With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

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.

Monday, April 01, 2019

SECTION23 FILMS has announced its May 2019 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its May slate of releases featuring Sentai Filmworks' bestselling echhi comedy series Kämpfer as you've never heard it before: in English! Kämpfer's sex-swapping hi-jinx will be available for your listening pleasure in a complete Blu-ray collection on May 28th.

Product details follow, in order of release

Title: GODANNAR BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 650 min.
Street Date: 5/7/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Five years ago, Goh, the pilot of the giant robot Dannar, rescued Anna Aoi as the monstrous Mimetic Beasts attempted to wipe human life from the planet. Now the Beasts are back, but Goh's not going back into battle alone. Not only does his new bride-to-be Anna have a mech of her own, but their "his and her" giant robots are designed to mate together to form the ultimate in alien-smashing technology, the mighty Godannar! Unfortunately, while they may have the perfect partnership on the battlefield, things aren't running so smoothly on the home front and when "the other woman" from Goh's past suddenly returns, the rifts that are opened may be wide enough to put the entire defense of mankind in jeopardy! Can an international supporting cast of the wildest giant robot pilots ever hold the line until Goh and Anna can come together in the cockpit, join interlocking parts and create the perfect marriage of man, woman and machine? It's time to love, honor and kick serious monster ass as family ties go nuclear in GODANNAR!


Title: ARMORED TROOPER VOTOMS OVA COLLECTION 1
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 595 min.
Street Date: 5/14/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $39.98

SYNOPSIS: They may be encased in suits of powered armor, but the soldiers who wear a VOTOMS unit in battle are simply serving the purpose that infantry has always served in war: to take ground and hold it, no matter what the cost. Combine that mission with the explosive fuel mixture and thin metal of their powersuits, and their chances of survival are decreased rather than enhanced, and only a handful will live to fight again. But of that elite group of survivors, a few will become legends. Return to the universe of the most realistic mecha warfare ever animated as the beachhead established with the epic 52-episode ARMORED TROOPER VOTOMS widens into a full scale invasion of spectacular and previously unreleased original video animations in ARMORED TROOPER VOTOMS OVA COLLECTION 1!


Title: LAND OF THE LUSTROUS BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 5/21/2019
Format: BD
Language: English, Spanish, Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: No matter what the odds, life will find a way to continue, with young Phos and the other gems as the ultimate proof. Instead of flesh, their bodies are made of living crystal, allowing them to survive in a world too toxic for any human. But their gem bodies also attract a terrible danger: the Lunarians, who hunt the gems and use their shattered forms to fabricate jewelry and ornaments. The gems with the strongest forms defend the others, but Phos is too weak and brittle to fight. Instead, Phos is ordered to compile an encyclopedia; but could that research discover hidden secrets that could help the gems? Join Phos, the toxic Cinnabar, the powerful Bort, the valiant Diamond, and others in a glittering world unlike anything you have seen before: the LAND OF THE LUSTROUS!


Title: SAGRADA RESET BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 5/21/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $89.98

SYNOPSIS: The ability to reset time might seem like the ultimate superpower, but if you forget what was going to happen when you reset it, how would you know what you needed to change? Or if you'd make things better or worse? That's the paradox that faces Misora Haruki until she's paired with Kei Asai, who remembers everything, even if they happened in timelines that have been reset. But there's still a catch: each reset point can be used only once and anything that happens in the 24 hours before a new one can be set will be locked in time forever. In a town where a mysterious agency seems to be controlling everything from the shadows and everyone has unexpected powers, the lives of Kei and Misora's friends and classmates will depend on how carefully they can use the SAGRADA RESET.


