Asian Film Ratings & Reviews  •  Photo Galleries  •  Movie Trailers
This site was created to help people select Asian films to see. 498 films are listed alphabetically within 9 rating categories.
Use the category list below to navigate the site. Click once to go to that page, on the page click again to go to that category.

       Page 1: My All-Time Favorites
      Page 1: Films I Love
     Page 1: Films I Like Very Much
    Page 2: Films I Like
   Page 3: Films I Like Some Aspect Of
   Page 4: Bad Films
    Page 4: Films I Dislike
     Page 4: Films I Hate
      Page 4: Films I Despise
     Page 5: New & Upcoming Theatrical/DVD Releases
    Page 5: Films I Want to See
   Page 5: Films I Haven't Seen
      Page 6: Favorite Films by Genre
      Page 7: Favorite Films by Country
      Page 8: Favorite Films by Actress
      Page 9: Favorite Chinese Pop Singers & Songs
    Alphabetical Index of All Films on this Site
    Asian Film Trailers and Photos

  Films I Like Some Aspect Of
 Ad Lib Night
(Aju teukbyeolhan sonnim) with Han Hyo-ju (photo), South Korea 2006 Drama 1:39 DVD
A lonely, enigmatic young woman is asked by a family to impersonate a runaway daughter for a dying man. The young woman tries to be sympathetic and help while the male family members smoke, drink and argue, and the females engage in mindless chatter. Han Hyo-ju is enchanting and her performance is the only good thing in this film.
 After Life
(Wandafuru raifu) with Erika Oda, Japan 1998 Fantasy Drama 1:58 DVD
Twenty-two souls arrive at a way station between life and death, where they are asked to choose just one memory to take into their afterlife. Once they have chosen a memory, it is recreated and filmed by the staff of the way station. The film cuts between interviews with real people, actors improvising and reading scripts to show how memories are distorted, improved on and revised. Interesting premise, but parts are tediously slow.
 Anna and the King
with Bai Ling, USA 1999 Drama 2:27 DVD
Based on the true story of a British woman hired as governess for the children of the king of Siam (Thailand) in the 19th century. Strong-willed Anna struggles with the king for power over the royal youngsters. There are romantic sparks, but no fire. An exceptional production, beautiful to look at, but a very disappointing story. Bai Ling was never given a chance.
 Butterfly Man
with Napakpapha Nakprasitte (Napakprapa Nakprasit) (photo), Thailand & UK 2002 Romance 1:35 DVD
While on vacation, an English backpacker falls in love with a breathtakingly beautiful young woman on an exotic Thai island. But, of course, he cheats on her and gets involved with bad guys and violence. This is a bad film, but it stars the exceptionally beautiful Napakpapha Nakprasitte (also spelled Napakprapa Nakprasit). I hope she has the opportunity to make good films.
 China Cry: A True Story
with Julia Nickson (photo), France Nuyen, UK 1990 Drama 1:43 DVD
A Chinese girl from a wealthy family loses her home when the Japanese invade during World War II. After the war, she is initially eager to become part of Mao's “new society,” but because she was sent to a Christian school as a child, she beommes a victim of communist oppression and is interrogated, beaten, almmost executed and eventually sent to a labor camp. She is able to escape to Hong Kong and later works to obtain human rights for people in China. Based on Sung Neng Yee's autobiography.
 Chokher Bali
(Sand in the Eye) with Aishwarya Rai (photo), India 2003 Drama 2:04 DVD
In 1902 Bengal during British rule in India, two young men from wealthy families ignore a marriage proposal from a poor, but gorgeous and educated country girl. A year later, she seduces both men, then dumps them. An ingenious story of methodical revenge, destroyed by unnatural dialogue and both men acting like retarded toads. Interminable. Aishwarya Rai and the photography are breathtaking. Based on the novel by Rabindranath Tagore.
with Lee Hyo-jung (photo), South Korea 2000 Period Drama 2:00 DVD
Classic romantic fable of young woman in 13th century Korea who is in love with one man but obligated to marry the loathsome governor. The film flashes back and forth between the period drama and a present-day narrator chanting the story to a live audience in a theater. The period drama is beautiful to look at, but the acting is exaggerated and unnatural. The narrator's chanting is painful to endure.
 City of Joy
(La cite de la joie) France 1992 Drama 2:14 DVD
Disillusioned doctor finds himself working in the slums of Calcutta. Interesting situation, but formulaic story.
 Confession of Pain
(Seung sing) with Shu Qi (photo), Xu Jinglei, Hong Kong 2006 Crime Drama 1:50 DVD
A former cop turned private eye stays perpetually drunk to dull the pain of his girlfriend's suicide. The wife of his former partner hires him to investigate the brutal murder of her father. During his investigation, he discovers secrets, lies and a spunky bar girl. The director shows who did it right away and drags out the reason why for the rest of the film. Huge mistake. Once you know who did it, you don't really care why. The four stars make the film watchable. I liked Xu Jinglei the best. Shu Qi is only used for humor and eye candy.
