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English subtitled trailer for Korean action flick SHOWDOWN

It’s not exactly usual for a Korean movie trailer to be released with English subs, but we’ll take the fact that ones cropped up online - for Park Hoon-jeong-I’s period action movie The Showdown (aka Bloody Fight) - is a welcome bonus.

Showdown marks Park’s first time as director, but his previous movie credits include being the brains behind the script for Kim Ji-woon’s bloody revenge flick ‘I saw the Devil.’ A man of many talents - we have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more from Mr Park. Showdown opened in Korea last Friday, and as this trail smacks of being a promo video for nabbing overseas sales, we’ll hopefully see it crop up closer to home soon.

Synopsis: In the 11th year of Kwang Hae-gun, Jo-seon soldiers go to war with China after an invasion. In the middle of Manchu, three soldiers who have barely survived are cornered by the Chinese forces, and begin a bloody battle not with their enemies but with each other.

 

Showdown trailer

Korean Times review of Showdown 

TAJOMARU: AVENGING BLADE - DVD review

Director: Hiroyuki Nakano. Review: Adam Wing.

With a glimmering blade in hand, we head back to the forest for more swordplay shenanigans and epic romance. Loosely based on Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s short stories ‘Rashomon’ and ‘In A Grove’ (most famously adapted for the screen by Akira Kurosawa in 1950), Tajomaru stars Shun Oguri (Sukiyaki Western Django), Kyosuke Yabe (Samurai Zombie) and Hiroyuki Ikeuchi (Ip Man), available now on R2 DVD courtesy of Manga Entertainment.

Two brothers, Naomitsu and Nobutsuna Hatakeyama, are born into a wealthy and powerful family and both destined for greatness. However, when the father of their lifelong friend dies, a decree is made that has a profound effect on all their lives. The conditions of the decree force Nobutsuna to betray his brother by taking Ako as his own in order to inherit her late father’s wealth and position. However, driven by his love for Ako, Naomitsu gives up his life of privilege and instead flees with her into the remote forested mountain region where he believes they will be safe. It sounds simple on paper but to say Hiroyuki Nakano’s delivery is confused is like suggesting that Donnie Yen knows how to do romance...Continue reading review.

Tajomaru trailer

New stills from Joe Cornish’s ATTACK THE BLOCK

Take some gritty, inner city urban sprawl. Add in a dash of teen gang culture, some horror, some comedy and you have all the ingredients for Joe Cornish’s Alien invasion movie - with a British twist - Attack the Block. The Movies due to open in the UK this coming May, so we’ll expect to se a lot more soon, but news on some first pics from the film have just landed in our lap, so it would be selfish not to share. Head for the links.

Synopsis: It’s inner city versus outer space. From the producers of SHAUN OF THE DEAD and SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD comes ATTACK THE BLOCK, a fast funny, frightening action adventure movie that pits a teen gang against an invasion of savage alien monsters. It turns a London tower block into a fortress under siege, and a weapon wielding teenage thugs into heroes. It's inner city versus outer space.

Attack the Block stills

Attack the Block website

UK trailer for SHARKTOPUS

You just know its going to be cheesy, tongue (firmly) in cheek nonsense of the highest order, but like a Rabbit in the headlights; we..just..can’t..look..away. Sharktopus, the latest sci-fi horror creature-feature from B-movie legend Roger Corman and director Declan O’Brien is coming to DVD, and the UK version of the trailer has arrived. Sharktopus goes on sale via Anchor Bay in both the UK and U.S, next month.

Synopsis: Nathan Sands, an egotistical bio-genetics genius who, along with his daughter Nicole, has developed a hybrid half-shark/half-octopus for use by the US military. Code-named S11, the creature has been designed as the ultimate weapon in aquatic attack and defence. But when its control unit malfunctions during a test run, the S11 is accidentally unleashed and sets off in the direction of the popular tourist resort of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. Desperate to keep the creature’s existence secret and to avoid a bloody massacre that is almost certain to attract unwanted attention, the military leaders hire Sands, Nicole and a notorious shark hunter to track down and capture the mutant killing machine before it can begin snacking on a buffet of helpless holidaymakers. Unfortunately, the task becomes riskier and far more complicated than it needs to be when a morally bankrupt news reporter, her cameraman, a pirate-radio DJ and his unbelievably hot assistant become involved in the proceedings.

