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Review: V.I.P. Is D.O.A.

Following his period epic The Tiger, director Park Hoon-jung scales down his ambitions for the North Korea-themed investigative thriller V.I.P., a brooding procedural that lumbers its way through a serial killer tale mired in political intrigue. Much like his hit...

Review: PARADOX Scores Another Hit for the SPL Franchise

Louis Koo plays a vengeful cop rampaging through Thailand in Paradox, the third instalment of Hong Kong's SPL action franchise. Director Wilson Yip returns to the helm, as does action choreographer Sammo Hung, while Koo is joined in front of the camera...

Review: THE MIMIC, A Slick and Spirited Addition to K-Horror

Four years after his strong debut Hide and Seek, director Huh Jung returns to a mid-August release date with his follow-up The Mimic. With better-than-average casting, this chilling and polished countryside take on a local urban legend may be the...

Review: MIDNIGHT RUNNERS Reaches Finish Line with Gags, Brawls and Thrills

Koala director Kim Joo-hwan graduates to commercial cinema in fine form with the entertaining youth cop comedy-thriller Midnight Runners. Featuring heartthrobs Park Seo-joon (Chronicles of Evil) and Kang Ha-neul (Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet) in roles that are equal...

Locarno 2017 Review: THE FIRST LAP, Stellar Cast Warms Up Strong, Low-Key Drama

Director Kim Dae-hwan builds on the strengths of his debut End of Winter with another character-driven drama dominated by family gatherings, long takes and strong performances. One of this year's Jeonju Cinema Projects, The First Lap debuted in Jeonju this...

BiFan 2017 Review: SUDDENLY IN DARK NIGHT Goes Bump in All the Right Places

From Kim Ki-young's The Housemaid in 1961 all the way to Park Chan-wook's The Handmaiden last year, Korean cinema has delighted in torrid tales of disruptive house servants. Whether as a way to contrast social classes or explore illicit sexuality,...

Fantasia 2017 Review: TEIICHI: BATTLE OF SUPREME HIGH Mixes High School Politics With Hilarious Comedy

Kaitei College, once a naval academy, it now educates and trains the future leaders of the country. If you want a future in politics in the country of Japan then this is the school you must be at.    Akaba...

BiFan 2017 Review: COFFEE NOIR: BLACK BROWN Brews Fresh Prohibition Drama with a Bitter Kick

An intriguing concept can be enough to pull you into a film, but what keeps you there is a sense of purpose and steadfast execution. Korean indie Coffee Noir: Black Brown, the third film from emerging talent Jang Hyun-sang, which...

Review: A TAXI DRIVER Rolls Up to Korean History with Grace, Humor and Tears

History and commerce combine to terrific effect in the protest drama A Taxi Driver. Song Kang-ho is remarkable in his second film with director Jang Hoon, following Secret Reunion, while German star Thomas Kretschmann delivers what is probably the best...

Fantasia 2017 Review: MATANGTUBIG (TOWN IN A LAKE) Is The Filipino Answer To Twin Peaks

In the fine tradition of Picnic at Hanging Rock comes the gorgeously rendered and profoundly understated Matangtubig. The film's original Filipino title is actually the name of the village at the heart of the story, an anonymous little place located both...

Fantasia 2017 Review: TOKYO IDOLS, Fever-Pitch Fandom

Teenage girl or young women solo music acts or bands (or boys, for that matter) exist in most countries in the world; some only famous in their own nation (such as the dozens of J-pop and K-pop bands), and others...

Fantasia 2017 Review: ALMOST COMING, ALMOST DYING Shreds Dignity For Laughs In Surprising Ways

In french, an orgasm is sometimes referred to as, la petite mort, or little death. The phrase can also infer, with less existential hubris, simply a nervous spasm. Kobayashi Toshimasa playfully uses the two ideas in his feature film debut Almost...

Fantasia 2017 Review: A DAY (하루), Blockbuster, Rinse, Repeat

When a child dies in an accident, regardless of fault, the parents will live that horrible day over and over again in their mind. They will wonder if only something was different, a phone call, a change of plans, an...

BiFan 2017 Review: MON MON MON MONSTERS, Giddens Ko's Brutal, Stylish High School Horror-Comedy

Taiwanese filmmaker Giddens Ko returns to high school for his follow up to the massively entertaining and successful You Are the Apple of My Eye, but things take a much darker turn in Mon Mon Mon Monsters, a mile-a-minute horror-comedy...

Review: THE BATTLESHIP ISLAND, Impressive Action Torpedoed by Nationalism

Following a pair of blockbusters, action maestro Ryoo Seung-wan aims to outdo his past successes with The Battleship Island, the biggest Korean release of the year. Set on a Japanese labor camp island, this star-driven, big-budget period escape drama strives...

BiFan 2017 Review: RYEOHAENG Casts Abstract Light on NK Refugees

Director Im Heung-soon returns for his third feature, casting his artistic light on another under-served segment of the population with the documentary Ryeohaeng. Focusing on the lives of several female North Korean defectors in Korea, Im contrasts talking heads positioned...

Fantasia 2017 Review: JAILBREAK, An Exceptional Addition to Martial Arts Cinema Coming Out of Southeast Asia.

A group of Special Task Force Officers are escorting Playboy, a reported crime boss of the Butterfly Gang to Prei Klaa prison. Playboy though, claims that he is not the true boss and will reveal their identity when he is...

Fantasia 2017 Review: Thai Period Action Flick BROKEN SWORD HERO Introduces a New Action Talent

Joi’s childhood was plagued with teasing and bullying by the governor's son and his friends. Though his father refuses to put him in a Muay Thai school, Joi secretly trains himself.   When a confrontation with his bullies leaves the...

BiFan 2017 Review: BEHIND THE DARK NIGHT Swedes Its Way to Victory

Low-budget, semi-autobiographical indies about young men trying to make their feature film debuts have been done to death in Korea (Cheer Up Mr. Lee, We Will Be OK and Director's Cut come to mind), so expectations were muted for Behind...

BiFan 2017 Review: GODSPEED Revs Up Violence and Humor in Artful Road Movie

Hong Kong comedy star Michael Hui returns after a long absence in the latest from Taiwanese filmmaker Chung Mong-hong. A road movie about a drug deal gone wrong, Godspeed may not appear special on the surface, but this mashup of...