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

    New & Upcoming Theatrical/DVD Releases
This site lists many films that have not yet been released in the US. The newest films are listed below in this category. Older films are listed in the category “Films I Want to See” below. And films I have no interest in seeing are included in the category “Films I Haven't Seen” below. The number of • indicate how badly I want to see this film.
 All About Women
(Nu ren bu huai / She Ain't Mean / Not All Women Are Bad) with Zhou Xun, Kwai Lun-Mei (photo), Kitty Zhang Yuqi, Hong Kong 2008 Comedy 2:00 DVD
A 1930's style screwball comedy. A calamity-prone geek experiments with love potions to attract men. A sexy woman pursues a business career. A punk-haired biker girl practices boxing and wants to be a rock star. Even though there were no subtitles, I thoroughly enjoyed the outrageous situations and laughed out loud at the bizarre behavior. Zhou Xun is adorable and hilarious. Kitty Zhang Yuqi looks like a supermodel. Kwai Lun-Mei is amazing. Stunning locations and sets. Inventive art direction and cinematography.
 Assassin, The
(Nie yin niang, The Hidden Heroine) with Shu Qi (photo), Taiwan 2010 Action Thriller
During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), a female assassin called Nie Yin Niang has the ability to transform herself into other creatures through illusion. When only 10 years old, she was kidnapped by a Buddhist nun and arduously trained until adulthood to kill without compassion or remorse for the greater good of society. Her loyalty to her own family, clients and society is secondary to her own desires. Written and directed by Hou Hsiao Hsien, known for his agonizing filmmaking style. You've been warned.
with Napakpapha Nakprasitte (photo), USA / Thailand 2008 Romantic Comedy ••
An American businessman has a great job and beautiful fiancée. When his boss, a coffee mogul, sends him to Thailand to inspect a crop for purchase, he meets a beautiful Bangkok executive who brings him to the coffee fields of Southern Krabi with the hopes that he will purchase coffee there. Initially, they cannot stand to be around each other; but, of course, that changes. It's not possible for any guy to resist Napakpapha Nakprasitte.
 Blood Brothers
(Tian tang kou) with Shu Qi (photo), Li Lu Lu, Taiwan / China / Hong Kong 2007 Action Romance 1:35 DVD
In 1930s Shanghai, China, three close friends from the country arrive in Shanghai in search of a better life. Initially, they work as a waiter and rickshaw pullers. But they quickly forsake that and go to work for a crime boss. When the crime boss discovers that one of them is fooling around with his gorgeous girlfriend, the three friends turn against one another. “Uninspired direction, underdeveloped story and characters. Disappointing.”
 Blood: The Last Vampire
with Jeon Ji-hyun (Gianna Jun) (photo), Koyuki Katou, Hong Kong 2008 Action Thriller
Jeon Ji-hyun has taken an English name: Gianna Jun. She is unquestionably one of the finest romantic comedy actresses of this era. But never mind, some harebrained producer has cast her in a horror film playing a vampire working for a covert government agency. Her assignment is to hunt down and destroy demons in Japan after World War II. She enrolls in a military school to search for demons in disguise. I know, this sounds absolutely dreadful, but I'll see it only because of Jeon Ji-hyun. I mean Gianna Jun.
(Qin mi / Chan mat) with Karena Lam Kar Yan (photo), Hong Kong 2008 Romance 1:40 •
An employee falls in love with her married boss. Without warning, he asks her to interview for another job. She demands to be terminated. Highly recommended!
(Bi-mong) with Lee Na-Young (photo), South Korea 2008 Thriller 1:35 DVD
A stone craftsman's nightly dreams causes a young costume designer to rise from her bed and act them out while sleepwalking. His dreams become increasingly more elaborate and her experiences become increasingly more intimate and dangerous. A dream specialist proposes an unconventional solution to solve their problem. Acts one and two are fascinating and suspenseful. In act three, director Kim Ki-Duk gets too weird.
 Equation of Love and Death, The
(The Encounter of Li Mi) with Zhou Xun (photo), China 2008 Thriller 1:36 DVD
A female taxi driver pining over her missing boyfriend keeps a book of photos inside her cab to show passengers, just in case they've seen him. Two passengers steal her photo book but drop it when they witness a man throw himself off a bridge to his death on a car below. The driver of that car picks up the photo book and sees that it's filled with pictures of himself... Zhou Xun gives a terrific performance, but this complicated, sometimes unpleasant ordeal is not worth enduring to see it.
 Give Love
(Oi dut hei) with Gigi Leung (photo), Hong Kong 2009 Romantic Comedy 1:30
A newly-married young woman goes to live in her husband's Hong Kong apartment, but the only man there is her husband's younger brother who has a crush on her. Meanwhile, her husband is having an affair with his secretary in China. “Dull and uninteresting.”
 Happy Birthday
(Sun yat fai lok) with René Liu (photo), China / Hong Kong 2007 Romance 1:47 DVD
Touching story about the friendship and love between two people over a period of several years. Based on a short story by René Liu. Screenplay by Sylvia Chang. Directed by Jingle Ma. Perfect.
 If You Are the One
(Fei cheng wu rao) with Shu Qi (photo), China 2008 Romantic Comedy 1:56 DVD
A bald, mediocre-looking, middle-aged bachelor places a personal ad on the Internet hoping to find a wife. After several unsuccessful dates, he meets a woman twenty years younger than him and so attractive, he thinks she's too good for him. She is of course, but because her married boyfriend just decided to stay with his wife, she befriends the bachelor anyway. Screenplay and direction by Feng Xiaogang. The witty dialogue is amusing.
