Asian Cinema : Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Re: After the Storm (2016)

Yeah I totally agree that his movies have that CCTV quality of reality, and I think it's more to do with the honest dialog writing (a lot like Chang-dong Lee) more than any cinéma vérité directing style.

I agree with sitenoise that the whistling soundtrack thing was awful, but I only noticed it twice it didn't ruin the film for me. He totally redeemed himself for that with the great teresa teng song. That's the source of the film's title, by the way; a lyric from this tearjerker:

As in "love is" Which came on the radio when Ryota was talking to mom in the kitchen.

This one was certainly more thrown-together than his bigger films. Maybe he got cocky or lazy because Spielberg bought the rights to do a remake of Like Father, Like Son. But I knew I would like this one because it has a plot. It was a lot better than The Non-Adventures of the Tofu Sisters, which I barely got halfway through before I bailed. With due respect to my dear colleague sitenoise, whose favorite movies are the ones where nothing happens and no one says anything, or farts or slurps their tea, or cracks open a cold beer, but instead just glare pensively through the curtains.

With the gambling, I have to say I did like the way that the kid showed his interest in the lottery ticket at the end, which nicely reflected the innocent dream side of gambling, or its root, in the way clayton suggests. I guess I hold Koreeda to a pretty high standard. You and clayton got a lot out of it there's definitely signals in there for people who pick them up, maybe based on their own (inter)personal experiences.

Re: After the Storm (2016)

"I agree with sitenoise that the whistling soundtrack thing was awful, but I only noticed it twice it didn't ruin the film for me. He totally redeemed himself for that with the great teresa teng song."

Yeah, good thing you brought up the songs. I agree with you on the Teresa Teng song. I read your review before watching the film and when the Teresa song came up, I immediately thought of you liking it. And I can understand why. The song has this catchy tune that's a perfect themesong for the lead: something like, "Hey I feel like a loser but I have to go on with my life". I like the song too. And after listening to the whole song, it felt too sad for me. :((

On the other hand, I liked the whistling soundtrack. It was also a perfect background music apt for the predicament of our lead. It also sounded like someone who pities himself would listen to. lol.

"But I knew I would like this one because it has a plot."

Yeah, probably me too. Maybe that's why the impact on me is strong with this one that I immediately thought of placing it on my top Koreeda. And that's why I mentioned that it started to be more interesting for me when the "plot" was already unfolding, as opposed to the first introductory parts.

After some serious pondering, I don't think Air Doll will be ousted from the top spot just yet. I think this will occupy the second.

Moment of Peace-

Café Lumière After the Storm

After the Storm (Umi yorimo mada fukaku) [2016] Japan
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

This film is about two great lines Hiroshe Abe delivers: "it's not easy to become the man you wanted to be" and "What matters is to live my life trying to become what I want to be." There are a few other insightful lines, and a few wonderfully captured scenessomething to be expected from actors like Abe and Kirin Kiki. Kiki especially in her scenes with Abe's ex. There's awkward tension with Abe and his ex when he makes a move and she responds "Your mom is right there" instead of "Don't touch me you loser". But the rest of the film is boring, directionless, and sports an Andy of Mayberry soundtrack which conjures that Flying Nun chick gushing "You like me". Koreeda appears to be coasting on this one.

Café Lumière (Kôhî jikô) [2003] Japan, Taiwan
Director: Hsiao-hsien Hou

My fourth re-watch. I know why I didn't like this film the first time I watched it: the pretentiously long takes of nothing. I still think some of those scenes don't work well but the overall of this thing is pure poetry. Yo Hitoto's grunting, natural non-acting is too sexy for words. And the blink and you'll miss it point that Yo's character "wakes up" to Asano, twice, is brilliant. This film makes me feel good. And makes me feel good about the power of film.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

I started posting videos of my DVD collection recently. Heres the playlist:

Here are the films I saw the last few weeks.

Highly Recommended

The Sting (1973) (American Crime Drama) In Chicago in September 1936, a young con man (Robert Redford) seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con (Paul Newman) to win a fortune from a criminal banker (Robert Shaw). This is very well-written and acted, with an engaging story and characters. The con is complex and revolves around horse-racing, which is quite intriguing. This proficiently executed crowd-pleaser won Best Picture, and it is certainly worthy of it. I can see influences on subsequent films.

Orochi: The Eight-Headed Dragon (1994) (Japanese Fantasy Action) (repeat viewing) After tragedy strikes a kingdom, a cursed prince journeys the land and battles monsters to prepare for the resurrection of an eight-headed dragon determined to destroy the world. This could be accurately described as Conan plus Clash of the Titans with high-quality kaiju. There are some moments that are obviously inspired by those films (as well as others), but Orochi is also creative enough to carve out its own identity. It uses a sword and sorcery structure while developing its own mythology that incorporates Greek-style gods with human personalities. The monster designs and rubber suits are fabulous; the God of Kumaso (made of molten rock) is one of the coolest Japanese monsters of all time. The action is represented with a variety of styles human vs. human, human vs. monster, and monster vs. monster that keep things fresh and engaging. This is quite simply a lost classic thats essential viewing for anyone remotely interested in old school fantasy movies.

No Blood, No Tears (2002) (Korean Action) (repeat viewing) Multiple character stories intersect with one another at various points in this fast-paced film by director Seung-wan Ryoo. The main plotline involves a lady safe cracker who attempts to pay back her debt to a shady criminal. The concurring side-plot is about a young woman (Do-yeon Jeon) who grows tired of her abusive boyfriend (Jae-yeong Jeong). This focuses quite a bit on showing the difficult lives of both women, but there are a wide variety of short action scenes (e.g., alleyway martial arts fight; nighttime foot chase; scrappy apartment fight; money bag car chase; steel cage match) that are often brutally violent yet entertaining in their own ways. There are also lots of twists and a very satisfying ending.


Creepy (2016) (Japanese Thriller) A professor (former detective) receives a request from his ex-colleague to examine a missing family case that occurred 6 years earlier. Meanwhile, his new neighbor is acting strangely. This is a deliberately paced, slow-burning thriller that builds nicely and shows how the neighbor is mostly nice but also short-tempered and a bit odd. Good performances here. Special mention goes to Teruyuki Kagawa, who is talented at portraying a character with an edge, and that comes thru here. Quality direction here too, with plenty of wide shots and unedited exchanges of dialogue. Some critics have complained about the unnatural decision-making by some characters during the second half, which leads me to this films biggest flaw: the methods in which the villain coerces his victims is never really showcased; it seems to be an entirely natural process (lacking in supernatural influence), but it isnt fleshed out enough to make it truly convincing. Nevertheless, director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is on the right track again.

