NYAFF

NYAFF 2014

NYAFF 2014 runs June 27-July 14 in New York City. Follow all of our coverage here. If there’s one takeaway from Yoshihiro Nakamura‘s (Fish Story, Golden Slumber) latest film it’s that people are the same the world over. More specifically, people are horrible the world over. The Snow White Murder Case explores this phenomenon by way of a vicious murder and the equally brutal savaging of the prime suspect in the court of public opinion via social media and TV “news.” A woman’s dead body is discovered in a park after being stabbed multiple times and set on fire. Akahoshi Yuji (Ayano Gô), a low-level assistant on a true crime news show, is approached by an old school friend who was the victim’s co-worker at a big cosmetic company and is in the mood to reluctantly share gossip. Seeing it as a possible career-maker, Yuji begins teasing the revelations on Twitter as a lead-up to producing an episode of the show focused on the highly publicized case. Interviews with other employees lead him to a possible suspect in the shy and “odd” Shirono Miki (Inoue Mao) whose disappearance, conspicuously timed to right after the murder of the beautiful and beloved Miki Noriko (Nanao), confirms her guilt to strangers and acquaintances alike. The Snow White Murder Case explores a sensational crime by way of the hunt for and public persecution of the prime suspect, and it does it all without once touching on the police investigation. Instead, while the characters are busy condemning and […]

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NYAFF 2014

NYAFF 2014 runs June 27-July 14 in New York City. Follow all of our coverage here. Hong Kong action films often come with two promises. There will be action, and it will most probably be ludicrous. Smart screenplays are always appreciated of course, but there’s nothing wrong with a fun, creatively violent action flick that entertains in its sincere goofiness. That balance between the ridiculous and the fun is important though when the film is also trying to be serious. Firestorm is trying to be serious, and those intentions constantly clash with the physics-ignorant action sequences, frequently dumb writing and the near-constant display of unimpressive CGI. A team of professional criminals is making a mockery of the police department through a series of daytime heists that leave bloodshed and massive property damage in their wake. Inspector Lui (Andy Lau) is a rule-follower, but he quickly learns that “proper” police-work may not be enough to stop the violence in the streets of Hong Kong. He decides to play dirty out of necessity, but the bad guys are far more experienced at the game.

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NYAFF 2014

NYAFF 2014 runs June 27-July 14 in New York City. Follow all of our coverage here. Being a member of an elite police surveillance team requires more than a few skills, and Yoon-joo (Han Hyo-ju) thinks she has what it takes. She’s observant and aware of her surroundings, she knows how to blend in to a crowd and she’s capable of defending herself if necessary. Her only weakness really is a refusal to follow orders when it means letting an innocent person suffer, whether they be partner or passerby. Her skills are put to the test when a brash and brutally effective team of bank robbers starts targeting the city’s financial institutions leading to deadly confrontations. Her boss, Chief Detective Hwang (Sol Kyung-gu) believes his team is up to the task, but when the criminal mastermind known only as James (Jung Woo-sung) catches their eye he realizes too late that some of them may be in over their heads. Cold Eyes is a simply-plotted but fantastically entertaining thriller that manages impressive action sequences and scenes of suspense alongside character development and a sense of humor. It shouldn’t be a difficult combination, but so few films seem capable of finding that balance as well as this one.

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NYAFF 2014

NYAFF 2014 runs June 27-July 14 in New York City. Follow all of our coverage here. It’s hard out there for a teenager. (By “out there” I mean Hong Kong, and by “teenager” I mean teenagers, obviously.) Present day Hong Kong is no different in that regard from any other big city. Teens of all stripes run rampant through the urban streets getting into trouble the way kids are prone to do, but today’s world offers tribulations well beyond the ones faced by their street-walking predecessors. Relationships are born, experienced and ended through technology for its convenience but also for the distance it creates. Kids who feel marginalized by society or ignored by parents find new value and meaning in minor rebellions and ignoble acts of protest, all the while unaware of the the damage they’re doing to themselves and those around them. May We Chat is really two films, two halves at least that don’t truly gel together in any meaningful fashion. One offers a vivisection on the modern teen world, warts and all, not in an effort to explain but instead simply to identify. The other attempts to place those exposed characters into a dangerously violent plot highlighting the new reality. Garishness replaces understanding, and we’re left with little more than amateur exploitation.