 Look for a Star
(You long xi feng / Yau lung hei fung) with Shu Qi (photo), Zhang Xinyi, Denise Ho, Ella Koon, Hong Kong 2009 Romance DVD
In Macau, a twice-divorced billionaire developer meets a young nightclub dancer in a casino. His chauffeur dates a divorced woman with a young daughter. His corporate secretary has issues with a maintenance man at their hotel. Three touching relationships dealing with the effect of class differences on romance. Although the television game show at the end is contrived and annoying, the rest of the film is enjoyable.
 Man Who Was Superman, A
(Superman ieotdeon sanai) with Jeon Ji-hyun (photo), South Korea 2008 Comedy 1:42
A television producer, in an attempt to achieve fame and fortune, makes a documentary about the weird behavior of her neighbor who believes himself to be Superman. “Highly disappointing.”
 My So Called Love
(Ai de fa sheng lian xi) with Barbie Hsu (photo), Taiwan 2008 Romance 2:00 DVD
A beautiful young woman searches for true love during the years from high school to successful career. Despite the one-dimensional characters, soap opera acting and music video/television commercial directing style, this film is enjoyable, even touching. Also, with all the closeups of Barbie Hsu, it would make a much better video show on your big screen tv than a digital fish tank.
 New York, I Love You
(New York, je t'aime) with Shu Qi (photo), Maggie Q, France / USA 2009 Romance 1:50 due October 16, 2009 ••
An anthology film joining several love stories set in New York. A collaboration of some of today's most imaginative filmmakers and featuring an all-star cast. “Brilliant”.
 Painted Skin
(Hua pi, Wa pei) with Zhou Xun (photo), Vicki Zhao Wei, Betty Sun Li, Hong Kong 2008 Fantasy Action Romance Comedy 1:41 / 1:58dc DVD
A big-budget supernatural spectacle about an evil immortal female demon who eats human hearts to stay young and beautiful, and falls in love with a married general. Also, a close friend is still in love with the general's wife; a tomboy demon buster is in love with the close friend; and a fly-eating lizard in human form is in love with the seductive demon and supplies her with fresh hearts. The women, cinematography, sets and costumes are spectacular. The acting, martial arts, special effects and subtitles are funny. Surprisingly enjoyable.
(Ting che) with Kwai Lun-Mei, Lin Kai-jung (photo), Taiwan 2008 Drama 1:52 DVD
In Taipei on Mother's Day, a man makes a dinner date with his wife, hoping to bring their estranged relationship back together. On the way home, he stops to buy a cake and is endlessly delayed by encounters with a succession of local eccentrics: an old man, his blind wife, their adorable 6-year-old granddaughter, a one-handed barber, a wimpy tailor, a desperate prostitute, her cruel pimp and tattooed gangsters. Although Kwai Lun-Mei's scenes lasted only 10 minutes at the end, I am happy I saw this film. Intriguing, surprising and touching.
 Run Papa Run
(Yat kor ho ba ba) with René Liu (photo), Hong Kong 2008 Comedy 1:54 DVD
A lifelong triad gang leader meets a young aspiring lawyer, gets her pregnant and has to marry her. After their daughter is born, he makes a committment to become a good father... while continuing his life of crime! Directed by Sylvia Chang. Amusing and entertaining.
 Séance Familiale
(Family Meeting) with Kwai Lun-Mei (photo), France 2008 Short 0:28
In Taipei, a family has agreed to be filmed over a weekend for a French television reality show. If they are chosen “The Most Interesting Family in the World,” they could win a one hundred thousand euro prize.
(Bu neng shuo de. mi mi) with Kwai Lun-Mei (photo), Tseng Kai-Xuan, Taiwan 2007 Romance 1:41 DVD
A new student at the Tanjiang Art School meets an attractive and charming girl in an old music room. She immediately steals his heart and the two begin a romance. But she has secrets; things about her life she won't tell him. Interesting story. A touching romance. Beautiful music. A moving performance by the adorable Taiwanese actress Kwai Lun-Mei. I love this film!
with Gong Li (photo), Gemma Chan, Rinko Kikuchi, USA 2009 Mystery Romance Thriller due September 4 ••••
A '40s period piece in which an American expatriot returns to corrupt, Japanese-occupied Shanghai four months before Pearl Harbor and discovers his friend has been killed. While unraveling the mysteries of his death, he falls in love and discovers a secret the American government is hiding. Sounds like a remake of The Third Man.
 Slumdog Millionaire
with Freida Pinto (photo), UK 2008 Drama 2:00
An impoverished young man, who grew up a homeless orphan in the slums of Mumbai, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of the TV show, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" Funny, romantic, inspirational and uplifting. An absolute masterpiece; brilliant screenplay, exceptional direction, cinematography, editing, performances and music. I will never forget this film. Very highly recommended. I predict (24 Nov 08) this film will win Academy Awards for Best Picture, Directing and Adapted Screenplay.
Academy Awards: Best Picture, Directing, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Score, Original Song. Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture - Drama, Director, Screenplay, Original Score. British Academy Film Awards: Best Film, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Music, Cinematography, Editing and Sound; Freida Pinto was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Critics Choice Awards: Best Picture, Director, Writer, Young Actor, Composer. National Board of Review Awards: Best Film, Breakthrough Performance by an Actor, Adapted Screenplay. Producers Guild of America Award: Best Feature Film. Directors Guild of America Award: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film. Screen Actors Guild Award: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Palm Springs International Film Festival Award: Breakthrough Performance - Freida Pinto.
 Street of Dreams
with Shu Qi (photo), USA 2009 Drama ••
The life of Japanese-American gangster Montana Joe.
   Films I Want to See
 Almost Love
(Cheongchun manhwa) with Kim Ha-neul (photo), South Korea 2006 Romantic Comedy 1:56 ••
Eleven years of friendship and love between close childhood friends, a young man who relentlessly practices Tae Kwon Do in the hope of becoming an action actor like Jackie Chan and a painfully shy student who dreams of becoming an actress.
