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The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Old 11-15-22, 12:00 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

I'd been cautiously optimistic about this one for a while -- despite Hong Kong having a pretty weak track record with science fiction -- because it's supposedly bankrolled entirely locally by star Louis Koo's own production company, so no mainland money. It was held up for ages, though (made worse by the pandemic, of course). I remember a teaser trailer several years ago now. Still too many mainlander faces shoehorned into it for my liking, but it's set in the future, so I guess it makes sense. Some of the reviews I read back in September were of the 'just ok' variety, though, praising the visuals and effects (the director was previously a visual effects artist) but kinda mixed on everything else.
Old 11-15-22, 04:04 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Paff View Post
23rd annual San Diego Asian Film Festival is wrapping up this weekend. We showed some good movies, none of which I got to see because I was working in the booth, but Detective Vs. Sleuths, The Fish Tale, and Lesson of Murder all looked really good from where I was.

However, I was able to slip out long enough to see the restorations of The Heroic Trio and Executioners. They looked out-freakin-standing. Unfortunately, for Executioners the only seat I could get was in the very front row, and to the side, so I didn't really get a great view.
The only editions I have of those two films are the old Tai Seng subtitled VHS editions. Are these restorations going to be released as a box set? Do we know who's going to issue them in the U.S.?
Thanks.
Old 11-15-22, 05:49 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
The only editions I have of those two films are the old Tai Seng subtitled VHS editions. Are these restorations going to be released as a box set? Do we know who's going to issue them in the U.S.?
Thanks.
Criterion will be releasing both. Hopefully together, of course, especially as the second one isn't really Criterion-worthy, but they do deserve to be kept together. I don't think they put a date on it yet.
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Old 11-15-22, 07:00 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

I'll give a brief review on Detective vs Sleuths. It's a mess that I didn't really care for. The first half was ok, even interesting. The second half it just started getting ridiculous plot wise and really there were too many shoot out scenes. I probably only got through it because I like Lau-Chiang Wan, who is basically doing a (lesser) redux on his Blind Detective role. There is just too much plot for me to keep track of here and the other stuff (action, characters) don't really make up for that shortcoming.
Old 11-16-22, 11:08 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

A modest recommendation for a movie many American members here can probably still find cheap at their local Big Lots store: BUYBUST. I saw it there for months and routinely flipped past it thinking it was some no-name American DTV "action" picture, then decided to chance it when I finally noticed it was a Filipino movie and the Blu-ray + DVD Combo was marked down to $1.25 (a lot of WellGo releases seem to finish up at Big Lots). It's about a team of Philippines Drug Enforcement agents executing a major drug bust deep inside a densely populated Manila slum who must gunfight and fistfight their way out when the mission backfires. It's a fairly straightforward set-up, and comparisons are inevitable to the Indonesian film THE RAID (well, DREDD, really) as well older Hong Kong movies like CRIME STORY and LONG ARM OF THE LAW -- both set in HK's likewise labyrinthine Kowloon Walled City -- but this one adds a politically smart wrinkle by having the slum's residents, fed up with rampant corruption of all levels of Filipino society, actively turn on the cops en masse, almost like hordes of zombies (a commentary unto itself), continuously and spontaneously bursting into scenes and further complicating the heroes' escape. Writer-director Eric Matti (who's no stranger to action thrillers and horror movies, but this seems to be one of his best works) offers up fairly blunt commentary about then-president Duterte's controversial drug policies, which apparently served to entrench already widespread corruption even deeper. I'm no expert in Filipino cinema, but I do know that the industry generally favours cheap, lightweight romantic (and/or erotic) dramas and comedies -- many starring this film's cast-against-type lead actress -- and that BUYBUST was produced on a much larger and more socially-conscious scale than most action movies made in the country, which is undoubtedly the reason it debuted in the 2018 NYAFF before it even premiered in it's own country. Definitely worth a watch if you enjoy movies that are essentially one continuous action sequence. However, my one mild beef is with the overall speed of the film; it should've played faster! I have a Blu-ray player that allows me to watch movies at 1.5 speed with the audio still on (kinda like how you can change playback speed on YouTube or various streaming sites, but a pretty rare feature on players), and doing that on BUYBACK just gave it that added velocity and immediacy that makes films like THE RAID and various Hong Kong pictures just fly by. I don't know, perhaps 'as is', BUYBACK is more reflective of the pace of life in a sweltering tropical climate like the Philippines, but it still makes one wish that they'd under-cranked the camera just a little throughout the production. The director's ON THE JOB is also a pretty enjoyable 'prison-inmates-turned-contract-killers' action thriller, and was likewise released on Blu-ray in the US.
Old 11-16-22, 11:21 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by dex14 View Post
https://youtu.be/xJUOIKg4Bic
Lee Jung-jae stars and directs.

