It’s that time of year… 2014 calendars are now available to order from YesAsia, with the likes of AKB48, Gackt and various Anime titles including: My Neighbor Totoro, One Piece, Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan.
YesAsia is offering a 10% off sale with an extra 5% on orders over US$100.
Click on the banner to head on over to check out their stock.
Back in June I posted the trailer for the latest Andy Lau flick – Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame. Well the time flew and it’s now available to pick up from Yes Asia in both DVD and Blu-ray formats.
Lau plays Detective Dee (actually Judge Dee), the Chinese equivalent to Sherlock Holmes. He is brought in to solve the mystery behind a string of murders involving spontaneous combustion. A tricky puzzle indeed, especially if he is to find the answer before the coronation of Empress Wu (Carina Lau).
Directed by one of the kings of Hong Kong film, Tsui Hark along with action choreography by the master Sammo Hung, this is one of the stand out films for 2010.
In 1972 Bruce Lee starred in the classic ‘Fist of Fury‘, playing the lead role of Chen Zhen. This role was then taken up by Jet Li in the 1994 remake of this film and was then picked up by Donnie Yen a year later in 1995 when he starred as Chen Zhen in the made for TV series ‘Legend of the Fist‘.
Now, 15 years later, Yen goes back to this role under the watchful eye of Director Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs) in a continuation from the TV show, ‘Legend of the Fist – The Return of Chen Zhen‘.
During the First World War, Chen Zhen has disappeared and is presumed dead, however, he has actually joined the allied forces in Europe. When he returns to China seven years later it is to infiltrate Club Casablanca where owner and tycoon – Liu (Anthony Wong) is under suspicion of colluding with the Japanese. Before Chen Zhen can prove anything, a Japanese General – Chikaraishi (Kohata Ryu) – arrives with an assassination squad to bring Shanghai under his control. So it’s down to Chen Zhen to once again don his mask and intervene to protect the Chinese from the feared Japanese Death Squad.
The movie is available now in DVD and Blu-ray formats from Yes Asia:
Based on the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple, Zhang Yimou‘s (House of Flying Daggers, Hero) A Simple Noodle Story – being released as A Woman, A Gun And A Noodle Shop – has a US trailer at last.
I’ve been waiting for this one for ages, it’s been too long since a Curse of the Golden Flower faded away and not including his Beijing Olympics opening ceremony credit, Yimou has been a little quiet of late. Although it looks as though by the time we get a release to actually watch, it’ll be available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray from decent overseas stockists… You can already pick up a Thai DVD from Yes Asia, although it doesn’t contain an English subtitle track…
After a massive five years concentrating on Japanese and US releases, BoA makes a K-Pop comeback with a great new album 6집 HURRICANE VENUS.
I’ve just listened to this album right through and I have to say I’m quite impressed. Usually an CD will have a couple of ‘fillers’ that let the side down, not so here. All tracks are single worthy and I’m even saying that about the ballads… (not a big ballad fan, me).
Highlights are the title track HURRICANE VENUS, Dangerous and probably my favourite Adrenaline. Well worth the price, which is under a tenner from if you order it from Yes Asia (free shipping).
•Action •Comedy 136min | Release date in South Korea : 2009/12/23
Written and Directed by Choi Dong-hoon, JEON WOO CHI : The Taoist Wizard takes us back 500 years when Wizards and Goblins do battle in order to possess an all powerful Pipe. Woochi (Kang Dong-won – Secret Reunion, M, The Duelist) is a Wizard in learning but spends most of his time tricking people (including the King) for his own gain.
When Woochi’s Master is murdered for the Pipe he becomes the prime suspect and locked away in a painting for 500 years by Hwadam (Kim Yoon-seok – Chaser, Running Turtle) and three Taoist wizards…
Now it’s today and Woochi is needed to help restore the Pipe and vanquish the same Goblins that once conspired to possess the Pipe in the past, because if they succeed the world will fall into chaos and disorder!
Over two hours of action and fun with plenty of laughs. I just finished watching this and couldn’t wait to recommend it. It’s a bit of a departure from Choi Dong-hoon usual fare, Tazza: The High Rollers and The Big Swindle, but it delivers a wicked punch up the throat to recent films that have failed dismally to deliver when it comes to action/adventure films.