Resurrection of the Little Match Girl (2002) (Korean Action/Comedy) (repeat viewing) A food deliveryman enters a video game and attempts to rescue a mysterious Match Girl from thugs. (The video game world primarily mirrors reality with the exception of the ending, which is fantastical.) This movie was an extremely expensive box office and critical failure in its home country, but I found it entertaining enough. The budget allows for some action in the form of plentiful, kinetic shootout sequences that are fun to watch. The reasons for this are fourfold: (1) The shootouts are intentionally absurd to the point of becoming a parody of the action genre on the whole, and they work because the characters play it with a straight face. One lengthy sequence with the Match Girl reminded me of the crazy shananigans I used to pull while playing Grand Theft Auto on my PS2. The film is worth watching for that 20-minute scene alone, especially considering how ridiculous it is when paralleled with the related Hans Christian Anderson short story. Its brilliant. (2) Theres a huge bodycount of baddies and civilians. (3) The finale is unique, to say the least. (4) There are girls, with guns! There are some slick and colorful visuals too. Character development is practically non-existent, and events flow in a seemingly directionless fashion, which likely explains the cold reception to this film. Still, this is certainly a more unorthodox, creative, and entertaining fluff piece than what we usually get in the U.S.

Rogue One (2016) (American Sci Fi Action) The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow. This is an entertaining movie that is a step down from The Force Awakens in terms of pure entertainment value. The lengthy, multi-layered finale is very entertaining, and the characters are mostly memorable and well-acted, but they are underdeveloped and spend almost no time together which makes their perceived bond unconvincing. They should have scrapped the Saw Gerrera side plot and streamlined the story a bit more. The title sequence and final shot were also very awkward.

Not Recommended

Suicide Squad (2016) (American Action) A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. There are a lot of fundamental flaws in this movie, like how the criminal protagonists are too nice, or how this team is supposed to stop an evil Superman if he ever appeared, but that wouldnt matter if this were actually entertaining. Yes, it does move at a brisk pace but its ultimately a tedious viewing for various other reasons. This begins with one of the most poorly constructed, sloppy montages in recent memory. Its an extremely rushed, lazy attempt at introducing all of these characters, but it could have worked okay if not for two major flaws: (1) it shows the before and after effects of being a normal person who is transformed into a villain without even bothering to develop or justify those transitions; and (2) it chucks in big character cameos in the most anticlimactic, wasteful ways humanly imaginable. The villains were by far the most implicitly interesting characters, but they didnt spend enough time with them and didnt bother to show the scale of them taking over the city (with the exception of one very short subway scene). In any case, the action doesnt save this because the fights and shootouts range from poor to mediocre. Humor is mostly lame, and there are some moments in this movie (mostly dialogue driven) that are embarrassing to watch. The soundtrack is also very distracting. This film tries so hard to be impactful and cool in every way possible, but falls flat on its face every single time. Lame.

Bad Blood (aka Blood Curse) (2006) (Portuguese Drama) After relocating to a remote Portuguese village, a family soon discovers that the home they inherited is surrounded in mystery, curses, superstition, and old folk tales. This is a film that is so understated and uneventful that it becomes boring. Acting is okay, but there is no interesting character interaction or dialogue at all, and the content is shallow and flat. Some have classified this as a horror film, but its just a really dry drama.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel

Re: Creepy little matchgirl

I agree with you on Teruyuki Kagawa. He's fabulous doing those kinds of characters. WRT his methodIt was kind of a deal breaker for me, with tentacles. Then I read somewhere that KK may have been commenting on/relying on a J-cultural attitude towards hard drugs, heroine specifically. That it has magic powers and turns people into the kinds of characters we see portrayed in the film. I don't know if it's true, but since the character turns did seem inscrutable maybe it is a case of a cultural issue we miss out on, not being part of that culture.

I recently moved Resurrection of the Little Match Girl up in my queue. Not sure why, but I have enjoyed a couple Sun-Woo Jang films in the past, and I often enjoy when a director goes off topic. Thanks for taking one for the team. Maybe I'll move forward on it.

Happy New Year!

Re: Creepy little matchgirl


Don't go into Resurrection of the Little Match Girl with too many expectations though, since it does have a few lame moments here and there.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel

Himeanole [2016] Directed by Keisuke Yoshida

Just wow. This is a small film, an unimportant one, but it's gonna duke it out with The Wailing for 2016's top spot.

To say: Don't read anything about this film before seeing it that's already a spoiler. So, Daniel, ebo, I know you are going to watch this. Stop reading now.

For others: This is one of those Japanese love triangle stories about three people so insecure they can barely talk. Then it's more. The triangle continues, but it mingles in a world that goes to a dark place.

A lot will be written about the what/where this story goes. It's pretty cool, I guess, but I'd like to skip that discussion and just point out how well done it is. I think our friend elanor might like this film even though it starts in a place she may not be interested in and goes to a place I don't think she generally enjoys because it's quality manufactured. I think she has a soft spot for quality.

Himeanole is quite Korean in its "Oh no! Don't shoot Hey! Great Shot"-ness. There are several scenes where you think "Really? The director is going to do this? Come on! Oh wait Hey. Nicely done!" At least I felt that way.

I've seen Keisuke Yoshida's Cafe Isobe (Jun kissa Isobe) [2008] and was very impressed. He mixes deep drama with comedy (from witty to goofy) with aplomb. I believe the secret sauce is his rhythm. He knows how to cut a film. The framing and edits actually add metadata to the scenes. Yoshida is physically in control of the visual rhythm. His storytelling is unconventional.

The casting of the film, and what Yoshida does with the typecasting, is genius. Again, a lot will be written about where boy band idol Gô Morita goes in the film. Kudos to him. Cutesy powderpuff Aimi Satsukawa shares a little side-boob and side-butt, a hand bra (not her hands), and a pretty brutal rape scene with us. Oh my. Her "sex" scene (not graphic) stands out for what the director inter-cuts it with. It's one of those scenes where you initially think "Oh please, don't do this", but as it reaches climax, you will gulp. If you gulp in disdain or disgust I have no counter argument. But me: "Hey! Great shot!"

In a year of big important films I was supposed to like that I didn't like, I needed this. For those who will say this is an important film, an impressive essay on guilt or bullying, I offer a raspberry (although I think our dear friend weepylove might connect to the film on that leveland other levels, too. I think it's the first act she won't enjoy). For me, the film is a directorial tour de force. It's not perfect. Mistakes are made (he introduces a "fat" character and has her indulge in bad eating-acting. When will that go away? (Her scene is still great, though)).