 Art Museum by the Zoo
(Misulgwan yup dongmulwon) with Shim Eun-ha (photo), South Korea 1998 Romantic Comedy 1:48 DVD •••••
A soldier on leave from the army is trying to get back with his ex-girlfriend who has already made plans to marry someone else. A young woman who shoots wedding videos for a living secretly loves an assistant to a senator who barely looks at her. The soldier starts helping the photographer with a script she is writing and the two start to appreciate one another. A delightfully sweet film.
 Betelnut Beauty
(Ai ni ai wo) with Angelica Lee “Sinje” (photo), Kelly Kuo, Taiwan 2001 Romantic Comedy 1:45 n/a •••
A young man comes to Taipei after completing his obligatory army service. He meets a runaway rich girl. He gets a job as a baker. She gets a job as a skimpily-clad betelnut vendor at a discotheque. Their romance is threatened by his loose cannon of a friend with increasingly desperate schemes for quick money and petty revenge. The second of a six film collection called Tales of Modern China. The first film of the series was Beijing Bicycle.
(Diary of June / Yu-wol-ui il-gi) with Shin Eun-kyung (photo), South Korea 2005 Mystery ••
A lonely woman predicts a series of murders in her diary.
 Camp Arirang
USA & Korea 1995 Documentary B&W 0:28 VHS ••
Since the Korean War, thousands of Korean women have been serving as prostitutes for American soldiers in South Korea. The US army views prostitution to be essential in maintaining the morale of their soldiers–just like during World War II when the Japanese government forced Korean women to provide sexual services to their front-line soldiers. The women's stories are filled with pain, anger, love for their children and their will to survive.
 China Revealed
USA 2006 Documentary 1:40 DVD ••
An upbeat portrayal of the people, traditions and landscapes of contemporary China. There are individual life stories about a rice farming family in Longshen, a kung fu master at the Shaolin Monastary, a Shanghai real estate developer, a 12-year-old gymnast training for the 2008 Olympics, a migrant window-washer in Shanghai, and a bow maker in Beijing. Breathtaking photography, but light on substance (so it could be shown in China).
 China's Lost Girls
with Lisa Ling, USA 2005 Documentary 0:45 DVD •
Due to China's two-decade-old one-child policy, cultural, social and economic factors, Chinese parents prefer boys, so girls are often hidden, aborted or abandoned. As a result, tens of thousands of girls end up in orphanages across China. Today, more than one quarter of all babies adopted from abroad by American families come from China – and nearly all are girls. In this film, parents travel to China to meet their new daughters for the first time.
 Choking Man
with Eugenia Yuan (photo), USA 2005 Drama
An Ecuadorian dishwasher suffering from acute shyness is in love with a Korean waitress at the Olympia Diner in Queens, New York. Shot on 16mm in 18 days. Haven't seen this, but I think Eugenia Yuan deserves better.
(Liang ge ren de ba lei) China 2005 ••
Ballet helps a single mother and her adopted daughter endure hard times.
 Electric Shadows
(Meng ying tong nian) with Qi Zhongyang, China 2004 Drama 1:33 DVD ••
At the time of of the Cultural Revolution in China, childhood best friends, a girl and a boy, reunite as young adults. The girl, who seems unable to speak, asks him to feed her fish while she is away. He agrees and in the girl's apartment he finds her diary, learns about her life and remembers the happy times they spent together at the movies.
with Bai Ling (photo), Kristy Wu, Tina Chen, USA 2002 Drama 1:24 DVD
The relationship between a 20-year-old Chinese-American girl and her old-world Chinese grandmother changes when grandma discovers she is dating a black man.
 Fallen Petals
(La hua shi jie) with Chang Mei-yao (photo), China & Hong Kong 1968 Drama 1:30 VCD
During World War II, a young man is drafted into the army leaving behind his girlfriend, unmarried and pregnant. When he is presumed dead, she becomes a cabaret singer and gradually descends into a life of prostitution.
 1st Bite
with Napakpapha Nakprasitte (Napakprapa Nakprasit) (photo), Thailand 2006 Comedy 2:00
On a tropical island in Thailand, a chef discovers the diabolical Zen of cooking and falls in love with a mysterious woman who craves only his cooking, not him. Apparently disappointing.
 Girl Named Tamiko, A
with France Nuyen, USA 1962 Drama 1:50 n/a •••
Eurasian photographer living in Japan, who longs to go to America, is torn between a Japanese woman and a blonde American.
 Hidden Whisper
(Xiao bai wu jin ji) with Shu Qi (photo), Taiwan 2000 Drama 1:36 DVD •••
A film about a 5-year-old girl, a teenager and a 30-something woman involved in an affair with a married man.
 Hua Mulan
China 200? Action Romance
Mulan is a traditional story that has been told in China for centuries. It is based on a young woman who disguised herself as a man to take her father's place in battle 1,500 years ago during the Song Dynasty. A new live-action version of Mulan was scheduled to begin shooting in October 2006. Initially, Mulan was to be played by Michelle Yeoh, then Zhang Ziyi, now by an unknown young actress not yet identified.
 Huayao Bride, A
(Hua yao xin niang) with Zhang Jingchu (photo), China 2005 Romance
A team of young Yi women dreams of winning a “dragon dance” competition at the Country Wide Dragon Festival. A key member of the team, who's engaged to the team coach, is a wild and rebellious tom-boy who suspends herself bat-fashion from the ceiling whenever she is upset and unhesitatingly accepts a wrestling match challenge from a brawny guy who's the leader of the other village's dragon dance team.
with Indira Varma (photo), Pakistan 1998 Biography 1:50 n/a •••
Biography of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of modern Pakistan. In 1947 as England prepares to grant India its freedom, Jinnah fights for a separate Muslim nation. Infuriated, the British Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, asks Gandhi and Nehru to dissuade Jinnah from causing trouble. In English.