This post slipped under my radar because, like others, I can rarely see videos posted on this site anymore. Of the two Korean-actor-directed movies that I saw at TIFF in September -- the other being Jung Woo-sung's stylish but kinda empty pseudo-noir A MAN OF REASON -- this one was by far the better of the two, and should bode well for Lee Jung-jae's future directorial plans if he has any. Being about South and North Korean spy games the story is deeply and inherently complicated, and apparently rooted in actual historical events, but it does add up nicely no matter how thick the double-crosses, triple-crosses and gory torture scenes get. The large-scale action sequences are impressively staged and shot, often with the camera knocked about by explosions, debris and bodies.
Old 11-16-22, 08:48 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

GAMERA -Rebirth- coming to Netflix

https://gamera-rebirth.com/



Old 11-16-22, 09:26 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
Criterion will be releasing both. Hopefully together, of course, especially as the second one isn't really Criterion-worthy, but they do deserve to be kept together. I don't think they put a date on it yet.
That hasn't been officially announced yet, has it? But yeah, it's only a matter of time; both films had the Janus Films opening, and Janus is the theatrical distribution partner of Criterion.

And we've had the discussion before, but I still believe the second film is the superior entry. The first film is just too goofy, then suddenly gets serious, then gets goofy again. Not to mention the plot is all over the place. Stolen babies, invisibility robes, etc etc. Plus, it's hard to see the Trio as the heroes, when
Spoiler:
Invisible Girl is the perpetrator of stealing the babies (yes, I know, her hand was forced, but still...), and Thief Catcher steals a baby who the Trio accidentally kills.

Executioners is far superior, with a mostly grounded plot, political machinations, and an overall dark tone. Less action, yes, but what action there is is also far more realistic. No horizontally spinning motorcycles, that's for sure.

One thing that does need cleaning up before the Criterion release, is some subtitling errors. Like it goes back and forth between "invisible robe" and "invisible rope". Also, there's scenes showing a newspaper, and the headlines of the newspaper were not translated. Later, I dug out my Tai Seng laserdisc, and oddly enough the newspapers were translated. And by the way, those lasers are surprisingly watchable. Sure, they didn't hold a candle to the 4K DCPs (although only 2K projectors at the theater), but even blown up to my 60" plasma, those standard definition laserdiscs did not look completely terrible.

Old 11-16-22, 10:03 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Shin Ultraman

placeholder listing (January 11, 2023) https://www.amctheatres.com/movies/shin-ultraman-71952
Old 11-17-22, 09:26 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Paff View Post
That hasn't been officially announced yet, has it? But yeah, it's only a matter of time; both films had the Janus Films opening, and Janus is the theatrical distribution partner of Criterion.

And we've had the discussion before, but I still believe the second film is the superior entry. The first film is just too goofy, then suddenly gets serious, then gets goofy again. Not to mention the plot is all over the place. Stolen babies, invisibility robes, etc etc. Plus, it's hard to see the Trio as the heroes, when
Spoiler:
Invisible Girl is the perpetrator of stealing the babies (yes, I know, her hand was forced, but still...), and Thief Catcher steals a baby who the Trio accidentally kills.





Executioners is far superior, with a mostly grounded plot, political machinations, and an overall dark tone. Less action, yes, but what action there is is also far more realistic. No horizontally spinning motorcycles, that's for sure.

One thing that does need cleaning up before the Criterion release, is some subtitling errors. Like it goes back and forth between "invisible robe" and "invisible rope". Also, there's scenes showing a newspaper, and the headlines of the newspaper were not translated. Later, I dug out my Tai Seng laserdisc, and oddly enough the newspapers were translated. And by the way, those lasers are surprisingly watchable. Sure, they didn't hold a candle to the 4K DCPs (although only 2K projectors at the theater), but even blown up to my 60" plasma, those standard definition laserdiscs did not look completely terrible.
Not officially announced, but they're definitely doing it. I heard they're trying to still decide on their schedule in regard to the HK stuff. They may want to put out a Sammo film that they have first.

