With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Friday, December 30, 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE screening at Japan Society NY on January 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

THE MONKEY KING 2 coming to Blu-ray and DVD next Tuesday

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
The Monkey King 2 / Xi you ji zhi: Sun Wukong san da Baigu Jing
Directed by Soi Cheang
China/Hong Kong, 2016, 120 minutes

The legendary Monkey King returns for a new adventure when Well Go USA Entertainment debuts The Monkey King 2 on Blu-ray™ and DVD next Tuesday, January 3rd. (It's been available on digital since December 6th,)

The follow up to the international fantasy blockbuster finds Soi Cheang (The Monkey King, Kill Zone 2) back in the director’s chair, with martial arts legend Sammo Hung (Kung Fu Hustle, Tai Chi Zero) on board as action director, for the epic sequel set 500 years after the original. This edition finds Aaron Kwok (Cold War) replacing Donnie Yen as The Monkey King, a warrior who must protect a traveling monk (William Feng Shaofeng, Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon) from the White Bone Spirit (Gong Li, Curse of the Golden Flower), a demon seeking immortality. The Monkey King 2 also stars Xiao Shen Yang (The Grandmaster), Him Law (Young and Dangerous: Reloaded) and Kris Phillips (Painted Skin: The Resurrection).

Synopsis:
The follow up to the international fantasy blockbuster, The Monkey King 2 fast forwards 500 years after the Monkey King (Aaron Kwok) wreaked havoc in heaven. Newly freed from his confines under the Five Finger Mountain, the Monkey King vows to protect the innocent from a demon seeking immortality as he accompanies a young monk on an epic journey to the West.

Bonus Materials:
-- A Five-part “Making of” Featurette
   -- The Monkey King
   -- Bajie
   -- The Monk
   -- Wujing
   -- A New World
-- Trailer

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

BATTLE FOR INCHEON; OPERATION CHROMITE coming to digital download on January 10, 2017, Blu-ray & DVD on January 24

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

The adrenaline-fueled, true story of a squad of unsung heroes sacrificed to turn the tide of the Korean War during its darkest days, the epic war drama Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite explodes on digital download Jan. 10 and DVD/Blu-ray Jan. 24 from CJ Entertainment.

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

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

Thursday, December 22, 2016

RAILROAD TIGERS opening in theaters on January 6th, 2017

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
Directed by Ding Sheng
Starring Jackie Chan, Huang Zitao, Wang Kai, Darren Wang 
China, 2016

In this action-comedy caper harkening back to Jackie Chan’s classic Hong Kong films, a railroad worker (Chan) and his ragtag group of freedom fighters find themselves on the wrong side of the tracks when they decide to ambush a heavily armed military train filled with desperately needed provisions. Unarmed and outnumbered, they must fight back against an entire army using only their wits, in a series of a dazzling set pieces and action scenes rivaling anything seen on the big screen.

AsianCineFest expects to have more information as the opening date approaches.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

BEYOND REDEMPTION coming to digital on January 3, 2017 and to Blu-ray & DVD on February 7

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
Beyond Redemption
Directed by Bruce Fontaine
Canada, 2015, 89 minutes

Martial arts expert and actor (Once Upon a Time in China) Bruce Fontaine makes his feature film directorial debut with the action-packed thriller Beyond Redemption, hitting digital January 3 and Blu-ray™ and DVD February 7 from Well Go USA Entertainment. In this fast-paced drama featuring high-impact fight sequences, a weary undercover cop (Brian Ho, X-Men: Days of Future Past) must maintain his cover while trying to save the daughter of a notorious Triad boss (Don Lew, Godzilla) from becoming collateral damage in a sting operation gone wrong. Beyond Redemption also stars Osric Chau (Killing Poe), Hong Kong cinema legend, Eddy Ko (Heroes Shed No Tears), newcomer Linna Huynh, Tony Towe, Paul Wu (Blade: Trinity), Johnson Phan (Shadow of the Lotus), Vicky Huang (Shadow of the Lotus), Darren E. Scott (Game of Assassins) and Patrick Sabongui (“Homeland,” “The Flash”).

Synopsis:
After successfully passing an initiation test to join the upper ranks of the Ching Tau Gang, undercover cop Billy Tong (Brian Ho) is brought in on a plan for a home invasion against a wealthy Chinese businessman that will give Billy the evidence he needs to bring down the gang. As plans are proceeding, Billy learns that his ex-wife is pregnant and begins questioning his career choices. Although Billy realizes the need to put things right and prepare for his new family, his checkered past as a police officer complicates his decision to simply be reassigned. Things become complicated when he is forced to protect the daughter of a rival gang leader’s daughter when he learns both sides are planning to strike an important deal.

Bonus Materials go behind-the-scenes on two of the exciting action sequences of the film:
-- “Hallway Fight”
-- “Mauler Opening Fight”

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of "BanG Dream!"


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of BanG Dream! The anime is part of an exciting mixed-media project featuring live performances by the popular girls’ band, Poppin’ Party, and includes the group’s three hit singles, “Yes! BanG_Dream!”, “STAR BEAT! ~Hoshi no Kodou~”, and “Hashirihajimeta bakari no kimini”.

When she was a child, Kasumi Toyama (played by Poppin’ Party’s lead singer, Aimi) felt a heart-pounding thrill every time she gazed at the stars, and she’s been looking without success for something that could inspire the same feeling ever since. One day, she comes across a star-shaped guitar in a rundown pawnshop and, for the first time, discovers the thrill she’s been searching for.

Kasumi becomes determined to form an all-girl band, and her search leads her to four like-minded souls: Saya, Arisa, Rimi, and Tae (all brought to life by the members of Poppin’ Party). Does this band have what it takes to make their dreams of stardom come true?

The series was directed by Atsushi Otsuki (To Love-Ru, Wagnaria!!2), with series composition by Yuniko Ayana (Hello!! KINMOZA, The IDOLM@ASTER Cinderella Girls, FLIP FLAPPERS). All music was produced by Noriyasu Agematsu of Elements Garden (Utano Princesama Legend Star, Magical Lyrical Girl Nanoha, Symphogear).

BanG Dream! is scheduled for a January 2017 broadcast in Japan. It will soon be available on select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sentai Filmworks has licensed URARA MEIROCHO


Fortune telling is the name of the game in Sentai Filmworks’ newest license: Urara Meirocho. This supernatural comedy follows four girls in their quest to become fortune tellers (uranaishi).

Girls from all over the country come to live in Meiro-cho for one reason: to train to become the top uranaishi – the Urara. One day, a 15-year-old girl named Chiya enters the gates, but she has another, secret reason for wanting to become an uranaishi. Together with three very different girls, Kon, Koume, and Nono, Chiya gets started as a fortune teller’s apprentice.

The series is based off the original four-panel manga by Harikamo, with character design for the anime by Mai Otsuka (Shakugan no Shana, Non Non Biyori). Youhei Suzuki (SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Don’t Exist, Hentai Prince and Stony Cat) will direct with series composition by Deko Akao (Flying Witch, Noragami, Snow White with Red Hair).

