With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Friday, February 28, 2014

North American theatrical run of VENUS TALK begins today

Venus Talk / Gwan-neung-ui Beob-chik
Directed by KWON Chul-In
South Korea, 2014, 108 minutes
Presented by Lotte Entertainment
Produced by Myung Films
Distributed by CJ Entertainment and Dream West Pictures

Directed by KWON Chul-In (Singles, 2003), Venus Talk begins its North American theatrical run in select theaters today, February 28th, approximately two weeks after its original release in South Korea. (Check local listings to see if it's playing in your area.) The film stars three of Korea’s most accomplished and provocative actresses as very close friends in modern day Seoul. They're in their early 40s and find themselves confronting anew the issues of love, relationships, commitment, and -- not insignificantly -- sex, at this stage of their lives.

LEE Jae-Yoon (left) and UHM Jung-Hwa

Shin-Hye (UHM Jung-Hwa, Haeundae) is a smart, capable and talented producer at a cable station. Unfortunately, she has a knack of getting involved with men in the industry. After an affair with a director ends, she has a one night stand with CHOI Hyun-seung (LEE Jae-Yoon), an incredibly handsome production assistant who, at 28 years of age, is much younger than she is. Despite the difference in age, he wants to have an ongoing relationship with her, but she is reluctant to get involved.

Actor LEE Sung-Min (left )and actress MOON So-Ri

Mi-Yeon (MOON So-Ri, Oasis) is a housewife who has a very lively libido. With their only child, a son, studying abroad, it would seem to be the perfect time for her and her husband to indulge in glorious, uninhibited sex with one another. However her husband is increasingly hard-put (no pun intended) to keep up with her sexual appetite. Viagra and pornography alone prove to be not enough for him to deal with the situation.

Actor LEE Kyeong-Yeong (left) and actress JO Min-Soo

Hae-Young (JO Min-Soo, Pieta) is a single mom who has her own bakery and is in a lovely relationship with Mr. LEE, an age-appropriate carpenter. Their relationship is made difficult by the presence of her 20-something and still-living-at-home daughter Su-Jung. Just as that issue seems on the verge of getting resolved another and much more significant problem arises.

Actresses MOON So-ri, JO Min-Soo and UHM Jung-Hwa

The film is most definitely a Korean take on the Sex in the City TV series and movies. But there's nothing wrong with that, since it's so well done. The situations are believable, the writing is good, and the direction is solid. Most importantly, the acting is fantastic. This is not surprising given the three female leads, but it can also be said of all the supporting cast as well.


According to Korean Cinema Today (February 2014, Vol. 35), Myung Films, which produced the movie, was hoping to tap into the growing pool of older filmgoers who have been a significant part of South Korea's recent domestic box office boom. The beefcake shots of LEE Jae-Yoon and the way the simulated sex scenes are filmed seem to clearly indicate that the movie is intended to appeal mainly to the female audience. But that's not to say that guys won't enjoy it also, especially those who appreciate great acting.

ACF Rating: 3 out of 4 star; very solidly recommended.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sentai Filmworks acquires MAOYU – ARCHENEMY & HERO


Even a guy named Hero will need a little help to save the world in Sentai Filmworks' latest acquisition, Maoyu – Archenemy & Hero. This romantic underworld comedy from the mind of Mamare Touno (LOG HORIZON) is directed by Takeo Takahashi (So I Can’t Play H, Spice and Wolf) with series composition by Naruhisa Arakawa (Outbreak Company, UPOTTE!!), music by Takeshi Hama (Kobato), and animation production by Arms Corporation (SAMURAI GIRLS, Wizard Barristers).

Synopsis: Names can be deceiving, something the warrior known as Hero quickly discovers when he storms the castle of the dread Demon King that mankind has fought for 15 years. For one thing, the “King” turns out to be a Queen! Even more shocking, though, is that she’s been waiting for him with a very unexpected proposal. It would be bad for BOTH sides if the war was to end immediately, she points out, as without a common enemy, the individual factions of the winning side are certain to turn on each other in a new series of civil wars.

However, she has a plan to end the wars, bring democracy and advanced knowledge to the humans, and ensure lasting prosperity for both sides, no matter who “wins.” But to accomplish this, she needs a collaborator on the human side, and she’s chosen Hero as the one partner she can trust! Is it a deal with the devil, or mankind’s only hope for lasting peace? The traditional rules of Swords and Sorcery are completely rewritten as the “good guy” and the “bad girl” join forces to save the world in Maoyu – Archenemy & Hero.

Maoyu – Archenemy & Hero will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Action mystery TABLOID TRUTH coming to North American theaters

CJ Entertainment
presents

South Korea’s Tabloid Truth, an action mystery directed by KIM Kwang-sik, is coming to North American theaters on March 7th. I hope to have more information about the release and a review before then.

Synopsis: A scandalous rumor about an up-and-coming actress is included as a gossip item in a stock market tipsheet and propagated by the tabloids, causing her to take her own life. WOO Gon (KIM Kang-woo), the actress's long-time devoted manager who dedicated everything to building her career, initiates avengeful investigation to expose the sources of the malicious rumor. With unexpected assistance from a tabloid distributor Mr. Park (JEONG Jin-yeong) and a legendary wiretapper BAEK Moon (KO Chang-seok), Woo unravels the opaque and lucrative world of secret tips and salacious rumors.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

LOST IN THAILAND available today on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital

Well Go USA
presents
Lost in Thailand
The Highest Grossing Film in China’s History
Debuts on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital today, February 25th

“China’s answer to The Hangover…”
– The Hollywood Reporter

“This film races with such high energy that the humor continues to satisfy …”
– Omer Mozaffar, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

In a follow up to the 2010 film Lost on Journey, writer and actor Xu Zheng (Call for Love, One Night in Supermarket) makes his directorial debut with the road trip comedy Lost in Thailand, debuting on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital today, February 25th from Well Go USA Entertainment. Two rival business managers, Xu (Xu Zheng) and Bo (Huang Bo), are fighting over a revolutionary new technology, the winner of which will gain control of the company. Each embarks on a search for their boss and hijinks ensue when Xu meets the happy-go-lucky Wang (Wang Baoqiang), an unexpected travel companion who sidetracks Xu’s search, but opens his eyes to life’s true priorities.

In addition to Zheng, Lost in Thailand stars Baoqiang Wang (Lost on Journey, Assembly), Huang Bo (Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons), Ron Smoorenburg (Jackie Chan’s Who Am I?), Tao Hong (Colors of the Blind, The Red Violin) and Fan Bingbing (the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past). Bonus materials include a behind-the-scenes “Making-of” featurette.

Synopsis: Two rival businessmen (Xu Zheng and Huang Bo) must track down their boss at a Buddhist temple to secure a patent on a revolutionary new fuel additive. Xu catches the first plane to Bangkok, where his plans are delayed by the happy-go-lucky Wang (Wang Baoqiang), an unexpected travel companion who will open his eyes to life’s true priorities.

Bonus Features include:
- “Making of” Feature
- Trailer

Lost in Thailand has a runtime of approximately 105 minutes and is not rated. It features both Mandarin and English language tracks.

I'm hoping to post a review here at AsianCineFest in the very near future, so please check back.

