With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

IP MAN 4: THE FINALE opens December 25th; tickets available now!

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
Ip Man 4: The Finale / Yip Man 4
Directed by Wilson Yip Wai Shun
Starring: Donnie Yen, Wu Yue, Van Ness, Scott Adkins,
Kent Cheng, Chan Kwok Kwan Danny, Kanin Ngo,
Chris Collins, and Vanda Margraf
Hong Kong/China, 2019, 105 minutes 

Ip Man 4: The Finale will open in numerous theaters in North America on December 25th, 2019.

For the current list of cities and theaters where the film will open on that date, and to order tickets, click here, scroll down and click on the "GET TICKETS" tab.

Monday, December 16, 2019

THE KNIGHT OF SHADOWS will debut on Digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack & DVD on January 21

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
The Knight of Shadows / Shen tan Pu Song Ling
Directed by Jia Yan (a.k.a. Vash)
China, 2019, 109 minutes

Jackie Chan, internationally beloved martial arts comedy icon, is back with his newest action-comedy explosion, The Knight of Shadows, debuting on Digital, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD on January 21st, 2020 from Well Go USA Entertainment. Chan stars as a legendary demon hunter tracking down beasts that enter the human dimension, assisted by a lawman protégé and a motley group of friendly monsters. Directed by Jia Yan on an epic scale, The Knight of Shadows co-stars Lin Peng (Dragon Blade), Ethan Juan (The Assassin) and Elane Zhong (The Resistance).

Synopsis:
Pu Songling (Jackie Chan), a legendary demon hunter, is asked to investigate the mysterious disappearances of young girls from a small village. When he discovers evil forces are kidnapping the girls to feast on their souls, he sets out to save humanity from the inhuman invasion journeying through hidden worlds and colorful dimensions in this fantastical martial arts action-comedy.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Chinese action film THE BRAVEST coming to digital on January 14th

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Presents
The Bravest / Lie huo ying xiong
Directed by Tony Chan
Written by Yu Yonggan and Tony Chan 
Cast: Xiaoming Huang (The Message), Jiang Du (Operation Red Sea), Zhuo Tan (Dying to Survive); also starring Zi Yang (Ode to Joy), Hao Ou (The Left Ear)
China, 2019, 118 minutes

Synopsis:
When the oil pipeline in the city harbor explodes due to a calculation error, a disgraced Chief Firefighter must put the past aside and team up with his former rookie in order to save the city.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

IP MAN 4: THE FINALE will be coming to select theaters nationwide on December 25th

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
Ip Man 4 - The Finale / Yip Man 4
Directed by Wilson Yip Wai Shun
Starring: Donnie Yen, Wu Yue, Van Ness, Scott Adkins,
Kent Cheng, Chan Kwok Kwan Danny, Kanin Ngo,
Chris Collins, and Vanda Margraf 
Hong Kong/China, 2019, 105 minutes

Synopsis:
Ip Man’s life remains unchanged after his wife’s death, but he and his son are slowly drifting apart. To seek a better future for his son, Ip Man decides to travel to the U.S. only to find the stable, peaceful life abroad is only skin deep. Underneath lies a deep rooted racial discrimination that is far worse than he has expected. Ip Man re-examines his position and ponders on the reason he took up martial arts in the beginning.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

THE DIVINE FURY reviewed

Well Go USA Entertainment
Presents
The Divine Fury / Saja
Directed by Joo-hwan Kim
South Korea, 2019, 129 minutes

Korean action-mystery The Divine Fury debuts today on Blu-ray™ Combo, DVD and Digital from Well Go USA Entertainment. Directed by Jason Kim (Midnight Runners), The Divine Fury stars Park Seo-joon (The Chronicles of Evil), Ahn Sung-ki (Unbowed) and Woo Do-hwan (Master), with special appearances by Choi Woo-shik (Train to Busan) and Kim Si-eun (The Beauty Inside).This review is based on watching the Blu-ray version.

Synopsis:

After suffering two terrible losses in his youth, Yong-hu (Park Seo-joon) abandons his Christian faith and chooses to only believe in himself. As an adult twenty years later, Yong-hu has become a champion MMA fighter and has everything he has ever wanted, that is until a mysterious wound appears in the palm of his hand. Somewhat reluctantly joining forces with Father Ahn (Ahn Sung-ki), an exorcist, Yong-hu finds himself in the middle of a dangerous fight against otherworldly evil forces seeking to wreak havoc on the human world.

