• Sinkhole

    Sinkhole

    ★★★

    Was really looking forward to this, I'm a sucker for disaster films and love Lee Kwang-soo. But the first 40 minutes really tested my patience for goofy humour as the entire cast chewed some serious scenery to the point where I almost turned it off.

    Thankfully after that it gets much more entertaining as the disaster takes hold and delivers some tense moments alongside a hefty dose of melodrama (naturally).

    A decent watch overall though, despite the wonky opening and some really dodgy effects/visuals there's definitely enough good here to warrant a watch.

    Cha Seung-won MVP.

  • The Throne

    The Throne

    ★★★★

    A lavish historical drama, based on a true story, detailing the life of Crown Prince Sado, an heir to the throne who would be charged with treason and locked in a box for a week, deprived of food and water until his eventual death.

    I must admit I wasn't familiar with the story beforehand and after watching and doing a little research it seems there is some controversy around the actual details of Sado's life. But here Lee Joon-ik presents…

  • Horror of the Wolf

    Horror of the Wolf

    ★★★★

    Inugami grew up with his anthropologist mother in the wilds of Alaska, running free with the members of a pack of wolves (who may or may not have been German Shepherds), at the age of 4 she is murdered brutally before him and the young boy ends up living with his rich auntie. Flash forward to high school and he is back in Japan, entering a new school and dealing not only with the curse of being a werewolf, but…

  • Sign of the Jack

    Sign of the Jack

    ★★★

    Stylish, but slow Nikkatsu action starring Akira 'Mighty Guy' Kobayashi as a trouble shooter who likes to back the underdog and get himself involved in Yakuza turf disputes.

    Touch disappointed with this, it's by no means a bad film but definitely a serious case of style over substance. The film starts off with a distinct Jitsoruko flavour but unfortunately never fully commits and ends up feeling much more like a mid tier Pink film.

    Even Kobayashi himself doesn't get to…

  • Hostage: Missing Celebrity

    Hostage: Missing Celebrity

    ★★★★½

    Hwang Jung-min stars as himself in this self aware thriller that sees him taken hostage by a gang of kidnappers after a film premiere in central Seoul.

    Had low expectations for this despite being a complete Hwang Jung-min fanboy, but man oh man is this a complete and utter blast and easily my favourite film of the year thus far.

    Well made, surprising, tightly paced and doesn't outstay it's welcome at a refreshing 90 minutes, with an absolutely terrific performance…

  • Guimoon: The Lightless Door

    Guimoon: The Lightless Door

    ★★½

    A shaman is killed mid-exorcism at a community centre where a serial killer massacred the guests. Her son who inherited the shaman power returns to the centre to exorcise the vengeful spirits and allow them to cross over.

    I really, really wanted to like this, it's got a great premise and I love seeing Kim Kang-woo in leading roles, but man this was a mess of overly dark corridors and ridiculously convoluted time frames. Which is a shame as I…

  • Raging Fire

    Raging Fire

    ★★★★

    Benny Chan's cinematic swansong is a blistering return to form for Hong Kong action on film that marks either the end of an era, or an exciting blueprint for the future generation depending on your point of view. Only time will tell which.

    A little bit of wonky CG and some annoying flashbacks can't detract from a good old fashioned Cops n Robbers action fest, packed to the gills with impressive set pieces from Shantytown fisticuffs, motorbike gunplay and a…

  • The Medium

    The Medium

    Need to dwell on this awhile, whilst it definitely met my expectations I need a second viewing to fully appreciate a few of its more ambiguous moments.

    That said though it's a fantastic, ethnographically rich and highly atmospheric piece of horror that's both deceptively simple narratively speaking, yet also hides a surprising amount of depth in its small details.

    Also features some of the most fucking fantastic locations I've seen in a horror film for quite some time.

    Shame that…

  • Escape from Mogadishu

    Escape from Mogadishu

    ★★★

    New Ryoo Seung-wan is always a cause for celebration but I'm just not sure how I feel about this one right now.

    On a technical level the film is outstanding, it looks and sounds incredible with a fine eye for detail and boasts the expected top tier performances you would expect from the likes of Kim Yoon-seok and Jo In-sung (bonus points for In-sung's polo shirt game, a man after my own heart).

    But despite a strong reunification message that…

  • Missing You

    Missing You

    ★★★★

    After a serial killer is released from prison after 15 years, the daughter of one of his victims sets in motion her plan for revenge for the killing of her father and to claim justice for the victims the killer wasn't charged with.

    Had an absolute blast with this, it's a nasty, nihilistic little film with some I Saw the Devil vibes running through it. It's far from perfect with a few moments where you need to suspend belief, as…

  • A Scarred Life

    A Scarred Life

    ★★★★½

    Needed some comfort food today so returned to the Ninkyo genre with an all-time favourite that never fails to hit the mark.

    Shigehiro Ozawa directs with his usual candid eye for detail, painting a deceptively simple narrative on the notions of duty, honour and integrity that hides a deeply emotional core, while also delivering a highly satisfying (and very surprising) amount of action and bloodletting.

    A superb cast of Toei regulars help proceedings along, with Tomisaburo Wakayama and Tatsuo Endo…

  • Prisoners of the Ghostland

    Prisoners of the Ghostland

    Sion Sono's English language debut was inevitable. From his Western influences to a keen eye for the Western market it was only a matter of time until it happened and teaming him with cult fan favourite Nicholas Cage makes perfect sense in a sort of perverted way. But man, this film was outright awful in every way.

    Manufactured, wannabe 'cult' that is just trying far too hard to be edgy.
    The kind of film that I imagine is written with…