The Thing 遊星からの物体X (1982) Dir: John Carpenter

Happy Halloween! This is the time of year when people celebrate the supernatural and ghoulish aspects of popular culture and national myths. I do my part by highlighting horror movies on Halloween night. So far I have reviewed Nightmare DetectiveStrange CircusShokuzaiPOV: A Cursed Film CharismaDon’t Look Up, Snow Woman (2017) Snow Woman (1968)  Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel, and Gemini. I’ll be departing from Japan and heading to Antarctica for the next Halloween Review!

The Thing    The Thing Japanese Poster

遊星からの物体X ゆうせいからのぶったいエックス

Release Date: June 25th, 1982

Duration: 109 mins.

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: Bill Lancaster (Screenplay), John W. Campbell Jr. (Who Goes There?)

Starring: Kurt Russell (R.J. MacReady), A. Wilford Brimley (Blair), T.K. Carter (Nauls), David Clennon (Palmer), Keith David (Childs), Richard Dysart (Dr. Copper), Charles Hallahan (Norris), Peter Maloney (George Bennings), Richard Masur (Clark), Donald Moffat (Garry), Joel Polis (Fuchs), Thomas Waites (Windows),

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Given the cold shoulder by some big name critics and receiving a lukewarm box-office return from the general public, it is fair to say that John Carpenter’s arctic-set paranoia-fuelled alien killer chiller THE THING was misunderstood at its time of release. Now widely considered a classic, Carpenter’s cold vision of a film has become a sci-fi horror ur-text that has inspired countless filmmakers, creatives, and fans through its adaptation of an influential short story with genre-defining prosthetics, special effects, and great acting for the maximum of horror atmospherics.

The story takes place in the winter of 1982 where a 12-man expedition at a remote research base in Antarctica encounter a shape-shifting alien that has lain frozen in the snowy wastes for over 100,000 years. Thawed out, this parasitic creature proceeds to assimilate and imitate members of the group which causes paranoia and fear to mount as nobody is sure who has been consumed and is now imitated by… the Thing. Bloody body-horror ensues as the men try to isolate and destroy it.

thing-40th-anniversary

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Inside the Red Brick Wall 理大圍城 Dirs: Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers (2020) [Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2021]

Inside the Red Brick Wall    Inside the Red Brick Wall Film Poster

理大圍城

Release Date: 2020

Duration: 88 mins.

Director: Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

IMDB

Winner of the 27th Hong Kong Film Critics Society prize for Best Film, Inside the Red Brick Wall is, along with Taking Back the Legislature, part of a diptych of films released by an anonymous collective known as Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers that chart the civil unrest in Hong Kong in 2019 as people took to the streets throughout the year to protest the erosions of their democratic rights after the government revealed its Extradition Bill. The resulting pushback by the authorities grew in brutality and even lethality as the protests wore on. In one of the most infamous examples late in 2019, police lay siege to protestors who had gathered at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

For 13 days, protestors who had gathered at the university to support the blockading of the nearby Cross-Harbour Tunnel endured police attacks that turned the environment into a veritable war zone until, amidst dwindling supplies and morale, they had to face the difficult decision of whether to hold out or face the uncertain consequences of surrendering to authorities who had been documented on social media using extreme force when arresting journalists, medics, and university staff who had earlier tried to leave. This action was caught by members of the film collective who were at the university and determined to document the experience at a time when police were preventing journalists from reporting.

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The Girl and the Gun Director: Rae Red, Philippines, (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

The Girl and the Gun  The Girl and the Gun Film Poster

Release Date: March 07th, 2020

Duration: 80 mins.

Director: Rae Red

Writer: Rae Red (Script),

Starring: Janine Gutierrez, Elijah Canlas, Felix Roco, JC Santos,

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Rae Red was introduced to the world through co-writing Birdshot (2017) with her cousin Mikhail Red. Since then, she has quickly accrued projects, collaborating with Mikhail on the scripts for his features Neomanila (2017) and Eerie (2018). In terms of directing, her debut was the short film Luna (2016) which was screened at the CineFilipino Film Festival while her debut feature, which she co-directed, Si Chedeng at Si Apple (2017), was screened at the Far East Film Festival and Kansai Queer Film Festival. The Girl with the Gun is her solo directorial debut and it displays a distinctive style that marks her out as a director of immense talent.

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Miss Andy 迷失安狄 Dir: Teddy Chin (Malaysia-Taiwan, 2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

Miss Andy  Miss Andy Film Poster

迷失安狄

Release Date: 2020

Duration: 108 mins.