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
  -- Korean DTS-HDMA 5.1
  -- Korean Stereo
  -- English DTS HDMA 5.1
  -- English Stereo
-- Subtitles
  -- English
  -- Off
-- Bonus
  -- Making Of
    -- Special Effects
    -- Item Commentary
    -- Production Documentary
    -- The World of Evil
    -- Interview with James Jean
-- Previews
    -- Tazza: One Eyed jack
    -- Freaks
    -- The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil

AsianCineFest Review:

It's been over forty-five years since William Friedkin's The Exorcist (based on William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel) scared the bejesus out movie-going audiences with its depiction of the demonic possess of a young girl. The Divine Fury places more emphasis on the fight against "The Dark Bishop's" demons than on the horrific effects on those possessed, though there are some pretty frightful scenes of those afflicted.

For me personally, part of the enjoyment of watching The Divine Fury was due to the starring role of Ahn Sung-ki. Several years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon for him that was sponsored by The Korea Society of New York City. I wasn't that familiar with him at that time, but had read about his career. He was quite pleased when I told him that I had the impression -- if he didn't mind the comparison -- that he was rather like the Tom Hanks of South Korea. One of my day-job co-workers attended the event that evening that Ahn was in town for (I wasn't there) and told me that he repeated what I'd said and had even asked one of his hosts what my name was. Lovely memory for me.

Aside from that, the film is definitely well-worth watching. It puts some different spins on the theme of demonic possession and has some fine special effects.

Finally, let me mention that there's clearly a sequel planned that will focus on Father Choi, a young priest and secondary character in The Divine Fury played by Choi Woo-sik (Parasite, Okja, Train to Busan).

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; solidly recommended

The Divine Fury at IMDb (currently has a 6.1 viewer rating)
The Divine Fury at Rotten Tomatoes (currently has a 90% audience score)
The Divine Fury at Metacritic

Sunday, November 17, 2019

"Relentless Invention: New Korean Cinema, 1996–2003" playing at Lincoln Center Nov 22 - Dec 4

Film at Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema
In collaboration with the Korean Cultural Center New York
Present
Relentless Invention: New Korean Cinema, 1996–2003
When: November 22 - December 4, 2019
Where: Walter Reade Theater
165 W 65th Street, NYC
Map

The South Korean film industry has been in the midst of a remarkable, decades-long creative explosion, with Bong Joon Ho, Hong Sang-soo, and Park Chan-wook jolting new life into art-house and genre cinema alike. With the end of the nation’s military rule and the relaxing of government censorship, Korean film experienced the kind of renaissance that hadn’t been seen since its golden age in the 1950s. This new generation of filmmakers took more than political and social issues as their inspiration: they re-energized national cinema in the late 1990s and early 2000s with homegrown blockbusters that imbued the pleasures of pop cinema with a subversive, gleefully inventive approach to genre and a sharp sociopolitical edge. From heart-rending romances to supernatural shockers, ultra-stylish thrillers to offbeat comedies, this survey celebrates a vital movement that’s as audaciously innovative as it is unabashedly entertaining.

Early films by recent Palme d’Or–winner Bong Joon Ho (Parasite, now playing at FLC) will be showcased in the series, including his debut feature Barking Dogs Never Bite and a 4K restoration of Memories of Murder, a gonzo police procedural based on the recently solved true story of South Korea’s first serial killer, as well as work from master Park Chan-wook, including the Rashomon-esque murder mystery Joint Security Area and the first two entries in Park’s Vengeance Trilogy, the blood-splattered Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and a new 4K restoration of Oldboy. Additional 4K restorations featured in the series include the North American premiere of the restoration of Ryoo Seung-wan’s debut Die Bad; Lee Myung-se’s hallucinatory thriller Nowhere to Hide, visually influenced by film noir, silent cinema, slapstick comedy, and Hong Kong action cinema; Kwak Jae-yong’s irresistible romantic comedy My Sassy Girl; Song Neung-han’s subversive, wildly inventive crime drama satire No. 3; and Save the Green Planet!, a genre-bending, whiplash-inducing mash-up of sci-fi, horror, and psychological drama from director Jang Joon-hwan.