BLUE EXORCIST digital manga discount for limited time only

AO NO EXORCIST © 2009 by Kazue Kato/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES EXCLUSIVE
BLUE EXORCIST DIGITAL MANGA PROMOTION

Fans Of The Smash Hit Paranormal Action Series
Can Collect Volumes 1-10 With A Special Digital
Discount Available For A Limited Time Only

Just a reminder that VIZ Media is offering a special digital manga discount on the hit supernatural action adventure series, BLUE EXORCIST. Until March 3rd, fans can check out the inspiration for the anime debuting this weekend on Adult Swim’s Toonami block with $1.00 off the digital MSRP (regularly $6.99) on Volumes 1-10 of the hit series, making all volumes available for only $5.99 (U.S. / CAN) each. The sale price will be available through the VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga app for iOS and Android, and special pricing may be available through the digital partners storefronts for Nook, Kindle, GooglePlay, iBooks and Kobo.

BLUE EXORCIST is rated ‘T+” for Older Teens and is published in North America by VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint; the newest chapters from Japan debut in VIZ Media’s WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP digital anthology.

Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth – the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself.

Manga creator, writer and illustrator Kazue Kato is the creator of BLUE EXORCIST and was born in Tokyo on July 20th, 1980. In 2000, at age 19, she won the prestigious Tezuka Award for her work, Boku to Usagi (Rabbit and I), which was published in Akamaru Jump. From 2005 to 2006 her series Robo to Usakichi, a sci-fi adventure also featuring a rabbit, was published in the monthly magazine Shonen Sirius (Kodansha). Her acclaimed action series, BLUE EXORCIST, debuted in Japan in Jump Square magazine in April, 2009 and is published in North America by VIZ Media and also appears in the company’s Weekly Shonen Jump digital magazine. Kazue Kato’s forthcoming new manga series is titled, TIME KILLERS: KAZUE KATO SHORT STORY COLLECTION.

The free VIZ Manga App continues to be the top application for reading digital manga and features a massive library of the most popular series in the world. The platform features a massive library with over 2,000 volumes across more than 175 different series, and new series and volumes added every Tuesday. Through the innovative VIZ Manga digital platform registered users are able to use one account to view their purchased manga across more devices than ever. New series and volumes are added every Tuesday.

All manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the VIZ Manga application starting from $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) each and readers can also explore all titles with free Chapter 1 previews of every series. For more information, please visit VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

Download the free VIZ Manga App for Android and iOS devices at www.VIZ.com/apps.

To learn more about VIZ Manga, visit www.vizmanga.com.

Free screening of JUVENILE OFFENDER tonight in NYC

Korean Cultural Service New York
presents
Korean Movie Night 2014
Series One
Wild Days: Coming of Age in 2014
 Juvenile Offender / Beom-joe-so-nyeon
Directed by KANG Yi-kwan
South Korea, 2012, 107 minutes
When: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 7:00 PM
Doors open: 6:30 PM
Where: Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, NYC
Near the A, C, E @ #1 Canal Street subway stops
Admission: FREE!!!

Teenage Jang Ji-Gu (Seo Young-Joo) takes care of his ill grandfather while hanging out with other troubled kids. Abandoned by his parents at an early age, he suffers multiple run-ins with the law and is eventually sent to a detention center for juvenile offenders. One day, Jang Ji-Gu is surprised to learn that his long-forgotten mother (Lee Jung-Hyun) has unexpectedly come back for him. Discovering that his mother had him at a very young age and gave him up soon after his birth, Jang Ji-Gu struggles with repairing their relationship… but as this charming new blockbuster proves – with love, anything is possible.

Monday, February 24, 2014

VIZ premieres adventure manga STEALTH SYMPHONY with same day debut in U.S. and Japan

STEALTH SYMPHONY © 2014 by Ryohgo Narita, Yoichi Amano/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA PREMIERES THE FANTASTIC ADVENTURE
STEALTH SYMPHONY IN WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP
ANTHOLOGY ON THE SAME DAY AS JAPANESE DEBUT

VIZ Media invites fans to begin a sensational fantasy adventure with the launch of the new manga (graphic novel) series – STEALTH SYMPHONY – in today’s issue of its WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP digital manga magazine. Featuring an action-packed story by Ryohgo Narita (writer of Durarara!!) with bold artwork by Yoichi Amano, STEALTH SYMPHONY is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will have a simultaneous release in the English version of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP on the same day as its debut in Japan. New chapters will debut every week.

Jig is a young boy who has an unfortunate curse. He embarks on a journey to the town of Jinbo-cho seeking someone who can help him remove the curse. Little does he know he’s starting the adventure of a lifetime.

WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP is the world’s premiere manga brand and leading weekly manga magazine. The digital publication is available to North American fans as well as to readers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa via the Newsstand App for the Apple iPad® and iPad® Mini, or the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP App on the Google Play Store for Android devices. International issues debut each Monday at 10:00am (PST) and monthly subscriptions are available with automatic monthly renewals. Additional information on international subscriptions is available at: http://shonenjump.viz.com/international-wsj-app.

WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP features the latest installments of some of the world’s most popular manga series released each week to English readers on the same day as their general release in Japan. Currently serialized titles include the hot new sci-fi action series, ALL YOU NEED IS KILL (by DEATH NOTE and BAKUMAN。 artist Takeshi Obata), as well as other ongoing favorites such as BLEACH, ONE PIECE, NARUTO, NISEKOI, SERAPH OF THE END, TORIKO, and WORLD TRIGGER. Monthly series such as BLUE EXORCIST and YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL debut on the closest Monday after the Japanese release. Also serialized in the anthology is the fan favorite ONE-PUNCH MAN.

VIZ Media offers North American fans single issues of WEEKLY SHONN JUMP for only $0.99 each. Exclusive 1 Year Memberships are available for only $25.99 and include 48 weekly digital issues as well as special premiums such as Yu-Gi-Oh! Collectable Trading Cards, rare one-shot manga releases, digital-only promotions, and access to additional subscriber-only content including creator interviews and insightful promo videos. (*Note: Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are not available to iPad Newsstand or international subscribers) Current subscribers can also access their accounts via VIZManga.com, the VIZ Manga App, or with the Apple iPad Newsstand App.

For more information on WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and exclusive subscriber offers, visit shonenjump.viz.com.

For more information on VIZ Media manga titles, visit www.VIZ.com.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

VIZ Media & Right Stuf offering Weekly Shonen Jump annual magazine memberships

DRAGON BALL © 1984 by BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA Inc.
 VIZ MEDIA PARTNERS WITH LEADING ANIME/MANGA
RETAILER RIGHT STUF TO OFFER WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP
ANNUAL MAGAZINE MEMBERSHIPS

Prominent North American Online Retailer Offers
Annual Subscriptions And Got Anime Memberships
Bundle To Explore The World’s Most Popular
Weekly Digital Manga Anthology

VIZ Media has announced a partnership with leading online anime retailer and video publisher Right Stuf, Inc. Right Stuf will offer annual subscriptions to the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP digital manga magazine, bundled with their Got Anime membership, offering exclusive product discounts and other offers.

WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP is VIZ Media’s renowned weekly digital serial anthology that features the synchronized latest chapters of a variety of popular manga series debuting on the same day as the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump magazine counterpart. Right Stuf is a prominent independent video publisher that specializes in packaging and distributing a variety of Japanese animation (anime), foreign live-action content, manga graphic novels and other products.

