With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Friday, April 07, 2017

ZATOICHI THE FUGITIVE at Japan Society NY tonight, April 7th

Japan Society NY
presents
Zatoichi the Fugitive © 1966 Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.
Zatoichi the Fugitive / Zatoichi Kyojo Tabi
Directed by Tokuzo Tanaka
With Shintaro Katsu, Miwa Takada, and Masayo Banri
Japan, 1963, 86 minutes
35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

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

The fourth episode in the immensely popular 25-film action series features iconic blind swordsman Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) going up against a legion of local yakuza henchmen who target him after he defeats them in a wrestling tournament and then kills one of their own in self-defense. To complicate things, a former romantic interest reenters Zatoichi's life and a hot-tempered ronin, to whom she is married, seeks to end it for a reward. Composer Akira Ifukube, most famous for his work on the Godzilla film series, provides a characteristically spare and artful score.

Tickets: $13/$10 seniors & students/$5 Japan Society members

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

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

SWORD MASTER coming to Blu-ray & DVD on April 11th from Well Go USA

Well Go USA
Entertainment
presents
Sword Master / San shao ye de jian
Directed by Derek Yee
Hong Kong/China. 2016, 105 minutes

Hong Kong cinema giants Derek Yee (Triple Tap) and Tsui Hark (Flying Swords of Dragon Gate) join forces for an epic remake of 1977’s Death Duel, when the wuxia martial arts extravaganza Sword Master debuts on Blu-ray™ and DVD April 11th from Well Go USA Entertainment. (It's been available on digital since March 7th.)

Visually opulent, the film follows a master swordsman who must once again wield his weapon against those who threaten his desire to live in peace. Sword Master stars Kenny Lin (The Taking of Tiger Mountain), Peter Ho (The Monkey King), Yiyan Jiang (Reign of Assassins) and Mengjie Jiangin (Kung Fu Hero). Bonus materials include the featurette “Mastering the Sword.”

Synopsis:
A powerful swordsman is haunted by the destructive impact his deadly talents have on others. Weary of the bloodshed and violence from the martial arts world, he banishes himself to the humble life of a vagrant, wandering the fringes of society. But his violent past refuses to let him go quietly. The master swordsman must regain the ability to wield his sword and fight those disrupting the peace he so desperately craves.

Bonus Materials Include:
-- “Mastering the Sword” featurette

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Johnnie To's THREE coming to Blu-ray & DVD on April 4th

Well Go USA
Entertainment
presents
Three / San ren xing
Directed by Johnnie To
With  Louis Koo, Wei Zhao, and Wallace Chung
Hong Kong/China, 2016, 89 minutes

Tensions mounts and bullets fly in master filmmaker Johnnie To’s (Drug War, Exiled, Election) Three, his latest showdown between cops, robbers and everyone else caught in the crossfire. The action-packed thriller will become available on Blu-ray™ and DVD on April 4th from Well Go USA Entertainment. (It's been available on digital since March 7th.)

When a police sting goes bad, a cornered criminal (Wallace Chung, Drug War) makes a desperate choice: he shoots himself, forcing the officers to cease fire and rush him to the hospital. Once there, he refuses treatment, waiting for his cohorts to break him out. Caught between an obsessed cop (Louis Koo, Triad Election) and the dedicated surgeon assigned to save his life (Zhao Wei, Red Cliff), the hospital is now a battleground of deception, double-crosses and a coming onslaught of violence.

Synopsis:
When three disparate souls—a doctor desperate to redeem her reputation (Vicki Zhao), a policeman who will go to any length to seek out justice (Louis Koo), and a criminal with a gunshot wound to the head (Wallace Chung)—are thrown together in the hustle and bustle of an emergency room, a hospital descends from a pristine sanctuary to an explosive battleground.

Bonus Materials Include:
-- “Master Director Johnnie To” featurette
-- “Three Complex Characters” featurette

Friday, March 24, 2017

BEYOND GODZILLA series lecture by curator Mark Schilling

Japan Society
presents
The H-Man © 1959 Sony Pictures; Blue Christmas © 1978 Toho Co. Ltd.; Invisible Man © 1954 Toho Co. Ltd.
Beyond Godzilla
Series Curator Lecture
When: Saturday, March 25th at 5:00 PM
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC

Beyond Godzilla series curator Mark Schilling traces the evolution of the sci-fi/fantasy genre in Japan that (save for one big, scaly beast) remains largely neglected, considering its prewar origins to the present. The lecture will introduce Schilling’s selections and provide context for their inclusion in relation to the history of sci-fi/fantasy films in Japan, from Toho sci-fi epics helmed by Ishiro Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya to fantasies by pioneering indie auteur Nobuhiko Obayashi and beyond.

Approx. 60 min. This event is free with the purchase of a ticket to any film in the series. Seating is limited. Ticketholders will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Part of Beyond Godzilla: Alternative Futures & Fantasies in Japanese Cinema.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Section23 Films has announced its June 2017 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its June slate of releases, including two Limited Edition Premium Box Sets from Sentai Filmworks. Chivalry of a Failed Knight and School- Live!

Product details, in order of release:

Title: KINO'S JOURNEY COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: ADV Films
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 6/6/2017
Format: DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: Three days. Two nights. That’s how much time Kino and Hermes allot to each new place they visit before drifting off again, crossing a mysterious land filled with mystical sights and strange customs. Kino’s an enigmatic loner, skilled with weapons and always anticipating what might lie around the next hill or bend of the river. Hermes is Kino’s friend, companion, and motorcycle, gifted with the ability to think and speak, seldom as bold as Kino, but always there when speed is required. What is their goal, their ultimate destination? Like life itself, it’s all a mystery that one can only solve by taking the journey. All Kino and Hermes know is that adventure, danger, and new wonders lie on the horizon, waiting to be encountered at each passing stop. Join the odyssey and drift along for the ride in KINO’S JOURNEY!


Title: CHIVALRY OF A FAILED KNIGHT COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 6/13/2017
Format: BD, DVD, COMBO
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98 $59.98, $169.98

SYNOPSIS: Ikki Kurogane may have come from a long line of Blazers, people with the ability to create weapons or devices manifested from their souls, but as far as the Hagun Academy is concerned, he's been a major disappointment in the magical powers department. He is so disappointing, in fact, that he's earned the unfortunate nickname of the "Worst One". However, things change for Ikki in the most surp rising way when Princess Stella Vermillion, the most promising Rank-A Blazer to come along in many years, decides to transfer to Hagun. When she challenges him to a duel where the loser must obey the winner for the rest of their life, the last thing anyone expects is that the Worst One might prove to be a match for the Crimson Princess… and the unforeseen consequences will push the boundaries of society itself in CHIVALRY OF A FAILED KNIGHT!


