Heroic Cinema http://www.heroic-cinema.com The guide to Asian movies in Australia Sun, 31 Aug 2014 05:36:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 This week in cinemas: ‘The Grandmaster’ (Hong Kong/China) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/08/this-week-in-cinemas-the-grandmaster/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/08/this-week-in-cinemas-the-grandmaster/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 05:33:16 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=12353 Opening on September 4 in Australian cinemas is Wong Kar Wai’s take on the Ip Man story, The Grandmaster. It’s been a long time coming: the film’s Chinese release happened in January 2013, and it’s taken this long for it to wend its way through the mysterious process of international distribution.

The story is a very loose biopic of real-life martial artist Ip Man, famous for being Bruce Lee’s Wing Chun teacher and more recently the set of Hong … (read more)

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The Suspect (2013) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-suspect-2013/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-suspect-2013/#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 22:33:08 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12346 By now it should come as no surprise that South Korea makes some damn fine films. In fact, if there’s anyone out there consistently living up to the U.S. action blockbuster in terms of content if not money, it’s definitely South Korea. The 2013 offering, The Suspect, directed with a controlled hand by Won Shin-yeon (Seven Days), not only is a thoroughly exciting action movie but it’s also a better-than-decent espionage thriller, a little bit Robert Ludlum, … (read more)

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The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow (2014) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-satellite-girl-and-milk-cow-2014/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-satellite-girl-and-milk-cow-2014/#comments Sun, 24 Aug 2014 07:28:35 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12332 The last couple of animated films I’ve seen from Korea have been Yeon Sang-ho’s powerful, perhaps even brutal films The King of Pigs and The Fake, both of which use the medium in a very distinctive style to present and criticise aspects of Korean society. This film, The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow is no less confident a feature debut for director Jang Hyung-yun, but it is much lighter fare, focusing as it does on romance, heartache, geostationary orbits … (read more)

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The Wrath of Vajra (2013) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-wrath-of-vajra-2013/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-wrath-of-vajra-2013/#comments Sat, 23 Aug 2014 07:06:50 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12322 Slick-looking and super-masculine, The Wrath of Vajra feels like a “fight movie” from a much earlier time, supplemented with mostly modern production and cinematography. A time when men were men and fought each other for reasons that were delivered in an early barrage of impenetrable exposition, getting it over with at the start so that we can get on with the kicks and punches.

The setting is the 1940s, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the Japanese are finding that … (read more)

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Fairy Tail the Movie – Phoenix Princess (2012) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/fairy-tail-the-movie-phoenix-princess-2012/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/fairy-tail-the-movie-phoenix-princess-2012/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 02:40:32 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12312 For once I’m watching a series-based movie with absolutely no knowledge of the series, and in this case I can’t help but think I perhaps haven’t found the best entry. Fairy Tail Phoenix Priestess gives the impression that its strengths lie in the direction of the series, where you have time to develop some level of interest in and attachment to the characters. In feature length format, there’s just a few too many of them to really get involved in … (read more)

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The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom (2014) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-white-haired-witch-of-lunar-kingdom-2014/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-white-haired-witch-of-lunar-kingdom-2014/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 11:54:15 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12302 China’s big summer release for 2014 is The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom, based on the popular 1950s tome Baifa Monu Zhan written by Liang Yusheng. Its most recent and most favoured screen version is the 1993 Hong Kong pic The Bride With White Hair, directed by Ronny Yu and starring Brigitte Lin and Leslie Cheung in a beautifully lensed tale of romantic obsession amidst the clan wars during the Ming Dynasty. Like the mystical flower of … (read more)

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Korean Film Festival in Australia 2014 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/08/koffia-2014/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/08/koffia-2014/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:59:48 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=12292 In one short week’s time the Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) kicks off this year’s season of films in Sydney on August 13, to be followed by screenings in five other cities this year: Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide!