Tsui Hark announces DETECTIVE DEE prequel

Great news! Director Tsui Hark has announced plans to follow up his Golden Lion-nominated film 'Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame' with a prequel - to further explore the history of the legendary detective - and yes, you guessed it, it will be in 3D. Casting has yet to begin but as this sounds like its going be covering the early years of Dee’s career, its unlikely Andy Lau will be returning to reprise the main (always room for a small cameo part though?) role. A release date has yet to be announced, but with the amount of post production work the last one needed, we reckon it’s going to be early 2012 before we’ll get to see it.

Detective Dee trailer

Read our review of Detective Dee

Via CRI

New stills from Korean indy PA flick END OF ANIMAL

Following our earlier story, Jo Sung-Hee’s intriguing, indy post apocalyptic movie End of Animal has got a release date in Korea next month. No trailer yet, so in the mean time we’ll settle for some new pics. Check them out below.

Synopsis: A strange man hops into a taxi already occupied by Sun-yeong, on her way to her mother’s home to give birth. The man speaks gibberish, pretends to know all about the driver and Sun-yeong, and then promptly begins a countdown. The taxi driver and Sun-yeong are confused, but the man in the baseball cap remains indifferent. When he counts down to zero the taxi suddenly comes to a stop and they fall unconscious. Sun-yeong, now alone and in a deserted field, heads towards the Taeryeong village, believing it to be the only place where she will be able to get in touch with her mother. But a glance around the strange village tells her that everything electrical has come to a standstill and people seem to disappearing one by one. Will Sun-yeong make it to the rest area to contact her mother? Why is there no power and where have the people gone? More important is the question of who the strange man in the baseball cap really is.

End of Animal stills

Nippon Connection 2011 - Preview on the Festival Program

From April 27 to May 1, 2011, for the eleventh time The Nippon Connection festival in Frankfurt will again be showing some of the best that Japan Japanese cinema has to offer. The preparations for the festival are already in full swing, and we’ve been given a very detailed heads up on what will be on show. It’s gonna be BIG….

There’s only a few weeks left to the starting shot of the eleventh Nippon Connection Film Festival and the preparations are in full swing. From April 27 to May 1, 2011 more than 100 of the latest Japanese short and feature films will find their way to Frankfurt, among them many international premieres with the film makers in attendance. The biggest festival of Japanese film is topped off by a rich and sensuous cultural program. We are happy to reveal a number of the festival’s highlights.

In the NIPPON CINEMA program section, fans of the renowned animation studio Ghibli can at last enjoy a new masterpiece. Nippon Connection will present the German premiere of ARRIETTY, with the famous animation artist Hiromasa YONEBAYASHI (key animator of PONYO and SPIRITED AWAY) serving as director for the first time. The screenplay was written by none other than Hayao MIYAZAKI. Keichi HARA’s film COLORFUL proves that unique animation films are also created outside Studio Ghibli. The expressiveness of his poetic novel adaptation places him among the most talented anime directors of our time...Continue reading here.

Nippon Connection official site

DEATH NOTICE: IKIGAMI on UK DVD

Based on the best selling manga series written and illustrated by Motoro Mase, Tomoyuki Takimoto’s dystopian future feature Death Notice: Ikigami (aka Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit) is up for release on UK DVD. Taking elements from “Logan’s Run” and “Battle Royale” Death Notice paints a dark, chilling picture of a future Japan where citizens are routinely killed, by law, “for the good of the nation.” Death Notice streets on March 7th.

Synopsis: If you had only 24 hours left to live, how would you spend it? To encourage productivity among citizens, the Japanese government has introduced its own process of unnatural selection: all people between the ages of 18 and 24 are eligible for a death lottery. Those deemed unproductive for the common good are chosen to die and served an "ikigami", or death notice, 24 hours before their end. Ikigami follows the story of some of the victims, but also that of Matsuda, whose grim and reluctant task it is to deliver notice of impending doom.

 

First trailer for A CHINESE FAIRYTALE

Many of the concerns we may have had over a poor remake ruining the memory of one of our all time fave classic Hong Kong movies, have just about been laid to rest. The first real teaser trail for Wilson Yip's reboot of A Chinese Ghost Story has arrived, and so far it looks fantastic. Yip seems to have kept to the visual style of the original, but this has us wondering what new things he will be able to (subtly) bring to the table, with the benefit of a whole new bag of modern digital FX tricks. Guess we’ll find out soon enough, as the movie opens in HK this April.

