Sunday, 27 May 2012

Ip Man 3 with Donnie Yen

It's official Donnie Yen will return for the 3rd Ip Man film. This sequel will continue the story of Ip Man focusing on his relationship with Bruce Lee. The film will be directed by Wilson Yip and is written by Edmond Wong with a budget of $36 million. And for some reason will be shot in 3D...

I highly recommend the first 2 films, both great in their own way, but I slightly prefer the first for the fight scenes and realism. In the first 2 films Ip Man fought the Japanese in China then when he moved to Hong Kong he fought with the British and kung fu schools. Ip Man 2 ends with a young Bruce Lee making an appearance so this instalment looks like it continues right where it finished off.

The producers are said to be searching for an actor with martial art skills to play a grown up Bruce Lee. Lynn Hung is returning for this instalment and Simon Yam is currently in talks.

Watch this space.

The real Bruce Lee and Ip Man

Friday, 25 May 2012

Switch - Andy Lau stars in Chinese Mission Impossible style epic!

Action, martial arts, fast cars, big stunts, gun fights, hot girls, stunning locations, Andy Lau. What more do you want?

I haven't actually heard too much about this film except it stars Andy Lau and he is trying to save a Chinese painting "Dwelling in the Fuchun Moutains".

The trailer was recently shown at Cannes film festival, and it looks stunning. Brilliant cinematography, sleek and stylish. One to keep your eye on!


Sunday, 20 May 2012

From Up On Poppy Hill - New Studio Ghibli film coming soon!

The latest Studio Ghibli film 'From Up on Poppy Hill' was released across Japan on July 16th 2011. It is the second film from Hayao Miyazaki's son Gorō Miyazaki, who also directed Tales From Earthsea. While Earthsea opened to pretty mixed reviews, Poppy Hill is getting much more favourable ones. It also won the Animation of the Year at the 35th Japan Academy Awards.

It's Yokohama, 1963. Each morning a girl on a high hilltop hoists signal flags to greet the ships in the bay below. She is Umi Matsuzaka, a sensible, responsible girl, who disapproves of the antics of the boys in her school. She especially disapproves of their bold ringleader, Shun, when he inadvertently embarrasses her. Nonetheless, Umi is drawn into the boys' campaign to preserve a dilapidated club house and finds herself warming to Shun, sensing a strength of character like her own. But their friendship and save-the-clubhouse campaign will be severely tested, in ways to make Umi and Shun question who they are…

From Up On Poppy Hill will be released on DVD/Blu-Ray across Japan on 20th June 2012, it will be available on most DVD sites including our favourite Yes Asia. Ghibli films usually open in the UK a year after Japan, so hopefully From Up On Poppy Hill will be out here in the summer. If you can't wait, the Japanese DVD will come with English subtitles. Good times!

Trailer below:

Friday, 18 May 2012

Takeshi Kitano delivers "Outrage Beyond" in October!

Fans of Takeshi Kitano and Yakuza films in general will have been impressed with his return to the violent crime films that propelled him to stardom in Outrage. It was a brilliant Yakuza drama and also pretty brutal! The film must have been a success as Kitano is making a sequel, Outrage Beyond, which will be released across Japan in October and continue from where the original left off. Takeshi will again be starring in and directing the flick.

"We need them to swing across that river on a rope and try to stick to the Velcro wall"

Sanno-kai—the major yakuza organisation within the Kanto region and the main focus of the first film—butts heads with Hanabishi-kai from the Kansai region as police try to take them all down. Kitano returns as crew boss and all-around dirty-job-doer Otomo.

Hmm interesting... If you have seen the first film you will know why this synopsis is intriguing. If not, then go watch it! It's available everywhere on DVD on also to stream on US Netflix!

Teaser below:

Monday, 14 May 2012

Another - Live Action Remake - Trailer and Stills

Looks like Another is the latest anime to get the live action treatment. For those not familiar with the anime, I reviewed it while it was airing, link.


 In 1972, a very popular honor student named Misaki died partway through the school year in Yomiyama Middle School’s class 3-3. His peers, devastated by the unexpected loss, decided to carry on as if the student were still alive, going so far as to keep the desk in place and bringing it to the graduation ceremony. Yet no one could explain why the dead classmate was present on the graduation photo.
In spring 1998, 15-year-old student Kōichi Sakakibara arrives from Tokyo in Yomiyama, to stay with his grandparents while his father works in India. He transfers into class 3-3 but misses the first few weeks as a pneumothorax keeps him hospitalised. While in the hospital, he receives a visit from his classmates and meets a mysterious girl wearing his school’s uniform called Mei Misaki, who seems to be visiting the morgue.
Once recovered, Kōichi goes to school and tries to adapt. His aunt, a teacher at Yomiyama North, gives him a few pointers but, like his peers, remains evasive when it comes to their behaviour towards Mei, who is treated by all as if she did not exist. Kōichi is further confounded by the air of mystery around class 3-3 and the fact that it is isolated from other classes, even practising P.E. separately.
Things go from bad to worse when a classmate, Yukari Sakuragi, slips while running down the stairs and dies, impaled on the sharp end of her umbrella. This is one of many deaths related to Class 3-3 which have Kōichi and his friends Mei, Naoya Teshigawara, Tomohiko Kazami, and Yūya Mochizuki, trying to unravel the mystery of 1972’s Misaki and the “calamity” that has struck Class 3-3 ever since.

