Reviews by Country
Author Archives: Justin
Speeding through Australian cinemas right now is South Korean hit zombie film Train to Busan, which has been garnering accolades both in Korea and abroad: ten million tickets sold domestically, an American cinema release and a bidding war over Hollywood remake rights. It’s safe to say that director Yeon Sang-ho has done well with his first live-action feature.
The film is a propulsive action/horror thriller with a more than a dash of social … (read more)
Korean film watchers might have spotted the news that zombie film Train to Busan screamed past the 10 million domestic tickets mark on Sunday, becoming the fourteenth Korean film to do so, ever. From all accounts, it seems to have been a bit of an unexpected hit, too: the zombie genre hasn’t been explored (even done to death?) in South Korea as it has in Hollywood, and it’s the first live action film from director Yeon Sang-ho, whose previous … (read more)
Film festival season is in full swing, with SFF having rolled through Sydney and MIFF up and running right now in Melbourne, but my personal favourite of the more focused festivals has arrived: The Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) has released their dates and program for this year, and it looks great!
The festival comes to six cities this year, and the dates are:
- Sydney: Aug 10-18
- Brisbane: Aug 23-29
- Melbourne: Sep 1-8
- Canberra: Sep 3-4
- Adelaide: Sep 15-18
Already in Australian cinemas this week (it opened last Thursday, June 23) is a new film from one of our favourite directors, Hong Kong’s Johnnie To. And this time he’s returning to that most beloved of genres, the tense action-thriller.
Set in a hospital, Three revolves around a rapidly escalating standoff between a criminal who’s been admitted as a patient (Wallace Chung), the detective trying to bring him to justice (Louis Koo), and a neurosurgeon (Vicki Zhao Wei). The film … (read more)
In keeping Na’s previous work, this looks like a gritty fusion psychological thriller and horror film, with a plot centered around a rural village in which a spate of mysterious illnesses and killings have erupted. The film stars Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, … (read more)
The program is out, tickets are selling and the clock is ticking for this year’s Sydney Film Festival, which opens in about a week on June 8 and runs through to the 19th.
As usual, we have combed through the list and picked out the films from Asia — this year led by a couple of modern films in Competition, two restorations (including Ozu’s classic Tokyo Story) and a varied slate of features from across the region. There’s also … (read more)
I missed the third film in the Wilson Yip-directed, Donnie Yen-starring Ip Man series when it was in cinemas, so I was very happy to have a chance to review the upcoming Aussie DVD/Blu-ray release (available May 4 from Eastern Eye). Yen’s portrayal of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man as a quietly traditionalist, highly skilled master of his art has been his most popular role of the last decade or so. Aside from his transformation in the flawed but fun … (read more)
Action cinema fans, pay attention. Veteran action director and martial artist Sammo Hung has settled into the director’s chair for the first time since 1997 (Mr Nice Guy, Once Upon a Time in China and America), and the results arrived in Aussie cinemas tomorrow.
The Bodyguard sees Sammo both direct and star as a retired soldier from Beijing now living in a remote town near the Russian border, and his collision with organised crime. Zhu Yuchen, Li … (read more)