Thursday, 29 October 2015

Three Extremes 2 Review 2002 三更 Saam Gaang

Three... Extremes 2
Great suspenseful classic Asian horror... but not as good as the original!

Three Extremes 2 is a trilogy of short Asian horror films from veteran directors from South Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong. The full running time is 122 minutes.

Memories, from director  Kim Jee-woon(A Tale Of Two Sisters/A Bittersweet Life/I Saw The Devil) is a great supernatural and psychological horror following a man who keeps seeing disturbing visions of his missing wife, which his psychiatrist puts down to repressed memories of why his wife left him. Meanwhile, his wife awakens in an unknown street with no idea how she got there. 
A fun stylish horror film with an interesting story which never dulls while the two stories intertwine and the mystery unfolds.

The Wheel is a Thai film from Nonzee Nimibutr. And it is easily the worst of the 3 films. This is a period horror set in a small village. When an old puppet master dies, a curse is put on his puppets for anyone else who owns them. When someone comes along and finds the puppets, an evil curse starts.
This film didn't really grip me. No real plot or characters to care for and a dull ending which won't excite anyone.

And finally we have Going Home, from one of the great Hong Kong directors Peter Chan(Comrades/Perhaps Love/The Warlords). Although better than The Wheel, it doesn't quite reach Memories.
Going Home follows a man called Wai and his son, after they move in to a new apartment block they begin to notice they have a strange neighbour and a lot of freaky stuff happening including a strange girl and all the vacant apartment doors opening themselves. Things take a turn for the worse when they discover their neighbour Yu has preserved his dead wife's body...

Fun set of films, with a different theme and style for each film to keep you entertained. A little bit of everything for everyone to enjoy. Unfortunately, The Wheel brings it down, and overall it doesn't quite meet the height of the other Three Extremes... Which is a masterpiece.


Note. "Three Extremes 2" was released first in 2002 as "Three". And the Sequel "Three Extremes" was 2004 but released worldwide first.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

A Snake Of June Review 2002 Japan

This is what 50 Shades of Grey wishes it was

Third Window Films is the one of the leading distributors in Asian Cinema in the UK. Some of their greatest releases have been the Shinya Tsukamoto Blu-rays. Some of which haven't been released anywhere else in the world in High Definition. And even better, Tsukamoto works with Third Window Films and supervises the brand new digital restorations.

Most people will have heard of or seen Tetsuo The Iron Man. Well if you have seen Tetsuo you will know exactly how wild amd strange a Tsukamoto film can be. Well, you haven't seen anything yet!

Rinko (Asuka Kurosawa from Cold Fish) and Shigehiko (novelist Yuji Kotari) are a strange couple, whose physical mismatch (she a lithe beauty, he an overweight, balding, obsessive-compulsive neurotic) is reflected in the complete lack of intimacy between them. They connect as human beings, but they live more like friends than as lovers and lead nearly independent lives. Both seem comfortable with this coexistence, but the desires that lurk beneath its surface are brought out with the introduction of a third element into the equation. When Rinko receives a package of candid photographs of herself masturbating and the sender (played by Tsukamoto himself) contacts her with the threat of exposing them to her husband, she submits herself to the anonymous voyeur's sexual games. If she wishes to get hold of all the negatives and prints, Rinko is to comply with a set of assignments that place her constantly on the borderline between humiliation and pleasure - the voyeur knows exactly what Rinko's personal erotic fantasies are and makes her act them out one by one. (Taken from

Japanese auteur Shinya Tsukamoto delivers a stunning, thought provoking, erotic thriller... Unlike anything you have ever seen. This is what 50 Shades of Grey wishes it was.

 50 Shades of Blu

A Snake Of June really looks stunning on Blu-ray, I can't emphasize that enough. The blue tint monochrome filter gives the film original and stand out cinematography. It is beautiful to look at! This film has only been released on DVD for years, so it's great to see it finally get the treatment it deserves. Restored video, audio, and some great special features.

There is a highly informative and interesting audio commentary with Tom Mes who is an acclaimed writer on Japanese cinema. This is a great insight in to the film and director Tsukamoto. There is also a brand new sit down interview with the director himself.

Another fantastic release for Third Window Films. A must have for Japanese cinema collections.


#aSnakeOfJune #六月の蛇 #ShinyaTsukamoto #Thirdwindowfilm

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Daisy Review 2006 South Korea

A South Korea/Hong Kong Film directed by Andrew Lau(Infernal Affairs) and starring Jun Ji-hyun(My Sassy Girl), Jung Woo-sung(The Good, The Bad and The Weird) and Lee Sung-jae(Public Enemy).

