With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Section23 Films has announced its October 2019 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its October slate of releases featuring Sentai Filmworks’ feature-length film, based on the hugely popular franchise known to insiders as DanMachi, IS IT WRONG TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON? ARROW OF THE ORION! Available on Blu-ray and DVD!

Product details in order of release:

Title: JOSHIRAKU
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 10/1/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Marii, Kigurumi, Tetora, Gankyo and Kukuru are five young women with completely different interests and personalities, but there's one thing that they all share: performing Rakugo, a unique form of Japanese comic theater in which a single artist sits in front of an audience and tells an entire story, portraying multiple characters solely through changes of voice and minimal movements. It's a challenging art but all five of our heroines are determined to become the best they can… and in the meantime, they find themselves hanging out together, both at the Rakugo theaters and around town. They also have a shared acquaintance, a mysterious stranger who's always wearing a wrestling mask! What's that about? To find out, pull up a seat and watch as our heroines put on the best show in town in JOSHIRAKU!


Title: MR. TONEGAWA: MIDDLE MANAGEMENT BLUES
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 10/15/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $89.98

SYNOPSIS: Nobody knows what it's like to be the bad man… except the bad man's right-hand man, who has to take the boss' deranged ideas and turn them into functioning plans. So, when the sadistic president of the Teiai Group decides he's bored with the routine leg breaking and widow/orphan evicting, he assigns the task of coming up with something "special" to his ruthless Number Two, Yukio Tonegawa. But how do you amuse someone who destroys a dozen lives before breakfast? There's a huge pool of potential victims in the form of TFO's swollen roster of defaulting borrowers, but if Tonegawa and his team of nearly identical men in black look-alikes can't create a "game of death" that tickles the boss' demented funny bones, they may end up playing the game themselves in MR. TONEGAWA: MIDDLE MANAGEMENT BLUES!


Title: IS IT WRONG TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON? ARROW OF THE ORION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 82 min.
Street Date: 10/22/2019
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $39.98, $29.98

SYNOPSIS: Living above the legendary dungeons of Orario ought to be enough danger for anyone, and in his short time as a member of the goddess Hestia's familia, Bell Cranel has experienced more perils and pitfalls than most. So, when Bell unexpectedly wins a free trip, is it too much to hope that he might have actually won a real vacation? Of course it is! Inexplicably chosen as the champion of Hestia's friend, the goddess Artemis, Bell quickly finds himself up to his neck in ruins and monsters as yet another epic quest begins. And where Bell goes, can the ever-jealous Hestia be far behind? Explore the world of DanMachi like never before as all of your favorite characters return in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of the Orion!


Title: KASE-SAN AND MORNING GLORIES
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 60 min.
Street Date: 10/22/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: A relationship is like a garden. It's hard, really hard, to plant the initial seeds. Once you've gone through the agonizing process of wondering if the other person even likes you, fought the fear that telling her could destroy everything, and made your confession, the most difficult part begins. Because you have to keep nurturing this wonderful new feeling to keep it growing. Not just in your own heart, but in hers. And since even the most beautiful rose can cut you to the bone with its thorns, who can you talk to for advice? Especially when you're both girls in high school? For shy Yamada and boyish Kase, time is running out. High school is coming to an end and they must make a choice: stay together and let their love grow, or separate and let it die in KASE-SAN AND MORNING GLORIES.


Title: YUMEIRO PATISSIERE
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1575 min.
Street Date: 10/29/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Everyone's good at something, but after years of being overshadowed by her sister's musical skills, Ichigo Amano's main talent seems to be making cake disappear into her tummy. Then the famous pastry chef Henri Lucas discovers that Ichigo has a truly exceptional sense of taste and makes her the sweetest offer ever: to study at a prestigious culinary school that specializes in desserts! It sounds like a dream come true, but Ichigo has a lot to learn and becoming a pâtissière won't be as easy as pie. Fortunately, three handsome fellow students are there to help and things really get cooking when the school's magical Sweet Spirits join in! Has Ichigo bitten off more than she can chew or is her baking star about to rise? Find out in the sweet and frothy confection that is YUMEIRO PATISSIERE!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

THE BAD GUYS: REIGN OF CHAOS - South Korean Prison Escape Thriller - Hits Theaters in Los Angeles on September 13th and Across the U.S on September 20th

CJ Entertainment
Presents
The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos
Directed by SON Young-ho
Starring Don LEE, KIM Sang-joong, KIM A-joong and JANG Ki-yong
South Korea, 2019, 114 minutes

Skilled crime director SON Young-ho is back this fall after 2015’s The Deal with The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos. Based on the hit TV series Bad Guys, this prison escape thriller expands upon the series by bringing viewers even more action and humor than ever before. It keeps the beloved characters and distinct setting, but adds necessary cinematic elements to bring the story to an entirely new level. The film will open tomorrow, Friday, September 13th at CGV Cinemas in Buena Park and Los Angeles and will be available nationwide on September 20th.

When a prison bus unexpectedly overturns, releasing dozens of convicted felons, the police only have one option; to reunite the “Special Crime Unit”. The top secret “Special Crime Unit” is unlike the others as it uses current inmates to track down the fugitives who escaped during the bus crash. Chief of the ‘Special Crime Unit’, Oh Gu-tak (KIM Sang-joong), knows exactly which convicts to recruit for this mission. He seeks out an unlikely crew consisting of a former gangster, Park Woong-chul (Don LEE), whom he had worked with before, a con artist, Kwak No-soon (KIM A-joong), and a convicted cop, Ko Yoo-sung (JANG Ki-yong) in the new and improved team. With new blood, the ‘Bad Guys’ are stronger and tougher than ever. As the case progresses, the ‘Bad Guys’ realize something much bigger is at play and must figure out how to bring down the crime ring once and for all.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Special Los Angeles red carpet premiere of FAGARA tomorrow, September 12th and will open to the general public on September 13th

China Lion and
Hyundai Motor America
Present
Li Xiaofeng, Megan Lai, and Sammi Cheng (Photo Credit- China Lion Film Distribution, Inc.)
Fagara / Hua jiao zhi wei
Directed by Heiward Mak
China, 2019, 120 minutes

China Lion Film Distribution has acquired and will release Fagara, with worldwide superstar Sammi Cheng in the lead role. Hyundai Motor America and its brand new 2020 Palisade SUV will be the official sponsor of the North American release, showcasing the film first at a special Los Angeles red carpet premiere on September 12th at AMC Atlantic Times Square 14 in Monterey Park.. The new film, written and directed by Heiward Mak, will open to the general public in celebration of the mid-autumn festival on September 13th throughout the United States and Canada. Mak is the award winning writer of the film Love in a Puff and the well regarded High Noon.

