Vancouver 2014 Review: THE GOLDEN ERA Hits All Of Its Marks

The Golden Era follows the (tragically short) life of one of China's most celebrated female writers, Xiao Hong (portrayed by Tang Wei), in typically lavish period-biopic fashion. On an aesthetic level, the film is gorgeously realized by director Ann Hui,... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: WILD FLOWERS Wilts After A Bristling Start

The lives of aimless youths at the bottom of the social ladder are the focus of Wild Flowers, a bleak look into teenage destitution in the streets and back alleys of Seoul. Uncompromising in its focus and brisk in its... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, A Top Shelf Crowd Pleaser

Premiering this year at the Toronto International Film Festival, Margarita, With A Straw received standing ovations at each of its three sold-out screenings, and it is not hard to understand why. Dismissing any cliché or heavy handed sentiments, director Shonali Bose... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION Is David Lynch Meets Hong Sangsoo

Following his terrific debut Romance Joe (2011), Lee Kwang-kuk is back in Busan with A Matter of Interpretation, a breathless play on dream logic with smart plotting and a great script that proves he's no fluke, and then some. Frustrated... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: END OF WINTER Boasts Strong Cast And Subtle Mise-en-scene

Dankook University scores a New Currents competition slot at the Busan International Film Festival for the second year running with End of Winter, a controlled family drama taking place in the dead of winter. Eschewing histrionics in favour of a... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: HAN RIVER Ponders Urban Malaise in Contemporary Korea

With black and white lensing, cheerful yet destitute protagonists and the absence of a clear narrative, the philosophical vagabond film Han River, benefits from a style and focus that sets it apart from the bulk of recent Korean indie fare,... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: DAUGHTER Explores The Ills Of Modern Korean Parenting

Following a pair of indulgent films that awkwardly straddled the balance between fantasy and reality, the multi-hyphenate Ku Hye-sun, a well known actress, singer and artist as well as director, returns with Daughter, her most mature work to date. An... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: WE WILL BE OK Hits Its Stride Too Late In The Game

Writers are told to write about what they know, so it stands to reason that the same rule should apply to filmmakers. As a result, many films take place within the film world and in the Korean industry this proves... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: A MIDSUMMER'S FANTASIA Effortlessly Draws You Into Its Subtle Tale

Taking place in the quiet town of Gojo in Japan, an ageing community tinged with a lingering sadness and marked by stillness, A Midsummer's Fantasia is a wistful, hopeful and nostalgic third feature by rising Korean indie auteur Jang Kunjae.... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: SECOND LIFE OF THIEVES Is Mundanely Melancholic

A melancholic malaise permeates the incredibly subdued and softly told Second Life of Thieves, the latest feature from Malaysian director Woo Ming Jin. Set in the sweltered confines of a seaside village, the film transgresses past and present confidently. Initially... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: ENTANGLED Gets Caught Up In Its Own Depressing Narrative

Following the blistering debut Fatal, a gritty rape-revenge thriller that bowed at the Busan Film Festival in 2012, Lee Don-ku returns to Busan with the disappointing family drama Entangled. Though it seeks to inspire a similar sense of shock and... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: GIFTED Takes An Interesting Turn Before Veering Off Course

Taking its cue from the common social grievances often found in Korean indie dramas, Gifted, the sophomore effort of Poongsan (2011) helmer Jung Jai-hung, examines the friction between unemployment and consumerist ambitions in modern Korea. Slight and familiar, the film... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: PARADISE IN SERVICE, A Classical Tearjerker

Paradise in Service is presented by Taiwanese film-maker Hou Hsiao-Hsien but it is certainly not directed by him. This classical melodrama is a much more accessible film, and although conventional, communist-war period in Taiwan is brought to vivid life thanks... More »
  

Review: MEETING DR. SUN, A Playfully Poignant Coming-Of-Age Heist Flick

Yee Chih-yen, Taiwanese director of the much-celebrated Blue Gate Crossing, delivers a heartfelt, humorous and poignant coming of age story in Meeting Dr. Sun. Part high school drama, part adventurous heist flick, the film follows impoverished high-schooler Lefty (Zhan Huai-yun),... More »
  

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: I AM TRASH Lives Up To Its Title In Gloriously Reprehensible Fashion

South Korean indie provocateur Lee Sang-woo returns with the third and final instalment in his thematic "bad family" trilogy, which follows three grown up brothers, reunited when their pedophile father is released from prison. Inspired by a series of real-life... More »
  

Fantastic Fest 2014: Lee Sang-woo Drunkenly Reviews Lee Sang-woo's I AM TRASH

I made different waste director Lee, Sang - Woo trash. I'm so glad this movie like letting a lot of people. The mother is a whore, fold, and I am the last to refuse the father The happy ending. I'd like to wish all... More »
  

AI WEIWEI THE FAKE CASE: Out Now On VOD

Danish director Andreas Johnsen's documentary Ai Weiwei The Fake Case follows the acclaimed Chinese artist from his release after an 81-day internment, through his house arrest, and his fight against trumped up tax fraud charges by the Chinese Government. The... More »
  

Blu-ray Review: THE DEVIL IS A PART-TIMER Delivers Funny Anime-Fast-Food

(If you thought curly fries were the most twisted thing in fast food, think again...) This week, the hit anime The Devil is a Part-Timer will be released in Australia and New Zealand, courtesy of local distributor Siren Visual. Known... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Toronto 2014 Review: CART, Women's Rights Take Center Stage In Social Drama

Following hot on the trail of recent Korean dramas seeking to depict the plight of Korea's common class is Cart, a David vs. Goliath, based-on-fact tale detailing the injustices of Korea's labor system and the harsh treatment of women in... More »
  

Toronto 2014 Review: Epic And Austere, ALIVE Depicts Dark Days For Korean Laborers

Incessantly grim and pushing the three-hour mark, indie helmer Park Jung-bum's Alive is about as challenging a sophomore work as anyone could have dreamt up. And this from a man who debuted with the ferociously bleak The Journals of Musan... More »
  
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