Cosplay Island?

I'm looking forward to this going by what I have seen from the trailer. Also, knowing Japan is brilliant with horror and suspense, this could work out very well! On the other hand, Live Action adaptions of anime are usually hit or miss, with the majority being miss!

Another gets a theatrical release across Japan on August 4th 2012. No news of an international release yet, so watch the trailer below over and over to keep you going! Or watch the anime!



Thursday, 10 May 2012

War of The Arrows

The Korean House of Flying Daggers?

War of The Arrows (2011)
Choi-jong-byeong-gi Hwal (original title)
122 min - Action/History
Director: Han-min Kim
Writer: Han-min Kim (screenplay)
Stars: Hae-il Park, Seung-yong Ryoo and Chae-won Moon

Set in 1636, the second Manchurian invasion of Korea rages chaos, as villages are attacked by overpowering Manchurian soldiers. The Manchurians kidnap childhood sweethearts, Ja-in and Seo-Goon on their wedding day. In an effort to save his sister, Ja-in's brother Nam-Yi sets out to defeat the enemy and save his sister and other Korean victims with only 1 bow.

After not hearing much about this film I was very surprised to see just how great it was! After a bit of research I discovered it was the 2nd highest grossing film in South Korea in 2011. Not only was it a financial success, it also won numerous awards, including Best Actor for Park Hae-il and Best New Actress for Moon Chae-won at the Grand Bell Awards (Korean equivalent of the Academy Awards). I think this film deserves all the success it has achieved.

The great thing about War of The Arrows compared to a lot of the other recent Asian period films is you don't have to know anything about the history. The history is there, but all that matters is the Manchurians have captured Nam-Yi's sister, and he will do anything to get her back. One of the Qing warriors Jyu Shin-Ta has an elite troop which are trying to hunt down Nam-Yi to stop him from doing anymore damage. Can Nam-Yi rescue his sister before she becomes a slave?

I have heard War of The Arrows being compared to House of Flying Daggers and The Hunger Games... WTF? I actually noticed some similarities with this and HoFD, some of the scenery and cinematography, the arrows and daggers, and the ending is also a little reminiscent. No idea were The Hunger Games comparisons came from...

The film looks stunning! Some of the projectiles of the arrows are excellent, the way the camera follows them and the realism really makes this film! There is hardly any hand to hand combat but plenty of weapon fights with spears and arrows to keep you entertained. The characters are all very like able especially the lead. Occasionally the action takes a back seat for some character development, but it's all relevant and interesting, and gives you a breather until the next epic fight scene. The film being just over 2 hours flies by and you will be entertained start to finish.

I recommend this film to all! Especially for fans of period action films like Hero, House of Flying Daggers, etc. War of The Arrows got released on Monday 7th across the UK on DVD and Blu-Ray. And it is also available on US Netflix for immediate streaming.

Trailer below:

Will The Raid be shown in your local cinema?

Occasionally a world cinema film gets released in theatres that we desperately want to see. But you have to wait till it comes out to see if your local cinema is even showing it. And usually it ends up getting a very limited screening(... London!). Damn.
But this pretty cool, very useful website Total Fan Hub has a listing of all the cinemas that will be showing it. Glasgow is on the list! Oh yes!

In case you have missed all the reviews and press, The Raid is getting a very good reputation, with many calling it one of the best action films ever made!

8 days everyone!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sadako throws opening pitch at baseball game!

Yip. The girl from The Ring throws the first pitch at a Japanese baseball game! WTF!


We all know Baseball is the biggest sport in Japan, well looks like Sadako knows that as well! Here she is at the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters Vs Chiba Lotte Marines game from the Japanese baseball league, throwing the opening pitch to promote the new film in the Ringu series "Sadako 3D".

Sadako 3D opens across Japan on May 12th. No word yet if it will get a worldwide cinema release, just need to keep our fingers crossed!

Until then, here is the full length trailer:

Saturday, 5 May 2012

For Your Height Only

By far my favourite film about a midget Filipino James Bond!

For Y'ur Height Only (1981)
(For Your Height Only)
Action/Comedy - (Philippines)
Director: Eddie Nicart
Writer: Cora Caballes

Stars: Weng Weng, Yehlen Catral and Carmi Martin

Firstly, we need to start with a brief history lesson. During the 60s, 70s and early 80s, American Drive in Theatres and Grindhouse Cinemas were looking for the craziest and wildest films they could get their hands on! Hollywood directors and producers discovered they could film in the Philippines for a fraction of the cost, they would get new exotic locations and cheap labour. This in turn allowed them to release hundreds of films quickly and for a fraction of the cost for crazy action and horror film double bills.

We got movies about crazy vixens in jungle prisons, bloody revenge stories, gory horror flicks, violent war films and of course, Kung Fu action with midgets!