Other highlights include The Day a Pig Fell into the Well, the debut feature from frequent NYFF filmmaker Hong Sang-soo; Jeong Jae-eun’s Take Care of My Cat, a coming-of-age portrait of five young millennial women that explores issues of friendship, alienation, and economic anxiety; Kang Je-gyu’s strangely poignant The Gingko Bed, a surreal tale of obsessive love that became one of the first homegrown blockbuster hits produced by the modern Korean film industry; Kim Jee-woon’s jet-black comic thriller The Quiet Family; Hur Jin-ho’s modern Korean classic Christmas in August, an effective tear-jerker about the romance between a traffic cop and a terminally ill photographer; Resurrection of the Little Match Girl, which finds director Jang Sung-woo blurring the lines between cinema, virtual reality, and choose-your-own-adventure thrill ride; Park Jong-won’s rarely seen gem Rainbow Trout, a compelling genre take on backwoods horror; and E J-yong’s Untold Scandal, which transposes the French classic Les Liaisons dangereuses to late 18th-century Korea in a deliciously entertaining study of cruelty and pleasure.

The series, which runs  November 22 - December 04, 2019, was organized by Goran Topalovic, Dennis Lim, and Tyler Wilson.

Tickets are $ 15 General Public, $ 12 Students, Seniors, and Persons with Disabilities, and $ 10 Members. A 3+ Film Package and an All-Access Pass are also available.

For full information about the films, the schedule, and to buy ticket, click here.

ABSURD ACCIDENT will be coming to DVD on November 20, 2019

Cheng Cheng Films
Presents
Absurd Accident
Directed by Yuhe Li
Starring: Xixu Chen, Ye Gao, Suxi Ren, Bo Dong, Yunfei Lou
China, 2016,  97 minutes

Bouncing with nail-biting suspense and ingenious humor, young Chinese filmmaker Li Yuhe's feature debut portrays a puzzling crime happened in a rural small town, where greed, lust and wit battle it out in one night. It all starts from a sexually impotent motel owner hiring a pro to murder his cheating wife. Everything goes exactly as planned, until two blind daters, a robber, a policeman and a strange dead body unexpectedly arrive.

Absurd Accident was an official selection at the New York Asian American International Film Festival, a nominee for Best Screenplay at the Shanghai International Film Festival New Asian Talent, and an official selection at the St. Louis International Film Festival.

Absurd Accident will be available on DVD on November 20, 2019.

Here's a link for those interested in purchasing it from Amazon.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

New York City South Asian Film Festival set for November 15-17

Toyota Motor North America
Presents
New York City South Asian Film Festival (NYC SAFF)
When: November 15th - 17th, 2019

After the roaring success of the 5th annual Dallas-Fort Worth South Asian Film Festival (DFW SAFF), Toyota Motor North America presents its second film festival in the United States, the New York City South Asian Film Festival (NYC SAFF), gearing up to make its debut in mid-November at various venues around Chelsea in Manhattan.

"Cultural diversity is something we celebrate every day at Toyota,” said Vinay Shahani, vice president, integrated marketing operations, Toyota Motor North America. “After the success of our partnership with DFW SAFF, we look forward to continuing the celebration of storytelling at the first-ever NYC SAFF, and we hope that festival-goers are inspired by the films."

Produced by JINGO Media, a NYC and Dallas-based events and public relations company, the inaugural, three-day festival boasts world, U.S. and New York City premieres of more than 25 shorts, documentaries and feature films focused on the unique stories of the South Asian Diaspora and those of our brothers and sisters back home. JINGO Media is also the parent company of DFW SAFF, which was conceptualized and created in 2015.

"We are so proud to create yet ANOTHER platform for world-class independent cinema from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Maldives," said Jitin Hingorani, CEO/Principal of JINGO Media, a public relations company that launched in New York City in 2010. "We're coming full circle with this festival because Manhattan is where it all began for us almost 10 years ago. We are certain that the community-at-large will embrace us and celebrate our joyous homecoming."

NYC SAFF has also partnered with The India Center Foundation (ICF), a New York City-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of the Indian subcontinent, the promotion of its cultural life and the unique relationship between India and the United States. "To partner with NYC SAFF means that ICF is reaching the audience we wish to serve: contemporary, aware, woke desis and lovers of Indian and Diasporic creativity and storytelling. As a filmmaker whose film was so lovingly received at DFW SAFF, I know we are working with a staff who is dedicated and eager to give New Yorkers the film experience they deserve when it comes to screening South Asian cinema. We are looking forward to partnering on great conversations and panels around the films we see together," said Priya Giri Desai, Founding Director of ICF.

