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  1. Endgame (2021) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Endgame (2021) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Xiao Yang (Actor) | Andy Lau (Actor) | Wan Qian (Actor) | Wei Lai (Actor)
    Key to a good remake
    November 30, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Uchida Kenji's 2012 comedy-drama Key of Life about a hitman and a failed actor swapping identities picked up a slew of prizes, and its 2016 Korean remake Luck-Key was a box office hit. In 2021, the third iteration of the story arrives with the ambiguously titled Chinese remake Endgame. So what does this version offer that hasn't already been covered in the previous two films? Well, for one thing, it has Andy Lau. Endgame also has director Rao Xiaozhi, who brings a different vibe to this same story. Andy Lau wears the heck out of a black suit as precise and unflappable professional killer Zhou Quan whose downfall turns out to be a slippery bar of soap. After taking a fall at the bathhouse,... [read more]
  2. Gintama: The Final (2021) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Gintama: The Final (2021) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Miyawaki Chizuru (Director)
    A very Gintama finale
    November 29, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Fans: How many Gintama endings will there be? Gintama animators: Yes. In 2018, the Gintama TV anime notoriously ended with a cliffhanger and a long gag about the series finally coming to an end after many fake-out endings. Over two years later, the Gintama anime returns with a feature film of The Very Final ending. Gintama: The Final starts with an extended Dragon Ball Z parody, in-jokes about the animators being free to do whatever they want since they're not locked down by the grind of a TV anime, and a long narration summarizing the events leading up to the feature film. Before you can gripe about the recap being long and confusing, rest assured, the characters do it for you. Gintama:... [read more]
  3. Dark wings (EP + Photo Album) Dark wings (EP + Photo Album) Yang Yu Teng (Singer)
    Embracing darkness
    October 31, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    When YU made his debut in the summer of 2020, he was a nearly unknown newcomer. Since then, a starring role in the hit Taiwan series We Best Love – which also featured his song "Blue Lover" – has turned him into one of the most anticipated new names in Taiwan pop. YU's second EP Dark Wings arrives over a year after his first EP. He works with the same core production team led by producer Howie Chou, but this time he wrote the lyrics for both songs on the EP. If My Night Has Nothing To Do evokes blue feelings, then Dark Wings brings out the feelings of darkness. The EP's two songs call upon the doubts, fears, loneliness, rebellion and uneasiness YU felt in the past as a youth who left Japan... [read more]
  4. The Magician On The Skywalk (2021) (DVD) (Ep. 1-11) (End) (Taiwan Version) The Magician On The Skywalk (2021) (DVD) (Ep. 1-11) (End) (Taiwan Version) Berant Chu (Actor) | Li Yi Qiao (Actor) | Yang Da Zheng (Actor) | May Sun (Actor)
    Life, death and disappearance in 1980s Taipei
    October 29, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Chunghwa Market was an expansive integrated shopping mall located in Taipei's Ximending area from 1961 to 1992, when it was closed to make way for urban redevelopment. A skywalk over an intersection of roads carried foot traffic directly to the second level of Chunghwa Market, which bustled with people and activity as one of the city's most popular landmarks. This shopping market of yesteryear serves as the setting of the acclaimed 2021 PTS drama The Magician on the Skywalk, which won Best Television Series, Best Director and other prizes at the 56th Golden Bell Awards. Yang Ye Che, who honed his talent for telling human stories at PTS in the 2000s before going on to direct feature films... [read more]
  5. Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (Blu-ray) (Special Edition) (Japan Version) Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (Blu-ray) (Special Edition) (Japan Version) Sugisaki Hana | Ichikawa Somegoro | Hanae Natsuki | Ushio Kensuke
    Boy meets girl, poetry meets pop