Urara Meirocho is scheduled for a January 5, 2017 broadcast in Japan. It will soon be available on select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Friday, December 09, 2016

THE LITTLE GIRL WHO CONQUERED TIME will be playing at Japan Society NY next Tuesday

Japan Society NY
Presents
The Little Girl Who Conquered Time (c) 1983 Kadokawa Corp.
The Little Girl Who Conquered Time / Toki o Kakeru Shojo
Directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi
With Tomoyo Harada, Ryoichi Takayanagi, Toshinori Omi
Japan, 1983, 104 minutes
DCP, color, in Japanese with live English subtitles

When: Tuesday, December 13th at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

Launching Kadokawa idol Tomoyo Harada into superstardom, this timeslip drama is based on the famous science fiction novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui and directed by the creative whirlwind Nobuhiko Obayashi (House). As Harada's schoolgirl struggles to figure out why she uncontrollably jumps forward and backward in time, Obayashi's unique and offbeat sensibility crafts a film that captured the hearts of an entire generation of moviegoers in Japan.

It also offers a meditation on the new sense of time that a Kadokawa film offered—a vision of Japan that is simultaneously past, present and future. Remade several times since, the most well-known version in the U.S. is the 2006 anime version by Mamoru Hosoda.

New 4k restoration!

Part of Pop! Goes Cinema: Kadokawa Film & 1980s Japan.

Monday, December 05, 2016

THE MONKEY KING 2 debuts on Digital tomorrow; coming to Blu-ray & DVD on January 3rd, 2017

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
Aaron Kwok as The Monkey King
The Monkey King 2 / Xi you ji zhi: Sun Wukong san da Baigu Jing
Directed by Soi Cheang
China/Hong Kong, 2016, 120 minutes

The legendary Monkey King returns for a new adventure when Well Go USA Entertainment debuts The Monkey King 2 on digital tomorrow, December 6th and on Blu-ray™ and DVD January 3rd.

The follow up to the international fantasy blockbuster finds Soi Cheang (The Monkey King, Kill Zone 2) back in the director’s chair, with martial arts legend Sammo Hung (Kung Fu Hustle, Tai Chi Zero) on board as action director, for the epic sequel set 500 years after the original. This edition finds Aaron Kwok (Cold War) replacing Donnie Yen as The Monkey King, a warrior who must protect a traveling monk (William Feng Shaofeng, Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon) from the White Bone Spirit (Gong Li, Curse of the Golden Flower), a demon seeking immortality. The Monkey King 2 also stars Xiao Shen Yang (The Grandmaster), Him Law (Young and Dangerous: Reloaded) and Kris Phillips (Painted Skin: The Resurrection).

Synopsis:
The follow up to the international fantasy blockbuster, The Monkey King 2 fast forwards 500 years after the Monkey King (Aaron Kwok) wreaked havoc in heaven. Newly freed from his confines under the Five Finger Mountain, the Monkey King vows to protect the innocent from a demon seeking immortality as he accompanies a young monk on an epic journey to the West.

Bonus Materials:
-- A Five-part “Making of” Featurette
   -- The Monkey King
   -- Bajie
   -- The Monk
   -- Wujing
   -- A New World
-- Trailer

Friday, December 02, 2016

PLAY IT, BOOGIE-WOOGIE at Japan Society next Tuesday, December 6th

Japan Society NY
Presents
Play It, Boogie-Woogie © 1982 Kadokawa Corp.
Play it, Boogie-Woogie / Suro na Bugi ni Shite Kure
Directed by Toshiya Fujita
With Atsuko Asano, Masato Furuoya, Tsutomu Yamazaki
Japan, 1982, 130 min.
DCP, color
In Japanese with live English subtitles

When: Tuesday, December 6, 7 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

A young woman, a motorcycle-riding youth, and an older man negotiate a strange and tensely romantic relationship in a film that is unusual in the Kadokawa lineup. Employing 1970s wildman director Toshiya Fujita (Lady Snowblood), Kadokawa Film continues to play with the fragments of U.S. pop culture while Fujita injects a playfully stylized realism. The film continued Haruki Kadokawa's new strategy of using more auteur-minded directors that had no qualms about working in genre film. Atsuko Asano created a stir for her embodiment of a young woman not willing to be bound by conventions and intent on negotiating new forms of relationships.

Part of Pop! Goes Cinema: Kadokawa Film & 1980s Japan.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Section23 Films announces its January 2017 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its January slate of releases; including Sentai Filmworks’ Limited Edition Premium Box Set of Infinite Stratos 2!

Product details in order of release:

Title: THE WORLD GOD ONLY KNOWS ULTIMATE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1000 min.
Street Date: 1/3/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $99.98, $79.98

SYNOPSIS: Keima Katsuragi's skill at winning women's hearts is so legendary that he's called The God Of Conquests, but that's only in dating video games, not the real world. Suddenly, Keima's life takes a turn for the weird when he answers what he thinks is an online gaming challenge. Instead, he ends up with a demon contract, and now he has to help perky demon hunter Elsie track down a bunch of demons that have escaped from hell! The reason: the demons have hidden themselves within the hearts of a group of random girls, and the only way to get them out is if Keima can make the girls fall in love with him. Also, just to make sure that Keima is properly incentivized, his failure will result in the loss of something important: his head! Hopefully, the tricks Keima's mastered with virtual girls will work just as well with live ones. Otherwise, things are going to get really messy in the spectacular ultimate collection of THE WORLD GOD ONLY KNOWS!


Title: BEAUTIFUL BONES – SAKURAKO’S INVESTIGATION – COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 1/10/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Shotaro Tatewaki knows that Sakurako Kujo isn't a normal person. After all, most young women have multiple interests revolving around things like work, fashion, and sports, but Sakurako is fixated on just one thing: bones. While she already has a huge collection of them, mostly animal, she's always trying to gather more, especially those of the human variety. This can be quite a problem for Shotaro: especially since he and Sakurako have a positively unnatural aptitude for discovering dead bodies together. Fortunately, Sakurako is a naturally brilliant detective who unearths the mystery of what happened to the owners of those bones, but it's up to Shotaro to make apologies for Sakurako's odd quirks and tendency to make off with the evidence. It's a grave business that can leave him literally bone-tired, but for the wheels of justice to turn, there are always more skeletons to be bared and new secrets to be exhumed in BEAUTIFUL BONES - SAKURAKO'S INVESTIGATION -.


Title: INFINITE STRATOS 2 PREMIUM BOX SET
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 315 min.
Street Date: 1/24/2017
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $219.98

SYNOPSIS: There are probably worse things that could have happened to Ichika Orimura than being the only guy in a training academy filled with military hardware and several battalions of highly competitive and extremely boy-crazed teenage girls. And being caught in a five-girl crossfire between his obsessive childhood friends Lingyin and Houki and the even more zealous British, German and French pilots Cecillia, Laura and Charlotte, at least turned out to be survivable. But surely, Ichika's finally put all his female troubles behind him, right? Oh don't be ridiculous. None of the femmes fatales in his life have canceled their conquest scenarios; there's double trouble arriving in the form of the Sarashiki sisters; the rest of the school is still waiting in line to take their shot; and when a whole new set of female pilots working for the bad guys shows up with a new generation of stolen IS hardware, things are about to get utterly lethal! The mayhem continues, the mecha runs amok, the hormones run wild and the maiden's behavior becomes even less maidenly as Ichika gets schooled for a second spectacular semester in INFINITE STRATOS 2!


