Reviews by Country
Ong Bak caused more than a stir when it was released to the megaplexes in Bangkok (I know, I was there at the time) and when it was released into international markets it caused an even bigger stir, in fact Ong Bak is one of those outstanding films that have brought massive recognition of the Thai film industry.
Ong Bak has an undemanding story at best, and before I go any further I’ll let you know that this doesn’t matter … (read more)
Well after seeing this film there is only one thing I can possibly say, and that is SHOW ME THE MONEY! I’ve yet to see a film come from Thailand or South East Asia that is so lush, and it’s none of this CGI stuff, this is sheer set and costume extravagance. The film reportedly cost anywhere between 8 – 20 million dollars US. But I guess when you have the Thai royal family backing the film, anything is possible.… (read more)
Oxide Pang’s Ab-Normal Beauty, the companion film to brother Danny Pang’s Leave Me Alone, holds onto the Pang stylistic norms that have made them famous: painterly composition, cool colour design, and a penchant for unnecessary editing. However, Ab-Normal Beauty isn’t without some major drawbacks.
There are two things that let this film down. Firstly, Hong Kong pop duo 2R are simply not good actors, especially when trying to deliver some heart-felt lines. The tension between the film’s main … (read more)
Ginji the Slasher opens in 1953, with a background of archival military footage overlayed with a Japanese flag. The military images are slowly cross-faded with walls covered in blood. Finally, a row of dead bodies leads to the killer — Ginji Sonezaki, in a flash military aviator uniform, slashing his way through a number of guys with an expensive looking sword. There is blood everywhere — with every slash, Ginji manages to paint another wall red. At this point in … (read more)
Boiling Point is every Kitano fan’s dream; the humour, the action, the violence, the style, and the narrative, all scream trademark Kitano.
Boiling Point is narratively well crafted. Kitano has done what he always does, which is to create a film with heavy investment in extreme contrast. Often it is the contrast between ultra-violence and humour, or between dynamism and stillness, but in Boiling Point, character contrast is most explicit. The passive characters that make up the film’s baseball … (read more)
Following the trends of recent Thai cinema comes another lady-boy flick — Beautiful Boxer. Like other transgender films of recent times, Beautiful Boxer uses a plot that’s constructed around a true story: in this case, the subject is the ultra-famous champion Muay-Thai boxer Nong Toom, who fought professionally to raise money for a sex change operation.
The first 10 minutes of the film opens with a foreign journalist lost and in trouble with some local thugs. Luckily, Nong Toom … (read more)
Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda has produced a film that has touched upon one of the most sensitive issues for contemporary Japanese filmmakers: terrorist cults. Even though Koreeda’s film is fictional, there is always the inevitable comparison with the Aum cult sarin gas attack. There are a number of films, such as Canary, dealing with this sensitive problem. However, no filmmaker has probed the aftermath of the issue so poignantly and innovatively as Koreeda.
Distance has a very basic story: … (read more)
Hinokio is a heart warming children’s film that looks at young people affected by death, school, friendship, and communication. Satoru, emotionally handicapped by his mother’s death and the temporary disability of his legs, has a fear of emotional communication with his father and those around him. In order to regain a sense of social interaction, Satoru uses a bizarre looking robot nicknamed Hinokio to carry out his everyday duties (namely attending school). In this film, Satoru’s use of the Hinokio … (read more)