Brotherhood of Blades (2014)

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Brotherhood of Blades

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)

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Kung Fu Jungle (2014)

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Kung Fu Jungle

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)

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This week in cinemas: “Brotherhood of Blades” (China)

Brotherhood of Blades

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.

The film stars Taiwanese actor Chang Chen (who played The Razor in Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster) and Chinese actress Liu Shishi (TV drama … (read more)

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Already in cinemas: ‘Kung Fu Jungle’ (HK/China)

Kung Fu Jungle

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)

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Lupin III (2014)

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Art thief adventure series Lupin III and frenetic cult director Ryuhei Kitamura (Godzilla: Final WarsVersus) 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)

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Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno & The Legend Ends (2014)

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I’ll be upfront with you; I’m not going to review Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends separately. Considering how close together their theatrical releases in Japan were, it could be argued they’re just one film with about a month long intermission (if you’re old enough to remember those). Also considering the cliff-hanger Kyoto Inferno ends on ­Empire Strikes Back style I’d also run a much bigger risk of spoiling far too many things if I … (read more)

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Short Peace (2013)

Short_Peace_poster

Although the theme for the Sunrise/Shochiku multimedia project Short Peace was apparently “Japan” it seems to me that the ‘peace’ part of the title is far more telling, because in one way or another each short in this 4-film anthology is about conflict. Not only that, but unless I’m reading far too much into it, there is something to be learned from each of these battles.

The first cab off the rank after the energetically ethereal opening title sequence is … (read more)

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Thermae Romae 2 (2014)

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I’ll admit, I decided to go to see the sequel to the surprisingly entertaining Thermae Romae with some trepidation. Basically I’m not a fan of comedies in general, so that I enjoyed the first film made a few of my friends check to make sure I was still the same person. I’m seriously considering not telling them that I enjoyed the sequel almost as much.

Although, perhaps that was a no-brainer. There’s no surprises in this follow up — it’s … (read more)

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