I'm sure they'll be doing a new translation/subtitles.
Old 11-17-22, 06:24 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Paff View Post
Executioners is far superior, with a mostly grounded plot, political machinations, and an overall dark tone. Less action, yes, but what action there is is also far more realistic. No horizontally spinning motorcycles, that's for sure.
I can totally understand why some people might hold the second film in higher regard, but generally speaking, it's the first film that has always been rated more highly, largely because of the more stylized, fantastical elements in it (yes, even the silly spinning motorcycles), along with its faster pace, and the fact that these iconic HK actresses share considerably more scenes than they do in the sequel. I think it's a more quintessentially 'Hong Kong style' film, and it's original domestic box office would seem to bear that out (made about double what the sequel did only a few months later). EXECUTIONERS, to me, always felt like a rushed after-thought. The severe tonal differences between them make both films feel like the works of a director still fishing around for a signature style that he wouldn't nail for a few more years, which makes me wonder why Criterion would consider them "important" pieces (as opposed to say, the opportunities they seem to be to jump on the HK Cinema revival wagon). They seem like a better fit for Arrow, 88, even Vinegar Syndrome. Still, maybe Criterion doing a stellar job with these will open them up to getting something like THE MISSION, which really is a more "important" film in Johnnie To's filmography and in Hong Kong cinema in general, and the one that has proven to be the most elusive over the years.

Interesting to know that the LDs held up well. I had those back in the day. The HK DVDs couldn't compare either, as I recall; non anamorphic, soft-ish visuals, weak audio.

Last edited by Brian T; 11-17-22 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 11-17-22, 08:22 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
I can totally understand why some people might hold the second film in higher regard, but generally speaking, it's the first film that has always been rated more highly, largely because of the more stylized, fantastical elements in it (yes, even the silly spinning motorcycles), along with its faster pace, and the fact that these iconic HK actresses share considerably more scenes than they do in the sequel. I think it's a more quintessentially 'Hong Kong style' film, and it's original domestic box office would seem to bear that out (made about double what the sequel did only a few months later). EXECUTIONERS, to me, always felt like a rushed after-thought. The severe tonal differences between them make both films feel like the works of a director still fishing around for a signature style that he wouldn't nail for a few more years, which makes me wonder why Criterion would consider them "important" pieces (as opposed to say, the opportunities they seem to be to jump on the HK Cinema revival wagon). They seem like a better fit for Arrow, 88, even Vinegar Syndrome. Still, maybe Criterion doing a stellar job with these will open them up to getting something like THE MISSION, which really is a more "important" film in Johnnie To's filmography and in Hong Kong cinema in general, and the one that has proven to be the most elusive over the years.

Interesting to know that the LDs held up well. I had those back in the day. The HK DVDs couldn't compare either, as I recall; non anamorphic, soft-ish visuals, weak audio.
I still only have both films on their Tai Seng VHS editions (subtitled, of course), so I'm looking forward to, hopefully, a box set from Criterion. Previously, I had pre-Tai Seng bootlegs of both on VHS, purchased 28 years ago!

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Old 11-18-22, 12:49 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

I got my copy of the new Criterion box set of the Infernal Affairs trilogy. It's a new 4K remaster. I watched about 30 minutes of the 1st movie last night and it looks really good. Probably the best transfer I've seen of it.

There is some new bonus material in the set. I plan to watch them all soon. I haven't seen all 3 movies since I originally watched them on DVD years ago.
Old 11-18-22, 06:01 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

I did a run this week where I watched all 3 Infernal Affairs films. The first one is an absolute classic. I saw it once before years ago. It didn't really move me because I kept on comparing it to the Departed. This time around I more or less focused on IA itself. Second one was a good film, although it reminded me one of those 1970s Italian Crime films for whatever reason. Has Francis Ng in it which helps. The third one I thought was too long. Ultimately, the story "clicked" but it took a while to get there and they could have dropped some scenes.
Old 11-19-22, 01:01 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by WTK View Post
Shin Ultraman

placeholder listing (January 11, 2023) https://www.amctheatres.com/movies/shin-ultraman-71952
Shin Ultraman will be screening in select theaters via Fathom Events (sub: January 11, dub: January 12) (announced at Anime NYC).

https://www.fathomevents.com/events/Shin-Ultraman


Last edited by WTK; 11-19-22 at 01:10 PM.
Old 11-20-22, 05:05 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
I got my copy of the new Criterion box set of the Infernal Affairs trilogy. It's a new 4K remaster. I watched about 30 minutes of the 1st movie last night and it looks really good. Probably the best transfer I've seen of it.
Are the new transfers are as scrubbed of grain as some are saying on other forums?

For reference, I only have the Media Asia BDs.
Old 12-01-22, 04:52 PM
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Five years after winning the Palme d’Or for SHOPLIFTERS, Academy Award nominated filmmaker Kore-eda Hirokazu returns with BROKER, starring Cannes Best Actor winner Song Kang Ho (PARASITE). The film follows two brokers who sell orphaned infants, circumventing the bureaucracy of legal adoption, to affluent couples who can’t have children of their own. After an infant’s mother surprises the duo by returning to ensure her child finds a good home, the three embark on a journey to find the right couple, building an unlikely family of their own.
Old 12-06-22, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by dex14 View Post
Warriors of Future - I don't see many modern HK films these days, but the effects were generally pretty good. The film wasn't anything great. But if you like Louis Koo you'll probably find something to like.