Title: TRIAGE X COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 275 min.
Street Date: 1/24/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Our society is infected with a disease, a gangrenous cancer in the form of those who commit the most monstrous of evils, yet whose power and influence place them beyond the reach of the law. When corrupt politicians fail to act and the police seem helpless, there is a third, secret option that stands ready to excise the malignancy in a tactical surgical strike: Black Label, a dedicated team of doctors, nurses, and students who moonlight as an elite team of assassins. With the world's deadliest nurse, a master swordswoman MD, an idol with an affinity for explosives, and a pair of seemingly indestructible high school students, their mission is as simple as it is deadly: identify the drug runners, terrorists, and criminal masterminds who can't be destroyed any other way, and then eliminate them by whatever means necessary in TRIAGE X!


Title: FATE / KALEID LINER PRISMA ILLYA 2WE HERZ! COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 250 min.
Street Date: 1/31/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Illyasviel von Einzbern's life has become ridiculously complicated since the Kaleidostick Ruby convinced her to become a magical girl and join the quest for collecting the seven Class Cards. Since then, almost every day has brought a new surprise, from gaining new friends and partners like Miyu Edelfelt, to encountering her own magical twin! One would think Illya deserves a little time off, right? No such luck: a trip to the beach quickly turns into a magical quest, and Illya finds herself caught in a string of magical feuds, encounters with love potions, an excursion into the world of "boys love" comics (plus the women who read them), and half a dozen other delirious diversions. However, that's only the warm-up for what might be her final mission: recovering the long-lost Eighth Card! It's a mystical whirlwind of unexpected escapades and surprising new revelations as Illya's saga continues in FATE/KALEID LINER PRISMA ILLYA 2WEI! HERZ!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

CALL OF HEROES to debut on Blu-ray and DVD on December 6th

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
Call of Heroes
Directed by Benny Chan
Hong Kong, 2016, 120 minutes

Award-winning Director Benny Chan (Shaolin, New Police Story) assembles a star-studded powerhouse lineup of action stars for the martial arts-packed drama Call of Heroes, which will debut on Blu-ray™ and DVD next Tuesday, December 6 from Well Go USA Entertainment. (It's been available on Digital since November 8th.)

A “Chinese wuxia epic with obvious echoes to classic spaghetti Western films and Akira Kurosawa’s samurai dramas,” (Edmund Lee, South China Morning Post), Call of Heroes stars Sean Lau (Mad Detective), Louis Koo (Drug War), Eddie Peng (Cold War 2) and Wu Jing (Shaolin), with the legendary Sammo Hung on board as the action director. Set in 1914 following the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the epic film tells the story of a group of brave villagers standing up to a cruel young warlord. Bonus materials include a making-of featurette.

Synopsis:
Louis Koo stars as Cao, the spoiled son of a powerful General who has grown into a vicious and depraved warlord. Although Cao is accused of triple murder, his father will destroy the town if his son is convicted and sentenced to death. But injustice cannot go unanswered, and the villagers prepare for the repercussions of punishing a guilty man.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Kinji Fukasaku's VIRUS next film in Japan Society's Kadokawa film series

Japan Society NY
Presents
Virus © 1980 Kadokawa Corp.
Virus / Fukkatsu no Hi
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku
With Masao Kusakari, Isao Natsuyagi, Sonny Chiba
Japan, 1980, 156 min.
DCP color
In  English, French, German and Japanese with English subtitles

When: Tuesday, November 22, 7 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

By far the most expensive film ever made in Japan at the time, the apocalyptic blockbuster Virus was Kadokawa's most widely distributed film outside of Japan. Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale, Battles Without Honor and Humanity) directs this spectacular story of the struggle for survival of a team of international scientists in the Antarctic after a virus has wiped out the rest of humanity and set off a nuclear countdown. The apex of the Kadokawa blockbuster strategy, Virus was rolled out with a massive advertising campaign. Both gripping and campy, the film signaled the end of Haruki Kadokawa's quest for ever bigger films and his re-orientation towards pop experimentalism and idol stars.

New 4k restoration!

Part of Pop! Goes Cinema: Kadokawa Film & 1980s Japan.

Friday, November 11, 2016

THE BEAST TO DIE at Japan Society NY next Tuesday, November 15th

Japan Society NY
Presents
The Beast to Die © 1980 Kadokawa Corp.
The Beast to Die / Yaju Shisubeshi
Directed by Toru Murakawa
With Yusaku Matsuda, Takeshi Kaga, Hideo Murota
Japan, 1980, 119 minutes
DCP, color
In Japanese with live English subtitles.

When: Tuesday, November 15, 7 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

Action star Yusaku Matsuda started his journey towards melding arthouse film and pop in this mesmerizingly stylized and Nietzschean heist film about a war reporter planning to rob a bank. Scriptwriter Shoichi Maruyama became an overnight sensation for his unique mix of the surreal and hard-boiled realism. Haruki Kadokawa used the film to embark on a new kind of small-scale blockbuster that emphasized artistic freedom. Though based on a bestseller by Haruhiko Oyabu, Kadokawa told Maruyama: "All I want is the novel's title and your modern sensibility." Foreshadowing the self-reflexive play of Japan's bubble era, the film tackles the insecurities of an increasingly international Japan. New 4k restoration!

18+. This film is unrated, but may only be viewed by persons 18 years of age and older.

Part of Pop! Goes Cinema: Kadokawa Film & 1980s Japan.

Friday, November 04, 2016

SAILOR SUIT AND MACHINE GUN to kick off new film series at Japan Society NY next Tuesday, November 8

Japan Society NY
Presents
Sailor Suit and Machine Gun © 1981 Kadokawa Corp.
Sailor Suit and Machine Gun / Serafuku to Kikanju
Directed by Shinji Somai
With Hiroko Yakushimaru, Tsunehiko Watase, Akira Emoto
Japan, 1981, 112 minutes
DCP, color
In Japanese with live English subtitles.

When: Tuesday, November 8, 7 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

One of the defining films of 1980s Japanese cinema, Sailor Suit and Machine Gun shows pop idol/actress Hiroko Yakushimaru and director Shinji Somai at the peak of their powers through the story of a schoolgirl who becomes the head of a yakuza group and takes on a sinister drug cartel. Somai uses the pulpy premise to design fascinatingly orchestrated and downright wacky long takes that explore the meaning of postmodern Japan's image culture. For Kadokawa Film it was one of the defining successes of their idol strategy, creating cypher-like media personas that were like nothing that came before.

New 4k restoration!

