Jason has written 46 reviews for films during 2016.

  • Wolf Girl and Black Prince

    Wolf Girl and Black Prince

    A rom-com starring Fumi Nikaido directed by Ryuichi Hiroki, what can go wrong? Manga, that's what could go wrong. It seems that no matter how skilled a filmmaker and how great of a cast, Japanese films adapted from a manga or anime seem to have a hard time being a decent film. Thanks to the production committee system the projects that have an easier time getting funded are those derived from established properties. With that being the case fan service…

  • Raman Raghav 2.0

    Raman Raghav 2.0

    The disparity between a film's original title and its international one can be amusing every now and then, especially when you are met with a title screen that clearly says one thing while the subtitles below adamantly hold their ground and state the international release title. Such was the case in this latest film from Anurag Kashyap (The Gangs of Wasseypur). The smaller sized text declared Psycho Raman while the blaring title screen, contained within one of the most visually…

  • After the Storm

    After the Storm

    Kore-eda doing his take on the detective genre. That should be reason enough to go see After the Storm, both a spiritual successor to Still Walking for the Hiroshi Abe/Kirin Kiki pairing as son/mother and to his recent Our Little Sister for the strong presence a deceased family member might have on their family, sometimes a bigger presence than when they were alive.

    Ryota (Abe) describes himself as an author though his first and only novel, an award winner, came…

  • Mifune: The Last Samurai

    Mifune: The Last Samurai

    Compared to the images actors of decades' past were able to cultivate, it's hard to name any true movie stars in this day and age. There are those who are box office magic and if social media followers are any indication have millions of fans, but there is something to be said about those whose talent and popularity made them icons. Today's culture of TMZ and Twitter produce an oversharing of an actor's private life, both unwilling and completely voluntary.…

  • The World of Us

    The World of Us

    If Nobody Knows taught us anything it is that being a child is not necesarilly the nostalgically good time it is remembered for, being just as complicated if not more so than adult living. And knowing how less sensational Kore-eda made that film compared to the real-like events it was based on, the social dynamics between children can be just as nuanced and cruel as the world of adults. The "us" of Yoon Ga-Eun's debut film refers to children, in…

  • Maverick

    Maverick

    Watching crime thrillers from around the world, two constants arise: politicians will be corrupt and there is always some newbie with a naïve heart who will challenge the status quo of corruption, usually butting heads with his superiors and stepping on toes in the process. That is the basic gist of this new police picture from Taiwan. In many ways if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all and know the two ways things will dénoue, but it’s reassuring to…

  • Play While You Play

    Play While You Play

    Before, usual imports from Taiwan consisted mainly of art-house fare. Recently however, more and more crossover between the mainstream and art-house/independent worlds is occurring, an ethos that has made the South Korean Renaissance into the factory with a consistently great output it has become. To highlight this emerging ease with which filmmakers can switch between these modes of production and intent, SDAFF dedicated a day’s worth of programming, out of a weekend spotlight on Taiwan, to three popular films from…

  • Harmonium

    Harmonium

    Film Movement have returned to the works of Koji Fukada, having distributed his 2010 film Hospitalite, about the destabilization of the family unit that ensues when a man lets an old acquaintance stay in his home and work for his printing press (also in home). Now they have gotten behind his latest film Harmonium, the Cannes winner also about the disruption a stranger causes a family once invited inside. Even the director himself feels as if Hospitalite were a test…

  • Headshot

    Headshot

    Merantau, released back in 2009, was an exciting debut for both its writer/director Gareth Evans and star Iko Uwais. While Evans has grown as a action stylist, Uwais has not necesarilly been given many roles that show off all the talents he brought to that debut film. Sure, with each passing Raid film he establishes himself as Indonesia's answer to any other East Asian country's martial arts superstar (he even has a cameo in the last Star Wars film!), but…

  • White Lies, Black Lies

    White Lies, Black Lies

    Lou Yi-An’s romance thriller White Lies, Black Lies treats deception as a given. There is a lie for every occasion be it public or more intimate. It posits that there are deeper, ulterior feelings effecting journalism, and thus the public, and the what and how we are presented. This everyday spin comes from self-preservation, sort of a modern, cynical take on the Rashomon theory: not that everyone can't help but tell a subjective form of the truth thus no truth,…

  • Antiporno

    Antiporno

    The pink film, or the Roman Porno as the Nikkatsu-produced titles were called, was a training ground for many filmmakers who would go on to acclaim and success, some being regarded as masters programmed regularly at the world’s top festivals. In exchange for a requirement to consistently show skin, filmmakers were given pretty much free reign in regards to the rest of the film. This year saw the unveiling of a new Nikkatsu project infinitely more exciting than the now…

  • Wet Woman in the Wind

    Wet Woman in the Wind

    Nikkatsu, in the spirit of maintaining attention and relevance, has joined the reboot party by reigniting the production of the type of soft-core sexploitation that kept them afloat in the 70s and well into the 80s: the roman porno. Enlisting five different directors (all male, apparently all the female directors they wanted were either pregnant or taking care of their kids) they were allowed to make whatever kind of film they wanted just as long as they fulfilled a sex…