Internationl Reviews - Foreign, Overseas

Blu-ray Review: ELFEN LIED Bares Bodies And Souls

(... and often also the insides of both...) British distributor 101 Films seems to own exactly two anime licenses, and it released one of those a few weeks ago on Blu-ray, in a beautiful shiny steelbook (seen here). I'm... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: See A Moving Biosphere in J.P. Sniadecki's THE IRON MINISTRY

Just like Leviathan and Manakamana before it, J.P. Sniadecki's The Iron Ministry is another striking sensory cinema experience. Closely associated with Havard Sensory Ethnography Lab and its esteemed Colleagues - Julien Castraing-Taylor, Verena Paravel, Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez and others, ... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Review: BROTHERS, A Brawler Submits To Bollywood Bloat

Gavin O'Connor's Warrior was a surprise critical and box office hit back in 2011, as well as being one of the first studio films set within the increasingly popular world of Mixed Martial Arts fighting. That film pitted brothers Tom... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Locarno 2015 Review: RIGHT NOW, WRONG THEN, Stars Shine In Classic Hong Sangsoo

Following Hong Sangsoo's career guarantees for viewers, at the very least, one thing - developing a keen eye for detail. The auteur's films are remarkably similar to one another, from their lecherous male director/professor characters and conversations over bottles of... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: THE BEAUTY INSIDE, High Concept Melo Is More Glib Than Its Title

A corporate-sponsored high concept web series gets the glossy Korean melodrama treatment in The Beauty Inside, the top romantic offering of the season. Featuring a laundry list of Korean stars all playing the same character, this debut film by music... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: MEMORIES OF THE SWORD, Remembering Better Sword Fighting Flicks

The wild card in the quartet of major Korean releases scheduled for this year's high summer season (alongside Assassination, Veteran and The Beauty Inside), the star-driven period spectacle Memories Of The Sword proves to be a perplexing experience with jarring... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: Sono Sion's TAG, Sure There Are Lots Of Japanese Girls In It, But...

Sono Sion's Tag opens with two busloads of Japanese school girls on a trip. It's all soft focus sweetness and light until the buses are attacked by an unseen force - literally a killer wind - and shy teen Mitsuko... More »
By Andrew Mack   
  

BiFan 2015 Review: DEADMAN INFERNO Pits Iconic Aikawa Sho Against The Undead

Director and comedian Hiroshi Shinagawa has focused his film career on mining the drama, and subsequent comedy found in the relationships between partners and prospective teammates. Debut feature Drop followed a juvenile delinquent group, Manzai Gang features similarly unruly youths... More »
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: SHINJUKU SWAN, Sono's Glossy Yakuza Melodrama

The famous Shinjuku District in Tokyo is Times Square, The Vegas Strip and Magnificent Mile rolled into one (and multiplied by a hundred) is ward of so much light there is not an inch of darkness on the pavement, but... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: Much Love for Sono's LOVE & PEACE

It's fair to say my appreciation for the films of Sono Sion runs hot and cold. I was hot on Cold Fish, a near perfect blend of raw, visceral violence both emotional and physical, all told through a narrative... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: FATAL FRAME Has No Shortage Of Beautiful Images

Oh J-Horror! It has been years since you were worth my cinematic time. From your heyday in the late 1990s -- Ringu, Dark Water, Ju-On and Pulse -- to Sono Sion putting a very sharp fork into you in the mid-aughts with Exte:... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Review: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION, Back To Basics And All The Better For It

Ethan Hunt and co. are back in a familiar yet thrilling new instalment to the Mission Impossible franchise, which sees IMF's top agent face his most formidable foe yet. Following right on cue from Mad Max: Fury Road, Rogue Nation... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: MISS HOKUSAI, Full Of Life And Spirit

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 Ozu... More »
By Kurt Halfyard   
  

Review: WILD CITY Welcomes The Return Of Ringo Lam

Ringo Lam's first feature in 12 years sees the Hong Kong director return to familiar territory, as a former cop and his tearaway younger brother take on a violent gang of Taiwanese thugs after their paths cross that of a... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Asian Film Fest Dallas 2015 Review: THE GOLDEN CANE WARRIOR, An Indonesian Wu Xia Drama

Over the last few years there have been a small handful of high profile Indonesian films hitting the festival and art house cinema circuits. The most recent resurgence in Indonesian films has come, strangely, via the intervention of a couple... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Review: PIXELS, Game Over From The Get-go

Summer blockbusters get the Happy Madison treatment in space invasion action-comedy Pixels, the most excruciating experience you shouldn't put yourself through this season. A thoroughly unconvincing action lead, Adam Sandler phones in yet another performance, but no one comes away... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Review: VETERAN Deals A Knockout Blow

Korean action maestro Ryoo Seung-wan goes back to basics with his latest film Veteran, a breathless and hilarious crime thriller featuring a knockout performance from Hwang Jung-min. With fluid action choreography, punchy pacing and sharp editing, this infectious summer offering... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

BiFan 2015 Review: OWNERLESS FLOWER UHWUDONG Can't Choose Between Erotica And Drama

Thirty years after Lee Jang-ho's landmark film Eoh Wu-dong (available to watch for free on the Korean Film Archive's Youtube channel), a period ero that became a surprise critical and commercial hit in 1985, Lee Soo-sung offers up his own... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Blu-ray Review: KILL LA KILL Finishes With A Bang

(No, not THAT kind of bang, you filthy...) Last December, Scottish distributor Anime Ltd. released their first boxset of Kill La Kill, which was pretty much kick-ass and which I reviewed here. Now, just over half a year later, the... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Fantasia 2015 Review: THE ARTI: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, You Will Believe That Puppets Can Fight

The Arti: The Adventure Begins is the most impressive full length puppet feature I have seen since Strings. It also helps that it is equally a martial arts film, which is right up my alley. With its Wuxia themes of loyalty,... More »
By Andrew Mack   
  
 
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