Part of Pop! Goes Cinema: Kadokawa Film & 1980s Japan.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

National theatrical release schedule announced for GIRLS UND PANZER DER FILM

SENTAI FILMWORKS ANNOUNCES
NATIONAL THEATRICAL RELEASE FOR
GIRLS UND PANZER DER FILM

Girls und Panzer der Film Rolls Into More
Than 30 Major Markets Nationwide

Sentai Filmworks, a leading independent distributor of Japanese anime and pop culture programming, announced today its U.S. release schedule for the English-dubbed, critically acclaimed, and record-breaking Japanese anime film, Girls und Panzer der Film. Girls und Panzer der Film will screen in more than 30 markets, including: New York, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Boston, Seattle, Orlando, San Diego, Sacramento, and more.

“The demand for a U.S. theatrical release of Girls und Panzer der Film was loud and clear,” said John Ledford, President and CEO of Sentai Filmworks. “We are thrilled to bring this intensely epic franchise to big screen audiences, where they can experience its unique blend of humor, heroism, and girls rocking heavy artillery.”

Girls und Panzer der Film picks up where the successful television series, Girls und Panzer, left off: in a society where humanity exists in cities built atop gigantic carrier ships. Now the girls of the Ooarai High School tankery team must pull together to defeat their foes and save their beloved school.

The movie, released in 2015 in Japan, was ranked the highest-grossing movie of its opening weekend and earned more than $24 million (USD) total at the Japanese box office. The film won the prestigious Seiun Award Best Dramatic Presentation and the Sanctuary Award from the 25th Japan Movie Critics Award. The English-dubbed movie is directed by Kyle Colby Jones, whose credits include No Game No Life, Parasyte –the maxim-, Akame ga Kill!, and Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun. Additionally, Margaret McDonald (Miho), Rebekah Stevens (Yukari), Jessica Calvello (Saori), Caitlynn French (Hana), and Molly Searcy (Mako) reprise their roles from the TV series.

Sentai Filmworks tapped Los Angeles-based distributor, ELEVEN ARTS, for their U.S. roll-out.

“We believe in connecting exceptional and distinguished films to audiences around the world, and we think anime fans will thoroughly enjoy Girls und Panzer der Film,” said Ko Mori, CEO and President of ELEVEN ARTS.

Girls und Panzer der Film premieres during a special launch event at San Francisco’s NEW PEOPLE CINEMA in Japantown on Friday, November 18, 2016, at 7:00 pm. The 143-seat theater is located in NEW PEOPLE (1746 Post Street), a 20,000-square foot entertainment complex that promotes the latest in Japanese popular culture expressed though film, art, fashion, and various events. In addition to the movie, attendees will receive exclusive swag, participate in a Q&A panel with key film staff, and more.

All screening information can be found on www.girlsundpanzerderfilm.com with listings updated as additional theaters are added. For more information, including the movie trailer and cast and credits, please visit:

· Girls und Panzer der Film
· English-dubbed movie trailer
· Premiere Tickets, NEW PEOPLE CINEMA

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

THE LOST BLADESMAN reviewed; out on DVD and Digital today

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Presents
The Lost Bladesman / Guan Yun Chang
Directed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong
China/Hong Kong, 2011, 109 minutes

The Lost Bladesman is a period martial arts film that becomes available today, November 1st, on Digital HD & On Demand and on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment. Starring Donnie Yen, it is loosely based on Luo Guanzhong's historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It was the Golden Lotus Award Winner for Best Film, Best Director (shared by Chong and Mak) and Best Actor (Donnie Yen) at the 2011 Macau International Movie Festival.

Synopsis
Set in ancient China during the warring period known as The Three Kingdoms (AD 220–280), the film's main character is Guan Yu (Donnie Yen, who also served as action director). He is one of the greatest warriors of the time. General Cao Cao (Wen Jiang), the real power behind the emperor, seeks to unify all China and enlists Guan Yu's aid. However, Guan Yu is a loyal friend of Liu Bei (Alex Fong), an enemy of Cao Cao.

A subplot involves the lovely Qilan (Li Sun, a.k.a. Betty Sun), who is to become one of Liu Bei's wives, but who, like Guan Yu, is held prisoner by Cao Cao. It so happens that she has long been loved by Guan Yu, who must suppress his feelings out of loyalty to his friend, a task mad ever more difficult after Cao Cao releases them and Guan Yu must take her to her future husband.

Disc Specs
-- Audio: Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1
-- Subtitles:
   -- English
   -- English for the Hearing Impaired
   -- Spanish
   -- None
-- Extras/Bonus Features: None

Review
There are numerous action pieces, primarily of the one-against-many type that feature Guan Yu battling hordes of opponents. These definitely keep things lively.

Unfortunately, the story is a bit on the thin side and not particularly engrossing. This is mainly due to Guan Yu being a too-good-to-be-true, rather one-dimensional character. There's no evidence here of the improved acting that Yen has displayed in some of his subsequent films. The best acting is by Wen Jiang as Cao Cao, a devious schemer who nonetheless has genuine admiration for Guan Yu.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars, recommended

Section23 Films announces its December 2016 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its December slate of releases; including Sentai Filmworks’ Limited Edition Premium Box Set of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions ~ Heart Throb!

Product details in order of release:

Title: THE KAWAI COMPLEX GUIDE TO MANORS & HOSTEL BEHAVIOR BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 12/6/2016
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: For some, a home is where the heart is. For others, it's where people send those whose brains aren't functioning properly. So, when Kazunari Usa is sent to the Kawai Boarding House, it may take a while for him to figure out what kind of "home" his new "home" is. Let's just say that the troublemaking college girl and the perpetually grumpy working woman have some serious issues to work out. On one hand, his new roommate is a pervert and a masochist who peeps at girls' schools, and the landlady thinks feminine protection means leaving weapons lying around the girls' part of the dorm. On the other hand, Kawai is also home to Ritsu Kawai, who steals Usa's heart the second he sees her on his first day at his new school. That alone may just make living in this strange new house worth every second it takes to learn the complex rules of The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors & Hostel Behavior!


Title: LITTLE BUSTERS! EX COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 200 min.
Street Date: 12/6/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98, $39.98

SYNOPSIS: Does the new girl in Riki Naoe's life need his help, or is she actually trying to kill him? After a chance encounter on a rooftop brings the enigmatic Saya Tokido into the Little Busters' world, the only thing that's certain is that trouble is sure to follow. As if saving the lives of his teammates wasn't enough of a task to handle, now Riki must also untangle a web of new mysteries that seem to be rooted in his own personal past! Who are the Dark Executives, why do they want to keep Saya and Riki apart, and what is the nature of the secret treasure that Saya seeks? Sometimes, answers lead to even more questions as Riki and the Little Busters discover that they weren't the only people drawn into Kyousuke's artificial world in LITTLE BUSTERS! EX!


Title: ANGELIC LAYER BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 650 min.
Street Date: 12/13/2016
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: From the moment twelve-year-old Misaki Suzuhara first arrives in Tokyo to live with her aunt, she finds herself swept away by the amazing world of Angelic Layer - a fast-paced high-tech game where dolls called "Angels" are controlled by the thoughts of their operator, or "Deus". Discovering that her new friends are as interested in Angelic Layer as she is, Misaki builds her own Angel, Hikaru, and begins competing in battles where will and determination count far more than size and strength. The competitions are going to be fierce and, with the national championships looming on the horizon, you can bet that not everyone Misaki meets will be on her side. Can Misaki handle the pressure of non-stop competition while struggling to adapt to life in an unfamiliar city? From the amazing minds and pens of Japan's legendary all-female creative team, CLAMP, it's the coming of age adventure that's become an all-time anime classic - ANGELIC LAYER!