's My Little Sweet Pea (Mugiko san to) [2013] is definitely the next film I'm going to watch.

Comrade Z. Watch Cafe Isobe. If that one impresses, give this one a shot.

My Little Sweet Pea, 2013 Directed by Keisuke Yoshida

Yoshida's My Little Sweet Pea (Mugiko san to) [2013] is definitely the next film I'm going to watch.

Oops. Probably one of the worst movies I've had to start FF'ing through after 30 minutes of grossed out boredom in a while. Big family vibe and lots of dumb characters who don't resemble real people at all. Hmmm. This is depressing.

Re: Himeanole [2016] Directed by Keisuke Yoshida

This doesn't really sound like my cup of tea, but I might watch it anyway. Pretty hard up for titles these days. I've been watching WWII documentaries on youtube about the pacific war for lack of movies. Sweet Pea was on my watchlist for a long time, but I too bailed on it after a few minutes of total boredom. I'd rather be bored by Korean tv.

Re: Himeanole [2016] Directed by Keisuke Yoshida

It's not really your cup of tea. I'm happy for the B-team success of it, though. I'm growing weary of big-a$$ films, especially from Korea. I've got tons of catalog items to go through, so I'll catch up on things. I'm watching Resurrection of the Little Match Girl now and it's kind of chaotic, but it has characters in it that I don't see very often in Korean films. Nary an over-moisturized face to be found. That's kind of refreshing.

Re: Himeanole [2016] Directed by Keisuke Yoshida

And I've seen it. And wow, yes,The Wailing needs to step aside because I don't know where was I when this was released I can't forgive myself but what the heck, thank you!

This movie is one for the lists, if not the critics' list, then for my own list. This movie has all the things I've been looking for in a film: story, execution, and characters.

The film only has four central characters and each of them were given their own time in the spotlight. The movie is short and simple but concise, it is straightforward, (actually too literally straightforward in some graphic scenes).

I agree with you on your "Oh no don't shoot..Hey! Great shot! (you should copyright this line) remark. This reminded me of Koreanness, along the lines of "I Saw The Devil" where everything was shoved right before my eyes and my limits were tested.

The movie initially lost me at the first parts when the introductory love triangle was being introduced but it regained me when Morita was shown with his creepy stalker look that really suits him. The movie had sex, friendship, brutality, torture, death, revenge, bullies.all told in a movie with a runtime that's neither too long for boredom nor too short for being forgotten.

It has a lot of those scenes that pushed me to the limits and tested my stomach. Blood here and there, brutal murders, and did I see a sanitary napkin being shown? The movie outdid itself. Even the sex scenes with cutesy lead girl Aimi Satsukawa was exploitative????? I still really can't with these girls doing these things that my virginal eyes can't handle.

One big bonus point that deserves standing ovation: The title being shown in the middle of the movie with a background music that suits my taste, being shown after the climactic moaning of cutesy lead girl. Told 'ya, the movie outdoes itself.

This certainly belongs to my list of favorite Japanese movies.

Thank you very much sitenoise, I can't thank you enough.

Moment of Peace-

Re: Himeanole [2016] Directed by Keisuke Yoshida

Well, I guess the cat's out of the bag now

The movie initially lost me at the first parts when the introductory love triangle was being introduced
Just as I predicted

The title being shown in the middle of the movie with a background music that suits my taste
Oh yeah, I forgot about that! It was most excellent, and sorta sealed the deal for me because only cool directors can get away with it.

My favorite Morita scene was when that nice old man tells him he can't smoke on a public park bench. Morita puts out his cig and tells the guy he doesn't smoke. The old man says "I just saw you smoking". Moreita tells him: "I don't smoke".

That's advanced character development technique!

Re: Himeanole [2016] Directed by Keisuke Yoshida

"My favorite Morita scene was when that nice old man tells him he can't smoke on a public park bench. Morita puts out his cig and tells the guy he doesn't smoke. The old man says "I just saw you smoking". Moreita tells him: "I don't smoke"."

Haha! Yeah. Honestly he pulled off the role quite really well that I can't point a specific favorite scene of mine. There's a lot of it that I honestly feared him. He was really creepy. I forgot to say but the last scene where he attempts to rape cutesy lead actress what's her name again, I don't know why but I felt some cold shiver like it struck me how unsafe it is to go home and finding yourself alone with him. It was really spooky.

I hope I didn't spoil too much in my post, did I?

Moment of Peace-

New years with Aimi Satsukawa

Sadako v Kayako [2016] Japan
Director: Kôji Shiraishi

I actually watched this before Himeanole, but Himeanole demanded my immediate attention.

I think there's a rule in film making that if you shoot the beginning of a scene over someone's shoulder and then switch to a different angle there should be continuity between shots. Kôji Shiraishi breaks that rule several times, effectively.

Sadako v Kayako is a winner because Shiraishi knows his shît. He keeps it true to the originals with upgrades here and there ([REC]-style pull-aways are cool). It's not for everyone and has some weak scenes, but if you have a soft spot for the J-Horror Goth Chick you may safely enter.

There is at least one bad scene: a priestess attempting an exorcism falls flat. And one bad character: Masanobu Andô, the super exorcist dude. His introductory scene employs bad eating-acting. Bad eating-acting don't lie. It means you are going to be an obnoxious, stupid character. It's good that his sidekick is awesome: a twelve year old blind psychic girl sporting dual ponytails and a Little Red Riding Hood chauffeur's costume. Aimi Satsukawa has a couple decent scenes. There's not enough monster time, but what's here is done well.

Re: New years with Aimi Satsukawa

I actually can't believe it, but I did bail out on this one. The first few acts/minutes felt too fake for me, too contrived that I was actually thinking if they were serious or not. I actually had high hopes for this one considering its like a spin-off of our Asian Movie Legends but what the hell was that. I'm sure I'll give this one a try again though. It has to redeem itself the next time.

And dude, strong words up there for Himeanole. Its on my TOP priority now.

Moment of Peace-

Resurrection of the Little Match Girl

This Matrix meets Natural Born Killers meets Shinjuku Swan mashup has a "we'll fix it up in the editing room and pull it all together" feel to it. Game culture literacy is helpful, as the film blurs the line between real life and game time. It's fun, and mild profundity can be applied to it (it doesn't come from the film). I'm a sucker for attractive, innocent young women with automatic weapons. So a passing grade from me despite its limited coherency and multiple stupid gun fights.