Title: KAMPFER BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 350 min.
Street Date: 5/28/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: Natsuru used to dream about being a real lady-killer, but being turned into a Kämpfer, a female fighter who's supposed to fight and kill other girls in combat, was NOT what he had in mind! To make things even more complex, (s)he's only a girl part-time and (s)he'll be moving in with three other gorgeous Kämpfers (who are all actually all woman all of the time), for mutual defense. And the fact that more than one of them may have less-than-honorable designs upon Natsuru's alternating sexualities couldn't possibly be a problem, could it? Of course it could, and things REALLY get hopping when Natsuru has to take a job at the Bunnygirl Café! Find out what happens when getting in touch with your feminine side becomes a full-contact, no-holds-barred, battle to the death in Kämpfer!

Friday, March 08, 2019

Exciting new series THE OTHER JAPANESE NEW WAVE: RADICAL FILMS FROM 1958-61 coming to Japan Society early in April

Japan Society NY
Presents
Blood is Dry © 1960 Shochiku Co., Ltd.
The Other Japanese New Wave: Radical Films from 1958-61
When: April 5-27, 2019
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

With its inception in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Japanese New Wave ushered in a postwar generation of politically engaged and artistically adventurous filmmakers that radically transformed the country's cinema in theory and practice. Looking beyond internationally lauded figures such as Nagisa Oshima and Masahiro Shinoda, The Other Japanese New Wave: Radical Films from 1958-61 aims to reexamine this dynamic moment in Japanese film history with the introduction of work by lesser-known studio directors, auteurs, documentarists and student filmmakers, including newly subtitled rarities imported from Japan never-before-seen in the U.S.

The series launches on April 5th with Kiju Yoshida’s debut feature Good-for-Nothing, introduced by series curator Go Hirasawa. A key figure in the birth of the New Wave at Shochiku, Yoshida is representative of the major studio’s attempt to attract Japan’s declining movie audiences by giving fledgling assistant directors a chance to make youth-oriented feature films. Also included in the series are rarely discussed Shochiku directors Eitaro Morikawa (The Tragedy of Bushido), Osamu Takahashi (Only She Knows) and Tsutomu Tamura, who simultaneously made their first films as part of the New Wave alongside Yoshida. A highlight of the series, Tamura’s exceedingly unavailable The Samurai Vagabonds will screen on an archival 35mm print with new English subtitles prepared by Japan Society. Rounding out the selection of studio films in the series are Yoshida’s overlooked second feature for Shochiku (Blood is Dry), a stark critique of capitalist consumerism, and two bold Nikkatsu titles directed by Koreyoshi Kurahara (The Age of Our Own and The Warped Ones) that build upon the themes and formal experiments of the studio’s youth-in-revolt “Sun Tribe” (taiyozoku) films.

Other series highlights include a selection of films made outside of the studio system by filmmakers, theorists and writers invested in uniting film theory with praxis. Following a free curator’s talk on April 6, Hirasawa introduces the shorts program “New Wave Rarities,” which includes a self-produced student film from Nihon University Film Study Club (Conversation Between Nail and Socks), a documentary by Shinkichi Noda (Forgotten Land), and an experimental portrait of political unrest (Anpo Joyaku) by Toshio Matsumoto (Funeral Parade of Roses). Later in the same day, Hirasawa introduces a 35mm screening of Eizo Yamagiwa’s virtually unknown independent feature The End of Love. Long thought lost until a negative was discovered only a couple of years ago, The End of Love will screen in the U.S. for the first time, presented with new English subtitles by Japan Society.

“The history of the Japanese New Wave remains largely unwritten, especially for English-speaking audiences,” says Kazu Watanabe, Deputy Director of Film at Japan Society. “While major films by canonical filmmakers are widely screened and analyzed, they only scratch the surface of this fascinating yet elusive period of Japanese filmmaking. I’m grateful to Go Hirasawa for coming up with such a deep and wide-ranging selection of titles—full of discoveries that offer new insight into the genesis and contexts of the New Wave in Japan—and I greatly look forward to sharing them with New York audiences.”