Title: HAKUOKI ~ DEMON OF THE FLEETING BLOSSOM: RECORD OF THE JADE BLOOD SEASON 2 COLLECTION BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 250 min.
Street Date: 12/13/2016
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: Betrayed by the shogun and forced to flee to Edo, the Shinsengumi are fighting a desperate battle; not just for their lives, but for their very souls and the ideals they swore to stand for. Now, as Harada, Shinpachi, and Saito launch a dangerous thrust to fight their way out of Koufu, Chizuru must decide whether to hold true to her own oath to Hijikata. Will she stand guard over the wounded Kondou and Okita, or will she succumb to the hopelessness and disillusionment that has shattered their ranks? As the Fury's advance, Hijikata must face the greatest test of all: can he keep the Shinsengumi together? Can the powers to be gained from the Water of Life ever justify the nightmarish price? As the fires of war threaten to consume Japan, the last hopes of salvation lie in the courage and steel of a chosen few in Hakuoki: Record of the Jade Blood!


Title: LOVE, CHUNIBYO & OTHER DELUSIONS ~ HEART THROB PREMIUM BOX SET
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 12/13/2016
Format: COMBO
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $149.98

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 chuuni himself returns with a vengeance! So how bad is Satone Shichimiya's re-entry into Togashi'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 Togashi'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 Togashi's best option. Especially since Satone knows where ALL the skeletons from his past are buried. Toss Rikka's equally delusional friend Sanae into the mix and girl-crazy takes on a whole new meaning in LOVE, CHUNIBYO & OTHER DELUSIONS - HEART THROB!


Title: MY LOVE STORY COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 12/20/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $99.98, $79.98

SYNOPSIS: Takeo Goda's hulking physique and affinity for sports make him popular with other guys, but girls just find him intimidating. Unaware of his gentle nature, the girls that Takeo likes always seem to fall for his handsome best friend, Suna, instead. Takeo is resigned to being Suna's wingman, with no hard feelings between them, until Takeo rescues Rinko Yamato from a molester on the train. Unfortunately, while Rinko might see past Takeo's brutish appearance, Takeo's become so conditioned to girls preferring Suna that he assumes Rinko is the same! Being the good, genuine guy he is, he's going to do everything he can to help the two of them be happy. Will Takeo let himself believe someone likes him? Love isn't blind: it's just a little dense in MY LOVE STORY!!


Title: WAKABA GIRL COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 112 min.
Street Date: 12/20/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $34.98, $24.98

SYNOPSIS: Even though her ridiculously wealthy family tries to give her everything, it's not until the sheltered Wakaba Kohashi fails to get into an upscale school that she finds what she really needed: a group of friends who want to know the real her, and not her status. Her new school mates may not be up to date on haute couture, but Wakaba is enthralled by their knowledge about the outside world, including the flashy "gyaru" fashion. Soon, Wakaba is helping (or TRYING to help) her newfound friends with their newfound high school girl problems. From helping innocent Moeko though gymnastics, standing in for Nao in a beauty contest, and inadvertently helping Mao act like a rich girl, to simply enjoying the joys of girl talk and sharing ice cream, there's a whole new world of everyday wonders waiting to be discovered in WAKABA*GIRL!

Monday, October 31, 2016

REIGN OF ASSASSINS reviewed; out tomorrow on DVD and Digital

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Presents
Reign of Assassins / Jian yu
Directed by Su Chao-Pin
Co-Directed by John Woo
Starring Michelle Yeoh, Jung Woo-Sung and Xueqi Wang
China/Taiwan/Hong Kong, 2010, 107 minutes

Reign of Assassins is a period martial arts film that will become available tomorrow, November 1st, on Digital HD & On Demand and on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Synopsis
Billed -- and not without some reason -- as a sort of composite of Face/Off and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the film's story centers on the ancient remains of a Buddhist monk that are believed to confer the power to control the martial art world on whoever possesses them. Seized by members of a band of assassins, who kill their owner and his son, the remains are then taken by one of them who wants them for herself. She decides not to keep them and undergoes facial surgery to change her appearance and to try to live a normal life. She marries a messenger, but the quest for the dead monk's remains bring both the gang of assassins and others into her life and threatens to expose her true identity.

Disc Specs
-- Audio: Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1
-- Subtitles:
   -- English
   -- English for the Hearing Impaired
   -- Spanish
   -- None
-- Extras/Bonus Features: None

Review
This is a really solid martial arts action flick, not least because it stars the wonderful Michelle Yeoh. Not only is she a terrific action star, but she is a fine actress who pretty much always brings depth to any character she plays. The rest of the cast is very good also.

Wei Tung (as Stephen Tung) has done a fine job as action coordinator.

The film also benefits from a better than average story by Chao-Bin Su. Though not up to the screenplay of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Reign of Assassins has real heart to it.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; highly recommended

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sentai Filmworks adds MAGIC OF STELLA to Fall 2016 lineup


Sentai Filmworks has announced the addition of the slice-of-life comedy Magic of Stella to its Fall 2016 lineup.

Based on the four-panel manga serialized in Manga Time Kirara Max, the series follows first-year high school student Tamaki Honda and her SNS club as they work together to create a self-published game. With Tamaki as the project’s illustrator, she works alongside the club’s other (rather peculiar) members, including Shiina (the club president and game programmer), Ayame (the scenario writer), Kayo (their music composer), and Yumine (the club’s boys’ love expert).

The series was directed by Shinya Kawatsura (Tanaka-kun is Always Listless, Non Non Biyori) with series composition by Fumihiko Shimo (Myriad Colors Phantom World, Infinite Stratos, New Game!). Animation production was helmed by SILVER LINK, the same studio responsible for favorites like Chivalry of a Failed Knight, WATAMOTE, and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya.

Magic of Stella will be available on select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Sentai Filmworks has acquired the license for LONG RIDERS!


Sentai Filmworks has announced the newest addition to its Fall 2016 lineup: Long Riders!

For first-year college student Ami Kurata, it was love at first sight when she laid her eyes on a folding bike. She saves up money to buy one of her own, then pedals right into the exciting world of long-distance bicycling. After forming a cycling team on campus, Ami and her four new bike mates prepare for the ride of their lives in an upcoming long-distance race.

The series was directed by Tatsuya Yoshihara (Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls), with series composition by Natsuko Takahashi (My Love Story!!, Divine Gate). Animation production was handled by Actas, the same studio responsible for the Girls und Panzer franchise.

Long Riders! will be available on select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

THE LOST BLADESMAN coming to home video November 1st

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Presents
The Lost Bladesman / Guan Yun Chang
Directed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong
China/Hong Kong, 2011, 109 minutes

Golden Lotus Award Winner for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor
Arrives on DVD, Digital HD & On Demand November 1, 2016

International superstar Donnie Yen (Ip Man series, Hero, 14 Blades, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend) leads an epic cast in The Lost Bladesman, loosely based on Luo Guanzhong's historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, arriving on Digital HD & On Demand and on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment November 1st for the suggested retail price of $19.98.

