Review: C'EST SI BON Trades Rich 60s Music Setting For Dull Romance

A terrific period setting is squandered in the disappointing C'est si bon, a twee and lethargic romance masquerading as a dynamic folk music biopic. Programmed as one of this year's two major Lunar New Year holiday releases (the other being... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

DVD Review: Fei Mu's SPRING IN A SMALL TOWN From The BFI

Hailed as the greatest Chinese film ever made, Fei Mu's 1948 melodrama Spring In A Small Town arrives on DVD for the first time in the UK, courtesy of the BFI. A heartbreaking tale of loyalty, yearning and resilience in... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: SET ME FREE Impressively Keeps It Real

(Here's someone literally begging to be taken to church...) In Kim Tae-yong's debut film Set Me Free (original Korean title Geo-in), he deals with the memories he has about one of the darkest moments in his own childhood. His parents... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: 2015 Oscar Nominated Short Films, An Eclectic, Globe-Trotting Selection

As much talk as there's been about the lack of diversity among this year's Academy Award nominees, there is at least one section where diversity, and an illuminating look at world cultures, can be found. That place is the in... More »
  

Review: DETECTIVE K: SECRET OF THE LOST ISLAND, Another Underwhelming Period Action Comedy

Detective Kim is back with his trusty sidekick Seo-pil in the follow up to 2011's hit period action-comedy Detective K: Secret Of The Virtuous Widow. A hodgepodge of genres delivered at breakneck speed, this new instalment, subtitled Secret of the... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: THE INSEMINATOR, Banned But Not Forgotten

This year, the International Film Festival Rotterdam had a section on surrealism, and one of the films playing in it was Bui Kim Quy's The Inseminator. And it took the festival a lot of trouble to get the film, as... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: CASA AMOR: EXCLUSIVE FOR LADIES, But Really Just A Man's World

Every so often, Korean cinema presents us with a new film, filled with the promise of titillating erotica. Invariably, these turn out to be rather chaste affairs and Casa Amor: Exclusive for Ladies (the original title of which is Working... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: AS THE GODS WILL Leaves You Gasping For More

(Putting the Fear of God into someone was never taken as literally as here...) Miike Takashi must, by now, be the most experienced director in the world in several genres, especially if those genres are vaguely defined as "gory and... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: Delightful Performances Make TEMPORARY FAMILY An Above Average Real Estate Comedy

Speculate on property. This is HK lifestyle!To speculate on property amid Hong Kong's rapidly changing real estate market conditions is to speculate on emotions, according to Cheuk Wan Chi's (aka Vincci/GC Goo Bi) Temporary Family, a simple but perfectly enjoyable... More »
By Patryk Czekaj   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: LA LA LA AT ROCK BOTTOM Sings A Cute Tune

(How a thug's head sometimes contains both rock and a hard place...) If director Nobuhiro Yamashita is going to be remembered for something, it will be his ability to keep things real, to tone down craziness to an acceptable level,... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: GANGNAM BLUES, A Gorgeously Overwrought Gangster Classic In The Making

Yoo Ha returns to gangster cinema and knocks it right out of the park with his latest, an evocative and immensely entertaining saga that pits a common tale of brotherhood and betrayal against a thrilling period setting mired in violence... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: WAVES, A Quietly Emotional Cross-Cultural Drama

In Don Gerardo Frasco's Waves, a seemingly idyllic island paradise in the Philippines unexpectedly turns into a battleground of mixed emotions for two friends-turned-secret-lovers desperately trying to revive a brief yet intense love affair that, at first sight, clearly falls... More »
By Patryk Czekaj   
  

Review: R100, An Intensely Intelligent And Witty Study Of Human Behavior

By the time Matsumoto Hitoshi made the move into feature films with his 2007 effort Big Man Japan, he was already a massive star in his native Japan, his television comedy work having firmly established Matsumoto as one of the... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

Review: THE ROYAL TAILOR Spins A Colorful Period Yarn

Period dramas are all the rage in Korea at the moment, but while some have been setting records at the box office (such as Roaring Currents), not all have been successful. No film is a guaranteed hit but period productions... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: CHRONICLE OF A BLOOD MERCHANT Favors Strong Cast Over Plot

Outside of indie cinema, actors directing themselves in leading roles are quite rare in Korean films, making Ha Jung-woo's Chronicle of a Blood Merchant something of an oddity. One of the country's biggest stars, Ha surrounds himself with a wealth... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: THE CON ARTISTS Aims Right Down the Middle And Is All The Better For It

There are many things we demand from films: good stories, strong characters, style... the list goes on. However, more than everything else, there is one thing people clamor for the most, particularly in its absence: originality. We readily point out clichés... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: Shankar's I: A Tale Full Of Sound And Fury, Signifying... Something?

I have a problem.I am a great admirer of Shankar, the director of I. Even when his films aren't great, as in the case of something like his take down of India's insidious corruption problem, Sivaji, they are engaging and... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Review: GANGS OF WASSEYPUR, A Monster Of A Film

Pulling back, deliberately and slowly, from a soap-opera musical on the TV (involving, of all things, character introductions), the 315-minute long Gangs of Wasseypur kicks off with a single shot, Johnnie To-style unbroken assault on the stronghold of Faizal Khan... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Review: BLACKHAT, Michael Mann's Moronic Cyber Scavenger Hunt

Humanity's fascination with the microchip started long before they became everyday necessities for the first world population. You see, we humans have always taken strides for some semblance of consistency and structure through networks and grids. Design and architecture in the... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  

Review: LA ULTIMA PELICULA, Featuring A Melancholy, Amusing Apocalypse

The year 2012 was, for most of humanity, a waiting game. The Mayans predicted the world's end. Riots sprouted. Floods happened. Scandals erupted. It seemed the Mayans spoke true, but there was still no assurance that the world was on... More »
By Oggs Cruz   
  
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