Saturday, 13 August 2011


This week our 'DVD RACK' delves into some selections to celebrate some amazing Asia cinema.

BROTHERHOOD (TAEGUKGI): With as much action and heart as American classic 'Saving Private Ryan', this movie is as thrilling and harrowing as any Hollywood picture about war, if not more. South Korean movies really know how to convey heart and meaning in a genuine way. Showing two brothers and two nations struggles in the Korean war this film does what any film about dark moments in history should do and teach about it and not glamorise it. The relationship between the two brothers is beautiful(played with perfection by Jang Dong-gun and Won Bin), the relationship between the two nations is shocking. As Westerners need to learn more about the problems in North and South Korea, this film makes us sit up and pay attention to the problems in the past. This epic may not exactly be enjoyable but it's necessary viewing and the realest of respect to those tragically lost. There's not much else that can be said that this film hasn't already told and taught us. Words can not express.

THE HOST: Not exactly 'Godzilla' but in actual fact this monster movie is even better. As a green beast rises from the sea and terrorises the city what results is a blockbuster beast in all it's destructive dominance. Epic, thrilling and chilling, scary in parts and sensationally surreal this movie roars with pure power. With gratifying graphics and amazing actors and actresses all parts in this movie pack a hulking punch. Plus like the aforementioned movie, this popcorn movie brings a more real emotional and meaningful edge which is refreshing from some basic blockbusters straight from Hollywood. Another heartfelt hallmark from South Korean cinema.

TOKYO SONATA: Kiyoshi Kurosawa's acclaimed classic on family dysfunction and dynamics is a functioning film that is moving, hard-hitting and thought-provoking. All at the same the stories from four family members are brought to the table in real drama and heavy doses of heart from a long-suffering wife to a child musical prodigy. This Japanese hit doesn't just show the incredible and beautiful city of Tokyo (rise up) in all it's glory, it also shows the most meaningful, emotional and personal of relationships between family members in all their highs and lows. What this gives us is more then perspective, but a clear-cut perfect story for any audience worldwide. The kind of real-life familiarity we can all relate to without translation.

HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS: OK, so this film may not be as epic as 'Hero' or as groundbreaking as 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'-the catalyst for this type of movie-but still 'House Of Flying Daggers' is a timeless, influential classic. With stunningly beautiful cinematography and stunningly sensational choreography this film features action and romance in epic proportions. Just look at the dancing or fight scenes for some of the most ascetically amazing moments in cinema. From the architecture and decor of Chinese temples to the incredible natural beauty of the Chinese countryside your eyes will be taken on a thrill-ride of beauty as this cat and mouse second act races through the scenes and landscapes. If that wasn't enough then there's as many improbable twists and turns in this movie as there is impossible flying and climbing above trees with ease. What results is a scintillating story to match the sensational action and adventure.

FEARLESS: Still if you like your martial arts a little more serious then how about Jet Li's last epic? From the fighting to the cinematography and the score, to the scenes of old China, this film is beautiful. With an incredible journey both spiritual and gruelling, what results is a poignant message. A traditional film which pays proper and due deserved homage to the craft of martial arts. Unlike many of the Hollywood re-hashes that are chopped up these days. Jet Li shows he really is a bonafide actor with a genuine performance of depth and character, showing the change between an emotionally driven man and one at peace. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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