With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Friday, July 30, 2010

ACF 644: Review of "71 Into The Fire"

71 Into The Fire
Directed by Lee Jae-han
Starring Cha Seung-won, Kwon Sang-woo,
Choi Seung-hyun, and Kim Seung-woo
South Korea, 2010, 120 min.

As a blogger who has written about many of their offerings, I had the pleasure of attending The Korea Society's special members-only New York premiere of this film on Tuesday, July 27th. According to the distributor Lotte Entertainment, the film is scheduled to be released in several U.S. cities today, Friday, July 3oth. My understanding is that the film will be shown on fourteen screens in theater chains such as AMC and MPARK4 in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Washington, and Philadelphia. More screens and a wider release are possible if the film does well. Check your local listings.


Here's a brief synopsis:
71 Into The Fire is the story of 71 student soldier who fought an impossible battle against seasoned North Korean army during the Korean War, which broke out in 1950. Based on real events, the film depicts their emotions and conflicts as they experience the grown-ups’ war and the fierce defense that teenage student soldiers put up as they fought a much larger force of seasoned and combat-hardened North Korean soldiers.


ACF Take:
As I expected, this was a pretty jingoistic film and a bit melodramatic, but a very well-made. interesting and engrossing one. I suspect that it is based very loosely on real events, at least in terms of the personal dramas depicted.

Much of the film is devoted to battle scenes: think of several extended scenes of the Normandy invasion as depicted in Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. Initially this bothered me a bit, but I think that besides showing the horrors of warfare (and the film is quite graphic in that regard), the filmmakers also wanted to convey that combat is something one can't take a break from, that it is unrelenting. Unless of course you get killed, wounded, freeze-up, or desert.

I'm a fairly early "baby boomer" and watching 71 Into The Fire reminded my of the WWII Hollywood films that I watched on TV in the Fifties, though it's in color, more explicit, and much better made. For me, and I think for most Americans, the Korean War is a subject that I don't know a great deal about (and I got my Ph.D. in U.S. History). So learning more about it in this filmic depiction of real events was informative in addition to be entertaining, albeit in a serious way.

ACF Rating: 3 out of 4 stars, solidly recommended

Note that the I've also seen the title written as 71-Into the Fire and 71: Into the Fire. Obviously I prefer the way I've chosen to write it here in this review.

The trailer can be seen on YouTube at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oA62yTX6oI

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ACF 643: Several Asian films to be at Venice Film Festival in September

Just read that the line-up of the 67th Venice Film Festival includes quite a few Asian films. Read about them yourself at Wildgrounds. The festival will run from September 1-11, 2010.

ACF 642: Section23 announces September 2010 releases on DVD and Blu Ray


SECTION23 FILMS ANNOUNCES
SEPTEMBER SLATE

XAM’D Blu Ray Available on September 21st

Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its September slate of releases, including XAM’D. The Stone Cold Mecha Action series will be released on DVD and Blu Ray, from Section23 client Sentai Filmworks.

Product details follow, in order of release.

BLUE DROP COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 9/7/2010
Format: DVD
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Five years ago, something horrifying happened on Kamioki Island. Something so nightmarish that it stripped all memory from Mari Wakatake's mind even as it left every other human on the island dead in its wake! Now enrolled against her will at an isolated girl's academy, Mari is unaware that hidden eyes are watching her, waiting for her memory to return. For buried in her psyche is the most terrifying secret of all: while Mari was the only HUMAN who lived, she may not have been the only survivor! As something in a female skin invades Kaihou Academy, Mari's only hope may lie in a strange girl to whom she is inexplicably drawn yet cannot trust. An all new English dub featuring an all-star cast takes on a story of star-crossed love on an interplanetary scale in BLUE DROP - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION!

GHOST HOUND COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 550 min.
Street Date: 9/14/2010
Format: DVD
SRP: $69.98

GHOST HOUND COMPLETE COLLECTION BLU-RAY EDITION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 550 min.
Street Date: 9/14/2010
Format: BD
SRP: $89.98

SYNOPSIS: When he was three, Taro Komori and his sister were kidnapped, but the kidnapper was run over and killed before the ransom could be delivered. The police eventually found Taro, but not before his sister died. Eleven years later, Taro still has nightmares of the events surrounding the kidnapping and is haunted by a tall, featureless specter. Now, Taro searches for answers in the Hidden Realm, but something sinister is brewing there. The spirits are restless and a malevolent ghost is appearing with increasing frequency. In the "real" world, an out of favor religious cult is finding dozens of new converts, especially among high ranking politicians. And just what the scientists at Dai Nippon Bio are up to is a question in need of an answer. Can Taro and his friends find the answers they need in time to save their friends and families? Unseen spirits, ghosts and out-of-body experiences all combine in an intriguing exploration into the workings of memory and our perception of the world. Don't miss the latest masterpiece from Masamune Shirow and Production I.G: Ghost Hound!

GOLGO 13 COLLECTION 2
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 9/14/2010
Format: DVD
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Get blown away by 13 more episodes of the sniper hit of the year! And this time, Golgo has even more action in his sights. A luxury liner with a bomb, and a sexy fellow assassin, on board. A terrorist cult of suicide bombers. An island paradise disguised as a "hospital" with murderous operations. These are just a few of the hyper-violent, ultra-sexy assignments the number one assassin in the world is taking aim at. Be sure you don't miss a single shot!

XAM'D COLLECTION 1
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 9/21/2010
Format: DVD
SRP: $59.98

XAM'D COLLECTION 1 BLU-RAY EDITION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 9/21/2010
Format: BD
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: When a young boy on a peaceful island becomes the victim of a terrorist attack, he transforms into Xam'd, a powerful mecha capable of extreme power. Now he must discover the depth of his power, and the role he plays in a world where metal and rock meet flesh, desire, and destiny.

HELL GIRL: THREE VESSELS COLLECTION 1
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 9/28/2010
Format: DVD
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: You can take the girl out of Hell, but unfortunately you can't always get the Hell out of the girl. Just when it seemed that Ai Enma was finally at peace, innocent schoolgirl Yuzuki Mikage appears to become the perfect host for Ai. And that's host as in being physically possessed! Ensnared in the web of the Hell Correspondence, ridden by Ai's spirit and joined by a nightmarish new assistant, Yuzuki must now fight to maintain any hold on her real life and friends, even as the darkest secrets of the Hell Girl threaten to consume her! But in a malevolent world where any soul can be sent to Hell with the simple pull of a string, how can any mere human withstand the merciless onslaught of evil without being irrevocably changed? The cycle of damnation and revenge begins anew in the soul-chilling first collection of HELL GIRL - Cauldron of Three!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ACF 641: Four new clips from upcoming MAO'S LAST DANCER


Samuel Goldwyn Films and ATO Pictures are making available four new clips from the upcoming release of MAO’S LAST DANCER, which will open in select US cities on August 20th, 2010.

