With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

BATTLE FOR INCHEON; OPERATION CHROMITE coming to Blu-ray & DVD on January 24

CJ Entertainment
Presents
Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite / In-cheon sang-ryuk jak-jeon
Directed by John H. Lee
South Korea, 2016, 111 minutes

The adrenaline-fueled, true story of a squad of unsung heroes sacrificed to turn the tide of the Korean War during its darkest days, the epic war drama Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite will becoming to Blu-ray and DVD next Tuesday, January 24th from CJ Entertainment.

In this suspenseful, action-packed, military adventure based on death-defying, real-life events, U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur (Liam Neeson, the Taken trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, Star Wars: Episode I, Batman Begins, Schindler's List) is appointed head of the United Nations Command at the height of the Korean War and conducts a covert operation to infiltrate North Korean headquarters far behind enemy lines.

Led by Navy Lieutenant Jang Hak-soo (Lee Jung-jae, Assassination, New World, The Thieves, The Housemaid), the courageous X-Ray intelligence unit finds themselves pitted against not only ruthless North Korean commander Lim Gye-jin (Lee Bum-soo, The Divine Move, IRIS: New Generation, The City of Violence) and his men, but the Russian and Chinese troops supporting them.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Section23 Films has announced its March 2017 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its March slate of releases; including Sentai Filmworks’ Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, which will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and Collector’s Edition Premium Box Set on March 28th.

Product details in order of release:

Title: PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2 COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 3/7/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Phantasy Star Online 2 is the most popular game on the web, and almost everyone at Seiga Academy is deeply immersed in it. When the school administration begins to worry that the game is causing more harm than good, student council president Rina Izumi sets out to prove PSO2's virtual positives. To confirm her opinion, she recruits Itsuki Tachibana, one of the few students who isn't already hooked, and instructs him to learn how to play so she can study the effects. What at first seems like a brilliant and simple plan instead lifts the lid off a Pandora’s Box filled with unexpected complications. As Itsuki's life undergoes a rapid transformation, it soon becomes clear that PSO2 may be much more than merely a game! In fact, a whole new world waits on the other side of the net in PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2 - THE ANIMATION!


Title: KOKORO CONNECT COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 425 min.
Street Date: 3/14/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: The five members of the Student Cultural Society have spent a lot of time wondering what it would be like to be in someone else's shoes, but they're about to get in touch with each others' feelings in the most unexpected way: a five-way body swap! What happens when five teens suddenly find themselves inside the body of the girl (or boy) next door? Aside from suddenly making trips to the bathroom VERY uncomfortable, it also brings a whole new meaning to the term "Exchange Student"! If THAT wasn't enough of a problem, the emotional trauma literally gets multiplied when a new affliction strikes, causing peoples' innermost feelings to suddenly transfer from person to person! Get ready for a trip through the emotional wringer as three girls and two boys see the world through each others' eyes in KOKORO CONNECT - The Complete Collection!


Title: MEZZO COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: ADV Films
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 3/21/2017
Format: DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: Mix one gadget-happy engineer, an ex-cop with a serious noodle fixation, and the ultimate bad girl: the highly combustible result is the Danger Service Agency. Brainy Harada and crafty Kurokawa may not seem like the most dangerous mercenaries to ever hit the streets, but it only takes one look at at Mikura's skin tight body suit and huge pair of M1911s to see that she has the assets to kick some serious butt. Toss in Asami, the DSA's new killer schoolgirl-in-training, and the DSA is guaranteed to fulfill your daily "girls-with-guns" requirements! Whether they're working for sexy weather girls, friendly ghosts, or facing off against gangsters, trained assassins (or even extraterrestrials), there's one thing you can be sure of: when the DSA takes a job, you can be sure it'll pay off with action in MEZZO DSA - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION!


