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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This week in cinemas: ‘Our Times’ (Taiwan)

Our Times

This week in Aussie cinemas is Taiwanese rom-com Our Times (我的少女時代), the feature film directorial debut of television producer Frankie Chen.

It’s another entry in the fairly recent last-days-of-high-school 90’s nostalgia subgenre of romance films, focusing on the relationship between schoolgirl Lin Zhen Xin (Vivian Sung) and school tough guy Xu Tai Yu (Darren Wang). Dino Lee and Dewi Chien round out the cast.

Here’s a trailer:

The film opened last Thursday 19 November and is showing at Hoyts cinemas(read more)

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Behemoth (2015)

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Competing in the 2015 Stockholm International Film Festival’s Documentary section, Behemoth is a visually striking documentary about the negative effects that coal mining in rural Mongolia have on the environment, and the lives and health of the coal miners. Although the film strives to connect the dots between the causation of air pollution in big cities in China like Beijing that is in part due to unchecked industrial development, such as coal mining and the running of steelworks, it is … (read more)

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Bilocation (2013)

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Mari Asato spins a new take on the well-worn theme of of doppelgängers in this creepy thriller. Bilocation is about an aspiring painter named Shinobu (Asami Mizukawa) and the harrowing discovery that she has an identical self who is traipsing around the city with a completely different will and in a parallel existence, totally unaware that she is just an apparition of the real copy.

Shinobu is a loner, preferring to spend her time in her studio painting, hoping to … (read more)

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Revivre (2014)

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As the European title of the film suggests, the story is about rebirth or to come alive again. Interestingly, Revivre’s Korean title Hwajang (화장) means “cremation” and “make-up”, and as the film progresses all of these meanings come into play in the narrative of the story, culminating in an end that is at once poignant and thought-provoking, and kept me guessing at the outcome until the credits rolled.

What’s seemingly a bland story about a senior executive’s ordeal in … (read more)

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