Title: THE PATIENTS OF DR. MARO BLU-RAY
Published by: SoftCel Pictures
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 50 min.
Street Date: 6/13/2017
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $19.98

SYNOPSIS: Hikomaro, better known as Dr. Maro, knows his way around the human body and can stick a thermometer in like a professional. Unfortunately, his medical ethics are seriously lacking, his concept of an appropriate Doctor-Patient relationship is entirely inappropriate, and his common sense is as non-functional as his sense of morality. When Sakimi and Masashi, a young married couple, come to inquire about a medical issue and to consult on the possibility of having children, what starts as a routine breast exam spirals madly out of control. Then, when Dr. Maro's far too intimate examination of the blushing bride results in a bashing husband, Maro finds his manual dexterity severely reduced by a pair of casts. Even then, Maro finds a way to come out on top, and to keep the not-so-good doctor from suing her husband, Sakimi must become his VERY personal servant in THE PATIENTS OF DR. MARO!


Title: THE BIG O BLU-RAY COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 650 min.
Street Date: 6/20/2017
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $79.98

SYNOPSIS: Forty years ago, the minds of Paradigm City's inhabitants were wiped clean of all recollections of the past. Now, ruled by a powerful corporation and cut off from the rest of the world by desolate wastelands, Paradigm has become a virtual police state where Negotiators like Roger Smith keep the wheels of progress, commerce, and society turning. As a combined hybrid of detective, mediator, and enforcer, Smith's primary resource is his keen, analytical mind, but it doesn't hurt to have a mansion filled with gadgets, his butler Norman, and his attractive assistant Dorothy to fall back on. Additionally, for those times when cases end up "in dispute," he also has the biggest, baddest back-up that any cop or small army could ever hope for: the Big O, a giant robot loaded with all the extras. Film noir thriller meets mecha mayhem masterpiece as the acclaimed classic series returns in the complete collection of THE BIG O!


Title: NORN9: NORN + NONETTE COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 6/20/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: It's been so long since someone used her name that she's forgotten it. Suddenly, she's ripped away from everything she knows, chosen by a mysterious organization called The World for a secret mission. However, from the moment she steps on board the incredible spacecraft Norn, she knows that she's found home. The other young people aboard the ship are just like her: gifted with unexpected skills and abilities. Now, to protect the future of peace and harmony, they're at The World's beck and call. Maybe she'll find more than just a purpose. Maybe she's finally found a family and, possibly, even… her soul mate? Join three amazing girls, nine incredible guys, and a mysterious kid as an epic odyssey begins in NORN9!


Title: SCHOOL-LIVE! COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 6/27/2017
Format: BD, DVD, COMBO
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98 $59.98, $129.98

SYNOPSIS: Why would anyone form a School Living Club? Could four girls, their advisor, and a puppy really love their school so much that they'd want to live in it? Or is there another reason, something that lurks behind the façade of their comfortable existence? Something that waits outside their school's doors. Something that has already robbed one girl of her sanity? While the others try to come to grips with a dark new reality, the rest of the world falls to ruin at the hands of a ravenous force, and insanity may be the last hope for survival. Shocks, heartbreak and stunning revelations await as the twisted tale unfolds in SCHOOL-LIVE!

Monday, March 13, 2017

LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE: Vol. 2 coming to DVD on April 4th


10 Episodes in a Three-Disc Collection Available on DVD April 4

Danny Chan (Ip Man 3, Kung Fu Hustle) is back as legendary martial arts icon Bruce Lee when Well Go USA Entertainment debuts LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE: VOLUME TWO on DVD April 4. The set features 10 action-packed episodes on three-discs and follows Lee as he comes to America and begins a revolution in the world of martial arts. LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE: VOLUME TWO also stars Michelle Lang, Mark Dacascos, Wang Luoyang, Tim Storms, Ray Park and Michael Jai White.

Synopsis:
Determined to promote Chinese martial arts in America, Bruce Lee establishes a small but popular kung fu school. As he encounters different opponents and their various fighting styles, Bruce envisions a new way of kung fu capable of revolutionizing the world of martial arts forever.

LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE: VOLUME TWO has a runtime of approximately 456 minutes and is not rated.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

VIZ laiunching new YU-GI-OH! ARC-V manga series on April 4th

YU-GI-OH! ARC-V © 2015 by Kazuki Takahashi, Shin Yoshida, Naohito Miyoshi, Masahiro Hikokubo/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES NEW
YU-GI-OH! ARC-V MANGA SERIES

Latest Manga Series Of The Action Adventure
Card Dueling Franchise Launches This Spring

VIZ Media expands the world of YU-GI-OH! with the launch of YU-GI-OH! ARC-V on April 4th.

YU-GI-OH! ARC-V features story by Shin Yoshida and artwork by Naohito Miyoshi. First printings of the latest incarnation of the iconic series will include an ultra-rare trading card that will be highly prized by collectors and game players. The series is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will be published under the Shonen Jump imprint with a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. YU-GI-OH! ARC-V also launches digitally via VIZ.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as in the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and Google Play stores. Subsequent volumes of the ongoing series will be published in English bi-annually.

In YU-GI-OH! ARC-V, action duels have become a global sensation, but what is the dark secret behind them that threatens to destroy the world? In the opening volume, Yuzu Hiiragi and her father run a Dueling school that’s seen better days. If only they had a star teacher to bring in new students! When a rogue Duelist known as Phantom appears in the city, Yuzu may have found a savior, but Phantom will have to deal with the Leo Corporation’s special forces before he can get into any community service!

“Dueling takes center stage in this new adventure with a fresh cast of characters and non-stop action,” says Michael Montesa, Editor. “YU-GI-OH! fans and manga readers won’t want to miss out on the latest tales from the dark and dangerous world of dueling.”

Original YU-GI-OH! series creator, Kazuki Takahashi, first attempted to break into the manga business in 1982, but success eluded him until YU-GI-OH! debuted in the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1996. YU-GI-OH!'s themes of friendship and competition, together with Takahashi's weird and wonderful art, soon became enormously successful, spawning a real-world card game, video games, and six anime series (two Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! series, YU-GI-OH! GX, YU-GI-OH! 5D's, YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL, and YU-GI-OH! ARC-V). VIZ Media is the official North American publisher of a variety of YU-GI-OH! manga series including YU-GI-OH!, YU-GI-OH! GX, YU-GI-OH! 5D's, and YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL.

YU-GI-OH! is a $2-billion-dollar global entertainment franchise and is the leading trading card game in the world. The popular property has spawned a wide array of top rated TV anime series as well as trading cards, action figures, video games, magazines, apparel and other consumer products. In North America, the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series is widely seen on Nicktoons and over 7.2 million Yu-Gi-Oh! video games have been sold in the U.S. to-date.