Click on the links below to view the clips at YouTube.

“Li is Chosen” Clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1Luc8KYJEE

“Liz and Li” Clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWgWmdISinw

“Charles Foster” Clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwEYCCDwDIA

“Li’s Mother” Clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxFs9njSWU8

Watch the trailer at YouTube by clicking here.

MAO’S LAST DANCER, from Academy Award nominated director Bruce Beresford (DRIVING MISS DAISY, TENDER MERCIES), is based on the remarkable true story of renowned ballet dancer Li Cunxin’s journey from an impoverished life in rural China to true stardom on the international stage, brought to life by a talented cast including Bruce Greenwood, Kyle Maclachlan, Joan Chen, Amanda Schull and newcomer Chi Cao. The film is already one of the biggest box office successes of all-time in Australia.

Follow the journey on Facebook by visiting the official MAO’S LAST DANCER page: http://www.facebook.com/maoslastdancer

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ACF 640: Book Review - Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: The Samurai Film Handbook

Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves
Written by Patrick Galloway
Published by Stone Bridge Press, 2005
Paperback version M.S.R.P. $19.95 U.S.
238 pages, numerous b&w illustrations

If you only buy one book about samurai films, this probably should be it. If you have several books about samurai films, this definitely should be one of them. Galloway provides the reader with the kind of information that everyone who loves, or has at least a passing interest in samurai films, should be familiar with.

The first part consists of four chapters of Background:

- The World of the Samurai - provides the historical context of samurai films
- The Samurai Film Genre - includes descriptions of "The Big Five" Japanese movie studios that produced the overwhelming bulk of samurai films
- The Artists - discusses several important directors, screenwriters, and actors
- Seeing the Films - is primarily devoted to explaining the system by which Galloway characterizes the availability of each film reviewed, ranging from "easy" to "tricky" to "tough." Be advised that availability fluctuates over time. Most, perhaps all, of the "easy" titles are still available, though some films do go "out-of-print." In other cases, some films have become "easier" to buy or rent than they were when the book was published.

Part II: The Films, the bulk of the book, uses a chronological approach to discuss the films, starting in the '50s with Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950) and ending with Yoji Yamada's Twilight Samurai (2003). These make wonderful "bookends" as Yamada''s film - the first in his "Samurai Trilogy" - is in many ways the anti-thesis of Kurosawa's style in his saumurai films.

All -- and I do mean all -- the "biggies" are here: Kurosawa's films in the genre, as well as picks from such well-known series as Zatoichi, Sleepy Eyes of Death, Lone Wolf and Club, The Razor, and Lady Snowblood. I've seen all of these, many years ago, but it was still fascinating to read Galloway's descriptions of and thoughts about them. There were also several films discussed that I wasn't familiar with and that I'm grateful for learning about.

The final section is a brief appendix. The major portion of it is a very helpful Glossary and Cross-Index. A nice touch here is having phrases, such as baka ("fool") in black typeface in a grey rectangle, while names of individuals and of movies are in white typeface set in black rectangles. The two page bibliography is divided into print and Internet sources.

Stray Dogs... is both interesting and informative. It's essential reading and a must-have book for anyone with a serious interest in the samurai film genre.

ACF Rating; 4 out of 4 stars, highest recommendation.

Monday, July 26, 2010

ACF 639: Reminder - free screening of GIRL BY GIRL on Tuesday, July 27, 2010

GIRL BY GIRL
South Korea, 2007, 80 minutes
New York Premiere
Showtime: Tuesday, July 27 @ 7pm
Doors open at 6:30 pm
Seating is first come, first served

Just a quick reminder that Korean Cultural Services' Korean Movie Night's next free screening is Girl By Girl, and it'll be shown tomorrow evening.

Where: Tribeca Cinema, 54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, near the Canal Street stops of the A, C and #1 subways lines.

Friday, July 23, 2010

ACF 638: ristorante Paradiso reviewed

ristorante Paradiso © 2006 NATSUME ONO

Recently published in America by VIZ Media as part of its Signature line of manga, ristorante Paradiso is the story of 21 year old Nicoletta, whose mother had divorced her father and left her in the care of her grandfather fifteen years earlier. Mom felt she was "destined" to be with a restaurateur who would never marry a divorced woman, let alone one with a child. Angered and resentful at essentially being abandoned, Nicoletta travels to Rome to expose her mother's secret and ruin the relationship.

Instead, Nicoletta winds up working at the restaurant, the Casetta dell'Orso, where the staff is otherwise male. Handsome, somewhat older males, all of whom wear wire-rim glasses. A prospective romance develops, and suspense is maintained as to whether or not Nicoletta will reveal the truth about her mother.

For me this was most unusual manga, in that it is completely set in Italy and none of the characters are Japanese. It is beautifully drawn in a very linear style. The panels are primarily black and white, with a bit of mid-tone greys thrown in from time-to-time.

ristorant Paradiso is a "T+" rated title (for older teens).

ACF Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars, very highly recommended. A great story-line depicted in lovely images.

Also be aware that Ono has also written a "prequel" manga series entitled Gente: The People Of Ristortante Paradiso. The first volume takes readers back to the opening of Casetta dell'Orso. Both it and volume 2 can be pre-ordered from amazon.com.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ACF 637: Mao's Last Dancer in select U.S. cities starting August 20th, 2010

MAO’S LAST DANCER will be released in select US cities on August 20th by Samuel Goldwyn Films in conjunction with musician Dave Matthew's film company, ATO Pictures. Already one of the biggest box office successes of all-time in Australia, the movie is based on the remarkable true story of renowned ballet dancer Li Cunxin’s journey from an impoverished life in rural China to true stardom on the international stage, brought to life by a talented cast including Bruce Greenwood, Kyle Maclachlan, Joan Chen, Amanda Schull and newcomer Chi Cao.

Official Synopsis:
From Academy Award® nominee Bruce Beresford (DRIVING MISS DAISY, TENDER MERCIES) comes MAO’S LAST DANCER, the inspiring true story of Li Cunxin and his extraordinary journey from a poor upbringing in rural China to international stardom as a world-class ballet dancer. Based on the best selling autobiography, MAO'S LAST DANCER weaves a moving tale about the quest for freedom and the courage it takes to live your own life. The film compellingly captures the struggles, sacrifices and triumphs, as well as the intoxicating effects of first love and celebrity amid the pain of exile.

