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

Old 01-21-20, 06:36 PM
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The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Since it is almost pointless to post individual threads about every single Asian movie that comes out, mainly because the audience here is so small. Thought I would make this the default thread if you would like to talk about Chinese, Hong Kong, Thai, Japanese, Indian, Korean movies and such. News, trailers and reviews if you are so inclined.

In the last 6 months, these are the most recent Asian movies I've seen and all in theatres.











I liked Ip Man 4 - I think I gave it a B
Battle of Jangsari I saw at a local Korean movie theatre. Surprisingly it's a Warner Bros. release. That was a really intense WW II drama. I'd give that one a B+
I also enjoyed Climbers. I'd also give that one a B+
The Captain was an entertaining airline thriller. I'd give it a B
Really liked Master Z. I'd also give that a B

I have Shadow, which came out last year, on 4K UHD, but haven't had the time to watch it yet. I heard there isn't much action in it, but it's a very stylish movie. I figured it would look great in 4K so I went ahead and got it.


Edit: Almost forgot. Parasite.


I also saw that at a local Korean movie theatre before it became a big mainstream release here.


There's a couple of new ones that just came out that I'm also interested in. They're playing locally near me



Ashfall. It's a Korean volcano disaster movie



and



The Rescue. A Chinese coast guard action thriller directed by Dante Lam. It reportedly cost $100M to make.



and supposedly you can watch The Rescue either dubbed or in Mandarin with subtitles in theatres.

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Old 01-21-20, 06:44 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Was there a similar thread a while back? Just overhaul Asian cinema. I remember trying to find it a few weeks ago but couldn’t locate.
Old 01-21-20, 06:55 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

I think there was but a fresh one seems like a good idea, especially in wake of Parasite's success. Of course, it may have been in the International DVD Forum.
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Old 01-21-20, 11:15 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

And I just got back from seeing Ashfall, which I posted about above.

Basically a Korean disaster epic. Volcanic eruption destroys many cities throughout Korea. Don Lee, who will be in The Eternals, is one of the main leads and plays the scientist who is trying to figure out how to stop the Volcano.

Very uneven movie. Disaster movie, mixed with a spy thriller and also has bits of humor.
Old 01-22-20, 10:16 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

One disaster film I saw year ago was The Tower which was a Korean version of The Towering Inferno. I thought it was pretty good and the effect also very good.
Old 01-22-20, 10:24 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Question for future reference: Is this thread for films produced by/in Asian countries? For instance, would The Farewell count? Asian/Asian-American actors and director, nominated for foreign language film awards, shot in China, but produced by Americans.

Also, The Captain looks like something I'd probably be into. Is it streaming?
Old 01-22-20, 10:58 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

The Captain is still a fairly recent release so not yet, but since Well Go has the US rights, odds are it'll first show up on Library-based streaming services like Kanopy.
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Old 01-22-20, 01:14 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by IBJoel View Post
Question for future reference: Is this thread for films produced by/in Asian countries? For instance, would The Farewell count? Asian/Asian-American actors and director, nominated for foreign language film awards, shot in China, but produced by Americans.

Also, The Captain looks like something I'd probably be into. Is it streaming?
The Farewell was an A24 release, technically a U.S. studio. The farewell got mentioned in it's own thread because also Awkwafina is an up and coming film star and U.S. comedian.

Everything that I mentioned in my post are productions made by and produced in Asia by Asian production companies that get limited releases here. Some may not even get released here. These movies usually don't get much or any mention here.

The Captain will likely end up on Hoopla or Kanopy that you can access through your local library. There's no date yet for the BD/DVD release, but they usually get it concurrently.
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Old 01-23-20, 09:45 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

I watched Still Human a while back...