For more information on YU-GI-OH! and other manga titles available from VIZ Media, please visit VIZ.com.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

NARUTO: SASUKE’S STORY - SUNRISE is available now

NARUTO SASUKE-SHINDEN RAIKOHEN © 2015 by Masashi Kishimoto, Shin Towada/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES NEW NARUTO
NOVEL WITH THE RELEASE OF
NARUTO: SASUKE’S STORY - SUNRISE

Latest NARUTO Novel Focuses On Naruto’s Best Friend And
Rival From Masashi Kishimoto’s Smash Hit Manga Series

VIZ Media adds a brand new addition to the continuing series of NARUTO novels with the debut of NARUTO: SASUKE’S STORY – SUNRISE.

Readers are invited to join Sasuke Uchiha on his journey to atone for his sins following the conclusion of the Great Ninja War. SASUKE’S STORY – SUNRISE will be available in print and digital editions. The novel was written by Shin Towada and features original cover art by NARUTO creator, Masashi Kishimoto.

NARUTO: SASUKE’S STORY – SUNRISE
MSRP: $10.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN / $6.99 Digital • Available Now!
The Great Ninja War has ended, but to untangle the mystery that remains, Sasuke sets out on a journey – a journey that he hopes will allow him to atone for his sins. During his travels, those ninja faithful to the avenger Sasuke bring about tragedy. Meanwhile danger closes in on the villages of Konoha, Kiri, and Kumo, where red eyes burn with hatred. What is the future Sasuke stares down?

Currently available NARUTO novels include NARUTO: KAKASHI’S STORY, NARUTO: SHIKAMARU’S STORY, NARUTO: SAKURA’S STORY, NARUTO: ITACHI’S STORY – DAYLIGHT and NARUTO: ITACHI’S STORY – MIDNIGHT.

Manga author/artist Masashi Kishimoto was born in 1974 in rural Okayama Prefecture, Japan. Like many kids, he was first inspired to become a manga artist in elementary school when he read Dragon Ball. After spending time in art school, he won the Hop Step Award for new manga artists with his story, Karakuri. After considering various genres for his next project, Kishimoto decided on a story steeped in traditional Japanese culture. His first version of NARUTO, drawn in 1997, was a one-shot story about fox spirits; his final version, which debuted in Japan in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999, quickly became the most popular ninja manga in the world. The series would also spawn multiple anime series, movies, novels, video games and more. Having concluded the series in late 2014, Masashi Kishimoto has kept himself busy this year with the side story, NARUTO: THE SEVENTH HOKAGE AND THE SCARLET SPRING, and writing the story for the latest NARUTO movie, BORUTO: NARUTO THE MOVIE, both of which focus on the title character's son, Boruto.

VIZ Media is the North American master licensor for NARUTO and publishes the bestselling NARUTO manga series in print and digitally and also distributes the NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN anime series and feature films. For additional information on NARUTO and other manga titles published by VIZ Media, visit VIZ.com.

Friday, March 10, 2017

China Lion to release THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X in North American and other markets on March 31st

China Lion
presents
The Devotion of Suspect X
Directed by Alec Su
China, 2017

China Lion Film Distribution has announced that it will release the Chinese language film The Devotion of Suspect X in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand on March 31st, along with special United Kingdom screenings, the same weekend as the Mainland Chinese release date. The film stars Wang Kai, Zhang Luyi, Ruby Lin, Hou Minghao, Yan Xujia and Ren Xiqing and is directed by Alec Su, who previously helmed the hit film The Left Ear.

Based on Keigo Higashino’s award-winning novel The Devotion of Suspect X, the film follows a professor (Wang Kai) assisting in a murder investigation, only to find that a longtime rival and friend (Zhang Luyi) from his early university days may be involved. The book won Japan’s prestigious Naoki Prize for Best Novel and was a nominee for an Edgar Award and a Barry Award. It was chosen by the American Library Association as one of their Best Mystery Novels of the year. The English-language translation of the Japanese book is published by Macmillan imprint, Minotaur Books; it is the first of three novels that form the author’s “Detective Galileo" series, with “Salvation of a Saint” and “A Midsummer’s Equation” representing the latest entries. The novel was previously made into a Japanese feature of the same name, directed by Hiroshi Nishitani, and a Korean feature entitled Perfect Number, directed by Bang Eun-jin.


Film and television star Wang Kai previously co-starred in the China Lion film The Golden Era, the Hong Kong Film and Golden Horse film award winner from director Ann Hui. He also co-starred in the recent Jackie Chan led Railroad Tigers, which China Lion distributed in the United Kingdom. He graduated from the prestigious Central Academy of Drama. China Lion Film will release The Devotion of Suspect X in more than 40 cities in the U.S. and Canada, 20 cities in Australia and New Zealand, and feature special shows in the United Kingdom, all on the same weekend the film releases wide in the Mainland. The company acquired the film directly from Beijing Enlight Pictures, one of the largest film distributors in China.

Kore-eda's MABOROSI screens at Japan Society NY tonight at 7:00 PM

Japan Society NY
presents
Maborosi © 1995 TV Man Union, Inc.
Maborosi / Maboroshi no Hikari
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
With Makiko Esumi, Takashi Naito, Tadanobu Asano
Japan, 1995, 110 minutes
35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, March 10th, 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC

The first narrative feature by Hirokazu Kore-eda is a contemplative and poetic film about loss and the everpresent specter of death. Yumiko and Ikuo lead a happy life together in Osaka that is suddenly disrupted when Ikuo is killed by a train in an apparent suicide. Although she eventually remarries and relocates to a quiet seaside village, Yumiko is continually haunted by the experience, struggling to understand why it happened. Beautifully shot with an emphasis on silhouettes, shadows and natural light, Maborosi remains one of Kore-eda's most visually striking f ilms and an early testament to his exceptional talents.

Tickets: $13/$10 seniors & students/$5 Japan Society members

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

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

COLD WAR 2 reviewed; debuts on Blu-ray & DVD today

Well Go USA
Entertainment
presents
Cold War 2
Directed by: Lok Man Leung and Kim-Ching Luk
Starring: Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung Ka Fai, and Chow Yun-fat
Hong Kong/China, 2016, 110 minutes

Cold War 2, which continues the original film’s saga of intra-police rivalry, debuts toady, March 7th on Blu-ray™ and DVD from Well Go USA Entertainment. (It's been available on digital since February 7th.) This review is based on my watching the Blu-ray release.

The original Cold War (2012) also was directed by Leung and Luk. I also had Kwok and Leung starring as rivals in the Hong Kong police force. It was shown at the 14th New York Asian Film Festival in 2015 as one of several films starring Aaron Kwok, who was in attendance to receive that year's Star Asia Award.

