE+DVD)  (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) BETTER [Type A] (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Twice (Korea)
    Twice makes it Better
    November 30, 2020 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Twice has been on fire with their two recent comebacks. I adore the throwback bop I Can't Stop Me from their recent Korean album Eyes Wide Open, but I might like their new Japanese single Better even more. Like You Can't Stop Me, Better has an old-school disco vibe, but this goes in a sultrier direction with pulsing club beats, silky melody and lyrics expressing longing and desire. As catchy and upbeat as Twice's usual hits but also more mature, the song is co-written and co-composed by Lauren Kaori, who has worked on the group's Polish, Pink Lemonade and Stay By My Side, not to mention many E-girls songs. Better's moody verses and impactful yet melodic chorus showcase one of Twice's best... [read more]
  16. Tournament 7 (2019) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Tournament 7 (2019) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Sam Leong (Actor, Director, Writer) | Sophie Ngan (Actor) | Bei Er (Actor) | Liang Ke Ke (Actor)
    At least we still have Tournament films
    November 28, 2020 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Do you want to see a movie that opens with a biblical quote, followed by a scene of a mutated cabbage bloodily attacking someone? Tournament 7 is for you! Independent Hong Kong filmmaker Sam Leong's Tournament series has been one of my cinematic guilty pleasures of the last few years. In this day and age of Hong Kong cinema, there's just something wonderful about a self-produced, low-budget film series regularly churning out new installments, and also putting them on DVD. The low-rent action films run the gamut of genres from one installment to another – underground boxing, triad drama, family melodrama, revenge drama, social drama and now sci-fi gore, all with varying degrees of Christian... [read more]
  17. HiGH & LOW THE WORST (Blu-ray) (Japan Version) HiGH & LOW THE WORST (Blu-ray) (Japan Version) Nakano Yuta | Sigeaki Kubo (Director) | Yoshino Hokuto | Kawamura Kazuma
    Oya High vs. Housen Academy
    October 30, 2020 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Created by LDH in 2015 as an entertainment franchise revolving around EXILE TRIBE, the HiGH & LOW series has taken on a life of its own. Beyond providing a reason for EXILE TRIBE members to expand into acting and LDH artists to drop some tie-in jams, the gangster action series has been a surprisingly viable original film and TV franchise, spawning over ten productions in five years. In the world of HiGH & LOW, the gritty town known as S.W.O.R.D. takes its moniker from the five gangs that control the area – Sannoh Rengokai, White Rascals, Oya High School, Rude Boys and Daruma Ikka. Each differently themed gang controls a different part of town, maintaining a tense balance of power against... [read more]
  18. Beasts Clawing at Straws (2018) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Beasts Clawing at Straws (2018) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Bae Sung Woo (Actor) | Jung Woo Sung (Actor) | Jeon Do Yeon (Actor) | Jin Kyung (Actor)
    Karma's a beast
    September 30, 2020 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    A bag of cash brings out the greed and savageness of a group of financially strapped people in the freewheeling crime thriller Beasts Clawing at Straws. Based on the Japanese novel Wara nimo Sugaru Kemonotachi by Sone Keisuke, this Korean adaptation brings together a top-drawer cast under the assured direction of first-time director Kim Young Hoon. The film begins unassumingly with sauna part-timer Joong Man (Bae Sung Woo) finding a huge sum of money left in a locker. Meanwhile, customs officer Tae Young (Jung Woo Sung) is in deep trouble with the loan sharks due to his MIA girlfriend (Jeon Do Yeon), who left him with a huge debt. Prostitute Mi Ran (Shin Hyun Bin), who is dealing with debt... [read more]
  19. It's my life/ PINEAPPLE [Type A] (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) It's my life/ PINEAPPLE [Type A] (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) V6
    V6's 25th anniversary single
    September 24, 2020 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    This year is V6's 25th anniversary, and as their latest single proves, they've still got it. For better or worse, the Johnny's world has evolved a lot in the past few years, but V6 seems to be the quiet constant as they keep on doing their own thing. The group's 25th anniversary double A-side single brings two very different new songs that I love equally. It's my life is just what I need to hear on a Friday. The upbeat, uptempo song has a bright, easy-going vibe with its pop-rockish melody and life-affirming lyrics. Written by Miyata "Lefty" Ryo, the song's down-to-earth and reassuring words for the everyday workaholic deserve special mention. For all those stressed-out souls working late... [read more]
  20. Happy Old Year (2019) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) Happy Old Year (2019) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) Sunny Suwanmethanont (Actor) | Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying (Actor) | Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (Director)
    It doesn't spark joy.
    September 7, 2020 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Remember when we were all obsessively Marie Kondo-ing our homes? Jean (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying) takes it to the next level in Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit's sensitive drama Happy Old Year. Having returned from living in Sweden, the designer is determined to transform her family home into a minimalist design. She has a specific aesthetic in mind and plans to convert the first floor into her office. Doing so will require major refurbishment and clearing away many years of accumulated possessions. Marie Kondo's method of decluttering recommends keeping that which sparks joy, but Jean's take-no-prisoners approach seems to have little to do with joy, as she simply drops the decision on her... [read more]
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