With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Monday, July 15, 2019

SECTION23 FILMS announces its September 2019 releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its September 2019 slate of releases featuring Sentai Filmworks’ TV animation hit, TADA NEVER FALLS IN LOVE, available on Blu-ray and special Limited Edition Premium Box Set!

Product details in order of release:

Title: THIS ART CLUB HAS A PROBLEM
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 9/3/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: A totally ordinary art club at the totally ordinary Tsukimori Middle School. There, Subaru Uchimaki squanders his artistic talent on his true passion and life's mission: drawing the ideal "2D wife." Club member Mizuki Usami finds herself with a crush on the hopeless Uchimaki. The seemingly uninterested club president is always sleeping, but he keeps a close eye on Uchimaki and Usami's antics. Then there's the mysterious Colette, who's usually lost in her own little world. When this ragtag bunch gathers together as the Art Club, there's sure to be some problems...


Title: BOOK OF BANTORRA BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 675 min.
Street Date: 9/10/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: In another time and place, on a world of pain and sorrow, when someone dies, their soul doesn't go to Heaven or Hell - it becomes a book. A book that reveals the deceased's innermost secrets and that can be read by anyone. Protecting these priceless treasures is the elite organization known as the Armed Librarians. It's their job to keep the books and the knowledge within them safe from those who would misuse or destroy them. It's a tough, dangerous job, so Chief Librarian Hamyuts Maseta recruits only the best and the brightest psychics to join her team of expert fighters. Even so, will they be able to stop the fanatics of the Shindeki Church from wreaking vengeance on the entire world? Only time will tell, but that book hasn't been written yet. Don't miss the non-stop action of The Book of Bantorra Complete Collection.


Title: DI GI CHARAT ULTIMATE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 320 min.
Street Date: 9/17/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: What do you do after your parents spend all their money unsuccessfully trying to take over the planet Di Gi Charat? If you're an Alien Princess with cat ears and a tail, and shoot ray beams from your eyes like Dejiko, you travel to Earth and try to become a famous singer, of course! That's harder than it sounds however, and Dejiko, her sidekick Puchiko and their balloon-like protector Gema soon find themselves working in a game store in the only place where cat girls and living balloons seem completely normal: Akihabara in Tokyo, Japan. Now all they have to do is sell a few games, fend off various intergalactic invaders, outperform wannabe singers from other worlds and maybe learn about a strange little Earth emotion called love in the ultimate collection of DI GI CHARAT!


Title: INITIAL D LEGEND THEATRICAL COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 180 min.
Street Date: 9/17/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: When an unplanned street duel launches tofu delivery driver Takumi Fujiwara into the world of high stakes street racing, the competition isn't going to know what hit them. The son of another legendary driver, the unassuming Takumi quickly becomes the downhill racing phenomenon to beat, with a line of challengers as long as the deadly Mt. Akina road itself! There's no time to blink. No chance to second guess your strategy. The streets of Japan become a deadly arena for an incredible battle where if you have everything under control, you're not moving fast enough! Hold onto your breath as the legendary series that introduced the sport of drift racing to the west is reinvented in a series of new feature films that will strip the surface from the blacktops in the NEW INITIAL D: LEGEND THEATRICAL COLLECTION!


Title: TADA NEVER FALLS IN LOVE
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 9/24/2019
Format: BD, PBS
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $129.98

SYNOPSIS: Nothing lasts forever, so opportunities presented must be taken before they are lost. In Japan, this philosophy is symbolized by the brief bloom of the cherry blossom, and it is under the cherry blossoms that Tada, who dreams of becoming a famous photographer like his late father, meets a girl who has lost her way. As it turns out, Teresa is staying at the hotel next to café owned by Tada's family and she and her companion Alexandra will be attending Tada's school, where they even join his photography club. What Tada doesn't know, however, is that Teresa is secretly a princess who's come to Japan to experience normal life before returning to her own country and an arranged marriage. And that means that the attraction that they begin to feel for each other may be as ephemeral as the cherry blossom in TADA NEVER FALLS IN LOVE.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

MASTER Z: IP MAN LEGACY set to debut on July 23rd

Well Go USA
Presents
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy / Yip Man ngoi zyun: Cheung Tin Chi
Directed by Yuen Woo-Ping
China, 2018, 108 minutes

MASTER Z: IP MAN LEGACY, the newest entry in the celebrated IP MAN universe, debuts on digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD July 23rd from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Legendary action director Yuen Woo-Ping draws on a stellar cast of Max Zhang (The Brink), Tony Jaa (Triple Threat), Michelle Yeoh, and Dave Bautista to create the hard-hitting martial arts blast that follows the story of Wing Chun master Cheung Tin Chi (Zhang) after his defeat by Ip Man.

