Marshy's 11 Favourite Asian Movies of 2013 Part 1

Asian Editor; Hong Kong, China (@Marshy00)
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As we hit the halfway stage in 2013, I'd like to pause for a moment and take stock of the Asian films I have seen so far this year and throw a little light on my favourites. Of course this isn't an exhaustive list of everything I have seen - or even everything I have liked - after all, I've seen 44 new Asian films already this year. These are just the 10 I liked best...or in this case, the 11 I liked best. 

2013 has seen plenty of other, bigger films hit our screens, particularly in China. Xu Zheng's Lost in Thailand, Stephen Chow's Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, Tang Wei's comeback Finding Mr. Right, Peter Chan's American Dreams in China and Zhao Wei's So Young have all done incredible business at the local box office. Elsewhere in Asia, Thailand saw a massive domestic hit with Pee Mak Phrakanong, as did Vietnam with The Lady Assassin, but none proved good enough to make the final cut in this particular, personal list.   

One final disclaimer: While at least one of the films mentioned below may have had its world premiere in 2012, and more than a few may not have had a theatrical release yet in your region, if I see a film at a festival or first-run release this year, it counts. I don't make hard and fast rules for these lists, I just like writing about films I have enjoyed. And I hope you enjoy reading about them...

(Part 2 is now up here)

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AlexJuly 3, 2013 3:27 PM

So I recently just saw the 120 min. international version of the Grandmaster and I enjoy it. I didn't mind the lapses in time between the fight sequences. What I did find troublesome was that it didn't feel like Ip Man was the focus, it felt like Gong Er was the focus.
SPOILR QUESTIONS Also, did Ip Man actually lose to her or did he indirectly let her win when he caught her?

KyakpaJuly 3, 2013 4:50 PM

Journey to the West directed by Stephen Chow was the most entertaining film from Hong kong after a long time. South Korea's "New World" was awesome. These two are two good and entertaining films so far for me. Didn't like the Grandmaster and felt that it was incoherent as many have mentioned in reviews. Glamorous but not worth watching!

bobJuly 3, 2013 11:19 PM

We all vastly have different taste. I felt the grandmaster was very immature and nonsense because it essentially attempts to fulfill a geek's obsession of martial arts. Trying to be high concept and artsy but fails. I don't have the vocabulary to describe it but its ridiculous. Drug war is hilarious with Louis Koo speaking canto at chinese mainlanders. Must have been intimidating and awkward for the mainland actors.

marshy00July 5, 2013 5:27 AM

I'm tempted to say he let her win, but yes Gong Er is certainly the focus of the film's second half.

marshy00July 5, 2013 5:28 AM

Not had a chance to see NEW WORLD yet - Hong Kong is notoriously bad for Korean Film distribution, but looking forward to it. JTTW was more fun than I was anticipating, but far from "best of the year" material.

marshy00July 5, 2013 5:29 AM

I'm sure all the actors are used to it - happens a lot in recent years.

bobJuly 5, 2013 6:51 AM

I made a post about New World's unnecessary racist plots involving the chinese in the official imdb forums section of it.

Marcel SamsonJuly 6, 2013 6:55 AM

As part of the plot, or just because he can't speak mandarin well? It really messes up my enjoyment of a movie, when I hear different languages spoken randomly at each other, and miraculously everyone understands each other. If you want to play in a mainland movie, fine, but learn the language.

marshy00July 6, 2013 7:03 AM

In this case it's part of the story, Louis Koo's character is from Hong Kong, but it annoys me too. Jackie Chan's CZ12 is a recent example of it being done inexplicably.

KieranJanuary 3, 2014 4:31 AM

Is Kotoko a 2012 movie or is it really missing from your list ?

marshy00January 3, 2014 9:50 AM

It's definitely a 2012 film, as I've had a Blu-ray of it for over a year. However, I've also never seen it, which is probably the real reason it's not on this list.

KieranJanuary 3, 2014 10:06 AM

One of the best movie I've seen in 2013 ;-)

Gonzalo BrotoFebruary 1, 2014 10:02 PM

I would add a few other movies, specially Japan's Tokyo Family (Yôji Yamada) and The great passage (Yûya Ishii), plus the animation movie The garden of words by Makoto Shinkai.