Synopsis: Ning is a tax collector who spends a night in a supposedly haunted villa. Instead of obviously grotesque creatures, Ning meets an enchanting maiden named Sian. But Sian is a ghost bound to the netherworld, and worse, her master is a soul-sucking demon with an extremely long tongue! Ning is slated to become the demon's next meal, but some humanity remaining in Sian compels her to keep him alive. Romance blossoms, and Ning resolves to help Sian. He even enlists the aid of a Taoist master to save Sian and vanquish the evil demon. But even if the duo succeeds, everlasting love may be only a fantasy.

Fairy Tale trailer

Via Filmsmash

Get ready for a SHANGDOWN!

An independent kung-fu spaghetti western, and the cowboy is Christian Bachini, a 25-year-old Italian actor who came to Shanghai to become an action star!? Yeah ok that got our attention. Now here’s the details from the press release….

"MK Media Productions' motion picture Shangdown: The Way Of The Spur debuted today. Shangdown: The Way Of The Spur, starring Christian Bachini and The Way Of The Dragon's famous villain Jon T. Benn, and directed by Jakob Montrasio, pays homage to the violent and gritty Spaghetti Western genre while adding an Asian twist.

The movie follows Italian cowboy and martial artist Guerino (Christian Bachini) as he searches for his missing sister in a culturally alien Shanghai. With the help of Jiekai (Daddy Chang), a Chinese man whose girlfriend has also gone missing, Guerino wages a one-man war against Shanghai’s biggest crime lord and his multitude of goons, following his one and only rule: kick first and ask questions later.

Shot on location in and around Shanghai, China, the film blends a variety of genres using no wires and digital effects, the action scenes - choreographed by lead actor Christian Bachini - will impress martial arts fans like no other film in a long time with a seamless blend of traditional kung fu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Capoeira, modern MMA and Muay Thai. “The extremely experienced action crew, including the Ruan Stunt Team (John Woo’s Red Cliff), make visually distinctive fight and action scenes" said Director of Photography Steffen Reimann. The trailer can be seen in high definition on the films official website and fans can update themselves about the status of the filming and screening locations through Facebook."

Shangdown: The Way Of The Spur will be released to film festivals in spring 2011. Add that to the list methinks.

Via: HKMDB 

New stills from James Lee’s CLAYPOT CURRY KILLERS

After his last two fright flicks - ‘Sini Ada Hantu’ and the ultra bloody ‘Histeria’ - Malaysian director James Lee is back on the horror train once again, with his first Chinese language body (no doubt dismembered) of work - The Claypot Curry Killers - a tale of perverted justice and cannibalism. According to the movies official page on Facebook its about a month out from hitting post production, but more importantly there’s load of new production stills from the pic to be seen. Check them out at the links.

Synopsis: Mrs. Chew and her three daughters run a popular restaurant that serves claypot curry with a twist. They have a rather unique view on how evil, wrong doing men should be punished. They get eaten.

Facebook stills

Directors blog stills

Korean martial arts fantasy epic THE RESTLESS on UK DVD

No we haven’t got the wrong image; this is indeed the cover for the UK release of Jo Dong-oh’s 2006 Korean martial arts fantasy The Restless, a story of reincarnation and love - with a fair amount of martial arts action, and battle or two thrown in for good measure. We only discovered Metrodome Releasing have pulled “a Weinstein” on the title - retagging the movie with cringingly bad title Demon Empire (urgh!?) - when the directors name rang a bell, and we did some digging.

So if you went into this expecting full on Demon nastiness you could be in for a big disappointment. If however your cup of Joe is eye wateringly lush cinematography - sweeping epic tales of love, honour, martial arts battles (and yes there are demon type Ninja’s things in there too) then get ordering. The Restless goes on sale march 28.

Synopsis: In the waning years of the Shilla Dynasty, the land is ravaged by chaos and violence, as demons roam freely amongst the people. Born with the ability to see ghosts, Yi Kwak (Jung Woo Sung) joins the royal squad to help battle the demons and the corrupt court. A failed coup, however, leaves all the members but Yi Kwak dead. While hiding in a shrine, he happens upon the entrance to mid-heaven, where souls reside for 49 days before reincarnation. There he meets So Hwa (Kim Tae Hee) who greatly resembles his deceased lover. So Hwa, who guards the gates between the mortal realm and mid-heaven, is thrown into danger when an army of restless spirits attempts to return to the land of the living. Yi Kwak comes to her rescue, only to discover the army is led by his former squad comrades.

