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Asian Reviews

Film Review: The Butcher (2007) – CAT III

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SYNOPSIS: Relentlessly gruesome, South Korean filmmaker Kim Jin-Won’s torture flick chronicles the making of a snuff film from two perspectives: that of the sadistic producers and that of the unfortunate “stars.” Their terror captured through vérité-style camera work, the victims are made to endure the agonizing screams of their fellow captives before meeting their own grim fate at the hands …

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Film Review: The Cat (2011)

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SYNOPSIS: So-Yeon, by request from police officer Joon-Suk, takes a cat home after the owner was found dead. Shortly after, So-Yeon starts to see a mysterious young girl. She becomes frightened. Then, So-Yeon’s good friend Bo-Hee is found dead. Near Bo-Hee, there is a cat which Bo-Hee recently adopted from an animal shelter. So-Yeon now fears for her own life. …

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Film Review: Junk: Shiryô-gari (2000)

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SYNOPSIS: After a robbery,a group of thieves meets up with the Yakuza at an old abandoned factory in order to exchange money and jewels.However unknown to them the factory was an old military facility which was working on reanimating the dead.And they succeeded,meaning the factory is loaded with bloodthirsty zombies.”Junk” is slowly getting a minor cult following,because it has creepy,old-style …

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Film Review: 23:59 (2011)

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SYNOPSIS: An army recruit was found dead during a 24km road march. After the death of the recruit, strange things began to happen, haunting all the soldiers in the barracks. REVIEW: Originally released in Singapore a few years ago, writer/director Gilbert Chan’s “23:59” is just arriving on our shores thanks to the good people at Magnet Releasing and while it’s …

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Film Review: Versus (2000)

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SYNOPSIS: There are 666 portals that connect this world to the other side. These are concealed from all human beings. Somewhere in Japan exists the 444th portal…. The forest of resurrection. REVIEW: We all like to whine and wring our hands about how there’s too much choice these days, entertainment-wise, and how a lot of the time you just can’t …

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Film Review: Henge (2011)

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SYNOPSIS: A young couple are living a quiet and happy life, until the husband suddenly begins howling uncontrollably. REVIEW: Oh dear. Here we have a film so infuriating in its waste of potential that I almost don’t know where to start. The disparity in quality between the beginning and end is so dramatic, so baffling, that I almost thought that …

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Film Review: X Game (2010)

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SYNOPSIS: A man in the name of Hideaki and his 6th grade classmates, Takeshi, Chie and Tetsuya, wake up to find themselves in their old elementary school after the suicide of their teacher. There they play a game called x game. X game was created by a classmate which was used to bully a girl named Mariko. In order to …

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Film Review: Deadball (2011)

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SYNOPSIS: Japan’s most dangerous juvenile delinquent leads a team of hardened criminals onto a deadly baseball battlefield in this wild and crazy splatter comedy! REVIEW: Another dynamically visual product from the Sushi Typhoon gang, “Dead Ball” adds a zany flair to the art of throwing baseballs combined with prison life. It may come as a surprise but the term “dead …

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Film Review: IP Man (2008)

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SYNOPSIS: A semi-biographical account of Yip Man, the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun REVIEW: When I was asked to review “Ip Man”, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Having watched the film a couple of times over the past year, I still can’t contain how much I actually love this film. It …

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Film Review: Higanjima: Escape from Vampire Island (2009)

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SYNOPSIS: Higanjima is an eerie island occupied by vampires, from where none has ever come back alive. When teenager Akira hears that his missing brother has been seen in the island, he decides to investigate with several friends. REVIEW: Asian vampire movies are usually a love or hate impacting experience for me. On one hand, you have to appreciate that …

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Film Review: Lady Vengeance (2005)

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(aka Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) SYNOPSIS: The final installment of director Chan Wook Park’s revenge trilogy (preceded by Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy) chronicles the efforts of Lee Geum-ja (Yeong-ae Lee) — known to her cellmates as “the kind Ms. Geum-ja” — to track down the man who betrayed her. Taking the rap for her accomplice and incarcerated for …

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Horror Highlights from South Korea’s 16th Jeonju International Film Festival

South Korea’s film festival season kicks off in earnest each year with the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) in May. Though much lighter in fright fare than the country’s other major film festivals, JIFF does offer a handful of options, usually programmed during its Midnight in Cinema all-nighter triple-bill series. For the fest’s 16th year, filmgoers were treated to several nightmarish situations, including …

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