    September 29, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Poetry, music and anime come together in delightfully fizzy fashion in the youth romance Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop, which was produced to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Victor Entertainment's anime-related music label FlyingDog. Directed by Ishiguro Kyohei, this original animated film is a simple yet fanciful boy-meets-girl summer story set in a suburban town. Bubbly and popular live-streaming influencer Smile (voiced by Sugisaki Hana) feels painfully insecure about her buck teeth and braces, which she hides under a face mask. Painfully shy haiku enthusiast Cherry (voiced by kabuki actor Somegoro Ichikawa VIII) works at an elderly day center and hides under headphones to avoid... [read more]
  6. Tears on Fire (2021) (DVD) (Ep. 1-10) (End) (Tote Bag Limited Edition) (Taiwan Version) Tears on Fire (2021) (DVD) (Ep. 1-10) (End) (Tote Bag Limited Edition) (Taiwan Version) Chang-Ying Hsieh (Actor) | James Wen (Actor) | Xia Teng Hong (Actor) | Liu Kuan Ting (Actor)
    Firefighters do more than fight fires
    August 30, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    On days of disaster and tragedy, we laud the heroics and sacrifices of firefighters and first responders. But are we providing the needed resources and understanding to support their work and livelihood every day of the year? The ten-episode PTS series Tears on Fire depicts the experiences and challenges of firefighters and EMTs in Taiwan. The drama follows a typical brigade in the Tongan Branch of Dayuan City Fire Department. The team, which includes James Wen, Annie Chen, Liu Kuan Ting and Austin Lin, works around the clock to respond to emergency calls. In Taiwan, EMS (emergency medical service) is provided by the fire department, so firefighters are also trained as EMTs (emergency... [read more]
  7. Detective Chinatown 3 (2021) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Detective Chinatown 3 (2021) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Liu Hao Ran (Actor) | Tsumabuki Satoshi (Actor) | Wang Bao Qiang (Actor) | Miura Tomokazu (Actor)
    More of the Detective Chinatown universe
    July 31, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Out of all the films that were originally set for theatrical release in China for Chinese New Year in 2020 and then pushed back due to COVID, only two films delayed their release dates all the way to 2021 Chinese New Year – the cartoon feature Boonie Bears: The Wild Life and Detective Chinatown 3. Most of the other big-name titles, like Leap, Vanguard and Jiang Ziya, opened later in 2020 or, in the case of Lost in Russia, premiered on digital platforms instead. Detective Chinatown 3, however, was held an entire year for the Spring Festival opening, because it's very much a Lunar New Year film. Despite the detective buddy comedy being a surefire blockbuster anytime of the year based on its... [read more]
  8. 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) | Phuak Pongsatorn Jongwilas (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]
  9. Future Cops (1993) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Future Cops (1993) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Andy Lau (Actor) | Aaron Kwok (Actor) | Jacky Cheung (Actor) | Chingmy Yau (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]
  10. 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]
  11. Start-Up (2019) (Blu-ray) (Korea Version) Start-Up (2019) (Blu-ray) (Korea Version) Jung Hae In (Actor) | Choi Jeong Yeol (Director) | Yoon Kyung Ho | Ma Dong Seok (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]
  12. A Little Reunion (2019) (DVD) (Ep. 1-49) (End) (China Version) A Little Reunion (2019) (DVD) (Ep. 1-49) (End) (China Version) Huang Lei (Actor) | Hai Qing (Actor) | Tao Hong (Actor) | Sha Yi (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]
  13. 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]
  14. 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) Machida Keita | Akaso Eiji | Asaka Kodai | YUTARO
    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]
  15. Get The Hell Out (2020) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Get The Hell Out (2020) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Megan Lai (Actor) | Bruce Hung (Actor) | Lin He Xuan (Actor) | Gao Hui Chun (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]
  16. 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]
  17. 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]
  18. 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]
  19. We Are Champions (2019) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) We Are Champions (2019) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) Fandy Fan (Actor) | Li Lin Fei (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]
  20. 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]
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  • Region & Language: Hong Kong United States - English
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