Bonus point: The ethnically Korean, Chinese born actress who plays the Motorcycle Riding Lara Croft (except gay and mentally unstable) charactermy favorite except for the Little Match Girlwas born a man, became a colonel in China's People's Liberation Army, had a sex change operation, and then became a ballerina and famous modern dancer. Some call her the Oprah of China. Boo Ya!

Re: Resurrection of the Little Match Girl


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Missing Woman (Missing: Sarajin Yeoja) [2016] South Korea

1-Possible nanny shows up for interview.
2-Suspicious mother who can't stop her baby from crying leaves baby alone with suspicious possible nanny who stops the baby crying.

Are you kidding me?

This film is one of the most amateurishly contrived, overly complicated (by trying to be clever and cover too much) Korean thrillers I've ever seen. Bummer. I was excited about this "film by women about women" starring one of my favorite actresses, Hyo-jin Kong and directed by a woman whose two previous films I enjoyed.

Beyond the woman angle, the film seems part of this Korean thing of late which has them trying to be as clever and tricky and complex as possible. Keep track of hairstyles or you won't be able to follow this trainwreck. The Koreans need to get over their love affair with dueling timelines and learn how to tell a story clearly.

I sat through this without punting because I hoped it would pay off with either some wild thriller exposure or a woman exposure thing. Nope times two.

The film even has bumbling cop nonsense. It has to in order for half of the scenes to be possible. How many times can the cops let a woman suspected of kidnapping, or worse, a baby get away so she can set up the next scene? I'm really tired of that.

Lazy Hazy Crazy (Tung baan tung hok) [2015] Hong Kong

I going to try and blurb a film every day this month.

Lazy Hazy Crazy (Tung baan tung hok) [2015] Hong Kong

I'm not sure if I should be enlightened or disturbed by the presentation of teenage girls involved in 'compensated dating'/prostitution as kind of sweet and danger free.

Not the disaster I thought it might be, though. In order to understand some of the interest in this flick you have to know it was directed by a woman. Then you have to ask yourself: wtf? Hong Kong's been playing the full frontal card a bit lately. I wonder if the young generation of HK are demanding it. The film would feel a little exploitative if a man directed it. There's lots of honest, raunchy witty dialog, and the film is made up of scenes, but I struggled to find a point (of view). Discussing the taste of cum gives the film an edge but to what end? There are many 'issues' glossed over and then interrupted by slice of life stuff or unimaginative plot moves. The one thing the film shows pretty well, but spoils the purity of it with random plot maneuvers, is that youthful thing of friendships which are as mean spirited as they are forgiving.

Re: Lazy Hazy Crazy (Tung baan tung hok) [2015] Hong Kong

I'm surprised you watched that one! Um wait, no actually I'm not..

The one thing the film shows pretty well, but spoils the purity of it with random plot maneuvers, is that youthful thing of friendships which are as mean spirited as they are forgiving.

Excellent observation, so true. That's a thread through a lot of good (accurate) fiction about teenagers and youth. There's a thread of that in About the Pink Sky/Bon to Lin also. I found Lazy Hazy Crazy embarrassingly bad and disappointing. I really want there to be some good lo-fi film coming out of Hong Kong, but I think the creative energies of the Umbrellanistas are directed in other channels.

I going to try and blurb a film every day this month.

Cool, looking forward to these. Load up my watchlist, bruh.

Re: Lazy Hazy Crazy (Tung baan tung hok) [2015] Hong Kong

You can call me Ray, and you can call me Jay, and you can call me Johnny, but .

Every January a number of folks over at letterboxD resolve to watch more films by women <#52FilmsByWomen>, , etc, and you know me. There's Ho and Hui but I'm interested in what the new generation might be up to. Heyward Mak has disappointed, so I thought I'd keep looking. The general consensus for Lazy Hazy Crazy over there isn't as unflattering as I thought it would be.

The film had a few things (I thought) going for it:

1- It's a Hong Kong film without Louis Koo in it
2- It's directed by a woman - Yee-sum Luk
3- Luk is, I thought, part of that Josie Ho/Pang Ho-Cheung group of edgy people (but I confused her with Hayward Makthought she co-scripted Love in a Puff, not the Buff).

I thought the film also had some nice photography and sets. I can't remember now if it was where the girls lived or where the jock-boy lived, but the area seemed like a giant, blocks long tree fort. The slummy areas had a nouveau-chic to them.

Well, enough about it.

Re: Lazy Hazy Crazy (Tung baan tung hok) [2015] Hong Kong

I thought the film also had some nice photography and sets. I can't remember now if it was where the girls lived or where the jock-boy lived, but the area seemed like a giant, blocks long tree fort. The slummy areas had a nouveau-chic to them.

Hong Kong is catnip to photographers. I think it has been since the invention of cameras.

Puff, Buff, and Aberdeen and among my least favorite Asian movies ever, so I struggle with Hong Kong. WKW seems like he's from another world than these new kids and I don't mean Taiwan or whatever.

I think China will have some great female directors about 20 years from now.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

I cranked out some movies this week.

Highly Recommended

Invisible Target (2007) (Chinese Action) (repeat viewing) Nicholas Tse and Shawn Yue are cops who try to take down a vicious gang of robbers led by Wu Jing and Andy On. There are also a number of recognizable actors from other Hong Kong action flicks. The opening hour is packed with short, yet sweet, chases and fights that sustain a perpetually high tempo. The big finale is also very good. Both the protagonists and antagonists have a bit of color and distinctive personality, which makes the film fly by easily despite its 130-minute length. This movie may also have the record for the most broken glass in a motion picture. An all-around awesome high octane action flick. Mad respect for the actors too, since they do some hard-hitting stunts themselves.

Himeanole (2016) (Japanese Thriller) Susumu is an ordinary man who works cleaning a building. His colleague asks him to be a cupid of love between himself and cafe worker Yuka. When Susumu goes to the cafe, he sees his old classmate Shoichi but soon learns that this man is stalking Yuka. This takes its time to properly set everything up, and it does get fairly mean-spirited and violent during the second half. The structure of this film makes it legitimately disturbing. Kudos to Go Morita for his depiction of a soulless killer.

Zeiram (1991) (Japanese Sci Fi Action) (repeat viewing) A cute intergalactic bounty hunter fights a vicious shape-changing alien in this surprisingly fun, low-budget action movie by director Keita Amemiya. The highlight of this film is, without question, the physical effects and monster designs. The alien itself changes form on multiple occasions, allowing the filmmakers to explore a variety of weird body structures that are a joy to behold (even some stop motion animation is utilized). The lead actress is hot and has some charisma. The shootouts/fights are fun with their perfect blend of coolness and cheesiness, and the scoring is also very good. Another important note: the monster and the girl are both quintessential badasses. This is a light-hearted romp thats essential viewing for a particular kind of viewer. You know who you are.