The film also stars actress Megan Lai, best known for Bromance, Miss Rose and Mars (all three are TV series), and actress Li Xiaofeng, best known for the films Love At First… and the Feng Xiaogang epic Youth. In addition to the lead cast of Sammi Cheng, Megan Lai and Li Xiaofeng, the film co-stars award winning actress Wu Yanshu, Liu Juei Chi and Richie Jen. Acting legend Andy Lau makes a special guest appearance in the film as well.

The film follows a woman (Sammi Cheng) who, in the wake of her father’s untimely death, rediscovers her connection with her two distant sisters. But with her own relationship uncertain and the future of her departed father’s hot pot restaurant in question, she worries her feelings for the past will add complications to the reunion. She finds that while their upbringing was different, they too experience ongoing trials and tribulations in their lives. Her sister from the Mainland (Li Xiaofeng) is pressured by her elderly grandmother to get married; her sister from Taiwan (Megan Lai) is plagued by a toxic relationship with her mother. Together, they decide to strive to find happiness, love and peace – the same peace their father was unable to provide to them during his life.

The film is currently set to open in the United States and Canada in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver, expanding to other cities in the weeks following. A complete theater list is available at www.ChinaLionFilm.com/fgra.

The film’s international trailer can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq4xnFALye0

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Martial arts comedy KUNG FU LEAGUE coming to Blu-ray, DVD and digital on September 17th

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
Kung Fu League / Gong fu lian meng
Directed by Jeffrey Lau
China, 2018, 103 minutes

Four legendary Kung Fu masters are summoned to help a shy man get the girl he loves in Kung Fu League, debuting on Blu-ray™ Combo, DVD and Digital September 17 from Well Go USA Entertainment. Directed by Jeffrey Lau (Kung Fu Hustle), the martial arts comedy Kung Fu League stars Yu-Hang To (Ip Man, Ip Man 2), Wenzhuo Zhao (The Unity of Heros, God of War), Jay Chou (The Green Hornet) and in his cinematic debut, Ashin.

Synopsis:
When his manager prevents Fei Ying Xiong from getting the girl he loves, he summons the help from four legendary Kung Fu masters to learn the highest level of martial arts from the best in history and to defeat his enemies who stand in the way of the things he wants most.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

TORA-SAN'S CHERISHED MOTHER at Japan Society NY this Friday

Japan Society NY
Presents
© Shochiku Co., Ltd.
Tora-san's Cherished Mother / Zoku otoko wa tsurai yo
Directed by Yôji Yamada
With Kiyoshi Atsumi, Orie Sato
Japan, 1969, 93 minutes
DCP, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, September 6th at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

In celebration of Tora-san's 50th anniversary, Japan Society has invited Japanese architectural firm Atelier Bow-Wow, curator and exhibition designer of Made in Tokyo: Architecture and Living, 1964/2020 (opening at Japan Society on Oct. 11), to select newly restored and subtitled favorites from the long-running film series featuring the beloved Tokyo icon.

In this second installment of the popular series, made in the same year as the first film, Tora-san returns home to Shibamata, Tokyo, where he meets his sister's newborn child, bumps into his old teacher and falls in love with the teacher's beautiful daughter Natsuko (Orie Sato). After learning that his long-estranged mother (a geisha who had a brief affair with his father) may still be alive, Tora-san sets out for Kyoto in search of lost time.

Monday, September 02, 2019

SEND ME TO THE CLOUDS opens in theaters on September 20th

Cheng Cheng Films
Presents
Send Me to the Clouds / Song Wo Shang Qing Yun
Directed by Teng Congcong
China, 2019, 99 minutes

First-time filmmaker Teng Congcong's comedy drama Send Me to the Clouds will open in several North American theaters on September 20th and in others in the weeks that follow. The film, which stars Yao Chen (Monster Hunt, Lost Found), who is also its producer, follows an ovarian cancer patient's desperate quest for an unforgettable sexual experience before her surgery.

Synopsis:
Diagnosed with ovarian cancer, iron-willed journalist Sheng Nan (“Surpass Men” in Chinese) is pressured to make a quick fortune and find mindblowing sex before the costly surgery numbs her senses. Taking on a businessman’s biography writing job, she hikes into the misty mountains, where a chain of outbursts with her dysfunctional family, grumpy client, misogynistic co-worker and dreamlike romantic interest hilariously unfold. As deeply moving as it is luminously witty, writer-director Teng Congcong’s debut waltzes across the bitterness swallowed by her generation of women born under China’s One Child Policy, unprecedentedly burdened to “surpass men” while trying not to be “leftover women” at the same time. Saluting the 18th-century Chinese literature classic Dream of the Red Chamber in its title, the enchanting gem refreshes the novel's transcendent contemplation on desire, death and womanhood from a modern cinematic perspective.

OPENING IN THEATERS
9/20-9/26 LOS ANGELES Downtown Independent
9/20-9/26 VANCOUVER Cineplex SIlvercity Riverport
9/20-9/26 TORONTO Cineplex Yonge & Dundas
9/27-10/3 SAN FRANCISCO Four Star Theater
9/27-10/3 SAN JOSE 3 Below Theaters and Lounge
10/11, 10/12 MINNEAPOLIS Walker Art Center

MORE THEATERS ADDED WEEKLY at: SendMetotheClouds.com

Monday, August 26, 2019

NE ZHA coming to North American IMAX® 3D theaters on August 29th; nationwide expansion to follow on September 6th

Well Go USA
Presents
Ne Zha / Nezha zhi motong jiangshi
Written and directed by Yang Yu
China, 2019, 110 minutes

Well Go USA Entertainment will release the Chinese box office hit animated-feature NE ZHA exclusively in select IMAX® 3D theaters across North America on August 29th, followed by a nationwide expansion on September 6th.

Produced by Beijing Enlight Pictures and written and directed by first time director Yang Yu (aka Jiao Zi), Ne Zha is currently the highest-grossing animated feature in China’s film history with box office gross presently at $535 million and over 100 million admissions. Ne Zha is on course to pass Wandering Earth and become China’s second-highest grossing film of all-time by the end of its theatrical run. Ne Zha is also the highest-grossing animated IMAX feature in China’s film history, and the second highest-grossing local language IMAX feature of all time in the market.

Synopsis
A young boy, Ne Zha, is born from a heavenly pearl by the Primeval Lord of Heaven, Yuanshi Tianzun. Born with unique powers, he finds himself as an outcast who is hated and feared. Destined by prophecy to bring destruction to the world, the young boy must choose between good and evil in order to break the shackles of fate and become the hero. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Cheng Cheng acquires North American rights to SEND ME TO THE CLOUDS

Send Me to the Clouds / Song Wo Shang Qing Yun
Directed by Teng Congcong
China, 2019, 99 minutes

New York-based distributor Cheng Cheng has picked up North American all rights to first-time filmmaker Teng Congcong's comedy drama Send Me to the Clouds. The film starring Yao Chen (Monster Hunt, Lost Found), who's also its producer, follows an ovarian cancer patient's desperate quest for an unforgettable sexual experience before her surgery. The picture opened in Chinese theaters last weekend after bowing at Shanghai International Film Festival and FIRST International Film Festival. Its humorous touch on struggles faced by a generation of women born under China's One Child policy won it a 100% score in verified influencers' recommendations on Weibo, China's answer to twitter. The distributor behind Chinese language films including The Great Buddha+, Crosscurrent and SoulMate is planning a theatrical release in fall 2019.