M.B. Lee (Tony Leung Ka Fai, right center) is pissed at Sen Lau (Aaron Kwok, left center)

This second installment, which includes Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun-fat as eminent legislator Oswald Kan, picks up after the events of the first film. Sean Lau (Kwok), a straight-arrow bureaucrat, has risen to the position of Commissioner of Police, besting M.B. Lee (Tony Leung Ka Fai), the former Deputy Commissioner of Operations.

Lee's son, Joe Lee (Eddie Peng of Call of Heroes), is a criminal in police custody. His buddies kidnap Lau's wife and demand his release in exchange for her life. This sets things in motion, including a behind-the-scenes conspiracy to control the Hong Kong Police Force.

Chow Yun-fat as legislator Oswald Kan

The film starts out at a funeral and numerous characters are identified by subtitles, in Chinese and English, as they appear on scree. This tends to get things off to a slow start. There are a few decent action scenes, but nothing all that spectacular.

Frankly, the best thing about the film was the opening credits which feature ice figures such as those seen in the Blu-ray image above. It's truly lovely to watch, and every bit as good as the best Bond film openings credit sequences.

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
   -- Cantonese DTS 5.1 HDMA
   -- Cantonese 2.0 Stereo
   -- Mandarin DTS 5.1 HDMA
   -- Mandarin 2.0 Stereo
-- Subtitles
   -- English
   -- Chinese
   -- Off
-- Bonus
   -- Behind the Scenes
      -- A Powerful Cast
      -- The Story
      -- The Three Powers
      -- VFX and Action
   -- Teaser
   -- Trailer
-- Previews
   -- Sky on Fire
   -- Operation Mekong
   --  Three

AsianCineFest Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars. A decent-enough policier,  but not all that great.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Adult anime distributor SoftCel Pictures to re-launch in June 2017


Hentai fans rejoice! After 13 long years, adult anime market pioneer SoftCel Pictures is back, shaking up the North American home video scene with a sizzling new slate of Japan’s wildest animated entertainment. With an emerging catalog of uncut, uncensored, and high-definition Blu-rays, SoftCel Picture’s reputation as the premiere distributor of “hentai” animation will be at the forefront as the label re-launches in June 2017.

The revival of SoftCel Pictures is driven by a new mission: to achieve maximum market penetration and bring the finest in animated erotic entertainment directly from Japan to an eager and willing audience; to bring startling Blu-ray level clarity to acts that previously were hidden under sheets and layers of mosaics; and to boldly let anime characters go where they have never gone before!

With fine translations, English-subtitles, and HD materials that allow the viewers to take in every detail, SoftCel will deliver the highest quality in adult animated entertainment, straight from the uncut, uncensored masters. SoftCel Pictures aims to provide a sensual and sense pounding animated experience that exceeds all audience expectations, taking the viewer to dizzying new heights of ecstasy. The only thing not included is ribbing for enhanced viewing pleasure.

Ready to sign up? SoftCel’s first prescription for animated naughtiness begins with the completely shameless (and frequently shameful) doctor-patient exploits of The Patients of Dr. Maro (original Jpanese title: Maro no Kanja wa Ganteki). The Blu-ray, with reversible cover, (Region A) will be available for pre-order through select outlets beginning in February 2017.

As the year continues, the hits will keep coming. SoftCel Pictures’ avalanche of new releases will continue later in the year with a whole slate of new Blu-ray titles, including King of Breasts, Slave Princess, Sex Hypnotist Zero, and The Devil’s Virgins. Fans of explicit Japanese anime can learn more about these exciting new releases and receive forthcoming updates by visiting www.softcelpictures.com.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

COLD WAR 2 coming to Blu-ray & DVD on March 7th

Well Go USA
Entertainment
presents
Cold War 2
Directed by: Lok Man Leung and Kim-Ching Luk
Starring: Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung Ka Fai, and Chow Yun-fat
Hong Kong/China, 2016, 110 minutes

Cold War 2, the sequel to the 2012 Hong Kong box-office smash, continues the original film’s saga of intra-police rivalry. This second installment will debut on Blu-ray™ and DVD March 7th from Well Go USA Entertainment. (It's been available on digital since February 7th.)

Picking up some time after the events in the first movie, Sean Lau (Aaron Kwok, The Monkey King franchise) is now the Commissioner of Police. Things turn bad when his wife and daughter are kidnapped and he must seek help from a former rival (Tony Leung, The Taking of Tiger Mountain) to save their lives. Joining Kwok and Leung from the original cast are Charlie Young (Kung Fu Killer), Eddie Peng (Call of Heroes), Aarif Rahman (Young Bruce Lee), Ma Yili (Badge of Fury) and Alex Tsui (Merry-Go-Round). They are joined by new cast members, including legendary Hong Kong star Chow Yun-fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Janice Man (The Midnight After) and Tony Yang (Phantom of the Theatre), in the “superbly acted” (Edmund Lee, South China Morning Post) ensemble drama.

Synopsis:
A suspected criminal mastermind escapes from police custody, throwing the city into turmoil. With the police department now divided, rival police chiefs are forced to take their fight to the streets of Hong Kong—with deadly consequences.

Bonus Materials Include:
-- A Powerhouse Cast
-- The Story
-- The Three Powers
-- VFX and Action

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Section23 Films has announced its May 2017 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its May slate of releases; including Sentai Filmworks’ Himouto! Umaru-chan! Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Collector’s Edition Premium Box Set!

Product details, in order of release:

Title: NURSE WITCH KOMUGI R COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 5/2/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Komugi Yoshida wants to be famous, but her efforts as an idol don't seem to be working out so far. Unlike her prim friend Cocona or her tomboyish rival Tsukasa, both of whose idol popularity is soaring, Komugi seems to be getting only the bottom-tier jobs, like pitching pharmaceutical products to the locals. However, everything changes when Komugi discovers an injured creature named Usa-P who offers her a chance to be something bigger: a magical nurse! With awesome powers and a cute outfit to boot, Komugi might just be moving up in the world, but is she going to be able to handle the stress of saving the world, being an idol, AND keeping up in school? Find out as the universe of SOULTAKER and NURSE WITCH KOMUGI is reborn in an all new adventure: NURSE WITCH KOMUGI R!


Title: AJIN SEASON 1 COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 5/16/2017
Format: BD, DVD, COMBO
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98 $59.98, $149.98

SYNOPSIS: When the truck slammed into Kei Nagai's body, he should have died instantly. Instead, the high-school student finds himself resurrected, with all of his wounds somehow healed. However, Kei's real problems are just starting. Now revealed to be an Ajin, one of a mysterious new breed of demi-human that have begun appearing around the world, he's been marked with an international bounty, and in the eyes of the world's governments, Kei is a specimen to be contained by any means possible. Now he's on the run, unable to trust anyone except his closest friend, and his only hope is to discover the terrifying secrets behind his new abilities before he's forced to use them in battle! When you have an infinite number of lives ahead of you, death is only the beginning in AJIN: DEMI-HUMAN!