Originally Posted by dex14 View Post
https://youtu.be/xJUOIKg4Bic

Lee Jung-jae stars and directs.
Hunt - This was pretty good and impressive as a directorial debut for Lee. The direction is the strongest part. Action scenes were really well done. The story is a bit convoluted and confusing. Still worth checking out.
Old 12-06-22, 11:03 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Might as well post this here too since some people who were interested in Vol. 1 may not check the other forums:
Shawscope Volume 2 is $94.63 + tax and free shipping from Walmart via Deep Discount. Basically the same price it would be at current price + 15% off coupon whenever they have one, plus no extra shipping charge.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Shawscope...1?athbdg=L1100
Old 12-18-22, 03:59 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Trailer for Donnie Yen's new movie "Sakra" coming in 2023 He's also the director and producer.



During the Northern Song dynasty, Qiao Feng, the leader of the Beggars’ Sect, was a heroic and chivalrous man who was respected by the whole martial arts world. But he was suddenly accused of being a Khitan, which made him isolated by friends and allies. On his journey to find out about his origin and enemies, Qiao Feng met Azhu the maid from Murong family, and they fell for each other. The two went together through events in Juxian Manor, Yanmen Pass, and the Mirror Lake. Unfortunately, Qiao walked into Mrs. Ma’s trap and killed Azhu by mistake. He finally found out it was Murong Fu who schemed all this to revive the former Yan kingdom. After he killed Murong Fu, Qiao Feng went beyond the Great Wall as Azhu wished.




Old 12-18-22, 11:12 AM
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Looks like fun. I like the Western style music used in the trailer.
Old 12-19-22, 10:15 AM
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Thought elements of this seemed familiar, and I was right. It's based on the book Demi-Gods And Semi-Devils, which was made into a popular TV series and spin-off film by that title in 1982 (I was never able to find this one with subs). Subsequent books were made into 1994's so-so DRAGON CHRONICLES: MAIDENS OF HEAVENLY MOUNTAIN with Brigitte Lin and Gong Li. There was a Taiwan TV adaptation in the early 90's, another Hong Kong TV series in 1997, and mainland China TV series in 2013 and, oddly enough, 2021 or 2022 (!) depending on sources. I'm wondering if that last one has been held off to cash in on Yen's film?

Interestingly (possibly), IMDB lists Steve Cheng as a co-director on this. He directed some ok Hong Kong B-movies back in the 90's and early 00's (VIOLENT COP, RAPE TRAP, RULES OF THE GAME, THE YOUNG ONES, both HOROSCOPE movies, many others) and some outright crap (like WHERE IS MOMMA'S BOY with infamous but presumably forgotten 'American Idol' reject William Hung), but hasn't done a feature film since 2006. At first I wondered why he'd suddenly land a gig like this -- especially as he's never worked with Donnie Yen before -- but then noticed that his filmography includes three mainland 'period' fantasy/swordplay romance TV series since 2017, the latest of which, THE UNTAMED, turned out to be something of a phenomenon there. The library here has it, but I just can't devote the time to a) super-long TV series and b) mainland China stuff outside of occasional feature films like SAKRA.

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Old 01-05-23, 02:09 PM
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Old 01-05-23, 03:47 PM
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Kind of an oddly timed re-release. I remember back in Summer 2000, I was on a trip to Thailand and saw trailers and posters for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon around Bangkok. I wanted to see it badly, but it was released in Asia later that summer after my trip. Thankfully it later came to the states in December. I did see this in the theater back in December 2000 to a packed house. I was surprised it was full for a Mandarin language movie. It was a pretty awesome experience seeing a Wuxia movie in an American theater.

I have the BD, so I'm not sure I really need to see this again in a theater.
Old 01-05-23, 06:54 PM
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I think this movie engendered an early-00's form of FOMO among people who would never, ever bother with 'chopsocky' or Asian films, but wanted to see what all the high-toned fuss was about (especially in the pre-social media era). Awards buzz immediately accompanied its release over here, as I recall, plus Chow had just been in three reasonably big budget American studio movies in a row, so he was a known entity in entertainment coverage, video stores, etc. Yeoh was still reasonably fresh in people's minds thanks to the Bond film. And imported Hong Kong movies had been enjoying an extended period of visibility in the years leading up to CROUCHING's release, including several with it's two leads.

I do wonder if the timing of this release is simply due to relative ubiquity of Michelle Yeoh these days (maybe ahead of a possible Oscar nomination?) and the fairly consistent quality of the projects she chooses, as well as perhaps the renewed interest in classic Hong Kong cinema, at least in the physical media sphere. Otherwise I'm not sure I see the point, as it's been re-released on video ad nauseam over the years.
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