Make-Up Room (2015) (Japanese Comedy) A make-up artist does her best to get the girls ready for their adult video shoot. Taking place entirely in one small room, this film is more charming and entertaining than one might expect. And its not just dialogue between the actresses and the make-up artist, because this is also a film about filmmaking and things dont go as planned for the director. Most of the humor stems from those unexpected little scenarios. Some great one-liners here. FYI, this is completely lacking in sex scenes, but does have a little nudity.

While the Women Are Sleeping (2016) (Japanese Drama/Thriller) While taking a vacation with his wife, a novelist spots an older man (Takeshi Kitano) who is seemingly in a romantic relationship with a very young girl. The novelist becomes obsessed with their scandalous situation and systematically stalks them. Theres a sultry feel to this despite the lack of sex, and an ambient score adds to the tension. Very nicely shot and a bit creepy/perverted, with a noticeable lack of dialogue and a splash of surrealism. Probably a bit too artsy and odd for some viewers, but I enjoyed it.

Suicide Song (2007) (Japanese Drama/Comedy/Horror) (repeat viewing) When schoolgirls evaluate the power of ghosts by FIFA ranking and an epitaph spells ugRy, you can be pretty confident that youre watching a dramedy. Such is the case with this film about a number of schoolgirl suicides that may have been inspired by a pop song. Yes, the premise is very similar to Suicide Circle, but this title has almost no blood, choosing instead to pile on a genre-bending mix with some dry humor, a pinch of light horror, and even some melodrama near the end. This is an odd little film with a partial art-house vibe to it at times. Somehow, it all works. Even at 125 minutes, it chugs along rather quickly with the exception of a few slow patches during the middle section.

The Last Princess (2016) (Korean Drama/Thriller) Set mostly in the 1920s and 30s, this film is based on the life of Princess Deokhye, the last princess of the Joseon Dynasty. Similar to her father, she intentionally rebels against Japanese occupation by practicing traditional Korean etiquette, but is soon forced to move to Japan for study (i.e., to demoralize the Korean populace). This has a basic plot that gets really melodramatic near the end, but good production values, good direction (Jin-ho Hur), and a good lead actress (Ye-jin Son) make it enjoyable. Its always nice to see Je-moon Yoon play a bad guy too.

After the Storm (2016) (Japanese Drama) Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) wastes the money he makes as a private detective on gambling and can barely pay child support. This film by Hirokazu Koreeda is relevant because everyone knows someone like this in real life. Abe does a fine job in the lead role and Yoko Maki is an underappreciated actress, but this simplistic movie is too long at two full hours.

The Last Unicorn (1982) (American/Japanese Animated Fantasy Drama) A brave unicorn and a magician fight an evil king who is obsessed with attempting to capture the world's unicorns. This is a bit unorthodox and very slow-paced, but pretty good in terms of world-building. Not much of a story, but I liked the environments and overall feel, which is really what drives this anyways.

Not Recommended

The Curtain Rises (2015) (Japanese Drama) A group of highschool girls compete in a competition for drama-club plays. This movie tries hard to be dramatic but it lacks that spark to grab my interest. Every single character trait is communicated through dull-as-dirt dialogue. This is competently directed and acted, but its also conventional and completely unengaging. I simply didnt care, and at two full hours this is tough to sit through.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

I'm gonna bump While the Women Are Sleeping up my queue, or rather put it back on there.

By the way and a propos of nothing oh yeah, Japanese sci-fi:

Has anybody managed to see Sion Sono's The Whispering Star, which was just one of like five movies he put out last year? I was looking forward to that one, but I'm losing hope it will ever get subbed and get out.

Re: Sono's Whispering star

With all the Sono heads around here I'll bet you'll know in a timely manner when it's out. Someone posted here that they watched it on an airplane recently, I think, with english subs but since you can't search these forums I can't be sure.

And apropo of nothing oh yeah, Sono:

He's got another one around the corner as part of the 5 films Nikkatsu commissioned for the "Roman Porno Reboot Project" to mark the 45th anniversary of Nikkatsu's "Roman Porno" pink films produced from 1971 through 1988. A few of these (1,2,4) are getting positive reviews already from a number of angles and I'm looking forward to them.

1 Aroused by Gymnopedies | Gymnopedies ni Midareru (2016) - ISAO YUKISADA
2 Wet Woman in the Wind | Kaze ni Nureta Onna (2016) - AKIHIKO SHIOTA
3 Dawn of the Felines | Mesu Neko Tachi (2017) - KAZUYA SHIRAISHI
4 Anti-Porno | Anchi Poruno (2017) - SONO
5 White Lily (2017) - HIDEO NAKATA


Now I have to drink a bunch of coffee and write up my next review before midnight. Holy smokes! If you have absolute skilled brilliance in the middle, you can veer to the left and put people off with pretentious arthouse crap (Cafe Noir), or you can veer to the right and put people off with trite pop melodrama (If Cats Disappeared from the World). But the skilled brilliance remains undeniable. Like Cafe, this one took me three tries to get through.

Re: The Whispering Star

I saw The Whispering Star at a festival about six months ago it was a magical experience, in the sense that it takes a special kind of alchemy to make 100 minutes seemingly drag on for four or five hours! Actually, I shouldnt be too harsh about it. In my late-teens, when I was discovering and digging films like Zabriskie Point, I probably would have lapped this up, but nowadays, well, its not really for me. Heres what I wrote up previously:

The Whispering Star Hiso hiso boshi (2015) (Sion Sono) This ponderously meditative sci-fi will certainly divide viewers into love and hate' camps, with not many remaining in the middle ground Theres undeniable beauty and strength in the striking black and white images, plus some humour to be found in the quirkily retro set designs and the all-too-human frailties of the few AI characters that populate them, but all Sonos trademark craziness is muted to a whisper (both figuratively, and quite literally - nobody speaks above 30 decibels). This takes the idea of slow cinema to extremes - it was only 100 minutes, but man did those 100 minutes seem to take forever.

Re: The Whispering Star

Thanks for the review. Sounds eminently skippable I'm really not in the mood for some Bela Tarr **** but I may watch it anyway if it comes out. I'm just trying to like another Sion Sono movie besides Love Exposure, but I don't mind concluding that the guy is a one-hit wonder with a cult following around his other, bloodbath-comedy works.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

FYI Whispering Star just came out on torrent without subs, so it's a matter of time now, notwithstanding the tepid reviews.