Right Stuf will offer WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP annual 12-month memberships to North American readers for the regular price of $25.99 (USD) at RightStuf.com. Fans signing up for an annual subscription will also receive a free 12-month membership to Right Stuf’s Got Anime Club, which offers exclusive product discounts and other premium offers. If a buyer is renewing, the new 12-month WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP membership will commence at the end of their current subscription, but the Got Anime Club membership will begin immediately.

WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP is the world’s most popular digital weekly manga magazine and features the latest chapters of many of the world’s most popular series such as BLEACH, ONE PIECE, NARUTO, NISEKOI, TORIKO, and WORLD TRIGGER. Monthly series such as BLUE EXORCIST and YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL debut on the closest Monday after the Japanese release. Also serialized in the anthology are ONE-PUNCH MAN, a new color version of DRAGON BALL and the most recent addition to the magazine SERAPH OF THE END. Annual memberships also give fans a variety of fun bonus premiums including 4 special YU-GI-OH! collectible trading cards throughout the year. Members can also access additional magazine content including creator interviews and insightful promotional videos. More information on WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP is available at http://shonenjump.viz.com.

“Right Stuf is one of the most popular online destinations for fans to purchase the hottest selection of anime, manga and other unique Japanese collectibles and they will be a great partner for WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP,” says Andy Nakatani, Editor-in-Chief of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP. “Right Stuf offers two ways for fans to dive into all the fun with WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP, either with an annual subscription that delivers 48 issues throughout the year jam-packed with the latest chapters of some of the world’s most popular manga series, or with the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP Jump Pack that gives fans a 3-month digital subscription and a cool YU-GI-OH! collectable card bonus. Don’t miss your chance to explore WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP with these special new offers!”

Right Stuf will also offer the new WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP Jump Pack. Manga fans can get up-to-date on all series currently featured in the world’s most popular weekly manga magazine before diving into the latest issue. The Jump Pack is available from Right Stuf, rated ‘T’ for Teens, and carries an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN. The first print edition notably features a YU-GI-OH! “Archfiend Commander” Card along with a chance to win an extra “Slifer: The Sky Dragon” card.

For more information on WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and exclusive subscriber offers, visit shonenjump.viz.com.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

VIZ is offering a limited time BLUE EXORCIST digital manga promotion

AO NO EXORCIST © 2009 by Kazue Kato/SHUEISHA Inc.
 VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES EXCLUSIVE
BLUE EXORCIST DIGITAL MANGA PROMOTION

Fans Of The Smash Hit Paranormal Action Series Can
Collect Volumes 1-10 With A Special Digital Discount
Available For A Limited Time Only

VIZ Media has announced a special digital manga discount on the hit supernatural action adventure series BLUE EXORCIST. From Februart 22nd until March 3rd, fans can check out the inspiration for the anime debuting this weekend on Adult Swim’s Toonami block with $1.00 off the digital MSRP (regularly $6.99) on Volumes 1-10 of the hit series, making all volumes available for only $5.99 (U.S. / CAN) each. The sale price will be available through the VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga app for iOS and Android, and special pricing may be available through the digital partners storefronts for Nook, Kindle, GooglePlay, iBooks and Kobo.

BLUE EXORCIST is rated ‘T+” for Older Teens and is published in North America by VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint; the newest chapters from Japan debut in VIZ Media’s WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP digital anthology.

Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth – the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself.

Manga creator, writer and illustrator Kazue Kato is the creator of BLUE EXORCIST and was born in Tokyo on July 20th, 1980. In 2000, at age 19, she won the prestigious Tezuka Award for her work, Boku to Usagi (Rabbit and I), which was published in Akamaru Jump. From 2005 to 2006 her series Robo to Usakichi, a sci-fi adventure also featuring a rabbit, was published in the monthly magazine Shonen Sirius (Kodansha). Her acclaimed action series, BLUE EXORCIST, debuted in Japan in Jump Square magazine in April, 2009 and is published in North America by VIZ Media and also appears in the company’s Weekly Shonen Jump digital magazine. Kazue Kato’s forthcoming new manga series is titled, TIME KILLERS: KAZUE KATO SHORT STORY COLLECTION.

The free VIZ Manga App continues to be the top application for reading digital manga and features a massive library of the most popular series in the world. The platform features a massive library with over 2,000 volumes across more than 175 different series, and new series and volumes added every Tuesday. Through the innovative VIZ Manga digital platform registered users are able to use one account to view their purchased manga across more devices than ever. New series and volumes are added every Tuesday.

All manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the VIZ Manga application starting from $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) each and readers can also explore all titles with free Chapter 1 previews of every series. For more information, please visit VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

Download the free VIZ Manga App for Android and iOS devices at www.VIZ.com/apps.

To learn more about VIZ Manga, visit www.vizmanga.com.

Limited edition Blu-ray & DVD combo pack for Sci-Fi action thriller "K"

©GoRA・GoHands/k-project
VIZ MEDIA DEBUTS FIRST-EVER LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY AND
DVD COMBO PACK FOR THE ANIME SCI-FI ACTION THRILLER “K”

Savor The Complete Series About A Case of Mistaken Identity
That Embroils An Easygoing Teenager In A Deadly War,
Along With An Array Of Special Bonus Material

The wait is finally over as VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, prepares to release the anime action thriller – K – as a special Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and also as a standard DVD edition on February 25th, 2014.

The 13-episode series is rated ‘TV-14’ and will debut as a 4-Disc Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with an MSRP of $69.99 US/CAN. The standard edition 2-disc DVD edition will be offered at an MSRP of $44.82 US/CAN. An extensive collection of bonus material also makes this release a must-see for anime fans.

K introduces viewers to Shiro, an easygoing teenager content with just being a student – until his seemingly perfect life is suddenly halted when a bloodthirsty clan, glowing red with fire, attempts to kill him in the streets. Unbeknownst to Shiro, he is suspected of murdering a member of their clan and will need a miracle to escape their vengeance. Miraculously, a young man named Kuroh Yatogami swings in and aids Shiro in his getaway, only to reveal afterward he's also after Shiro's life. Now a hunted man, Shiro will have to evade the clans of seven powerful kings and desperately try to prove his innocence – before it’s too late.

The K Blu-ray/DVD combo pack comes packaged in a luxurious collectible specialty print chipboard box containing a full-color 80 page premium art booklet containing individual episode synopses, character profiles, poster art, translated song lyrics. Additional Limited Edition combo pack extras include: VIZ Presents an Interview with KANAME☆, an insightful segment with one of Japan’s most popular professional cosplayers during his first-ever U.S. guest appearance to celebrate the debut of K at Anime Expo in Los Angeles in 2013; a KANAME☆ as Fushimi Photo Gallery; special K Day Events and convention highlights from Anime Expo including the VIZ Media K panel with cast, staff and special guests; exclusive English cast and crew interviews; the series’ original Japanese and English trailers; and clean opening and ending segments (with English translated and subtitled options), next episode previews and more. A special bonus gift of exclusive full-color K stickers is also available with purchase from select anime retailers including Robert’s Anime Corner and the Right Stuf.