"Cheng Cheng has always championed films with strong female leads. Now we'd also like to show how Chinese women have contributed to Chinese language cinema from leading roles behind the scene. If our team with imperfect English proficiency and unbeatable math skills has read "gender equality" correctly, it means we need to focus our resources and efforts on releasing women-directed films until its number is equal to that of men-directed films in our catalogue. We make that commitment to ourselves and our audience. Send Me to the Clouds is a perfect start." stated by the distributor founded in 2015.

The deal was signed by Tony Yin, Director of Business Affairs at Cheng Cheng Films, and Julian Chiu, Senior Manager of International Sales and Distribution at Hong Kong's Edko Films. It's the second time the two companies join forces.

Synopsis:
Diagnosed with ovarian cancer, iron-willed journalist Sheng Nan (“Surpass Men” in Chinese) is pressured to make a quick fortune and find mindblowing sex before the costly surgery numbs her senses. Taking on a businessman’s biography writing job, she hikes into the misty mountains, where a chain of outbursts with her dysfunctional family, grumpy client, misogynistic co-worker and dreamlike romantic interest hilariously unfold. As deeply moving as it is luminously witty, writer-director Teng Congcong’s debut waltzes across the bitterness swallowed by her generation of women born under China’s One Child Policy, unprecedentedly burdened to “surpass men” while trying not to be “leftover women” at the same time. Saluting the 18th-century Chinese literature classic Dream of the Red Chamber in its title, the enchanting gem refreshes the novel's transcendent contemplation on desire, death and womanhood from a modern cinematic perspective.

Monday, July 15, 2019

SECTION23 FILMS announces its September 2019 releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its September 2019 slate of releases featuring Sentai Filmworks’ TV animation hit, TADA NEVER FALLS IN LOVE, available on Blu-ray and special Limited Edition Premium Box Set!

Product details in order of release:

Title: THIS ART CLUB HAS A PROBLEM
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 9/3/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: A totally ordinary art club at the totally ordinary Tsukimori Middle School. There, Subaru Uchimaki squanders his artistic talent on his true passion and life's mission: drawing the ideal "2D wife." Club member Mizuki Usami finds herself with a crush on the hopeless Uchimaki. The seemingly uninterested club president is always sleeping, but he keeps a close eye on Uchimaki and Usami's antics. Then there's the mysterious Colette, who's usually lost in her own little world. When this ragtag bunch gathers together as the Art Club, there's sure to be some problems...


Title: BOOK OF BANTORRA BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 675 min.
Street Date: 9/10/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: In another time and place, on a world of pain and sorrow, when someone dies, their soul doesn't go to Heaven or Hell - it becomes a book. A book that reveals the deceased's innermost secrets and that can be read by anyone. Protecting these priceless treasures is the elite organization known as the Armed Librarians. It's their job to keep the books and the knowledge within them safe from those who would misuse or destroy them. It's a tough, dangerous job, so Chief Librarian Hamyuts Maseta recruits only the best and the brightest psychics to join her team of expert fighters. Even so, will they be able to stop the fanatics of the Shindeki Church from wreaking vengeance on the entire world? Only time will tell, but that book hasn't been written yet. Don't miss the non-stop action of The Book of Bantorra Complete Collection.


Title: DI GI CHARAT ULTIMATE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 320 min.
Street Date: 9/17/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: What do you do after your parents spend all their money unsuccessfully trying to take over the planet Di Gi Charat? If you're an Alien Princess with cat ears and a tail, and shoot ray beams from your eyes like Dejiko, you travel to Earth and try to become a famous singer, of course! That's harder than it sounds however, and Dejiko, her sidekick Puchiko and their balloon-like protector Gema soon find themselves working in a game store in the only place where cat girls and living balloons seem completely normal: Akihabara in Tokyo, Japan. Now all they have to do is sell a few games, fend off various intergalactic invaders, outperform wannabe singers from other worlds and maybe learn about a strange little Earth emotion called love in the ultimate collection of DI GI CHARAT!


Title: INITIAL D LEGEND THEATRICAL COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 180 min.
Street Date: 9/17/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: When an unplanned street duel launches tofu delivery driver Takumi Fujiwara into the world of high stakes street racing, the competition isn't going to know what hit them. The son of another legendary driver, the unassuming Takumi quickly becomes the downhill racing phenomenon to beat, with a line of challengers as long as the deadly Mt. Akina road itself! There's no time to blink. No chance to second guess your strategy. The streets of Japan become a deadly arena for an incredible battle where if you have everything under control, you're not moving fast enough! Hold onto your breath as the legendary series that introduced the sport of drift racing to the west is reinvented in a series of new feature films that will strip the surface from the blacktops in the NEW INITIAL D: LEGEND THEATRICAL COLLECTION!


Title: TADA NEVER FALLS IN LOVE
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 9/24/2019
Format: BD, PBS
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $129.98

SYNOPSIS: Nothing lasts forever, so opportunities presented must be taken before they are lost. In Japan, this philosophy is symbolized by the brief bloom of the cherry blossom, and it is under the cherry blossoms that Tada, who dreams of becoming a famous photographer like his late father, meets a girl who has lost her way. As it turns out, Teresa is staying at the hotel next to café owned by Tada's family and she and her companion Alexandra will be attending Tada's school, where they even join his photography club. What Tada doesn't know, however, is that Teresa is secretly a princess who's come to Japan to experience normal life before returning to her own country and an arranged marriage. And that means that the attraction that they begin to feel for each other may be as ephemeral as the cherry blossom in TADA NEVER FALLS IN LOVE.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

MASTER Z: IP MAN LEGACY set to debut on July 23rd

Well Go USA
Presents
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy / Yip Man ngoi zyun: Cheung Tin Chi
Directed by Yuen Woo-Ping
China, 2018, 108 minutes

MASTER Z: IP MAN LEGACY, the newest entry in the celebrated IP MAN universe, debuts on digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD July 23rd from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Legendary action director Yuen Woo-Ping draws on a stellar cast of Max Zhang (The Brink), Tony Jaa (Triple Threat), Michelle Yeoh, and Dave Bautista to create the hard-hitting martial arts blast that follows the story of Wing Chun master Cheung Tin Chi (Zhang) after his defeat by Ip Man.

