With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Saturday, April 30, 2011

ACF 997: "Re-Encounter" will start new series of "Hidden Gems" of Korean Cinema

Korean Movie Night Series 3:
The Hidden Gems of Korean Cinema

From May 10, 2011 – June 21, 2011
Courtesy of the Korean Cultural Service New York

Every other Tuesday @ 7:00 PM at the Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street,
one block from the A, C, E and 1 train Canal Street stops

Price: Free!!!!!
All seating is first-come, first served.
Doors open at 6:30PM

Korea exports lots of blockbusters overseas but, just like in America, its best, funniest, strangest and most fascinating films are produced independently. This new series features the best new indie films from Korea that have won awards and blown away audiences around the world. The first film to be shown is:

RE-ENCOUNTER
South Korea, 2009, 107 minutes
Tuesday, May 10 @ 7:00 PM
North American Premiere

A film festival favorite featuring two powerful lead performances from Yoo Da-In and Yoo Yun-Suk, RE-ENCOUNTER won a fistful of awards around the world and became a major indie word-of-mouth success when it was released theatrically in Korea. Hyehwa is a veternarian’s assistant living a quiet life when suddenly her high school sweetheart reappears one day and tells her that the child they thought died when he got her pregnant at 18 is still alive. Lyrical and intimate, it’s a movie that sees two people tear themselves up in quiet desperation.

Friday, April 29, 2011

ACF 996: VIZ announces 3-in-1 manga editions beginning May 3rd, 2011

NARUTO © 1999 by Masashi Kishimoto/SHUEISHA Inc.

VIZ MEDIA DELIVERS SUMMER READING FUN
WITH NEW 3-IN-1 MANGA EDITIONS

New Omnibus Releases Announced For BLEACH,
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, KEKKAISHI And NARUTO

VIZ Media will kick off the summer reading season with the release of new 3-in-1 omnibus editions for several best-loved manga (graphic novels) series. NARUTO and KEKKAISHI both launch on May 3rd, and BLEACH and FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST go on sale June 7th. Each of the new omnibus releases bundles 3 complete manga volumes into a handy summertime reading companion.

NARUTO 3-in-1 Edition Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN • Available May 3rd

Naruto is a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He’s got a wild sense of humor, but Naruto is completely serious about his mission to be the world’s greatest ninja! It’s training day and no one takes Naruto seriously at Ninja Academy. Especially not the other students, who all are competing to be the best ninja ever and some day lead Konoha, the Village Hidden in the Leaves. Naruto and his classmates are about to embark on an adventure that takes them far beyond Ninja Academy, beyond Konoha, beyond anything they ever imagined. What is Naruto’s true destiny? The epic story that has sold millions worldwide begins now! For more information, please visit the official NARUTO website at www.Naruto.com.

KEKKAISHI © 2004 Yellow TANABE/Shogakukan

KEKKAISHI 3-in-1 Edition Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN • Available May 3rd

By night, teenager Yoshimori Sumimura is a "kekkaishi"--a demon-hunter who specializes in creating magical barriers around his prey. By day, Yoshimori's got other demons to battle: an addiction to sweets and a seriously crotchety grandfather! Yoshimori's pretty neighbor and childhood friend, Tokine Yukimura, is also a kekkaishi, but their families are feuding over who is the true practitioner of the art. Now the two rival kekkaishi must do battle with amphibious demons, the ghost of a pastry chef, charming demon-charmer Yomi and her pet demon Yoki, embittered demon-dog Koya – and more! More information on KEKKAISHI is available at www.viz.com/kekkaishi.

BLEACH 3-in-1 Edition Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN • Available June 7th

Ichigo Kurosaki has always been able to see ghosts, but this ability doesn't change his life nearly as much as his close encounter with Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper and member of the mysterious Soul Society. While fighting a Hollow, an evil spirit that preys on humans who display psychic energy, Rukia attempts to lend Ichigo some of her powers so that he can save his family; but much to her surprise, Ichigo absorbs every last drop of her energy. Now a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself, Ichigo quickly learns that the world he inhabits is one full of dangerous spirits, and along with Rukia – who is slowly regaining her powers – it's Ichigo's job to protect the innocent from Hollows and help the spirits themselves find peace. The paranormal action-adventure begins now! More information on BLEACH is available at Bleach.viz.com.