MAO’S LAST DANCER stars Chi Cao, a gifted dancer and principal at the Birmingham Royal Ballet making his impressive screen debut as Li Cunxin. The cast is rounded out by Bruce Greenwood (STAR TREK; THE SWEET HEREAFTER), Kyle Maclachlan (“Sex and the City”; “Desperate Housewives”), Joan Chen (LUST, CAUTION; THE LAST EMPEROR) and Amanda Schull (CENTER STAGE; “One Tree Hill”).

Follow the journey on Facebook by visiting the official MAO’S LAST DANCER page.

Trailer on YouTube.

Monday, July 19, 2010

ACF 636: Sc-Fi & Fantasy novels from VIZ

(C) 2008 Project Itoh
Originally published in Japan by Hayakawa Publishing, Inc.

VIZ MEDIA DELIVERS SIZZLING SUMMER READING
WITH THREE NEW HAIKASORU RELEASES

The Best In Critically Acclaimed Japanese Science Fiction And Fantasy Continues To Shine In New Releases
From VIZ Media’s Haikasoru Imprint

VIZ Media will deliver out-of-this-world summer science fiction and fantasy reading with the release of three new novels under its Haikasoru imprint this summer – HARMONY by Project Itoh, ROCKET GIRLS by Housuke Nojiri and SUMMER, FIREWORKS, AND MY CORPSE by Otsuichi.

Haikasoru is a unique imprint with a dedicated focus on publishing some of the most compelling contemporary Japanese science fiction and fantasy for English-speaking audiences.

HARMONY by Project Itoh

Price: $14.99 U.S. / CAN $19.99 · Available July 20th

In the distant future, Utopia has finally been achieved thanks to medical nanotechnology and a powerful ethic of social welfare and mutual consideration. But this perfect world isn't that perfect, and three young girls stand up to totalitarian kindness and super-medicine by attempting suicide via starvation. It doesn't work, but one of the girls – Tuan Kirie – grows up to be a member of the World Health Organization. As a crisis threatens the harmony of the new world, Tuan rediscovers another member of her suicide pact, and together they must help save the planet ... from itself.

Keikaku (Project) Itoh was born in Tokyo in 1974 and graduated from Musashino Art University. In 2007, he debuted with Genocidal Organs and took first prize in the "Best SF of 2007" in Japan’s SF Magazine. Itoh is also the author of Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots, a Japanese-language novel based on the popular video game series. After a long battle with cancer, Itoh passed away in March 2009. He wrote HARMONY while in the hospital receiving treatment for the disease.

ROCKET GIRLS by Housuke Nojiri

Price: $13.99 U.S. / CAN $18.99 · Available September 21st

Yukari Morita is a high school girl on a quest to find her missing father. While searching for him in the Solomon Islands, she receives the offer of a lifetime. She'll receive the help she needs to find her father, and all she must do in return is become the world's youngest, lightest astronaut. Yukari and her half sister Matsuri, both petite, are the perfect crew and payload for the Solomon Space Association's rocket launches, or they will be once they complete some rigorous and sometimes dangerous training.

Housuke Nojiri was born in Mie, Japan, in 1961. After working in instrumentation control, CAD programming and video game design, he published his first work in 1992, The Blind Spot of Veis, based on the video game Creguian. He gained further popularity with his subsequent works including the Creguian series and the Rocket Girl series. In 2002, he published USURPER OF THE SUN (published in English by Haikasoru in 2009) and ushered in a new era of science fiction in Japan. After first appearing as a series of short stories, USURPER went on to win the prestigious Seiun Award for Best Japanese Science Fiction Novel of 2002. Nojiri’s other works include Pendulum of Pinieru and Fuwa-Fuwa no Izumi.

SUMMER, FIREWORKS, AND MY CORPSE by Otsuichi

Price: $14.99 U.S. / CAN $19.99 Available September 21st

Two short novels, including the title story and Black Fairy Tale, plus a bonus short story. Summer is the simple story of a nine-year-old girl who dies while on summer vacation. While her youthful killers try to hide her body, she tells us the story--from the point of view of her dead body--of the children's attempt to get away with murder. Black Fairy Tale is classic J-horror: a young girl loses an eye in an accident but receives a transplant. Now she can see again, but what she sees out of her new left eye is the experiences and memories of its previous owner. Its previous deceased owner.

Born 1978 in Fukuoka, Japan, Otsuichi won the Sixth Jump Short Fiction/Nonfiction Prize when he was seventeen with his debut story "Summer, Fireworks, and My Corpse." Now recognized as one of the most talented young fantasy/horror writers in Japan, his other English-language works include the short story collection Calling You and the Honkaku Mystery Prize-winning novel Goth.

For more information on Haikasoru, please visit the dedicated website at http://www.haikasoru.com/

Sunday, July 18, 2010

ACF 635: Free screening of GIRL BY GIRL on Tuesday, July 27, 2010

GIRL BY GIRL
South Korea, 2007, 80 minutes
New York Premiere
Showtime: Tuesday, July 27 @ 7pm
Doors open at 6:30 pm
Seating is first come, first served

Korean Cultural Services' Korean Movie Night's next free screening is Girl By Girl.

Where: Tribeca Cinema, 54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, near the Canal Street stops of the A, C and #1 subways lines

Description: Starting life as a student film made for cable TV, GIRL BY GIRL (SONYEO X SONYEO) became a popular hit thanks to its ferociously committed lead performance by Kwak Ji-Min, the star of Kim Ki-Duk’s SAMARITAN GIRL (a terrific film, by the way, says Dr. G) and one of the actors in the bawdy, over-the-top DASEPO NAUGHTY GIRLS. In GIRL BY GIRL Kwak plays a troublemaking high school student out for a good time and nothing more. When she and a model student both fall for the same guy, she figures that this means war, and so she manages to convince the model student that their dream man only likes bad girls, while trying to turn herself into the perfect high school girl he actually desires. It sounds contrived, and it is, but Kwak’s go-for-broke performance papers over all the rough spots with its speed and commitment. She’s heartless one minute, ridiculous another and then oddly sympathetic, just like a real teenager.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

ACF 634: VIZ Media at Comic-Con San Diego

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES EXCITING PERSONAL APPEARANCES, ACTIVITIES AND SHOW EXCLUSIVES
FOR 2010 COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL

Comics And Pop Culture Icon Stan Lee To Host Signing Session And Discussion On His Manga Series ULTIMO, VIZ Media Welcomes
Cast Of VAMPIRE KNIGHT Anime
And Exclusive Products For Sale In Booth 2813

VIZ Media has announced an exciting roster of personal appearances, panel discussions, events, giveaways and convention exclusives for 2010 Comic-Con International. Comic-Con is the nation’s largest comic book and science fiction event, and takes place July 21-25 at the San Diego Convention Center, CA. VIZ Media will be located in Booth 2813.