Synopsis:
After his defeat by Master Ip, Cheung Tin Chi, makes a life with his young son in Hong Kong, waiting tables at a bar that caters to expats. It’s not long before the mix of foreigners, money, and triad leaders draw him once again to the fight.

P.S. - MASTER Z: IP MAN LEGACY was shown last night at the New York Asian Film Festival. Master Yuen Woo-Ping was present and received the festival's Lifetime Achievement Award. I had the honor and joy of participating in an intimate round table discussion with him earlier in the day. I'll be posting transcripts of the panel's questions and his responses in the very near future.

I have previously seen the film and will post a review of it soon. In the meantime, let me just say that it's a solid actioner and well worth watching.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

SECTION23 FILMS announces its August 2019 releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its August slate of releases featuring Sentai Filmworks’ new TV animation adapted from Ryo Hanada’s best-selling manga, Devils’ Line, available on Blu-ray and in a special Limited Edition Premium Box Set.

Product details in order of release:

Title: BPS: BATTLE PROGRAMMER SHIRASE
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 125 min.
Street Date: 8/6/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $39.98

SYNOPSIS: What is it that passes behind those dry, sorrowful eyes? Akira Shirase, the solitary programmer who has an unusual aptitude for problem solving: He is called a legendary hacker, and few know his true identity. What has he lost, what has he gained, and what has he seen in pockets of the vast internet? How now does he feel, on what is false and what is true and what exists in code? This is the man they call Battle Programmer Shirase - also known as BPS!


Title: SAKURA WARS TV
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 625 min.
Street Date: 8/13/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: In 1918, a giant demon appeared in Tokyo, and although the monstrous creature was finally defeated, the Imperial forces knew that something had to be done in anticipation of future attacks. The solution was the development of the Imperial Assault Force, an assembly of secret teams of dedicated young women gifted with a unique spiritual power that enables them to operate Kobu, steam-powered mechanical armor that combines the attributes of humanoid robots and tanks. While pretending to be normal, ordinary girls in everyday life, these brave battle maidens and their international counterparts stationed around the world must remain ever vigilant for assaults by demons sent by the leagues of evil magic users. Get ready for the wildest monster versus mecha fantasy ever in the incredible alternate history that is SAKURA WARS!


Title: THE BIG O STEELBOOK EDITION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 650 min.
Street Date: 8/20/2019
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: ORPHEN
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1175 min.
Street Date: 8/20/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: When an experiment goes horribly awry and transforms the Sorceress Azalie into a monstrous dragon, the sorcerers of the Tower of Fang callously decide to pretend that Azalie died in order to preserve the Tower's reputation. And to make sure that the magic beans never get spilled, they also decide that Azalie needs to be destroyed. Disgusted by their cravenly actions, Azalie's friend Krylancelo renounces his allegiance to the Tower, changes his name to Orphen and sets forth to save the damsel/dragon in distress. It won't be easy: there'll be minions with nefarious plans to defeat, and along the way Orphen will pick up an apprentice, a spoiled rich girl and a couple of trolls. But it wouldn't be a heroic journey without a few bumps in the road, would it? The epic quest is on in Sorcerous Stabber Orphen!


Title: WAITING IN THE SUMMER
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 8/20/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: When a group of friends decide to make a movie over a long summer holiday, they end up learning a little about filmmaking and a lot more about each other and themselves. What begins as a simple way to avoid the summer doldrums quickly turns into something much more complex, intimate, and downright revealing. As the summer heats up, so do the maturing relationships between the young cast members, taking some new, and sometimes unexpected, turns. Get ready for a whole new look at summer romance as hidden emotions get captured and secrets meant to be kept hidden inside young hearts instead spill off the screen for your viewing pleasure in WAITING IN THE SUMMER!


Title: DEVILS' LINE
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 8/27/2019
Format: BD, PBS
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $129.98

SYNOPSIS: Everything you thought you knew about vampires is wrong. They can walk in the daylight and holy water doesn't burn them. In fact, vampires can pass as normal humans so perfectly that even other vampires have trouble spotting them. Until they drink human blood, that is; then they transform into monstrous beasts who mindlessly rape and murder. But not all vampires are evil. The secret task force that patrols Tokyo's vampire population has several fanged operatives, including half-human Yuki Anzai, who believes that his human heritage lets him resist his species' basest cravings. But after Yuki rescues college student Tsukasa Taira from a vampire stalker, he realizes that he's succumbing to urges he's never felt before. And like moths to the flame, he and Tsukasa find themselves being pulled into a potentially fatal attraction in DEVILS' LINE!

Friday, June 28, 2019

THE GUN - a NYAFF 2019 review

Murakami Nijiro in The Gun (Photo: © YOSHIMOTO KOGYO)
The Gun /
Directed by Masaharu Take
Japan, 2018, 97 minutes

On a dark and rainy night, college student Toru Nishikawa (Murakami Nijiro, Destruction Babies) comes across a handgun. Without much thought, he picks it up and takes it to his home. Later he sees a television news item that the body of a male in his 40s or 50s had been found near the Arakawa River in Itabashi Ward. The deceased had been shot in the head and been dead for about five days.

Undeterred by the gun’s apparent association with a homicide, Toru continues to covet it. Initially he’s satisfied with just taking it out and polishing it occasionally. However, it gradually begins to take greater and greater hold on his somewhat fragile and damaged psyche and he begins to carrying it around with him, gradually becoming more obsessed with the idea of actually firing it.

The situation also takes a toll on his love life, interfering with his relationship with one girl that he’s just sleeeping with and with his more romantic one with Yuko Yoshikawa (Alice Hirose, Kamen Rider Movie War 2010), a fellow student.

Most disturbing is the appearance of a detective (Lily Franky, Shoplifters) who is sure that Toru is in possession of the weapon. He’s basically certain that the young man is not a murderer and tries to convince him to disassemble it and disperse the pieces, lest he be eventually tempted to use it, with disastrous consequences.

Director Masaharu Take displays a sure hand in moving this slow-burner of a psychological thriller/drama along. Another of his films, 100 Yen Love (2014) was showcased at the 2015 JAPAN CUTS Festival of New Japanese Film, so he’s no stranger to the New York Asian film festival scene. The film is shot for almost its 97 minute running length in beautiful, high contrast black and white. (Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to ascertain the cinematographer.)

The Gun will have its North American Premiers at the New York Asian Film Festival on Sunday, June 30th at 6:15 pm. Tickets for The Gun can be purchased here.

AsianCIneFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; a solid noir-ish, psychological thriller.

Monday, June 24, 2019

MOJIN: THE WORM VALLEY debuts on Digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack & DVD on July 9th, 2019

Well Go USA
Presents
Mojin: The Worm Valley / Yun nan chong gu
Directed by Fei Xing
China, 2018, 111 minutes

Following in the footsteps of the blockbuster Mojin: The Lost Legend and based on the bestselling novel series, critically-acclaimed mystical action-adventure MOJIN: THE WORM VALLEY debuts on digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD July 9th from Well Go USA Entertainment. Hu Bayi and the Mojin Six set off on another adventure seeking out a hidden tomb that holds the key to breaking an ancient curse.