Set in Amsterdam, Daisy is the story of a love triangle. Hye-young(Gianna Jun) is a street artist, painting portraits of people for money. She meets Jeong-woo(Lee Sung-jae) one afternoon when he asks her to draw his portrait. Jeong-woo is secretly chasing Asian criminals and uses this time to scope the area in a busy town centre. The other man is Park Yi(Jung Woo-sung) who is a hitman that has secretly loved Jeong-woo for years. Both men hide their true identity from Hye-young until their paths cross and everything starts to unravel.

Daisy is a romance melodrama thriller... With a hint of action. It really is genre busting with many different layers. If you like your Korean melodramas and your like your Korean Thrillers and Action films, then why not combine them? Also, it looks very sleek with stunning cinematography and editing. But, it is Andrew Lau, so you expect that!

Jun Ji-hyun steals the show, but she really is a wonderful actress. After My Sassy Girl, I think she will always be my favourite Korean actress, she is extremely talented and captivating in all of her roles.

There are 2 different versions. The 2 hour long directors cut or the faster paced 1 hour 40 mins original version. Both versions differ and have a slightly different ending. I think the 1 hour 40 mins version flows better, but they both have their positive points!


#Daisy #데이지 #AndrewLau #junjihyun #JungWoosung #LeeSungjae

Friday, 23 October 2015

The Search For Weng Weng Review 2013

Good things come in small packages

I had been waiting on this film for years. Following it's progress online, through it's ups and downs. So I have no idea why it took me so long to buy the DVD when it was released, shame on me.

What an incredible documentary! Definitely one of the best I have seen for years.

For those who aren't aware of who Weng Weng is. In the 80s he was a dwarf movie star in Filipino exploitation action films. His biggest hit film being 'For Your Height Only'(James Bond spoof) which got him worldwide recognition. Weng had another hit with The Impossible Kid. Then he seemed to vanish from our screens.

The Search For Weng Weng is a documentary by Andrew Leavold. An Australian who was so obsessed with Weng Weng he decided to travel to the Philippines to discover more about the film star.

Weng Weng gives the documentary a thumbs up!

For the fans of Weng Weng, this is an eye opener because his life has always been a mystery, we didn't even know his real name, or how many films he had made, where he had came from or went to. It was all a bit of a mystery. But this film is not just for Weng Weng fans. This is for all fans of film. It's an extremely interesting look in to the crazy world of cinema.

What started out as a trip to the Philippines to discover more about Weng Weng turns in to an incredible 7 year journey which is pretty unbelievable.

Check this one out! Highly recommended!

The Search for Weng Weng is on!


For a full review of the Weng Weng classic For Your Height Only I wrote in May 2012 click here

#TheSearchForWengWeng #WengWeng #ForYourHeightOnly #AndrewLeavold

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Comrades: Almost A Love Story Review 1996 Hong Kong

What a marvellous film! Hong Kong drama at it's finest!

2 years ago when I was in Hong Kong I visited Madame Tussauds. I sat on the back of Leon Lai's bike... But I had no idea why haha.

Fast forward to now. I found out that it was from a film but I had a hard time tracking down a copy with English subtitles(that didn't cost a small fortune). But I finally got it!

And what a film it was! I often hear this ranked very high in the best Hong Kong films, and rightfully so. It is brilliant! 

If you enjoy Hong Kong cinema. But the more human drama story telling side. Then watch this one! You will laugh, you will cry, you will feel.

Maggie Cheung gives an outstanding performance, the best of her career by far.
A real truthful, complicated, emotional tale of love and fate.

Plus an outstanding soundtrack featuring songs by Teresa Teng, who is also involved in a Subplot. If you don't know who Teresa is then this film will introduce you. If you already like Teresa Teng then you will love the involvement of the singer in the story.

Everyone needs to see this film! 

I pray it gets the remastered Blu-ray treatment.


#ComradesAlmostALoveStory #甜蜜蜜 #LeonLai #MaggieCheung #EricTsang #KristyYang

Monday, 19 October 2015

Happy Together Review Wong Kar Wai 1997 Hong Kong

Sometimes lost between Chungking Express/Fallen Angels and In The Mood For Love. Happy Together is every bit as energetic, poetic and important!

Happy Together follows Lai Yiu-Fai(Tony Leung) and Ho Po-Wing(Leslie Cheung) who move to Argentina to try and reignite and fix their relationship. However their troubles return after a failed trip to a waterfall and their on/off relationship is on the rocks and severely tested this time.

Such a simple bare plot results in a complicated story. An often confusing love story yet most will be able to relate with the feeling of being stuck and drawn back in to a past relationship.

WKW and frequent cinematographer Christopher Doyle really make the location of Buenos Aires in to a world of their own. The colours are rich and vibrant, and the streets and salsa clubs are energetic and alive.

Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung both give stunning performances. Leung's being the more sympathetic role, with one scene in particular which will have you fighting back the tears.

