Every year at the NY Asian Film festival there are more movies to see then I have time to watch. This year won’t be any different, but I managed to narrow down a list of 5 things I really want to see. Here’s my list in order of what’s important to me.
For several years of my life Young and Dangerous was huge. There was something about that Triad lifestyle that made me wish I was a part of it all. I’m still convinced that if I ever decide to get a tattoo, it will be the dragon that Ekin Chang is sporting in this series. Director Andrew Lau is going to be there in person to do a Q&A, and I plan on being right there up front.
“Young and Dangerous isn’t a movie; it’s way of life. A series of 15 films—six movies, four prequels, three spin-offs, and two all-female versions, as well as a parody movie and a reboot—covering the life and times of the Hung Hing criminal triad and the bevy of studly young things who make up its members. The whole thing is the brainchild of Andrew Lau and Wong Jing and the first two movies are the kind of shot-on-the-run flicks that captured lightning in a bottle and became cultural sensations. When the first movie hit it big, director Lau wrote, shot, and released the second in just eight weeks.”
Last year at the NY Asian Film Festival the best thing I caught was a film called Vulgaria. It was an awesome outrageous comedy, that I didn’t think Hong Kong had the power to pull off anymore. Hardcore Comedy looks like it could be the Vulgaria of this year’s festival. Dada Chen, the female lead for this movie, and for Vulgaria, will be there for a Q&A.
“There’s something for everyone in this raunchy, over-the-top post-Vulgaria three-part omnibus. It’s the ultimate genre mash-up, a heady and hilarious brew of action-packed superhero exploits, obscene erotica, psychedelic narcotics, heart warming romance, cross-dressing, mobster vendettas, plus insane car stunts! Turtles! Iced tea! A dance extravaganza! Coming soon!—you get the idea.”
When I first read the description for Confession of Murder, I honestly wasn’t super excited by it, but then I watched the trailer and I got pretty pumped. The trailer had a Death Note feeling gong for it. I’m not talking about the crappy Japanese film either, I mean the original bad ass, manga where you had no idea how the bad guy was going to get caught, or if you even wanted him to get caught.
“From the director of the hit NYAFF documentary Action Boys (about the tough lives of stuntmen in the Korean film biz), comes this thriller filled with adrenalizing set pieces in the vein of The Chaser. A punch-drunk cop has to figure out the truth when a media-ready stud comes forward with a book claiming he murdered 10 women years ago. The catch? He can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired.”
4) Cold War
The last movie I remember winning this many Hong Kong Film Awards was Infernal Affairs, which was later remade in America as The Departed. Aaron Kwok has been a pretty good actor over the years, and I’m glad to see him still working as he continues to age.
“Cold War was a 2012 box office hit in Asia and swept the Hong Kong Film Awards winning Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best New Performer. This cop thriller stars Aaron Kwok as a senior officer and Tony Leung Ka Fai as a deputy police commissioner whose rivalry leads to a struggle over running an operation to rescue officers who have been taken hostage.”
5) The Complex
The main reason I want to see this is because it’s made by Hideo Nakata, the director of Ringu. I’d love to see what he can do with horror 15 years later. Will it be more creepy girls with long hair, or has he moved on to something better? The trailer doesn’t really show much, but he’s got me curious.
“Director Hideo Nakata (who basically kicked off J-horror with The Ring) breathes new life into the genre with what starts out as a bright and cheerful family drama, but soon putrefies into something much softer, wetter, and darker. Starring Japanese megastar Atsuko Maeda (lead singer of the enormously popular group AKB48) as a shy high-schooler who moves into a haunted housing complex with her family and slowly becomes tormented by apparitions and visions of her own tragic past.”
An honorable mention goes to Lesson of Evil made by Takashi Miike, which looks like it has promise. Takashi Miike is generally known for his hardcore violent flicks like Ichi the Killer, and Dead or Alive. Lesson of Evil looks like it could be another violent weird flick.
To find out other films being shown at the NY Asian Film festival, visit their website. Hopefully I’ll see some of you at these screenings in the coming weeks.