Also starring in the action-packed, gorgeously shot film are Wen Jiang (Warriors of Heaven and Earth, Let the Bullets Fly, The Sun Also Rises), Sun Li (Empresses of the Palace, Painted Skin) and Andy On (Mad Detective, True Legend, Blackhat).

Written and directed by critically acclaimed filmmakers Alan Mak and Felix Chong – creators of the successful Infernal Affairs trilogy, The Lost Bladesman won several Golden Lotus awards at the 2011 Macau International Movie Festival including Best Film, Best Director for Mak and Chong, and Best Actor for Donnie Yen. Wen Jiang also won the Best Actor award from the Shanghai Film Critics for his performance in the film.

Synopsis:
During the warring period of the three kingdoms, ancient China is in turmoil. To unify the country, General Cao Cao (Wen Jiang), the real power behind the emperor, enlists the aid of the greatest warrior in the land Guan Yu (Donnie Yen). However, Guan Yu is a loyal friend of Cao Cao's enemy Liu Bei (Alex Fong). To persuade the peerless warrior to fight, Cao Cao takes his beloved Qi Lan (Betty Sun) hostage. After leading Cao Cao's forces to victory, Guan Yu sets out with Qi Lan to rejoin Liu Bei. But now Cao Cao has deemed him too great a threat to live, and on the journey he must face all the forces at the emperor's command sent to destroy him.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

6 film series "Pop! Goes Cinema: Kadokawa Film & 1980s Japan" coming to Japan Society NY

Japan Society NY
Presents
Pop! Goes Cinema: Kadokawa Film & 1980s Japan
When: November 8 - December 17, 2016
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

6-Film Series Celebrates 40th Anniversary
of Famed Kadokawa Studio with
5 U.S. Premiere Restorations

Established by the larger-than-life, controversial businessman, producer and visionary Haruki Kadokawa, the game-changing Kadokawa Film studio redefined Japanese popular culture and media from the late 1970s through the 1980s with a series of highly marketed blockbusters, pop idol vehicles and off-the-walls genre films, each a unique blend of mainstream pop and experimental cinema unlike anything Japan had seen at the time.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kadokawa’s shift from publishing house to cinematic powerhouse, Japan Society presents Pop! Goes Cinema: Kadokawa Film & 1980s Japan, a mini-retrospective of six celebrated and rarely-screened selections from Kadokawa — almost all in brand-new 4k restorations.

Running November 8 through December 17, the series presents the wildly popular genre favorites Sailor Suit and Machine Gun and The Little Girl Who Conquered Time, both among some of the most defining films of the 1980s in Japan, as well as more obscure titles that embody Kadokawa's trademark highbrow-lowbrow clash of sexy, broody, sensual and cool. Revelations abound for the uninitiated and familiar alike from Yusaku Matsuda’s creepy, all-or-nothing performance in The Beast to Die, to the hauntingly beautiful melodies of W’s Tragedy by Joe Hisaishi. Rounding out the series are the unconventional romance Play it, Boogie-Woogie, and the bigger-than-big budget Virus, starring a globe-spanning international cast.

Featured filmmakers include some of Japan’s most revered cult and genre directors, notably Toshiya Fujita (Lady Snowblood, Stray Cat Rock), Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale, Battles Without Honor and Humanity) and Nobuhiko Obayashi (House, School in the Crosshairs), as well as several career-making and/or career-defining performances from Yusaku Matsuda, one of Japanese cinema's biggest stars though virtually unknown outside of Japan, to Tomoyo Harada and Hiroko Yakushimaru, Kadokawa’s biggest idol stars, whose debut roles are included in the series.

With the exception of Play it, Boogie-Woogie all films have been newly restored digitally as 4k scans output to 2k DCPs, with these screenings marking the U.S. Premieres of the restorations. None of these films are available on home video with English subtitles.

When Haruki Kadokawa transformed the mid-size publishing house into a film studio, he formulated a revolutionary-for-its-time "mixed media" marketing strategy that sold films with crossover books and soundtrack albums. Jumpstarting the 1970s blockbuster phenomenon in Japan, in just ten years the studio produced six of the ten most successful films in Japanese film history. In addition to producing over 70 films and directing six, the flamboyant and eccentric Kadokawa was a prize-winning poet, accomplished sailor, and even the head Shinto priest of his own shrine.

"While an older generation of film critics despised Kadokawa and his films as a step towards depoliticization and a totalizing consumer culture, Kadokawa’s media mix captured the burgeoning anything-goes atmosphere of 1980s pop culture in Japan," writes series curator Alexander Zahlten, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, and Program Director for Nippon Connection Film Festival in Frankfurt, Germany from 2002 to 2010. "Kadokawa Film defined an era – and laid the groundwork for the vibrant Japanese media ecology of today."

Japan Society's Senior Film Programmer Aiko Masubuchi adds, "These selections represent a monumental shift in Japanese cinema that happened during the early 1980s, an often overlooked or unfairly maligned decade in Japanese film history that, for better or worse, completely changed popular culture in Japan. While many Japanese audiences will be very familiar with these titles and their stars, this is largely an introduction for New Yorkers to the uniquely spectacular cinema of excess and imagination that characterized Kadokawa Film."

Pop! Goes Cinema is an extension of 40th anniversary celebrations happening this year throughout Japan, including a Kadokawa-organized festival so popular that an encore is in the works, and a major retrospective at Tokyo's National Film Center, Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

Admission: $13/$10 seniors and students/$9 Japan Society members. Special Offer: Purchase tickets for at least three films in the same transaction and receive $2 off each ticket. Tickets can be purchased in person at Japan Society, online at www.japansociety.org, or by calling the box office at 212-715-1258.

For further information about the six films in the series and the lecture Kadokawa & The Shaping of Japanese Popular Culture that will take place on December 17th at 5:00 Pm, before the 7:00 PM showing in W's Tragedy, click here.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

REIGN OF ASSASSINS coming to home video on November 1st

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Presents
Reign of Assassins / Jian yu
Directed by Su Chao-Pin
China/Taiwan/Hong Kong, 2010, 107 minutes

Michelle Yeoh (Babylon A.D., Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend), Jung Woo-Sung (The Good, The Bad, The Weird; A Moment to Remember, The Warrior) and Xueqi Wang (Iron Man 3, Bodyguards and Assassins, Warriors of Heaven and Earth) star in Reign of Assassins, the exciting martial arts thriller produced by the legendary John Woo (Mission Impossible: II, Face/Off, The Killer), arriving on Digital HD & On Demand and on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment on November 1.

Directed by Su Chao-Pin, Reign of Assassins is the winner of two Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards including Best Director & Film of Merit, and also received 11 Hong Kong Film Award nominations, including a Best Picture nomination. Reign of Assassins will be available for the suggested retail price of $19.98.