The Restless trailer (hi-res)

The Restless trailer (English subbed)

New Japanese trailer and poster for Kore-eda’s KISEKI

A new poster and trailer have arrived for the next film from visionary Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, Kiseki (I Wish). Kore-eda's a favorite here at 24FPS and it's always exciting to see his new material. This film features a number of familiar faces from Kore-eda's previous films including Hiroshi Abe, Yoshio Harad, Jo Odagiri, Nene Otsuka and Kirin Kiki. It's scheduled for release in Japan in June. No word yet on international distribution.

Synopsis: The story revolves around the brothers Koichi (played by 12-year-old Kouki Maeda) and Ryunosuke (played by 10-year-old Oushiro Maeda). Koichi lives with their mother and grandparents in Kagoshima, while Ryunosuke is with their father in Fukuoka. Their dream is for their divorced parents to reconcile so that they can live together as a single family again. With the coming completion of the Kyushu Shinkansen that will connect their two cities, the two boys hear that when the first trains meet, a miracle will occur. As a result, they recklessly concoct a plan to create a real miracle of their own.

 

Check out the trailer

Click here for a larger version of the poster 

Thanks to J-Film Pow-wow for the heads up.

New poster and red band trailer for I SAW THE DEVIL

Much, much better than the previous one, Magnet has released a nice new poster and a bloody, nasty red band trailer for I Saw The Devil, the new film from Kim Jee-woon. Slated for limited theatrical release in the US on March 4th. The film, starring Choi Min-sik (Oldboy) and Lee Byung-hun (The Good, The Bad, The Weird), is one of the nastier pieces of work to hit the screen recently and we're ecstatic that Magnet is giving it a proper release.

Check out the red band trailer at IGN.

View the new poster full size.

CLASH: DVD review

Director: Le Thanh Son. Review: Adam Wing.

Vietnamese action movies are hard to come by, but you’ll recognise the work of leading man Johnny Nguyen even if the name isn’t familiar to you. His filmography consists of stunt work on the likes of Spiderman, Serenity, Jarhead and the upcoming X-Men: First Class. He knows how to handle himself then, but you would expect that of somebody with over 18 years of experience in Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Japanese Aikido. He also takes a writers credit for his work on Clash, but lets try to remain positive for the time being.

Trinh (Thanh Van Ng), a beautiful and deadly mercenary, must complete a series of organized crime jobs for her boss in order to win the release of her kidnapped daughter. She hires several mercenaries to help, including Quan (Johnny Nguyen), who she also becomes attracted to. Trinh and Quan's relationship becomes complicated as it becomes evident that their motivations are not the same. That’s ok though, because explanations are hard to come by from anyone in this latest action extravaganza...Continue reading review.

Clash trailer

 

CLASH (BAY RONG) coming to US theaters in March

Variance films has announced that they'll be releasing Clash (Bay Rong) in some US theaters starting on March 11th! The violent Vietnamese action flick is the latest from the people behind the enjoyable 2007 martial arts film The Rebel (released in the US by Dragon Dynasty). Early festival reviews of the film have been very complimentary towards the action sequences, using words like "brutal" and "intense". We can't wait to see this for ourselves. It stars Thanh Van Ngo and Johnny Nguyen.

Synopsis: Trinh (Thanh Van Ngo) is a deadly mercenary held in indentured servitude by an organized crime boss, who forces her to complete a series of increasingly impossible jobs in order to win the release of her kidnapped daughter. As the stakes rise, and she faces her final task, she puts together a team of Vietnam's top mercenaries to help her, including Quan (Johnny Tri Nguyen).

 

 

Check out the Official Site

Watch the trailer

The return of video tape that kills in Korean horror WHITE

A video that curses all those who watch it (hmm that sounds familiar) to a terrible end, and it’s the premise for a new Korean horror movie due this summer, simply titled... White. Following the popular tradition in Asian horror of late, the film stars a bevy of babelettes including; ‘Ham Eun-jeong,’ ‘Maydoni,’ ‘Choi Ah-ra’ and ‘Jin Se-yeon’ in the story of a K-pop girl group doomed after they watch a strange music video. Granted not the most original of plotlines, but we’re quietly hopeful this can delivery something new as its being helmed by writer directing duo Kim Gok and Kim Sun, the minds behind the weird and wonderful looking serial killer thriller Anti Gas Skin. Whites still in production so not too much to look at yet, except one still we’ve managed to turn up, plus a detailed summary of the plot. As always keep em peeled here for more soon.