Title: GIRLS UND PANZER: THIS IS THE REAL ANZIO BATTLE! OVA
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 38 min.
Street Date: 3/21/2017
Format: COMBO
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $19.98

SYNOPSIS: A piece of spaghetti or a military unit, George S. Patton famously said, "can only be led from the front end." However, once the heat of battle has cooled and the fog of war turns as thick as minestrone, determining which end was front and who pulled on what can be difficult. Therefore, for the enthusiasts who've puzzled over the epic tank battle between the girls of Oorai Girls' Academy and their Italian-themed rivals from Anzio High School, we present these classified videos for your eyes-only! Miho and Team Oorai will have their hands full with the impulsive attacks of Vice-Commander Pepperoni and facing the raw fury of Vice-Commander Carpaccio… but the real question is whether they can hold off Anchovy's ultra-secret secret weapons! Will they persevere? Or will their opponents end up saying "tank" you very much… for the victory in GIRLS UND PANZER: THE REAL ANZIO BATTLE!


Title: DIABOLIK LOVERS II: MORE, BLOOD COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 180 min.
Street Date: 3/28/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $39.98, $29.98

SYNOPSIS: As the sole human living alone with six handsome vampires, beautiful young Yui Komori is slowly becoming used to being the constant focus of all of their attentions, both amorous and otherwise. However, if she was feeling pale and weak before, her ordeal is about to become even more emotionally draining as four new vampire brothers appear with the intention of making Yui their own permanent dinner guest. Who are the Mukami brothers, and why are they so dead set on keeping Yui for themselves? Why do they keep referring to her as "Eve" and whose master plan are they following? How will the original six Sakamaki brothers react to having Yui stolen out of their clutches? Four more vampires join the table and Yui's the second course in DIABOLIK LOVERS II: MORE, BLOOD!


Title: IS IT WRONG TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON? COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 3/28/2017
Format: BD, DVD, COMBO
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98, $139.98

SYNOPSIS: Some adventurers delve into the sprawling labyrinths beneath the city of Orario to find fame and fortune. Others come to test their skills against the legions of monsters lurking in the darkness below. However, Bell Cranel's grandfather told him a different reason: it's a great place to rescue (and subsequently meet) girls! Now that Bell's a dungeon delver himself, the ladies he's encountering aren't the helpless damsels in distress he'd imagined, and one of them, the beautiful swordswoman Ais Wallenstein, keeps rescuing Bell instead. As embarrassing as that is, it's nothing compared to what happens when goddesses get involved. Freya, Hephaistos, and Loki, with their powerful Familias, are intimidating enough, but there's one goddess whose relationship with Bell is certain to spark trouble. After all, Bell is the ONLY member of the goddess Hestia's Familia, and she's not sure if she wants to share him with anyone in IS IT WRONG TO TRY TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Five film Meiko Kaji weekend mini-retrospective coming to Japan Society NY February 10-12

Japan Society NY
presents
Cruel Beauty: A Romantic Weekend with Meiko Kaji
When: February 10-12, 2017
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

Action-packed Prelude to Valentine's Day Anticipates
The 70th Birthday of Iconoclastic Genre Actress

Known for her fashionable modern style, long black tresses and piercing gaze, the inimitable Meiko Kaji rose to the top of the Japanese film industry in the late 1960s and '70s, working with some of the era's most talented filmmakers to create several now-classic genre film archetypes along the way—from hard-boiled girl gang bosses to kimono-clad, sword-wielding assassins.

Japan Society celebrates the iconic star, who turns 70 in March, with an action-packed prelude to Valentine's Day, full of female rebellion, ice-cold vengeance and tough love. Guest curated by writer and producer Marc Walkow, Cruel Beauty: A Romantic Weekend with Meiko Kaji screens five films Friday-Sunday, February 10-12, highlighting a selection of Kaji's most memorable roles.

In addition to the International Premiere of New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Head, the series includes early star-making appearances in Blind Woman's Curse and Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter, as well as selections featuring her iconic characters in Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance and Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable.

In his program notes from the series, Walkow writes: "Japanese movie stars don't get much more iconic than actress Meiko Kaji. Born as Masako Ota in Tokyo on March 24, 1947, Kaji's history is sadly one of being continually misunderstood by the studios which employed her. Originally groomed as a matinee idol at Nikkatsu in the '60s, she instead found fame there as the leader of a hard-boiled girl gang, riding motorcycles and brawling tooth-and-nail with both men and women. She moved over to Toei in the early '70s, again miscast as a replacement for recently-retired period film star Junko Fuji, who had embodied a different kind of beauty and strength throughout the '60s.