The important dates are:

  • Sydney: Aug 13 – Aug 21
  • Canberra: Aug 13 – Aug 14
  • Brisbane: Aug 27 – Sep 2
  • Perth: Sep 3 – Sep 6
  • Melbourne: Sep 9 – Sep 16
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The Protector 2 (2013) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-protector-2-2013/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-protector-2-2013/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 00:24:18 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12280 The news arrived last week that celebrated Thai action choreographer Panna Rittikrai has passed away, at the far too young age of 53. He had been the driving force behind Thailand’s new wave of action movies, touched off by his work with his student Tony Jaa in 2003′s Ong Bak. Amidst a cinematic sea of elaborate fantasy wirework, CGI-enhanced stunts and elaborate, unrealistic weaponry, Panna’s films brought a grounding in reality back to modern action cinema: hard-hitting Muay Thai, … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom’ (China, 3D) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/this-week-in-cinemas-the-white-haired-witch/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/this-week-in-cinemas-the-white-haired-witch/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:11:52 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=11901 There’s a serious Chinese film release in Aussie cinemas this week: Thursday July 31 sees the release of The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom (quite the title!), a big-budget 3D spectacular that will look hauntingly familiar to fans of 1993 classic The Bride with White Hair, since it shares the same source material.

This adaptation of the wuxia novel comes from experienced HK director Jacob Cheung, and stars Fan Bingbing in the lead, ably supported by Huang … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘Snowpiercer’ (South Korea) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/this-week-in-cinemas-snowpiercer/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/this-week-in-cinemas-snowpiercer/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:18:34 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=12271 Opening tomorrow in Aussie cinemas is a big release: Snowpiercer, the first English-language film from top-flight South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (Memories of Murder, The Host, Mother).

Liz has already reviewed this one for us (read about it here), but in brief: humanity tried to solve climate change with an atmospheric science experiment that went horribly wrong, and now the remains of all human life live on a train, endlessly circling the … (read more)

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New World (2013) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/new-world-2013/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/new-world-2013/#comments Sat, 19 Jul 2014 23:57:20 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12263 Without a doubt, South Korea’s crime thrillers rank amongst the best in world cinema. And New World is the latest proof supporting that claim. This box office hit from 2013 boasts a rock solid cast that includes some of the hottest male stars from South Korea today: Lee Jung Jae (The Thieves), Choi Min Sik (Oldboy) and Hwang Jung Min (The Unjust).

New World tells the story of the struggles amongst and between the … (read more)

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The Kirishima Thing (2012) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-kirishima-thing-2012/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/the-kirishima-thing-2012/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 03:42:15 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12255 It’s funny what kind of impression you get from movie posters, and I guess in that light, movie poster design isn’t anywhere near an easy thing. Take for instance the poster for Daihachi Yoshida’s The Kirishima Thing. Looking at the dominating image of the bespectacled student with the 8mm camera, you would think it’s a movie about one person, probably a school student, who makes movies. You’d only be partially right. Kirishima Thing doesn’t have nearly that level of … (read more)

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Asian Cinema at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2014 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/miff-2014/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/miff-2014/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:30:11 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=12216 It’s MIFF time, everyone! The venerable Melbourne Film Festival has released their program for this year’s event, and as always it’s crammed with cinema from Asia, from horror classics from Hong Kong (which have their own stream this year, A Perfect Midnight: Haunted Hong Kong) to gritty noir or modern arthouse.