“K debuts as VIZ Media’s first-ever Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack title, and with its multilayered story, engaging characters, and beautifully rendered animation, this series is guaranteed to delight anime fans across North America,” says Charlene Ingram, VIZ Media Senior Manager, Animation Marketing. “We’ve also packed this release with an array of fun extras that will give viewers the chance to dive into the amazing world of K even more. Don’t miss the release of this kinetic action-filled drama debuting this month!”

For more information on K and other animated titles from VIZ Media visit http://www.viz.com/anime.

SUMMER VACATION 1999 to screen at Japan Society NY

Summer Vacation 1999 © 1988 Argo Pictures
Summer Vacation 1999
Directed by Shusuke Kaneko
Japan, 1988, 90 minutes
35 mm, color
In Japanese with English subtitles
When: Thursday, March 13th, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
(Between 1st and 2nd Avenues)

Donald Richie on Summer Vacation 1999:
"This profoundly romantic, beautifully realized independent production is one of the most original Japanese films of the year.... It is a muted, intense, romantic fusing of love and death. To this an entirely new dimension has been added by casting young girls (14 to 15) in the roles of the four young boys. The result is astonishing and extremely moving. One watches these young people, so young that a degree of androgyny is expected, and it is as though one is watching adolescence for the first time." (Excerpted from Richie's "New Japanese Cinema" report to Japan Society, spring 1988.)

A student has committed suicide at a boys-only boarding school located in the middle of a forest. During the summer vacation of 1999, only three students remain and one day, a boy who looks exactly like the dead student shows up.

Inspired by Thomas' Heart (Toma no shinzo), a legendary popular manga by Moto Hagio, Shusuke Kaneko (born 1955) depicts teenage yearning, mystery and dark passion. The screenplay is by Rio Kishida, a long-time collaborator with poet-filmmaker-theater director Shuji Terayama, and the mesmerizing cinematography is by Kenji Takama.

The film will be introduced by by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Film, Emeritus, The Museum of Modern Art.

Part of Richie's Electric Eight: A Tribute to Donald Richie (1924-2013), Part 2

Followed by the Yaoi Party! (The term yaoi originates from a genre in Japanese manga, which features homoromantic male relationships, and is predominantly created by women for female audiences.) Guests are warmly encouraged to wear their most gender-bending outfits to participate in the spirit of Summer Vacation 1999’s androgynous young characters. The party features a live performance by the high-energy glam jazz pop band Ideal Orkestra.


Ideal Orkestra, founded by musician/composer Willard Morgan and featuring Uta Bekaia’s avant-garde art wear, performs original compositions as well as jazz, blues, and pop hits. Ideal Orkestra’s recent tour played Maastricht, Paris, Brighton, Toronto, Miami and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Orkestra’s Sweat Shop Boogie, a song cycle and art installation, explores the domestic and global impact of humanity’s obsession with fashion.

Watch Ideal Orkestra on YouTube

Friday, February 21, 2014

GODZILLA - new restoration of the original, uncut Japanese version to debut April 12th in Hollywood

Godzilla - a TOHO Film a RIALTO PICTURES release
GODZILLA: The Japanese Original

60th Anniversary of Landmark Monster Movie

New Restoration of Uncut Version to premiere at
TCM Classic Film Festival in April followed by
national release from Rialto Pictures

A new restoration of GODZILLA: THE JAPANESE ORIGINAL, the monster classic that has spawned six decades of sequels, imitations, and remakes, will debut April 12 at the fifth TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, followed by a national release beginning at New York’s Film Forum, April 18-24.

GODZILLA was originally released in the United States in 1956 as Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a cut, dubbed and re-edited version that inserted American actor Raymond Burr into the action; only an hour was used of the original’s 98 minute running time. Burr does not appear in the original, uncut version, which has an all-Japanese cast including Kurosawa regular Takashi Shimura, who the very same year appeared as leader of the Seven Samurai.

As directed by Ishirô Honda, with special effects by the legendary Eiji Tsuburaya, GODZILLA: THE JAPANESE ORIGINAL is much darker in tone than the dumbed-down U.S. release version, which entirely eliminated the original’s underlying theme: in the Japanese version, the monster is clearly a metaphor for the nuclear menace and the film itself a cry for world peace and disarmament. The American version also cut out all of the original’s astonishing Strangelove-like black humor.

The original GODZILLA holds up as one of the greatest science fiction/monster films ever made, boasting still-impressive special effects, as the radiation-breathing prehistoric monster, awakened after millennia by Hydrogen Bomb testing – and impervious to repeated shelling by the Japanese army – wreaks destruction on Tokyo.

GODZILLA became Toho Studio’s #1 box office hit of 1954 (its #2 that year was Seven Samurai) and was so popular worldwide that the company has since produced nearly 30 sequels and remakes; a statue near Toho headquarters in Tokyo pays tribute to their most valuable property. In 1984, the prestigious film journal Kinema Junpo rated it among the top 20 Japanese films of all time. In 1989, a published survey of 370 Japanese movie critics, Nihon Eiga Besuto 150 (Best 150 Japanese Films), ranked Godzilla the 27th greatest Japanese feature ever made.

A new American version of Godzilla from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, directed by Gareth Edwards (2010’s Monsters), will be released nationally May 16.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Limited time sale on digital graphic novels from Perfect Square

BEN 10: 
TM & © Cartoon Network.   
 VIZ MEDIA’S PERFECT SQUARE IMPRINT
LAUNCHES SPECIAL DIGITAL SALE

Stock Up On A Wide Selection Of Original Graphic Novels
With Special Sale Pricing On Digital Versions Of HELLO KITTY®,
BEN 10 OMNIVERSE, MAX STEEL™, POKÉMON And UGLYDOLL

VIZ Media has announced a fun way for younger fans and readers to beat the winter doldrums as it announces a digital sale – for a limited time only – offering special discounts on popular All Ages titles from the Perfect Square imprint and available from the Perfect Square App and other leading digital media platforms.

The Perfect Square Digital Kids Sale runs through February 28th, and readers are invited to catch up on a colorful selection of acclaimed series, including brand new adventures for HELLO KITTY, BEN 10 OMNIVERSE, MAX STEEL, and UGLYDOLL for a special download price of only $1.99 (U.S. / CAN) each through the Perfect Square App.

Fans of all ages are also invited to take $1.00 off (U.S. / CAN) the regular digital MSRP on all digital POKÉMON manga (graphic novels) titles, including POKÉMON: BLACK & WHITE, POKÉMON ADVENTURES, POKÉMON: DIAMOND AND PEARL ADVENTURE! and POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND AND PEARL/PLATINUM.

The Perfect Square App is available from the iTunes store and offers a diverse range of all-ages titles for the Apple iPad® and iPad® Mini. Fans can also find the same titles available on the NOOK, Kindle Fire, and Kobo ereaders, as well as in the iBooks and GooglePlay Stores. (**NOTE: Sale prices may vary on these platforms)

New Volumes For These Popular Perfect Square Series:

HELLO KITTY: 
1976, 2014 SANRIO CO. LTD. Used under license.
HELLO KITTY: DELICIOUS! • Rated “A” for All Ages • Special Perfect Square Sale Price: $1.99
Sample a buffet of whimsical food-inspired fun in this release featuring the creative talents of Jacob Chabot, Jorge Monlongo, Ian McGinty, and special guest artist Stephanie Buscema.