 Debut, The
with Joy Bisco & Bernadette Balagtas (photo), USA 2001 Drama 1:28 DVD
The same old story of generational conflict in an immigrant family. This time, the family is Filipino-American. The film presented no new perspective on this situation and would have been boring had it not been for the personalities of the sister, her brother and his new girlfriend plus the Filipino culture.
 Delhi 6
with Sonam Kapoor (photo), India 2009 Drama 2:20
An American-born Indian accompanies his ailing grandmother back to her family home in Delhi (zip code 6). He finds lots of relatives, primitive living conditions, overcrowding, chaos, strong religious beliefs (and tensions), and a beautiful neighbor who wants to be the next “Indian Idol,” not in an arranged marriage. Contrived, unconvincing, but mildly entertaining Bollywood cinema. Sonam Kapoor is attractive. The “I'm so cool” American-born Indian is played by Aishwarya Rai's husband. Shot in Sambar, a town near Jaipur.
 Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart
USA 1984 Comedy 1:28 VHS
A widowed mother and her thirty-year-old unmarried daughter in present-day San Francisco's Chinatown both waiting for the other to get married first. This story sounds familiar. But I'm not absolutely sure if I actually saw this movie. If I did, it was moderately enjoyable, but obviously not very memorable.
 Double Vision
(Shuang tong) with René Liu (photo), Yang Kuei-mei, Huang Wei-han, Taiwan 2002 Mystery Thriller 1:50 DVD
In Taipei, a businessman freezes to death on a very hot day, a politician's notorious mistress burns to death in a room with no trace of fire, and an American missionary, a former arms dealer, is found ritually disemboweled. A local cop and an American FBI agent think it's the work of a serial killer. The cop is in a depressed stupor, alienated from his wife and their troubled daughter. This film starts with great promise but ends in a complete mess.
 Dragon Seed
USA 1944 Drama B&W 2:25 VHS
When the Japanese invade China in the late 1930s, a Chinese family of farmers courageously survives the best way they can. A heroic young Chinese woman leads her fellow villagers in an uprising against the Japanese. Based on the Pearl S. Buck novel. An excellent production, but all major roles are played by caucasians with Chinese only in supporting roles.
 Emperor's Shadow, The
(Qin song) with Xu Qing, China & Hong Kong 1996 Historical Drama 2:03 DVD
China's first emperor Ying Zheng, king of Qin province during the late 3rd century B.C., unites the country's six warring kingdoms under his rule. Focuses more on imagined personal relationships than actual historical events. Same story as The Emperor and the Assassin but not as good a film.
 Faithfully Yours
(Zui jia nu xu) with Man Cheung, Hong Kong 1988 Romantic Comedy 1:28 DVD
Three horny young guys all compete for the affections of a barber's pretty daughter. They all get drunk and fall asleep in her bedroom. Later, she discovers that she is pregnant but no one can remember which one did the deed. Until the identity of the father can be determined, the three guys help her during her pregnancy. By far, the best thing, if not the only thing, about this movie is the pretty daughter played by Man Cheung.
 Fallen Angels
(Duoluo tianshi) with Charlie Yeung, Hong Kong 1995 Comedy Drama DVD
A sequel to Chungking Express about a professional assassin and a goofy thief and the women they love in present-day Hong Kong. The emphasis is more on style than story or character development. I hated the violence, but enjoyed some of the humor.
 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
(Fainaru fantaji) with Ming-Na, Japan & USA 2001 Sci-Fi Animation 1:46 DVD
On Earth in the year 2065, a female scientist and a few soldiers battle alien phantoms threatening to destroy all life on the planet. A lame story based on the popular video game. The film cost $115 million and was a disaster at the box office. But it's worth seeing because of the amazingly realistic computer-generated people (notice the eye) and the spiritual philosophy. I hated the pervasive violence.
with Nandita Das, Shabana Azmi, India 1996 Drama 1:48 DVD
A devoted wife, after enduring a barren and sexless arranged marriage for 15 years, learns that her husband is attempting to rid himself completely of any form of desire. And, even though his younger brother has just brought home a new wife, he continues a sexual relationship with his Chinese girlfriend. The two women, deprived of their husbands' affections, draw closer together in an attempt to satisfy their own desires. Marginally interesting.
 For Bad Boys Only
(Bad boy dak gung) with Shu Qi (photo), Hong Kong 2000 Action Romantic Comedy 1:41 DVD
Three detectives specialize in finding lost loves for their clients. They fight. They shoot. They blow stuff up. They knock themselves out trying to be cool, charming and funny to compensate for the stupid script and cheesy, cheapo production. The only redeeming elements of this film are some touching romantic scenes and Shu Qi's enjoyable performance in three distinct roles.