Before long, however, Kaji once again found her place as an outlaw character, this time as a nearly-silent, icily violent female prisoner who unwillingly becomes the leader of a rebellion against the patriarchy. Having found fame, Kaji once again defied industry expectations and passed up further star turns in favor of working with talented filmmakers in supporting roles, preferring to take her work as an actor more seriously, as well as devote much of her time to her own private life. She remains an inimitable presence in Japanese cinema, and an icon who continues to inspire filmmakers and audiences around the world."

Though all films are later episodes in popular series, they stand on their own and can be enjoyed without familiarity with preceding episodes. These films contain a considerable amount of violence, nudity and graphic depictions of sex typical of the genre, and are recommended for audiences ages 18 and over.

Admission: $13/$10 seniors & students/$9 Japan Society members. Special offers: All Access Pass (1 ticket for each film in the series, 5 tickets total) $50/$35/$30; Double Feature Pass (2 different films in the same transaction) $22/$16/$14. Tickets may be purchased online at www.japansociety.org, in person at Japan Society, or by calling the box office at 212-715-1258.

Friday, January 13, 2017

TRAIN TO BUSAN coming to Blu-ray and DVD next Tuesday, January 17th

Well Go USA
Entertainment
presents
Train to Busan / Busanhaeng
Directed by Sang-ho Yeon
South Korea, 2016, 118 minutes

Dubbed “… a fun, fast, tightly crafted genre film,” (Daniel Barnes, Sacramento News & Review), the critically-acclaimed, zombie apocalypse thriller Train to Busan debuts and on Blu-ray™ and DVD January 17 from Well Go USA Entertainment. (It's been available for digital download since December 13th.) Certified Fresh (96%) on Rotten Tomatoes, horror fans can take a harrowing Train to Busan, where a group of terrified passengers must fight the zombie hordes to make it to their last bastion of refuge ... or so everyone hopes.

The film that set the box office ablaze across Asia, smashed box office records in South Korea and became the biggest Korean film of all time, stars GONG Yoo (The Age of Shadows), JUNG Yu-mi (Manhole), MA Dong-seok (Doomsday Book), CHOI Woo-sik (Big Match), AN So-hee (Hellcats), KIM Eui-sung (Assassination), and KIM Su-an (Memories of the Sword).

Synopsis:
Train to Busan is a harrowing zombie horror-thriller that follows a group of terrified passengers fighting their way through a countrywide viral outbreak, trapped on a suspicion-filled, blood-drenched bullet train ride to the Safe Zone…which may or may not still be there.

Bonus Materials Include Two Featurettes:
-- Behind the Scenes
-- That’s A Wrap

I've watched the Blu-ray version and can attest that Train to Busan is a fantastic film, a truly exhilarating viewing experience. Look for my review here at AsianCineFest next week.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE playing at Japan Society NY tonight at 7:00 PM

Japan Society NY
Presents
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence © 1983 Shochiku Co., Ltd.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence / Senjo no Meri Kurisumasu
Directed by Nagisa Oshima
With David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto,
Takeshi Kitano, and Jack Thompson
Japan, 1983, 123 minutes, 35mm, color
In English and Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, January 13th, 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

This international co-production from director Nagisa Oshima features a magnetic David Bowie in one of his greatest screen roles as a rebellious British officer imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp during World War II who draws the intense fascination of the camp's conflicted commandant, played by composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. Divided by language and incongruous understandings of duty and honor, the fraught relationship between prisoners and captors slowly builds towards tragedy. Also featuring a breakout performance by Takeshi Kitano in his first dramatic role, Oshima's film is an entrancing, brutal examination of the absurdities of war punctuated by moments of tenderness and poetry.

Screening in memory of David Bowie (January 8, 1947-January 10, 2016) and Nagisa Oshima (March 31, 1932-January 15, 2013).

Watch the trailer here.

Part of Monthly Classics
Year-round screenings of beloved classics, hidden gems and recent discoveries of Japanese cinema. Only $5 for Japan society members!