Blog Archives

The Raid 2: Berandal (2014)

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The Raid 2 (Australian Poster)

Three years ago, director Gareth Evans’ second film, The Raid arrived in Aussie cinemas with a bang. It’s the first Indonesian film I can remember ever getting a wide release here (and in North America, where it was first retitled The Raid: Redemption and given a soundtrack workover), and it won a great deal of attention from critics and dyed-in-the-wool action cinema fans. Evans had managed to craft a taut, focused genre film fusing well-trodden Hollywood tropes with the harder … (read more)

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The Wind Rises (2013)

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The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises is Hayao Miyazaki’s first return to the director’s chair in five years (since Ponyo) and — if his statements in interviews are taken at face value — his final feature film in a career spanning six decades in Japanese animation. If that is indeed the case, it is in many ways a fitting swansong: it’s a layered, nuanced film that tells a story that is definitively Japanese yet universal, rooted in history yet filled with flights … (read more)

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The Monkey King (2014)

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The Monkey King

Well, this one’s been a long time coming! News that Soi Cheang was to direct a giant, IMAX 3D adaptation of part of the classical novel Journey To The West with a major action star in the lead hit the Web in early 2010, and there’s apparently been a sales stand with a poster at HK Filmart every year since then.

Now, all is revealed! After a couple of years of delays, The Monkey King is here in cinemas in … (read more)

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Ghost in the Shell: Arise (2013)

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Ghost in the Shell: Arise

Here at Heroic Cinema, we’ve got a lot of love for the evergreen Ghost in the Shell universe. It seems to sprout a new variation every few years, and they’re always worth watching.

Akira and the original Ghost in the Shell film were my personal introduction to anime, many years ago, and I remember how refreshing it was to find cinematic visions of cyberpunk science fiction that just dumped you headlong into the mirrorshades-and-AI future, posing the sort of questions … (read more)

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Pluto (2012)

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Pluto

Last year’s Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) brought us three very different films that shone a light on the pressure (shading towards the horror, in some cases) of high school in South Korea: the harrowing true story Silenced, the wistful, nuanced drama Bleak Night and the snarling animated film The King of Pigs.

This year they have programmed Pluto, another feature film that takes the pressure-cooker environment of the final years of high school as … (read more)

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A Werewolf Boy (2012)

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A Werewolf Boy

This year’s opening film for the Korean Film Festival in Australia, which I caught at the sold-out KOFFIA opening night in Sydney, is Jo Sung-hee’s A Werewolf Boy. It’s a great choice for an opening film — it’s a genre crossover (romantic melodrama with werewolves!) with stars in lead roles, it’s got a fresh new talent in the director’s chair, and it made serious bank back home: Werewolf Boy sold more than seven million tickets in South Korea, and … (read more)

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Masquerade (2012)

Masquerade

Superstar Lee Byung-hun (JSA, A Bittersweet Life, I Saw the Devil) gets to play the leading role twice over in Masquerade, a lavish South Korean costume drama set during the turbulent rule of King Gwang-hae of the Joseon Dynasty. (Wikipedia pegs this as 1608-1623, for those as ignorant of Korean history as I am.)

One role is that of young King Gwang-hae himself, maintaining his grip on his feuding court through political intrigue and … (read more)

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Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)

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Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Poster)

It’s all coming up kaiju this year!

Inspired by Guillermo del Toro’s epic monsterpiece Pacific Rim and the upcoming 2014 Hollywood Godzilla reboot, I decided to set aside a few evenings and run through the Godzilla “Millennium Era” films and see what it’s all about really. Prior to these, I had only ever seen the classic 1954 film that started it all, and Madman have just released (and kindly sent us a review copy of) a box set, covering the … (read more)

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