International: Asia Reviews

Sort By

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: DEAREST SISTER, In Touch With Inner Demons

With only her second film as director, Mattie Do takes a big step forward, both for herself as an artist and for Laos as a filmmaking community. Do broke ground with Chantaly, her debut as a filmmaker and also the...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: RE: BORN Hails the Bloody Return of Tak Sukiguchi

Japanese action star Tak Sakiguchi makes a welcome return to the screen in this stripped-down action thriller that sees a deadly super soldier forced out of seclusion and back to his old ways of precision destruction. After a somewhat sluggish...

Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: ZOOLOGY, How Natasha's Tail Set Her Free

Everyone hopes that they are special and unique in some way. Whether it's a subtle uniqueness that only presents itself in being exceptional within our own little circle, or the kind of superhuman abilities that we attribute to those who...

Review: In THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT, Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Truth is stranger than fiction. In 1978, famous South Korean director Shin Sang-ok and his ex-wife, actress Choi Eun-hee were kidnapped in Hong Kong by North Korean agents under order of Kim Jung-il, the future leader of North Korea. While...

Toronto 2016 Review: ASURA: THE CITY OF MADNESS Unleashes Unbridled Machismo in Brooding Noir

It's a man's world in Asura: The City of Madness, and a rotten one at that. Cops, prosecutors and politicians jostle about with unbridled machismo in a noirish caricature of corruption in the latest thriller to balk at the irresponsible...

Toronto 2016 Review: YOURSELF AND YOURS Finds Hong Sang-soo in Wry and Perplexing Mood

Celebrated indie auteur Hong Sang-soo returns to Toronto with his 18th film Yourself and Yours. Once again featuring artists boozing their way through a series of eateries as they lament over their personal woes, his latest work echoes the themes...

Toronto 2016 Review: HEADSHOT, When You Look Up No Holds Barred in the Dictionary

Off the coast of Indonesia the body of man washes up on shore near a small village. As he lies comatose in a hospital a doctor from Jakarta, Ailin, looks after him. When he regains consciousness only fragments of his...

Venice 2016 Review: THE NET Is a Simple Catch from Kim Ki-duk

Complex issues get a facile treatment in The Net, the latest work from Korean provocateur Kim Ki-duk. More coherent than his last two outings but a far cry from his best work, Kim's film comes off as little more than...

Review: NAAM HAI AKIRA, A Perfect Storm Of Ineptitude

AR Murugadoss is a filmmaker who lives in a world of big ideas. Over the last decade he's made a string of big budget, often high concept features that typically flounder with critics but tend to turn a profit with...

Venice 2016 Review: THE AGE OF SHADOWS, Kim Jee-woon's Dazzling Period Spy Thriller

Korean theatres have become inundated with films set during the Japanese Colonial period over the last year or so but all are put to shame by The Age of Shadows, Kim Jee-woon's mesmerising return to home soil after directing Arnold...

Review: HAPPY HOUR, An Absorbing Long-Form Masterwork

When I first settled down to view Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Happy Hour earlier this year at its New Directors/New Films festival press screening, its great reputation preceded it, a reputation that included some uniquely anomalous features, unusual even in the context...

Now on Blu-ray: DUKHTAR, Another Side of South Asian Cinema

Afia Nathaniel's drama Dukhtar was Pakistan's official entry to the Academy Awards back in 2015. While the film didn't receive the nomination, it was clear that this is a feature that resonated with audiences far beyond Pakistan's traditional film audiences....

Now on Blu-ray: In LOVE & PEACE, Sono Sion Gives Us The Warmest Feelings

Japanese filmmaker Sono Sion made a lot of movies in 2015. Before the year was up, Sono had no less than six films on cinema screens around the world at festivals and back home in Japan. So far the only...

Review: OPERATION CHROMITE, A Soulless, Calculated Cashgrab

Summer in Korea guarantees a few things, hot humid days, the loud whir of cicadas and the guaranteed release of a jingoistic cashgrab. The last few years have gifted us with Roaring Currents and Northern Limit Line and this season...

Melbourne 2016 Review: OUR HUFF AND PUFF JOURNEY, Cathartic Kawaii

Daigo Matsui’s latest bubble gum pop nightmare is thankfully a more restrained but no less creative effort from the director with a music video background. Comparable to the loose Wonderful World End, this relatively linear road-trip narrative is brought to...

Locarno 2016 Review: THE TUNNEL Excavates Thrills, Drama and Politics Galore

The peak summer box office season is winding down in Korea, but not before unearthing The Tunnel, a new disaster film from A Hard Day (2014) director Kim Seong-hun. Featuring superstars Ha Jung-woo and Doona Bae in a powerful tale...

Melbourne 2016 Review: WHAT'S IN THE DARKNESS Reveals Deeply Ambiguous Nostalgia

What's in the Darkness is a murder mystery, a coming-of-age film and a directorial debut for Wang Yichun. Unfortunately, its poor direction and muddled plot uses far too many metaphors for what is really going on. This deeply nostalgic film is...

Fantasia 2016 Review: THE TOP SECRET - MURDER IN MIND, Sci-Fi Thriller Explores a Start of Something Evil

In a police department in near future Tokyo Aoki Ikko sticks out like a sore thumb among his peers. He is an astute observer, picking up details other miss. He is also very persistent and determined. His skills earn him...

Guanajuato 2016 Review: APPRENTICE, A Sublime Death Penalty Drama

During the introduction of the Japan 1968 film program at this year’s Guanajuato International Film Festival, we saw footage of Oshima Nagisa’s classic Death by Hanging and also the filmmakers’ very direct and bold statement against death penalty. Almost 50...

BiFan 2016 Review: AUTOHEAD Drives Into the Gritty Heart of Indian Genre

Narayan (Deepak Sampat) is one of nearly a quarter of a million auto rickshaw drivers weaving through the busy streets of Mumbai. As a documentary film crew follows him around, it soon becomes clear that there is something a bit...