Journey Across India
(Taj Mahal: The Great Indian Experience / The Heart of India) with Aishwarya Rai (photo), Mumtaz Mahal (illustration), India 2007 Drama 0:40
In this film, Aishwarya Rai narrates and re-enacts aspects of the life of Mumtaz Mahal, the inspiration for the construction of the Taj Mahal. (Aishwarya Rai will play Mumtaz Mahal in a $30 million film about the Taj Mahal to be shot in India in 2008. Sir Ben Kingsley will play Shah Jahan.)
In 1628, Shah Jahan, who had rebelled against his father, Jahangir, became the fifth Mughal (Muslim) emperor of India, which was perhaps the greatest empire in the world at that time. In 1612, he had married 18-year-old Arjumand Banu Begum, the unquestioned love of his life who became known as Mumtaz Mahal or “Chosen One of the Palace.” In 1631, she died at 39 giving birth to their 14th child. The grief-stricken emperor immediately set about building her mausoleum which was made of white marble inlaid with 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones. Twenty thousand workers labored 22 years in Agra to complete the Taj Mahal or “Crown Palace,” regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world. In 1658, Shah Jahan's son, Aurangzeb, killed two of his brothers and deposed his father. Shah Jahan spent the last 8 years of his life imprisoned in the Agra Fort from where he could see the Taj Mahal across the Jamuna River. After his death, he was buried in the Taj Mahal next to his beloved wife. (No evidence exists for the rumors that Shah Jahan inflicted death, dismemberment or mutilation on some of the architects and craftsmen after the tomb was completed.)
(Bong ga) with René Liu (photo), Karena Lam Kar Yan, Hong Kong 2007 Thriller DVD
Three years after detectives fail to rescue a woman's kidnapped brother, she decides kidnaping would be a good way to raise money for an expensive operation her husband needs.
 Letter from an Unknown Woman
(Yi ge mo sheng nu ren de lai xin) with Xu Jinglei (photo), Lin Yuan, China 2004 Drama 1:38 •••••
In 1948 Peking, a rich, famous, playboy novelist returns home to find a letter from a woman he doesn't remember. In the letter she tells him of her life-long love for him, a love he has never been aware of. She begins her story 18 years earlier in 1930, when as a 13 year-old girl, she first sees him. Then, she tells him about their brief but passionate affair six years later and the hardship she faced raising their child alone. She tells him about their final encounter, and how his failure to recognize her left her in despair. Now that she has lost her son, she no longer has the courage to live. Only in this letter is she capable of telling him everything, for the first and last time. Shaken by the letter, the man searches his memory for this woman. “Ravishing Chinese remake of the 1948 Hollywood classic; possibly the most visually splendid film of the year.” Written, directed, co-produced and starring Xu Jinglei.
with Napakpapha Nakprasitte (Napakprapa Nakprasit) (photo), Thailand 2005 Documentary 1:15 •••
The stunningly beautiful Thai model and actress, “Mamee” (Napakpapha Nakprasitte), and her friends, flirt Belle (Jitraporn Panit) and quieter Yo (Penporn Poonsaem), have known each other since high school but don't get to see much of each other because of Mamee's success. When Mamee does a photo shoot at a tropical island resort, the other two girls come along. The rich colors of the dreamy landscape complement the girls' beauty.
(Milarepa: Magician, Murderer, Saint) with Lhakpa Tsamchoe, Tashi Choedon Gyari (photo), Bhutan 2006 Biography 1:30 DVD
The early years of one of Tibet's greatest spiritual leaders, Jetsun Milarepa (1052-1135 CE). Remorseful after taking revenge on his enemies, he sought instruction in Mahayana Buddhism under the guidance of Marpa Lotsawa. After meditating for twelve years, he attained the state of Vajradhara (complete enlightenment). He was the first to achieve this state within a single lifetime. He is known for his writings about devotion and wisdom, the “Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa.” A film about his later life is planned.
 Moon also Rises, The
(Yue guang xia wo ji de) with Yang Kuei-mei (photo), Taiwan 2004 Drama 1:45 ••
During the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, a young pregnant woman goes to Tokyo, discovers her husband is having an affair and dumps him. After World War II, she returns to Taiwan with her daughter. Twenty years later, the daughter becomes a schoolteacher and has forbidden affairs with first her cousin and later a teacher from mainland China. Yang Kuei-mei won Best Actress at the Golden Horse Film Awards.
 Mulan II
USA 2003 Animation DVD
As they prepare for their wedding, Mulan and Shang are abruptly sent off on a secret mission. The Mongolians attack. Mushu meddles. Reprising their roles from the original film are Ming-Na as Mulan's speaking voice and Lea Salonga as her singing voice.
 My Lovely Sam-Soon
(Nae ireumeun Kim Sam-Soon) with Kim Seon-ah (photo), South Korea 2005 TV Drama 19:00 DVD
A pastry chef is 29 years old, single and slightly overweight. She has a mountain of complexes, no college degree or boyfriend. She's brutally frank, obstinate, witty and fed up with society's expectations of her. She doesn't hesitate to swear and speak slang whenever she is angry. Her name is Kim Sam-Soon and she's lovable because she has so many faults. The most watched TV drama of 2005 in South Korea.

Nanjing Nightmares
USA 2000 Documentary 0:45 DVD
From December 1937 to March 1938, the Japanese army went on a horrific rampage in Nanjing, the former capital of China. As many as 300,000 civilians were slaughtered and an estimated 80,000 Chinese women were raped and afterward diabolically tortured and mutilated in the most horrible ways imaginable. The city itself was burned and pillaged into ruins. “The Rape of Nanjing” is considered the most brutal, sadistic act of war in modern history. This documentary recounts the historical events leading up to the terrifying occupation, the growth of Nanjing, the expansionist ambitions of Japan, and the large Japanese army's desire for revenge after meeting fierce resistance by the Chinese army in the defense of Shanghai. Archival film footage depicts the full horror of the genocide, rapes, mutilations and tortures. The mental anguish caused by the Rape of Nanjing has lasted for sixty-nine years and continues to this day.