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST 3-in-1 Edition Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN • Available June 7th

Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world, somewhere between magic, art and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in these powers to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg...and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living iron. Now they are agents of the government, slaves of the military-alchemical complex, using their unique powers to obey their orders...even to kill. But their powers aren't unique. The world crawls with evil alchemists. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher's Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are! More information on FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST is available at: www.viz.com/fullmetal-alchemist.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

ACF 995: TORIKO Vol. 5 is now available for the VIZ Manga iPad App

TORIKO © 2008 by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro/SHUEISHA Inc.

VIZ MANGA APP FOR iPAD PRESENTS AN ADVANCE DIGITAL RELEASE OF TORIKO VOLUME 5 AHEAD OF THE PRINT COUNTERPART

Adventure And Appetites Collide With Action Packed Results As
A Gourmet Hunter Tracks Big Game For A Feast Of Wild Proportions

VIZ Media continues to revolutionize the digital manga (graphic novel) arena with its VIZ MANGA APP for the Apple iPad™. Volume 5 of Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro’s hit series TORIKO was released for the application on Monday April 25th – before the print edition’s national release on May 3rd. The new volume (rated ‘T’ for Teens) is available for $4.99 (U.S. / CAN). The VIZ MANGA APP for the iPad is free through the iTunes Store and manga volumes are available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada from within the application.

In a savage world ruled by the pursuit of the most delicious foods, it's either eat or be eaten! This is the great era of gourmet food! And only Toriko can track down the ferocious and exotic wildlife coveted by the world's best restaurants and wealthy food connoisseurs. As a Gourmet Hunter, Toriko tracks and defeats the tastiest and most dangerous animals with his bare hands. In the newest adventure, Toriko and his friends continue their search for the Regal Mammoth and the delicious “jewel meat” found deep in the creature's body. Toriko can handle the wildest beast that nature has to offer, but the team may be in some serious trouble when more robots from the evil Gourmet Corp. join the party.


The VIZ MANGA APP is the leading application to read Japanese manga on the iPad with an extensive downloadable library of the most popular manga series in the world. The MANGA App currently features more than 150 manga volumes across multiple genres, generally available for download for $4.99 each. Readers are encouraged to check the VIZ MANGA APP regularly, as new additions to the store and free Chapter 1 previews of other forthcoming series for the iPad are also featured.

Manga creator Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro made his debut in Japan’s Weekly Shonen Jump in 1996. He is best known for the 2001 series, A Tale of a Leader in the End of the Century Takeshi, for which he won the 46th Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga. His current series, TORIKO, began serialization in Japan in 2008 and is published in North America by VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint. The popular adventure has also spawned an anime series.

For more information on the VIZ MANGA APP, visit www.VIZ.com/apps/.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ACF 994: Miike's 13 Assassins to open in selected cities on April 29th, 2011

13 Assassins / Jûsan-nin no shikaku
Directed by Takashi Miike
Japan, 2010, 126 minutes
Japanese with English Subtitles

Numbers have featured prominently, at least in the English versions, of several Japanese sworplay films. Most notable of course is Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954). Eiichi Kudo's The Thirteen Assassins came out in 1963, and was followed the next year by Hideo Gosha's Three Outlaw Samurai. Starting this coming Friday, in select cities, comes prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins, his version of Kudo's original. For the complete schedule of cities and opening dates, click here.

Sir Doi (Mikijiro Hira, left) and
Shinzaemon Shimada (Koji Yakusho, right)

Set in 1844 the year after Commodore Matthew Perry anchored his four black ships at Tokyo Bay and "opened" Japan to the West, the film centers on the need for Lord Naritsugu Matsudaira (Goro Inagaki), the shogun's half-brother, to be assassinated. Such words as sick, sadistic and depraved don't quite suffice to describe him. His mad behavior is totally off the charts.