Directed by Fei Xing (Silent Witness) MOJIN: THE WORM VALLEY introduces Cai Heng (Shaolin), Cheng Taishen (Legend of the Demon Cat), and newcomers Gu Xuan, Yu Heng, Chen Yusi, and Ma Yuke to the Mojin series.

Synopsis:
In this mystical action-adventure, legendary tomb explorer Hu Bayi sets off on a dangerous mission.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Crime/Thriller UNSTOPPABLE coming to digital on June 25th

Well Go USA
Presents
Unstoppable / Seongnan hwangso
Directed by KIM Min-Ho
South Korea, 2018, 115 minutes
Language: Korean w/ English subtitles

Don Lee (Train to Busan) brings the heat in the crime-thriller Unstoppable, which is available on digital June 25th from Well Go USA Entertainment. The film follows Dong-Chul (Don Lee) who has given up his gangster ways to lead a quieter life. However, all of that changes when his wife is kidnapped, and he has to return to who he used to be to get her back. Kim Min-Ho makes his directorial debut, Unstoppable also stars Song Ji-Hyo (Fugitive), Kim Sung-Oh (“A Korean Odyssey”).

Synopsis:
In this hard-hitting action-thriller, Don Lee stars as a legendary gangster enjoying a quiet retirement. But when his wife is kidnapped, he must once again become the brutal criminal he left behind in order to get her back.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

SWING KIDS coming June 18th, 2019

Well Go USA
Presents
Swing Kids / Seuwingkizeu
Directed by Hyeong-Cheol Kang 
South Korea, 2018, 134 minutes

This swinging musical drama will debut on Blu-ray™ this coming Tuesday, June 18th, 2019. K-pop star Do Kyung-soo and actor Jared Grimes star.

Synopsis:
During the Korean War, the soldiers at a POW camp plan a tap show to distract both themselves and the prisoners from the hardships of war. Led by a former Broadway dancer and a rebellious North Korean soldier, the band of prisoners find a new sense of freedom in dancing.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

FURIE coming June 25th 2019

Well Go USA
Presents
Furie / Hai Phuong 
Directed by Le Van Kiet
Vietnam, 2019, 98 minutes

Veronica Ngo (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) fiercely stars in this thrilling, action-packed film, Furie, which debuts on digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD June 25th from Well Go USA Entertainment.

After putting her criminal past behind her, Hai Phuong’s (Ngo) daughter is kidnapped and Hai will do anything to get her back. Directed by Le Van Kiet (The Rich Woman, The Lost Tour: Vietnam) and with a rich color palette of neon from cinematographer Morgan Schmidt, Furie also stars Phan Than Nhien and Mai Cat Vi.

Synopsis:
When a little girl is kidnapped by a trafficking ring, they soon find they messed with the wrong child. Her mother, a notorious former gang leader, is close on their trail and will go to any lengths to bring her daughter home.

SECTION23 FILMS announces its JULY 2019 releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its July slate of releases featuring Sentai Filmworks’ new retrofuturistic series that relaunches Japan’s most legendary cyberpop heroine, CUTIE HONEY UNIVERSE, available on Blu-ray and in a special Limited Edition Premium Box Set on July 23rd.

Product details in order of release:

Title: THOSE WHO HUNT ELVES BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 7/2/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: When an unlikely trio of humans find themselves transported to a world populated by elves and other mystical beings, all they want to do is go home. Fortunately, the sorceress Celsia has a spell that can send them back! Unfortunately, things go horribly wrong and the spell is scattered to the winds, with different parts attaching like tattoos to the bodies of elves across the entire planet! Now, the only way to put it back together is for strongman Junpei, actress Airi and teenage gun-fanatic Ritsuko to travel around the world in a T-74 tank, convincing random elves to strip down for a "spell check"! Get ready for the weirdest, most un-PC road trip ever as the tank treads hit the road and the elf-clothes go a-flying in THOSE WHO HUNT ELVES!


Title: PET SHOP OF HORRORS BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 100 min.
Street Date: 7/9/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $19.98

SYNOPSIS: Are you seeking something unusual in a pet to fill an empty space in your heart? Then venture, if you dare, into a strange little pet shop in Chinatown, where the mysterious proprietor knows your every need and desire. But watch out. When you buy from Count D, what you get may be what he thinks you deserve rather than what you want. So even if that rare rabbit does somehow look just like your lost child, perhaps you'd be safer shopping somewhere else. That's certainly what Detective Orcot of the LAPD would advise, as nightmarish things seem to keep happening to the shop's customers. Unfortunately, there's never been quite enough evidence to implicate the Count. And until there is, business will continue to boom at the PET SHOP OF HORRORS.


Title: ASURA CRYIN' BLU-RAY
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 650 min.
Street Date: 7/16/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $89.98

SYNOPSIS: Some people are haunted by memories, but Tomoharu is haunted by his friend Misao, who died in a horrible plane crash that Tomo somehow survived. While having a girl that no one else can see hanging around is a little odd, it's not until Tomo's mom gets remarried, leaving Tomo alone, that things get really weird: A mysterious girl appears with a package that Tomo is supposed to guard. A second girl breaks into the house, demanding something called an "extractor". And both girls can inexplicably see Misao! As more people target the package and Tomo, the mystery only deepens. What's in the package, why are so many people after it, and is it connected to the plane crash or something even more sinister? The shocking answers will be unleashed in ASURA CRYIN'!


Title: ARMORED TROOPER VOTOMS OVA 2
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 290 min.
Street Date: 7/23/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: The fires of war don't create heroes, only legions of the wounded and the dead. For a pilot of an easily-destroyed VOTOMS unit, every foray into battle is one more calculated bet with your own life as the prize, another day of cheating death. When your commanding officers send you into a fight that can't be won, or set goals that can only be achieved through massive sacrifice, then a decision has to be made. Are you going to be a hero? Or a survivor? The brutal realism of the acclaimed anime series returns, as men and machines are thrown into the meat grinder of war, in the epic second Original Video Animation collection of ARMORED TROOPER VOTOMS!


Title: CUTIE HONEY UNIVERSE
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 7/23/2019
Format: BD, PBS
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $129.98

SYNOPSIS: The girls at Saint Chapel Academy all think Honey Kisaragi is just another sweet, kind and incredibly beautiful girl, but what they don't know is that Honey is actually the world's most advanced android, with the capability to transform her lovely body into multiple forms with their own special abilities! Unfortunately the evil Sister Jill, head of the sinister organization Panther Claw, knows Honey's secret, and the malevolent mistress of mayhem will stop at nothing in her attempts to capture Honey and use her body for her own twisted purposes. With Jill's army of half-human hotties on one side and Honey and her stalwart allies at the PCIS (Panther Claw Criminal Investigation Service) on the other, it's going to be the wildest, sexiest battle ever! Watch out evildoers! The original magical girl is back in CUTIE HONEY UNIVERSE!