Synopsis:
Produced by John Woo and Terence Chang, this epic martial arts action thriller promises to be Face/Off meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Set in ancient China, the film stars Michelle Yeoh as a skilled assassin who is on a mission to return the remains of a mystical Buddhist monk to their resting place. The remains are believed to hold a powerful secret. Along the way, she falls in love with a man named Jiang, whose father was killed by her gang. Unaware that he also is a trained martial artist, their love blossoms but tensions arise as the truth of her past unravels. Soon, a lethal triangle surfaces between her, Jiang and the team of assassins that are after the monk’s remains.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE: VOLUME ONE coming to DVD November 1st

Well Go USA
Presents
Legend of Bruce Lee: Volume One
Starring Danny Chan
451 minutes

10 Episodes Available on DVD November 1

Danny Chan (Ip Man 3, Kung Fu Hustle) brings the legendary figure of Bruce Lee and his incredible story to life in 10 action-packed episodes when LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE: VOLUME ONE debuts on DVD November 1 from Well Go USA Entertainment. The life story of the renowned martial arts icon follows him from Hong Kong to America and back again. LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE: VOLUME ONE also stars Michelle Lang, Gary Daniels, Ted Duran, Natalia Dzyublo, Wang Luoyong, Hazen McIntyre, Ray Park, Tim Storms, Michael Jai White, Traci Ann Wolfe, Mark Dacascos and Ash Gordey.

Synopsis:
Young Bruce Lee (Danny Chan) has no interest in studying and is obsessed with martial arts. After losing a street fight, he resolves to master Kung Fu under the tutelage of Master Ye Wen. Targeted by street gangs after standing up for the weak, Bruce has no other option but to leave Hong Kong for a strange and far off land: America. At the University of Washington Bruce starts teaching martial arts and befriends an American girl named Linda (Michelle Lang). An extraordinary performance at a national karate championship launches Bruce, his film career, and his Kung Fu school on the path to international renown.

Friday, October 21, 2016

MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI opens in theaters starting November 25th

Strand Releasing
Presents
Mifune: The Last Samurai
Directed by Steven Okazaki
Narrated by: Keanu Reeves
USA/Japan, 2015, 80 minutes
In English and Japanese (With Subtitles)

Opening Theatrically on Friday, November 25, 2016 in New York at the IFC Center
with additional cities including Los Angeles (December 2),
San Francisco (December 9) and a wider national release to follow

Nearly 20 years after his death, Toshiro Mifune remains a true giant of world cinema. He made 16 remarkable films with director Akira Kurosawa, including Rashomon, Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, and together they shook the film world, inspiring not only The Magnificent Seven and Clint Eastwood’s breakthrough movie, A Fistful of Dollars, but also George Lucas’ Star Wars.

Mifune: The Last Samurai, the new feature-length documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki, explores the evolution of the samurai film; Mifune's childhood and World War II experience; his accidental entry into the movies; and dynamic but sometimes turbulent collaboration with Kurosawa.

Mifune – wry, charismatic and deadly -- was the first non-white action star. “A lot of people try to imitate Mifune, especially when they’re playing strong and silent,” says Steven Spielberg, “ but nobody can. He was unique in all the world.”

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Yang Chao's CROSSCURRENT is coming to North American theaters starting October 28th

Cheng Cheng Films
Presents
Crosscurrent / Chang jiang tu
Directed by Yang Chao
Starring Qin Hao and Xin Zhilei 
China, 2016, 116 minutes

Mysterious, sublime and elegiac, director Yang Chao’s odyssey blends breathtaking images with fantasy, poetry and history to create a complex magical universe. From the Shanghai metropolis to the snow-capped Tibet mountain, Gao Chun (actor Qin Hao) steers his cargo up the Yangtze, a river that has nurtured a centuries-old civilization. He comes across An Lu (actress Xin Zhilei), a beautiful woman who appears in a different identity at every port recorded by a poetry book. As their intimacy grows, he realizes she gradually turns younger as he journeys upstream. He starts to wonder whether An Lu is supernatural or he is traveling in time. After passing a pagoda that reverberates Buddha’s voice, a flooded town reappeared elsewhere, the grandiose Three Gorges Dam and many other places that have been transformed, he finally arrives at the start of the Yangtze, where he unveils the secret of his past and An Lu.

Opening in Theaters:
10/28
New York: Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 & RPX

11/4
Toronto: Cineplex Cinemas Markham and VIP
Vancouver: Cineplex Silver City Riverport

11/18
Los Angeles: Regal Edwards University Town Center
Regal Edwards Alhambra Renaissance Stadium

More locations will be updated at CrosscurrentMovie.com.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

VIZ previewed 2017 publishing acquisitions at NY Comic Con

VIZ MEDIA PREVIEWS 2017 PUBLISHING
ACQUISITIONS AT NEW YORK COMIC CON

Publishing Roster Expands With New Titles For 2017 Release

VIZ Media thrilled legions of fans at its official panel event at the recent 2016 New York Comic Con during which it detailed a host of brand new manga publishing acquisitions.

VIZ Media previewed each of the 6 new titles that include the music-driven romance in ANONYMOUS NOISE, the story of a queer woman finding her place in the music scene in AFTER HOURS, a survival treasure hunt adventure in GOLDEN KAMUY, and the creepy flesh-eating drama of TOKYO GHOUL: RE, the new sequel to the bestselling manga series. Also announced was the launch of BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATION, which continues the action-packed ninja saga by famed creator Masashi Kishimoto, as well as VAMPIRE KNIGHT: MEMORIES, an ongoing collection of short stories from the original series’ beloved creator Matsuri Hino.

Additional information on each of these titles will be announced in the near future.

New VIZ Media Publishing Acquisitions for 2017 Release:

ANONYMOUS NOISE • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • Debuts Spring 2017
A girl who loves to sing, Nino Arisugawa experiences her first heart-wrenching goodbye when her beloved childhood friend, Momo, moves away. And after Nino befriends Yuzu, a music composer, she experiences another sad parting! With music as their common ground and only outlet, how will her unrequited loves play out? Since both boys promised Nino that they would find her one day through her singing, she holds on to that hope and continues to reach out with her voice. Now in high school, Nino serendipitously reunites with Yuzu, but she yearns to see Momo again...

AFTER HOURS • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • Debuts Summer 2017
Emi Asahina is 24, unemployed, and not really sure what she wants to do with her life. When a friend invites her to a dance club, Emi doesn’t expect much but decides to give it a try…and ends up hiding in the corner after her friend ditches her for a dude! Emi figures the night is a bust, but then an exciting woman comes to her rescue. Kei is a DJ, and her effortless self-confidence captivates Emi. Is this the start of something special or just one wonderful night?

BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATION • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • Debuts Spring 2017
Naruto was a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He achieved his dream to become the greatest ninja in the village and his face sits atop the Hokage monument. But this is not his story... A new generation of ninja are ready to take the stage, led by Naruto's son, Boruto!