NYC SAFF's exclusive music partner is JioSaavn (founded in 2007 as Saavn), the online music streaming service and a digital distributor of Bollywood, English and other regional Indian music across the world.

“Music has always been an integral part of South Asian culture. We have all experienced a range of it in classical Indian cinema to contemporary Bollywood to regional films to completely new and independent genres. We look forward to the next generation of visual arts conceived in the South Asian Diaspora, and that's why JioSaavn is proud to partner with NYC SAFF and ICF to help create more awareness of their artists' creative work and engaging stories," said Vinodh Bhat, Co-Founder, President and Chief Strategy Officer.

The inaugural NYC SAFF will take place from November 15 to 17, 2019. The opening night film, red carpet and VIP party will be held the Altman Building (135 W 18th, between 6th and 7th). The film screenings on Saturday and Sunday will be at the AMC 34th Street (between 8th and 9th). Centerpiece party will be held at Tailor Public House (505 8th Avenue), and the closing night festivities and awards ceremony take place at the brand new Rumi Event Space (229 W 28th, between 8th and 9th). The entire festival lineup and schedule can be found at www.nycsaff.com.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

TORA-SAN'S RUNAWAY to screen at Japan Society NYC on November 1st

Japan Society NYC
Presents
© Shochiku Co., Ltd
Tora-san's Runaway
Directed by Yoji Yamada
With Kiyoshi Atsumi, Chieko Baisho, Aiko Nagayama
Japan, 1970, 88 minutes
DCP, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, November 1st at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society NYC
333 East 47th Street
Map
Tickets: $14/$11 seniors, students & persons with disabilities, $5 members

Tora-san travels to Hokkaido to visit a former oyabun (yakuza boss) whose deathbed wish is to meet his estranged son, a train stoker in the city of Otaru whom he abandoned at birth. Affected by the situation, Tora-san renounces the yakuza lifestyle and seeks to earn an honest living as a laborer in Shibamata. He ends up downriver working at a tofu shop where he falls in love with the shop owner’s daughter Setsuko (Aiko Nagayama) and loses track of his original noble intentions. New 4K restoration.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Multinational Film Series "Tokyo Stories: Japan in the Global Imagination" at Japan Society NYC

Japan Society NYC
Presents
Family Romance, LLC © Film Constellation
Tokyo Stories: Japan in the Global Imagination
When: November 8–December 7 at Japan Society
Where: Japan Society NYC
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

From the bustle of neon-lit Shinjuku and its ultramodern skyscrapers to the traditional scenery of Mt. Fuji, cherry blossoms, and Shinto shrines, Tokyo has served as a source of creative inspiration for generations of international filmmakers. Anticipating the 2020 Summer Games, when the eyes of the world will once again fall upon Japan’s dynamic capital, Tokyo Stories: Japan in the Global Imagination considers the ways Japan—and the elusive concept of “Japaneseness” —is rendered and interpreted outside its borders with a revealing selection of Tokyo-set films by foreign directors, including Japanese co-productions, Hollywood blockbusters, and European arthouse favorites.

The series kicks off November 8th with Werner Herzog’s latest film Family Romance, LLC, a quasi-documentary narrative feature concerning the function of role-playing in matters of love and business, screening in New York for the first time since it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Herzog is one of several non-Japanese filmmakers in the series—along with Abbas Kiarostami, Michel Gondry, and Bong Joon-ho—with films featuring all-Japanese casts, offering outsider perspectives in the guise of native speakers.

The majority of the series, however, is made up of films that make cultural difference and discovery their central subjects: poetic essay films chronicling first encounters (Wim Wenders’s Tokyo-Ga and Chris Markers’s Sans Soleil); Western narratives of self-discovery through a figurative embrace of the Japanese “other” (Dorris Dorrie’s Cherry Blossoms and Justin Lin’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift); and works focused on the alienating limits of cross-cultural understanding (Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation and Alain Corneau’s Fear and Trembling).

The rarest screening in the lineup is a 35mm presentation of Tokyo Pop (1988), a largely forgotten and overlooked gem of American independent cinema co-written and directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The film follows a young New York singer (Carrie Hamilton) who moves to Tokyo and soon finds herself romantically and professionally involved with a Japanese rock ‘n’ roller (Yutaka Tadokoro aka Diamond Yukai) who enlists her as his band’s frontwoman. Unavailable on DVD or streaming, Japan Society’s November 22nd showing likely marks the first time Tokyo Pop will screen in New York since its 1988 theatrical run.