 Goddess of Mercy
(Jade Goddess) with Vicki Zhao Wei (photo), China 2004 Crime Thriller 1:50 DVD
A young single mom, who works at a Beijing martial arts school, is courted by a shallow playboy. Before this, she was a town narcotics cop and local Tae Kwan Do champ. Her husband died protecting her. And just before her marriage, she had an affair with a charismatic drug smuggler. He got her pregnant. She got him thrown into jail. Lots of people get shot. Part character drama (which I liked), part crime thriller (which I didn't). Misfire.
 Great Conqueror's Concubine, The
(Xi chu bawang) with Gong Li, China & Hong Kong 1994 Historical Drama 2:45 DVD
Xiang Yu of Chu defeats the Qin. Liu Bang defeats Xiang Yu and founds the Han dynasty. Men kill one another with swords, spears and arrows in epic battles that occur every ten minutes. Their women take baths and exchange hairpins. No historical facts are provided. For example, when Liu Bang dies, his wife, Lu Hou, seizes power after murdering four of his sons. Gong Li portrays the devious Lu Hou with insidious delight.
 Great Wall, A
(Beijing gushi) China & USA 1986 Comedy 1:43 DVD
A San Francisco computer engineer moves his family to China in search of his cultural roots even though his wife and children prefer to remain in America. Problems arise when they move in with their mainland relatives, who are apprehensive about Western culture. Moderately enjoyable.
 Green Dragon, The
with Hiep Thi Le, USA 2001 Drama 1:51 DVD
From April to October 1975, Camp Pendleton Marines operate a relocation camp for 134,000 Vietnamese refugees. A valiant attempt to portray their sadness over the lives and loved ones left behind in Viet Nam and fears for their future in a strange new country. Because way too much time is spent watching a little boy, the many adults are given just enough time to tell their tragic stories, but not enough time for us to connect with them as people.
 Horse Thief, The
(Daomazei) China 1986 Drama 1:28 VHS
A Tibetan man steals horses to support his family. When he is caught, his family nearly starves to death while he's in prison. After he is released, they wander the countryside in search of honest work, but can only survive when the father reverts to thievery. Marginally interesting.
 I Have Found It
(Kandukondain Kandukondain / Priyuraalu Pilichindi) with Aishwarya Rai (photo), India 2000 Musical Romantic Drama 2:31 DVD
An ex-commando officer desires a young woman who desires a charismatic, arrogant, rich young businessman. An aspiring filmmaker falls for her older sister but will wed her only after directing his first film. A south Indian adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility with romance, Jerry Lewis-type comedy, singing and dancing. Aishwarya Rai is gorgeous. Too long.
 In the Mood for Love
(Hua yang nian hua) with Maggie Cheung, Hong Kong 2000 Period Drama 1:38 DVD
Unconsummated love affair in the Shanghai enclave in 1962 Hong Kong. I liked the visual style and mood of the film. Crowded apartments. Rainy nights. Tight fitting, high collar cheongsam dresses. But it was boring to watch a man and a woman, whose spouses are having an affair, just talking and looking at one another. The movie should have been about their spouses.
 Indian Summer
with Lee Mi-yeon, South Korea 2001 Crime Drama 1:44 DVD
A young woman is facing the death penalty on suspicion of murdering her husband. She refuses to say anything in her own defense and is simply waiting to die. Her lawyer believes that there is more to this case than anyone realizes and is determined to save her despite her refusal to be saved. Engrossing.
 Iron Monkey
(Siunin Wong Fei-hung tsi titmalau) with Jean Wang, Tsang Sze-man, Hong Kong 1993 Period Martial Arts Comedy 1:29 DVD
To get his son back, a martial arts warrior in mid-19th century China hunts down a thief, known as Iron Monkey, who steals from the rich to give to the poor. His companion, Orchid, is a beautiful woman with a mysterious past. You know the good guys are never in any danger and only the bad guys (and the ugly virgin) will die. The son, played by a girl, Tsang Sze-man, is terrific. Mildly entertaining and amusing.
 Iron Sister
(Yu nu / Yuk nui) with Shu Qi (photo), Taiwan 1996 Drama 1:32 DVD
In 1941, a Manchurian soldier is caught sleeping with his Japanese major's mistress. He kills the officer, flees for his life, and hides out in the isolated home of a hunter and his pregnant daughter. The soldier kills her fiancé and marries her. She refuses to let him touch her and gives birth to a little girl who resents him. He reunites with an ex-lover working as a prostitute. Shu Qi's performance makes this amateurish film worth watching.
with Karena Lam Kar Yan, Angelica Lee Sinjie (both in photo), Hong Kong 2004 Thriller 1:28 DVD
A frail young woman desperately needs a new kidney. Ironically, she stumbles upon a naked woman who just had a kidney stolen. She suspects her boyfriend's former lover who stalks her and outright threatens to take her kidney one day. But then, a friendship develops between the two! The plot twists all over the place. Karena Lam and Angelica Lee give such incredible performances, this convoluted thriller is actually fun to watch.