Title: ELFEN LIED STEELBOOK BLU-RAY
Published by: ADV Films
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 7/30/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $99.98

SYNOPSIS: Critics have described Elfen Lied as "weird," (Anime Planet), "surprisingly sadistic," (Gamers Edge), and "addictive"(Animesou). No wonder, when you consider what makes this series hum! Lucy, a beautiful young mutant, is bred by the military to be the ultimate weapon. Now, with government killers on her trail, the disposition of a five year old, and a hair trigger for ultraviolence, Lucy and her young friends must unravel the dark secret of her legacy before it's too late.


Title: LOVE STAGE BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 275 min.
Street Date: 7/30/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: As a child actor, Izumi Sena was following the rest of his family into the entertainment business until he quit after a humiliating incident while shooting a certain commercial. Now, ten years later, Izumi's trying to juggle college and becoming a manga author, but nothing seems to be working out for him. Until he's asked to reprise his part in that infamous commercial opposite one of Japan's most popular up-and-coming actors! Which wouldn't be so bad… except for the fact that Izumi was dressed as young girl in the ad, and everyone, including his infatuated potential co-star Ryoma Ichijo, still thinks that he's a she! Is Izumi going to have to kiss a guy and will he like it? And what will Ryoma think when the girl of his dreams turns out to be a guy in jeans? Get ready for a tale of crossed stars and shifting alignments as a completely unexpected drama unfolds in prime time across the LOVE STAGE!!

Monday, June 03, 2019

Encore presentation of JAPAN CUTS 2018 Audience Award winner BORN BONE BORN at Japan Society NY on Friday, June 14th

Japan Society NY
Presents
A Japan Cuts Encore
Born Bone Born © 2018 'Senkotsu’ Production Committee
Born Bone Born / Senkotsu
Directed by Toshiyuki Teruya
With Ayame Misaki, Eiji Okuda,
Michitaka Tsutsui, and Yoko Oshima 
Japan, 2018, 111 minutes 
In Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, June 14, 2019 at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Tickets: $14/$11 seniors & students/$5 members

Winner of the JAPAN CUTS 2018 Audience Award, this moving, comedic family drama returns to Japan Society for an encore screening in anticipation of the upcoming 13th edition of JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film (July 19—28). A visibly pregnant woman returns home to the remote Okinawan island of Aguni four years after her mother's death to find that her alcoholic father is still in mourning. As the gathered family works through lingering resentments and village gossip, they make preparations for the island's ancient senkotsu ritual in which the remains of the deceased are exhumed and the bones are washed clean.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

"Mountain Monks" reviewed; one of the shorts at NY Japan CineFest

Mar Creation
and
Asia Society NYC
Present
Mountain Monks
Dir. Fritz Schumann
Japan, 2018, 10 minutes

The short documentary Mountain Monks will be one of the films included in Program 2 of this year's New York Japan CineFest. The mini-festival runs Wednesday, June 5th and Thursday the 6th at Asia Society, located at 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street. (Click here for map.) Each night's program is scheduled to run from 6:30 - 8:15 PM.

Synopsis:
The Yamabushi in northern Japan practice a once forbidden ancient religion. While their tradition is at risk of disappearing, it offers a way for those seeking a different path in Japan‘s society.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; highly recommended documentary about a small Japanese sect.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

"Miss u, Love" reviewed; one of the shorts at NY Japan CineFest

Mar Creation
and
Asia Society NYC
Present
Miss u, Love
Directed by Toko Shiiki
USA, 2018, 7 minutes

Miss u, Love will be shown on Thursday, June 6th as one of the shorts included in Program 2 of this year's New York Japan CineFest. The mini-festival runs Wednesday, June 5th and Thursday the 6th at Asia Society located at 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street. (Click here for map.) Each night's program is scheduled to run from 6:30 - 8:15 PM.

Synopsis:
Rei is working as a “Mail-Lady” for the “Mental Health Mail-Lady Service” in Japan. Her job is to exchange emails with clients who have mental health disorders. According to her, she is the most popular “Mail-Lady” in Japan. But recently, she relocated to the United States, after a troublesome exchange with one of her clients.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; an intriguing film that is highly recommended.

Friday, May 31, 2019

New York Japan CineFest 2019 returns to Asia Society on June 5th and 6th


New York Japan CineFest, the annual mini-festival of recent shorts by emerging Japanese and Japanese-American filmmakers, will return to Asia Society NYC for the eighth time next Wednesday, June 5th and Thursday, June 6th. There will be separate programs each day beginning at 6:30 PM. The Day 1 Program on Wednesday will be followed by a reception.


Information about the Day 1 Program can be found here; Day 2 Program info is available here.

Asia Society NYC is located at 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street. (Click here for map.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

BIG BROTHER reviewed; debuts on Blu-ray and DVD today, May 21st

Well Go USA
Presents
Big Brother
Directed by Kam Ka-Wai
Hong Kong, 2018, 101 minutes

Big Brother, a rather different film vehicle for action star Donnie Yen, debuts on Blu-ray and DVD today, May 21st from Well Go USA Entertainment. (It's been available on digital since April 16th.) My review is based on watching the Blu-ray version.

Here Yen stars as Henry Chan, a former soldier who manages to secure a position teaching a class of problematic teenage delinquents. His unconventional approach, which includes caring involvement with his students' lives outside the classroom, proves surprisingly effective. The reasons for his taking the job and caring so much become apparent as Chan's back story is gradually revealed over the course of the film.

Think of the movie as a Chinese version of the 1967 film To Sir, with Love, which starred Sidney Poitier as a teacher of troubled white students from the slums of London's East End. Only Big Brother, since it stars Donnie Yen, has a couple of ass-kicking action sequences that feature Yen taking on both multiple and individual opponents.

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
  -- Cantonese DTS-HDMA 5.1
  -- Cantonese Stereo
-- Subtitles
  -- English
  -- Chinese
  -- Off
-- Bonus
  -- Trailer A
  -- Trailer B
  -- US Trailer
-- Previews
  -- Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
  -- Golden Job
  -- Triple Threat

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; while not your typical Donnie Yen film, it's a touching "feel-good" film with some nice action scenes.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Record-making women-centric Chinese drama SOULMATE will arrive on DVD on June 14th, 2019

Cheng Cheng Films
Presents
SoulMate / Qi yue yu an sheng
Directed by Derek Tsang
Starring: Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun
China/Hong Kong, 2016, 110 minutes

SoulMate, a highly regarded drama from director Derek Tsang, will be coming to DVD in the USA and Canada on June 14th, 2019.

