Heroic Cinema http://www.heroic-cinema.com The guide to Asian movies in Australia Sat, 13 Jan 2018 04:30:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 18894642 Our Time Will Come (2017) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/our-time-will-come-2017/ Tue, 19 Dec 2017 07:32:23 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13556 Most film-makers have filmographies which consist of peaks and troughs, usually ranging from the very good to the forgettable. But not Cantonese director Ann Hui On-Wah, who over a thirty-plus year career has regularly made movies of the highest standard, both commercially and artistically. Her last film The Golden Era was a rare misstep in this gilded career. The good news is her latest release, Our Time Will Come is a reassuring return to form.

Our Time Will Come is … (read more)

Downrange (2017) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/downrange-2017/ Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:41:26 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13539 Like so many Asian directorial superstars before him (mostly in genre films), Kitamura Ryuhei has kind of gone Hollywood — or at he’s least tried to. In his defence, he’s doing better than most. Not quite as well as Oscar-winner Ang Lee, but not yet reduced to hired gun on B-grade schlock à la Ringo Lam (sad trombone sound). Still best known for Versus and Godzilla: Final Wars, Kitamura’s third English-language film (after Midnight Meat Train and No One (read more)

The Young Master (1980) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-young-master-1980/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:29:28 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13530 Something adorable happens when an imaginative kid is asked to tell a story. The child’s eyes light up, lungs are audibly inflated, and then —

“Alice woke up and left home with her best hat which was blue to go to the vet because her cat hurt its paw and on the way she saw her friend riding a new bike but before she could catch him he turned a corner and then she decided to borrow her sister’s rollerskates … (read more)

Mumon Land of Stealth (2017) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/mumon-land-of-stealth-2017/ Sat, 28 Oct 2017 21:43:49 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13517 Call it a coming of age story if you want. The Peter Pan of ninjas can play all day and never take things too seriously. Until he has to. Call it a round-about revenge tale, or even a moral play. It is a little Shakespearean in its developments, and its style of humour (and a brilliant momentary break in the fourth wall) certainly does justice to the Bard. Or call it, perhaps most importantly, a serious Japanese contender for Guy … (read more)

Heart of Dragon (1985) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/heart-of-dragon-1985/ Fri, 13 Oct 2017 23:59:29 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13505 For the first few minutes, Heart of Dragon — often found with “a” bonus article between “the” second and third word — could have you guessing. The opening shot would be at home in a classic kung fu film. Moments later a yellow-bandanna-sporting Jackie Chan is pulling a funny face in close up. And then… is Jackie really machine-gunning a bunch of uniformed men without blinking? After the opening scene though, Heart of Dragon gets on with being what is … (read more)

The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1983) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-eight-diagram-pole-fighter-1983/ Thu, 14 Sep 2017 12:30:10 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13490 As the Shaw Brothers film studio business was winding down, resulting in an output of lesser quality than the preceding decades, The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter burst forth, a bellowing send-off for both a voluminous cycle of movies and a star who died too young. Bursting with vigour and capturing much of what made the studio and director famous, it never settles for imitating the past, still refining techniques and pushing new ideas.

This is not immediately evident as the … (read more)

Korean Film Festival (KOFFIA) 2017 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2017/08/korean-film-festival-koffia-2017/ Sun, 13 Aug 2017 08:46:47 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=13472 Festival season is upon us once again, and the fine folks at the Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) are putting on another great show for us starting this Thursday 17 August. This year the festival is popping up in eight Australian cities, starting with Sydney and ending in Hobart & Darwin in late September:

Sydney: 17-26 August
Adelaide: 1-3 September
Perth: 1-3 September
Melbourne: 7-14 September
Brisbane: 8-10 September
Canberra: 15-17 September
Darwin(read more)

Assassination (2015) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/assassination-2015/ Sun, 13 Aug 2017 08:12:34 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13459 Some movies opt for a mysterious title to incite audience interest, while some movies are more up front. Assassination is pretty up front. Yet there’s so much more to it than that one noun bluntly seems to state.

Director Choi Dong-hoon returns with another big-budget rollercoaster of a film, sharing many faces with his last feature The Thieves. Also similar to his previous hit is the basic structure of Assassination, with a large cast maneuvering their way to … (read more)

Gorgeous (1999) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/gorgeous-1999/ Sat, 15 Jul 2017 07:26:11 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13446 The whimsical opening music of Gorgeous accompanies the narration of a romantic legend, while the camera pans across a dazzling night sky. This is promptly followed by a CGI fish burp gag. It’s not a movie to be taken seriously, but still ultimately wants to be a fairytale romance at heart. I can’t believe I watched this with my brothers back in the day without squirming.

Innocent, starry-eyed, Taiwanese girl Bu (Shu Qi) strikes out for the big city with … (read more)

Melbourne: Koreeda films screening at Cinémathèque http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2017/07/melbourne-koreeda-films-screening-at-cinematheque/ Sun, 02 Jul 2017 08:57:52 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=13431 Melbourne fans of Japanese cinema, listen up: the Cinémathèque program at ACMI on Wednesday nights is starting a program of films by popular Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda films this week, entitled Dreams of Everyday Life: The Quixotic Cinema of Hirokazu Kore-eda. It runs from July 5 to July 19, and includes the following films:

7:00pm – Maborosi (1995)
9:00pm – I Wish (2011)

7:00pm – After Life (1998)
9:10pm – Still Walking (2008)

JULY 19(read more)

The Rebel (2007) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-rebel-2007/ Sun, 21 May 2017 05:58:32 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13419 The Rebel is a fascinating viewing experience. The occasional Vietnamese film has made a name outside its homeland — we even have a few reviewed here on HC — but mostly we see the country through the filmic lens of western Vietnam war films. So it’s always interesting when a homegrown production comes along to lend its own voice to the conversation. When it’s as well-made as this film, it’s a pleasure to watch as well.