 Last Samurai, The
with Koyuki Katou (photo), USA & Japan 2003 War 2:34 DVD
In 1876, an ex-American Civil War captain is hired by the Japanese emperor to train his troops in the use of modern weapons and lead them in battle against the last of the country's remaining Samurai. After the captain is captured in battle by the Samurai, he learns to appreciate their traditions and code of honor eventually embracing their culture and style of fighting. Beautiful landscapes and costumes, but too many battles. Koyuki is stunning.
 Little Buddha
USA 1994 Drama 2:03 DVD
Two Buddhist monks from Nepal travel to Seattle because they believe a ten-year-old boy may be the reincarnation of a legendary Buddhist mystic and want to take him back to Bhutan with them. It tells the story of the Buddha Siddhartha who decided that it was his destiny to relieve all human beings from pain and suffering. Interesting, especially the story of Siddhartha and the scenes in Nepal.
 Love in the Time of Twilight
(Hua yue jia qi) with Charlie Yeung, Ting Cheung, Hong Kong 1995 Romantic Comedy 1:44 VHS
In 1900s China, a bank clerk and a young woman with a Beijing Opera troupe continually cross paths, but instead of connecting, they keep antagonizing one another. The young man is killed in a bank robery but comes back as a ghost to ask the young woman to go back in time with him to the day of his murder to help him change history so he can live. Lots of slapstick comedy and cheesy special effects, but the couple's relationship is charming.
 Lover of the Last Empress
(Ci Xi mi mi sheng huo) with Chingmy Yau, Valerie Chow, Hong Kong 1994 Historical Drama 1:37 DVD
During the Qing Dynasty, Hui Yu-lan, the daughter of a junior government official, becomes one of Emperor Hsien-feng's many concubines. She gets pregnant, has a son, becomes Queen No.2, the emperor dies. After killing Queen No.1 and all her adversaries, she becomes the Empress Dowager, Tzu-hsi, who ruthlessly ruled China for 48 years (1861-1908). Few historical facts, frequent comic sex, beautiful sets and costumes, amusing subtitles. WARNING: This is a Wong Jing film.
 Lucky Guy, The
(Hung wan yat tew loong) with Shu Qi (photo), Kristy Yang, Sammi Cheng, Hong Kong 1998 Romantic Comedy 1:40 DVD
A cafe owner faces the loss of his business. His son, a reporter, befriends a runaway heiress to use her for a story. A waiter falls for a secretary at a kung-fu school. Another waiter pursues a nurse. A typical Hong Kong romantic comedy with happy endings. Kristy Yang is sweet. Sammi Cheng is sexy. Shu Qi is adorable. These three attractive women are the only reason to see this film. WARNING: This is a Wong Jing film.
 M. Butterfly
USA 1993 Drama 1:50 DVD
In 1964 Beijing, a profoundly naive French diplomat begins an 18-year love affair with a male Chinese Opera performer the diplomat thought was a woman. Based on a true incident! Adapted from David Henry Hwang's play. Beautiful to look at, but a really weird story.
(Maboroshi no hikari) with Makiko Esumi (photo), Japan 1995 Drama 1:49 DVD
After her husband's unexpected suicide, a young Japanese woman accepts an arranged marriage and moves to a small coastal village to start a new life. Despite the passage of time and her new family, her heart still aches. This could have been a very touching story about loss, grief and the process of healing. But, because the director shot every scene from a distance, you can't see the people clearly enough to get to know or care about them. Disappointing.
 Mack the Knife
(Doctor Mack / Liu mang yi sheng) with Gigi Leung (definitely not pictured), Hong Kong 1995 Comedy 1:38 DVD
A smirking, ignore the rules doctor gives up his position in a respected hospital, opens a clinic in a poor neighborhood and treats the local prostitutes. With that attitude, he certainly didn't belong in the hospital. Some amusing moments. Gigi Leung is cute in her first film.
 Magnificent Warriors
(Dynamite Fighters / Yes, Madam III / Zhong hua zhan shi) with Michelle Yeoh, Hong Kong 1987 Action 1:31 DVD
During World War II, a tomboyish Chinese pilot teams up with a spy and an annoying conman in order to rescue the governor of Kaal where the occupying Japanese plan to build a poison gas factory. Michelle Yeoh is wonderful as a female “Indiana Jones” thrashing thugs with a bull whip, power kicking opponents several feet away, shredding a bridge with a machine gun, jousting on motorcycle with a flaming pole and fighting like a madwoman.
 Man Called Hero, A
(Zhong hua ying xiong) with Shu Qi (photo), Hong Kong 1999 Action 1:58 DVD
In early 20th century China, a young man's parents are murdered by a band of evil Westerners. He goes to New York's Chinatown in search of the killers. His wife follows, gives birth, gets killed. The film climaxes 17 years later with a battle to the death against a ninja grand master on the Statue of Liberty. A follow-up to The Storm Riders using much of the same cast but with more story, less fighting and special effects. Exhausting.