Title: GIRLS UND PANZER DER FILM
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 120 min.
Street Date: 5/16/2017
Format: COMBO
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: When the Ministry of Education goes back on its promise to keep Ooarai Girls Academy open, the task of saving the five-mile-long Academy Ship from the wreckers falls to Miho and her barely-seasoned tankery team. However, things go off track almost immediately. While the Oorai tank crew may have won the high school tournament, they're now facing a larger and more experienced university team, and if they fail, their armored vehicles will be forfeit! Will they be swapping their tanks for the memories? It's possible, but winning a tank battle is all about tactics and teamwork, and the fledgling Ooarai students have more friends and allies than anyone suspects. Get ready for another high-caliber round of the only sport where "having a blast" doesn't necessarily mean you're having a great time, as the Ooarai team puts everything on the line in GIRLS UND PANZER DER FILM!


Title: WANDABA STYLE COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 5/16/2017
Format: DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $39.98

SYNOPSIS: Dr. Susumu Tsukumo isn't your typical mad scientist. First, he's only 14 years old, and second, he's firmly convinced that the moon landings never happened. He intends to fix that, however, just as soon as he can find some human guinea pigs to test out his highly-unorthodox, but environmentally-friendly, methods for getting people into space without using fossil fuels. He has one problem: where do you find someone who's crazy enough to let a kid launch them into orbit? Enter Michael Hanagata, manager of MIX JUICE, a struggling girl band that's so desperate for a break that they'll do just about anything to be seen. Do they really mean… anything? Get ready to blast off with former child-star Sakura, tough-as-nails rocker Yuri, construction worker Himawari, and folk singer Ayame as they attempt to go from the Earth to the Moon with a little WANDABA STYLE!


Title: MOMOKURI COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 5/23/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: For the longest time, Yuki Kurihara has been obsessed with Shinya Momotsuki (aka Momo), and her crush is a little more extreme than writing his name surrounded with dozens of hearts in her binder. In fact, Kurihara does things outside the realm of a typical high school girl… like secretly following him, taking pictures of everything he does, and collecting anything he happens to discard and drop. The funny thing? Despite being considered rather cute by most girls, Momo is relatively inexperienced with the opposite sex, explaining why he misses the warning signs of her fixation. However, now that he and Kurihara are going out, is it possible that a little obsession might not be such a bad thing? Love can be strange, and it's about to get even stranger in MOMOKURI!


Title: HIMOUTO! UMARU-CHAN COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 5/30/2017
Format: BD, DVD, COMBO
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98, $179.98

SYNOPSIS: To her classmates, Umaru Doma appears to be the perfect girl. She's beautiful, friendly, and fashionable, earns top grades, and seems to be able to do any task asked of her with ease. She's even humble and polite! However, if Umaru's classmates could see her in the privacy of her home, they wouldn't even recognize her. Once she's inside the door, the pretty clothes come off, the orange hamster hood goes on, and it's time to pig-out on snack foods, binge-watch television, and play violent video games! This version of Umaru is everything that the public Umaru isn't: she whines, rolls on the floor, leaves messes all over the apartment, and makes life miserable for her poor older brother, Taihei. Even the most guarded secrets have a way of being found out, and, as Umaru becomes even more obnoxious and outrageous, her two lives are bound to collide in disastrous fashion in HIMOUTO! UMARU-CHAN!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kore-eda's MABOROSI screens at Japan Society NY on March 10th

Japan Society NY
presents
Maborosi © 1995 TV Man Union, Inc.
Maborosi / Maboroshi no Hikari
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
With Makiko Esumi, Takashi Naito, Tadanobu Asano
Japan, 1995, 110 minutes
35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, March 10th, 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC

The first narrative feature by Hirokazu Kore-eda is a contemplative and poetic film about loss and the everpresent specter of death. Yumiko and Ikuo lead a happy life together in Osaka that is suddenly disrupted when Ikuo is killed by a train in an apparent suicide. Although she eventually remarries and relocates to a quiet seaside village, Yumiko is continually haunted by the experience, struggling to understand why it happened. Beautifully shot with an emphasis on silhouettes, shadows and natural light, Maborosi remains one of Kore-eda's most visually striking f ilms and an early testament to his exceptional talents.

Tickets: $13/$10 seniors & students/$5 Japan Society members

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

Friday, February 17, 2017

ZATOICHI THE FUGITIVE coming to Japan Society NY on April 7th

Japan Society NY
presents
Zatoichi the Fugitive © 1966 Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.
Zatoichi the Fugitive / Zatoichi Kyojo Tabi
Directed by Tokuzo Tanaka
With Shintaro Katsu, Miwa Takada, and Masayo Banri
Japan, 1963, 86 minutes
35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

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

The fourth episode in the immensely popular 25-film action series features iconic blind swordsman Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) going up against a legion of local yakuza henchmen who target him after he defeats them in a wrestling tournament and then kills one of their own in self-defense. To complicate things, a former romantic interest reenters Zatoichi's life and a hot-tempered ronin, to whom she is married, seeks to end it for a reward. Composer Akira Ifukube, most famous for his work on the Godzilla film series, provides a characteristically spare and artful score.

Tickets: $13/$10 seniors & students/$5 Japan Society members

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, February 16, 2017

Sentai Filmworks licenses TIME JAM: VALERIAN & LAURELINE


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of the French-Japanese animated series Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline. This 2007 production is based on the 1967 French comic series that is lauded as a cornerstone for the science-fiction genre, influencing intergalactic masterpieces such as Star Wars and The Fifth Element.

In the year 2417, a dashing space cadet named Valerian travels to the year 912 where he breaks the rules and rescues a beautiful, and highly intelligent, peasant girl named Laureline. When his actions make the Earth disappear from the solar system, as the only humans left in the galaxy, Valerian and Laureline begin a new life as adventurers through time and space in hopes of restoring the Earth. Meanwhile, the two must also work together in a galaxy threatened by the sinister Vlagosian armada!

Action, adventure, romantic rivalry, and mystery abound in Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline! The complete 40-episode series will soon be available through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

BEYOND GODZILLA, seven film series + one lecture, coming to Japan Society NY starting March 24th

Japan Society NY
presents
The H-Man © 1959 Sony Pictures; Blue Christmas © 1978 Toho Co. Ltd.; Invisible Man © 1954 Toho Co. Ltd.
Globus Film Series
Beyond Godzilla: Alternative Futures & Fantasies in Japanese Cinema
When: March 24—April 8, 2017
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC

While Godzilla undoubtedly ranks among Japanese cinema's most well-known and beloved exports, the series of films in which he stars is only one of the many remarkable entries within the rich and varied universe of Japanese tokusatsu ("special effects") films. This seven-film series, a modified version of the program organized for the 2016 Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy by film critic and writer Mark Schilling, goes beyond Toho's superstar monster to introduce a selection of titles that display the wide-ranging imagination of the Japanese sci-fi/fantasy genre, including innovative B-movies, kaiju eiga ("monster movies") and non-Godzilla classics involving director Ishiro Honda and effects maestro Eiji Tsuburaya.