The Rebel goes back … (read more)

Wheels on Meals (1984) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/wheels-on-meals-1984/ Sun, 23 Apr 2017 07:48:58 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13406 At least the title is likely to catch an eye running down a list of potential viewing opportunities. The standard explanation for this strangeness is that the previous two films from the Golden Harvest studio that had English names beginning with the letter M had flopped, so the titular nouns were reversed to get away from the unlucky consonant. What the heck — a fun movie needs a fun title, and this one delivers!

Following in Bruce Lee’s footsteps with … (read more)

A Silent Voice (2016) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/a-silent-voice-2016/ Thu, 13 Apr 2017 23:22:21 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13397 Two thirds psychological study on bullying and disability, one third first love romance (and I’ll use that term very lightly here), A Silent Voice, based on the highly-acclaimed manga by Yoshitoki Oima, plots the unexpected turn that lives can take on, if not the simplest then at least the most uninformed of choices. To its great credit, however, it doesn’t in any way sugar coat the fact that some of those turns can get ugly, can have consequences we … (read more)

This week in cinemas: ‘A Silent Voice’ (Japan, anime) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2017/04/this-week-in-cinemas-a-silent-voice/ Mon, 10 Apr 2017 08:52:01 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=13392 This week (actually, it opened last week on April 6th) in Australian cinemas we a have a Japanese anime film, A Silent Voice.

The film tells the story of Shoya and Shoko, both of whom are elementary school students. When Shoko, who is severely deaf, joins the class as the new girl, she is bullied by mischief-maker Shoya for her disability. Later in life, Shoya seeks Shoko out to atone for his sins.

Directed by Naoko Yamada (K-On!, (read more)

The Protector (Tom Yum Goong) (2005) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-protector-tom-yum-goong-2005/ Fri, 17 Mar 2017 22:32:37 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13365 After exploding onto the international action scene with Ong Bak, star Tony Jaa and team return in an attempt to top their own bone-crunching hit.

Originally called Tom Yum Goong, the version we get in Australia comes by way of the Weinstein Company, most recently infamous for their stripped-down version of Snowpiercer. This time significant changes were made, beginning with the title. The Protector is actually not too bad — as it references the theme of the … (read more)

Melbourne: “Headshot” screening, Fri March 3 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2017/02/melbourne-headshot/ Tue, 28 Feb 2017 09:13:18 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=13358 Melbourne martial arts film fans take note: distributor Vendetta Films have announced that they are running a one-off screening of brand-new Indonesian film Headshot, starring Iko Uwais (of The Raid, The Raid 2, and later SPL II). It’s on this Friday March 3 at Cinema Nova in Carlton as a once-off.

Not to be confused with the Thai film of the same name from 2012, this film stars Uwais as a seriously injured amnesiac nursed back … (read more)

Harmony (2015) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/harmony-2015/ Sat, 25 Feb 2017 07:44:07 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13346 Better living through technology. But at what price? In the best tradition of classic speculative science fiction, Studio 4°C’s animated film Harmony, based on the novel by Project Itoh, examines this question through a mirror darkly. In the future, the world has been reduced by nuclear war and illness into sterile country states complete with regulated borders. Inside those borders, the Admedistration (not a typo) and a militarised version of the World Health Organisation ensure that all good citizens … (read more)

Master (2016) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/master-2016/ Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:32:35 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13338 It’s a sign of the times: the financial thriller is officially a thing. It wasn’t so long ago that thrillers were dominated by communist infiltrators or spies, old fashioned corrupt cops, bank robbers, and garden-variety psycho killers. But as chatter of wealth inequality gets louder, globalisation continues to fail and the one percent closes ranks, the Big Bad du jour is increasingly the Wall Street banker or multinational CEO. As a ‘genre’, the financial thriller has been around in book … (read more)

Project A: Part II (1987) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/project-a-part-ii-1987/ Sat, 18 Feb 2017 22:30:10 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13329 Project A is a highlight of Jackie Chan’s filmography, and the movie I use to introduce those unfamiliar with Hong Kong cinema to the many and varied delights it delivers. However, Project A: Part II is my favourite Jackie Chan movie. It is perhaps one of the purest displays of Jackie’s talent for creating intricate action and comedy scenes, displayed so clearly that the skill behind their construction is almost invisible.

As if as a reminder of the high bar … (read more)

I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/i-am-not-madame-bovary-2016/ Fri, 03 Feb 2017 22:16:15 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13312 As I see it, the new Chinese film, I Am Not Madame Bovary, from director Feng Xiaogang is his best film to date, and easily the best new release I saw in 2016. There’s not a moment in this movie which I didn’t fully enjoy, and to watch Sino actress Fan Bingbing in, possibly, the role of her career — well, that was a pure delight.

This Mandarin language film was ignored by Australia’s mainstream media on its theatrical … (read more)