Iris Chang (photos), a Chinese-American historian and journalist, documented the massacre and unspeakable atrocities committed against Chinese civilians by Japanese soldiers in her book The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II which was translated into 13 languages. When published in 1997, it became an instant best seller, generated international attention and reignited debate over Japan's responsibility for war crimes. Though there were extensive trials after the war, Japan paid no reparations. Chang campaigned to persuade the Japanese government to make an official apology to China and to pay compensation. But to date, the Japanese government has refused to acknowledge any guilt. Suffering from clinical depression, Iris Chang committed suicide in 2004. She was only 36.
with Michelle Krusiec, Rosalind Chao, USA 2007 Documentary 1:28 DVD
This documentary, inspired by Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking (see above), examines the horrible genocide, rapes, mutilations and tortures committed by the Japanese army from December 1937 to March 1938 and the small group of unarmed Westerners who established a safety zone where over 200,000 Chinese found refuge. In the film, two elderlyJapanese ex-soldiers talk about the killings and rapings impassively and smugly. The Japanese government has never acknowledged any guilt, offered any apology or paid any reparations.
 Older Sister's Dictionary, The
(Jiejie cidian) with Jiang Qinqin (photo), China 2005 1:38 ••
A woman's life, from teenager to lover, wife, mother and then unfaithful wife is depicted in 22 short stories each giving the explanation of a word.
 One Fine Spring Day
(Bomnaleun ganda) with Lee Yeong-ae, South Korea 2001 Drama 1:56 DVD
A recording engineer meets a radio producer on recording trip. Their love flourishes as spring comes along, but his ever-intensifying passion often reminds her of her tragic past. She knows only too well how passion can vanish like a sound. This film received the Blue Dragon Award for best picture, the Korean equivalent to an Oscar.
 Over the Rainbow
with Chang Jin-Young (photo), South Korea 2002 Romantic Comedy 1:46 DVD
A local weatherman has a car accident and wakes up with some minor memory loss. A lost luggage attendant tries to help him regain his memory.
 Pad Thai Bride
(Jao saao Pad Thai) with Napakpapha Nakprasitte (Napakprapa Nakprasit) (photo), Thailand 2004 Comedy VCD
A beautiful cook claims that she will marry whoever eats her Pad Thai for 100 days straight. A local TV producer, sensing an opportunity, quickly sets up a game show, “Pad Thai Love.”
 Passage, The
(Jing guo) with Kwai Lun-Mei (photo), Taiwan 2004 Drama 1:44
A young researcher is in love with the museum historian, but he is absorbed in his work.
 Princess Yang Kwei Fei
(Empress Yang Kwei Fei / Yôkihi / Joeng Gwaifei) with Machiko Kyô, Japan / Hong Kong 1955 Historical Drama 1:38 VHS ••••
In 8th century China, Emperor Xuan Zong is grieving over the death of his wife. An ambitious general, hoping to receive a court appointment, cleans up a distant relative working in his kitchen and presents her to the Emperor. He falls in love with her and she becomes the Princess Yang Kwei-fei. The general and his family are given important positions. But they misuse their power so much, there is a popular uprising against them. A beautiful film.
 Romance of the Red Dust
(Hong Fu Nu) with Shu Qi, China 2005 TV Drama 22:30 DVD
In 600 AD China at the end of the Sui Dynasty, the country is ruled by the inept Emperor Yang Di whose excessive indulgences include women and a luxurious ship. A beautiful, intelligent and highly-skilled assassin helps the new emperor establish the Tang Dynasty.
 Roots and Branches
(Wo de xiong di jie mei) with Gigi Leung (photo), China 2001 Family 1:35 DVD •••••
Four children, who grow up looking out for each other in a small town in China, are given up for adoption and separated when their parents are killed in a blizzard. Twenty years later, the eldest daughter, raised in America where she's become a famous conductor, returns to China to track down her siblings. One viewer wrote, “The four children give outstanding performances.”
 Shanghai Dreams
(Qing hong) with Gao Yuanyuan (photo), China 2005 Drama 2:03 ••••
In the 1960s, the Chinese government encouraged a large number of families to leave the cities to settle in poorer regions of the country in order to develop local industry. In the early 1980s, a nineteen-year-old girl living in the poor mountainous Guizhou province with her parents and brother has just fallen in love. But her father wants to return to Shanghai in the hope of securing a brighter future for his children. Prix du Jury winner at Cannes.
 Shin Suk-ki Blues
with Kim Hyun-joo (photo), South Korea 2004 Comedy 1:50 DVD ••••
An amoral, but handsome corporate lawyer who causes employees to lose their jobs and beds then dumps an innocent, angelic young woman gets into an elevator accident which causes his mind to get switched with a kind-hearted, but unattractive and dorky lawyer who does pro bono work and lives in squalor. Impossible premise, illogical results. Probably worth seeing only for Kim Hyun-joo.
 Story of the Weeping Camel, The
(Ingen numsil / Geschichte vom weinenden Kamel, Die), Germany / Mongolia 2003 Narrative Documentary 1:33 DVD
Springtime in the Gobi Desert, South Mongolia, a family of nomadic shepherds assists with the births of their camel herd. One of the camels has a grueling two-day delivery and immediately rejects her newborn albino colt, refusing it her milk and motherly love. The nomads send their two young boys on a journey through the desert to bring a violinist from the nearest town, more than fifty miles away, to perform a ritual and save the baby camel.
