With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Sunday, September 16, 2018

South Korean Crime Thriller THE NEGOTIATION opens September 20th in L.A. and Buena Park; wide release to follow on September 28th

CJ Entertainment
The Negotiation
Directed by LEE Jong-suk
South Korea, 2018, 114 minutes

South Korean crime thriller, The Negotiation, hits the big screens this Fall in Los Angeles and Buena Park on September 20th, followed by a wider release in cities across the U.S. and Canada on September 28. Starring the biggest hit-makers of Korean films, SON Ye-jin and HYUN Bin go head-to-head in this nail-biting movie surrounding a hostage crisis.

HA Chae-youn (SON Ye-jin) is the top police negotiator who keeps a cool head in any situation. However, she spirals into shock when a hostage situation she responded to ends in disaster as she witnesses the hostages getting killed in front of her eyes. Just 10 days after the incident, MIN Tae-gu (HYUN Bin), a notorious arms dealer wanted by the police, kidnaps a Korean reporter and police officer and picks Chae-youn as the negotiator. Tae-gu creates an unprecedented hostage situation for unknown reasons and Chae-youn cannot back down.

The Negotiation is Director LEE Jong-suk’s directorial debut. He previously worked as an assistant director on Ode to My Father, and took part in the screenwriting of The Himalayas. The film is presented by CJ Entertainment and produced by JK Film.

For more information and a list of theaters, click here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

GONJIAM: HAUNTED ASYLUM coming September 18th, 2018

Well Go USA
Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum / Gon-ji-am
Directed by Jung Bum-Shik
South Korea, 2018, 93 minutes

Here's the info I have about this upcoming offering from Well Go USA:

The crew of a horror web series travels to an abandoned asylum for a live broadcast. They soon encounter much more than expected as they move deeper inside the nightmarish old building in the horror thriller Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, terrorizing on digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD September 18th from Well Go USA Entertainment. An updated take on the “found footage” genre of thrillers, Director Jung Bum-Shik (Epitaph, Horror Stories) assembled a cast of mostly newcomers for Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, including Wi Ha-Jun, Park Sung-Hun, Lee Seung-Wook, Oh Ah-Yeon, Park Ji-Hyun, Yoo Je-Yoon and Mun Ye-Won.

Based on the local legends and stories of people who’ve visited the real-life abandoned hospital, GONJIAM: HAUNTED ASYLUM follows the crew of a horror web show who plan to stream live from inside the asylum. To attract more viewers, the show’s host arranges some scares for the team, but as they move further into the nightmarish old building, they begin to encounter much more than expected.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Beloved classic Japanese youth film LINDA LINDA LINDA coming to Japan Society on September 7th

Japan Society NY

Linda Linda Linda © "LINDA LINDA LINDA" Film Partners
Linda Linda Linda
Directed by Nobuhiro Yamashita
With Doona Bae, Aki Maeda, Yu Kashii, Shiori Sekine
Japan, 2005, 114 minutes
35mm, color
In Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, September 7th at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

When two members of a five-girl band call it quits days before their high school's music showcase, the remaining members scramble to reorganize in time to perform. They find inspiration in the 1987 single "Linda Linda" by Japanese punk band The Blue Hearts and decide to cover it as a new group. For their lead singer, the girls spontaneously enlist Korean exchange student Son (Doona Bae, Cloud Atlas), who speaks just enough Japanese to memorize the lyrics.

One of the most beloved Japanese films of the 21st century, director Nobuhiro Yamashita's low-key teen comedy is a pitch-perfect ode to youth, female friendship and rock music.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

BROTHERS coming to Digital and DVD on September 4th, 2018

Well Go USA
Directed by Kiefer Liu
China, 2016, 94 minutes

Here's what Well Go has to say about this upcoming release:

The close relationship between two brothers is ripped apart during the 1936 Chinese civil war when they end up on opposite sides of the conflict in the action drama Brothers, debuting on digital and DVD September 4 from Well Go USA Entertainment. Directed by Kiefer Liu (Don Quixote), the film fetures a striking visual look with black and white images interspersed with random flashes of color and pared-down CGI backgrounds. Brothers stars Ethan Li (The Blue Cornflower), Peter Ho (The Monkey King) and Xia Zitong (The Monkey King).

Once a poor vagrant, Chen Tiejin has risen through the ranks of the Red Army and is now a brave and experienced company commander. During a dangerous rescue mission, Commander Tiejin and his Red Army troop are locked in heated battle with the Kuomintang soldiers. Raising his weapon to deliver the final blow, he stops dead – the solider is none other than his brother he lost five years before, now working alongside the enemy. In a time of hardship and war, can brotherly love bridge the divide to find peace? 

I've watched my review screener and will be posting my review on, or just before, the September 4th release date.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

RAMEN SHOP reviewed; opens JAPAN CUTS tomorrow

Japan Society NY
Ramen Shop © Zhao Wei Films/Wild Orange Artists
Ramen Shop / Ramen Teh
Directed by Eric Khoo
With Takumi Saitoh, Seiko Matsuda,
Mark Lee, and Jeanette Aw
Singapore/Japan/France, 2018, 89 minutes
DCP, in English, Japanese. Mandarin and Cantonese with English subtitles

When: Thursday, July 19, 2018 at 7:00 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

A waitlist will begin at the Box Office one hour prior to the screening.
Being on the waitlist does not guarantee admission.

Feature Slate | Opening Film
North American Premiere

Intro and Q&A with director Eric Khoo and star Takumi Saitoh,
followed by the OPENING NIGHT PARTY

Masato Yamamoto (Takumi Saitoh) is a young man of mixed ancestry. His emotionally distant father, a ramen cook for whom Masato works in the city of Takasaki, is Japanese; his long-deceased mother was Chinese. His parents had met and fallen in love in Singapore, where his father had gone to work in the 1980s and where Masato was born and lived the first ten years of his life.

A major life-changing event leads Masato back to Singapore to learn about his roots and his parents' unusual early relationship. Back in the city of his youth, Masato encounters Miki, a Japanese expat food blogger (pop idol Seiko Matsuda), and reconnects with his maternal uncle (comedian Mark Lee) and other relatives. Through them he learns of the obstacles his parents encountered to realize their love and the long held bitter feelings of some against his father because of Japanese atrocities during World War II against the Chinese. He also learns about Singaporean cuisine and secret family recipes.

Director Eric Khoo, who was born in Singapore, is a major figure in that country's film industry. His films were that country's first to be invited to major international festivals, and he has been nominated for and has won several awards. With Ramen Shop, he has crafted a well structured and a touching tale. Masato's return is interspersed with flashback scenes that gradually reveal vital information about his heritage. It's a wonderful movie about family relationships, reconciliation, and forgiveness. And, oh yes, it's also about food, most particularly Bak Kut Teh, or pork rib soup.

As an aside, let me mention that, having grown up at a time when double-features were common, I enjoy "fantasy programming" them. Ramen Shop would be prefect with either Jûzô Itami's 1985 ramen western Tampopo or with Koki Shigeno 's 2017 documentary Ramen Heads.

AsianCineFest Rating of Ramen Shop: 3 out of 4 stars; a solid, good film.

Part of JAPAN CUTS 2018