Reviews by Country
By way of full disclosure: When Overheard 3 arrived in Australian cinemas and distributor Magnum Films were kind enough to send me a ticket for review, I was worried. I hadn’t seen the first two films, and this is generally a recipe for incomprehensibility as far as the third is concerned. I saw the first installment on iTunes as prep, and then discovered that I needn’t have worried: writer/director duo Alan Mak and Felix Chong have crafted a series of … (read more)
This year’s Sydney Film Festival has a track devoted to new films from China across a wide swathe of budgets, genres and styles, and Chinese director Peng Lei’s oddball portrait of the educated urban twenty-something, Dancing in the Room, just might be the cutest of them. It certainly looks to be the only one to include anything quite this adorable:
Huabian (played by Jiang Yuchen) is a young woman who moves to Beijing after completing her studies in search … (read more)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)