If Cats Disappeared from the World [2016] Japan


There isn't really anything to spoil about this film but I may end up describing it in its entirety. You've been warned.

The TL;DR version:

A young postman has one day left to live and makes a Faustian deal to prolong his time on earth.

The full story:

First pass I watched some guy ride around on his bike with a cat in the front basket. There's voice-over narration of the ilk: "If I disappeared from this world who on earth would be sad for me". I thought: "Beginnings can be as hard as endings, maybe I should give it a chance". Nope. This music is unforgivable. PUNT!

But I'm a cat person and I still sort of love Miyazaki Aoi. I should at least watch it until she shows up.

Second pass The postman meets the devil who is played by the same actor. In order to differentiate himself from the meek and sweet postman, the devil actor bad eating-acts a potato chip. A Pringle, if I'm not mistaken. That's all it takes, folks: one potato chip. PUNT!


Thid pass I decided to jump forward for some Miyazaki love. I see her and the postman facing each other in front of a movie theater. She says: "If there were no phones then we wouldn't have met each other". He says: "I'm going to die tomorrow". She looks sad and says "So that's why " and the scene cuts away to the postman on a train with unforgivable music.


For unknown reasons I decided I needed to discover the context of such a ridiculous move, so I went back to the beginning and started over with my thumb on the mute button, index finger on the FF button.

Full disclosure. The film is 103 minutes long. I watched about 85 minutes of it, and listened to about 60. Keep that in mind.

The Big Picture:

If Cats Disappeared from the World isn't about cats. It's about:

- "If I disappeared from this world who on earth would be sad for me"
- "In order to gain something you have to lose something"
- "It'll just get harder to say farewell later"
- "Always show the good part of yourself"
- "Struggling and worrying are proof we're alive"

I'd rate the subtitles about a 6/10 (and the movie as a whole, btw), but you get the picture.

The photography is gorgeous. The director knows how to shoot film and seems steeped in film culture and criticism. There are occasional visual homages to other films, like the bridge in Buenos Aires from Wong Kar wai's Happy Together. I have a soft spot for that. There is also some interesting soundtrack work when the piano takes a break. There are also some nice uptempo fantastical scenes. I cried twice. I'm going to keep my eye on this director. I think he's got chops but I can't explain why he destroyed this film with such bullshît music.

So it's not about cats. It's about four things: phones, movies, clocks, and cats. The Faustian deal is that the devil will give the guy one extra day of life for each thing he can disappear from the world.

Phones are first. What the postman doesn't immediately realize is that the devil isn't just going to take them away, he is going to make it as though they never existed. Hence: "If there were no phones then we wouldn't have met each other". Sads. The postman runs to the movie theater where his ex-girlfriend works, yeah, Aoi is his ex, and she has no idea who he is. Double sads. The devil shows up and says:

Movies are second. Boom! The theater disappears. It turns out that the postman's best friend is a movie nut who works in a DVD rental shop. Oh no!

Dig this shenanigan: The friend, as these types are wont to do, has lent postman a movie everyday to watch to bring him up to speed on cinema. One of them was Metropolis. Cut to postman watching it. His phone rings. It's Aoi, but she has dialed the wrong number. She's about to hang up when she hears Metropolis playing in the background. She describes the scene to him and spoils the ending. Bond, much? They fall in love, etc.

The film is complex. This is where my love for it grows. The director juggles doppelgangers, flashbacks, dueling timelines, and top of the line coincidences deftly. This is one of those films that if you think about the central conceit too much it falls apart. You know, the way you can with most time travel flicks. Here the director doesn't lose points for doing all these things, he gets points for doing them well. That's hard.

Clocks are third. The postman's dad is a clocks-man. See what I mean? I kind of missed this part because of ickiness, I think. But I don't care. I didn't like the stereotypical, cold, Japanese dad anyway.

Cats are fourth. There's all kinds of mushiness about the postman and his dying (in a flashback), yes dying mom and cats. One named 'Lettuce', and one named 'Cabbage'.

Postman draws the line at cats.

If I'd have watched this before Himeanole, I might not have liked Himeanole as much. The guy who plays the movie nerd here played the lead weeny in Himeanole. He's pretty bad here and I can tell he's a single range actor/kid. That would have been a hurdle. Takeru Satoh, of Rurouni Kenshin fame plays the postman/devil. I think he does a good job as the postman. The devil, with his introductory bad eating-acting, not so much. Aoi Miyazaki is Aoi Miyazaki.


[update] OMG I forgot the part that kicked everything into high gear. At one point after all the clocks are gone, somehow one shows up, or something. It was a poignant for some reason, I don't remember. But the clock read 5:06. I looked at the clock on my wall. It was 5:06. Spooky cool!

Re: If Cats Disappeared from the World [2016] Japan

I really want to see this, so I'm going to skip your review for now. Where did you see it? Is it available on DVD/Blu-Ray?

Re: If Cats Disappeared from the World [2016] Japan

It's on Japanese Bluray from without english subs. You have to get fansubs for it if you need them. It will probably be a while before it's released in the west.

Re: If Cats Disappeared from the World [2016] Japan

Yeah, I'm afraid so. Maybe it will be available online. I wish I could see more Asian films in the theaters.

Re: If Cats Disappeared from the World [2016] Japan


Pretty hilarious review the parts that I scan-read anyway, because I might still watch it. This one was a big hit in Japan, was it not? [UPDATE: it was not.] When you think about, Japan is such a parallel universe; they were gobbling up Shin Godzilla, Your Name, One Piece Film: Gold and all these other manga adaptations/animes this year.

It's kind of sick how people take advantage of cats for box office like this, when the cat didn't even get a lead role.

So, you cried twice and it gets a six?

Re: If music disappeared from this movie

There's Cats Don't Come When You Call and The End of the World and the Cat's Disappearance that I still need to see. Yeah it's weird.

When a lot of film makers resort to trickery because they don't know how to tell a story, or because they want to open up dead ends to fool an audience, it's usually bad. This guy employed everything in the book and handled it well, like a juggling act. I applaud him for that. And the film looks great. But the fact that he was so wrong, and uncaring, frankly, with most of the soundtrack, it settles in at a 6.

Scenes of dying moms get me, especially when dishing out their final words of wisdom.

With a proper soundtrack this might have been a 9.032/10. Music is life.