...and quite enjoyed it. Crisel Consunji and Anthony Wong have strong chemistry together and deliver winning performances as individuals. Sam Lee dials back his smart-aleck schtick considerably and fits in quite well with the small cast. Big ups to writer/director Oliver Chan for shining a spotlight on an often overlooked group in modern Hong Kong.
Old 01-23-20, 11:05 AM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
The Captain will likely end up on Hoopla or Kanopy that you can access through your local library. There's no date yet for the BD/DVD release, but they usually get it concurrently.
So straight up Chinese propaganda movies like The Captain are being made available for free to the American public through our public library system? Wonderful. We are so fucked. The biggest existential threat to America at this point is not communism or the Chinese or anything that concrete, the biggest threat is our inability to recognize things for what they are.
Old 01-23-20, 12:18 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
So straight up Chinese propaganda movies like The Captain are being made available for free to the American public through our public library system? Wonderful. We are so fucked. The biggest existential threat to America at this point is not communism or the Chinese or anything that concrete, the biggest threat is our inability to recognize things for what they are.
Oh, it's not just like a disaster movie on a plane? I was expecting something like Non-Stop or Airport. I see a couple reviews on RT also reference being "patriotic". Could you expand on that (please remember that since this isn't the political forum to try and keep it measured and stick to "just the facts" of the movie)? Also, if it's any consolation, it seems like most people rent blockbuster schlock or pretty inoffensive dramas from libraries (depending on the patrons' age).

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Old 01-23-20, 12:46 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
So straight up Chinese propaganda movies like The Captain are being made available for free to the American public through our public library system? Wonderful. We are so fucked. The biggest existential threat to America at this point is not communism or the Chinese or anything that concrete, the biggest threat is our inability to recognize things for what they are.
Huh? You mean like every other fucking jingoistic "America, fuck yeah" film? Your comparison is like saying that public libraries also carry the communist manifesto, holy bible, mein kampf, etc., and by doing so, are indoctrinating Americans.

Old 01-23-20, 01:08 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
So straight up Chinese propaganda movies like The Captain are being made available for free to the American public through our public library system? Wonderful. We are so fucked. The biggest existential threat to America at this point is not communism or the Chinese or anything that concrete, the biggest threat is our inability to recognize things for what they are.
Originally Posted by IBJoel View Post
Oh, it's not just like a disaster movie on a plane? I was expecting something like Non-Stop or Airport. I see a couple reviews on RT also reference being "patriotic". Could you expand on that (please remember that since this isn't the political forum to try and keep it measured and stick to "just the facts" of the movie)? Also, if it's any consolation, it seems like most people rent blockbuster schlock or pretty inoffensive dramas from libraries (depending on the patrons' age).
As probably the other primary moaner here about Chinese propaganda infusing virtually every movie that comes out of that country (but especially these contemporary-set "CCP-before-self" action blockbusters), particularly in light of China's overbearing behaviour in Hong Kong and towards Taiwan -- both of which still produce vastly more complex cinema, albeit on a smaller scale, such as the phenomenal STILL HUMAN mentioned above -- I have no problem with mainland Chinese films being made available through my local library system, or being shown locally in our multiplexes so that ex-pats and noobs can see them on the big screen, or at film festivals, or on discs and streamers. The only way to "recognize things for what they are" is to have them made available to us, rather than just assuming that's what's being made behind the Great Wall as we did from 1949 right through to the 1990s, even after China's "great opening up" in the early 80's.

Mainlander movies have come a long way technologically since then, and in a comparatively short time, and they deserve credit for that, but philosophically very little has changed. Same forced messaging, prettier packaging. The Chinese film industry largely functions in a "watch your step" philosophical/moral vacuum which is apparent in a high percentage of their films, and while they don't deserve credit for that, it should at least be a factor in discussions of their films, especially those where it's painted with broad, pandering strokes. If people prefer to enjoy mainland movies without thinking about that stuff, more power to them; there's much to enjoy. The political content will still be there for others to think about.

