As we pass the halfway point of the year I like to take stock of the new Asian films I have seen. This is as much to jog my memory and help separate the wheat from the chaff as it is to highlight some notable new releases that may have flown under the radar. As always in a round-up such as this, there may be films that played a festival or two in 2013, but which I didn't see until this year. Suffice to say that you have your rules and I have mine, I like to be as inclusive as possible and let that be the end of it.
While the gallery below includes just 10 films, there were still plenty of new Asian titles I have seen this year that missed the cut. From Hong Kong, films such as Wong Ching Po's Once Upon A Time In Shanghai, Wong Jing's From Vegas To Macau, Fruit Chan's The Midnight After and Lee Kung Lok's Naked Ambition 3D were all great fun within their own parameters. I found lots to like in some of the short features that screened at Yubari this year, particularly The Pinkie, Free Kitchen, The Lust of Angels and Fuck Me To The Moon, while elsewhere on the festival circuit I was impressed by the likes of Ice Poison, Manakamana, Omar and Fuku-Chan of Fukufuku Flats.
Amidst these gems were some high profile disappointments too. Soi Cheang's The Monkey King may have taken numerous sacks of cash at the Chinese box office, but that didn't stop it from being incoherent tosh. Dante Lam's The Demon Within also failed to test its great cast with an engaging screenplay, and proved starkly empty. Police Story 2013 was a disaster, as was Donnie Yen's Iceman; Thailand's Tom Yum Goong 2 had little more than a breakout performance from Marrese Crump to recommend it, while Overheard 3 started strong but ended up being a convoluted chore.
Ultimately, however, the line has to be drawn somewhere, and there was less to be achieved by putting out a full retrospective of the 60-odd Asian films I have seen this year, than by highlighting those that rose above the pack and impressed me the most. So here they are, enjoy:
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