The Other Japanese New Wave: Radical Films from 1968-61 is curated by Go Hirasawa, researcher at Meiji-Gakuin University, and organized by Japan Society. In coordination with Japan Society, Harvard Film Archive will host the series concurrently (April 1-27) in Cambridge.

For further information about the full schedule, descriptions of each film and to buy tickets, click here.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

DOUBLE SUICIDE at Japan Society NY on March 8th at 7:00 PM

Japan Society NY
Presents
Double Suicide © 1969 Hyogensha/ATG
Double Suicide / Shinju Ten no Amijima
Directed by Masahiro Shinoda
With Kichiemon Nakamura, Shima Iwashita,
Shizue Kawarazaki, and Tokie Hidari
Japan, 1969, 104 minutes
35mm, b&w, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, March 8, 2019 at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Tickets: $14/$11 seniors & students/$5 member

New Wave director Masahiro Shinoda utilizes classic Japanese theatrical conventions and avant-garde film techniques to stunning effect in this brilliant modernist adaptation of Monzaemon Chikamatsu's 18th-century bunraku puppet play about the doomed romance of a married Osaka paper merchant and a courtesan. Among the first films produced by independent film company Art Theatre Guild (ATG)—whose productions from the late 1960s through the 1980s pushed Japanese arthouse cinema in radical new directions—Double Suicide features contributions by some of the era's most innovative artistic collaborators, including composer (and co-writer) Toru Takemitsu and production designer/art director Kiyoshi Awazu.

This screening is part of Japan Society NY's Monthly Classics film series.

Related Exhibition:
Radicalism in the Wilderness: Japanese Artists in the Global 1960s
March 8—June 9, 2019

Friday, March 01, 2019

TOKYO LIVING DEAD IDOL coming Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 on Blu-ray

Tokyo Living Dead Idol / Tôkyô ribingu deddo aidoru
Written and directed by Yûki Kumagai
Japan, 2018, 83 minutes

Published by: Kraken Releasing
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Street Date: 3/5/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $19.98

Tokyo Living Dead Idol, a charming and delightful zombie romp, will be available next Tuesday, March 5th on Blu-ray.

Synopsis:
Tokyo 27-ku's the hottest pop group around, but when singer Kamiya Miku (Nana Asakawa) gets bitten by a zombie, she goes from being on top of the charts to the top of the most wanted lists! With just 72 hours until the sizzling chanteuse becomes a shuffling zombie, Miku's only hope is finding a serum that might possibly cure her. Unfortunately, if Miku can't reach the antidote in time, she's going to transform from songbird to a dead bird singing in the middle of the night, and evading paparazzi and zealous fans is nothing compared to being pursued by teams of professional zombie hunters, the police and hordes of the living dead! From life in the fast lane to racing through the hot zone, becoming a zombie can totally bite when you're the TOKYO LIVING DEAD IDOL!

South Korean financial drama DEFAULT is now available

CJ Entertainment
Presents
Default / Gukgabudo-ui Nal
Directed by CHOI Kook-hee
South Korea, 2018, 114 minutes

Default, takes a look back at a difficult time for South Korea – the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. It is directed by CHOI Kook-hee, who was awarded the Best Debut award at the Fantasia International Film Festival for his feature debut in 2016, Split. In Default, CHOI presents an enthralling storyline and a sense of emotional connection to a time when the country was on the verge of bankruptcy. The film was recently released on Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.

Default begins with Si-hyun (KIM Hye-soo), the monetary policy manager at the Bank of Korea, predicting a massive national financial crisis and reporting it to the Director. The Director doesn't schedule an emergency summit until 10 days later but does it without notifying the public of the situation. Si-hyun urges for the crisis to be announced in order to warn people of the looming disaster, but her plea is ignored. The summit is held behind closed doors.

Jung-hak (YOO Ah-in), a financial consultant, notices Korea is suddenly hemorrhaging foreign funds, and he learns the reason is that international finance firms have ordered an all-out investment withdrawal from the country, which has caused the credit rating to plummet. He hands in his resignation and decides to play the odds on what he’s sure is a coming crisis. He secretly starts gathering investors willing to do the same.