 Man in the Middle
(The Winston Affair) with France Nuyen (photo), UK 1963 Drama 1:34 DVD
In 1944 India, an American second lieutenant deliberately kills a British sergeant. Because of tensions between British and American soldiers, the local commanding general wants an expedited court marshall with a guilty verdict to smooth things over. A military lawyer is assigned to defend the murderer. France Nuyen isn't given much to do except look beautiful.
 Marriage Is a Crazy Thing
(Crazy Marriage / Gyeolhoneun michinjishida) with Um Jung-hwa, South Korea 2002 Romance 1:45 DVD
A mid-20s, poor, part-time English Literature professor meets a free-spirited and sexually adventurous woman. She marries a doctor for financial security, but continues to have sex with the professor. The film examines marriage vs. shacking up. A realistic portrayal of a difficult romantic relationship with explicit but tasteful sex scenes. A much better film than I expected.
 Memento Mori
(Yeogo goedam II) with Lee Young-jin (photo), Park Yeh-jin, South Korea 1999 Lesbian Drama Ghost Thriller 1:38 DVD
A high school girl stumbles upon a scrapbook diary that details the unusually close relationship between two female classmates. When one of the girls appears to commit suicide, her friends attempt to discover what really happened. I liked the relationship between the two girls and the high school experience in the first half, but the film fell apart with the supernatural thrills in the second half.
 Miami Vice
with Gong Li (photo), USA 2006 Action Crime 2:12 DVD
Two undercover Miami detectives infiltrate a Colombian drug cartel by posing as transporters willing to smuggle cocaine from South America into south Florida. One of the cops has an affair with the drug kingpin's beautiful and enigmatic Chinese-Cuban business manager / mistress (Gong Li). You would think he was in enough danger already. A very unpleasant film featuring ugly violent men, beautiful naked women, exotic automobiles, fast boats, big guns, bullet holes and blood. I tolerated this garbage only to see Gong Li.
 Missing Gun, The
(Xun qiang) with Ning Jing (photo), China 2002 Mystery 2:00 DVD
A small-town Chinese policeman wakes up one morning to discover that his gun is missing, an unpardonable offense. During his frantic search, he's suspected of murder. Through the majority of this film, I was thinking what a great film with its intriguing story, good acting and cinematography. But at the end, it completely falls apart. A monumental disappointment.
 Mongolian Tale, A
with Narenhuar, China 1995 Drama 1:45 VHS
After the death of his mother, a young boy, comes to live with a young girl and her grandmother in a simple hut among the local shepherds. When they two grow to adulthood, the young man moves to the city to attend school and start his career. While the young woman waits at home for him to return and marry her, she falls victim to the advances of a gruff local shepherd with a drinking problem. Moderately interesting.
 My Loving Trouble 7
(Wo ai 777 / Ngo oi 777) with Shu Qi (photo), Hong Kong 1999 Action Comedy Romance 1:43 DVD
A female spy for a hi-tech criminal organization is given the assignment to steal secret information from the CIA. At the same time she is being romantically pursued by a director who makes television commercials. Both have annoying pals. Worth watching only for Shu Qi. She brings more quality to this film than it deserves. While everyone else is acting either unrealistically silly or menacing, she gives the only straight performance.
 My Wife is a Gangster 2: Return of the Legend
(Jopog manura 2: Dolaon jeonseol) with Shin Eun-kyung (photo), South Korea 2003 Action Comedy 1:44 VCD
A female gang boss loses her memory in a fight and goes to work at a Chinese restaurant delivering food on a scooter. A gang threatens local shopowners. As an afterthought, Zhang Ziyi appears as a rival gangster. Much less enjoyable than the first. Shin Eun-kyung is the only good thing about this film. Sadly, while filming a fight scene, Shin Eun-kyung was hit in the left eye with a wooden plank. Although her eye returned to normal, she permanently lost her sight in that eye.
 My Wife Is a Gangster 3
(Jopog manura 3) with Shu Qi, Hyeon Young, South Korea / China 2006 Action Comedy 1:55 DVD
The beautiful-martial-art-killing-machine daughter of a Hong Kong triad boss is framed for murdering the boss of a rival gang and is forced to flee to South Korea to escape retaliation. Her father's friend, a Korean mob boss, orders three bumbling stooges with no fighting skills whatsoever to protect her. A sexy female assassin is sent from Hong Kong to kill her. Shu Qi replaces Shin Eun-kyung with no connection to the two previous films. Slapstick comedy combined with fight scenes. Mildly amusing. Hot tattoo!