Featuring unforgettable performances from Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun, who made history by tying for "Best Actress" at the biggest Chinese film award, the film portrays the decades-long friendship between two disparate women who both struggle to find positions for their real selves in the modern world. The poignant drama is a heartfelt tribute to everyone's best friend and an honest examination of the evolving gender role in fast-changing China.

SoulMate's accolades include:
Winner-Best Actress, Film of Merit, Hong Kong Film Critics Society
Opening Film-Hong Kong Asian Film Festival
Opening Gala-Reel Asian Film Festival
Official Selection-New York Asian Film Festival
FILM OF THE YEAR-Weibo Film Night
12 Nominations at Hong Kong Film Awards
7 Nominations at Taiwan Golden Horse Film Awards Awards
2 Nominations at Asian Film Awards
4 Nominations at Chinese Directors' Guild
Winner, Best Director, Hong Kong Directors' Guild
Winner-Outstanding Young Filmmaker of the Year-Motion Pictures Association

THE UNITY OF HEROES to debut on digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD on May 28th from Well Go USA

Well Go USA
Presents
The Unity of Heroes
Directed by Lin Zhenzhao
China, 2018, 104 minutes

Vincent Zhao (Once Upon A Time in China) reprises his role as legendary folk hero Wong Fei Hung in The Unity of Heroes, debuting on digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD on May 28th from Well Go USA Entertainment. In this action-packed adventure, a highly toxic drug has permeated the country and Wong Fei Hung and his students must stop the invasion.

The film also stars Vini Li Lubing (Fascinated Love), Chen Chen, Li Bingyuan (Defying Chase, Tomb Robber), Wei Xiaohuan (The Grandmaster), Xu Zhengguo and Michael Tong (God of War, Tomb Robber).


Synopsis:
A shipment of a narcotic more dangerous than opium is about to be distributed across the country by a corrupt pharmaceutical company. In the face of foreign and domestic enemies, can Wong Fei Hung stop the spread of this dangerous narcotic and save lives in time?


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Dates announced for Japan Society NY's annual JAPAN CUTS film festival

Japan Society NY
Presents
When: July 19–28, 2019
Where: Japan Society 333 East 47th Street, NYC

Japan Society NY has announced this year’s dates for JAPAN CUTS. The 13th iteration of the largest festival of contemporary Japanese cinema in North America will run July 19-28, 2019 . With a wide range of the best and hardest-to-see films made in and around Japan today — from blockbusters to independent productions, documentaries to avant-garde works, and short films to new restorations — JAPAN CUTS is the place to experience Japan’s dynamic film culture in New York City.

TICKET ON-SALE DATES:
Japan Society Members: Tuesday, June 11
General Public: Tuesday, June 18

The full schedule will be announced in early June. Sign up for the Film enewsletter for updates!

TICKETS: $15/$12 seniors, students & persons with disabilities/$10 members

3-FILM PASS: $2 off each ticket when you purchase tickets for at least three different films in the same transaction! (Offer not valid for Opening Night and Centerpiece Presentation.)

MEMBERS-ONLY ALL-ACCESS PASS: $210 for all festival screenings! (We recommend purchasing the All-Access Pass in-person or by phone. Additional transaction fees apply when buying online.)

*Note: All pricing is subject to change.

Meanwhile, don't miss a special June 14th encore screening of Born Bone Born, winner of the JAPAN CUTS 2018 Audience Award. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

TRIPLE THREAT reviewed; available today as a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack and as DVD only

Well Go USA
Presents
Triple Threat
Directed by Jesse V. Johnson
Thailand/China/USA, 2019, 96 minutes

Triple Threat, a terrific actioner directed by Jesse V. Johnson, becomes available today, May 14th, as a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack and as DVD only from Well Go USA. (It's been available on digital platforms since the latter part of April.) The Blu-ray + DVD combo pack features a bonus interview with the cast. My review is based on watching the Blu-ray version.


As the screen capture above indicates, the film asks the question, "Why the fuck is it so hard to kill one little Chinese girl?" The female in question is Xian (actress Celina Jade), a billionaire's daughter who wants to rid a fictitious country of the influence of an immensely powerful criminal syndicate. The triple threat of the film's title consists of Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, and Tiger Chen, who come to protect her from assassins hired by the head of the nefarious organization.

The international cast of martial arts/action stars also includes Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Michael Bisping, and Jeeja Yanin,

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
  -- Dolby Digital 5.1
  -- Stereo
-- Subtitles SDH (English)
  -- On
  -- Off
-- Bonus
  -- Interview with the cast (Blu-ray + DVD combo pack only)
  -- Teaser
  -- Trailer
-- Previews
  -- Furie
  -- Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
   -- Shadow

Triple Threat totally delivers terrific action and is a must see for fans of the genre.

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

Watch the Triple Threat trailer here.

Friday, May 10, 2019

MISS & MRS. COPS, a South Korean Crime Comedy, Releases in Los Angeles today, May 10th and in Cities Across the U.S on May 17th

CJ Entertainment
Presents
Miss & Mrs. Cops
Directed by JUNG Da-Won
Starring RA Mi-ran, LEE Sung-kyung, YOON Sang-hyun,
CHOI Soo-young, and YEOM Hye-ran.
South Korea, 2019, 107 minutes

South Korean Director JUNG Da-Won is back with his second feature film Miss & Mrs. Cops. The film opens today, May 10th at CGV Cinemas in Buena Park and Los Angeles and will be available nationwide on May 17th.

In the film, two sisters-in-law (Mi-Young and Ji-hye) who work together at the police department find themselves in the middle of a suicide case when a young woman throws herself in front of a bus while the two are on duty. Mi-young and Ji-hye find out that the woman is the victim of a digital sex crime and her sex video is scheduled to be released online in 48 hours. When all the other departments refuse to take the case, the sisters-in-law open their own investigation into the case.

AFRAID TO DIE, starring Yukio Mishima, at Japan Society tonight

Japan Society NY
Presents
(c) 1960 Kadokawa
Afraid to Die / Karakkaze Yaro
Directed by Yasuzo Masumura
With Yukio Mishima, Ayako Wakao,
Eiji Funakoshi, and Takashi Shimura
Japan, 1960, 96 minutes
In Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, May 10, 2019 at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Tickets: $14/$11 seniors & students/$5 members

Clad in a black leather jacket, renowned Japanese writer Yukio Mishima struts and preens as a small-time yakuza underboss in this oddity of postwar Japanese cinema directed by Yasuzo Masumura. Fresh out of jail and hiding out above a rundown Tokyo movie theater, the unsympathetic tough is hounded by a rival gang and an asthmatic killer-for-hire as he struggles to reconcile his criminal life with a newfound love interest (Ayako Wakao).