Gap-su (HUH Joon-ho), a family man who runs a small tableware factory, has a big break and wins a contract with a department store. The fact that the price settlement terms equal to little more than a promissory note concerns him only briefly, and oblivious to the looming financial upheaval, Gap-su signs the contract. The Managing Director of IMF (Vincent Cassel) comes to Korea just one week before the country goes bust, and that is when those who try to prevent the crisis, those who seek to take advantage of it, and those only trying to protect their livelihood are caught in the wake of a national bankruptcy.

Default stars KIM Hye-soo (Tazza: The High Rollers), YOO Ah-in (Veteran), HUH Joon-ho (Silmido), JO Woo-jin (The King), and Vincent Cassel (Jason Bourne).

This film, produced by Zip CInema, is distributed by CJ Entertainment. The cost is $15.99 to purchase High Definition (HD), $11.99 to purchase Standard Definition (SD), $4.99 to rent High Definition (HD), and $3.99 to rent Standard Definition (SD).

SECTION23 FILMS has announced its April 2019 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its April slate of releases which includes Sentai Filmworks psychological thriller series KOKKOKU, available on Blu-ray April 16th.

Product details, in order of release:

Title: IS IT WRONG TO EXPECT A HOT SPRING IN A DUNGEON?! BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 25 min.
Street Date: 4/9/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $19.98

SYNOPSIS: Our band of bold adventurers has just blown through the 18th level of the world's most fearsome dungeon, so what do they do for an encore? Since the city of Orario doesn't have a theme park, the next choice for Bell, Hestia, Lilly and the gang would seem to be a trip to the hot springs… and, conveniently enough, a battle with some hellhounds has led them to an undiscovered underground oasis! However, there's something fishy about these springs, beyond the fact that Hermes happens to have bathing suits for all the ladies in their correct sizes! Will the secret be discovered before it's too late? Will Hestia finally come clean with Bell? It'll all come out in the wash when our heroes learn the answer to: IS IT WRONG TO EXPECT A HOT SPRING IN A DUNGEON?!!


Title: PRINCESS RESURRECTION BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 650 min.
Street Date: 4/9/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: When Hiro Hiyorimi tries to save a beautiful young woman from certain death, he ends up a dead hero himself! However, since the drop-dead girl is Princess Hime, daughter of the King of the Monsters, his "reward" is to come back as a not-quite-living soldier in her honor guard of horror! That means helping fight off the army of supernatural monstrosities Hime's siblings are unleashing against her in hopes of moving up the ladder of succession. And if facing off with vampires and zombies isn't bad enough, how can anyone be prepared for the truly weird ones like were-sharks, pandas and killer dumplings? This sure isn't the afterlife Hiro was hoping for, but the really sad part is that Hime is the good girl in all of this. Or at least, as close to good as you can come when you're on the wrong side of the gates of Hell! Get ready for the wildest animation about reanimation ever in PRINCESS RESURRECTION - The Complete Collection!


Title: KOKKOKU BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 4/16/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: Juri Yukawa needs a timeout from her life. She's failed 19 job interviews, she's stuck living with her crazy family, and her chances of escaping to a life of her own are becoming increasingly remote. Suddenly, all of that becomes unimportant when her brother and nephew are kidnapped and held for an impossibly high ransom. That's when Juri's grandfather reveals an incredible secret: a mystical stone that allows Juri, her father and her Grandpa to enter the state of Stasis, where everyone else in the world is frozen in time! That should make rescuing their family easy, right? Wrong, because there's a sinister organization working against them who also can literally beat the clock! It's not a race against time, it's a race outside of time and the dangers are increasing with every non-second in KOKKUKO!


