This week in cinemas: ‘Three’ (HK/China)


Already in Australian cinemas this week (it opened last Thursday, June 23) is a new film from one of our favourite directors, Hong Kong’s Johnnie To. And this time he’s returning to that most beloved of genres, the tense action-thriller.

Set in a hospital, Three revolves around a rapidly escalating standoff between a criminal who’s been admitted as a patient (Wallace Chung), the detective trying to bring him to justice (Louis Koo), and a neurosurgeon (Vicki Zhao Wei). The film … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘The Wailing’ (South Korea)

The Wailing

I was alerted this evening (thanks John!) to the fact that The Wailing (곡성), the new film from South Korean director Na Hong-jin (The Chaser, The Yellow Sea) opens in Aussie cinemas this week.

In keeping Na’s previous work, this looks like a gritty fusion psychological thriller and horror film, with a plot centered around a rural village in which a spate of mysterious illnesses and killings have erupted. The film stars Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, … (read more)

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Dearest (2014)

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I keep on coming back to one particular word when describing the 2014 mainland drama Dearest — and that word is unsettling. There’s also a subversive thread running through this movie which subtly but resolutely questions the ability of China’s government to comprehend and to act on very complicated legal and emotional issues. Dearest is about child-stealing and is based on a case which caught the public’s attention in 2009.

The film’s director, Peter Chan, is one of a small … (read more)

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Asian Cinema at the Sydney Film Festival 2016

SFF 2016

The program is out, tickets are selling and the clock is ticking for this year’s Sydney Film Festival, which opens in about a week on June 8 and runs through to the 19th.

As usual, we have combed through the list and picked out the films from Asia — this year led by a couple of modern films in Competition, two restorations (including Ozu’s classic Tokyo Story) and a varied slate of features from across the region. There’s also … (read more)

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Ip Man 3 (2015)

Ip Man 3

I missed the third film in the Wilson Yip-directed, Donnie Yen-starring Ip Man series when it was in cinemas, so I was very happy to have a chance to review the upcoming Aussie DVD/Blu-ray release (available May 4 from Eastern Eye). Yen’s portrayal of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man as a quietly traditionalist, highly skilled master of his art has been his most popular role of the last decade or so. Aside from his transformation in the flawed but fun … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘The Bodyguard’ (HK/China)

The Bodyguard

Action cinema fans, pay attention. Veteran action director and martial artist Sammo Hung has settled into the director’s chair for the first time since 1997 (Mr Nice Guy, Once Upon a Time in China and America), and the results arrived in Aussie cinemas tomorrow.

The Bodyguard sees Sammo both direct and star as a retired soldier from Beijing now living in a remote town near the Russian border, and his collision with organised crime. Zhu Yuchen, Li … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘The Boy and the Beast’ (Japan)

The Boy and the Beast

Opening today in Aussie cinemas (both in an English dub and in the original Japanese with subtitles at some locations) is the new animated film The Boy and the Beast from Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children).

The film follows a young boy, Ren, who runs away from home after the passing of his mother only to find himself taken into the Beast Kingdom and unable to return. There, … (read more)

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The Monkey King 2 (2016)

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Monkey King 2

Sun Wukong returns to the big screen in The Monkey King 2, the follow-up film to director Cheang Pou-soi’s 2014 Monkey King feature film. Right on time for Chinese New Year in the year of the monkey, it’s exactly what you want in a New Year film: big, broad, comfortably familiar and filled with with ample amounts of comedy and spectacle.

(If you’re not up on the Monkey King story — Aussies of a certain age should think Monkey (read more)

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