Thankfully, the OP made this an "Asian movies" thread and not just "Chinese movies", which allows us to share thoughts on movies from all over the region. I assume that also includes older Asian movies as well, because sometimes the most interesting stuff isn't the latest mainland Chinese 'blockbusters' that have the highest visibility.
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Old 01-23-20, 01:24 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
Huh? You mean like every other fucking jingoistic "America, fuck yeah" film? Your comparison is like saying that public libraries also carry the communist manifesto, holy bible, mein kampf, etc., and by doing so, are indoctrinating Americans.
Good point. It's only worth noting that those "America, fuck yeah" movies do not by default have to be "approved" by the U.S. government (unless you're a Michael Bay or John Milius type with big hard-ons for authentic military hardware and consultation in your movies). China's do, from script to screen. Even the glut of consumerist rom-coms they passed for several years were recently, umm, "discouraged". Thus the glut of big-bucks "patriotic" adventure/rescue/foreign policy movies. American filmmakers can freely make shows that are openly critical or suspicious of government institutions, adventurism and the system in general, without fear of reprisal. It's a much better arena in which to create, even better if the results are divisive.

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Old 01-23-20, 01:42 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
Good point. It's only worth noting that those "America, fuck yeah" movies do not by default have to be "approved" by the U.S. government (unless you're a Michael Bay or John Milius type with big hard-ons for authentic military hardware and consultation in your movies). China's do, from script to screen. Even the glut of consumerist rom-coms they passed for several years were recently, umm, "discouraged". Thus the glut of big-bucks "patriotic" adventure/rescue/foreign policy movies. American filmmakers can freely make shows that are openly critical or suspicious of government institutions, adventurism and the system in general, without fear of reprisal. It's a much better arena in which to create, even better if the results are divisive.
I just didn't like the riff on the library system. Folks should embrace the public library system we have and be thankful that we do not censor shit like China and other countries do. To say that the public library system is "in on it" somehow and that it gives children access to communist propaganda, so as to "corruprt" them, is a crock of shit.

/rant
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Old 01-23-20, 02:33 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Discussion of The Captain
https://forum.dvdtalk.com/movie-talk...ght=Propaganda

Discussions The Mountain or whatever the fuck it’s called

https://forum.dvdtalk.com/movie-talk...ght=Propaganda
Old 01-23-20, 02:57 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
I just didn't like the riff on the library system. Folks should embrace the public library system we have and be thankful that we do not censor shit like China and other countries do. To say that the public library system is "in on it" somehow and that it gives children access to communist propaganda, so as to "corruprt" them, is a crock of shit.

/rant
I agreed wholeheartedly. My only beef is with the frequently-invoked (not by you, but by lots of people) "what about jingoistic American movies" angle as if they're exactly the same kind of thing as China's. Beyond that, I'm happy I can find plenty of (often historically important) foreign propaganda at my library. None of it will turn me or the majority of other people.


Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
Discussion of The Captain
https://forum.dvdtalk.com/movie-talk...ght=Propaganda

Discussions The Mountain or whatever the fuck itís called
https://forum.dvdtalk.com/movie-talk...ght=Propaganda
Your point? They're propaganda. You and I called them as such, others didn't care to acknowledge that aspect in light of the entertainment value they got. Free discussion, and I'm sure this thread won't solely be devoted to Mainland Chinese pictures, anyway. There's so many better, more challenging films coming from all across Asia right now. 'DJariya' even posted a couple up top. If I could magically turn people on to Taiwanese cinema, for example, I would. I'd start by recommending a couple of gems from recent TIFFs:

CITIES OF LAST THINGS:

GODSPEED

SOUL (for the moment, this seems to be the last film of Jimmy Wang Yu)

But Taiwanese cinema doesn't get the same kind of theatrical play in North America that the mainland stuff does, despite being in essentially the same language. Go figure.