Title: DOREIKU: THE ANIMATION BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 4/23/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: It's an insidious invention, originally created to control animals. Now it's the ultimate rush for a dark cult of jaded thrill seekers. Place one SCM in your mouth and your opponent does the same. Then play a game… any game… and the winner literally takes control of the loser, binding them to their will and turning them into a personal plaything until the winner decides to set them free - if they ever chose to free them at all. And as the use of SCMs snakes its way through the undercurrents of society, with increasing numbers of unfortunate players bound into submission as drones and harems, the even more terrifying discovery of SCMs that can take over anyone, at any time, threatens to enthrall the rest of the population in DOREIKU - THE ANIMATION!


Title: GATCHAMAN COLLECTORS EDITION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 2880 min.
Street Date: 4/30/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $149.98

SYNOPSIS: Using amazing weapons powered by super-science, the international terrorist organization known as GALACTOR is out to steal all of Earth's resources for itself and its inhuman masters. Mankind's only hope? The International Science Organization and their elite strike force, the Science Ninja Team! But these five young heroes will have their work cut out for them as they take on the seemingly impossible task of defeating GALACTOR's horrific arsenal of mechanized weapons of mass destruction and endless armies of henchmen. Can costumed commandos Ken the Eagle, Joe the Condor, Jun the Swallow, Jinpei the Sparrow and Ryu the Owl really overcome such overwhelming odds? Utilizing the incredible technology and fighting techniques created by Dr. Nambu, and with the mighty ship the God Phoenix at their command, they just might! It's time for the bad guys to get old-schooled science-ninja style as Japan's original super team defeat evil, one flying kick at a time, in the legendary, one and only GATCHAMAN!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

LADY DETECTIVE SHADOW is available on several U.S. digital streaming platforms

TriCoast
Presents
Lady Detective Shadow
Directed by Si Shu-Bu
Starring: Qi Jing-bin, Zhang Pei-yue, and Zhang Ren-bo
China, 2018, 90 minutes

Previously released in China in May of 2018, Lady Detective Shadow was recently released by TriCoast Worldwide onto various U.S. digital streaming platforms. These include: Hoopla, Vimeo on Demand, Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play + Fandango, with other platforms to stream later.

Synopsis:

Written by Hu Rong, Lady Detective Shadow sees its protagonist embark on a dangerous journey through the badlands of Ancient China, which is governed by the imperial houses and bandits alike. After several inexplicable brutal murders plague a remote desert area, the fierce and famous Lady Detective Shadow, Sima Feiyan, (Shang Rong) must use all her wit, wisdom and kung fu skills to find the murderers and instill justice. But as she delves deeper into the mystery, she soon discovers there is much more at stake than just another renegade killer.

With its Holmes-esque heroine, Lady Detective Shadow introduces an intuitive, sly and cunning woman, who never sacrifices her femininity or sense of self. Stitched together with high-quality mystery, suspense and an intriguing storyline set against the historical and cultural backgrounds of ancient China, Sima Feiyan never misses a clue, proving herself a match for literature’s other great detectives.

Watch the trailer here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

SECTION23 FILMS has announced its March 2019 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its March slate of releases which includes Sentai Filmworks fantasy adventure series Hakumei & Mikochi, available on Blu-ray March 19th.

Product details, in order of release:

Title: TOKYO LIVING DEAD IDOL BLU-RAY
Published by: Kraken Releasing
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 83 min.
Street Date: 3/5/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $19.98

SYNOPSIS: Tokyo 27-ku's the hottest pop group around, but when singer Kamiya Miku (Nana Asakawa) gets bitten by a zombie, she goes from being on top of the charts to the top of the most wanted lists! With just 72 hours until the sizzling chanteuse becomes a shuffling zombie, Miku's only hope is finding a serum that might possibly cure her. Unfortunately, if Miku can't reach the antidote in time, she's going to transform from songbird to a dead bird singing in the middle of the night, and evading paparazzi and zealous fans is nothing compared to being pursued by teams of professional zombie hunters, the police and hordes of the living dead! From life in the fast lane to racing through the hot zone, becoming a zombie can totally bite when you're the TOKYO LIVING DEAD IDOL!