A stellar cast including Kang Dong Won, Lim Soo Jung (Happiness, A Tale of Two Sisters), Kim Yoon Seok (The Chaser) and Yu Hae Jin (Truck) pull off such a major event that it’s not surprising it held South Korean box office audiences enthralled gathering in a massive six million admits during the Christmas 2009 period.
Available from Yes Asia on Blu-ray and DVD First Press 2-Disc Edition comes with cast and crew commentary, pre-production (storyboard, casting, training, photo gallery), making of (CG, production design, action, special effects, lighting), out-takes, trailer, and other special features.
Mix some dire dialogue and some awful over acting and you get?
Actually you get an hour and a half of no-brainer enjoyment.
Note: May contain spoilers!
This low budget effort struggles to get off the ground plot-wise but succeeds in an opening sequence that has some of the best choreographed camera work I’ve seen just recently. This some pretty fair sword-play and some decent martial arts work and is capped off with the appearance of the protagonist Yoshie, the “Robo-Geisha” herself.
Unfortunately from then on it’s just a little bit too slow and would have benefited from a shorter ‘origin’ plot and got straight to the end battle… however, don’t let this put you off, there is still some storming CGI and a bit of blood and gore too, so it’s not all gone to pot. And, if you like your Japanese movies to be in the traditional vein (a la Godzilla), then the Robot Castle at the end should please you no end!
I have to admit, that the funniest and most deplorable part of this film was the butt-sword fight at the end.. I was in hysterics…
The film doesn’t pretend to be a work of art, it doesn’t try to be anything other than over-the-top fun, and it succeeds at that pretty well.
I’m pretty picky when it comes to the music I listen to, but when I started to become interested in all things Japan my music tastes become somewhat eclectic. At first it was just garage band type guitar music, Thee Michelle Gun Elephant for example, but after becoming immersed in Japanese culture I noticed that I would be looking for places where I could find certain songs that had appeared in a movie. This led me to a wider appreciation of J-Pop as a whole.
Once you dip your toe into the world of J-Pop you can’t help but notice probably one of the most prolific and iconic singers there is – Ayumi Hamasaki. This amazing talent has, to date, had a sting of 22 consecutive number one singles – yes, consecutive!
I had heard a few tracks and sought out a few PV’s (she’s not too bad on the eyes either （＾＿－）☆wink), and on checking out her back catalogue found that she has 11 studio albums, 5 compilation albums and 19 remix albums. She has also released 51 singles (although some are double A sides, so it’s more like 60) and out of those, only 2 have not managed the top spot on the Oricon Daily Chart…
Now we come to her latest release – Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of the album last week for review but have only just managed to find the time to listen to it. But I have to say, that it is probably one of her best efforts yet. Obviously this is only a personal opinion, but the CD has such a wealth of variety that you can’t fail to be impressed by it’s diversity.
As with all albums though, there seems to be a trend of putting in pointless little tracks that last for about a minute – fillers, if you like – and this to me seem a bit of a waste. As for the rest of the album, well it ranges is style from soulful ballads like Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ and rocky pieces like Lady Dynamite, to dance tracks like Don’t Look Back and even one which I can’t really define – Sexy Little Things – but at least it sounds fun.
All in all it’s a well rounded album, extremely well produced and should be on your shopping list if you like J-Music…
Sunset 〜LOVE is ALL〜
Don’t look back
Sexy little things
Sunrise 〜LOVE is ALL〜
meaning of Love
RED LINE 〜for TA〜
So, you’re all asking, “Where can I buy this CD?” Well, today I am mainly recommending Yes Asia, where you can pick up the album in a number of formats:
Jackie Chan is back and in top form in his latest flick – Little Big Soldier.
This period action/comedy/drama is set during the feudal of ancient China and sees Chan starring as a Liang soldier, who has inadvertently captures a general (Leehom Wang of Lust, Caution fame) of rival kingdom Wei. Thinking that he could trade the general for his discharge from the army, he takes his captive back to his home town. Their journey is beset with tribulations in the form of bandits and refugees and whilst they begin as enemies their encounters bring them closer together and they form a tight bond.
