Festivals: Udine Reviews

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Udine 2015 Review: THE END OF THE WORLD AND THE CAT'S DISAPPEARANCE, A Quirky Little Sci-Fi Film

Takeuchi Michihiro's The End of the World and the Cat's Disappearance, a zany, modestly packaged apocalyptic sci-fi film revolving around Itsuko (Izukoneko aka Mari), a vlogger-cum-J-pop-idol who attempts to singlehandedly save the world from a gigantic meteor, but ends up...

Udine 2015 Review: FORGET ME NOT, A Touching Mixture Of Fantasy, Mystery, And Teen Romance

One of the most affecting and enigmatic teen-targeted Japanese films of the last few years, Horie Kei's Forget Me Not (not to be mistaken with Hirayama Hideyuki's 2010 drama that bears the same English title) defies easy categorization, veering confidently...

Udine 2015 Review: Political Thriller HELIOS Aims High But Misfires

Following Cold War, an interesting and surprisingly bureaucratic action film, Sunny Luk and Longman Leung strive for bigger and louder with Helios, an overambitious and convoluted thriller that had its international premiere at the 17th Udine Far East Film Festival....

Udine 2015 Review: War Drama DRAGON BLADE Might Be The New UNESCO Representative

The Udine Far East Film Festival (FEFF) opened its 17th edition with a bang. Not only did the Italian festival hold the world premiere of the international cut of Dragon Blade, it also managed to have Jackie Chan himself introducing...

Udine 2015 Review: PARASYTE - COMPLETION, A Conclusion In Need Of A Pay-Off

Much like how Parasyte Part 1 suffered from being all set-up, so its sequel, Parasite - Completion, is similarly hobbled by being mostly a series of climactic stand-offs and philosophical summations, with precious little build-up or satisfactory pay-off.An unspecified yet brief amount...

Udine 2014 Review: BILOCATION, A Surprisingly Intriguing But Messy Psycho-Thriller

Even though it has most of the ingredients of a typical J-horror, Bilocation spices up a slightly worn-out formula with material that would otherwise be reserved for other genres, and instead of relying on overused plot devices, controls the narrative with thought-provoking...

Udine 2014 Review: MY PRETEND GIRLFRIEND Unfurls A Quietly Heartbreaking Tale Of First Love

Known for his great contributions to the world of Japanese commercials, Yakumo Saiji has finally decided to venture into feature-length filmmaking, and for the world premiere of his debut, he chose the Udine Far East Film Festival. Seeing that the...

Udine 2014 Review: MAY WE CHAT Is A Dynamic, Dark Youth Drama Bolstered By Three Great Performances

Emphasized by sugary and excessively colorful visuals, the beginning of Philip Young's May We Chat epitomizes everything that's most shallow about contemporary youth culture. Teenagers consciously trapped in a virtual realm take pictures of shoes, food, themselves, and communicate via...

Udine 2014 Review: THE SNOW WHITE MURDER CASE Gives A Stunning New Angle To Familiar Thriller Formula

A young and beautiful office lady has been brutally murdered in a national park near Tokyo. With no suspects in sight, the mysterious case seems to be barely moving forward, until an ambitious, ramen-loving journalist seeking publicity starts throwing accusations...

Udine 2014 Review: THE JOURNEY, A Feel-Good Road Film About The Ups And Downs Of Cross-Cultural Relationships

Given its heartwarming appeal and universally applicable message about cross-cultural relationships, from the western point of view it's not really hard to see why Chiu Keng Guan's The Journey has become Malaysia's highest grossing domestic picture of all time. Considering...

Udine 2014 Review: BLACK COAL, THIN ICE Is A Cold, Compelling Crime Drama

This year's surprise Golden Bear winner at Berlin is a bleak, yet engrossing whodunnit set in the wintry climes of Northern China.For his third feature film, writer-director Diao Yinan (Uniform, Night Train) evokes both Hollywood procedurals and European arthouse cinema...

Udine 2014 Review: SWEET ALIBIS, An Uneven But Wacky Taiwanese Genre Film

After recovering from a depression that lasted for over 10 years Taiwanese cinema is gradually gaining recognition, mostly due to the rising popularity of its many touching dramas and promising independent productions. That said, such specific, if wacky, genre mixtures...

Udine 2014 Review: Girl-Powered GIRL'S BLOOD Mixes Violence And Nudity In A Strangely Mesmerizing Manner

If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed that such a film actually exists. What's more, I'm now practically sure that underground cat-fighting clubs such as Girl's Blood can be found not only in Roppongi, but also in some...

Udine 2014 Review: BE MY BABY, One Hitoshi's Penetrating And Brutally Honest Drama

Definitely the biggest surprise of the second day of this year's Udine Far East Film Festival was One Hitoshi's brutally realistic, dialogue-heavy drama Be My Baby. Shot and edited on a miniscule budget, One's sophomore feature examines the lives of...

Udine 2014 Review: TINY TIMES Is A Flashy, Slight Shanghai Rom-Com

Chinese emerging young designers are quietly but forcibly taking the fashion world by storm, and in recent years Shanghai has become the "it" place for all ambitious individuals who want to contribute to this all-over impressive movement.Set against the backdrop...

Udine 2013 Review: Despite Lame Title, HOW TO USE GUYS WITH SECRET TIPS Is a Minor Revelation

Being one of the more tired genres to litter the multiplexes, every so often romantic comedies need a little boost to remind us that they can be worthwhile. Out of all of the national industries that regularly churn them out,...

Udine 2013 Review: TOUCH OF THE LIGHT Offers A Polite Reminder Not To Abandon Your Dreams

"Presented" by Wong Kar Wai and directed by Chang Jung-chi, Touch of the Light isn't an incredibly deep or adventurous movie, but I dare you to watch it and not reflect at least once, "maybe I should give some of...

Udine 2013 Review: THE WAY WE DANCE Finds The Right Beat

The latest offering from local indie director Adam Wong strives to be Hong Kong's answer to the Step Up dance flicks, and largely transcends its budgetary limitations to deliver a toe-tapping, unashamedly feel-good romp. High-school graduate Fleur (Cherry Ngan) lives for dance. Every...

Udine 2013 Review: MARUYAMA, THE MIDDLE SCHOOLER Is A Surprisingly Endearing Comedy About Self-Fellatio

Before seeing Maruyama, The Middle Schooler, I would have said that making a two-hour comedy about a fourteen-year-old boy who's primary ambition throughout the film is to, as the omniscient narrator puts it, "to touch his own weeny with his...

FANTASIA: GACHI BOY Review

That Japanese college students donning wrestling masks and tights to try their hand at flamboyant professional style wrestling would prove entertaining came as no surprise. That it could be as touching, heartfelt and emotionally satisfying as it is in Gachi...