Sir Doi (Mikijiro Hira), a top shogun official, entrusts leading this mission, which must be done as what would today be called a "black op," to Shinzaemon Shimada (Koji Yakusho). A group of twelve set off to ambush Matsudaira and his nearly 300 men. On the way, the group is enlarged by a vagabond named Koyata (Yusuke Iseya), who guides them through a forest and brings their number up to thirteen.

With the odds highly stacked against them, the group decides to attack their target in a village along the route he must take. They employ the villagers, who leave as the confrontation is about to begin, to construct various sliding barricades that will keep the enemy trapped within. The result is a fantastic and protracted set-piece that has the vastly outnumbered assassins set about whittling down their opposition.

The international release time is 126 minutes, 15 minutes shorter than the 141 minute length of the original Japanese release. Although I've only seen the slightly shorter version, I don't think the film has at all suffered from the edits. Must say, though, that I do hope that when the DVD is issued that it will include both versions.

Miike's 13 Assassins is a terrific watch , a definite must see if slicin' 'n' dicin' are at all your thing. It gets a 3.5 out of 4 star ACF rating, very highly recommended.
13 ASSASSINS is a Magnet Release.
All photos courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ACF 993: "Karma to Nirvana" doc to premiere at NY Indian Film Festival


Karma to Nirvana,” the second installment in
Vikas Khanna’s HOLY KITCHENS documentary series,
set to premiere at the longest-running,
most prestigious Indian film festival in the U.S.

“God comes to the hungry in the form of food,” said the ‘Father of India’ Mahatma Gandhi. It is this philosophy which has compelled Chef Vikas Khanna to explore the symbiotic intersection of food and religion in his documentary series HOLY KITCHENS. “At any given time somewhere on Earth, people are gathering to share food in the name of God. This is spiritual sustenance, meant to bring us closer together and closer to the Creator,” says Khanna. “This is the story of Holy Kitchens.”

Karma to Nirvana,” the second installment in the series which focuses specifically on Hinduism, Lord Krishna’s spiritual practices, and the principles of KARMA and NIRVANA as set forth in the Bhagavad- Gita, will premiere at the New York Indian Film Festival on Saturday, May 7, 2011, at 12:30 p.m. in Tribeca CinemasTheater Two (54 Varick Street).

The film features interviews with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Arun Gandhi, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Shaunaka Rishi Das, Aroon Shivdasani, Lynn McGuire, Scott Carney and Anju Bhargava. It is written and narrated by Andrew Blackmore-Dobbyn, directed by Anubhav Bhardwaj, and co-directed by Francisco Aguila. “Karma to Nirvana” is a Junoon Hospitality presentation (TRT: 48 min).

Vikas Khanna’s journey in the documentary takes us right into the soup kitchens of Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi’s ashram in Kerala, where Amma blesses thousands of people daily with motherly hugs and serves them meals with her own hands. “We have to help the hungry as best we can,” says Amma. “We have to see that feeding the hungry is no less than the worship of God.”

Subsequently, the documentary highlights the magnanimous charity work of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Delhi and other parts of the world. Their “Food for All” programs feed hundreds of thousands of hungry children and adults, and Khanna personally cooks in the ISKCON kitchens in London, as a way for him to give back.

ISKCON’s mid-day meal program in India provides free meals to children in schools, thereby helping them get an education and ensuring a brighter future for them, as well as for India. According to the Bhagavad-Gita, “sharing food is the highest form of Karma.” It is this selfless service to others that eventually leads Hindus to the path to higher spirituality and, thus, to Nirvana.

“True Business,” the first film in the HOLY KITCHENS series focused on the Sikh religion and how its temples provide free food through its kitchens, known as “langars,” to everyone who comes, regardless of their beliefs. With commentary by Dr. Deepak Chopra, the film played to a sold-out audience at New York’s Sikh International Film Festival in fall 2010. Next year’s film is titled “The Moon of Eïd” and will explore Ramadan in the Islamic faith from the Middle East to Europe and across the world.