 Natural City
with Seo Rin, Lee Jae-un, Ko Ju-hye, South Korea 2003 Science Fiction Action 2:00 DVD
In the year 2080, a moody, arrogant, violent policeman desperately tries to save a gentle, melancholy cyborg dancer with only 78 hours left to live. A Blade Runner-inspired story about a world recovering from a devastating war and threatened by militant cyborgs. Lots of bloody action, advanced technology, flying cars, people living in poverty and a lifeless love story. Mildly interesting, but ultimately disappointing.
 Peking Opera Blues
(Dao ma dan) with Brigitte Lin, Cherie Chung, Sally Yeh, Hong Kong 1984 Martial Arts Comedy 1:44 DVD
Kung-fu comedy about three women embroiled in a political conspiracy in 1911 China. Lots of frantic slapstick action; some of it enjoyable.
 Picture Bride
(Bijo photo) with Yuki Kudoh, Tamlyn Tomita, Japan 1994 Drama 1:38 DVD
In the early 1900s, young Japanese women, called “picture brides,” went to Hawaii to marry Japanese men. In this true story, a 16-year-old girl goes there to marry a man she knows only by a photograph and some letters. Upon arrival, she is horrified to learn that he sent her an old photograph. He's really 25 years older than she and a poor farm laborer who cuts sugar cane. And now, she's trapped in a life of poverty as a farm laborer as well.
 Pillow Book, The
with Vivian Wu, UK 1995 Drama 2:06 DVD
A Japanese-born fashion model with obsessions for calligraphy and sex goes to Hong Kong. She and her lovers write Chinese characters on each other's bodies. A great way to learn the language. The film is presented in a very inventive multimedia style with several images on the screen at the same time. Interesting design concepts and beautiful images, ruined by pervasive, graphic male nudity and an extremely unpleasant story.
(Ring Virus) with Shin Eun-Kyung, South Korea 1999 Horror 1:48 DVD
After watching a strange videotape, the phone rings telling the person who saw it that he will die in seven days. After her niece presumably dies like that, a young journalist begins to investigate and finds the deadly tape. Although she has been warned not to, she watches it anyway. Minutes later the phone rings... A Korean remake of the Japanese hit, Ringu. Mildly entertaining. Shin Eun-Kyung is always good.
 River, The
(Le Fleuve) with Radha Shri Ram, France & India 1951 Drama 1:39 VHS
Two teenage girls, one English, one American, living in West Bengal, India harbor a crush for a dashing English visitor who is attracted to a beautiful Indian girl. Mildly enjoyable. Directed by Jean Renoir and based on the novel by Rumer Godden. This film helped launch the directorial career of Satyajit Ray, who met Renoir during the shooting of this film.
 Row Your Boat
with Bai Ling (photo), USA 1998 Drama 1:46 DVD
A homeless man, just released from prison after serving time for a crime his brother committed, gets a low-paying job as a door-to-door census taker. On the job, he meets a young, beautiful but lonely Chinese immigrant in an unhappy arranged marriage. They start a touching romantic relationship, but his thuggish brother ruins everything, including the movie. A nice romantic comedy ruined by unpleasant cruelty and criminal violence.
 Rush Hour 2
with Zhang Ziyi (photo), USA 2001 Martial Arts Comedy 1:30 DVD
Hong Kong cop and Los Angeles cop chase Triad gangsters from a nightclub and brothel in Hong Kong to a Las Vegas casino. At the same time, they are being chased by a sexy secret service agent and a lethal femme fatale. Chris Tucker is extremely annoying and the fight scenes became tedious, but there are some funny moments. Zhang Ziyi's character should have been developed and given more screen time.
 Salaam Bombay!
India 1988 Drama 1:54 DVD
Street urchins hustle and steal to survive among druggies, pimps and prostitutes in the city slums. Though the story is scripted, the actors are genuine street people. A good film about a depressing situation.
 Scorpion King, The
with Kelly Hu (photo), USA 2002 Action 1:34 DVD
In Egypt 5000 years ago, a warrior seeks revenge against evil marauders. Entertaining. Listed only because of Kelly Hu.
 Seoul Raiders
(Han cheng gong lüe / Hon shing gung leuk) with Shu Qi (photo), Choi Yeo-jin, Hong Kong & South Korea 2005 Action Comedy 1:35 DVD
A super-cool Chinese private eye and impossibly popular ladies man, a goofy Chinese-American CIA agent, a mysterious Korean gangster, a gorgeous cat burglar and a trio of hot Korean babes all try to get their hands on a set of flawless counterfeiting plates created by Middle Eastern terrorists to harm the US economy. Lots of silly antics, chases, fake fighting, mugging and smirking. A sequel to Tokyo Raiders. Watch it to see Shu Qi in drag!
 Shadow Magic
(Xi yang jing) with Xiu Yufei, China 2000 Period Drama 1:52 DVD
The introduction of motion pictures, called “shadow magic,” to China at the beginning of the 20th century. A photographer's assistant goes to work at an Englishman's movie theater in Beijing. Based on a true story. Moderately interesting, amateurish production.