Title: ARMORED TROOPER VOTOMS TV BLU-RAY
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1630 min.
Street Date: 3/12/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: VOTOMS (Vertical One-man Tanks for Offense & ManeuverS) units are light and maneuverable on the battlefield, but in the hundred-year war between Gilgamesh and Balarant, they've essentially become expendable cannon fodder and pawns to be sacrificed. The right pawn in the right place can change the course of the game forever, and when VOTOMS pilot Chirico Cuvie is mysteriously transferred from his elite unit to a top secret mission behind his own side's lines, he quickly learns that something is very wrong. Betrayed and branded a traitor, Chirico finds himself on the run from both sides as he seeks to unravel the truth behind the conspiracy and learn the secret behind the beautiful woman who seems to hold the key. Universally hailed as one of the greatest anime of all time, this is the launch of ARMORED TROOPER VOTOMS!


Title: DAMEPRI ANIME CARAVAN BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 3/19/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Diplomatic relationships can often be trying, but when Princess Ani of Inaco is sent to the signing of a peace treaty, she finds more parties at the negotiating table than expected…. and since the others are all princes (or other high-ranking members of the male gender), it seems that one of the major assets in play in this game of thrones is her royal self! What makes it worse is that despite the lopsided Prince to Princess ratio, none of the misfit peerage involved are exactly Prince Charming her off her feet! Between dealing with the Prince who won't come out of his room and the one who's already passionately in love (with himself), and her mother's apparent matchmaking machinations, this Princess may soon be hoping for a dragon to rescue her in DAMEPRI ANIME CARAVAN!


Title: HAKUMEI & MIKOCHI BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 3/19/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: Hakumei and Mikochi are two small girls who live together in a tiny house in the great big forest. In fact, their house is so tiny that it all fits inside just one tree! But that's fine because Hakumei and Mikochi are only 3.5 inches tall, so their tree is as big to them as a skyscraper is to normal people! They're not the only tiny people living in their community either, and when Hakumei and Mikochi aren't out exploring, they like to spend their time visiting their neighbors, some of whom are other small folk like the inventor Sen and Konju the songstress, while others are beetles, squirrels and even a big scary owl who is definitely not friendly! For a whole new perspective on life, come look at the world from a different angle with HAKUMEI AND MIKOCHI!


Title: MITSUBOSHI COLORS BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 3/26/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: This world has lots of problems, but after doing grown-up things all day, adults never have the time or energy to fix them! Kids, on the other hand, have LOTS of energy and lots more free time as well. That's why Yui, Sat-chan and Kotoha, three elementary school girls who live in Ueno, have formed COLORS, a secret organization that protects their town from whatever real or imagined menace happens to catch their attention. A monster cat who's also a cat burglar? They're on the case! A horrible surplus of bananas? They'll sell the case! And a bomb that needs diffusing? Well, they might need a little help on that one, just in case! The local cop might think they're a nuisance, but everyone else can sleep better tonight knowing these three heroines are saving the world in MITSUBOSHI COLORS!


Title: SAIYUKI BLU-RAY
Published by: AESIR Holdings
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1250 min.
Street Date: 3/26/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Once demonkind and man lived together in harmony. But when a band of rogue demonic forces seeks to resurrect a diabolical monster, a dark spiritual energy begins to cover the land. Now, it's up to a renegade priest, a monkey king, a lecherous water sprite and a sympathetic demon to stop the resurrection and return harmony to a dangerous land. Enter the world of Saiyuki! A unique universe of beauty and betrayal. Where sacred scrolls battle enchanted weaponry and where dragons can transform into jeeps. A land where four reluctant heroes are just as concerned about having a good time, a stiff drink, and a beautiful woman as they are about saving the world.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

