News from the East

for those of you that don't regularly peruse the web site, here are some interesting items about things Asian…

Editor's Picks  

aigakikoeru (Japan Version)
Picked By Sanwei  (See all picks by this editor)

KOKIA ~ Japan's Songbird

There's something inherently cheesy about referring to a singer as a songbird, but that is exactly the feeling KOKIA evokes. Her soft music and beautiful vocals seem to dance in the air like notes at one with nature. Though her compositions are always simple, the delicate variations in arrangement and vocal style make her melodies unique, graceful, and quietly grand. Her songs almost always succeed in creating an encompassing mood, which probably explains why they are so often selected for anime soundtracks.

KOKIA's most recent album aigakikoeru ~ listen for the Love was first released in France in November 2006, and then in Japan earlier this year. Title track aigakikoeru (Track 10) is the… [read more]

Green Snake (DTS Version)
Joey Wang | Maggie Cheung | Vincent Zhao | Tsui Hark (Director)
Picked By Koh So  (See all picks by this editor)

Imagination gone wild

Tsui Hark's Green Snake is simultaneously revered and reviled, and honestly, it's not hard to see why. Sublimely beautiful Hong Kong Cinema icons Joey Wong and Maggie Cheung star as a pair of immortal snakes who attempt to circumvent the natural order by attaining human form, thereby pissing off the local Buddhists, including Zhao Wen Zhou (a.k.a. Chiu Man Cheuk, Vincent Zhao, and probably a few other names), who plays Fa Hoi, an exceptionally powerfully monk whose devotion is tested by his own earthly desires. Though the two snakes' human lives don't really cause anyone grief, it's the human foibles – love, anger, lust, jealousy, intolerance – which serve to bring their paradise-on-Earth crashing… [read more]

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 Ceriseno  |  UniG  |  Koh So  |  Sanwei 
Feature Articles More Feature Articles

Kon Satoshi: Animated Filmmaking with a Dash of Paprika
Written By Mike Crandol

A marching band of giant frogs leads a procession of anthropomorphic kitchen appliances, Hinamatsuri dolls, and various international landmarks on a destructive trek through the streets of downtown Tokyo. A young woman dressed as the Monkey King unsuccessfully attempts to halt the proceedings. She transforms into a winged pixie and engages an enormous tree in a battle of wills. Hiding from her adversary inside a painting of Oedipus, she flees in the guise of a sphinx, only to suddenly find herself underwater, where she is now a mermaid being pursued by a giant whale… If this free-association narrative sounds like some kind of feverish dream, well, that's precisely the… [read more]

Ang Lee: A Recipe for Success
Written By James Mudge

Ang Lee captured the Best Director Oscar at the Academy Awards 2006 for Brokeback Mountain, which also triumphed under the categories of Best Original Score and Adapted Screenplay. Previously, the film scored a number of significant wins, including the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival and the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture-Drama and Best Director. For director Ang Lee, the film represents the latest success in a career studded with such achievements, with many of his works having won accolades at festivals and awards ceremonies around the world. Lee is undoubtedly the most successful Asian director working in Hollywood today, and one of the few to be equally… [read more]

Review Highlights

The Delightful Forest (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Tin Ching (Main Cast) | Chang Cheh (Main Cast) | Ti Lung (Main Cast) | Yu Fung (Main Cast)

The Delightful Forest is a rare 1972 Shaw Brothers classic directed by the legendary Chang Cheh (responsible for countless genre masterpieces such as One-Armed Swordsman and Five Venoms) and with martial arts choreography from the equally renowned Lau Kar Leung (who has worked on the likes of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Mad Monkey Kung Fu), which has long been a much sought after item for fans and which now finally makes a welcome appearance on DVD. The film is yet another adapted from the 14th century Chinese epic Outlaws of the Marsh, which the studio has mined on a number of other occasions for similar tales of honour, heroism and brotherhood.

