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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This week in cinemas: ‘Monkey King 2’ (China/HK)

Monkey King 2

This week in Aussie cinemas is a film that will bring joy to the hearts of those brought up on hours of Monkey!, or with an appreciation for its source material, the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West. An entirely fitting Lunar New Year release for the year of the monkey, really.

Following up rather more quickly on 2014’s long-in-gestation Monkey King, Filmko Entertainment and director Cheang Pou-soi bring us Monkey King 2, based on … (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘Ip Man 3’ (Hong Kong)

Ip Man 3

This week in Aussie cinemas we have the third and likely final (though Donnie Yen said that of the second film, too!) installment of the Ip Man series of films from director Wilson Yip and martial arts superstar Donnie Yen.

(For completeness, here are our reviews of Ip Man (2008) and Ip Man 2 (2010))

Continuing the story of the Foshan-born, Hong Kong-based martial artist most famous for taking the young Bruce Lee on as a student, this film has … (read more)

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Trailer: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny”

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny

Internet-era home TV juggernaut-tuned-studio Netflix has just unleashed the first trailer for its feature film sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and it would be remiss of us not to mention it here.

The film stars martial arts superstars Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen and is directed by veteran action director Yuen Woo-ping. Rounding out the cast is Harry Shum Jr. (from Glee), Jason Scott Lee (Dragon: the Bruce Lee Story), Roger Yuan (Bulletproof Monk(read more)

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