STILL HUMAN receives several 38th Hong Kong Film Awards nominations

Golden Scene
Presents
  Still Human
Written and directed by Chan Oliver Siu Kuen
Starring: Anthony Wong, Crisel Consunji, Sam Lee, Cecilia Yip, Himmy Wong
Hong Kong, 2018, 111 minutes
In Cantonese, English and Tagalog

Still Human, director Chan Oliver Siu Kuen's feature film debut, has received eight nominations at the 38th Hong Kong Film Awards (coming on April 14th), including noms in all four major categories: best film, director (Chan), actor (Wong) and actress (Consunji).


The film and cast have already received four award wins, including the NETPAC award at the 38th Hawaii International Film Festival, and another four nominations. (Details of those wins and nominations can be found here.)

Synopsis:
A paralyzed and hopeless divorcé, Cheong-wing (Anthony Wong) is in need of a caretaker. He meets his new live-in Filipino domestic helper, Evelyn (Crisel Consunji), who has put her dream on hold to come to Hong Kong to earn a living. Living under the same roof, these two strangers develop an unlikely relationship. As they get to learn more about each other, they also rediscover themselves -Cheong-wing begins to reconnect with his estranged son; Evelyn reignites her dream of being a photographer. Together, they help each other through ups and downs, twists and turns, love and loss and experience the different seasons of life. Just when they think they have lost all hope, little do they know, life still has a lot to offer.

The trailer is available here.

Monday, February 18, 2019

ICEMAN: THE TIME TRAVELER will be available tomorrow

Well Go USA
Presents
Iceman: The Time Traveler / Bing feng: Yong heng zhi men
Directed by Raymond Yip
Hong Kong/China, 2018, 88 minutes

Iceman: The Time Traveler, the sequel to the 2014 fantasy-adventure Iceman, debuts tomorrow, February 19th, on digital, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Not that you should care, because the film is a near total dog.

It continues the story of Ying (Donnie Yen), a general of the Ming Emperor's royal bodyguards who was buried and frozen in time by an avalanche during a fierce battle in the first film. Brought back to life in the present day, he embarks on a quest to correct the wrongs of history.

In addition to Donnie Yen, Iceman: The Time Traveler features a returning cast that includes Baoqiang Wang (Kung Fu Jungle), Shengyi Huang (Kung Fu Hustle), Kang Yu (Ip Man 3) and Simon Yam (Operation Red Sea), with the legendary Yasuaki Kurata (God of War) joining the sequel. Raymond Yip (Bruce Lee My Brother) takes over directing duties from Law Wing-Cheong.

The film was not so bad that I was unable to watch it all the way through, but it really doesn't have much going for it. The story jumps all over the place in time, the acting is rather perfunctory, the action sequences often seem "undercranked" so that they play super-fast and unnatural, and the digital effects are often pathetic.

My suggestion is that you save your time and money. At IMDb the film carries an average score of 3.8 based on 307 user ratings (as of when this review is being posted). I hardly ever make reference to IMDb scores in my reviews, but in this case I was really curious to see if it was just me who was woefully unimpressed. Obviously that's not the case.

Also you just might want to check out Edmund Lee's November 17, 2018, review at the South China Morning Post. He describes it as "a film so lacking in coherence, common sense and the most basic character arcs throughout its 87-minute runtime as to be an insult to the paying public." Although I reached my opinion of the film before reading Lee's article, it pretty closely echoes my thoughts.

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
   -- Cantonese DTS-HDMA 5.1
   -- Cantonese 2.0 Stereo
   -- English DTS-HDMA 5.1
   -- English 2.0 Stereo
-- Subtitles
   -- English
   -- Off
-- Trailers
   -- Trailer A
   -- Trailer B
-- Previews
   -- Shadow
   -- Big Brother
   -- Golden Job

AsianCineFest Rating: 1 out of 4 stars; dismal, even worse than the disappointing original.