Fans won’t want to miss a very special opportunity to meet comics and pop culture icon Stan Lee, co-creator along with Hiroyuki Takei (SHAMAN KING) of the groundbreaking ULTIMO manga series (rated ‘T’ for Teens), on Saturday, July 24th. Mr. Lee will be a special guest at the SHONEN JUMP Panel, scheduled at 10:30AM in Room #9, where fans will get the latest manga and anime news and on-the-spot surprises, including a special ULTIMO button for all attendees. Mr. Lee will also make an in-person appearance at the VIZ Media booth for a signing session of ULTIMO Volume 2 at 1:15pm.

VAMPIRE KNIGHT (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) is the newest anime series to captivate fans and is based on the smash hit manga series by Matsuri Hino, also published by VIZ Media. To celebrate the release of DVD Volume 1, the company is pleased to welcome as guests the talented voice actors Mela Lee (Yuki), Vic Mignogna (Zero) and Ethan Murray (Kaname) on Friday, July 23rd. Catch Vic Mignogna in the VIZ Media booth at 11:00am, where he will host the VAMPIRE KNIGHT trivia game. The festivities continue at 1:00pm, where fans will have the opportunity to meet the three voice actors at an in-booth signing session. Round out the day at the VAMPIRE KNIGHT Panel, at 3:30pm in Room #9, where VAMPIRE KNIGHT manga editor Nancy Thistlethwaite and the VAMPIRE KNIGHT voice actors will have an in-depth discussion of the edgy gothic romantic drama. There will also be a raffle, featuring exclusive prizes, for fans who come dressed in their best VAMPIRE KNIGHT costume.

The VIZ Media booth will be an exciting destination on the show floor for fans, with exclusive products available for purchase during special times throughout the show (attendees should check the digital signboard at the front of the booth for the daily schedule). For the NARUTO SHIPPUDEN fan, there will be a NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Limited Edition Sage Naruto Figure from Toynami and straight-from-Japan full-color reproduction NARUTO SHIPPUDEN animation cels (from Digital Manga) featuring favorite characters Naruto and Sasuke. Two special VAMPIRE KNIGHT bundles will be offered: VAMPIRE KNIGHT anime DVD Volume 1 with a Cross Academy armband set, and a set of 6 collectable VAMPIRE KNIGHT pins (armband and pins both from Great Eastern). Also available will be a bundle featuring ONE PIECE Volume 54 (rated ‘T’ for Teens) and ONE PIECE Limited Edition Luffy Mallow (from FUNimation and Shocker Toys), and exclusive BLEACH iPhone 3G/3GS cell phone cases from France in two designs featuring Ichigo and Toshiro.

VIZ Media will be offering a variety of fun activities at the booth this year. Fans can pose with their favorite VAMPIRE KNIGHT or KEKKAISHI anime characters in a special photo area. Test your knowledge in the NARUTO and BLEACH trivia games. Try the fan-favorite claw catcher game to snag fun NARUTO SHIPPUDEN or BLEACH prizes. Everyone’s a winner at the VIZ Media Treasure Trove, where players grab a coin to exchange for cool prizes. Fans can sample the video game area, featuring Namco Bandai Games America with a preview of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN (Rated T for Teen) for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation® 3. Scan your badge to enter to win a NARUTO SHIPPUDEN-branded PSP® game system and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3 (Rated T for Teen) for the PSP® (no purchase necessary), and get a Bandai collectible card good for three free NARUTO SHIPPUDEN episodes on the PlayStation® Network.

The VIZ Media collectable tote bag is back in a brand new color for 2010 – get your free bag to see what series are featured this year. Other giveaways include BIOMEGA posters, VIZ Media Bling, VAMPIRE KNIGHT manga samplers, and much more while supplies last!

Finally, VIZ Media is proud to have three manga titles – OISHINBO (rated ‘T’ for Teens), by Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki; PLUTO: URASAWA _ TEZUKA (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens), by Naoki Urasawa, Takashi Nagasaki, Macoto Tezka and Tezuka Productions; and NAOKI URASAWA’S 20TH CENTURY BOYS (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens), by Naoki Urasawa – nominated for 5 awards for the 2010 Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, which are considered the Oscars of the comic book industry. In addition, Naoki Urasawa is nominated for Best Writer/Artist for his work on NAOKI URASAWA’S 20TH CENTURY BOYS and PLUTO: URASAWA _ TEZUKA. Winners will be announced at a gala ceremony at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel on the evening of Friday, July 23rd.

For more up-to-date information on VIZ Media’s activities at San Diego Comic-Con International, visit www.VIZAnime.com/comiccon/.

Friday, July 16, 2010

ACF 633: Final JAPAN CUTS screenings

Tonight, Friday, July 16th, 2010, marks the end of another incredible Asian film festival series. Japan Society's JAPAN CUTS: Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema will conclude with these two films:

About Her Brother © 2010 “About Her Brother” Production Committee.

6:15 PM About Her Brother, 126 minutes
- North American Premiere
- Directed by the legendary Yoji Yamada

Sweet Little Lies © 2010 “Sweet Little Lies” Production Committee.

8:30 PM Sweet Little Lies, 117 minutes
- U.S. Premiere
- Introduction and Q&A with director Hitoshi Yazaki

For info about all the films shown in the JAPAN CUTS 2010 festival, click here.

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, New York City.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

ACF 632: JAPAN CUTS screenings for July 15th and 16th, 2010

Today, Thursday, July 15th,, is the next-to-last day of Japan Society's JAPAN CUTS: Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema. The two films that will be shown this evening are:

Memories of Matsuko © 2006 Amuse Soft Entertainment / Kiraware Matsuko no Isshô Seisaku Iinkai / Tokyo Broadcasting Systems, Inc. (TBS) / Toho Co., Ltd. / I-On New Media / Nihon Eiga Satellite Broadcasting / Third Window Films. All Rights Reserved.

6:15 PM Memories of Matsuko, 130 minutes
- Memories of Matsuko won the Audience Award, as determined by audience ballots, at the 2007 New York Asian Film Festival
- This screening represents another opportunity to view this outstanding film

Zero Focus © 2009 DENTSU / Toho Co., Ltd. / TV ASAHI CORPORATION / KINOSHITA CO., LTD. / The Asahi Shimbun / NIPPON SHUPPAN HANBAI / Yahoo Japan / TOKYO FM Broadcasting / Asahi Broadcasting / AGOYA BROADCASTING NETWORK / IMJ Entertainment / TSUTAYA Group / FLaMme / Kyushu Asahi Broadcasting / Hokkaido Television Broadcasting / HOKURIKU ASAHI BROADCASTING / Hiroshima Home Television / ehime asahi television. All Rights Reserved.