An extremely important and relevant film from WKW and Hong Kong cinema during it's peak.
This Kino International bluray release has amazing picture quality and sound, and it is completely region free! It also features a 45 minute interview/Q&A with Wong Kar-Wai. And an hour long documentary which is a hybrid of a making of and deleted scenes. Both very interesting.

Another stunning must see film in the Wong Kar-Wai catalogue.


Check out the trailer below for a sample of how stunning this film really looks!

#HappyTogether #春光乍洩 #WongKarWai #TongLeung #LeslieCheung #Bluray

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Breathless Review 2008 South Korea

Fascinating, moving and haunting Korean film about a loan shark and a high school girl who become friends and bond over their similar situations with abusive fathers.

A great low budget story with excellent performances from both leads. Their performances make this film even more special. The loan shark played by Yang Ik-june will go down as one of the meanest hardmen in screen history... Yet, you can't help but feel for him. The story and the character will stay in your thoughts long after the film is finished.

Brilliant realistic modern Korean drama released in the UK by Terracotta Distributions. The 2 disc version comes with plenty of extras including interviews with the director and actors. A Q&A from London Film Festival. An interesting video diary with the cast going to Rotherham film festival. Trailers and more!

Breathless has won the Grand Prize at the 2009 Tokyo Filmex, the Silver Screen Award at the 2009 Singapore International Film Festival and the Tiger Prize at the 2009 Rotterdam International Film Festival. And the official selection at Edinburgh Film Festival(Great to see Scotland make the cover ).


#Breathless #똥파리 #YangIkjune #KimKkotbi #JungManSik #terracottadistribution

Friday, 16 October 2015

Moebius Review 2013 South Korea

Imagine Visitor Q mixed with Antichrist.

Moebius is the story of a dysfunctional family. The mother has been driven mad by her adulterous husband. After she catches him in the act, she retaliates with an act of revenge. An extremely bloody psychotic act of revenge. The father and son have to deal with the consequences and aftermath after the mother leaves which results in grief, torture, guilt and lust while they question their own sexual desires.

And all of this is told without one line of dialogue in the entire film.

I can't tell if Kim Ki-duk is a genius. Or if he has actually lost the plot!

There is no way to sugar coat it. This is a highly disturbing, twisted, brutal, perverted, controversial film. But it is also enthralling, entertaining and completely unforgettable. It's a truly innovative piece of cinema.

It really has to be seen to be believed. And I don't want to spoil it for anyone because if you are going to watch it it's best going in without knowing what you are about to witness. Be warned though, if you are squeamish, this definitely isn't for you.

The UK release by Terracotta has an informative interview with lead actor Seo Young-ju. And also an entertaining Q&A with the same actor at the Terracotta Far East Film Festival in London.


#Moebius #KimKiDuk #SouthKorea

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Sparrow Review Hong Kong 2008 Johnnie To

Johnnie To delivers an unusual and remarkable caper film in Sparrow.

Unlike most of the popular and acclaimed To films, don't go in expecting an action crime film with stylish shoot out scenes. There are no guns in sight and no "typical" action, unless you count cleverly executed pick pocketing scenes as action, but the film still flies by! The hour and a half run time was over before I knew it.

Visually this is Johnnie To's best looking film, interesting stylish cinematography set over some of the best Hong Kong locations. And a slick soundtrack to match composed by French musican Xavier Jamaux. The music and visuals really make this film come alive.

It's really style over substance in Sparrow, but all in the best way. It's a simple story about pickpockets, very basic and not too much dialogue, but it is stunning and it has a fantastic exciting finale in the rain which will captivate you.


The 3 disc version from Terracotta Distributions comes with a bonus disc full of special features including a well made documentary about the director, interviews with the cast, footage from the press conference and more. And the 3rd disc is the full original soundtrack!

#Sparrow #JohnnieTo #文雀 #HongKong

Salute! Sun Yat-Sen Review (Meeting Dr. Sun) Taiwan 2014

A hilarious Taiwanese heist caper film.

Tired of being poor and being forced to pay his high school tuition fees, Lefty and a few of his classmates conduct a plan... Steal an abandoned  giant bronze statue of Sun Yat-Sen(father of Republican China) from their school storage and sell it for cash. Their scheme meets some unexpected hurdles when another class mate gets a hold of their plans. Let the heist and a battle of wits commence.

I wasn't aware that Yee Chin-yen was a multi award nominated and winning director. So the film caught me by surprise with how great it looked. A very bright and colourful film with the sunlit backgrounds, it's a real summer feeling film.

This is a coming of age teen drama, which is genuinely funny, interesting and exciting. It's a multi-layered comedy but with social and political undertones. And a rally cry for the Taiwanese youth of today!

Also, you can't forget about the masks, they actually sold the film to me by being so eye catching. The masks shot over the urban backgrounds look so fresh and interesting. I want one!

Released in the UK by Facet Film Distribution, the DVD also features an interview with the director and a behind the scenes featurette.