You should check it out. It's kind of Korean in its execution. I think you'll agree that the piano nonsense blows chunks but I don't think it will ruin it for you the way it did me (ala After the Storm). And I don't think the Pringle scene will bother you . lol

Come to think of it, that kid from Himeanole is really really bad. No movie with a performance that bad can break the 9 barrier. 8.37945/10, tops.

Re: If Cats Disappeared from the World [2016] Japan

If Cats Disappeared from the World isn't about cats. It's about:

- "If I disappeared from this world who on earth would be sad for me"
- "In order to gain something you have to lose something"
- "It'll just get harder to say farewell later"
- "Always show the good part of yourself"
- "Struggling and worrying are proof we're alive"

Plus: There's Takeru Sato!

Now excuse me, I'm going to look for this pronto!

Moment of Peace-

Re: If Cats Disappeared from the World [2016] Japan

Takeru Sato, yes! He's so cute as Kenshin.

Re: If Cats Disappeared from the World [2016] Japan

Watch this if you can find a copy of it. Takeru Sato was awesome here. He displayed his versatility as an actor. And he had one breakdown scene (where he's talking to his mom) that's worth the awards.

Moment of Peace-

Re: If Cats Disappeared from the World [2016] Japan

I hope I can see it. I'm so happy he gets interesting roles. When I first saw him in Bloody Monday, I thought he was just a pretty face. I only saw a few episodes though. He's awesome as Kenshin and I really want to see this now.

By the way, I love films about losers/underachievers, too. They're my favorites.

Takeru Sato

I observed a couple of his interviews during their promotion for Rorouni Kenshin and I can see that he's got a likeable personality. I think he's a reserved type of guy, low-key, no air, simple. I think. Hehe.

Speaking of losers, there's a dearth of movies with that theme but since I have short-term memory, I'll recommend Koreeda's After the Storm. We had some discussions of it on this thread, if you can go back a few pages you can read our reviews. Hope you'll like it.

Moment of Peace-

Re: Takeru Sato

Oo, I'll look it up, thank you. Is it a drama, I'm actually more into comedy or dramedy in general. If you like romantic dramedy, I recommend Penny Pinchers (w/ Song Joong Ki). Another "loser" movie I saw recently was Detroit Metal City. It's very funny (especially in the first half). Ken'ichi Matsuyama is hilarious in it.

Re: If Cats Disappeared from the World [2016] Japan

I love the movie!!!!

I have a soft spot for movies with or about losers (hey don't look at me!) or those who think they are. To be honest, when I read your review I said "wut??" because I really didn't understand what you were blabbering (in the plot section) until I saw the movie and I read your review again and everything went into place.

I'm also on the other side re: the music. Is the music you hated the one where there's a drumlike intro? I loved it! Its sounds fitting for the lead's plight. I also loved the piano background.

I admired Takeru Sato here because he proved he's not just into samurai and swords, he can sure bring those tears! It's been a long time when a movie brought some moist in my eyes and in that scene where he was talking to his dying mom (infront of a beachthe screenshot alone deserves an award), wow, Takeru struck me. His acting was so heartfelt, he really exuded that tough boy look who cries infront of his mom. Superb. Especially if you have a breathtaking view of a beach right in front of you, and then you just observe the waves with the sound of the piano in the background. I had goosebumps.

And I agree with you on the bestfriend who played the lead guy in Himeanole! Why having seen his face the first time in this film, it was that awful look he exuded when it was their first time doing sex that registers in my brain. May the gods remove this image from my mind. Awful look.

I love this movie. There's full of cliches, but it was not cheesily done. Everything was just in order.

Moment of Peace-

Re: blabbering?

Hey yeah! Remember, I give this flick a 9.032/10 minus Himeanole guy having sex in your brain down to a 8.37945/10. That's a really good score. Oh, speaking of score minus the score = 6/10.

Any time there was drums, it was great. I think the part you're talking about is right after the phones disappear and there's world chaos. Nice visuals, too. That was fantastic soundtracking. It's only the solo piano wanking, which is the majority of the film, sometimes with strings, that angered me. That's not music. It's not something he picked out. It's lazy. He just hired a professional to have sex with that Himeanole guy on a piano and then used it for the soundtrack.

All kidding aside, it's me. I just 100% totally hate that kind of scoring. Nobody else should. And yeah, that scene on the beach, which also swung around back to the photo and Dad taking it. That whole bit made me cry. It's wonderful, confident, in-control, talented film making.

I'd love to be able to re-watch the film. I think it's masterful fluff. But I'll never be able to.

Like for Likes (Please Like Me) [2016] South Korea

So that I don't have to waste time with this:

A notoriously shrewish TV drama writer and a Korean wave star who fight like cats and dogs every time they meet; a spinster flight attendant landlady and a nosy chef tenant who build a sense of camaraderie; a genius relationship-virgin composer who harbors a secret admiration for a scatterbrained producer. As they crash-land into each others lives, will there be love?

This is not really a movie as much as a vehicle. The first scene is of one of the guys doing a commercial for moisturizer. Oh, the irony.

They didn't have the stuff for a rom-com so they threw three into a pot. I only liked the deaf guy and the scatterbrained producer girl.

Couldn't help thinking about other movies I wasn't watching because I was watching this. It has a few moments of entertainment but wouldn't it be pathetic if it didn't?

I will say: only in a krom-kom will you have an uncomfortable first-meet where the guy buckles over and says he has to take a dump and the girl invites him in to stink up her apartment like it's an everyday thing.

Don't go changin', Korea.

Re: Like for Likes (Please Like Me) [2016] South Korea

only in a krom-kom will you have an uncomfortable first-meet where the guy buckles over and says he has to take a dump and the girl invites him in to stink up her apartment like it's an everyday thing.

Lol. So true. Today's South Korea is like what would happen if Serbia and Japan's beach volleyball teams got drunk and hooked up. Which I wouldn't put past either of them.

I almost watched this one because it seems like core krom-kom, but my disgust with Facebook prevents me. It's like doing a vodka shot. I just. Can't.

Re: my disgust with Facebook prevents me

disgust with Facebook

Something else we have in common. I wonder if Facebook paid product placement fees. It was all over the flickwhich ended with all three couples and an addtional dad/son combo running through an airport. Oy!

The Priests in a Town Where Only I Am Missing

The Priests (Geomeun Sajedeul) Black Priests [2015] South Korea

The main exorcist dude is either going to be pure goodness and die or be of a questionable past used to distract viewers and not die. The K-boys went with option #2. The assistant exorcist dude will have a mistake in his past that the devil will use to tempt him. No new ground here. So the story doesn't matter. Two fine actors hold duty. Kim Yun-Seok and Gang Dong-Won, respectively, the latter looking younger than he did a decade ago when he starred in the best film ever made, M (2007). He must be moisturizing well.