“Our aim is to make people aware of this commonality of the world’s religious traditions and to illuminate the differences in a way that will engender mutual tolerance and respect,” says Khanna. “Taken together, these films are our offering to the dialog that is meant to create more peace and harmony in the world.”

For more information about the HOLY KITCHENS series, upcoming films, and screening schedules, please log on to www.holykitchens.com.

About Vikas: Vikas Khanna was raised in Amritsar, India, where he grew up surrounded by large family feasts, the seasonal produce fresh from the fields of Punjab, and of course, his grandmother’s traditional home cooking. It was at his grandmother’s side that he began to learn the intricacies of Indian cuisine. He started his own catering business, Lawrence Gardens, at the age of 17. Vikas has received rave reviews for his cooking in The New York Times and many other publications. His current restaurant work includes Junoon Restaurant, the Café at the Rubin Museum of Art, and Flavors and Feasts Catering. Upon his graduation from the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Vikas went on to train under renowned chefs of Taj Group of Hotels, Oberoi, Leela Group, and many more.

He has authored several books including “The Spice Story of India” and “Modern Indian Cooking.” His next book, “Flavors First,” will be published in 2011 by Lake Isle Press. His following book is titled “Return to the Rivers: A Culinary Pilgrimage Through the Himalayas,” with a foreword by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. Vikas has also been a guest judge and chef on Gordon Ramsay’s television shows for Fox, Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, Food Network and the Martha Stewart Show among others. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards and is also an honorary member of many foundations, including the World Peace Society. The full scope of Khanna’s activities can be found on www.vkhanna.com.

Monday, April 25, 2011

ACF 992: Naruto Shippuden DVD Box Set 6 will be available tomorrow, April 26th

(C) 2002 MASASHI KISHIMOTO / 2007 SHIPPUDEN. All Rights Reserved.

(VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF
THE LATEST NARUTO SHIPPUDEN
ANIME DVD BOX SET

VIZ Media continues to expand its bestselling NARUTO anime franchise with the release of the latest NARUTO Shippuden Uncut DVD Set Volume 6 tomorrow April 26th, 2011. The 3-disc set contains episodes 66-77 of the original anime series in both subtitled and English dubbed options. Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, this box set will be available for the suggested retail price of $49.95 U.S./$71.99 Canada.

In the latest NARUTO adventures, the rogue ninja Furido attempts to use the Lightning Style jutsu of the Guardian Shinobi to rain destruction on the Leaf village. The ninja are running out of chakra. Does Naruto have enough power to save the village? Then, the Akatsuki are working their way from one tailed beast host to another, and it's only a matter of time until they get to Naruto!

Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens with more than 100 million copies in circulation to-date. The manga series (rated ‘T’ for Teens) and animated counterpart (NARUTO rated ‘T’ for Teens, and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) are among VIZ Media’s most successful properties and have captivated millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America.

For more information on NARUTO visit the official website at http://www.naruto.com/.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

ACF 991: The Prince Of Tennis is now available on iTunes & Episode 1 is FREE!

VIZ MEDIA SERVES UP THE ANIME ACTION
OF THE PRINCE OF TENNIS ON iTunes

Sports Action Drama Follows On And Off Court Adventures Of A
Young Tennis Prodigy On A Quest For The Championship

VIZ Media has announced the launch of THE PRINCE OF TENNIS anime series available for Download-to-Rent/Download-to-Own from iTunes® in the U.S. (www.iTunes.com) and Canada (www.iTunes.ca). Seasons 1-4 contain 50 episodes (dubbed) of the venerable sports drama that will be available in their entirety starting April 18th. As a special promotion, THE PRINCE OF TENNIS Episode 1 is available for free download now through May 17th.

THE PRINCE OF TENNIS is based on the smash hit manga (graphic novel) series by Takeshi Konomi that has sold more than 30 million copies in Japan, and is published exclusively in North America by VIZ Media (Rated ‘A’ for All Ages).