Mr. Giant has kidnapped the brilliant Dr. Van Kohler and is planning to use the Doctor's invention, the N-bomb, to hold the world hostage. The only one who can foil Mr. Giant's evil scheme is Agent 00(Weng Weng), a 3-foot-tall Filipino martial arts master, expert marksman, top-class romancer and all-around super spy. Can Agent 00 rescue Dr. Kohler before it's too late?

"The name's Weng... Weng Weng"

I saw clips for this movie while watching a documentary about Filipino exploitation films called Machete Maidens Unleashed. I knew instantly this was a film for me! But I also know this film isn't for everyone. It's one of those low budget, crazy B-Movies that you either love or hate.

For Your Height Only doesn't have the best transfer, it looks quite bad and could really do with a remaster. But what really works in this films favour is the dub, which is undoubtedly the worst dub I have ever heard! There are a whole bunch of weird accents from British to Mexican which don't match any of the characters and the dialogue is terrible. Some of the classic lines you will hear are "The forces of good are our sworn enemy, and I repeat, they must be exterminated. And I mean lethally!" and the love interest comparing Weng Weng to a potato... in an affectionate way!

Weng Weng makes this film brilliant! He actually has star power which will leave you wanting to see the rest of his filmography. His Kung Fu skills are actually pretty decent! He was said to have studied many styles of Martial Arts including Jeet Kune Do! The fights scenes play out well, although not on par with classic Hong Kong Jackie Chan films, but very good for a B-Movie. Weng is known as the shortest ever lead in an action film standing at  2'9".

Midget Jet pack!

For Your Height Only is obviously a Bond rip off and it has all the classic ingredients! He's a womaniser, kissing every girl he can. He has plenty of gun shoot outs, some of which are actually pretty exciting! And of course, the gadgets! An Anti-Poison Ring which changes color when it is placed in proximity to poison. A deadly Remote-Control Hat which also had a blade edge. A Quick-Assembly, Small-Scale Machine Gun. And of course for the big finale, a Tiny Jet pack, Wow!

This was one of the films that propelled Weng Weng into super stardom and he went on to star in 11 feature films. Including an Agent 00 sequel called "The Impossible Kid" and a western called "D'Wild Wild Weng". Unfortunately, roles for Weng Weng dried up in the late 80s and according to some sources he started drinking heavily, he sadly passed away in 1992 from a heart attack at the young age of 34.

You will know straight away from watching this trailer if you will like this film or not! Hopefully you will, and I would also recommend the sequel The Impossible Kid which is also just as good!


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Hara-Kiri coming to UK DVD, Blu-Ray and.... Cinema??

The latest film from one of the hardest working directors in Japan, Takashi Miike, is getting a limited UK cinema release of the 4th May and will be available to purchase on DVD and Blu-Ray on the 7th May. The film is entitled Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai and is a remake of Misaki Kobayashi's classic from 1962.

Poverty stricken samurai Hanshiro Tsukumo (Ebizo Ichikawa) requests to commit ritual suicide at the House of Ii, run by obstinate Lord - Kageyu Saito (Koji Yakusho), in a desperate attempt for a honourable end. In an effort to persuade Hanshiro to rethink his request, Kageyu tells the tragic story of a similar plea from young ronin Motome (Eita). Hanshiro is stunned by the horrifying details of Motome's fate, but insists on dying with honour. With his final breath, Hanshiro makes a last request which results in the shocking revelation of a bittersweet tale of vengeance against the house of a feudal lord.

You want me to do WHAT with the sword?!

Hara-Kiri was highly talked about because it was the first 3D film to be shown at Canne film festival. Bearing in mind, Miike's earlier gory films, one would expect blood and guts to be flying out the screen in 3D. But Hara-Kiri is more of a well made, slow paced, period drama. And the 3D is used more subtly to show scenery, sets and costumes like thread on kimonos, trees with autumn leaves and snow flakes falling. However, there is enough sword play to keep Miike's fans and Samurai film fans happy! The movie has received pretty positive reviews and is sitting with a 7.1 on iMDB and 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Hara-Kiri is getting a limited release so check your local cinema listings to see if you are getting it. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Glasgow is! Unless GFT gives it a small run. DVDs and Blu-Ray are available to pre-order from the usual places like Amazon and Play. And if you need something to keep you going until then, I highly recommend his last Samurai epic "13 Assassins" which was one of my favourite films of 2011.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Like Iron Man? Like Andy Lau? This will make you happy!

Big blockbuster sequel Iron Man 3 will be shot on location across China and Hong Kong during the summer and with a scheduled May 2013 release. Disney is very interested in getting a big Chinese name attached to the project to bring in more money from the Asian market. See The Green Lantern, with Jay Chou, which had bigger openings across China than it did in the United States.

Could the Infernal Affairs actor star in Iron Man 3?

Chinese Actor and Pop Star Andy Lau is in negotiations for the role in Iron Man 3 which will be directed by Shane Black(Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). Lau is to play a scientist and a good friend of Tony Stark, and apparently has to come to his aid... Take that for what it is worth!

Sounds interesting! If you have to get a big Chinese actor, may as well get the biggest!