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Review: SWORD MASTER Honours Wuxia Tradition Through Bold Reinvention

Nearly 40 years after Chor Yuen launched his acting career in the Shaw Brothers classic Death Duel, director Derek Yee returns to Gu Long’s source novel for a ravishing new adaptation. With Tsui Hark producing and action choreography from Yuen...

Review: OLD STONE, A Riveting Thriller Where A Good Man Goes Bad

Old Stone develops into a riveting thriller and asks weighty questions about the cost of doing right in an unempathetic society where people rather kill the accident victims off by running over them again rather than saving them. It's a raw and tough first film. And it signals a emergence of a major storyteller.

London Korean 2016 Review: DONGJU, THE PORTRAIT OF A POET Offers Sober and Compelling Look at Modern Korean History

During the last year, the floodgates have opened for the Japanese Occupation Period in mainstream Korean cinema, yet The King and the Clown (2005) helmer Lee Joon-ik, arguably Korea's top purveyor of commercial period fare, has opted to tackle the...

Black Nights 2016 Review: HOUSE OF OTHERS, The Ghosts of War

Sometimes ghosts are visible, sometimes invisible, and sometimes 'ghosts' are the emptiness, the palpable void left behind. And the latter can be the most frightening and sad of all. In Russudan Gluridze's feature film House of Others, the ghosts are...

Review: SKY ON FIRE Goes Down in Flames

Last year saw Ringo Lam, the acclaimed Hong Kong director behind such action spectaculars as City on Fire and Full Contact, stage a comeback with his first feature film in more than a decade. Wild City was a rather modest...

Black Nights 2016 Review: ANATOMY OF VIOLENCE, The Pain of a Terrible Crime

In 2012, a young medical student, Jyoti Singh, was gang-raped and brutally beaten by six men on a bus in New Delhi, later dying of her injuries. This sparked a nation-wide protest, with thousands calling on the government, and Indian...

London Korean 2016 Review: OUR LOVE STORY Offers Authentic, Modern and Compelling Romance

2016 has seen Korean cinema make a big push to focus its narratives on characters from all walks of life, and particularly of different sexual orientations, with several major queer films bowing at festivals from Berlin to Busan. In between...

Blu-ray Review: Jump Straight Into Akira Kurosawa's DREAMS

Akira Kurosawa's DREAMS arrives on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection, and it's dreamy.

Review: YOUR NAME, a Body-Swap Animated Romance with Brains and Heart

Body swapping, time displacement and comets of mass destruction all feature prominently in Makoto Shinkai’s heart-wrenching adolescent romance. Boasting an infectious soundtrack by RADWINGS and luminous animation, Your Name proves a winning combination of laughter, tears and occasionally mind-bending concepts...

Review: CRD, An Ethereal Exercise In Art Vs. Artifice

CRD is one hell of a feature from director Kranti Kanade. The film utilizes more film techniques in its 100 minutes than most directors do in an entire career.

Review: I AM NOT MADAME BOVARY, Feng Xiaogang's Acerbic Civil Service Satire

As its title proclaims, Feng Xiaogang’s bureaucratic satire I Am Not Madame Bovary has no direct connection to Flaubert’s adulterous heroine. Madame Bovary does, however, share some common traits with Pan Jinlian, the fictional 17th century character from Chinese literature...

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE ROAD TO MANDALAY Paints A Dark Portrait Of Migration

We've all heard, or read, an innumerable amount of horror stories about immigrants from third-world countries coming to North America and Europe. The Road to Mandalay shows us that even the seemingly small hop from Myanmar to Thailand can feel...

Review: KAASHMORA, A Colossal Waste of Potential and Energy

Look. I'm no dummy. I know better than to be suckered into marketing schemes for upcoming films, especially when those films are coming out of India. I know that when I see an amazing trailer, or a clip of some...

Review: WE ARE X, More Than Just a Music Doc About X Japan

From director Stephen Kijak, best known for his documentary about the Rolling Stones, Stones in Exile, comes We Are X, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year. It is an excellent record of the history of X Japan,...

Review: THE HANDMAIDEN, Park Chan-wook's Deeply Engrossing and Highly Sexual Tale of Female Sexuality

Following his Hollywood foray Stoker, Park Chan-wook returns to (mostly) home soil for his sumptuous and sensual adaptation of Sarah Waters' Fingersmith. Transposing the novel's setting from Victorian England to 1930s Korea and Japan, when the former was a colony...

Kyoto 2016 Review: TOMODACHI, A Personal and Touching Cross-Cultural Love Story

Having its official Japanese premiere in the Special Invitation section of this year's Kyoto International Film and Art Festival last week was Joel Ramagan’s Tomodachi (which literally translates as "friend"), an affecting and compelling cross-cultural love story set against the...

Busan 2016 Review: HOTEL SALVATION Finds Rebirth in the Pursuit of Death

Daya is ready to shuffle off this mortal coil. The 77-year old patriarch of a middle class Indian family suffers from recurring nightmares. After one such episode, he bluntly declares to his family that he is ready to die. His...

Kyoto 2016 Review: MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI: A Fascinating Tribute To A Great Actor

Undeniably the most recognizable and prominent actor in the history of Japanese cinema, Mifune Toshiro has not only influenced generations of young performers, who passionately aspire to follow in his footsteps even nowadays, but also forever changed the perception of...

Review: MISS HOKUSAI, A Rounded Work of Beauty and Intellect

Prolific animation house Production I.G. subtly captures the rhythms of mood of the art and publishing community in 19th century Edo, Japan. Miss Hokusai is simultaneously misleadingly quiet, and furiously idiosyncratic.  Blending the magical realism sensibility of Studio Ghibli with...

Now on Blu-ray: Takeshi Kitano's A SCENE AT THE SEA Remains A Minor Masterpiece

Third Window Films continues their collection of Takeshi Kitano Blu-rays with a revisit of his 1991 film, A Scene at the Sea. At the time Kitano was still seen largely as a comeic performer and his first two films started...