9:00 PM Zero Focus, 130 minutes

Tomorrow night, Friday, July 16th, is the final night of the festival and will feature:

6:15 About Her Brother, 126 minutes
- North American Premiere

ACF Comments on "About Her Brother":

Venerable director Yoji Yamada, who has long ago secured himself a place in the pantheon of great Japanese directors, has outdone himself with this remarkable film. About Her Brother is a touching, heartwrenching family drama that features a terrific screenplay (co-written by Emiko Hirmatsu and Yamada himself) and an outstanding cast (starring Sayuri Yoshinaga, Tsurube Shofukutei, and Aoi Yu, who is one of, if not the best young Japanese actressses around).

The film is about family, compassion, and forgiveness, and you're forewarned to have tissues or a handkerchief ready near the film's end. If your eyes are dry, you have some kind of serious medical condition, namely you either have no heart or no feelings.

ACF rating: 4 out of 4 stars - highest recommendation. This is don't miss cinema for grown up people.

8:30 Sweet Little Lies, 117 minutes
- U.S. Premiere

For info about all the films shown in the JAPAN CUTS 2010 festival, click here.

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, New York City.

ACF 631: INUYASHA limited time promo

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES SPECIAL NEW PROMOTION
FOR INUYASHA FEATURE FILMS AND TV EPISODES
AVAILABLE FROM iTUNES, HULU AND VIZANIME.COM

Offered At Special Prices Only For Limited Time

VIZ Media has announced a new promotion for INUYAHSA episodes and feature films (all rated ‘T’ for Teens) available now from the iTunes Store in the U.S. and Canada(http://www.itunes.com/), as well as the streaming content provider HULU http://www.hulu.com/) and VIZAnime.com, the company’s premier website for anime.

iTunes will offer the first three INUYASHA feature films (dubbed) – INUYASHA THE MOVIE: AFFECTIONS TOUCHING ACROSS TIME, INUYASHA THE MOVIE 2: THE CASTLE BEYOND THE LOOKING GLASS, and INUYASHA THE MOVIE 3: SWORDS OF AN HONORABLE RULER, for a special Download-To-Own (DTO) sale price of $4.99 (U.S.) each until August 3rd. Additionally, INUYASHA TV episode 1 is available to download for FREE, and episodes 2-167, covering Seasons 1-7, will be 50% off and available for iTunes users to download for only $0.99 each.

HULU will stream INUYASHA: AFFECTIONS TOUCHING ACROSS TIME (subtitled) for free until August 11th; it will also be available during the same period on VIZAnime.com, the free-to-use interactive web destination that is the permanent home to some of the company’s best-loved animated series.

INUYASHA is a hit TV anime series is based on a massively popular manga (also published by VIZ Media, rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) by famed creator Rumiko Takahashi, who won the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award for the series in 2002. Many of Takahashi’s titles have been adapted into other media such as anime, live-action TV series, and film. The INUYASHA anime series ran for 167 episodes in total and has also spawned an exciting finale series, INUYASHA THE FINAL ACT (also available on VIZAnime.com), as well as several successful feature films.

INUYASHA
When an enchanted well draws her into the past, Kagome, an ordinary modern schoolgirl, finds her destiny tied to the doglike half-demon Inuyasha and a mythical gem called the Shikon Jewel, or "Jewel of Four Souls," of which the smallest shard can grant the user unimaginable power. Throughout their quest to restore the shattered Shikon Jewel, Inuyasha and Kagome have never faced an enemy more deadly or more cunning than the demon mastermind Naraku. With the Shikon Jewel nearly whole and in Naraku’s hands, the race to collect the remaining shards intensifies and a battle of epic proportions is brewing on the horizon...

INUYASHA THE MOVIE: AFFECTIONS TOUCHING ACROSS TIME
200 years ago, Inuyasha's father sealed away a powerful demon from a foreign land named Hyoga. A Shikon Jewel shard awakens Hyoga's son, Menomaru, inspiring him to absorb the remains of his father's power to take control of the world! It's now up to Inuyasha and his friends to stop this nearly invincible foe!

INUYASHA THE MOVIE 2: THE CASTLE BEYOND THE LOOKING GLASS
With their greatest foe seemingly defeated, Inuyasha and his friends return to their lives. But their short period of peace is once again shattered as a new enemy begins to emerge. Kaguya, the self-proclaimed Princess from the Moon of legend, begins a plan to plunge the world into a perpetual night of the full moon. Inuyasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sango and Shippo must once again unite to face a new threat.

INUYASHA THE MOVIE 3: SWORDS OF AN HONORABLE RULER
Many years ago, the Great Dog Demon wielded the Three Swords of the Fang. Upon his death, he bequeathed a sword to each of his sons, Inuyasha and Sesshomaru, leaving the third sword, the wrath-filled Sounga, locked away forever. Now that the Sounga's power has been awakened, these two battling brothers must put away their sibling rivalry and face off against the force that spells doom for all mankind.

Learn more about the INUYASHA anime and manga series at VIZAnime.com or ShonenSunday.com.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ACF 630: Schedule of JAPAN CUTS screenings for July 14th and 15th

Tonight, Wednesday, July 14th, there will be two films shown:


Villon's wife (c) 2009 Fuji Television Network, Inc. / PAPADO Inc. / SHINCHOSHA Publishing Co. Ltd. /
Nihon Eiga Satellite Broadcasting Corporation

6:30 PM Villon's Wife, 114 minutes
- New York Premiere

Nightmare Detective 2 (c) SHINYA TSUKAMOTO / KAUYU THEATER

9:00 PM Nightmare Detective 2, 102 minutes
- U.S. Premiere

ACF mini-review of Nightmare Detective 2:

Shinya Tsukamoto directs this sequel to his 2006 hit, and Ryuhei Matsuda reprises his role as Kyoichi Kagenuma, the titular character. Kyoichi is able to cure people of their nightmares by entering their dreams, but often at great cost to himself.

This time around, he agrees to help Yukie, a fifteen year old high school student who tormented one of her female classmates. Her situation seems to offer him insight into his own past and the death of his mother.

This is a darker and more psychological film than the original. Furthermore, it lacks a really compelling protagonist. In the first film, that role was played by Tsukamoto himself as 'O'. I found Nightmare Detective 2 a bit too talky and lacking in action. There was also more jittery, hand-held camera work than I care for.