Read on for our rundown of the features from Asia (don’t forget there are some great shorts and documentaries, too) screening this year, and you can find the … (read more)

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Blue Exorcist the Movie (2012) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/blue-exorcist-the-movie-2012/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/blue-exorcist-the-movie-2012/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:26:39 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12233 There’s something fundamentally appealing about stories about siblings – particularly brothers and specifically twins. Socially, twins are still seen as something worth remark. Scientifically, the study of twins might even help science identify where genetics influences human development and growth and where it doesn’t. But mythologically, brothers have long held a strong and undeniable fascination. Cain and Abel, Romulus and Remus, Castor and Pollux, Famamir and Boromir, Thor and Loki, Dean and Sam, Dante and Virgil. Brothers are either at … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘Z Storm’ (Hong Kong) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/this-week-in-cinemas-z-storm-hong-kong/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/this-week-in-cinemas-z-storm-hong-kong/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 12:02:10 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=12211 Opening today in Australian cinemas is Hong Kong crime thriller ‘Z Storm’, from director David Lam (his first film in fifteen years, after 1999′s Street Angels). It stars the omnipresent Louis Koo, Dada Chan, Gordon Lam and Michael Wong, and if you’re like me it’ll bring to mind recent entries in the genre Cold War and the Overheard series.

Topical perhaps for audiences in New South Wales, the story focuses on Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) as … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘The Lunchbox’ (India) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/this-week-in-cinemas-the-lunchbox-india/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/this-week-in-cinemas-the-lunchbox-india/#comments Sun, 06 Jul 2014 09:51:22 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=12206 This Thursday July 10 sees the Aussie cinema release of an Indian romantic drama, The Lunchbox, starring Irrfan Khan (the narrator in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi), Nimrat Kaur (Peddlers) and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Gangs of Wasseypur). It is the debut feature from director Ritesh Batra, and it’s garnered some very positive attention internationally, including taking the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award at Cannes.

The film takes as its subject the dabbawala lunchbox delivery system … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘The Breakup Guru’ (China) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/this-week-in-cinemas-the-breakup-guru-china/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/2014/07/this-week-in-cinemas-the-breakup-guru-china/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 09:56:42 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?p=12202 In Aussie cinemas this week (and opening well in China and some USA cinemas according to according to Variety, despite the money-hoovering colossus of Transformers 4) is Chinese rom-com The Breakup Guru.

Starring Yang Mi and Deng Chao (who also co-directs with Yu Baimei), the trailer suggests that this film is going for My Sassy Girl territory, but I’m guessing that it swaps the tugging at heartstrings for louder comedy fare.

The Breakup Guru opens in most … (read more)

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Killers (2014) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/killers-2014/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/killers-2014/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 12:18:43 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12184 Indonesian/Japanese co-production Killers screened at the 2014 Sydney Film Festival in the Freak Me Out program, which is exactly the right place for it. Programmer Richard Kuipers said in his intro for the screening that their intention for Freak Me Out is to show films that sit at the extreme ends of genre cinema, from horror spectaculars heaving with gristle and gore to the weirder side of arthouse. He suggested that Killers could be a worthy entry on both fronts, … (read more)

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Overheard 3 (2014) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/overheard-3-2014/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/overheard-3-2014/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 06:27:29 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12175 By way of full disclosure: When Overheard 3 arrived in Australian cinemas and distributor Magnum Films were kind enough to send me a ticket for review, I was worried. I hadn’t seen the first two films, and this is generally a recipe for incomprehensibility as far as the third is concerned. I saw the first installment on iTunes as prep, and then discovered that I needn’t have worried: writer/director duo Alan Mak and Felix Chong have crafted a series of … (read more)

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Dancing in the Room (2013) http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/dancing-in-the-room-2013/ http://www.heroic-cinema.com/reviews/dancing-in-the-room-2013/#comments Sat, 07 Jun 2014 11:14:07 +0000 http://www.heroic-cinema.com/?post_type=reviews&p=12167 This year’s Sydney Film Festival has a track devoted to new films from China across a wide swathe of budgets, genres and styles, and Chinese director Peng Lei’s oddball portrait of the educated urban twenty-something, Dancing in the Room, just might be the cutest of them. It certainly looks to be the only one to include anything quite this adorable:

Dancing in the Room

Huabian (played by Jiang Yuchen) is a young woman who moves to Beijing after completing … (read more)

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