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Old 01-23-20, 03:49 PM
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Oh, and another interesting non-mainland Chinese show from the most recent TIFF, the first film from Hong Kong director Yonfan in a decade, and his first animated show. Elegant and languorous, a bit kinky in spots, arguably too slow for the story it tells, but the visuals go a long way to compensate. It's set during the period of the famous 1967 Hong Kong riots, but the parallels it draws to the present situation there are unmistakable. Unfortunately, he made some comments regarding the present situation that were wrongly taken as a condemnation of the current protest movement (it wasn't; he was referring mainly to those who use the fight for democracy and freedom as a pretext for violence and destruction) and the film seems to have been back-burnered for a while.


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Old 01-23-20, 04:10 PM
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The Blu-ray of this is getting ready to come out the first week of Feb. Shudder had picked up streaming rights to it. Just from the trailer, it reminds me of a much more kinetic version of that cult zombie horror film "Deadgirl."
Old 01-24-20, 02:38 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

There's a new Jackie Chan period martial arts Fantasy that just came out on BD this week


It's called The Knight of Shadows


Pu Songling (Jackie Chan), a legendary demon hunter, is asked to investigate the mysterious disappearances of young girls from a small village. When he discovers evil forces are kidnapping the girls to feast on their souls, he sets out to save humanity from the inhuman invasion journeying through hidden worlds and colorful dimensions in this fantastical martial arts action-comedy.

Old 01-24-20, 03:57 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
There's a new Jackie Chan period martial arts Fantasy that just came out on BD this week

It's called The Knight of Shadows
Yikes, with the de-aging in that thumbnail. This actually looks fun. Can't be worse than Kung Fu Yoga.
Old 01-24-20, 04:25 PM
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Re: The One and Only Asian movies reviews, comments, news, and appreciation thread

Pu Songling (Jackie Chan), a legendary demon hunter, is asked to investigate the mysterious disappearances of young girls from a small village. When he discovers evil forces are kidnapping the girls to feast on their souls, he sets out to save humanity from the inhuman invasion journeying through hidden worlds and colorful dimensions in this fantastical martial arts action-comedy.
Pu Songling (Chinese: , 5 June 1640 – 25 February 1715) was a Qing dynasty Chinese writer, best known as the author of Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (Liaozhai zhiyi).

The above description sounds a little like A CHINESE GHOST STORY, which was based on one of Pu Songling's stories.
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Old 01-24-20, 05:12 PM
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Looks pretty flashy, but the reviews have been pretty lukewarm (and frustratingly few seem to bother researching the story's origins). The book this is (presumably loosely) adapted from, "Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio", was written in 1740 and is the either the direct source material or a strong inspiration for Hong Kong/Taiwan productions like the Shaw Brothers classic THE ENCHANTING SHADOW (1960), the anthology trilogy FAIRY, GHOST, VIXEN (1965), THE HAUNTING (1967) and THE SPIRITS (1969), A TOUCH OF ZEN (1971), the early Brigitte Lin picture GHOST IN THE MIRROR (1974), the CHINESE GHOST STORY series (1987-91, 1997, + the unnecessary mainland remake in 2011), PICTURE OF A NYMPH (1988), DEMONESS FROM THOUSAND YEARS (1990), the EROTIC GHOST STORY trilogy (1990-92), FOX LEGEND (1991), FANTASY ROMANCE (1991), PAINTED SKIN (1993, 2008), as well as plenty of classic Hong Kong TV adaptations, and countless more from Mainland China, where it's considered "safe" by the CCP yet allows filmmakers to go nuts with their digital toolboxes.

To say the story has been adapted and plundered to death, though, is an understatement. But I'm sure Chan's presence will make it feel fresh and original to those not familiar with just how many shows precede it, not to mention the innumerable swords-n-sorcery epics from recent years that visually look exactly like it.

