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2009 Lost Memories (KOREA 2002)

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Director : Si-Myung Lee
Writer : Si-Myung Lee
Cast : Toru Nakamura, Dong-Gun Jang, Ken Mitsuishi, Jin-Ho Seo, Gu Shin and Kil-gang Ahn.

Synopsis
What if Japan allied with the United States during World War II? What if the atom bombs were dropped on Berlin instead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What if the sovereign nation of Korea never existed? To J.B.I Agent Masayuki Sakamoto these questions are not the subject of speculation-they’re history. However, during a routine investigation of a terrorist attack upon a museum displaying ancient cultural artifacts, Sakamoto uncovers a web of intrigue which leads him to an underground band of freedom fighters willing to risk everything to acquire an ancient relic known as the “Lunar Soul.” As Sakamoto unravels the mystery, everything he ever knew about the world he lives in will be turned inside out.

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Art of Fighting (KOREA 2006)

 

Director :
Shin Han-so
Cast : Baek Yoon-sik, Jae Hee

Synopsis
Teenager Byeung-tae is constantly picked on and bullied at school. Unable to find a
way to defend himself, he one day spies an old man by the name of Pan-su who appears to have amazing fighting skills. Byeung-tae starts to hassle the strange Pan-su, asking him to teach him how to fight. At first the old man refuses, but over time he starts to change his mind. He agrees to teach him. Unfortunately, it is not exactly what Byeung-tae was expecting…

Review
by Martin Cleary

A striking directorial debut from Shin Han-so, The Art of Fighting is not the ‘balls-to-the-wall’ action film that the title would suggest, nor is it a ‘wacky comedy’ as some of the promotional material would seem to make out. The Art of Fighting is, in fact, a surprisingly sensitive coming of age drama – with plenty of black comedy thrown in for good luck.

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Breaking News (HK 2004)

Director : Johnnie To
Producer : Johnnie To, Cao Biao
Cast : Richie Ren, Kelly Chen, Nick Cheung, Cheung Siu-Fai, Hui Siu-Hung, Lam Suet

Synopsis
A police operation to apprehend a gang of thieves goes badly wrong and is video footage of the mess is televised. To regain the public’s confidence and to counteract the negative press, the Police decide to use the arrest of the gang as a publicity exercise. When the second arrest attempt also goes wrong and the gang hole themselves up in a block of apartments, the police manipulate the situation to make themselves look good. When the gang realise what is happening outside they decide to contact the press themselves…


Review
by Martin Cleary

Breaking News is a thoroughly entertaining satire on the use of ‘public relations’ and the marketing of public services. Director Johnnie To (currently receiving plaudits for his ‘Election’ films) mixes a decent amount of action and flashy camerawork to provide a film that is fun
throughout.

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Bullet in the Head (HK 1990)

Director : John Woo
Writer : Janet Chun/Patrick Leung
Cast : Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Jacky Cheung, Waise Lee, Simon Yam, Yolinda Yam and Fennie Yuen

Synopsis
In 1967, on the way to the wedding of a friend a young man is accosted by a local gang member. Later, the three friends administer justice, in the process of which the gang member is killed, so they leave Hong Kong to avoid the police and the gang. They run black market supplies to Saigon and get embroiled in the war, being arrested as Viet Cong, then later captured by the Viet Cong, and find that their friendship is tested to the limits as they try to escape.

Review
by Edward Tang

There are some films that I will always remember, because what kind of impact they had on me. “Bullet in the Head” falls into this category, a simple tale that turns into a plethora of destruction and death. This film is certainly a turn around for John Woo, who had been doing heroic bloodshed films up to this point, but this film might be his most emotional so far. Woo adds the horrors of war into the parallel of friendship, which can make you either turn your head or smile.
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Chaos (JAPAN 1999)

Director : Hideo Nakata
Writer : Hisashi Saito
Cast : Masato Hagiwara, Miki Nakatani, Ken Mitsuishi, Jun Kunimara

Synopsis
Mr Komiyama is a successful CEO. He takes his wife Saori out for a meal at an expensive restaurant and when he goes to pay the bill his wife has disappeared. Komiyama doesn’t have time to look for her as he has to rush to an important meeting. Later that day he receives
a phone call telling him that his wife has been kidnapped…

Review
by Martin Cleary

I like films like this. This is one of those films that you start watching and then you realise that you’ve actually come in part way through the story. Chaos shifts backwards and forwards between what is happening now and what has already happened – like a jigsaw puzzle. If you enjoy psychological thrillers, then this is a worthwhile one. Directed by Hideo Nakata – the man behind the first two Ring films – the film has a strong, consistent tension running throughout. There’s no major ‘shock’ scenes, instead the narrative sustains a steady pace.

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