GOLDEN KAMUY • Rated ‘M’ for Mature • Debuts Summer 2017
The winner of the 2016 Manga Taisho Award. “Sugimoto the Immortal,” a surviving soldier of the Russo-Japanese War, seeks the riches promised by a gold rush in Hokkaido, Japan’s frozen north. Instead, he stumbles upon the tale of a vast stash of Ainu gold and sets off on a dangerous treasure hunt with only a young Ainu girl as his guide. Just one problem: the map to the treasure was tattooed on the skins of criminals, and Sugimoto has to vie with said criminals, the military, wild animals and even a specter of the Shinsengumi to piece together the map.

TOKYO GHOUL: RE • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • Debuts Fall 2017
A new sequel to the bestselling TOKYO GHOUL by creator Sui Ishida set after the events of the main series. The main character is Haise Sasaki, a Ghoul Investigator assigned to oversee a squad of unruly young Investigators that have had ghoul traits experimentally implanted into them. The pressure is on this experimental and temperamental squad to become the best Ghoul Investigators and their mettle will first be tested tracking down a gruesome ghoul known as “Torso.”

VAMPIRE KNIGHT: MEMORIES • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • Debuts Summer 2017
VAMPIRE KNIGHT: MEMORIES is a continuing collection of short stories from creator Matsuri Hino that delves into Yuki and Zero's time as a couple in the past, and explores the relationship between Yuki's children and Kaname in the present. These are gorgeously drawn and heartfelt stories sure to delight fans of the original series.

For additional information on manga titles published by VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

SUSHI: JIRO GASTRONOMY - an AsianCineFest book review

SUSHI SUKIYABASHI JIRO: JIRO GASTRONOMY© 2015 Jiro ONO, Masuhiro YAMAMOTO/SHOGAKUKAN
SUSHI: JIRO GASTRONOMY
Written by Jiro Ono and Yoshikazu Ono
VIZ Media edition published October 2016
5.5 inches high, 4.1 inches wide, 0.3 inches thick
96 pages
MSRP of $14.99 US / $16.99 CAN

SUSHI: JIRO GASTRONOMY is a wonderful guide to sushi dinning that becomes available today, Tuesday, October 11th from VIZ Media.

Written by renowned chef Jiro Ono, the subject of the award-winning documentary film Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and Yoshikazu Ono, Jiro's older son, it provides a guide to the sushi served at their famous Tokyo restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. (Jiro's younger son, Takashi, opened his own sushi restaurant with his father's blessing.)

The slim volume consists of a Foreword and three chapters.

The first chapter, "Omakase Tasting Menu," describes thirty types of sushi that are served at Sukiyabashi Jiro, each in a two page spread. The left-hand page is a beautiful color photo of the sushi sitting on a black surface. The right-hand page provides the name of the dish in English and in Japanese, an indication of the season in which it is served, and information about such things as its character and preparation.

"How to Eat Sushi" is self-descriptive, with pictures (again in lovely color) illustrating the various "Do"s and "Don't"s for correctly eating sushi and thereby maximizing one's enjoyment of it.

The third chapter is entitled "Dining at Sukiyabashi Jiro." It provides information about making reservations (an absolute necessity), dress code, accepted payment methods, and more.

Given its size and number of pages, this volume may seem rather pricey at first glance. However, the quality of the paper used and the many gorgeous photographs make it a much more reasonable purchase.

And let's face it, this book (and the documentary film) is probably as close as most of us will ever get to dining at Sukiyabashi Jiro, where the omikase tasting menu is 30,000 yen (a bit under $300 at current rates) plus tax for lunch or dinner.

So if you're a sushi lover, no matter to what degree, I think you'll really want this book.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; very highly recommended

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Tatsuya Nakadai to appear at Japan Society on October 31st after screening of THE FACE OF ANOTHER

Japan Society NY
Presents
The Face of Another © 1966 Toho Co. Ltd.
The Face of Another / Tanin no Kao
Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara 
With Tatsuya Nakadai, Machiko Kyo, Mikijiro Hira,
Kyoko Kishida, and Eiji Okada
Japan, 1966, 124 minutes
35mm, b/w, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Monday, October 31, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map
Tickets
($15/$12 Japan Society members)

Legendary actor Tatsuya Nakadai visits Japan Society for a 50th anniversary screening of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s existential, horror-tinged masterpiece. The third of four film collaborations between director Teshigahara, composer Toru Takemitsu and writer Kobo Abe (who adapted his own best-selling novel for the screen), The Face of Another brilliantly examines themes of identity and alienation through the story of Okuyama, a young businessman who is fitted with a lifelike prosthetic mask after an industrial accident leaves him burned and disfigured. While the new face initially offers a sense of freedom, things take a dark turn as Okuyama becomes increasingly paranoid and erratic, suggesting the mask has taken on a chilling personality of its own.


After the screening, Nakadai will be joined on stage by Yukie Kamiya, Japan Society Gallery Director, for a unique conversation about the significance of masks and noh influences in The Face of Another and Nakadai’s long-spanning acting career. This event is presented in conjunction with the Japan Society Gallery exhibition Simon Starling: At Twilight (After W.B. Yeats’ Noh Reincarnation) (Oct. 14, 2016-Jan. 15, 2017), which explores the impact of noh on art in Western Modernism.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

"Haikyu!! 3rd Season: Karasuno High VS. Shiratoizawa High School" to be available soon from Sentai Filmworks


It’s time to return to Karasuno High in the exciting third season of Haikyu!! Join Hinata, Kageyama, and the rest of the team in one of the most anticipated shows of the Fall 2016 season, Haikyu!! 3rd Season: Karasuno High VS. Shiratoizawa High School.

Picking up where the second season ended, the boys prepare to finally face off for the right to represent the prefecture in the volleyball national championship. Despite being known as “The Fallen Champions,” Karasuno is determined to take down the powerhouse that is the Shiratorizawa High volleyball team. As Hinata comes closer to fulfilling his promise to defeat Ushijima’s team, will the “Flightless Crows” finally find their wings and soar above the best school in the prefecture?

Original director Susumu Mitsunaka returns to direct the third season, with Taku Kishimoto (91 Days, ERASED) once again in charge of series composition. Production I.G, the same studio responsible for Kuroko’s Basketball, Psycho-Pass, and the first two seasons of Haikyu!!, returns to produce the series.

Haikyu!! 3rd Season will be available on select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of SQUID GIRL


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of the Squid Girl franchise for North America. Sentai’s acquisition will extend availability of the series, including seasons one, two, and the OVA’s to home video, television, and select digital outlets.

The cutest little tentacle-haired invader from the sea, Squid Girl, has come to subdue humanity! Unfortunately, she’s in hot water with the Aizawa siblings after a demonstration of her squid powers destroys their restaurant, the Lemon Beach House. Now, she’s forced to work as a waitress for them until she pays off her damages. Between her aquatic puns, bickering with the Aizawa sisters, tiffs with customers, and the many misadventures that come with seaside life, Squid Girl has her hands, and her tentacles, full!

The original manga series by Masahiro Anbe was serialized in Akita Shoten's Weekly Shōnen Champion for nearly a decade from 2007 to 2016. Tsutomu Mizushima (Girls und Panzer, SHIROBAKO) directed the animated series, with series composition by Michiko Yokote (RIN-NE, SHIROBAKO). Animation production was handled by diomedéa (Gingitsune).