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... More »
  

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... More »
  

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... More »
  

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... More »
  

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... More »
  

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... More »
  

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... More »
  

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... More »
  

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... More »
  

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... More »
  

Udine 2014: Twitch's Top Ten Most Anticipated Films

Friday, April 25 sees the start of the 16th edition of Europe's biggest and finest festival for popular Asian cinema -- the Udine Far East Film Festival. During the busy and eventful nine days, attendees will be able to watch... More »
  

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,... More »
  

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... More »
  

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... More »
  

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... More »
  

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... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

FANTASIA: OUR TOWN Review

[Once again pulling forward an earlier review for a film that played here in Udine yesterday. Having the chance to see Our Town on the big screen only reinforced my opinions below ... this is one very good film... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

FANTASIA: MUAY THAI CHAIYA Review

[The Udine Far East Film Festival celebrates its tenth edition this year. The lady friend and I rolled in to town last night and while we missed yesterday's screenings one of the late pictures was Muay Thai Chaiya, a... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

FANTASIA: THE ASSEMBLY Review

Perhaps the highest compliment that can be paid to Feng Xiaogang’s The Assembly, a film built around Communist Chinese military campaigns of the forties and fifties, is that he has created a film that completely and utterly transcends politics.... More »
By Todd Brown   
  

FANTASIA: MAD DETECTIVE Review

And the hot streak continues for Johnnie To. While the latest from the prolific action auteur lacks the blistering intensity of the Election films and the extreme high style of Exiled it reunites him with a pair of favored collaborators... More »
By Todd Brown   
  
 
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