The author originally wrote his tales to allegorically criticize the corruption and injustice of Chinese government and society of the time (and to . . . encourage women to know their place, but hey, it was the 1700's after all). The Chinese government of today is more than happy to allow CGI-bloated fantasy movies to continually be adapted from this work (and others like it) because, like the original book, they can be critical of "olden times" leadership rather than "present times" leadership, something the CCP frowns upon with vigilance. You'll also note that the supernatural (as it appears in these films - ghosts, demons, sorcery, etc.) rarely turns up in contemporary-set mainland movies. Essentially because it's not allowed, unless the source is revealed to be "man-made" in some weird Scooby Doo sort of way. I'm sure times are changing, but at a snail's pace.

EDIT: I was writing this while Ash made his post. Oh well, now you've got even more background!

And further to that, the characters played by Elaine Zhong and Ethan Juan are actually from the book. Chan's character seems to follow that old Hollywood conceit of having someone playing a famous author having adventures inside the world of his own fiction. Yawn.

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Old 01-24-20, 05:36 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
Looks pretty flashy, but the reviews have been pretty lukewarm (and frustratingly few seem to bother researching the story's origins). The book this is (presumably loosely) adapted from, "Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio", was written in 1740 and is the either the direct source material or a strong inspiration for Hong Kong/Taiwan productions like the Shaw Brothers classic THE ENCHANTING SHADOW (1960), the anthology trilogy FAIRY, GHOST, VIXEN (1965), THE HAUNTING (1967) and THE SPIRITS (1969), A TOUCH OF ZEN (1971), the early Brigitte Lin picture GHOST IN THE MIRROR (1974), the CHINESE GHOST STORY series (1987-91, 1997, + the unnecessary mainland remake in 2011), PICTURE OF A NYMPH (1988), DEMONESS FROM THOUSAND YEARS (1990), the EROTIC GHOST STORY trilogy (1990-92), FOX LEGEND (1991), FANTASY ROMANCE (1991), PAINTED SKIN (1993, 2008), as well as plenty of classic Hong Kong TV adaptations, and countless more from Mainland China, where it's considered "safe" by the CCP yet allows filmmakers to go nuts with their digital toolboxes.

To say the story has been adapted and plundered to death, though, is an understatement. But I'm sure Chan's presence will make it feel fresh and original to those not familiar with just how many shows precede it, not to mention the innumerable swords-n-sorcery epics from recent years that visually look exactly like it.

The author originally wrote his tales to allegorically criticize the corruption and injustice of Chinese government and society of the time (and to . . . encourage women to know their place, but hey, it was the 1700's after all). The Chinese government of today is more than happy to allow CGI-bloated fantasy movies to continually be adapted from this work (and others like it) because, like the original book, they can be critical of "olden times" leadership rather than "present times" leadership, something the CCP frowns upon with vigilance. You'll also note that the supernatural (as it appears in these films - ghosts, demons, sorcery, etc.) rarely turns up in contemporary-set mainland movies. Essentially because it's not allowed, unless the source is revealed to be "man-made" in some weird Scooby Doo sort of way. I'm sure times are changing, but at a snail's pace.

EDIT: I was writing this while Ash made his post. Oh well, now you've got even more background!

And further to that, the characters played by Elaine Zhong and Ethan Juan are actually from the book. Chan's character seems to follow that old Hollywood conceit of having someone playing a famous author having adventures inside the world of his own fiction. Yawn.
Looks more accessible then Dream of the Red Chamber, at least. I read an abridged translation of that in 2018 and that was tough.
Old 01-24-20, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by IBJoel View Post
Looks more accessible then Dream of the Red Chamber, at least. I read an abridged translation of that in 2018 and that was tough.
Brave man! Probably better to stick to the movies if you can find them. Thereís at least a dozen, largely made in Hong Kong from the 40ís through the 70ís, and a couple from mainland China; one in 1944 and a 12-hour beast from the late 80ís. Someone once gave me a couple of tapes containing parts of it, but it was incomplete, unsubbed and of little interest anyway. The last Hong Kong version was in the late 70ís. The Shaw Brothers versions are pretty good. I find with old Chinese lit there are often varying translations, and some that suffer from the whims of their translators, not to mention the piecemeal history of the publication of that particular book on its own turf.

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