 Summer Palace
(Yihe yuan) with Hao Lei (photo), Hu Ling, China / France 2006 Erotic Drama 2:20 DVD
In 1987 China, a beautiful 17-year-old girl leaves her rural village to attend Beijing University where she begins a tempestuous romantic relationship. On campus, the new feelings of social freedom and personal empowerment culminate in the tragic Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. The first Chinese film to show events surrounding Tiananmen and full-frontal male and female nudity. Because the film was entered at Cannes without prior government approval, the director was prohibited from making films for five years.
 Terracotta Warrior, The
(Qin yong / Gu jin da zhan qin yon qing) with Gong Li (photo), Hong Kong 1989 Romance 2:25 VCD ••••
In China 3,000 years ago, the Qin emperor orders the creation of a terracotta army made from the bodies of the condemned. When a soldier and a beautiful young slave have a forbidden affair, the emperor sentences both to death. Just before he's made into a terracotta warrior, she gives him an immortality pill. In 1930s China, a film crew discovers the Qin emperor's grave guarded by terracotta warriors. Gong Li was nominated for Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
 Waiting Alone
(Du zi deng dai) with Li Bingbing (photo), Gong Bibei, China 2004 Romantic Comedy 1:47
A love triangle among optimistic young people. “The funniest Chinese-language film of 2005!” “One of the top 10 must-see movies of the year!”
 Woman Soup
(Nu tang) with Elsie Yeh (photo), May Chin, Taiwan 1999 Drama 1:38 VCD •••
Four well-educated women in their thirties have successful careers in Taipei. But each feels like a failure, because none of them has a good marriage or a happy family life. To escape their unhappiness, they frequently go to a Japanese bath house together. In the hot soothing water, they comfort and support each other and discover that their friendships are the most stable part of their lives. With May Chin, Tien Hsin, Elsie Yeh and April Wang.
(Xin shizi jietou) with René Liu (photo), Taiwan & China 2001 Drama 1:44 DVD ••
A Chinese businesswoman living in New York returns to Shanghai for her mother's funeral. Her mother's handyman makes romantic advances because he wants to use her mother's house as a nightclub. The two fall for one another despite their other relationships. (Many years earlier, her mother and his father had loved one another too.) The film juxtaposes vintage footage from the 1937 Chinese classic Crossroads with this current revision.
  Films I Haven't Seen... and Probably Won't!
 All About Lily Chou-Chou
(Lily Chou-Chou no subete) with Ayumi Ito (photo), Yû Aoi, Japan 2001 Musical Thriller 2:26 DVD
In a rural Japanese town, a sadistic 14-year-old bully forces one school girl into prostitution and, with his friends, gang rapes another. He also beats up a shy, lonely boy and forces him into a life of petty crime. The boy is in a constant state of depression and finds solace only through the sympathetic music of pop idol, Lily Chou-Chou, and an online chat room cultivated by her fans. Cruelty, violence and child rape shot with a hand-held camera. Yuck!
 Art of the Devil 2
(Long khong) with Napakpapha Nakprasitte (Napakprapa Nakprasit), Thailand 2005 Horror 1:40 DVD
A haunting past binds six friends in an evil world filled with black magic and doom without a chance of redemption. “Depraved and extremely gory.” Napakpapha deserves a better film than this.
 Art of the Devil 3
with Napakpapha Nakprasitte (Napakprapa Nakprasit) (photo), Thailand 2008 Horror 1:25 DVD
A beautiful teacher wants to live a normal, peaceful life in her rural village. When tormented by men who desire her, she resorts to black magic to defend herself. “Disgusting torture, bloody carnage and gore. Seriously demented.” Napakpapha deserves a better film than this.
 Babylon A.D.
with Michelle Yeoh (photo), USA 2008 Action Thriller
In the not-too-distant future, a hardened mercenary smuggles a young woman and a nun from a convent in Kazakhstan to New York City. As it turns out, the young woman is the only hope for the future of mankind. The director has publicly described his film as “pure violence and stupidity.” Poor Michelle.
 Beautiful Country, The
with Bai Ling, USA 2004 Drama 2:05 DVD
In 1990, the twenty-year-old son of a Vietnamese mother and an American GI begins his journey to America to find his father. In Malaysia, he's imprisoned in a refugee camp. He escapes and joins other poor emigrants in the hold of a rusty freighter bound for “the beautiful country.” In New York City, he is forced into slavery working as a busboy in a Chinatown restaurant. Eventually, he reunites with his father on a remote Texas ranch. An ordeal.
 Children of Huang Shi, The
with Michelle Yeoh (photo), China 2007 Drama
In 1937, during the Japanese invasion of China, a young British journalist, with the help of an Australian nurse, a Chinese partisan fighter and a Chinese aristocrat, leads sixty orphaned Chinese boys on a perilous thousand mile journey across the snow-bound Liu Pan Shan mountains to safety on the edge of the Mongolian desert near the western end of the Great Wall of China. Inspired by true events.
(San cha kou) with Angelica Lee (photo), Ning Jing, Hong Kong 2005 Crime Thriller 1:41 VCD
A rumpled cop who lost his girlfriend under mysterious circumstances 10 years ago, a lawyer guilt-ridden because he protects criminals from the law (the lawyer's wife is a dead ringer for the cop's old girlfriend), and a flamboyant assassin have complex personalities, hidden connections and possible shared pasts. “A bizarre, ridiculous, muddled, silly and overly complex psychological thriller.”
with Miho Kanno, Chieko Matsubara, Kyôko Fukada, Japan 2002 Romance 1:54 DVD
Three stories about undying love. Bound by a long red cord, a young couple wanders in search of something they have forgotten. An aging yakuza boss returns to the park where he used to meet his long-lost girlfriend. A disfigured pop star confronts the phenomenal devotion of her biggest fan.
 Error in Judgment
with Sung Hi Lee (photo), USA 1998 Thriller 1:30 n/a
Middle-aged art dealer with a questionable past having an affair with a beautiful but disturbed, young artist sees a psychotherapist. Perhaps the title says it all.