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NYAFF 2014

NYAFF 2014 runs June 27-July 14 in New York City. Follow all of our coverage here. Pan (Xu Zheng) just wants to go home. After a hard stretch of work — he’s a lawyer who used sleazy tactics to get his cop-killing, falcon-poaching client off — he just wants to leave this Podunk town in rural China behind and get back to Beijing. His amoral and unapologetic client, known only as Boss (Duo Bujie), claims to not have Pan’s full fee so the lawyer takes his car as collateral and heads out on what should be a simple drive across part of the Gobi desert. Of course it ends up being anything but simple. A run-in with a pair of vindictive truckers sets in motion a chain of events that sees him running afoul of Boss’ henchman, some rest stop scam artists and eventually of Boss himself. Pan keeps moving forward in the belief that his position in society, his superior attitude and his cash-filled wallet are all he needs to thrive, but he soon discovers he’ll need more than that if he wants to survive. No Man’s Land feels at times like a Chinese desert-set After Hours with vehicular mayhem replacing Cheech and Chong, and it’s as good as that sounds. Director Ning Hao‘s latest is an exciting and energetic romp across a gorgeous yet deadly landscape that manages both surface-level thrills and a deeper, more vicious commentary on modern-day China.

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NYAFF

NYAFF 2014 runs June 27-July 14 in New York City. Follow all of our coverage here. Tin (Lau Ching-wan) and Wai (Nick Cheung) are detectives in the Hong Kong police’s narcotics department, and after years of investigation they’re about to make a major arrest. Just as they’re busting in the doors though they get word from above to halt the operation as the opportunity to nab a much bigger fish has become available. The cops are understandably frustrated, but none more so than Chow (Louis Koo) who’s been undercover in the criminal organization for two years and desperately wants to return to his wife. He’s coerced into staying on the job through a combination of duty and guilt-tripping, and soon the new investigation leads them to Thailand and their new target, a man named Eight-faced Buddha (Lo Hoi-pang) who’s far more cautious and dangerous than they anticipated. A meet is arranged, but it goes horribly awry leaving the three cops — best friends since childhood — in a violently fractured state. Director Benny Chan‘s The White Storm will initially feel familiar to fans of films like Infernal Affairs or South Korea’s New World, but the story moves beyond that setup into some dramatically different directions. It’s a story of brotherhood, friendship and honor, and if you think those themes in a Hong Kong film automatically mean it will include some cheesy melodrama, well, you’re right. But it’s kept somewhat to a minimum here, and even better? It’s overshadowed by some truly spectacular gun […]

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nyaff best drug war

The 2013 New York Asian Film Festival runs June 28 – July 15. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area and interested in tickets check out the official NYAFF page here, but if not feel free to follow along with us as we take a look at several of the movies playing the fest this year. As the name implies the festival presents new and select films from several countries including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Our fifth and final look at the films of NYAFF 2013 explores the wars being fought on the front lines of three very different battlefields.

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nyaff lesson of the evil

The 2013 New York Asian Film Festival runs June 28 – July 15. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area and interested in tickets check out the official NYAFF page here, but if not feel free to follow along with us as we take a look at several of the movies playing the fest this year. As the name implies the festival presents new and select films from several countries including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Our fourth look at the films of NYAFF 2013 examines the evils that men (and women) do in the name of fame, madness and love.

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nyaff helter skelter

The 2013 New York Asian Film Festival runs June 28 – July 15. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area and interested in tickets check out the official NYAFF page here, but if not feel free to follow along with us as we take a look at several of the movies playing the fest this year. As the name implies the festival presents new and select films from several countries including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Our third look at the films of NYAFF 2013 takes a detour into the dark side with death, dismemberment and some horrifically damaged psyches.

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nyaff best bullet vanishes

The 2013 New York Asian Film Festival runs June 28 – July 15. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area and interested in tickets check out the official NYAFF page here, but if not feel free to follow along with us as we take a look at several of the movies playing the fest this year. As the name implies the festival presents new and select films from several countries including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Our second glimpse into the films of NYAFF 2013 explores three period pieces infused with old-school action and personality.

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nyaff 1st

The 2013 New York Asian Film Festival runs June 28 – July 15. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area and interested in tickets check out the official NYAFF page here, but if not feel free to follow along with us as we take a look at several of the movies playing the fest this year. As the name implies the festival presents new and select films from several countries including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Our first glimpse into the films of NYAFF 2013 explores three movies that share an affinity for sex and all the joys and troubles those little deaths bring.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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