Despite the above, and although the thriller/horror genre is not among my favorites, I still found Nightmare Detective 2 to be a compelling film and think it's well-worth your time and energy.

ACF Rating: 3 out of 4 stars (recommended).

The schedule for tomorrow, Thursday, July 15th,2010 is:

6:15 PM Memories of Matsuko, 130 minutes
- A Best of Unreleased Naughties film
- Memories of Matsuko won the Audience Award, as determined by audience ballots, at the 2007 New York Asian Film Festival, where it was a co-presentation with the first JAPAN CUTS series
- This screening represents another opportunity to view this outstanding film

9:00 PM Zero Focus, 130 minutes

For info about all the films shown in the JAPAN CUTS 2010 festival, click here.

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, New York City.

ACF 629: Sneak preview of Resilience at The Korea Society NY this Thursday


Tomorrow, Thursday, July 15th, The Korea Society NY will present a sneak preview of Resilience, a documentary film that takes a unique look at international adoption from the perspective of a Korean birth mother and her American son.

From an emotional first reunion on national television to subsequent meetings and departures, the two struggle with 30 years of separation, and two countries, families, languages, and cultures. Resilience touches on issues about birth mothers, adoptees, and adoptive families everywhere.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with director and producer Tammy Chu and co-producer Jessica Windt.

Thursday, July 15, 2010
6:00 PM Registration and Reception
6:30 PM Screening
7:45 PM Q&A with Producers

BUY TICKETS

The Korea Society
950 Third Avenue @ 57th Street (South-West corner), 8th Floor
- entrance is on Third Avenue

$5 for members ($10 non-members)

Walk-in registration will incur an additional charge of $5.

For more information or to register for the program, please contact Natalee Newcombe or call 212-759-7525, ext. 328

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ACF 628: JAPAN CUTS schedule for July 13th and 14th, 2010

JAPAN CUTS: Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema resumes tonight, Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 with a single encore screening of Oh, My Buddha!:

Oh, My Buddha! (c) 2009 "Oh, My Buddha!" Film Partners

6:15 PM Oh, My Buddha! (114 minutes)
- This screening is to be introduced by actor Daichi Watanabe, followed by a Q&A

On Wednesday, July 14th, two films will be shown:

6:30 PM Villon's Wife, 114 minutes
- New York Premiere

9:00 PM Nightmare Detective II, 102 minutes
- U.S. Premiere

For info about all the films shown in the JAPAN CUTS 2010 festival, click here.

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, New York City.

ACF 627: Reminder - Free screening of Tokyo Taxi tonight!

Just a reminder that Korean Cultural Service NY's next KOREAN MOVIE NIGHT series begins tonight with a free screening of:

TOKYO TAXI
South Korea, 2010, 76 minutes
New York Premiere

Showtime: Tuesday, July 13 @ 7pm (doors open at 6:30)

Where: Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, one block from the A, C, E and 1 train Canal Street stops

All seating is first come, first serve.

Description:
Award-winning, arthouse darling, director Kim Tae-Sik (DRIVING WITH MY WIFE’S LOVER), made this TV movie that was so acclaimed it went on to do the film festival rounds. Ryo (Masashi Yamada) is going to ruin everything. His band has been invited to a play a concert in Seoul, but he’s terrified of flying and so he cowers in Tokyo. But in a burst of inspiration he hails a taxi and demands that it honor its pledge to take him to any destination, in this case, Seoul. And so begins an epic odyssey of passenger and driver across hundreds of miles and two countries in this wry, sharply-observed comedy. One of the best and most ambitious of the made-for-TV movies, it helped launch the career of Yu Hana, who plays an Asiana stewardess and Ryo’s unobtainable object of desire.

Korean Cultural Service Korean Movie Night Series Three: TV Party:
In America, Korea is famous for its movies, but across most of the world it’s famous for its TV. Korean drama series have sparked what’s known as the Hallyu Wave, which has seen Korean television score everywhere in Asia, from China to Japan. Some Korean TV stars are even more popular overseas than they are at home. Korean television dramas have been so popular in Malaysia that kimchi imports to that country jumped 150% after the airing of several series, and Korean TV series are part of primetime programming both in Cambodia and Iran.

Monday, July 12, 2010

ACF 626: Oh, My Buddha at Japan Society on Tuesday, Juy 13th, 2010

JAPAN CUTS: Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema resumes tomorrow, Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 with a single screening:

Oh, My Buddha (c) 2009 "Oh, My Buddha!" Film Partners

6:15 PM Oh, My Buddha! (114 minutes)
- Introduction and Q&A with director Tomorowo Taguchi (probably best known for his role as the mutating salaryman in Tetsuo) and actor Daichi Watanabe

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, New York City.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

ACF 625: King of Thorn at Japan Society today, Sunday, July 11th, 2010

There is only one JAPAN CUTS film scheduled for today, Sunday, July 11th:

King of Thorn (c) 2010 "King of Thorn" Production Committee"

6:00 PM King of Thorn
- North American Premiere of this sci-fi anime

For information about this and the remaining films in the JAPAN CUTS series, click here.

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, New York City.

(Note that there are no films scheduled for the JAPAN CUTS series tomorrow, Monday, July 12th. Check back here for the schedule for Tuesday.)

ACF 624: Stan Lee to make special appearance at L.A. Barnes & Noble

KARAKURI DOJI ULTIMO © 2008 by Stan Lee–POW! Entertainment/Dream Ranch, Hiroyuki Takei/SHUEISHA Inc.

COMIC BOOK ICON STAN LEE TO MAKE A
LOS ANGELES PERSONAL APPEARANCE TO CELEBRATE
HIS NEWEST CO-CREATION ULTIMO

In addition to his upcoming appearance at Comic-Con in San Diego on Saturday, July 24th, Stan Lee will also be making a special appearance in Los Angeles next Friday, July 16th:

VIZ Media has announced a very special personal appearance by comic book legend Stan Lee on Friday, June 16th at 7:00pm at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove at Farmers Market in Los Angeles, located at 189 Grove Drive Suite K 30, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

Lee is the co-creator of comics’ most iconic superheroes including Spider-Man™, the Fantastic Four™, and the X-Men™. His Barnes & Noble appearance celebrates the release of Volume 2 of his latest co-creation – ULTIMO, and he will be autographing copies of ULTIMO Volumes 1 and 2.

ULTIMO (rated ‘T’ for Teens) is a historic East-meets-West collaboration between Lee and famed Japanese manga creator, Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of the popular SHAMAN KING series. ULTIMO, Volume 2 is available in stores now and is also serialized in VIZ Media’s SHONEN JUMP Magazine.