“Taken together, the films in this series offer fascinating insights into outside perceptions of Japanese values, customs, and scenery through the specific site of Tokyo, both as a constellation of symbols signifying ‘otherness’ and an actual geographic location,” says K. F. Watanabe, series curator and Deputy Director of Film at Japan Society. “From intimate familiarity and affection to degrees of exoticization and borderline xenophobia, the wide-ranging responses to foreign encounters with Japan embedded in these films also present an opportunity to consider the assumptions we bring to our own engagement with Japanese art and culture, whether as a Japanese, outsider, or someone in-between.”

Tokyo Stories: Japan in the Global Imagination is part of Japan Society’s year-long, institution-wide Passing the Torch series and is organized in conjunction with the exhibition Made in Tokyo: Architecture and Living, 1964/2020, on view through Jan. 26.

Tickets: $14; $11 seniors, students & persons with disabilities; $10 members.
3-Film Pass: Purchase tickets to at least three films in
the same transaction and save $2 off each ticket.
All-Access Pass: $77.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

THE DIVINE FURY will be debuting on Blu-ray™ Combo, DVD and Digital on November 19th

Well Go USA Entertainment
Presents
The Divine Fury / Saja
Directed by Joo-hwan Kim
South Korea, 2019, 129 minutes

An MMA fighter helps an exorcist fight evil in the action-mystery The Divine Fury, debuting on Blu-ray™ Combo, DVD and Digital on November 19th from Well Go USA Entertainment. Directed by Jason Kim (Midnight Runners), The Divine Fury stars Park Seo-joon (The Chronicles of Evil), Ahn Sung-ki (Unbowed) and Woo Do-hwan (Master), with special appearances by Choi Woo-shik (Train to Busan) and Kim Si-eun (The Beauty Inside).

Synopsis:

After losing his father at a young age in a terrible accident, Yong-hu (Park) abandons his Christian faith and chooses to only believe in himself. Now as an adult, Yong-hu is a champion fighter and has everything he has ever wanted, that is until a mysterious wound appears in the palm of his hand. And he himself in the middle of a dangerous fight against otherworldly evil forces seeking to wreak havoc on the human world.

Section23 Films has announced its November 2019 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its November slate of releases featuring the exciting third season of Haikyu!! from Sentai Filmworks, which will be available on DVD & BD November 26th with a Limited Edition Premium Box Set later this year.

Product details in order of release:

Title: MY TEEN ROMANTIC COMEDY ~ SNAFU
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 675 min.
Street Date: 11/5/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $89.98

SYNOPSIS: When Hachiman Hikigaya, who has no friends and believes that anyone who likes high school is either deluded or a liar, is coerced into joining the "Services Club" run by Yukino Yukinoshita, who's smart, attractive and considers everyone to be her complete inferior, it's a catastrophe just waiting to happen. But it's not until the THIRD ingredient… Yui Yuigahama, who's cute, bright, cheerful, and needs help baking cookies… is added to the combustible mix that the sparks really start to fly. Is this a recipe for romance or a prelude to a nuclear meltdown? Get ready for rom-com gone totally wrong as the barrage a trois of the Service Club is unleashed on an unsuspecting student body in MY TEEN ROMANTIC COMEDY ~ SNAFU and MY TEEN ROMANTIC COMEDY ~ SNAFU TOO!


Title: NATSU NO ARASHI
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 11/12/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Sometimes when you meet someone, you just know they're going to be interesting, but when 13-year-old Yasaka Hajime meets an older girl while staying at his grandfather's house for summer vacation, he has no idea how much she's about to change his life! To begin with, while Arashi may only look a few years older than Yasaka, she's actually closer in age to his granddad! How is that possible? It seems that Arashi's not exactly human anymore, and besides being a ghost from 1945, she has an important mission that revolves around her ability to travel in time! Since Arashi can only travel temporally if she's accompanied by a living being from her current present, guess who's about to become her partner in paradoxity? It's time for everything to go a little crazy in NATSU NO ARASHI!