The films to be shown are: The H-Man, Latitude Zero, School in the Cross Hairs, Invisible Man, The Secret of the Telegian, Blue Christmas, and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris. Beyond Godzilla, a lecture by series curator Mark Schilling, will take place on Saturday, March 25th at 5:00 PM.

Further information, including the full schedule, is available here.

Tickets:
$13/$10 seniors & students/$9 Japan Society members

EXCEPT screening of The H-Man + Opening Night Party: $16/$13 seniors & students/$12 Japan Society members

Special Offer: Buy tickets to at least 3 different films in the same transaction and receive $2 off each ticket.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

SWORD MASTER coming to Digital on March 7th; Blu-ray & DVD debut on April 11th from Well Go USA

Well Go USA
Entertainment
presents
Sword Master / San shao ye de jian
Directed by Derek Yee
Hong Kong/China. 2016, 105 minutes

Hong Kong cinema giants Derek Yee (Triple Tap) and Tsui Hark (Flying Swords of Dragon Gate) join forces for an epic remake of 1977’s Death Duel, when the wuxia martial arts extravaganza Sword Master debuts on digital March 7th and on Blu-ray™ and DVD April 11th from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Visually opulent, the film follows a master swordsman who must once again wield his weapon against those who threaten his desire to live in peace. Sword Master stars Kenny Lin (The Taking of Tiger Mountain), Peter Ho (The Monkey King), Yiyan Jiang (Reign of Assassins) and Mengjie Jiangin (Kung Fu Hero). Bonus materials include the featurette “Mastering the Sword.”

Synopsis:
A powerful swordsman is haunted by the destructive impact his deadly talents have on others. Weary of the bloodshed and violence from the martial arts world, he banishes himself to the humble life of a vagrant, wandering the fringes of society. But his violent past refuses to let him go quietly. The master swordsman must regain the ability to wield his sword and fight those disrupting the peace he so desperately craves.

Bonus Materials Include:
-- “Mastering the Sword” featurette

Monday, February 13, 2017

Johnnie To's THREE debuts on Digital March 7; on Blu-ray & DVD on April 4

Well Go USA
Entertainment
presents
Three / San ren xing
Directed by Johnnie To
With  Louis Koo, Wei Zhao, and Wallace Chung
Hong Kong/China, 2016, 89 minutes

Tensions mounts and bullets fly in master filmmaker Johnnie To’s (Drug War, Exiled, Election) Three, his latest showdown between cops, robbers and everyone else caught in the crossfire. The action-packed thriller explodes onto digital March 7 and on Blu-ray™ and DVD April 4 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

When a police sting goes bad, a cornered criminal (Wallace Chung, Drug War) makes a desperate choice: he shoots himself, forcing the officers to cease fire and rush him to the hospital. Once there, he refuses treatment, waiting for his cohorts to break him out. Caught between an obsessed cop (Louis Koo, Triad Election) and the dedicated surgeon assigned to save his life (Zhao Wei, Red Cliff), the hospital is now a battleground of deception, double-crosses and a coming onslaught of violence.

Synopsis:
When three disparate souls—a doctor desperate to redeem her reputation (Vicki Zhao), a policeman who will go to any length to seek out justice (Louis Koo), and a criminal with a gunshot wound to the head (Wallace Chung)—are thrown together in the hustle and bustle of an emergency room, a hospital descends from a pristine sanctuary to an explosive battleground.

Bonus Materials Include:
-- “Master Director Johnnie To” featurette
-- “Three Complex Characters” featurette

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Meiko Kaji mini-retrospective concludes tonight with screening of FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: BEAST STABLE

Japan Society NY
presents
Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable  © 1973 Toei Co., Ltd.
 Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable
(Joshu Sasori Kemono Beya)
Directed by Shunya Ito
With Meiko Kaji, Mikio Narita, Reisen Lee
Japan, 1973, 87 minutes
Blu-ray, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Sunday, February 12, 7:00 PM 
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

Japan Society NY's five film Meiko Kaji mini-retrospective will conclude this evening with the a screening of Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable at 7:00 PM. (At 4:30 Sunday afternoon there will be a separate screening of Blind Woman's Curse.)

Perhaps Meiko Kaji's most iconic role, Nami "Scorpion" Matsushima was created by Toru Shinohara for an adult manga, and has been the subject of many remakes, but Kaji will always remain the original and the best. The third film in the series, and last by original director Shunya Ito, Beast Stable is the most horror-tinged entry, and arguably the most violent. Nami, having escaped from prison in episode #2, befriends a lonely sex worker and incurs the wrath of a yakuza gang led by a former nemesis, the sadistic and power-mad Katsu—a grand guignol creation clad in black feathers who has sworn vengeance on Scorpion.

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

Part of Cruel Beauty: A Romantic Weekend with Meiko Kaji

Tickets: $13/$10 seniors & students/$9 Japan Society members

Special Offers:
All Access Pass: (1 ticket for each film in the series, 5 tickets total) Save $3 per ticket. $50/$35 seniors & students/$30 Japan Society members

Double Feature Pass: (2 different films in the same transaction) Save $2 per ticket. $22/$16 seniors & students/$14 Japan Society members

Saturday, February 11, 2017

BLIND WOMAN'S CURSE at Japan Society this Sunday afternoon

Japan Society NY
presents
Blind Woman's Curse © 1970 Nikkatsu Corporation
Blind Woman's Curse
(Kaidan Nobori Ryu)
Directed by Teruo Ishii
With Meiko Kaji, Hoki Tokuda, Makoto Sato
Japan, 1970, 85 minutes
Blu-ray, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Sunday, February 12, 4:30 PM 
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

Japan Society NY's five film Meiko Kaji mini-retrospective will continue with separate screenings of two films on Sunday, the first of which will be Blind Woman's Curse, which will be shown at 7:00 PM.

Although she began her acting career at Nikkatsu under her real name, Masako Ota became Meiko Kaji on the advice of her mentor Masahiro Makino, and this phantasmagoric female swordplay saga—the best period film Kaji made at Nikkatsu—was her first starring role under her new, tougher name. The third and final entry in the Rising Dragon series of female gambler films that starred Hiroko Ogi, Blind Woman’s Curse dispenses not only with the original character but also Ogi herself, instead casting Kaji as the benevolent, tattooed leader of a band of yakuza. Kaji and her gang become targets of supernatural vengeance after she blinds another swordswoman in a duel, and genre master Teruo Ishii adds his signature erotic-grotesque elements to the story, which may be the best female swordplay-cum-ghost cat horror film Japan ever produced!