 Shaolin Soccer
(Shao lin zu qiu / Siu lam juk kau) with Vicki Zhao Wei, Hong Kong & China 2001 Comedy 1:42 DVD
An ex-soccer player and a Shaolin kung fu student form a soccer team using their martial art skills. Often funny. Some moments are hilarious, for example, when the Shaolin student learns to kick a soccer ball. Karen Mok and Cecilia Cheung have cameos.
China 1999 Comedy Drama 1:35 DVD
Elderly men discuss politics and life in a bathhouse in an old neighborhood in contemporary Beijing. Moderately interesting, blatantly sentimental.
 Skyline Cruisers
(San tau chi saidoi) with Shu Qi (photo), Hong Kong 2000 Action 1:29 DVD
Four techno-thieves, who think they're real cool, steal stuff à la Mission Impossible. All the stunts were filmed first; then the script was written in a failed attempt to make sense of it all. It's kinda fun if you don't read the subtitles.
 Song of the Exile
(Ketu qiuhen) with Maggie Cheung, Hong Kong & Taiwan 1990 Drama 1:40 VHS
A Japanese-Chinese student returning to her native Hong Kong in 1970 after graduating from a university in London has cultural and societal conflicts with her mother. Moderately interesting.
 Spirit of Liberty Moon, The
with Bai Ling (photo), USA 1998 Drama 1:31 VHS
A Chinese woman flees to America after protesting at the 1989 Tiananmen Square riots. By returning only a few years later, she risks her life to find the husband and daughter she was forced to leave behind. A touching story, but hokey acting except for Bai Ling who rose above the rest and delivered an outstanding performance. From the tv series Touched by an Angel.
 Star Runner
(Siu nin ah fu) with Kim Hyun-joo (photo), Hong Kong & South Korea 2003 Action 1:40 DVD
Two separate stories. A contrived romance in the first half. Men bashing each other's brains out in the second. Kim Hyun-joo is extremely beautiful and the only reason to watch this film.
 Storm Riders, The
(Feng yun xiong ba tian xia / Fung wan: Hung ba tin ha) with Shu Qi (photo), Kristy Yang, Christine Ng, Xu Jinglei, Hong Kong 1998 Action 2:08 DVD
An evil warlord, Lord Conquer, must defeat Sword Saint to take over the world. Lord Conquer makes Whispering Wind and Striding Cloud his disciples. He marries his daughter to Wind then accidentally kills her. There's a climactic battle between Lord Conquer, Sword Saint, Cloud and Wind. Lots of fighting and special effects. Not as bad as it sounds. Shu Qi was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 18th Hong Kong Film Awards.
 Strawberry Fields
with Suzy Nakamura, USA 1997 Drama 1:27 DVD
Japanese-American teenager struggles for a sense of culture and identity in the early 1970s. She leaves for San Francisco with her boyfriend but eventually goes off alone in search of the remains of the internment camp where her family was incarcerated during World War II. Low-budget independent film. I enjoyed Suzy Nakamura's character and her performance, but not the rest.
 Stunt Woman, The
(Ah Kam / A Jin de gu shi / Ah Gam dik koo si) with Michelle Yeoh (photo), Hong Kong 1996 Action Drama 1:35 DVD
This is an amateurishly made film about the crazy people who create movie stunts, lowlife street gangsters, a slimeball and an annoying smartmouthed kid. Michelle Yeoh is just too beautiful, too sophisticated, too classy and too talented for these people and a film like this. One of the stunts in the film required Michelle to jump off a bridge onto a truck 18 feet below. Unfortunately, she fractured a vertebra and was in traction for a month. She is the only reason to endure this ugly film.
Thailand 2001 Historical Drama 2:30 DVD
Epic tale of Queen Somdet Phra Suriyothai of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya in 16th century Thailand. At 15, she marries a son of the viceroy. After a series of power struggles and assassinations, her husband becomes King Mahachakkaphat. When the Burmese invade Ayutthaya in the Battle of Hantawaddy in 1548, she heroically rides an elephant into battle to save her husband's life. Interesting story, beautiful sets and photography, lifeless acting.
 Temptation of a Monk
(You seng) with Joan Chen, Hong Kong 1993 Period Melodrama 1:58 DVD
In 7th-century China, a general is betrayed by a rival who kills everyone he cares about, including his lover, a beautiful princess. Although wanting vengeance, he retreats to a remote Buddhist temple. But before he can find lasting peace, he must face one final confrontation with his old rival. Beautiful, bloody, bawdy and bizarre. Enjoyable to watch if you don't try to understand what's happening.
 Thousand Pieces of Gold, A
with Rosalind Chao, USA 1990 Western Romance 1:45 VHS
In 1880s China, a young woman is sold into marriage by her impoverished father, shipped by a slave trader to an Idaho gold-mining town, and bought by a saloon owner who intends to offer her as an exotic prostitute for the entertainment of his customers. Refusing to become a whore, she becomes a cleaning woman and successful laundress. Based on a true story. A touching romance.