Synopsis: Girl group Pink Dolls, made up of the lead singers Jenny and A-rang, former backup dancer, Eun-ju and rapper, Shin-ji, are struggling to get their name out. In the new office the group’s agency moves into, Eun-ju finds an old videotape of an untitled music video. The song recorded on the video is dark and gloomy - but also mesmerizing. The group showcases the number and receives immensely positive feedback, their best ever. Excited, the Pink Dolls decide to release the number as their new single under the title “White” and begin a gruelling practice regimen. It’s at that time strange things start happening to each member. Main vocalist Jenny passes out during a practice session. Young A-rang becomes hostile towards her close friend Shin-ji and suffers a bad reaction to a cosmetic. Shin-ji becomes very competitive and jealous, and is injured during a photo shoot. Believing the series of suspicious incidents is related to the music video, Eun-ju looks into the mystery behind it. Soon, she too, falls victim to the curse.

Criterion releasing PALE FLOWER on DVD and Blu-Ray in May

The Criterion Collection has announced that they'll be releasing Masahiro Shinoda's excellent 1964 yakuza picture Pale Flower on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 17th, 2011. In our opinion, one of the best and most criminally unknown yakuza pictures, the old R1 release by Home Vision Entertainment went out of print some time ago.

This new release will include a brand new high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition), a new video interview with director Masahiro Shinoda, selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Peter Grilli and a new essay by film critic Chuck Stephens. Yakuza film fans do not want to miss this.

Synopsis: In this cool, seductive jewel of the Japanese New Wave, a yakuza, fresh out of prison, becomes entangled with a beautiful yet enigmatic gambling addict; what at first seems a redemptive relationship ends up leading him further down the criminal path. Bewitchingly shot and edited and laced with a fever-dream-like score by Toru Takemitsu, Masahiro Shinoda’s breakthrough gangster romance announced an idiosyncratic major filmmaking talent. The pitch-black Pale Flower (Kawaita hana) is an unforgettable excursion into the underworld.

Check out Criterion.com for more info

Pre-order the Blu-Ray or DVD on Amazon

CATERPILLAR and UNITED RED ARMY coming to the US

Great news! Revolutionary Japanese director Koji Wakamatsu hasn't had much of his work released in the US, but the folks at Kino are planning to rectify the situation by releasing two of his more recent films, Caterpillar and United Red Army, in the US. The news comes from the Twitter account of distributor Blaq Out, who have released a large number of Wakamatsu's films internationally with French subtitles. No release date has yet been set and a quick look at Kino's website doesn't show anything either, but we'll be sure to let you know once more details are released.

Let's hope these are just the first of many Wakamatsu titles to finally get proper US releases. Check out the links below for more info.

 


United Red Army Official Website -- Watch the trailer
Caterpillar Official website -- Watch the trailer

Thanks to Wildgrounds for the heads up.

IP MAN 2 on UK DVD and Blu-ray

This really should need little if no introduction. Ip Man 2 - the second instalment of Wilson Yip’s superb - Donnie Yen starring - biopic charting the life of the Kung-Fu grand master, is heading for UK DVD and Blu-ray next month. The fight choreography throughout is fantastic - but the showdown tabletop fight alone, between Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen, makes this worth a look. The extras are not too shabby either! Ip Man 2 goes on sale March 7.

Synopsis: Having defeated the best fighters of the Imperial Japanese army in occupied Shanghai, Ip Man and his family settle in post-war Hong Kong. Struggling to make a living, Master Ip opens a kung fu school to bring his celebrated art of Wing Chun to the troubled youth of Hong Kong. His growing reputation soon brings challenges from powerful enemies, including pre-eminent Hung Gar master, Hung Quan (Sammo Hung). However, when corrupt colonial officials stage a life-or-death contest with formidable British boxer, The Twister, to humiliate the Chinese people, the masters quickly forget their differences. Soon, the eyes of the nation are on the one man capable of securing a victory - Grandmaster Ip Man!

Ip Man 2 official site

Special Features:  • Trailer Gallery • Shooting Diary • Making of • 4 Big Scenes (Discussion with Kenneth Mak & Wilson Yip) • Deleted Scene x3 • Gala Premiere • Interviews Gallery • The Wing Chun Connection • Wing Chun in Action • Legacy of the Master