Reviews by Country
Snow on the Blades is a contemplative, elegant drama set at the end of Japan’s feudal era, spanning the decline of the Tokugawa shogunate in the 1860s and the dawning of the Meiji period thereafter.
The story follows one Shimura Kingo (Kiichi Nakai), a young man whose family are samurai in service to Ii Naosuke, chief minister to the Shogun. A master swordsman, he has recently married and has been elevated to the position of chief bodyguard to the minister, … (read more)
Sydneysiders: tonight is the Opening Night for this year’s International Chinese Film Festival for 2014, which runs for the next week or so until 30 November. This year, there are eight feature films screening at Hoyts Broadway (plus tonight’s Opening Night screening of No Man’s Land at Fox Studios).
This year there’s also a further nine movies, perhaps the less commercial fare, screening for free at the China Cultural Centre — you just have to get in touch in advance … (read more)
Hong Kong director (and HC favourite) Johnnie To’s tick-tock film output has flipped back over to rom-com after hard-boiled crime film Drug War and crime/rom-com hybrid Blind Detective, and this week in Australian cinemas we have his follow-up to his 2011 film: Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2.
Brotherhood of Blades is one of the best Chinese martial-arts films to have graced our cinema screens for quite some time. The movie boasts a volatile mix of quasi 17th century Chinese history, political paranoia and deadly palace conspiracies. With an individual emphasis on ornate film sets, power-crazed eunuchs, sadistic secret police and a trio of Ming Dynasty elite killers, there’s much here reminiscent of the best of the Shaw Brothers’ swordplay films.
The movie’s main focus is on the … (read more)
Donnie Yen returns to the big screen in Kung Fu Jungle, in the well-worn guise of a skilled martial artist brought low, doggedly chasing down a brilliant but broken adversary. Not that he’s been away for long; arguably the last big action star standing from Hong Kong’s golden years, he’s been working harder than ever, turning in a couple of huge films every year since the early 2000s, often as action choreographer as well.
In this film, director Teddy … (read more)
Yesterday a great-looking wuxia film from China arrived in Australian cinemas. Brotherhood of Blades (绣春刀) comes from Beijing-based director Lu Yang (his third film after My Spectacular Theatre, 2010 and A Motor Home Adventure, 2012) and it looks like they got an awful lot out of US$5M in budget and a 67-day shoot.
I’m late on this one — many thanks to Jerome for picking it up and letting us know on our Facebook page!
In Australian cinemas from October 30 (last week) is brand-new Donnie Yen action film Kung Fu Jungle, directed by Hong Kong director Teddy Chen (Bodyguards and Assassins) and starring Donnie and Wang Baoqiang (who has been doing action flicks lately, such as Iceman and Unbeatable).
Donnie Yen plays Ha, an older martial arts … (read more)
Art thief adventure series Lupin III and frenetic cult director Ryuhei Kitamura (Godzilla: Final Wars, Versus) seems like it could be a match made in heaven. Kitamura is known for his energetic, reality defying, somewhat gaggy but exceedingly enjoyable action movies, and Lupin is known for his energetic, law-enforcement defying, seemingly impossible but somehow charming art heists. The combination in this 2014 live action movie makes for a moderately fun crime thriller that is never too serious … (read more)