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

Part of Cruel Beauty: A Romantic Weekend with Meiko Kaji

Tickets: $13/$10 seniors & students/$9 Japan Society members

Special Offers:
All Access Pass: (1 ticket for each film in the series, 5 tickets total) Save $3 per ticket. $50/$35 seniors & students/$30 Japan Society members

Double Feature Pass: (2 different films in the same transaction) Save $2 per ticket. $22/$16 seniors & students/$14 Japan Society members

Friday, February 10, 2017

STRAY CAT ROCK: SEX HUNTER at Japan Society this Saturday evening

Japan Society NY
presents
Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter © 1970 Nikkatsu Corporation
Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter
(Nora-neko Rokku Sekkusu Hanta)
Directed by Yasuharu Hasebe
With Meiko Kaji, Rikiya Yasuoka, Tatsuya Fuji
Japan, 1970, 85 minutes
Blu-ray, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Saturday, February 11, 7:00 PM 
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

Japan Society NY's five film Meiko Kaji mini-retrospective, which begins tonight with New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Head, will continue with separate screenings of two films on Saturday, the second of which will be Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter, which will be shown at 7:00 PM. (Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance will be shown earlier, at 4:30 in the afternoon.)

Meiko Kaji headlined her first ongoing series with this group of five girl-gang biker films, made during Nikkatsu Studio's heyday of "New Action" films, which amped up the sex and violence while addressing contemporary social issues from a distinctly left-wing point of view. Sex Hunter is the third (and best) entry in the series, and stars Kaji as the leader of the Alleycats and girlfriend to the morose, possibly impotent Baron (Tatsuya Fuji), who leads a biker gang of his own in attacks on mixed-race kids around the US military base in Yokosuka. Co-starring burly, half-Italian actor Rikiya Yasuoka (Tampopo) as tough outsider Azuma, his not-quite-consummated romance with Kaji burns up the screen as their increasingly violent brawls with Baron's gang, as well as the local yakuza, pile up the casualties on both sides.

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

Part of Cruel Beauty: A Romantic Weekend with Meiko Kaji

Tickets: $13/$10 seniors & students/$9 Japan Society members

Special Offers:
All Access Pass: (1 ticket for each film in the series, 5 tickets total) Save $3 per ticket. $50/$35 seniors & students/$30 Japan Society members

Double Feature Pass: (2 different films in the same transaction) Save $2 per ticket. $22/$16 seniors & students/$14 Japan Society members

Thursday, February 09, 2017

LADY SNOWBLOOD: LOVE SONG OF VENGEANCE at Japan Society NY this Saturday afternoon

Japan Society NY
presents
Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance © 1974 Toho Co., Ltd.
Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance
(Shurayukihime Urami Renka)
Directed by Toshiya Fujita
With Meiko Kaji, Juzo Itami, Yoshio Harada
Japan, 1974, 89 minutes
DCP, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Saturday, February 11, 4:30 PM 
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

Japan Society NY's five film Meiko Kaji mini-retrospective, which begins tomorrow night with New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Head, will continue with two films on Saturday, the first of which will be Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance.

Meiko Kaji took a break from her work on the Scorpion series at Toei to make a pair of bloody period swordplay films at Toho Studios, based on a manga by Kazuo Koike, the creator of Lone Wolf and Cub. The Lady Snowblood films, both of them directed by former Nikkatsu collaborator Toshiya Fujita, cast Kaji as the swordswoman Yuki, born in prison, and raised to seek vengeance on the group who raped her mother and murdered her father. Love Song of Vengeance, the sequel, sets Yuki on a different path, helping a left-wing dissident (Juzo Itami) who seeks to reform the government and expose a conspiracy between military and industrial forces which threaten the future of the nation.

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

Part of Cruel Beauty: A Romantic Weekend with Meiko Kaji

Tickets: $13/$10 seniors & students/$9 Japan Society members

Special Offers:
All Access Pass: (1 ticket for each film in the series, 5 tickets total) Save $3 per ticket. $50/$35 seniors & students/$30 Japan Society members

Double Feature Pass: (2 different films in the same transaction) Save $2 per ticket. $22/$16 seniors & students/$14 Japan Society members

Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance © 1974 Toho Co., Ltd.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

5 film Meiko Kaji mini-retrospective begins this Friday, February 10th

Japan Society NY
presents
New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Head © 1975 Toei Co., Ltd.
New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Head
(Shin Jingi Naki Tatakai Kumicho no Kubi)
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku
With Bunta Sugawara, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Meiko Kaji
Japan, 1975, 94 minutes
Blu-ray, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, February 10th at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society NY
3333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

International Premiere

Japan Society NY's five film Meiko Kaji mini-retrospective begins this Friday evening with Kinji Fukasaku's New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Head.

Never before released outside Japan, Kinji Fukasaku's follow-up trilogy to his successful Battles Without Honor and Humanity series tells three unrelated stories about yakuza intrigue and betrayal, and this middle film co-stars Meiko Kaji as the dutiful wife of a heroin-addicted hitman (Tsutomu Yamazaki) who befriends, then betrays, series star Bunta Sugawara. An essential link within Fukasaku's cinematic world, The Boss’s Head found him expanding his action vocabulary to include car stunts, as well as creating not one, but two meaty female roles (the other played by Yuriko Hishimi). Composer Toshiaki Tsushima contributes another memorable score, and the ensemble casting is among the best of the entire series. A yet-to-be-discovered classic.

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

Part of Cruel Beauty: A Romantic Weekend with Meiko Kaji

Tickets: $13/$10 seniors & students/$9 Japan Society members

Special Offers:
All Access Pass: (1 ticket for each film in the series, 5 tickets total) Save $3 per ticket. $50/$35 seniors & students/$30 Japan Society members

Double Feature Pass: (2 different films in the same transaction) Save $2 per ticket. $22/$16 seniors & students/$14 Japan Society members

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

BEYOND REDEMPTION reviewed; debuts on Blu-ray and DVD today

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

Beyond Redemption marks the feature film directorial debut of stuntman and actor (Once Upon a Time in China) Bruce Fontaine. It becomes available on Blu-ray™ and DVD today, Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 from Well Go USA Entertainment. (It's been available on digital since January 3rd.) This review is based on the Blu-ray release.