THE PRINCE OF TENNIS anime series (rated TV-G) follows the on and off court adventures of Ryoma Echizen, the 12-year-old son of a famous tennis player and a prodigy in his own right. Looking to make a mark, he joins his junior high school tennis team, known as one of the most competitive in Japan. Ryoma is cool and collected, and some might even say he's cocky, but he's got the skills to back up his attitude, with a virtually un-returnable "twist serve,” and quickly defeats numerous upperclassmen to secure himself a first string spot on the team.

With talent in his blood and fire in his eyes, he backs up his confidence on the court with amazing skills. Now he has to overcome the older players on his high school team who are dead set against letting him surpass them. To defeat the slippery "Viper" Kaido, the calculating Sadahara Inui, and a host of other opponents, Ryoma will need everything he's gotten from his father and more!

THE PRINCE OF TENNIS is a phenomenon in Japan, where the manga continues to be published and the anime series has drawn rave reviews. Games, related merchandise, and a live action film have also fueled the title’s continued popularity.

More information on THE PRINCE OF TENNIS is available at www.VIZAnime.com.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

ACF 990: "Clannad: After Story" now available


Section23 Films has announced the release of CLANNAD: AFTER STORY. The complete collection which includes all 25 episodes and an all new English dub on 4 DVD’s, is now available.

CLANNAD: AFTER STORY COMPLETE COLLECTION
Running Time: 625 min.
Age Rating: TV PG
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Format: DVD
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: A few months have passed since Tomoya declared his love to Nagisa. Now their relationship is entering a new phase, and neither is quite sure where it will take them. As their friends move on to lives of their own, Tomoya and Nagisa get ready to start a family of their own. But Nagisa's health has always been precarious, and an event that should bring nothing but joy delivers tragedy instead. Now Tomoya must learn to accept the bitter with the sweet and to understand that the most important thing is to hold onto love, no matter what. Don't miss the heartbreak and triumph of the masterful conclusion to one of the most beloved anime series ever in CLANNAD: AFTER STORY!

Friday, April 22, 2011

ACF 989: The Urge for Survival: Kaneto Shindo retrospective starts today at BAM

Photo courtesy of Kindai Eiga Kyokai Co., Ltd.

New York - Tokyo has announced that the national tour of the much anticipated Kaneto Shindo retrospective will kick off at BAMcinématek in Brooklyn starting today. From April 22 to May 5, BAMcinématek and actor Benicio Del Toro, in partnership with agnès B and the Japan Foundation, will present The Urge for Survival: Kaneto Shindo.

This 11-film touring retrospective of the Japanese director and screenwriter's diverse and fascinating oeuvre. Features include the North American premiere of Shindo's newest film, Postcard and a week-long runs of new 35mm prints of Children of Hiroshima (in its US theatrical premiere) and The Naked Island. Del Toro and Jiro Shindo, the director's son, will appear in person on April 22. For more details & ticket info, click here.

First a screenwriter, then an apprentice to Mizoguchi, Kaneto Shindo has since built one of the most richly diverse portfolios in Japanese film history—from humanistic docu-dramas and expressionistic ghost stories to erotic tales of sex. On the occasion of Shindo’s 99th birthday on April 22nd and the North American premiere of his newest (and self-declared last) film Postcard, longtime fan Benicio Del Toro will present some of the director’s finest work.

ACF 988: Documentary "Eatrip" to debut on DVD from New People on May 24th, 2011

TAKE A DELICIOUS CULINARY JOURNEY THROUGH JAPAN
IN THE DOCUMENTARY EATRIP
NEW ON DVD FROM NEW PEOPLE ENTERTAINMENT

New Film Release Explores The Ways That Food Unites Humanity And Explores The Interpersonal Relationships People Forge Through Eating

NEW PEOPLE Entertainment, a film division of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. that focuses on the licensing and distribution of Japanese films and media, has announced the release of the culinary documentary Eatrip on DVD on May 24th. The film takes audiences on an intriguing journey throughout Japan and features interviews with interesting personalities from a variety of walks of life to look at how life can be led richly through the daily ritual of eating. Eatrip will carry an MSRP of $24.92 U.S. / $35.99 CAN.