Taking in a whopping RMB150 million gross in China alone, this is a real crowd pleaser and one not to be missed. YesAsia have the movie in both Blu-ray and DVD, with the DVD being available in several incarnations, including a 2 disc special edition – floating the boat of every Jackie Chan fan out there…
Nozomi (Bae Du Na) is an inflatable air doll, nothing more than a sex object for her lonely, doting owner Hideo (Itao Itsuji), but she gradually develops self-awareness. One day, while her owner is at work, she steps out of the apartment for the first time. Leaving the grasps of her owner, the wide-eyed doll ventures out into a poetic new world full of curious personalities and adventures, and falls head first in love with dour video store clerk Junichi (Arata).
In the final years of Ming dynasty, the Jinyiwei has come under the control of power-hungry eunuch Jia Jingzhong. Secretly conspiring with an exiled prince (Sammu Hung) to rebel against the emperor, the corrupt eunuch frames the Jinyiwei captain Qinglong (Donnie Yen) for treason and orders his death. With his fellow Jinyiwei agents, and the deadly assassin Tuotuo (Kate Tsui) after him, the beleaguered fugitive fights his way out and is joined on his run by Qiao Hua (Vicki Zhao), the daughter of a security agency leader. Together, they set out to stop Jia’s conspiracy with help from a powerful bandit king (Wu Chun).
Every now and then, YesAsia gets a good promotion on and offers some great titles at fantastic prices. Today is one of those occasions and the two DVD’s on offer are fantastic examples of Korean cinema.
First up is from the creator of Old Boy, Park Chan-Wook and it’s the 3-Disc Limited Edtion Extended Cut of Thirst (which I touched on briefly back in April ’09).
The story follows a priest played by Song Kang Ho (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, The Good The Bad, The Weird), who, after seeing what people are going through after being infected with a virus at a hospital he attends; decides to undergo a medical experiment that will further assist in helping to find a cure. However, in the process he becomes infected and subsequently is cured. Believing he has healing hands, he is encouraged to go out and help whilst all the time he knows that he wasn’t cured – he was made into a Vampire. To make matters worse, he falls for his childhood friends wife… that’s when things get a lot more complicated…
Next up is Yoga, a horror from Whispering Stairs director Yoon Jae Yeon.
Yoo Jin [Eugene] (from the wonderful – Heartbreak Library) plays Hyo Jung, a presenter on a cable shopping channel. She and four others girls enrol into an intense Yoga class that promises eternal youth and beauty to one of them. All they have to do to achieve their goal is to attend this class for one week and obey the Health Centre’s rules which include no contact with anyone outside the centre, no food and no mirrors – for a week.
As the week rolls on, strange things start to happen and they begin to think something is wrong with the centre’s instructor.
It’s been a while since I bigged up anything from Korea, so I thought I’d spend the next couple of days going through my watched list and pointing you in the direction of decent flicks that are available now or coming soon. To start, a true gem called ‘Living Death‘ 불신지옥 (English release title: Possessed).
Nam Sang Mi(The Ghost, 2005) finally returns to the screen in a horror/thriller directed by débutante Lee Yong Joo, who also wrote the script.
The story centres around Hee Jin (Nam Sang Mi) as she attempts to track down her missing younger sister So Jin, (Shim Eun Kyung (Hansel and Gretel, 2009)), who is suspected of being involved in a spate of local murders and from being possessed by a demon.
This dark and moody film is set in Japan’s Middle Ages at a time when Demons collected the souls of man. One particular Demon said to be collecting 1,000 souls from those that come near Gojoe Bridge is nearing the conclusion of his endeavour. The only thing that might be able to stop the killing is if a the converted killer, Benkei, can take on this Demon and kill it.
Since a traumatic experience in Benkei’s life converted him to Buddhism, he has not taken a human life. Not so before, his name was known all to well when it came to killing. In fact it was said that he is a Demon himself, born with a full head of hair and teeth.
After he has a vision telling him to go to the Gojoe Bridge to defeat the Demon, Benkei enlists the help of a master sword-smith, Tetsukichi, who helps him recreate the Demon Killer Sword to cut down and end the Demon of Gojoe’s reign.
With a clever and engaging storyline, this film weaves an integral plot of some making. Taking in mysticism, the occult and religion and pitting it against the sword. Two clans, the Genji and the Heike. The Genji is banished from Kyoto and are plotting their revenge against the Heike and in doing so have weaved a clever way to get to them.