 Touch, The
with Michelle Yeoh (photo), China 2002 Action Romance DVD
700 hundred years ago, a lama hid a priceless treasure in an underground palace on the Silk Road. He also set traps to prevent intruders and trained a family of acrobatic performers to protect it. The latest generation of that family are star performers of an international acrobatic troupe. A collector intends to steal the treasure. Produced by Michelle Yeoh. A bad movie, but just watching Michelle Yeoh made it fun anyway.
 Uninvited, The
(4 inyong shiktak) with Jeon Ji-hyun (photo), South Korea 2003 Thriller 2:00 DVD
An interior decorator has no childhood memories, suffers from feelings of anxiety and begins to doubt his sanity. He meets a beautiful but mysterious, narcoleptic young woman who sees the same things he does and tells him things about the past he never even dreamed of. It's nice when a couple have things in common. I watched this because I loved Jeon Ji-hyun in her two previous films. A monumental disappointment.
 Warm Water Under a Red Bridge
(Akai hashi no shita no nurui mizu) with Misa Shimizu (photo), Japan 2001 Romantic Comedy 1:59 DVD
Unemployed salesman can't find a job. A homeless man tells him about a valuable gold Buddha statue he stole from a temple and hid in a house. Hoping this will solve his problems, he goes to find the house and discovers a lovely young woman living there. He follows her to a market where he sees her apparently urinating on the floor while stealing cheese. He follows her home and she seduces him. Bizarre, pointless, occasionally amusing.
 Warriors of Heaven and Earth
(Tian di ying xiong) with Vicki Zhao Wei, China & Hong Kong 2003 Action 1:54 DVD
A Japanese emissary is sent to the Gobi desert to execute a renegade soldier. When a caravan transporting a Buddhist monk and a valuable treasure is threatened by thieves, these two unite to protect the travelers. Good actors portraying colorful characters, beautiful cinematography, unbelievable story, ridiculous special effects. Disappointing. Musa is a similar, but vastly superior film.
 Woman in the Dunes
(Suna no onna) with Kyôko Kishida, Japan 1964 Drama 2:03 DVD
An unsuspecting entomologist searching for insects in the desert goes to a small Japanese town where he's offered both shelter and female companionship. He's lowered into a pit where a woman is being forced to shovel sand in search of a water source for the village. Whenever she stops shoveling, she is denied food. They make love. She gets pregnant. He escapes, only to be recaptured. A conscious nightmare, well crafted.
 Wonder Women
(Nui yan boon sik) with Gigi Leung (photo), Hong Kong 2007 Drama 1:42 DVD
During the ten years following the Hong Kong handover in 1997, a young woman, the chief financial officer of a big company, is directly affected by all the city's problems: the real estate crash, the Asian Financial Crisis, unemployment, bankruptcy, suicide and SARS. Gigi Leung handles all these problems, several personal tragedies (and this mediocre film) with dignity, grace, beauty and charm.
 Wu Yen
with Sammi Cheng, Anita Mui, Cecilia Cheung, Hong Kong 2001 Comedy 2:03 DVD
Based on an old Chinese folk legend set during the Warring States period over 2,000 years ago, a female outlaw warrior and a fairy enchantress with male and female personas vie for the affections of Emperor Qi. The male fairy enchantress loves the female outlaw warrior. Jealous that the Emperor and the outlaw warrior are fated to be married, the fairy enchantress attempts to woo the former in order to win the latter. Got that? Funny and fun.
(Cyclo) USA 1995 Documentary Color/B&W 0:20 VHS
Filmmaker, M. Trinh Nguyen, chronicles her return to Viet Nam. Old home movies show her family and life as a child in Saigon during the war. She reflects on being non-white in America, a foreigner in Viet Nam, and a member of a family that prospered while so many lives were ruined. Her second film, Tiger's Apprentice 1998 0:57, investigates her great-uncle's folk medicine practice in a Mekong Delta village.
 Year of the Dragon, The
with Tina Chen (photo), USA 1972 Drama 1:29 DVD
A Chinese tourist guide living with his mother in Chinatown is unhappy with his life. Issues are confronted when his married sister returns for a visit. A teleplay originally broadcast on Great Performances. Histronic.
 Yellow Earth
(Huang tudi) China 1984 Period Drama 1:29 VHS
In 1939, a young Communist soldier is sent to the northern Shaanxi region of China to collect folk songs for the use by revolutionary armies. He falls in love with a teenage peasant girl who is about to be sold into marriage to an older man. She rebels against her fate and waits for the solder to return and take her away. Slow, but interesting. Directed by Chen Kaige.
 Yellow Lotus
with Thy Truc, USA 1995 Short 0:30 VHS
After his wife and children die, a fisherman goes to present-day Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in search of a new life. He works as a painter for a blind sculptor and falls in love with a high school girl who reminds him of his wife. The first film by the director of Three Seasons.
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