Title: HIDAMARI SKETCH PICTURE PERFECT COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1450 min.
Street Date: 11/19/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $99.98

SYNOPSIS: Yuno has dreamed of attending Yamabuki Arts High School for years, but while it's an incredible opportunity, it also means moving away from her home and family. Fortunately, her new neighbors at the eclectic Hidamari (Sunshine) Apartments, most of whom are fellow students, will be there to help her through the transition! Soon Yuno's not only no longer feeling homesick, but she's gained a second family in second-year students Hiro and Sae, who do their best to play the role of older sisters, and her hyperactive new best friend and classmate Miyako. Add in a cosplay-obsessed homeroom teacher, her rather masculine landlady and all of the other odd denizens who inhabit Yuno's new world and there's always something fun and interesting going when new friends get creative in HIDAMARI SKETCH PICTURE PERFECT COLLECTION!


Title: HAIKYU!! SEASON 3
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 250 min.
Street Date: 11/26/2019
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: The Miyagi Prefecture Representative for the Spring High School National Volleyball Championship continues as the Karasuno team advances to take on the undefeated prefecture champions, Shiratorizawa Academy High School. This is the strongest opponent Karasuno has ever faced, and the deck is stacked against them with an extra ace in the form Wakatoshi Ushijima, a powerful wing spiker who's already played with the National Team! If they want to win, Hinata, Kageyama and the rest of the Crows will have to learn an entirely new playing style in order to counter Ushijima and his seemingly unstoppable spike… and that's just the first lesson the Shiratorizawa veterans have in store for the Crows. The game is on as the players hit the court in the third pulse-pounding season of HAIKYU!!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Stylish Crime Thriller WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN is coming to DVD and Blu-Ray on October 15,2019

Cheng Cheng Films
Presents
Who Killed Cock Robin / Mu ji zhe
Directed by Cheng Wei-Hao
Taiwan, 2017, 118 minutes

Fans of acclaimed filmmaker Cheng Wei-hao’s recent work on The Tag-Along movies may take a liking to the subliminal poetry that coalesces in the grim, horrific milieu of his latest thriller, Who Killed Cock Robin which is coming to DVD and Blu-Ray on October 15th, 2019.

Hand-held cinematography goes hand-in-hand with Cheng’s vision as it takes a life of its own, loosely iterating its own incarnation of an old English poem with a narrative aptly suited for the film’s title; More than a murder mystery, Cheng unravels a tale of sex, greed and malfeasance drenched in a mystique of rainy weather and dour blue filters with a dark tint that almost never lets up. ……

Needless to say, if you’re compelled to watch Who Killed Cock Robin a few more times, it wouldn’t be too much of a task. Cheng crafts a nimble story of murder and mystery that elevates into something far more consequential, mesmerizing and transformative in its own way.

Who Killed Cock Robin is a tale ripe with a number of suspense and horror tropes with a touch of sex and corruption thrown in the mix. Enthralling and stimulating in its pulp-style character development, the film recapitualtes with an ending only as cathartic as you’ll allow yourself to feel given that the imagery in the third act is not for the faint of heart. br /> br /> All in all, Cheng’s newest offering is one of the wildest and scintillating psychological thrill rides you’ll ever sit through, and after a few breaths, you’ll be back for seconds just to make sure your head is still on straight.

Synopsis:

In this delicately scripted gut-wrenching psycho-thriller from award-winning filmmaker Cheng Wei-Hao (The Tag-Along), an ambitious journalist who witnessed a hit-and-run years ago reboots his investigation led by newly emerged clues. As he beats the clock to save the only survivor after her sudden disappearance, layers of unimaginable dark truths around a corrupted system start peeling.

Monday, September 30, 2019

TORA-SAN'S DEAR OLD HOME at Japan Society on Friday, October 4th

Japan Society NY
Presents

© Shochiku Co., Ltd.
Tora-san's Dear Old Home / Otoko wa tsurai yo: Shibamata bojo
Directed by Yoji Yamada
With Kiyoshi Atsumi, Sayuri Yoshinaga
Japan, 1972, 108 minutes
DCP, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, October 4th at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map
Tickets: $14/$11 seniors, students & persons with disabilities, $5 members

While passing through the historic city of Kanazawa, Tora-san encounters three young women on vacation who all take delight in his boisterous hijinks, especially Utako (Sayuri Yoshinaga). When she shows up in Shibamata for more entertaining distractions, Tora-san is more than delighted to oblige his newfound "Madonna," but Utako soon confides that her father refuses her marriage to the man she loves back home. Heartbroken yet ever-well-intentioned, Tora-san resolves to set the matter straight. New 4K restoration.

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!!