VIZ Media will also welcome Stan Lee for a special appearance in the company’s booth #2813 on Saturday, July 24th at Comic-Con International 2010, the nation’s largest comic book convention taking place in San Diego, CA.

The ULTIMO back-story: High above Farmless City, citizens are stunned by the sudden appearance of two floating figures. Are they human boys, monolithic robots, or something much more strange? As the battle ensues between them, destruction and devastation falls on the hapless city. One figure is Vice, who seems to be as evil as his name implies. The other is Ultimo, intent on trying to stop Vice from wreaking more havoc. But who are Vice and Ultimo really? Where did they come from? In Volume 2, with girl and money troubles, life is hard enough for high school student Yamato, but then he stumbles upon Ultimo, a peculiar-looking puppet. Things only get stranger when Ultimo awakens and his archenemy, Vice, shows up. Ultimo and Vice are Karakuri Dôji, the mechanical embodiment of pure good and pure evil, devoid of human emotions that can cloud one’s judgment. Their purpose: to battle to the death to prove once and for all whether good or evil is the most powerful force in the universe.

For more information on ULTIMO visit Ultimo.viz.com or www.shonenjump.com.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

ACF 623: JAPAN CUTS schedule for Saturday, July 10 & Sunday, July 11

These films will be shown today, Saturday, July 10th, 2010 at the Japan Society:

Parade © 2009 “Parade” Production Committee

12:00 PM Parade (118 minutes)

Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World (c) 2004 Toho Co., Ltd./Tokyo Broadcasting Systems, Inc./
Hakuhodo DY Media Partners/Shogakukan, Inc./S.D.P./Mainichi Broadcasting System

3:00 PM Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World (138 minutes)
- New York Premiere

Oh, My Buddha (c) 2009 "Oh, My Buddha!" Film Partners

6:00 PM Oh, My Buddha! (114 minutes)
- New York Premiere
- This screening is to be introduced by actor Daichi Watanabe, followed by a Q&A

The NIGHT OF THE FILMMAKERS Party will follow Saturday night's screening of Oh, My Buddha!

Only one film is scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday, July 11th, 2010:

King of Thorn (c) 2010 "King of Thorn" Production Committee"

6:00 PM King of Thorn
- North American Premiere of this sci-fi anime

For information about these and the remaining films in the JAPAN CUTS series, click here.

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, New York City.

ACF 622: Stan Lee to appear at Comic-Con in San Diego on Saturday, July 24th

KARAKURI DOJI ULTIMO © 2008 by Stan Lee–POW! Entertainment/Dream Ranch, Hiroyuki Takei/SHUEISHA Inc.

VIZ MEDIA AND POW! ENTERTAINMENT WELCOME ULTIMO
CO-CREATOR STAN LEE FOR A PERSONAL APPEARANCE
AT 2010 COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL

Legendary Comic Book Creator To Participate In SHONEN JUMP
Panel Discussion And A Special In-Booth Signing Session

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), and POW! Entertainment (POW!) are proud to welcome comic book legend Stan Lee for a special signing at the VIZ Media booth #2813 on Saturday, July 24th, at Comic-Con International 2010 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA.

Stan Lee will appear at the VIZ Media booth at the nation’s largest comic book convention to help celebrate the release of ULTIMO Volume 2. ULTIMO (rated ‘T’ for Teens) is the historic collaboration between Stan Lee and famed Japanese manga creator Hiroyuki Takei, and has been serialized in SHONEN JUMP Magazine since its debut in 2009. Volume 2 is available in stores now. Starting at 4PM on Thursday, July 22nd, and Friday, July 23rd, the first 60 fans to purchase ULTIMO Volume 2 at the VIZ Media booth each day will receive a ticket to have their copy personally autographed by Mr. Lee on Saturday, July 24th, at 1:15PM.

VIZ Media will also welcome Stan Lee as a special guest at the SHONEN JUMP panel, scheduled for Saturday, July 24th, from 10:30-11:30AM in Room 9.

ULTIMO represents a rare East-meets-West production between comics legend Stan Lee, co-creator of many iconic superheroes including Spider-Man™, the Fantastic Four™, and the X-Men™, and Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of the popular SHAMAN KING manga series, published in Japan by Shueisha and in North America by VIZ Media.

The ULTIMO back-story: High above Farmless City, citizens are stunned by the sudden appearance of two floating figures. Are they human boys, monolithic robots, or something much more strange? As the battle ensues between them, destruction and devastation falls on the hapless city. One figure is Vice, who seems to be as evil as his name implies. The other is Ultimo, intent on trying to stop Vice from wreaking more havoc. But who are Vice and Ultimo really? Where did they come from? In Volume 2, with girl and money troubles, life is hard enough for high school student Yamato, but then he stumbles upon Ultimo, a peculiar-looking puppet.

Things only get stranger when Ultimo awakens and his archenemy, Vice, shows up. Ultimo and Vice are Karakuri Dôji, the mechanical embodiment of pure good and pure evil, devoid of human emotions that can cloud one’s judgment. Their purpose: to battle to the death to prove once and for all whether good or evil is the most powerful force in the universe.

For over half a century, Stan Lee has been synonymous with superhero comics. In addition to co-creating countless memorable series and characters, including Spider-Man™, the Incredible Hulk™, and Daredevil™, he served as the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics. Lee remains a hugely respected and dynamic figure in the entertainment industry and continues to develop a variety of film, television and video game properties.

“We are extremely honored to have a legend of Stan Lee’s stature as a guest at the VIZ Media booth for a special signing at Comic-Con this year,” says Christopher Boily, SHONEN JUMP Editor-In-Chief. “The groundbreaking collaboration of the ULTIMO manga has been a great success, and we are also extremely excited to welcome Mr. Lee as a guest at this year’s Shonen Jump panel in celebration of the release of Volume 2 of ULTIMO!”

Stan Lee and his producing partner Gill Champion’s company, POW! Entertainment (Pinksheets: POWN.PK), worked with VIZ Media parent company Shueisha, and with JEA and Dream Ranch to facilitate the development of ULTIMO. Champion, POW!’s COO and President, says, “Fans won't want to miss Ultimo Volume 2 as more of the mysteries surrounding the Karakuri Dôji are finally explained. The characters that Stan and Hiroyuki Takei have created together are both classic and unique at the same time, with many different aspects that both manga and American comic fans will enjoy!"

More information on ULTIMO, SHONEN JUMP and VIZ Media please at ultimo.viz.com or www.shonenjump.com. You can also stay up-to-date on all Shonen Jump happenings by following ShonenJump on Twitter.