Director Yuri Nomura

Special bonus features on the disc includes an exclusive interview with Eatrip director Yuri Nomura, who is also a food coordinator, columnist, and teacher. She makes her directorial debut with this film, and in Japan Nomura is widely active with her food creative team Eatrip.

“Food is a central aspect of human existence and Eatrip vividly examines the social bonds we forge through eating,” says Seiji Horibuchi, President and CEO of NEW PEOPLE Inc. “The food we consume helps to shape our identity and bring us together, and this film is an extraordinary journey that highlights a variety of different individuals and the ways they each views eating and the unique role it plays in their daily lives.”

To eat is more than a necessity – it’s a universal experience all human beings share. In the film, Yuri Nomura embarks on an insightful journey throughout Japan to examine the daily rituals of eating among people from different walks of life. Actor Tadanobu Asano, singer UA, and fashion designer Jurgen Lehl are among those featured. From the Tsukiji fish market to a farm in Okinawa, the film offers poignant interviews with intriguing personalities including the head monk of a famous Buddhist temple; a distributor of Japanese soup stock (Bonito broth); an Okinawan woman leading a self-sustainable lifestyle devoid of modern conveniences; a tea ceremony master, and a musician and writer who recites poems about food.

Eatrip was an official selection of the Montreal World Film Festival 2009 in the Documentaries of the World category; the Vancouver International Film Festival 2009; Le Festival International du Film d’Environnement 2009 (Paris); and the Barcelona Asian Film Festival 2010.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

ACF 987: "Full Moon" is now available on Hulu and VIZAnime.com

VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES THE ANIME SERIES
FULL MOON ON HULU AND VIZANIME.COM

Episodes 1-5 Will Stream For
FREE With New Episodes Available Every Friday!

VIZ Media has announced the recent launch of the shojo-inspired anime series FULL MOON on VIZAnime.com, the company’s premiere website for anime, as well as through the streaming content provider HULU (www.Hulu.com).

VIZAnime and HULU will stream episodes 1-5 (subtitled) of the series for FREE. Two new FULL MOON episodes will be uploaded and also available to stream for FREE each Friday!

FULL MOON (Rated ‘T’ for Teens) is a bittersweet tale of puppy love, tragedy, and aspirations of pop-star fame. The anime series is based on a popular shojo manga (also published by VIZ Media) created by Arina Tanemura. In the series, Mitsuki Koyama dreams of becoming a singer, but a malignant tumor in her throat prevents her from fulfilling her wish. One day two Spirits of Death named Takuto and Meroko appear and tell her she only has one year left to live! But the Spirits can grant Mitsuki a temporary reprieve from her illness and give her singing career a magical push start. Will Mitsuki be able to fulfill her dreams with Takuto and Meroko's help? Follow Mitsuki on her journey to become a singer in this exciting new series.

To learn more about the FULL MOON anime and manga series, visit VIZAnime.com or ShojoBeat.com.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ACF 986: NY Premiere of "The Journals of Musan" at Tribeca FIlm Festival


The Tribeca Film Festival will present the New York premiere of the much-anticipated The Journals of Musan. The three festival screenings of the film will be co-hosted with The Korea Society.

Director Park Jung-bum’s debut tells the story of a North Korean defector forging a new life in South Korea. The film took the New Currents Award at the Pusan International Film Festival. Park, who assisted Lee Chang-dong on the stirring Poetry, presents a disarmingly beautiful vision of loneliness, disconnect, and ethical ambiguity in this story of a lost soul's struggle to connect. Park Jung-bum appears for Q&A with audiences after each screening.

Synopsis: Park Jungbum's stunning and much-lauded debut is the story of Jeon Seung-chul, a North Korean defector forging a life in capitalist South Korea. Emerging from eight months in a resettlement camp, the unassuming Seung-chul is placed in a home on the rundown outskirts of Seoul, and finds a modest job papering the city with advertisement posters.