 Escaflowne: A Girl in Gaea
with Maaya Sakamoto, Japan 2000 Science Fiction Fantasy Animé 1:38 DVD
Lonely, depressed high school girl feels her life is worthless and wants to vanish off the face of the earth. Suddenly, she finds herself in the midst of a violent war in an alternative futuristic medieval samurai world called Gaea, where she has the power to save or destroy the planet. (Just what you want a suicidal teen to do!) Stunning art and animation, great music; lots of graphic violence, decapitations, cruelty, torture and despair.
with Cecilia Cheung, South Korea 2001 Romance 1:55 DVD
A good-for-nothing low life in prison is taken to identify the body of a young Chinese woman he had married years earlier to make some quick cash and then forgot. The marriage allowed her to remain in Korea. Reading an unmailed letter from her, he learns she was a poor, lonely girl who loved him desperately because he helped her. She thought he was worth loving. Now he realizes he lost the chance to love her. She was better off without him.
 Flirting Scholar
(Tang bohu dian qiuxiang / Tong bat fu kau chau heung) with Gong Li (photo), Hong Kong & China 1993 Comedy 1:39 DVD
In ancient China, A famous poet and painter with many wives becomes a houseboy for a rich family in order to pursue a ravishing servant girl played by Gong Li who tries to look dignified while being on camera with fools in this silly movie.
 Forest of Death
(Sum yuen) with Shu Qi (photo), Rain Li, Hong Kong 2007 Horror 1:38 DVD
An unhappy police detective is trying to solve a rape/murder and suicides that occurred in a mysterious forest. She finds a botanist who has discovered that plants in this forest can sense human intent and hopes this will help her solve the case. “A style over substance, unintentionally funny supernatural ghost story.” I wish Shu Qi would stop making horror films. She is so much better in romantic comedies, dramas and action films.
 Ghost, The
(Dead Friend / Ryoung) with Kim Ha-neul (photo), South Korea 2004 Horror DVD
A bright young student with a promising future ahead of her but no memories of her past is about to go abroad to further her education when her ex-highschool friends start dying. When she is suspected, she begins to investigate her past. She's desperate for any kind of information, but nobody will talk to her. Everybody seems to blame her for some horrible event. Scary. I'd rather see Kim Ha-neul in a romantic comedy.
 Hannibal Rising
with Gong Li (photo), USA 2006 Thriller
The story of teenagers Hannibal and Mischa Lecter after their parents are killed in World War II. This prequel shows Hannibal Lecter during his childhood in Lithuania, his ten years in France, and his time in America before being captured.
 Healing Hearts
(Xiagu renxin) with Michelle Reis, Hong Kong 2000 Melodrama 1:49 DVD
An unmarried, emotionally-scarred brain surgeon, who has just lost his girlfriend in a traffic accident, starts to date his best friend's girlfriend who has recently-awakened from a coma caused by a failed suicide. Soon she moves into his bachelor pad and sets about changing his ways until she can put her life back in order. It's always easier to fix someone else's life than your own. The pilot for a TV soap opera. Bet you coulda guessed that. WARNING: This is a Wong Jing film.
 Home Sweet Home
(Jiuming 2 Zhi Zhuaiwu) with Shu Qi, Karena Lam Kar Yan, 2005 Thriller 1:35 DVD
An architect, his wife and son move into a new apartment hoping for a new life. But on the day after moving in, their five-year-old son suddenly disappears. A horribly disfigured woman, who lost her own son many years ago, also lives in the building. A sequel to Koma. I'd rather see Shu Qi and Karena Lam in romantic comedies.
 Ice Rain
(Bingwoo) with Kim Ha-neul (photo), South Korea 2004 Romantic Adventure 1:45 DVD
On Asiaq Mountain in Alaska, two mountain climbers are forced to wait out a storm together in a cave. The two men share stories about the women that changed their lives, not realizing it's the same woman.
 Kamikaze Girls
(Shimotsuma monogatari) with Kyôko Fukada, Anna Tsuchiya, Japan 2004 Satire 1:42 DVD
Momoko, who lives with her father, a small time crook, likes frilly, lacy dresses. Ichigo is a member of a female biker gang who swears, spits and head butts. These two opposites become friends.
 Legend of Zu, The
(Shu shan zheng chuan) with Zhang Ziyi, Hong Kong 2001 Action DVD
Director Tsui Hark's remake of Zu Warriors, a film he made twenty years ago. Warrior princess fights an evil warlord. Immortal beings regenerate and travel to another world to look for a universal force to combat an evil force. People who have seen the film, describe it as confusing with incessant flying over a fake backdrop, lots of special effects and fighting done with computer graphics. Consider yourself forewarned.
 Love Generation Hong Kong
(Xin lian ai shi ji / San luen oi sai gei) with Shu Qi (photo), Lee Ann, Hong Kong 1998 Romantic Comedy 1:36 DVD
While a junior investor struggles for success, his longtime girlfriend dumps him. Six years later, he has become rich and successful, employs a beautiful personal assistant and is dating an actress. Then, he runs into his ex-girlfriend who's now engaged to a Hong Kong triad boss. WARNING: This is a Wong Jing film.
 Matrimony, The
(Xin zhong you gui) with René Liu (photo), Fan Bingbing, China 2007 Thriller 1:31 DVD
In 1930s China, a young woman is struck by a speeding car and dies in her boyfriend's arms. A year later, he marries even though he's still in love with his deceased girlfriend. Looking for ways to reach out to him, his new wife finds the key to a room in the attic that her husband forbids her from entering. When she opens the door, she is confronted with the ghost of the woman her husband loves.