Afraid to Die screens in celebration of a brand new English translation of Mishima's 1961 novella Star (New Directions Publishing, 2019), a fictionalized account of his experience working on Masumura's film.

There will be an introduction by Star translator Sam Bett, followed by a book-signing. Copies of Star will be available for purchase courtesy of New Directions Publishing









Monday, May 06, 2019

Hong Kong actioner VIXEN arrives on digital streaming platforms today

TriCoast Studios
Presents
Vixen
Directed by Ross W. Clarkson
China, 2018, 90 minutes

Vixen, a Hong Kong a female driven take on Die Hard, arrives on digital streaming platforms (Amazon, DirecTV, AT&T, FlixFling, Vudu, Vimeo on Demand, XBOX, Sony, Google Play, FANDANGO + Sling/Dish) today, May 6th. The film stars former stuntwoman Li Ran. Also featured are such action legends and martial art experts as Bryan Larkin (Dead End, Outlander) and Jai Day (Transformers, Pacific Rim: Uprising). Africa’s most famous Chinese martial arts expert, Luc Bendza, who graduated from Beijing’s prestigious Sports University, plays the film’s Machiavellian main villain.



Synopsis:
Vixen is a femme-centric Hong Kong action film about a Chinese security expert who fights a lone battle against a European criminal gang that has seized the world’s tallest building, where a massive, high-tech international conference is taking place. With the building under lockdown, the lone expert, Sunny Liu (former stuntwoman Li Ran) must use all her courage, intelligence and martial arts prowess to outwit, outlast and outfight the terrorists. She’s beautiful, she’s deadly, and she always knows – a woman’s work is never done.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

TRIPLE THREAT now available on digital platforms; Blu-ray + DVD combo pack and DVD only will be available May 14th

Well Go USA
Presents
Triple Threat
Directed by Jesse V. Johnson
Thailand/China/USA, 2019, 96 minutes

Triple Threat, directed by Jesse V. Johnson, is a thriller teams over half a dozen of the world’s biggest action stars for the martial arts event film of the year. When a hit is taken out on a billionaire’s daughter, it’s mercenaries versus assassins in an all-out war.

Starring Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Tiger Chen, Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Michael Bisping, Celina Jade, and Jeeja Yanin, Triple Threat is currently available now on digital platforms. It will become available as a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack and as DVD only on May 14th. The Blu-ray + DVD combo pack features a bonus interview with the cast.

Synopsis:
This breakneck thriller teams over half a dozen of the world’s biggest action stars for the martial arts film event of the year. When a hit contract is taken out on a billionaire’s daughter (Celina Jade) intent on bringing down a major crime syndicate, a team of wanted mercenaries (Tony Jaa, Tiger Chen) must take on a group of professional assassins (Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Michael Bisping) to stop them from hitting their target. Also featuring Iko Uwais and Jeeja Yanin.

The trailer can be seen here.

THE GREAT BUDDHA+ coming to DVD and Blu-ray on April 26, 2019

Cheng Cheng FIlms
Presents
The Great Buddha+
Written and Directed by HUANG, Hsin-Yao
Starring: CHUANG, Cres / CHEN, Bamboo/ DAI, Leon
Taiwan, 2017, 104 minutes

The Great Buddha+, a terrific Taiwanese satire, will become available on DVD and Blu-ray on April 26th, 2019. The release will include these bonus features: The Great Buddha (short film), Making-of, and Trailer.


Underlining the gap between the olifves of the have-nots and the elites by switching between black and white and glamorous colors, Taiwan's 91st OSCARS® entry The Great Buddha+ vividly illustrates a corrupted village in rural southern Taiwan with memorable style, heartfelt empathy, and whimsical humor. Security guard Pickle and his trash collector friend Belly Button kill time together in night shifts watching the American-educated boss's dash-cam recordings of his various sexual encounters with women. Against the buddies’ will, something horrifying rather than erotic reveals.

Monday, April 15, 2019

BIG BROTHER available on Digital on April 16th, Blu-ray & DVD on May 21st

Well Go USA
Presents
Big Brother
Directed by Kam Ka-Wai
Hong Kong, 2018, 101 minutes

Big Brother features iconic action star Donnie Yen (the IP Man franchise, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as you’ve never seen him before – a high school teacher.

As a seasoned former soldier Henry Chan’s next mission is teaching a class of problematic teenage delinquents. Against all odds, his unconventional and sometimes questionable teaching methods turn out to be exactly what his pupils need.

Big Brother debuts on digital tomorrow, Tuesday, April 16th and on Blu-ray and DVD May 21st from Well Go USA Entertainment and is directed by Kam Ka Wai (Ip Man, Colour of the Game).

Synopsis:

Martial arts legend Donnie Yen stars as a former soldier recruited for his toughest mission yet – teaching a class of teen delinquents. As he kicks his way into their school and home lives, it becomes clear that his unconventional teaching style might be just what they need.

Monday, April 08, 2019

MASTER Z: IP MAN LEGACY coming to theaters this Friday, April 12, 2019

Well Go USA
Presents
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy / Ye wen wai zhuan: Zhang tian zhi
Directed by: Yuen Woo-Ping
Starring: Max Zhang, Dave Bautista, Liu Yan,
Michelle Yeoh, and Tony Jaa 
Hong Kong/China, 2018,  107 minutes

Legendary action director Yuen Woo-Ping draws on a stellar cast (Michelle Yeoh, Dave Bautista, Tony Jaa, and Max Zhang) to create a hard-hitting martial arts blast worthy of its place in the celebrated IP MAN universe. Following his defeat by Master Ip, Cheung Tin Chi (Zhang), tries to make a life with his young son in Hong Kong, waiting tables at a bar that caters to expats. But it’s not long before the mix of foreigners, money, and triad leaders draw him once again to the fight.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Hong Kong heist flick GOLDEN JOB coming to Digital and Blu-ray™ on April 9th

Well Go USA
Presents
Golden Job / Huang jin xiong di
Directed by Chin Ka Lok
Starring Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan, Michael Tse,
Chin Ka Lok, and Jerry Lamb
Hong Kong, 2018, 100 minutes

The heist-action film that reunites the lead actors from Young and Dangerous, Golden Job debuts on digital and Blu-ray™April 9 from Well Go USA Entertainment. In the new, unrelated adventure, the film revolves around a brotherhood of former soldiers who think they are on a heist to steal valuable and expensive medicines from a pharmaceutical company to help African children. They soon find out they have been duped and truck they commandeer is hauling gold bricks, not drugs. Golden Job stars Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan, Michael Tse, Chin Ka Lok and Jerry Lamb.

Synopsis:
A group of former mercenaries reunite to plan an epic heist: boosting a truck full of medicine held by a foreign intelligence agency to supply a refugee camp in need. But when they find the truck is actually filled with stolen gold, the band of brothers realize they’ve been double-crossed by one of their own - and putting the situation right will be all out war.