Starring Tadanobu Asano(Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl, Ichi the Killer, The Taste of Tea, Zatoichi) as Shanao, Daisuke Ryu(Bayside Shakedown) as Benkei and Masatoshi Nagase(Stereo Future, Electric Dragon 80.000 V, Pistol Opera, Suicide Club, Funuke Show Some Love, You Losers!) as Tetsukichi.
Also Known As: Gojoe (Japan) | Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle
Runtime: 138 min
Production Company: Toho | Suncent CinemaWorks | WoWow
Michael Arias, better known for his work in the animation and digital domain on such features such as Tekkonkinkreet, Princess Mononoke and The Animatrix; lends his hand to directing a live action, Japanese film that’s actually a remake of a German comedy/drama from 1997.
Okay, confusion out of the way – we can begin… Tomoya Nagase (My Boss, My Hero) plays Masato Aoyama, a life-long part-timer with no ambition. After a string of blinding migraine attacks he seeks medical advice only to be told his has an inoperable brain tumor. After being hospitalised he meets Harumi Shiraishi played by Mayuko Fukuda. She has also been diagnosed with a terminal disease and they bond almost immediately.
The film then turns into a road movie as they drink too much tequila, steal a Maserati, rob a post office and in a last ditch attempt to fulfil their dreams – head for the beach.
The lead characters plight is hampered all the way by a vicious man trying to get his hands on his Maserati (and the contents therein) and the Police Chief in charge of their capture. What starts out to be a joy-ride to the ocean escalates into a desperate attempt to make dreams come true.
With a superb screenplay by Mika Omori (My Boss My Hero, Detroit Metal City) [developed from an original story by Thomas Jahn, subsequently developed into a screenplay by Til Schweiger for the original German film], stunning photography, outstanding lighting and a soundtrack that is so subtle but massive supplied by the Electronic Virtuoso’s Plaid – the film takes a bleak theme and turns it into something beautiful and compelling.
Don’t miss the tiniest of cameo appearances by Anna Tsuchiya – I missed it first time around and had to skip back to double check!
The film is available in both DVD and Blu-ray format from Yes Asia.
And I highly recommend you check out the soundtrack too.
I think what has impressed me most about Jackie Chan‘s latest efforts (and I’m talking those films made outside of Hollywood – because we all know that they’re pretty dire…), is the way he’s been able to turn his hand to actual acting. Case-in-point, The Shinjuku Incident.
I picked up the Special Edition, which is also uncut, when I was in Hong Kong just recently. I didn’t get a chance to watch it until last night but I have to say that I enjoyed immensely.
Derek Yee (One Nite in Mongkok), directs a movie following the life of an illegal immigrant – Steelhead (Chan) – from China to Japan, looking for his fiancée Xiu Xiu (Xu Jing Lei). During his time there he manages to bring together the Chinese migrants, establishing a community that should help fend off the oppression of their Japanese hosts. Things progress to a stage where this community starts to be it’s own law and gang fights start to breakout across the Shinjuku district. Meanwhile, Steelhead discovers that Xiu Xiu is now married to Yakuza boss Eguchi (Kato Masaya), and this eventually turns sour as the Chinese and Yakuza come to blows…
Go!Go!7188, also known as Gogo, are a Japanese Rock (J-Rock) band originally formed back in 1988. The 3 piece are: Yuu
(ユウ) [Yumi Nakashima] (中島 優美 Nakashima) Vocals, guitar, music & lyrics. Akko
(アッコ)[Akiko Noma] (野間 亜紀子 Noma Akiko) Bass, vocals and lyrics. Turkey
(ターキー) [Takayuki Hosokawa] (細川 貴之 Hosokawa Takayuki) Drums, vocals.
This track Kamisama no Hima Tsubushi[神様のヒマ潰し] (God’s Spare Time) is featured on the 2006 compilation CD – Best of Go!Go! still available from Yes Asia. The meaning of the bands name is apparently shrouded in secrecy, only the band members know what it really means.
Their latest CD, Antenna, was released in February of this year.