Synopsis:
After his defeat by Master Ip, Cheung Tin Chi, makes a life with his young son in Hong Kong, waiting tables at a bar that caters to expats. It’s not long before the mix of foreigners, money, and triad leaders draw him once again to the fight.

P.S. - MASTER Z: IP MAN LEGACY was shown last night at the New York Asian Film Festival. Master Yuen Woo-Ping was present and received the festival's Lifetime Achievement Award. I had the honor and joy of participating in an intimate round table discussion with him earlier in the day. I'll be posting transcripts of the panel's questions and his responses in the very near future.

I have previously seen the film and will post a review of it soon. In the meantime, let me just say that it's a solid actioner and well worth watching.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

SECTION23 FILMS announces its August 2019 releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its August slate of releases featuring Sentai Filmworks’ new TV animation adapted from Ryo Hanada’s best-selling manga, Devils’ Line, available on Blu-ray and in a special Limited Edition Premium Box Set.

Product details in order of release:

Title: BPS: BATTLE PROGRAMMER SHIRASE
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 125 min.
Street Date: 8/6/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $39.98

SYNOPSIS: What is it that passes behind those dry, sorrowful eyes? Akira Shirase, the solitary programmer who has an unusual aptitude for problem solving: He is called a legendary hacker, and few know his true identity. What has he lost, what has he gained, and what has he seen in pockets of the vast internet? How now does he feel, on what is false and what is true and what exists in code? This is the man they call Battle Programmer Shirase - also known as BPS!


Title: SAKURA WARS TV
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 625 min.
Street Date: 8/13/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: In 1918, a giant demon appeared in Tokyo, and although the monstrous creature was finally defeated, the Imperial forces knew that something had to be done in anticipation of future attacks. The solution was the development of the Imperial Assault Force, an assembly of secret teams of dedicated young women gifted with a unique spiritual power that enables them to operate Kobu, steam-powered mechanical armor that combines the attributes of humanoid robots and tanks. While pretending to be normal, ordinary girls in everyday life, these brave battle maidens and their international counterparts stationed around the world must remain ever vigilant for assaults by demons sent by the leagues of evil magic users. Get ready for the wildest monster versus mecha fantasy ever in the incredible alternate history that is SAKURA WARS!


Title: THE BIG O STEELBOOK EDITION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 650 min.
Street Date: 8/20/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $79.98

SYNOPSIS: Forty years ago, the minds of Paradigm City's inhabitants were wiped clean of all recollections of the past. Now, ruled by a powerful corporation and cut off from the rest of the world by desolate wastelands, Paradigm has become a virtual police state where Negotiators like Roger Smith keep the wheels of progress, commerce, and society turning. As a combined hybrid of detective, mediator, and enforcer, Smith's primary resource is his keen, analytical mind, but it doesn't hurt to have a mansion filled with gadgets, his butler Norman, and his attractive assistant Dorothy to fall back on. Additionally, for those times when cases end up "in dispute," he also has the biggest, baddest back-up that any cop or small army could ever hope for: the Big O, a giant robot loaded with all the extras. Film noir thriller meets mecha mayhem masterpiece as the acclaimed classic series returns in the complete collection of THE BIG O!


Title: ORPHEN
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1175 min.
Street Date: 8/20/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: When an experiment goes horribly awry and transforms the Sorceress Azalie into a monstrous dragon, the sorcerers of the Tower of Fang callously decide to pretend that Azalie died in order to preserve the Tower's reputation. And to make sure that the magic beans never get spilled, they also decide that Azalie needs to be destroyed. Disgusted by their cravenly actions, Azalie's friend Krylancelo renounces his allegiance to the Tower, changes his name to Orphen and sets forth to save the damsel/dragon in distress. It won't be easy: there'll be minions with nefarious plans to defeat, and along the way Orphen will pick up an apprentice, a spoiled rich girl and a couple of trolls. But it wouldn't be a heroic journey without a few bumps in the road, would it? The epic quest is on in Sorcerous Stabber Orphen!