Director: Teddy Chin

Writer: Ryan Tu (Script),

Starring: Lee Lee-zen, Ruby Lin, Jack Tan, Keshap Suria, Tou Kyzer,

OAFF Wikipedia

The human heart can be the most powerful thing as it always burns with the embers of hope for love, companionship and empathy even in the most difficult circumstances. That is what links all humans. Miss Andy is all about that hope in the face of such awful loneliness.

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Your Name Engraved Herein 刻在你心底的名字 Director: Liu Kuang-hui (2020) Taiwan Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020

Your Name Engraved Herein    Your Name Engraved Herein Film Poster

刻在你心底的名字 

Release Date: June 26th, 2020

Duration: 118 mins.

Director: Liu Kuang-hui

Writer: Chu Yu-ning (Script), Keralino Sandrovich (Original Novel)

Starring: Tseng Chin-hua, Chen Hao-sen, Wang Shih-sian, Leon Dai, Fabio Grangeon, Edward Chen, Mimi Shao,

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The first LGBTQ+ film since the legalisation of gay marriage in Taiwan, Your Name Engraved Herein makes itself emblematic of the gay experience by tacking its story of characters accepting their homosexuality and coming out to the easing of cultural conservatism in the 1980s and the embrace of a new openness in Taiwanese society experienced now.

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Heavy Craving 大餓 Dir: Hsieh Pei-ju (2019, Taiwan) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

Heavy Craving    Heavy Craving Film Poster

大餓  Daikatsue

Release Date: June 30th, 2019

Duration: 90 mins.

Director: Hsieh Pei-ju

Writer: Hsieh Pei-ju (Script), 

Starring: Tsai Jia-Yin, Samantha Ko, Yao Chang, Chang En-Wei, Lai Lene, Hsieh Tsu-wu,

OAFF IMDB

One woman’s battle to lose fat forms the basis of this heavy drama that comes wrapped with some light comedy as the weight of societal expectations on the physical appearance of people is skewered.

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My Prince Edward Dir: Norris Wong (Hong Kong, 2019) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020

My Prince Edward    My Prince Edward Film Poster

Release Date: November 17th, 2019

Duration: 92 mins.

Director: Norris Wong

Writer: Norris Wong (Script),

Starring: Stephy Tang, Chu Pak-hon, Jin Kaijie, Paw Hee-ching , Hailey Chan, Eman Lam, Hui So-Ying, Creamy Yick,

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Happy Old Year, Dir: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Thailand (2019) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

Happy Old Year    Happy Old Year Film Poster

Release Date: December 24th, 2019

Duration: 105 mins.

Director: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

Writer: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (Script),

Starring: Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Sunny Suwanmethanont, Sarika Sartsilpsupa, Thirawat Ngosawang, Apasiri Chantrasmi,

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Perched perfectly between satire and drama, Happy Old Year sees writer/director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit test the limits of ruthlessness needed to conduct the Marie Kondo minimalist lifestyle with a main character who is wholly unlikeable and yet, by the end, quite sympathetic.

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The Garden of Evening Mists 夕霧花園 Dir: Tom Lin (2019, Malaysia) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020]

The Garden of Evening Mists    The Garden of Evening Mists Film Poster

夕霧花園  Yugiri Hanazono

Release Date: January 16th, 2020 (Malaysia)

Duration: 120 mins.

Director: Tom Lin

Writer: Richard Smith (Script) Twan Eng Tan (Novel)

Starring: Lee Sinje, Hiroshi Abe, Sylvia Chang, Julian Sands, John Hannah, Serene Lim, David Oakes,

OAFF IMDB

The opening film of the 2020 Osaka Asian Film Festival is a handsomely shot historical drama featuring an international array of talent as they bring to life the same-named novel by Malaysian writer Tan Twan Eng. The Booker Prize shortlisted story takes place during decades of conflict in Malaysia and is seen from the perspective of one character caught in the grasp of its history and a risky romance. It is a hefty work so Taiwanese director Tom Lin and British writer Richard Smith adapt the material with a schematic approach that uses flashbacks to gradually reveal wartime secrets, traumas and the redemptive effect of love in a slow-burn story that ends on a satisfying note.

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Osaka Asian Film Festival 2020 Announces Opening and Closing Films: The Garden of Evening Mists and Kamata Prelude

OAFF2020 top_main1_e

Earlier today, the organisers of the 2020 edition of the Osaka Asian Film Festival announced their opening and closing films, both of which are completely different in form and content. Here’s the information direct from the festival website.

Everything kicks off on March 06th with the Malaysian film, The Garden of Evening Mists, a historical drama featuring a pan-Asian cast and crew who have adapted the award-winning novel by Twan Eng Tan.

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