The film takes place in two Canadian cities. Most of the action is set in Vancouver, with some scenes in Toronto. Billy Tong (Brian Ho, X-Men: Days of Future Past) is a recent recruit in the Ching Tau Gang, which is led by Yuan Chung (Don Lew), a.k.a. Big Brother Yuan. Billy becomes involved in Yuan's plot to kidnap Tiffany Long (Linna Huynh), the daughter of Xi Long (Anthony Towe), a businessman suspected of having ties to Triad organizations. Things get complicated because this operation turns out to be part of a gang rivalry involving arms trafficking.

The situation is particularly difficult for Billy because he is actually an undercover cop working for the Asian Crimes Task Force of the Serious Crimes Division! He has to not only bring down Yuan's gang, but also protect Tiffany from harm.

Not surprisingly there are some weaknesses in the story. The reason for Billy being recruited as an undercover cop is pretty incredulous. And his lack of preparedness in having an exit strategy from where he is "holding" Tiffany is surprising to say the least.

Still the action scenes are decent and make the film worth watching.

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
   -- English DTS-HD Mastere Audio 5.1
   -- Eglish Dolby Digital 2.0
-- Subtitles
   -- English SDH
   -- Off
-- Bonus
   -- Behind the Scenes (of two of the exciting action sequences of the film)
      -- Yuan vs. Billy (2:20)
      -- Mauler Opening Fight (3:42)
  -- Trailer
-- Previews
   -- Sky on Fire
   -- Cold War 2
   -- Kill Zone 2

AsianCineFest Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars; fairly good, especially for a feature film debut

Friday, February 03, 2017

Reminder: TOKYO DRIFTER will be shown at Japan Society tonight

Japan Society NY
Presents
Tokyo Drifter © 1966 Nikkatsu Corporation
Tokyo Drifter / Tokyo Nagaremono
Directed by Seijun Suzuki
With Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara, Tamio Kawaji,
Ryuji Kita, and Hideaki Nitani
Japan, 1966, 82 minutes
DCP, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, February 3rd at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC

In this deliriously unhinged yakuza film by visionary director Seijun Suzuki, a recently paroled ex-con attempts to go straight but is immediately hounded by former cohorts and rivals who want him dead. A highlight of 1960s avant-pop Japanese cinema replete with over-the-top set design and swinging enka ballads (performed by actor-singer Tetsuya Watari), Tokyo Drifter displays the full breadth of Suzuki’s unique visual style and surreal sensibilities.

Part of Monthly Classics
Year-round screenings of beloved classics, hidden gems and recent discoveries of Japanese cinema.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

BEYOND REDEMPTION debuts on Blu-ray & DVD on February 7th

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, which will become available on Blu-ray™ and DVD next Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 from Well Go USA Entertainment. (It's been available on digital since January 3rd.)

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”

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Section23 Films has announced its April 2017 slate of releases

 
Home video distributor Section23 Films today announced its April slate of releases; including Sentai Filmworks’ highly anticipated Collector’s Edition Premium Box Set of MY LOVE STORY.

Product details in order of release:

Title: GIRLS BEYOND THE WASTELAND COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 4/4/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Buntarou Hojo has a gift for envisioning plots and scenarios in his head, but when it comes to imagining a story for his own life, he has a bad case of writer's block. Writing scripts for his high school's drama department has given him a temporary outlet, but when school ends, what's next? Just when Buntarou's future seems its bleakest, classmate Sayuki Kuroda asks him to write for her bishoujo video game development group. Suddenly, all the pieces start to fall together, but as Buntarou and Sayuki recruit more girls (and one romantically challenged guy), they'll find that the path through the wasteland of life is filled with more twists than any game. Expect the unexpected as making a computer-simulated romance becomes a real-world drama in GIRLS BEYOND THE WASTELAND!


Title: IS THE ORDER A RABBIT? SEASON 2 COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 4/11/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: It’s time to re-open the doors to Rabbit House, where good friends are ready to take on the next exciting adventure, and there’s always something unusual going on. After all, how many cafés have waitresses who collect firearms and a rabbit that actually talks? However, trouble may be burrowing into the Kafu residence when a magazine runs an article on places to eat and neglects to mention Rabbit House! Will an investigation into what’s been “haunting” Syaro’s house be a wild goose chase, or will someone get a lot of grey hare as a result? Is the sudden appearance of Cocoa’s big sister a blessing or a disaster waiting happen? Still, nothing is as scary as the prospect of graduating school! Will everyone make the grade, or will some friends be left behind? The tail will be told as Chino, Cocoa, Rize, and the gang all return in IS THE ORDER A RABBIT? SEASON 2!


Title: GATCHAMAN ll COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1300 min.
Street Date: 4/18/2017
Format: DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $79.98

SYNOPSIS: It's been two years since the International Science Organization and their elite Science Ninja Team strike force defeated the threat of GALACTOR at the cost of Joe the Condor's life. However, there's no time limit on evil, and when Leader X stages a horrific attack on a cruise ship, there's only one force in the universe with a chance of stopping them! Can the Gatchaman team adapt to working with Joe's replacement in time to stop Leader X from mutating one of the victims into GALACTOR's new leader? Or does the ISO have a secret weapon lurking in the wings, ready to help save the day? For the first time, the uncut, uncensored second season of the series that set the standard for Japanese science fiction storms American shores in GATCHAMAN II!


Title: UNDEFEATED BAHAMUT CHRONICLES COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 4/18/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: From the charred pieces of the corrupt Arcadia Empire, a new kingdom arose. To protect itself from future foes, the Kingdom of Atismata established the Royal Knight Academy to train warriors in the art of fighting with Drag-Rides, ancient mechanical dragons. The Academy has a catch though: it’s strictly a no-male school, and when the former prince of the ruined Empire, Lux, stumbles into the baths, he lands himself in a compromising situation with Lisesharte, the new kingdom’s princess. Understandably upset, she challenges him to a Drag-Ride duel, launching their lives into an explosive chain reaction that will expose the dark secrets of both royal families. Whether Lux is fighting off monsters, corruption, or his female classmates, things are sure to take flight into the unpredictable skies in UNDFEATED BAHAMUT CHRONICLE.


Title: MY LOVE STORY PREMIUM BOX SET
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 4/25/2017
Format: COMBO
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $199.98

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: UTAWARERUMONO: THE FALSE FACES COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 4/25/2017
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $99.98, $79.98

SYNOPSIS: Where is he? More importantly, who is he? Awakening in a frozen wasteland, his first memories are of danger as he is instantly attacked by a giant creature. Kuon, the cat-like girl who rescues him, doesn't know who he is either, but she gives him the name Haku in honor of another mysterious stranger who came to this world. Now, Haku must quickly learn how to survive in a land where monstrous beasts prowl, and where half-human beings rule in a city riddled with intrigue and secrets. With armies to aid, Princesses to guard, and a whole new future to explore, Haku and Kuon will face truth after shocking truth in UTAWARERUMONO: THE FALSE FACES!