Japan 2001 Science Fiction Fantasy Animé 1:47 DVD
A sinister man intends to rule the world. Robot labor supports the city, a retro-futuristic megalopolis inspired by Fritz Lang's original Metropolis and comparable to the cities in Blade Runner and Brazil. Crowds of unemployed workers huddle in subterranean slums. The evil man's deranged adopted son falls in love with a waif-like android. Dazzling visuals, incoherent plot, inadequately developed characters, considerable violence and grotesque images.
 Ming Ming
(Nana on the Run) with Zhou Xun (photo), Kristy Yeung, Hong Kong 2006 Action 1:45
Ming Ming is a foxy martial arts master who steals cash and a wooden box from a mob boss. He sends thugs after her to get his stuff back. She defends herself by flicking explosive projectiles. I like Zhou Xun, but not enough to see this.
 My Blueberry Nights
with Norah Jones (photo), Hong Kong 2007 Romance 1:51
In New York, a young woman, on the rebound after being jilted by her unfaithful, long-time boyfriend, leaves town in search of something to mend her broken heart and resolve her questions about love. Waitressing her way across America from café to bar to truck stop, she encounters a series of lonely souls, some with problems greater than her own – a good-hearted café owner, a troubled alcoholic cop and his estranged wife, a brassy down-on-her luck gambler, and a frazzled Memphis belle. “Very unsatisfying.”
 Myth, The
(Shen hua) with Kim Hee-sun, China & Hong Kong 2005 Action Comedy 1:58 DVD
Jackie Chan plays a Qin Dynasty general and an archaeologist, his present-day reincarnation. The general is ordered to escort the emperor's latest wife, a Korean princess, back to China. Trouble happens. Romance blooms. Meanwhile, the archaeologist investigates meteorite fragments that make things float. Kim Hee-sun is very beautiful and Mallika Sherawat provides eye candy. I don't think the story really matters.
 Princess Raccoon
(Operetta tanuki goten) with Zhang Ziyi (photo), Japan 2005 Musical 1:51 DVD
A banished prince falls in love with a mischievous raccoon-dog disguised as a human. A ninja is captured, urinated on and boiled in a soup. A mix of Japanese folklore, traditional kabuki theater, tap and break dancing, operetta, hip-hop and rap. One viewer wrote, “Unintelligible, incomprehensible, mind-bogglingly monotonous and one of the worst films I have ever seen.” I'll take his word for it. Don't drink the soup!
 Ranpo's Hell
(Ranpo jigoku) with Hanae Kan (photo), Japan 2005 Horror DVD
Private detective Kogorô Akechi in four short stories by Rampo Edogawa. “Disgustingly gory.”
 Shanghai Story
(Meili shanghai / Mei lai seung hoi) with Joey Wong (photo), Josephine Koo, China 2004 Drama 1:40 VCD
In Shanghai, China a wealthy family is torn apart by the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). The father is beaten to death and the family is forced to share the house with several other families. Twenty years later, when the mother is suddenly hospitalized, her four adult children return home. But with many unresolved questions and old wounds, can they forgive one another and move on with the rest of their lives?
(Swiri) with Kim Yun-jin, South Korea 1999 Action 2:04 DVD
Renegade North Korean terrorists steal a top-secret explosive to blow up a soccer stadium during a North-South Korean friendship match hoping to start a war. South Korean intelligence suspects an agent's girlfriend. The first South Korean film to present a sympathetic portrayal of the North's communist regime: North Koreans bayonet live adversaries tied to poles while their boss confesses to missing his family. “Extremely violent!”
 301 / 302
with Hwang Sin-hye, Bang Eun-jin, South Korea 1995 Thriller 1:40 DVD
Two women, a chef and an anorexic writer, live next to one other in an apartment building. To be a good neighbor, the chef gives meals to the writer not knowing she is unable to eat anything because of her dark past. So the writer throws away all the meals. Eventually, the chef becomes aware of this. One viewer wrote, “Weird, dark and sometimes really disgusting.”
 2 Young
(Jo sok) with Fiona Sit Hoi-kei (photo), Hong Kong 2005 Romance 1:47 DVD
A young boy from a working-class family and a bored young girl from a rich family fall in love. When she gets pregnant, the teenagers choose to escape from their disapproving parents and make it on their own.
 Warrior, The
India 2001 Action 1:26 DVD
In feudal India, after torching a village and killing many of its inhabitants, a “no name” enforcer for the local warlord renounces his violent occupation and vamooses with his son. The warlord proclaims, “No one leaves my service. No one. Bring me his head.” The warlord's thugs chase them from the deserts of Rajasthan to the Himalayas. Sounds like an old Clint Eastwood spaghetti western to me.
 Wayward Cloud, The
(Tian bian yi duo yun) with Chen Shiang-chyi, Taiwan 2004 Porn Musical 1:54 DVD
During a severe water shortage, a woman picks up empty bottles and fills them with water stolen from public toilets. A low-budget porno film actor bathes in water storage tanks in the middle of the night. They fall in love. Nudity and explicit sex intermingled with song and dance numbers. “Perverse, disgusting, vile and disturbing.” I've seen two of director Tsai Ming-liang's previous films and absolutely hated both of them. You've been warned!
 Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?
South Korea 1989 Drama 2:17 DVD
The story of three people living in a remote Buddhist monastery near Mount Chonan in Korea. An old master who is a teacher, protector and father figure. A young man who has left his family in the city to seek enlightenment, to overcome passions and escape the idea of self. And an orphan boy who is being raised as a monk.
 World, The
(Shi jie) with Zhao Tao, Huang Yiqun, China 2004 Drama 2:19 DVD
The daily relationships and desperate dreams of the twenty-somethings from China's remote provinces who have come to work at Beijing's 115-acre World Park which has small replicas of the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, etc. Park employees are trapped in seedy apartments doing boring and poorly paid jobs with little hope of a better life. There is not a single close-up or even medium close-up in this film. I vehemently hate this style of direction.

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