Hello Kitty is serving up some extra special treats! What's on the menu? Something sweet, something spicy, and a pie that's out of this world! Plus, Dear Daniel's making dinner, but... you might want to make other plans. And Hello Kitty makes a new friend with a HUGE appetite.

Also don’t miss other HELLO KITTY digital titles from Perfect Square, including HELLO KITTY: HERE WE GO.

BEN 10 OMNIVERSE: JOYRIDES • Rated “A” for All Ages • Special Perfect Square Sale Price: $1.99
BEN 10 OMNIVERSE: JOYRIDES is based on the popular Cartoon Network original series and features a lead story by B. Clay Moore and artwork by Alan Brown, as well as a second story by Joel Enos with artwork by Albert Carreres.

In “Tim 10,” Ben’s aliens seem to be causing all kinds of trouble in Undertown. But Ben doesn’t remember doing any of it...or changing into the aliens at all. Something’s not right, but what? Ben better find out before his reputation is ruined for good! And in “Down in the Dumps,” Ben finds out that being a superhero doesn’t always get you the respect you deserve when he tries to teach a class of plumber recruits at the academy... and ends up getting them all into a heap of trouble.

The exciting BEN 10 OMNIVERSE: GHOST SHIP original graphic novel is also available now.

MAX STEEL and associated trademarks and trade dress are owned by, and used under license from Mattel, Inc.
©2014 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
MAX STEEL: HERO OVERLOAD • Rated “A” for All Ages • Special Perfect Square Sale Price: $1.99
MAX STEEL, based on the hit kids action adventure TV series of the same name, features an original story by B. Clay Moore and artwork by Alfa Robbi.

All of a sudden Max Steel isn’t the only superhero around. Max encounters a trio of super-powered teens with mysterious skills who are in serious need of training. He takes on the task, but can Max get these new heroes up to speed before they have to battle a real threat? One of Max’s biggest baddies is waiting in the wings to strike...and Max is going to have to face him with a bunch of newbies.

The first MAX STEEL adventure, MAX STEEL: THE PARASITES, is also available from Perfect Square.

UGLYDOLL: EAT DAT! • Rated “A” for All Ages • Special Perfect Square Sale Price: $1.99
EAT DAT features 18 food-inspired stories by Uglydoll Creators Sun-Min Kim and David Horvath, Travis Nichols, Ian McGinty, Phillip Jacobson, and guest artists Joe Ledbetter and Dave Cooper.

Was that your stomach?! We’ve got just the thing. Soup? Check. Tiny tacos? Check. Over-the-top high-stakes cooking competition? Check, check, check! But before you say, “Check, please!” treat yourself to a tour of Babo’s Bakery, marvel at Wedgehead’s culinary commentary and wash it all down with a chunky healthy shake. Yum!

Additional fun UGLYDOLL original graphic novels available now include UGLYDOLL: SHHHHHHH! and UGLYDOLL: GOIN’ PLACES!

VIZ Media’s Perfect Square imprint focuses on delivering original comics, manga (graphic novels) and other books dedicated to strong storytelling, eye-popping graphics, empowering themes, and a dash of irreverence, that captures the imagination of a whole new generation.

Additional information on titles published by Perfect Square is available at www.PerfectSquare.com.

For more information on other manga titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

INTRUDERS playing today and next Thursday at Lincoln Center

Intruders / Jo nan-ja-deul
Directed by NOH Young-seok
South Korea, 2013, 99 minutes
Korean language with English subtitles

Intruders is a "twisty blackly comic suspense thriller from South Korea, where sometimes it seems like they do this sort of thing better than anyone else." It will be shown twice at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Film Comment Selects 2014 series. The first screening will be today, Thursday, February 20th at 6:45pm. Director Noh Young-seok will appear in person at this screening. The second and final screening at this series will be next Thursday, February 27th at 4:15pm. (Info and tickets here.)

Synopsis: Looking for peace and quiet, a screenwriter rents a winter cabin in a remote country backwater to concentrate on his latest project. On the bus he does his best to rebuff a talkative character fresh out of prison, who unfortunately gets off at the same destination. Throw in a group of obnoxious kids on a ski vacation in the cabin next door, a pair of menacing game hunters who turn out to be related to the ex-con, and a shifty cop and you can see where things are headed, right? Maybe, maybe not. In his second effort, indie director Noh Young-seok shows he’s a talent to watch out for.

Co-presented with the Korea Society and Subway Cinema.

P.S. -  Don't forget about HONG Sang-soo's Our Sunhi which will be shown at 4:45pm this afternoon.

ONE-PUNCH MAN debuts in VIZ's digital manga update

ONE-PUNCH MAN © 2012 by ONE, Yusuke Murata/SHUEISHA Inc.
 VIZ MEDIA DEBUTS ONE-PUNCH MAN IN NEW DIGITAL
MANGA UPDATE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF FEBRUARY

New Series Available Exclusively
From VIZManga.com And
Other Digital Platforms

Fire up the computer and charge those tablets and other devices as VIZ Media continues the winter reading fun with a new round of digital manga (graphic novel) titles set to debut during the second-half of February. Among the noteworthy new additions will be the “Digital Exclusive” debut of ONE-PUNCH MAN on February 18th.

Updates to 18 other popular VIZ Media series are also scheduled for February 18th and 25th, and will include new installments for BOKURANO: OURS, BABY & ME, KNIGHTS OF THE ZODIAC, FIREFIGHTER! DAIGO OF COMPANY M, the finale of the supernatural adventure MUHYO & ROJI’S BUREAU OF SUPERNATURAL INVESTIGATION, the second volume in Osamu Tezuka’s award-winning manga masterpiece, PHOENIX, plus many more. ONE-PUNCH MAN will be available across all platforms and devices.

Readers will not want to miss these new releases available on VIZManga.com and the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones and 7” tablets, as well as on the Nook, Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and GooglePlay stores. Across these dynamic platforms, fans can explore and enjoy a dynamic range of exclusive new and classic manga series that spans more than 2,100 volumes across 175 different series.

ONE-PUNCH MAN, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Debut Volume Available Across All Platforms
In this stirring action series from illustrious illustrator Yusuke Murata of EYESHIELD 21 fame and the maniacal mind of up-and-coming mangaka ONE, everything about a young man named Saitama screams "AVERAGE,” from his lifeless expression, to his bald head, to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking fellow doesn't have your average problem... He's actually a superhero that's always looking for tough opponents! The problem is, every time he finds a promising candidate he beats the snot out of them in one punch. Can Saitama finally find an evil villain strong enough to challenge him? Follow Saitama through his hilarious romps as he searches for new bad guys to challenge! Individual chapters of ONE-PUNCH MAN are also currently serialized in VIZ Media’s WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP digital manga magazine.

Manga creator ONE began ONE-PUNCH MAN as a web comic, which quickly went viral and garnered over 10 million hits. Japanese manga publisher (and VIZ Media parent company) Shueisha eventually secured the publishing rights to the series. In addition to ONE-PUNCH MAN, ONE writes and draws the series Mob Psycho 100 and Makai no Ossan.

Yusuke Murata is a highly acclaimed and skilled manga artist best-known for his work on the football series, EYESHIELD 21 (also published in North America by VIZ Media). In 1995, Murata won the prestigious 122nd Hop Step Award for his series, Partner, and placed second in 1998 in the semi-annual Akatsuka Awards for Samui Hanashi.

