This week in cinemas: ‘A Silent Voice’ (Japan, anime)

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)

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The Protector (Tom Yum Goong) (2005)

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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)

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Melbourne: “Headshot” screening, Fri March 3

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)

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Harmony (2015)

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)

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Master (2016)

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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)

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Project A: Part II (1987)

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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)

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I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016)

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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)

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The Great Wall (2016)

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To answer the question right off the top that everyone’s probably wondering about — no. Matt Damon does not save China in The Great Wall. Oh, he has a great white hand in slaying the monster, but he doesn’t strike the lethal blow. That’s splitting hairs, sure, but hey. Baby steps.

If you haven’t already heard by now, The Great Wall is Hollywood studio Legendary East and state-owned China Film Group’s US$150 million fantasy epic that is supposed to … (read more)

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