The film follows the character Wu Song… [read more]

Naraka 19 (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Gillian Chung (Main Cast) | Patrick Tam (Main Cast) | Tam Chun Yin (Main Cast) | Vincy Chan (Main Cast)

Based on a popular Internet novel, Naraka 19 is Hong Kong's latest attempt at the youth-targeted horror film, and is dressed up with pseudo-psychological themes and generous helpings of CG. Carol Lai (The Floating Landscape) directs this labored, but still intriguing effort, which stars one of those ever-popular Twins girls. Gillian Chung is the Twin du jour this time; Chung plays Rain, a perfect-complexioned princess who checks into a college dormitory suite along with pals Mandy (Bonnie Xin), Violet (new EEG starlet Vincy), and Eva (Maggie Li). The suite is your standard used-and-abused four-person room, except this place comes with bad karma: back in 1997, bohemian stud Gao Yuan (Jones Xu… [read more]

Little Brother (Hong Kong Version)
Park Ji Bin (Main Cast) | Bae Jong Ok (Main Cast) | Lim Tae Hyung (Director)

Based on a true story, Little Brother marks the debut feature of Korean director Lim Tae Yong and is another in the ever popular family melodrama genre. This time around, the film focuses on the familiar subject of life threatening illness, as a twelve year old boy called Han Byeol (Seo Dae Han) is hospitalised with a brain tumour, leaving his aggressive and mischievous younger brother Han Yi (talented young actor Park Ji Bin, also in A Family to try and cope in his absence. With his parents (played by Bae Jong Ok and Park Won Sang) all but ignoring him, the poor lad makes his best efforts to get their attention, while slowly coming to terms with the sad situation.

Director Lim doesn't waste… [read more]

The Tiger Blade (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Luengsuntorn Atsadawut (Main Cast) | Wachilabunjong Pongput (Main Cast) | Phisarayabud Phimonrat (Main Cast)

2005 Thai action flick Tiger Blade is proving to have some surprisingly good legs. The first film from young upstart studio Mono Film was a hit in its homeland and has slowly been making its way around the world ever since. A Canadian DVD release a while back was followed by a Japanese, Luc Besson's Europa Corp has picked it up and now there's a new Hong Kong DVD. And the reason for its long shelf life is simple. Tiger Blade is a pure guilty pleasure. The plot line is unnecessarily convoluted and complicated, the CGI work is below standards, some of the action is shot too close and edited too fast and there are massive plot and character holes. This is all true. But, damn it, what it … [read more]

Paprika (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Kon Satoshi (Director of Animation)

Perhaps more than any other filmmaker working today, Japan's Satoshi Kon is an explorer of the subconscious mind. While Tokyo Godfathers stands as an exception to the rule, Kon's work is overwhelmingly concerned with questions of memory, perception and identity. It is territory that Kon works better than anyone else working today and he is in fine form with Paprika, which may very well be his finest work to date.

Adapted from a popular novel of the same name, Paprika revolves around a group of experimental scientists who have developed a new psychiatric tool. Known as the DC Mini, the device allows a treating doctor to enter directly into their patient's dream, interacting with them to diagnose… [read more]

Goraku (Variety) (Japan Version)
Tokyo Incidents (Tokyo Jihen)

A Tokyo Jihen album is always thought to be a Shiina Ringo album in disguise because she has a say in every single aspect of the album. However, that assumption is proven wrong with Variety, their long-awaited third album after the rock diva took a short hiatus for her own solo album. While Shiina did pen the lyrics for a majority of the songs this time, she actually left the music aspect to other band members for the first time in the band's short history. The titles of Tokyo Jihen albums are often accurate: Their first album Kyoiku ("Education") shows the band trying to find its footing with raw rock tracks done mostly in one take; their second album Adult is an experiment in infusing big … [read more]

Browse more Reviews in:
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Entertainment News
October 16th, 2007
12th Pusan International Film Festival

This year's Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) was the most talked about in the festival's twelve-year history. Despite the unwelcome visit from typhoon Krosa, the festival pulled in a record high number of 200,000 visitors and screened a total of 275 films from 64 nations – the most in its history.
[Read more]

12th Pusan International Film Festival
Top Chinese Stars Stage Year-End Concerts

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About mikeymikez

Interested in music, film, good books and Korean culture.
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1 Response to News from the East

  1. Rosie Lou says:

    I read about Paprika somewhere, it looks quite good 🙂

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