The free VIZ Manga App continues to be a top application for enjoying digital manga and features a massive library of the most popular series in the world. Through the innovative VIZ Manga digital platform registered users are able to use one account to view their purchased manga across more devices than ever. New series and volumes are added every Tuesday. Fans can also find these titles and more for the NOOK, Kindle Fire, and Kobo ereaders, as well as in the iBooks and GooglePlay Stores.

All manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the VIZ Manga application starting from $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) each and readers can also explore all titles with free Chapter 1 previews of every series. For more information, visit VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

Download the free VIZ Manga App for Android and iOS devices at www.VIZ.com/apps.

To learn more about VIZ Manga, visit www.vizmanga.com.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

OUR SUNHI - a Film Comment Selects review

JUNG Yu-mi is everyone's Sunhi
Our Sunhi / U ri Sunhi
Written and directed by HONG Sang-soo
South Korea, 2013, 88 minutes

Our Sunhi is the latest offering from South Korean director HONG Sang-soo. It was the opening night film for the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Film Comment Selects 2014 series this past Monday evening. It will be shown for a second and final time at the film series tomorrow, Thursday, February 20th at 4:45 pm. (Info and tickets here.)


Sunhi (JUNG Yumi) is a film school graduate who returns after being away for quite some time to get a letter of recommendation from Donghyun (KIM Sangjoong), a former professor. Despite graduating, she is yet to have made a film and has decided to continue with graduate studies in the United States. Hence her seeking the recommendation. In the course of events she also encounters Munsu (LEE Sunyun), her former boyfriend who has just completed his first film, and Jaehak (JUNG Jaeyoung, who starred in Moss, 2010), a married director who was senior to Sunhi at the school. All three men seek Sunhi's affection, resulting in quite comical results.

Sunhi (left) and Donghyun (KIM Sangjoong)

The film shares the same interest in filmmakers and cinema that have marked a number of HONG's other films, such as Like You Know It All (2009), Oki's Movie (2010), and The Day He Arrives (2011). It also shares some some of his stylistic trademarks. There is very little camera movement; it is usually locked down, with only the rare pan, tilt, or zoom. The camera is often set square on to what is being filmed, often two or more characters eating and drinking while facing one another across a table. And, of course, there is the repetition of scenes and dialogue, with slight variations in who's speaking the lines and the precise wording.

Munsu (LEE Sunkyun, left) and Sunhi

Furthermore, three of the four leads have appeared in other films by HONG. JUNG was in Oki's Movie and In Another Country (2012); KIM in The Day He Arrives; and LEE in Oki's Movie and Nobody's Daughter Haewon (2013).

Jaehak (JUNG Jaeyoung,,left) shileds Sunhi from the rain

My only real criticism of the film ss the quickness of some of the zooms that occur. They felt jarring and drew too much attention to themselves for my liking. Maybe this was HONG's intention -- to periodically take the viewer out of the narrative by point-out that we're watching a film -- but I could've done with smoother zooms or none at all.

Sunhi's three would-be suitors

Aside from what I found to be distracting zooms, I enjoyed Our Sunhi very, very much. I've seen several of HONG's films and found this one to be his lightest and most funny.

ACF Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; very highly recommended. Our Sunhi is clever, delightful, and whimsical, a truly enjoyable viewing experience.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

FISTS OF LEGEND available today

CJ Entertainment
presents
Fists of Legend
Directed by KANG Woo-suk
Screenplay by JANG Min-seok
South Korea, 2013, 155 minutes

In the mood for some mixed martial arts mayhem with some street fighting slugfests thrown in for good measure? Then you're in luck because South Korea's Fists of Legend becomes available today on Blu-ray, and DVD from CJ Entertainment. I watched the Blu-ray version.

LIM Deok-kyu outside his modest noodle shop

Based on a popular webtoon of the same title written by LEE Jong-gyu and illustrated by LEE Yoon-gyun, the film centers on LIM Deok-kyu (HWANG Jung-min), the 43 year old owner of a noodle shop named after his teen-aged daughter Soo-bin. In 1987 LIM was a high school student training as a boxer and hoping to compete in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. He also had a reputation as a legendary street fighter for taking on and defeating several students from a rival high school.

Ms. HONG, producer of a mixed martial arts reality TV show

Ms. Hong (LEE Yo-won) is the producer of a mixed martial arts reality TV show that pits middle aged former fighting legends like LIM against one another. She relentlessly courts LIM, who eventually decides to participate. This brings him back in contact with two friends and formal rivals from the past. LEE  Sang-hoon (YOO Jun-sang), like LIM, attended Sadang High School. He is now a manager in the Chung-myung group, a huge corporation run by SONG Jin-ho (JUNG Woong-in), whose grandfather founded the company. SHIN Jae-seok (YOON Je-moon) attended South Seoul High, a rival school, but eventually became friends with LIM and LEE. He's a member of a criminal gang.

A police officer releases young LIM, SHIN and LEE after a confrontation with some gang members

The film shifts back and forth between the current mixed martial arts competition and the bygone days of high school glory. In the flashback scenes, the four male leads are played by PARK Jung-min as LIM, Goo Won as LEE, LEE Jung-hyuk as SONG, and PARK Doo-sik as SHIN. My understanding, based on what I picked up from watching the extras, is that Fists of Legend is the first or one of the first films in which all four of these actors have appeared. One of the wonderful ways in which the film succeeds is in keeping clear in the viewer's mind just which younger actor is portraying which older character and vice versa. This is just one aspect of the film's fine direction by
KANG Woo-suk, whose other works include Two Cops, Hanbando, and Silmido. Incidentally, there's a nice self-reference to that work in Fists of Legend.

LIM (right) fights "Mr. Turtle"in the cage

The numerous fight scenes are both well-choreographed and -performed. Major kudos to action director JUNG Doo-hong, who was the action coordinator for G.I. Joe: Retaliation and The Berlin File.

Manager LEE, the "white-collar" legend

The disc has Korean 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtracks (with English subtitles that can be removed by using the subtitle button for your Blu-ray or DVD player) and English dubbed 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtracks. Note that the running time is approximately 155 minutes, as indicated above and at IMDb. For some reason, the Blu-ray case information indicates that it is approximately 131 minutes, a minor error.

SHIN in the ring

There are more than forty minutes of Special Features:
- "The Living Legend" - a behind-the-scenes featurette of the choreographing, rehearsing and filming of fight scenes (approximately 22 minutes)
- Cry of 3 Men - featurette of the recording of the song "No Regrets" for the soundtrack (7 minutes)
- I'm the Best - coverage of the still photo shot of the film's stars (4 minutes)
- 19th Outing - press and public appearances by the cast and director (10 minutes)


Fists of Legend has not only great fight scenes, but also a fine story that offers compelling reflections on friendship and what it means to truly be a champion.

ACF Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; good solid action entertainment.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

WWII actioner THE WRATH OF VAJRA coming on March 18th

Well Go USA
presents
The Wrath of Vajra
Directed by Wing-cheong Law
China, 2013, 111 minutes

Well Go USA will be releasing the action-packed, martial arts extravaganza The Wrath Of Vajra on Blu-ray, DVD and digital on March 18th.

