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Asian Reviews

Film Review: The Host (2006)


SYNOPSIS: A monster emerges from Seoul’s Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people. One victim’s loving family does what it can to rescue her from its clutches. REVIEW: Here we have a special effects-heavy monster movie from South Korea, in which a huge creature comes out of the sea and goes on a destructive rampage through the city. …

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Film Review: Mother (2009)


Synopsis: A mother lives quietly with her twenty-eight-year-old son, Do-joon, providing herbs and acupuncture to neighbors. One day, a girl is brutally murdered, and Do-joon is charged with the killing. Now, it’s his mother’s call whether to prove him innocent or to leave him imprisoned Review: “Mother” written and directed by Korean master Joon-ho Bong, who also brought us “The …

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Fim Review: Visitor Q (2001)


SYNOPSIS: A troubled and perverted family find their lives intruded by a mysterious stranger who seems to help find a balance in their disturbing natures. REVIEW: “The sea’s so endless. You can’t see anything.” Prolific filmmaker, Takashi Miike, often delights in putting off the audience with controversial subject matter and this film is no different.  Modeled loosely after Pasolini’s Theorum, …

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Film Review: Tormented (2011)


SYNOPSIS: Daigo doesn’t speak anymore. Not since he killed that rabbit on the playground at school. His sister, Kiriko, is worried. He’s bullied. He sleepwalks. And their father is no help, trapped in his own grief and illustrating fantasy worlds where families are happily reunited and no one dies. They never should have gone to that 3D movie. The one …

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Film Review: Oldboy (2003)


SYNOPSIS: With no clue how he came to be imprisoned, drugged and tortured for 15 years — and no one to hold accountable for his suffering — a desperate businessman seeks revenge on his captors, relying on assistance from a friendly waitress. Korean director Chan Wook Park — a former philosophy student and Hitchcock devotee — uses his influences to …

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Film Review: All Night Long 3: The Final Chapter (1996)


SYNOPSIS: Kikuo, a socially inept teenager, has a fascination for carnivorous plants and the minutiae of human waste. He works in a love hotel, cleaning up the filth left behind after every quickie. His isolation is reinforced by the perverse behavior of his workmates, and he soon begins to fixate on an attractive stranger. As he habitually collects her trash, …

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Film Review: Visits (2009)


SYNOPSIS: Set in cosmopolitan Kuala Lumpur, VISITS presents a disturbing omnibus of four interwoven ghost stories directed by cutting-edge Malaysian filmmakers, Low Ngai Yuen, James Lee, Tian Hann, and Ho Yugang. When the dead have unfinished business with the living…. REVIEW: 4 Stories from beyond. New Asian thriller “Visits” is a 4 story anthology dealing with issues of the afterlife. …

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Film Review: Cruel History of Women’s Torture (1976) – CAT III


SYNOPSIS: An anthology film consisting of five different episodes of violation, torture and genital mutilation throughout Japanese history. REVIEW: Cruel History of Women’s Torture, under any of its similar monikers and literal translations of the original Japanese title, treads a similar path to Teruo Ishii’s notorious The Joy of Torture (1968). Both films adopt the portmanteau structure of Japanese horror …

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Film Review: The Heirloom (Zhaibian) (2005


SYNOPSIS: Twenty years ago, an inexplicable mass suicide occurred in the millionaire Yang household, where the entire family hanged themselves at the exact same time. Only one member survived. To this day, the case remains unsolved. Now, a distant relative inherits the house and moves in with his fiancee. Mysterious events begin to disturb their lives and force them to …

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Film Review: Throne of Blood (1957)


SYNOPSIS: A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider’s Web Castle. REVIEW: “The devil’s path will always lead to doom.” Akira Kurosawa’s brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Macbeth, is certainly one of the greatest representatives of its cinematic form. Portrayed by the great Toshiro Mifune, Washizu …

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Film Review: Accident (2009)


SYNOPSIS: A troubled assassin, who works by orchestrating “accidents”, suspects that an accident that happens to his team is not an accident at all. REVIEW: Accident, a new release directed by Pou-Soi Cheang, is quite unlike many film premises I’ve come across. This Asian thriller takes on a few new angles while following in the tradition of noted cult filmmakers. …

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Film Review: Suicide Club (2001)


SYNOPSIS: After a group of 54 school girls commit suicide simultaneously at a train station, police start investigating their deaths and try to connect the seemingly unrelated suicides that had been plaguing Japan. With the help of a woman who identifies herself as ‘The Bat’ and set to the music of a girl band called ‘Dessert’ detectives dive head first …

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Film Review: Dreams (1990)

Dreams poster

SYNOPSIS: “This is essentially eight separate short films, though with some overlaps in terms of characters and thematic material – chiefly that of man’s relationship with his environment. Sunshine Through The Rain: a young boy is told not to go out on the day when both weather conditions occur, because that’s when the foxes hold their wedding procession, which could …

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Film Review: Wolf Warrior (2015)


SYNOPSIS: A Chinese special force soldier with extraordinary marksmanship is confronted by a group of deadly foreign mercenaries who are hired to assassinate him by a vicious drug lord. REVIEW: Titles can be incredibly confusing things as they conjure up all kinds of mental images that lead to films either living up to expectation, surpassing them or plunging the viewer …

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Film Review: Three Extremes (2004)


SYNOPSIS: A sequel to Three, Three Extremes is based around the common theme of the ‘monster’. In Fruit Chan’s, not for vegetarians, Dumplings, the secret to eternal youth lies out of special dumplings made out of the crushed bones and ground down flesh of aborted foetuses. The monster in Park Chan-wook’s Cut is a deranged fan of a famous director …

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