Friday, July 09, 2010

ACF 621: Schedules for Friday & Saturday JAPAN CUTS screenings

Today, Friday, July 9th, 2010, these two films will be shown at Japan Society's JAPAN CUTS film festival:

Zero Focus © 2009 “Zero Focus” Seisaku Iinkai All Rights Reserved

6:30 PM Zero Focus (130 minutes)

Parade © 2009 “Parade” Production Committee

9:00 PM Parade (118 minutes)
- New York Premiere

These films will be shown on Saturday, July 10th, 2010:

12:00 PM Parade (118 minutes)

3:00 PM Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World (138 minutes)
- New York Premiere

6:00 PM Oh, My Buddha! (114 minutes)
- New York Premiere

The NIGHT OF THE FILMMAKERS Party will follow the screening of Oh, My Buddha!

For information about these and the remaining films in the JAPAN CUTS series, click here.

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, New York City.

ACF 620: Korean Movie Night Series Three: TV Party starts Tuesday, July 13th

Korean Cultural Service NY's next KOREAN MOVIE NIGHT series will run from July 13, 2010 – August 24, 2010.

When: Every other Tuesday @ 7pm
Where: Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, one block from the A, C, E and 1 train Canal Street stops

Price? Free!
All seating is first come, first serve.
Doors open at 6:30pm.

Series Three: TV Party
In America, Korea is famous for its movies, but across most of the world it’s famous for its TV. Korean drama series have sparked what’s known as the Hallyu Wave, which has seen Korean television score everywhere in Asia, from China to Japan. Some Korean TV stars are even more popular overseas than they are at home. Korean television dramas have been so popular in Malaysia that kimchi imports to that country jumped 150% after the airing of several series, and Korean TV series are part of primetime programming both in Cambodia and Iran.

First up is:

TOKYO TAXI
South Korea, 2010, 76 minutes
New York Premiere
Tuesday, July 13 @ 7pm

Award-winning, arthouse darling, director Kim Tae-Sik (DRIVING WITH MY WIFE’S LOVER), made this TV movie that was so acclaimed it went on to do the film festival rounds. Ryo (Masashi Yamada) is going to ruin everything. His band has been invited to a play a concert in Seoul, but he’s terrified of flying and so he cowers in Tokyo. But in a burst of inspiration he hails a taxi and demands that it honor its pledge to take him to any destination, in this case, Seoul. And so begins an epic odyssey of passenger and driver across hundreds of miles and two countries in this wry, sharply-observed comedy. One of the best and most ambitious of the made-for-TV movies, it helped launch the career of Yu Hana, who plays an Asiana stewardess and Ryo’s unobtainable object of desire.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

ACF 619: Farewell to this year's NYAFF

Today, Thursday, June 8th, 2010, is the last day of this year's New York Asian Film Festival. (Fortunately, Japan Society's JAPAN CUTS film series will continue through Friday July 16th.)

Here's today's schedule of the final NYAFF films playing at The Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater, at 165 West 65th Street, Upper Level, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue:

Tian An Men
1:45 Tian An Men (97 minutes)

3:35 Merantau (106 minutes)

Gallants
6:00 Gallants (98 minutes)
- intro and Q&A by Bruce Leung

8:45 Blades of Blood (110 minutes)

For info about these final NYAFF films, click here.

ACF 618: JAPAN CUTS schedules for today and Friday

Today, Thursday, July 8th, 2010, two films will be shown at Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, as part of its JAPAN CUTS: Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema film series:

Image (c) "Accidental Kidnapper" Production Committee

6:15 PM Accidental Kidnapper (111 minutes)

Image (c) 2008 "One Million Yen Girl" Production Committee

8:30 One Million Yen Girl (121 minutes)
- A Best of Unreleased Naughties! film
- Stars the lovely and talented Yu Aoi, who I first fell in love with when I saw her star in Hula Girls (2006). She was also terrific as one of the leads in Honey & Clover, which was released in 2007.

On Friday, July 9th, 2010, these two films will be shown:

Zero Focus © 2009 “Zero Focus” Seisaku Iinkai All Rights Reserved

6:30 PM Zero Focus (130 minutes)

Parade © 2009 “Parade” Production Committee

9:00 PM Parade (118 minutes)

For information about these and the remaining films in the JAPAN CUTS series, click here.

ACF 617: Mao's Last Dancer to screen at AAIFF on Saturday, July 17th, 2010

MAO’S LAST DANCER is based on the remarkable true story of renowned ballet dancer Li Cunxin’s journey from an impoverished life in rural China to true stardom on the international stage, brought to life by a talented cast including Bruce Greenwood, Kyle Maclachlan, Joan Chen, Amanda Schull and newcomer Chi Cao. Already one of the biggest box office successes of all-time in Australia, Samuel Goldwyn Films will be releasing MAO’S LAST DANCER in conjunction with musician Dave Matthews’ film company, ATO Pictures, in select US cities on August 20th.

Prior to it's opening in select U.S. cities in August, Mao's Last Dancer will be shown at the Asian American International Film Festival in New York City on Saturday, July 17th, 2010, at 6:00 PM. For info about that screening, click here.

Follow the journey on Facebook by visiting the official MAO’S LAST DANCER page.

Trailer on YouTube.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

ACF 616: NYAFF concludes, JAPAN CUTS continues tomorrow, Thursday, July 8th

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 8th, 2010, will hopefully mark the end of New York City's current heat wave. Whatever the weather, Thursday will somewhat sadly be the final day of this year's New York Asian Film Festival. Fortunately, the JAPAN CUTS film series will continue through Friday July 16th.

Here's the schedule of NYAFF films playing on Thursday at The Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater, at 165 West 65th Street, Upper Level, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue:

Tian An Men
1:45 Tian An Men (97 minutes)

3:35 Merantau (106 minutes)

Gallants
6:00 Gallants (98 minutes)
- intro and Q&A by Bruce Leung

8:45 Blades of Blood (110 minutes)

For info about these final NYAFF films, click here.

Also on Thursday, two films will be shown at Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, as part of its JAPAN CUTS: Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema film series:

Image (c) "Accidental Kidnapper" Production Committee

6:15 PM Accidental Kidnapper (111 minutes)

Image (c) 2008 "One Million Yen Girl" Production Committee

8:30 One Million Yen Girl (121) minutes)
- A Best of Unreleased Naughties! film
- Stars Yu Aoi, who I first fell in love with when he saw her star in Hula Girls (2006). She was also terrific as one of the leads in Honey & Clover, which was released in 2007.

For information about these and the remaining films in the JAPAN CUTS series, click here.

For my blog post with info about today's (Wednesday's) schedules, click here.