Originally written May 1, 2009 ‘Aruitemo Aruitemo’
When it comes to film, it seems as though only a select few are able to capture what’s really trying to be said in a script. This is especially the case in mainstream Hollywood or Europe except for those rare art-house type flicks that come along once-in-a-while, like Garden State or Little Miss Sunshine. Japan, it seems, monopolises the market when it comes to dramas that hit the sweet spot – the unabashed sensibility of stripping down humanity to its core and laying it out for all to see. Something that’s a stark contrast from the Japan that is available to us in real life.
Writer/Director Hirokazu Koreeda has a string of dramas to his name and this time around he opens the suburban door of a slightly dysfunctional family with all the usual issues in place – the generation gap causing an inability to communicate, the shame of being out of work and not being able to say so and the lack of understanding between siblings.
The Yokoyama family gather to commemorate and mourn the death of one of their own. This has it’s own problems as they don’t get together too often. The Grandfather now retired from his medical life wished his son to continue in his path – this wasn’t to be and so on meeting his new Grandson he bestows his wisdom on what a worthy life it is to be there for the people.
The son unable to talk about his problems relies on his new wife to do most of the talking, this causes other problems as having married again is not seen to be correct.
From it’s quiet beginning to it’s even subtler and quieter finish, the film strolls along in the summer heat slowly picking out it’s way drawing you in to the hearts of the family as they desperately try to get along.
A wonderful piece of film making that’s well worth picking up.
Also Known As:
Aruitemo Aruitemo (Japan) | Still Walking | Even If You Walk and Walk
Production Company: TV Man Union
Wherever you go on the interwub, there will be flame throwers aimed at you from every corner for your taste in everything – this is especially the case when it comes to anime. Anime fans can be extremely touchy when it comes to their own favourite features, whether your preference is Cyberpunk, Shounen, Shoujo, Josei or the weird and surreal world of Fan Service – it doesn’t matter, you’re gonna get flack from somewhere. But don’t let that sort of thing stop you from enjoying this amazing little piece of animation wizardry. Anime is (and should always be) a Japanese phenomenon that we in our Western World can only hope to be a part of – if and when the fansubbers or licensees get to task of subtitling.
Being a fan of all things anime, I find myself watching a lot of stuff that falls into every category and as time has passed my own preference has veered from Cyberpunk to the more drama or comedy oriented anime. Saying that, my own top 10 still features two major Cyberpunk features in the top positions.
Feel free to flame – I don’t really worry about that stuff, but why not reply with your own top 10 and then I’ll compile a larger list depending on how many votes each anime gets…
Tastes vary and I find my own Top 10 changing with the kind of mood I’m in. Just now I’m in the process of re-watching Evangelion and loving every minute of it – but I’m also watching Skip Beat! over at CrunchyRoll – and that kicks ass! Two very different anime’s with different appeals but still great fun to watch.
Links in this post will take you directly to the product at Yes Asia, who over free shipping worldwide.
Ken’ichi Matsuyama (well known actor in the role of ‘L‘ in the Death Note series of movies) plays a shy young man, Soichi Negishi, whose only interest is to make gentle music like that of his idols – Swedish Pop bands – his music is the kind that only puppies would like. Equipped with obligatory bowl head haircut, he goes to a corner in town, puts his guitar case down and strums to his heart content singing about things like flowers and love. This is getting him nowhere, he needs money to pay bills … the only action is to become a lead singer of a Death Metal Band, thus his alter-ego is born – Johannes Krauser II a terrorist demon from hell, a monster that killed and raped his parents (in that order). He takes his band DMC (Detroit Metal City) on the road and become the largest, loudest thing to hit Japan since the A-Bomb. However, Negishi hates DMC and all it stands for, longing to become the acoustic genius he thinks he is, he struggles with the pull of his obvious stage talent and his need for something more gentile.
Matsuyama shows that he is not only a great actor, but that his range is pretty awesome too. He plays two distinctly different characters in this film – miles apart from his ‘L’ outing and even more charismatic than his performance in ‘The Taste of Tea‘, where I first encountered him.
The story is somewhat strange but then it’s based on an anime that’s based on a Manga which in turn gave birth to this grotesquely funny flick.
All titles available from Yesasia, free postage worldwide.
Apologies for the untidy appearance of this post, I’m having trouble with the formatting in WP.