NY Asian Film Festival

Miami Connection

Editor’s Note: This review appeared as part of our coverage of the 11th Annual New York Asian Film Festival, and we’re bringing it back as the film opens this weekend in limited theatrical release. Anyone who lived through the decade knows the 80s were a hazardous and dangerous time to be alive… especially if you were part of a band spreading peace and a love of Tae Kwon Do through your music and kickass stage shows. Dragon Sound is just such a group, and when they’re hired as the house band at a popular club the musicians they replaced come looking for payback. The quite literal battle of the bands soon explodes into a violent conflagration involving drug running, murder and inspirational lyrics. And ninjas. Motorcycle-riding ninjas.


nyaff2012_king of pigs

Editor’s Note: This review appeared as part of our coverage of the 11th Annual New York Asian Film Festival, and we’re bringing it back to be part of our Fantastic Fest coverage. Animated films are traditionally the home of kiddie fare and pure entertainment, but on rare occasions filmmakers use the format to tell decidedly adult stories. Heavy Metal is probably the most notorious example, but even rarer are the animated films that attempt to tell truly dramatic tales about more than big boobed space warriors and horny robots. The Plague Dogs and When the Wind Blows are two fantastic examples of serious films with serious themes being told by way of animation. And now one more bleak, occasionally stunning and depressing as hell cartoon can be added to that short list. Kyung-min stands naked in the shower as his recently deceased wife sits dead at the kitchen table. Jong-suk suspects his wife is cheating on him and knocks her to the ground in his rage. The two men, once childhood friends, reunite after two decades apart to commiserate and reflect on their last year together in middle school. The year they discovered their place among the lowly, subservient pigs and the cruel, entitled dogs. The year they first noticed the small smile of tired acceptance worn by the defeated. The year they met Chul, a young boy who showed them how even a pig could fight back by matching brutality with brutality.



Editor’s note: This review originally ran as part of our coverage of the 11th Annual New York Asian Film Festival, but seeing as the film is also playing Fantastic Fest, we’ve decided to bring it back. Movie producers are a misunderstood cog in the film-making wheel, or at least that’s what To Wai-cheung (Chapman To) would like us to believe. He’s invited to talk to a group of film students who see producers purely as the money men of cinema, and he goes hoping to prove that they’re actually the hardest working people in show business. Producers are like pubes, he tells them, because their main purpose is to reduce friction between bodies. One of the students asks if he’s ever really had to sacrifice for the sake of his art, and To relates the hilarious, sad, sexy and disgusting story behind the making of his latest film. From story conception, casting and financing to production, editing and premiere, making a movie requires smarts, luck, persistence and flexibility. Oh, and sometimes, just sometimes, it might require sex with a mule. Maybe.


nyaff2012_you are the apple of my eye

The 11th Annual New York Asian Film Festival runs from June 29th through July 15th in NYC. Taiwan, 2011 North American Premiere 109 minutes, in Mandarin with English subtitles Directed by: Giddens Ko Starring: Michelle Chen, Ko Chen-tung, Owodog, Steven Hao, Wan Wan Teen sex comedies are often thought to be an American exclusive, but while Hollywood is the clear leader in the genre (for better or worse) they’re not the only ones dabbling in diddling. South Korea’s Sex Is Zero (my review here) is a great example of real heart and crass laughs working together successfully, but tonal issues in the third act might make it a difficult film for Western audiences to fully accept. Taiwan’s blockbuster You Are the Apple of My Eye is a bit more mainstream though as it tempers both the sexual hi-jinx and broad laughs in exchange for a romantic nostalgia for teenage relationships. Young love is a common theme that should transcend international borders, and if all else fails there’s a high ratio of masturbation strokes per minute to entertain and confound. The film opens with Ko-Tang (Zhendong Ke) preparing for a wedding, but it’s not immediately clear whose nuptials these are. To answer that question the movie jumps back in time to Ko-Tang’s high school days in 1994 where we’re introduced to his four closest friends and the girl they all loved. He and Tsao are the only guys to escape a nickname as the remaining three include the unfortunate Boner, A-Ho […]



The 11th Annual New York Asian Film Festival runs from June 29th through July 15th in NYC. South Korea, 2012 133 minutes, in Korean with English subtitles Directed by: Yun Jong-Bin Starring: Choi Min-Sik, Ha Jung-Woo, Jo Jin-Woong, Ko In-Beom South Korea existed beneath military dictatorships up until the 1980s, but that only encouraged black market dealings and illegal activity for illicit profit. In 1990 though, President Roh Tae-woo’s fledgeling democracy came out strong against organized crime and went so far as to declare war on the criminals behind it all. Caught up in the mass of arrests is the very unassuming Choi Ik-hyun (Choi Min-sik). He’s tasked with telling the police as much as he can about his time in Korea’s mafioso, but as his story unfolds from the beginning it becomes clear that Ik-hyun is either a criminal mastermind… or a bumbling idiot.

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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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