Synopsis: Before the West entered World War II, a Japanese death cult called the Temple of Hades is ordered to aid in the spiritual destruction of China. Their method: abduct their enemies' children and train them as killers for the Emperor. Young Vajra was especially gifted, but swears a secret oath of revenge when his brother dies. Now the greatest assassin in the temple, Vajra escapes to China and begins his quest to protect the innocent, and destroy the ones responsible for making him a living weapon.

Xing Yu (aka Shi Yanneng), a martial arts action star and former Shaolin monk, stars as Vajra in his first leading role. The cast also includes Steve Yoo (Man of Tai Chi), Poppin Hyun-Joon (Fly, Daddy, Fly), Jiang Baocheng (Legendary Assassin) and newcomer Ya Mei.

I'm expecting a screener, so look for a review here at AsianCineFest on or before the March 18th release date.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

SuBLime discounting yaoi digital manga titles through February 20th

Love Pistols © Tarako Kotobuki 2004
 GLOBAL YAOI PUBLISHER SuBLime CONTINUES
ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION WITH SPECIAL WEBSITE
SALE ON ALL DIGITAL MANGA TITLES

English-Language Yaoi Publisher Celebrates Valentine’s Day
With A Limited-Time $1 Discount On All Digital Titles
Currently On The SuBLime Website

SuBLime, the global yaoi manga publishing initiative between VIZ Media and Japan’s Animate, Ltd. (Animate), continues to celebrate its 2 Year Anniversary with the latest announcement of a special discount on all digital titles currently featured on SuBLimeManga.com.

Now through February 20th, the SuBLime Website Digital Sale will discount every manga volume from over 50 available yaoi series by $1.00 (U.S. / CAN) making most single editions available in a download-to-own format for only $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) each.

Individual volumes are generally rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers and are viewable as a PDF on any enabled eReader device or computer, or also accessed via the online manga viewer found on the SuBLime website.

NightS © 2013 Kou Yoneda

Among the many digital titles that will be on sale on the SuBLime website are several that are sure to capture the attention and accolades of yaoi fans such as NIGHTS by Kou Yoneda, along with license rescues EMBRACING LOVE by Youka Nitta and LOVE PISTOLS by Tarako Kotobui, in addition to dozens more from a cadre of top yaoi manga creators including Hinako Takanaga, est em, Suzuki Tanaka, Tetuzoh Okadaya, and many more. Please visit www.sublimemanga.com/titles for a complete list of current titles.

“Yaoi manga continues to captivate a fervent and dedicated global fan base and the special SuBLime Website Digital Sale gives our readers a great way to catch up on ongoing series or dive into new ones,” says Jennifer LeBlanc, Editor, SuBLime. “We offer one of the largest and most comprehensive digital yaoi manga catalogs available globally and invite fans to explore this sensual and erotic world with a wonderful array of diverse titles!”

For up-to-date news and release information, please visit the SuBLime website at www.SuBLimeManga.com.

VENUS TALK coming to N. American theaters on February 28th

CJ Entertainment
presents

South Korea’s Venus Talk, directed by KWON Chul-In, is coming to select North American theaters on February 28th. The film stars three of Korea’s most accomplished and provocative actresses including Jo Min-Soo (Pieta), UHM Jung-Hwa (Haeundae), and MOON So-Ri (Oasis).


Synopsis: Independent TV producer Shin-Hye (UHM Jung-Hwa), self-assured housewife Mi-Yeon (MOON So-Ri), and single mom Hae-Young (JO Min-Soo) are a tight-knit group of 40-something friends going through the ups and downs of their lives and loves in modern day Seoul. This racy comedy is the latest from director KWON Chil-in, known for his frank portrayals of relationships and women’s sexuality.

Following a drunken work party, Shin-Hye ends up spending the night with her much younger colleague, who later wants their relationship to become more than a one-night stand. Mi-yeon enjoys spicing things up with her husband but she doesn’t know that he secretly takes viagra as her libido takes its toll on him. Meanwhile Hae-young, whose grown-up daughter still lives with her, begins dating a carpenter.

I'm expecting to watch an online screener of the film, so look for a review here at AsianCineFest on or before the February 28th release date.

VIZ moving to consolidate all digital streaming anime content on Neon Alley

 VIZ MEDIA’S NEON ALLEY EVOLVES TO BECOME NEW HOME
FOR DIGITAL STREAMING ANIME CONTENT IN THE U.S.

Anime Streaming Brand To Be Carried By Hulu And Hulu Plus
Video-On-Demand Services, And Will Continue To Offer Simulcast
Premieres And Exclusive Content To An Expanded Audience

VIZ Media has announced a significant milestone in the evolution of Neon Alley as the company moves to consolidate all of its digital streaming anime content offerings under its Neon Alley brand.

Effective April 1st, VIZ Media will transition its weekly episodic anime programming to the successful free ad-supported Hulu and subscription-based Hulu Plus Video-On-Demand services. The move also expands VIZ Media’s role as a content partner for one of the U.S.’s biggest video streaming providers.

U.S. fans will be able to catch a wide variety of brand new anime, as well as classic content distributed and/or licensed by VIZ Media, for FREE at www.NeonAlley.com. The site will also become the new home for all FREE streaming anime content previously available on VIZAnime.com, including first-run simulcasts for hit series such as NARUTO SHIPPUDEN. Titles will be presented with easy-to-use selections for dubbed and/or subbed content (when available).

Neon Alley will reach an expansive on-demand audience on the free, ad-supported Hulu and Hulu Plus subscription service, which enables viewers to watch shows anytime, anywhere across devices, including PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Roku, Chromecast, and a multitude of additional mobile devices that already support the app. Additional details on Hulu Plus enabled devices can be found here. VIZ Media will continue to make programming decisions for Neon Alley, and will release additional news on Neon Alley availability for Canadian users in the near future.

“Neon Alley’s mission has always been to offer an innovative way for domestic fans to access and enjoy dubbed high-quality anime content legally, and as a content partner for Hulu and Hulu Plus, the Neon Alley brand makes a big stride to fulfill this objective and expand our audience substantially across the most widely used digital platforms and devices,” says Brian Ige, Vice President, Animation. “Viewers will have more free ways than ever to access and watch their favorite shows, and we look forward to fans joining us for a new era of anime enjoyment!”

Additional information on Neon Alley is available at: www.NeonAlley.com.

For more information on anime titles from VIZ Media, visit: www.VIZ.com.

Friday, February 14, 2014

BEIJING LOVE STORY opens today in limited release in North America

China Lion
presents
Beijing Love Story
Written and directed by CHEN Sicheng
China, 2014, 122 minutes

Just in time for Valentine's day comes Beijing Love Story, a look at love, romance and commitment as experienced by five couples (in one case actually an unusual trio) of different generations. They range in age from high school students to individuals in their sixties.


The first we meet are Chen Feng, a designer who is played by the film's writer and director Chen Sicheng). While celebrating the impending marriage of a friend, Chen encounters the lovely Shen Yan (Tong Liya) at a Beijing club. They are in their mid-twenties or so. He is not well off (he rents, has no car, and is without the highly coveted Beijing residency permit. She has recently broken up with her wealthy boyfriend. Although their relationship flourishes, an unexpected development and the machinations of Shen's mother and ex- threaten to rend it asunder.