The atmosphere is good, the acting is good, and but most of all, the demon is good, real good, imo. Too bad there are only a couple short scenes with her.

Another cool thing about this version of a film a bunch of us may have already seen a dozen times, is that when the priests go to do their thing they have to wait on the stairs while the shamans are doing their thing. The shamans finish and chat with the priests like collegues from any profession would. I may have to investigate Korean Shaman rituals a little because this one is also pretty cool like the one in The Wailing. Kick ass music and possession. There is also an only-from-the-Koreans moment of hilarity.

I can't recommend the film because the demon show isn't long enough and the ending isn't anything to write home to mom about. At least I didn't punt. Like I did with:

The Town Where Only I Am Missing (Bokudake ga inai machi) Erased [2016] Japan
I liked that guy in Battle Royale. I don't like him any more.

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Lately I haven't been in the mood for asian films

Apocalypse Now (1979)
I saw the theatrical version for the first time which is more entertaining and fast paced compared to the redux version, which I've seen around 10 years ago. I saw it high which made me feel like I was trapped in this hell that was Vietnam. Since this is a film that focus on the negative effects that war has on humans, it added to the experience watching it high. The war scenes are brutal and the best ever filmed. While this film feels like beeing stuck in hell as I've mentioned before, it also feels very realistic at the same time. At the end we can feel all the madness going on inside the characters' minds. The music makes the film more fun, and there's always some humour to contrast with all the darkness. "You either surf or fight!".
I really loved the darkness, the psychology and pretty much everything else in this film, it's one of the best ever.

Alien (1979)
Classic horror with a lot of iconic scenes, especially those in which the crew members face the alien. You can feel all the terror in their faces. The acting and the visual effects are very convincing. It is a bit slow but it knows how to build all the tension and that feels rewarding in the end. Ripley is also a very iconic character in film history and Sigourney Weaver's acting is excellent. I was entertained just from watching her and everyone's expressions. This film is one of the best in its genre.

Aliens (1986)
This used to be my favourite as a kid, but I think I prefer the original now. This is an excellent sequel, it has great action, a great structure, great visual effects for its time and the little girl gave a meaning to Ripley's actions in the end of the film, but it doesn't have the scary atmosphere and the memorable characters that the original film had. It's still awesome stuff and one of the best sequels ever that I can watch it a few more times in the future.

Alien³ (1992)
It's inferior to the previous films. This time we follow characters that are stuck in a prison with an alien, but it just doesn't have that feel from the original. I also didn't like the few scenes they used cgi for the alien, it looked so bad. It's a watchable sequel, mostly because Ripley is such a great character, but it isn't one to re-watch in the future. I watched the extended cut for the first time which made me care more for the characters.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
I didn't expect much from it, and yeah, it was boring and the plot was a mess. the protagonist wasn't good either and samuel l. jackson was terrible. overall this film lacks the magic that other films from this director had in the past.

RED (2010)
Good fun. it has the right amount of action sequences and light comedy. the cast is excellent and the characters share a lot of chemistry on screen making this film a fun time.

Basic Instinct (1992)
Hmm I loved the beginning and the introduction of sharon stone's character, but I didn't find the rest of the film that exciting. I also wanted to see more nudity. this is so far my least favourite film from this director.

Fright Night (1985)
Good fun.

The Lost Boys (1987)

It Follows (2014)
I watched it very late at night, the concept was so scary. The cinematography and score are pretty good too. It's my favourite american horror film of this decade.

Night of the Creeps (1986)
loved the couple fighting all the zombies, it was awesome. a few laughs here and there, but overall it wasn't that cool to be one of those cult films that everyone has to watch unless you're a fan of these 80s comedy/horror films
I also think it was funny that the characters had the same name of famous directors cronenberg, cameron, raimi it was so random and funny.

Blair Witch (2016)
the second half got very intense

Showgirls (1995)

The Nice Guys (2016)

The Accountant (2016)

Favourite films:

Train to Busan (2016)


*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Talking to a fellow IMDber about what his top film of 2016 was,I got told about a tantalising Korean Horror epic that he had seen at a film festival. Deciding to hold a 2016 Horror double bill viewing this weekend (with the other being the gritty Brit zombie title The Girl with All the Gifts) I booked a ticket for the Busan train.

The plot:

Putting all his attention on work, Seok-Woo barely sees his daughter Su-an.Sick of hardly seeing her dad,Su-an demands Seok-Woo to take her to Busan,so that Su-an can spend her birthday with her mum/his ex- wife. Taking it on the chin,Seok-Woo books the tickets for him and his daughter. Just before the train departs,a convulsing women jumps on the train.Noticing a large bite mark,Seok-Woo,Su-an soon find their destination to change from Busan to a zombie apocalypse.

View on the film:

Spending (most) of a two hour running time on a train,writer/director Sang-ho Yeon turns down a comfy seat to lay the track for a white-knuckle ride. Drawn away from Anima for his live action debut,Yeon & cinematographer Hyung-deok Lee brilliantly close the passengers to the chaos on board with ultra-stylish claustrophobic shots,which look from above at the limited room the passengers have for zombie-free air. Mounting up the zombies,Yeon brilliantly chews practical,in-camera effects with CGI shrieks,howling from Yeon keeping the gore to a minimum,to instead carve out an anxiety-drench Horror atmosphere,spun from the disturbing fast/slow spider-like movement of the undead.

Watching the world die out as they drive by,the screenplay by Yeon eats up spectacular horror set-pieces with precisely hit personal human tragedy. Taking pit stops on the way to the poetic final destination,Yeon rolls the zombies in with piles of them darting all over the empty stations,with the unlucky pick-ups the train makes leading to some tasty shocks. Looking in at every carriage,Yeon cleverly uses the sweet drama between Seok Woo and Soo-an (played by the fantastic Yoo Gong and Soo-an Kim) as a foundation to keeping a close watch at how everyone on the other carriages fight to keep the zombie train on track.

Re: Train to Busan (2016)


YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel

Re: Recently Seen, part 11 (March, 2016)

Secret Chronicle: She Beast Market (1974) - 3/5
Lost Love (1978) - 3/5
Heart, Beating in the Dark (1982) - 2/5
Tree Without Leaves (1986) - 4/5
Lupin the III: Castle of Cagliostro (1979) - 3/5
Floating Clouds (1955) - 2/5
Evil Spirits of Japan (1970) - 2/5
Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974 (1974) - 3/5