Six Four (2016)

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For those who mark time in the West, 1989 was a common year, 365 days long. For Japan however, it was two years in one. The Japanese calendar is based on periods or eras, marked for every year of an emperor. 1989 was the year that Emperor Hirohito, the ruler that had seen the nation both into and out of the Second World War and beyond, died at the age of 87. He passed away on January 7, one week … (read more)

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Top Secret: Murder in Mind (2016)

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Director Keishi Otomo, whose brilliant Rurouni Kenshin trilogy was probably one of the best anime/manga adaptations to hit our screens in the last decade, exhibits an equal amount of mastery over thriller genre mise-en-scène in his latest film Top Secret: Murder in Mind, but it seems in this case he perhaps needed a better screenplay writer. Or maybe Japanese action cinema just has to more seriously consider spanning manga/anime adaptations across more than one movie as a default setting, … (read more)

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Japanese Cinematic Greats retrospective at BAPFF

The Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival program came out this week, and a read-em-and-weep-for-joy feature has got to be the Transcending the Inevitable: Japanese Screen Legends and their Works with Masters strand. It’s a mouthful of a title but considering the cinematic feast in store it’s probably warranted. 11 of some of the very best post war cinema from Ozu, Mizoguchi, and Naruse featuring their on-screen muses Setsuko Hara (upon whom Satoshi Kon’s fantastic Millennium Actress was partly based), Kinuyo … (read more)

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Mr. Nice Guy (1997)

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According to his autobiography, Chan first received the nickname “Jackie” at a job on a Canberra construction site while visiting his parents, who worked at the US embassy. Although the construction site fight is an action movie staple — along with the warehouse or factory fight — it seems fitting that this Australian set film’s best action scene take place in one.

The second film of Jackie’s “Aussie duology” — after Jackie Chan’s First StrikeMr. Nice Guy is … (read more)

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Kothanodi – The River of Fables (2015)

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An adaptation of a group of folk tales from Assam in India, Kothanodi is an intriguing confluence of old and new elements: traditional stories given a moody, modern interpretation, with the second half of the production funded via Indian crowdfunding platform Wishberry. It’s already screened at film festivals around the world (beginnings with its premiere at Busan in 2015), and it’s now being distributed directly by online platform MovieSaints, who kindly gave me the opportunity to review the film.… (read more)

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This week in cinemas: ‘Shin Godzilla’ (Japan)

Stomping into Aussie cinemas today Oct 13 is venerable Japanese studio Toho’s answer to Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Hollywood Godzilla flick: Shin Godzilla, their 29th film featuring everyone’s favourite scaly nuclear metaphor, and their third go-round at rebooting the origin story.

The talent on board includes co-directors Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cutie Honey) and Shinji Higuchi (the Attack on Titan live-action films) and stars Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takenouchi and Satomi Ishihara. The big green guy this time … (read more)

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OzAsia Festival 2016 now on in Adelaide!

It’s already started, and I’m sorry I didn’t see it earlier and post it, but we’re not too late!

There’s a great program of films showing as part of the OzAsia Festival currently running in Adelaide (17 Sep – 2 Oct), including an event this weekend that will probably be of great interest to HK film buffs: a short program of Johnnie To films and a masterclass with the director himself.

The films on show are listed here and include … (read more)

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Jackie Chan’s First Strike (1996)

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The original title positions this as the fourth in Jackie’s Police Story series, but apart from Stanley Tong returning as director after Police Story 3: Supercop and Bill Tung appearing in a few brief scenes as Jackie’s senior in the Hong Kong police, there is no connection to the previous movies. This is surely deliberate, allowing Jackie’s first American release post Rumble in the Bronx to build on the momentum begun by that film, without being billed as the fourth … (read more)

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