Another relationship is that of Chen's boss Wu Zheng (Wang Xuebing) who has been married for several years. While he has no desire or even inclination to leave his devoted wife Zhang Lei ((Yu Nan), he all too frequently cheats on her. When she comes upon a sex video on his phone, that relationship too is threatened with breaking up.


Liu Hui (Tony Leung Ka Fai) is a friend of Zhang's and tries to comfort her. But soon he is off to Greece for an illicit rendezvous of his own with Jia Ling (Carina Lau). But is that truly what's going on, or is Liu's wife actually aware of this little getaway?


Liu Hui's  high school aged daughter Liu Xingyang (Nana Ou Yang) plays the cello and wants to perform with the school's string ensemble on the China Dream Show. Xingyang is the object of the affections of fellow high schooler Song Ge (Liu Haoran), who has the special ability to see people's auras. Xingyang's is quite unique, of a type he's never seen before.


The last couple, or trio, consists of 66 year old "Old" Wang (Wang Qinxiang) who is going on blind dates arranged by his cousin Mrs. Gao (Siqin Gaowa). It looks like he may have finally found a companion in Xue Aija, 59, a divorcee who has returned to Beijing after living in America for the past twenty years. But here too a complication, one of a most unusual nature. arises and threatens to undo their prospects for companionship and happiness in their golden years.

The film is structured about the way lives are inter-related along the lines of such movies as Crash (2004) and Babel (2006). Thus Chen's landlord turns out to be a character who is related to yet another character. When one character takes an early morning bus, another couple, whom we have not yet met, is seated together or the same bus. Thus even in the huge metropolis of Beijing, which is often shot quite beautifully, lives that are seemingly unrelated touch each other in unexpected ways.


Chen Sicheng has done a remarkable job on this, his debut, feature film. He has captured many facets and nuances of love and relationships. Just how well the movie succeeds at depicting romance may be attested to by the fact that in real life Chen and his leading lady Tong Liya fell in love every bit as much as their on-screen characters. On January 16, 2014, they were married in Tahiti. Talk about life imitating art!

I do want to point out that there's a bravura steady-cam shot that takes place in a hospital at the end of the film. Also be sure to stick around during the credits. There's a very nice scene featuring Wu's wife discussing love with three guys that's shown in a separate window while the credits roll.

ACF Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; highly recommended. Beijing Love Story is touching, delightful and peppered with humorous touches.

Beijing Love Story is  to open today in the following locations. Check local listings.

- DC Area: AMC Loews Rio (Gaithersburg)
- Los Angeles: AMC Atlantic Times Square 14 (Monterey Park)
- an additional Los Angeles area location for the 14th is likely to be added
- New York: AMC Empire 25 (Manhattan)
- San Francisco/San Jose Area: Camera 12 Cinemas (San Jose)
- an additional San Francisco proper location for the 14th is likely to be added
- Toronto: Cineplex Odeon Yonge Dundas
- Vancouver: SilverCity Riverport

Sentai Filmworks acquires LOVE, CHUNIBYO AND OTHER DELUSIONS! -HEART THROB-


The Chuni-versal language of love is about to get re-written in Sentai Filmworks' latest acquisition, Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! -Heart Throb-. This direct follow up to the wildly popular first season is directed by Tatsuya Ishihara (CLANNAD, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), with series composition by Jukki Hanada (Rozen Maiden series, Special A), art direction by Mutsuo Shinohara (CLANNAD∼After Story∼, Kanon) and animation production by acclaimed Kyoto Animation (K-ON!, Beyond the Boundary).

Synopsis: Yuta Togashi thought he had problems dealing with one delusional girlfriend in the person of Rikka Takanashi, but now things are about to go totally insane as his FORMER “one true soul mate” from when he was a chuni himself returns… with a vengeance! So how bad is Satone Shichimiya’s re-entry into Yuta’s Chuni-verse likely to be? Let’s just say that she’s so epically off the deep end of the Chuni-scale that she prefers to use the name Sophia Ring SP Saturn VII and that she’ll joyfully tear Yuta’s real world to pieces in order to get him back in her imaginary one!

Some girls just want to have fun and some want to break down the walls between their boyfriends and themselves, but when a girl’s idea of fun is breaking down the wall between their presumed boyfriend and reality, retreating into a fantasy world might just be Yuta’s best option. Especially since Satone knows where ALL the skeletons from his past are buried. Toss Rikka’s equally delusional friend Dekomori into the mix and girl crazy takes on a whole new meaning in Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! -Heart Throb-.

Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! -Heart Throb- will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN THE MOVIE: BLOOD PRISON is coming Feb 18th on DVD and Blu-ray


© 2002 MASASHI KISHIMOTO /2007 SHIPPUDEN
© NMP 2011 
 VIZ MEDIA RELEASES
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN THE MOVIE: BLOOD PRISON
ON DVD AND BLU-RAY

Naruto Is Accused Of Murder And Imprisoned In An Escape
Proof Penitentiary In Exciting New Feature Film Release

VIZ Media delivers a thrilling dose of ninja action with the Blu-ray/DVD release of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN THE MOVIE: BLOOD PRISON on February 18th.

The new release is rated ‘TV-14’ and will carry a DVD MSRP of $19.98 U.S. / $24.98 CAN and Blu-ray MSRP of $24.98 U.S. / $27.50 CAN. Each version also features a special full-color variant O-card that will have different artwork than what is featured on the actual Amaray cases.

A host of special bonus material for the DVD and Blu-ray editions includes an animated short film, Chunin Exam on Fire! Naruto vs. Konohamaru!, as well as a production art gallery and the original Japanese theatrical trailers. The Blu-ray edition additionally contains a personal message from NARUTO creator Masashi Kishimoto and an interview with Junko Takeuchi, the Japanese voice of Naruto Uzumaki.

In the film, Naruto is convicted of a serious crime he didn’t commit and is sent to the inescapable prison, Hozuki Castle. The warden, Mui, quickly seals away Naruto’s chakra to prevent him from rebelling. Refusing to give up, Naruto plans his escape while also befriending his fellow inmates Ryuzetsu and Maroi. But he can't help but wonder what their ulterior motives are...

“In BLOOD PRISON, Naruto is behind bars in a shinobi Alcatraz, accused of murder and attempted assassination, and the storyline and action that ensue makes this the most exciting NARUTO SHIPPUDEN feature film yet,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Manager, Animation Marketing. “Audiences are in for a wild ride as Naruto tries to prove his innocence and also help his new friends uncover the secrets surrounding the mysterious Box of Paradise, and their ties to what it contains. Catch all the action on DVD and Blu-ray!”

Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens. The manga series (rated ‘T’ for Teens, in print and digital editions) and animated counterpart (NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN both rated ‘TV-14’) are some of VIZ Media’s most successful properties and have captivated millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America.

The latest episodes of the NARUTO SHIPPUDEN animated series may be streamed on the company’s own VIZAnime.com site and also on Hulu. In addition, Download-To-Own dubbed episodes are available for purchase through iTunes®, PlayStation®Network, Xbox Live®, Amazon Instant Video, and the Google Play store.

To read a free chapter 1 preview of the NARUTO manga series, visit http://www.vizmanga.com/naruto.

Additional information on NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN is available at www.Naruto.com.

For more information on VIZ Media anime properties, visit www.viz.com/anime.