Heroic Cinema http://www.heroic-cinema.com The guide to Asian movies in Australia Mon, 16 Jul 2018 11:03:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 18894642 Your Name (2016) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/your-name-2016/ Mon, 16 Jul 2018 11:03:00 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13733 Stunning skyscapes. The beauty in everyday things and moments. Close ups of mobile phones. The contrast between light and shade. Separation, longing, regret. Yep, it’s a Makoto Shinkai movie.

Your Name concerns the growing relationship between high schoolers Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi), a girl from a lakeside township and Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki), a boy from bustling Tokyo. The catch is, they have never met. Each has what they first believe is a dream, walking a mile in the other’s shoes — … (read more)

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Little Big Soldier (2010) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/little-big-soldier-2010/ Fri, 15 Jun 2018 23:00:33 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13708 For a moment, around the time of The Forbidden Kingdom, it looked like Jackie Chan was going to start “acting his age”. This prospect had the satisfying feeling of things coming full circle, with the potential for Jackie to deliver some entertaining mentor roles like those Simon Yuen did for him decades ago in Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow and Drunken Master. Things have not gone according to plan.

Given the downward trend of Jackie’s career of late, … (read more)

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Starburst: Icons of Chinese Cinema (Art Gallery of NSW) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2018/05/starburst-icons-of-chinese-cinema-art-gallery-of-nsw/ Mon, 28 May 2018 01:35:41 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=13693 The Art Gallery of NSW has just announced a series of ten (free!) screenings here in Sydney focusing on the careers of four of Chinese cinema’s leading actresses, from the 1930s to today: Ruan Lingyu, Anna May Wong, Maggie Cheung and Zhao Tao. Films screen every week from 20 June to 26 August.

From their blurb on the website:

In 1930s China, the term mingxing (bright star, 明星) captured the allure of a new public figure: the screen diva. … (read more)

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The Villainess (2017) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-villainess-2017/ Wed, 16 May 2018 06:40:24 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13672 The Villainess goes through a lot in her two hours of screen time. She goes through a lot in her first five minutes. By the opening scene’s end a few dozen men lie dead or maimed at her hand. It’s as though the audience has been dropped into the climactic endpoint of an action-revenge saga — which is precisely what it is — but as one story ends another begins and we’re along for the ride.

The craft of action … (read more)

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Rumble in the Bronx (1995) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/rumble-in-the-bronx-1995/ Sat, 14 Apr 2018 00:39:44 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13653 Viewing Rumble in the Bronx today is a strange experience. On release it was Jackie’s successful comeback to the American movie market, a Golden Harvest production that finally showcased what Jackie could do, the Hong Kong way. Nowadays it feels very dated, and it’s hard to believe this film did well enough to trigger Jackie’s rise to Hollywood stardom. Ostensibly set in New York City, failing to disguise being filmed in Vancouver, Canada and very Hong Kong in style and … (read more)

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Police Story 2 (1988) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/police-story-2-1988/ Wed, 14 Mar 2018 22:48:53 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13637 For a film industry that thrives on sequels, Jackie Chan made relatively few in his Hong Kong heyday. Police Story 2 is the first sequel in his longest running — at least in name — series, currently six films long as of Police Story: Lockdown and one spin-off strong with the Michelle Yeoh-starring Project S / Supercop 2.

It took the Marvel superhero franchise years to address the issue of collateral damage caused by its heroes’ actions, but Police (read more)

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Dragons Forever (1987) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/dragons-forever-1987/ Fri, 16 Feb 2018 10:23:56 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13621 Given the success of the previous two films co-starring Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao, it’s no surprise the Golden Harvest studio produced another, although it took a few years to come to fruition. In the meantime, Jackie had become a superstar and movie theatres were teeming with modern-day Hong Kong action comedies, so the formula was remixed for what is still — despite the pleading puppy dog eyes of millions of fans — the final big screen collaboration … (read more)

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A Better Tomorrow 2018 (2018) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/a-better-tomorrow-2018-2018/ Fri, 09 Feb 2018 22:40:00 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13603 Before watching the new Mainland release, A Better Tomorrow 2018, I was wondering why the world of cinema needed such a remake. I was still asking myself the same question after seeing this movie last week.

Film remakes are problematic at the best of times, and Hollywood is an industry leader at producing the best in bad remakes. My recent favourite titles in this sub-genre are Tony Scott’s Taking of Pelham 1,2,3, and Simon West’s The Mechanic. … (read more)

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Dragon Lord (1982) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/dragon-lord-1982/ Fri, 19 Jan 2018 23:49:55 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=13589 After the success of The Young Master, with its action stretching traditional kung fu choreography in unexpected directions, Jackie Chan pushed boundaries further in his follow-up film. Originally a sequel titled Young Master in Love, the experimental action maintains a thematic through-line with Jackie’s previous work, even as the narrative continuity is cast aside. After a long and difficult gestation of almost a year — forever by Hong Kong standards at the time — Dragon Lord was born.… (read more)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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:

JULY 5
7:00pm – Maborosi (1995)
9:00pm – I Wish (2011)

JULY 12
7:00pm – After Life (1998)
9:10pm – Still Walking (2008)

JULY 19(read more)

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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)

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