Title: WAITING IN THE SUMMER
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 8/20/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: When a group of friends decide to make a movie over a long summer holiday, they end up learning a little about filmmaking and a lot more about each other and themselves. What begins as a simple way to avoid the summer doldrums quickly turns into something much more complex, intimate, and downright revealing. As the summer heats up, so do the maturing relationships between the young cast members, taking some new, and sometimes unexpected, turns. Get ready for a whole new look at summer romance as hidden emotions get captured and secrets meant to be kept hidden inside young hearts instead spill off the screen for your viewing pleasure in WAITING IN THE SUMMER!


Title: DEVILS' LINE
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 8/27/2019
Format: BD, PBS
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $129.98

SYNOPSIS: Everything you thought you knew about vampires is wrong. They can walk in the daylight and holy water doesn't burn them. In fact, vampires can pass as normal humans so perfectly that even other vampires have trouble spotting them. Until they drink human blood, that is; then they transform into monstrous beasts who mindlessly rape and murder. But not all vampires are evil. The secret task force that patrols Tokyo's vampire population has several fanged operatives, including half-human Yuki Anzai, who believes that his human heritage lets him resist his species' basest cravings. But after Yuki rescues college student Tsukasa Taira from a vampire stalker, he realizes that he's succumbing to urges he's never felt before. And like moths to the flame, he and Tsukasa find themselves being pulled into a potentially fatal attraction in DEVILS' LINE!

Friday, June 28, 2019

THE GUN - a NYAFF 2019 review

Murakami Nijiro in The Gun (Photo: © YOSHIMOTO KOGYO)
The Gun /
Directed by Masaharu Take
Japan, 2018, 97 minutes

On a dark and rainy night, college student Toru Nishikawa (Murakami Nijiro, Destruction Babies) comes across a handgun. Without much thought, he picks it up and takes it to his home. Later he sees a television news item that the body of a male in his 40s or 50s had been found near the Arakawa River in Itabashi Ward. The deceased had been shot in the head and been dead for about five days.

Undeterred by the gun’s apparent association with a homicide, Toru continues to covet it. Initially he’s satisfied with just taking it out and polishing it occasionally. However, it gradually begins to take greater and greater hold on his somewhat fragile and damaged psyche and he begins to carrying it around with him, gradually becoming more obsessed with the idea of actually firing it.

The situation also takes a toll on his love life, interfering with his relationship with one girl that he’s just sleeeping with and with his more romantic one with Yuko Yoshikawa (Alice Hirose, Kamen Rider Movie War 2010), a fellow student.

Most disturbing is the appearance of a detective (Lily Franky, Shoplifters) who is sure that Toru is in possession of the weapon. He’s basically certain that the young man is not a murderer and tries to convince him to disassemble it and disperse the pieces, lest he be eventually tempted to use it, with disastrous consequences.

Director Masaharu Take displays a sure hand in moving this slow-burner of a psychological thriller/drama along. Another of his films, 100 Yen Love (2014) was showcased at the 2015 JAPAN CUTS Festival of New Japanese Film, so he’s no stranger to the New York Asian film festival scene. The film is shot for almost its 97 minute running length in beautiful, high contrast black and white. (Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to ascertain the cinematographer.)

The Gun will have its North American Premiers at the New York Asian Film Festival on Sunday, June 30th at 6:15 pm. Tickets for The Gun can be purchased here.

AsianCIneFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; a solid noir-ish, psychological thriller.

Monday, June 24, 2019

MOJIN: THE WORM VALLEY debuts on Digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack & DVD on July 9th, 2019

Well Go USA
Presents
Mojin: The Worm Valley / Yun nan chong gu
Directed by Fei Xing
China, 2018, 111 minutes

Following in the footsteps of the blockbuster Mojin: The Lost Legend and based on the bestselling novel series, critically-acclaimed mystical action-adventure MOJIN: THE WORM VALLEY debuts on digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD July 9th from Well Go USA Entertainment. Hu Bayi and the Mojin Six set off on another adventure seeking out a hidden tomb that holds the key to breaking an ancient curse.

Directed by Fei Xing (Silent Witness) MOJIN: THE WORM VALLEY introduces Cai Heng (Shaolin), Cheng Taishen (Legend of the Demon Cat), and newcomers Gu Xuan, Yu Heng, Chen Yusi, and Ma Yuke to the Mojin series.

Synopsis:
In this mystical action-adventure, legendary tomb explorer Hu Bayi sets off on a dangerous mission.