Yearning for a human bond, he joins a church and meets Sook-young, a choir singer who works nights at a seedy karaoke bar. As he attempts to forge some kind of relationship with Sook-young and some kind of life in Seoul, Seung-chul finds his deepest kinship and comfort in a fellow outcast—a stray dog he adopts in the street.

Marginalized in every way, from his liminal home on the city's fringes to his frustrated attempts to integrate in either church or work, Seung-chul's unwavering moral compass is testament to his integrity in the face of baseless prejudice. As both director and actor, Park (assistant director of Lee Chang-dong's stirring Poetry) fully realizes a disarmingly beautiful vision of loneliness, disconnect, and ethical ambiguity in this story of a lost soul's struggle to connect.
--Cara Cusumano

Three Screenings:
Sunday, April 24th at 7;00 PM at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 5
Tuesday, April 26th at 5;30 PM at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 4
Wednesday, April 27th at 9:30 PM at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 1

Tickets available at TribecaFilm.com.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ACF 985: Yoshihiro Nishimura's "Helldriver" will screen at Japan Society

Helldriver © 2010 The Sushi Typhoon / Nikkatsu Corporation

Helldriver
Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura
Japan, 2010, 116 minutes, HD Cam
In Japanese with English subtitles
When: Thursday, April 28th, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Where: Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, NYC
Between 1st and 2nd Avenues
Co-Presented with Subway Cinema
New York Premiere
Japan Cuts/NYAFF "Be a Zombie" after-party!
With director Yoshihiro Nishimura and actress Eihi Shiina in person!

In a land where half of the population has become not-so-sexy flesh eaters and the economy gently withers away, all hope seems lost for Japan... until Kika (Yumiko Hara) arrives. A stunning high school girl armed with an artificial heart-powered chainsaw sword, she leads a motley crew of desperados on a secret mission into the zombie-infected wilds to exterminate zombie queen Rikka (Eihi Shiina from Audition and Tokyo Gore Police) and put an end to the plague of the living dead.

But the road is fraught with a thriving zombie culture that, with its own designs on the living half of Japan, refuses to just lay down and die.

Visionary filmmaker Yoshihiro Nishimura's first solo directorial effort since Tokyo Gore Police is an epic, apocalyptic road movie featuring non-stop, over-the-top splatter action. The long-awaited realization of his dreams, Helldriver is Nishimura's bid to create the ultimate zombie film. The showdown for the future of Japan is at hand and no one, living or dead, may survive to see it! Your one chance to see the original director's cut of the film, with more action... and more gore!

The screening is also a very special launch event for Japan Society's 5th Festival of Contemporary Japanese Film (July 7–July 18): Japan Cuts and for the New York Asian Film Festival 2011. It will be followed by a party for ye undead featuring black metal band Vaura. Also at the party, special announcements will be made revealing titles in this year's festivals, and prizes will be given away.

TICKETS:
$12/$9 members, students & seniors
50% of all ticket sales will go to Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund.

Buy Tickets Online or call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. - Fri. 11 am - 6 pm, Weekends 11 am - 5 pm.

Monday, April 18, 2011

ACF 984: VIZ announces Manga App updates for 2nd half of April

VIZ MEDIA DELIVERS A SECOND ROUND
OF APRIL DIGITAL MANGA UPDATES FOR iPad

FUSHIGI YUGI: GENBU KAIDEN And ARATA: THE LEGEND
Join The Newest Additions To 15 Other Popular VIZ Media Manga Series

VIZ Media will round out April with a second block of monthly manga (graphic novel) updates available exclusively for the VIZ MANGA APP for the Apple® iPad™ mobile device. These latest updates will include the digital premiere of 5 new manga titles and updates to 15 other series that are also currently available. FUSHIGI YUGI: GENBU KAIDEN debuted on April 18th, and ARATA: THE LEGEND will launch for the iPad on April 25th.

The VIZ MANGA APP is available for free through the iTunes Store and all manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the application for $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) per volume. More than 125 manga volumes are now available for download.

FUSHIGI YUGI: GENBU KAIDEN (Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) is the acclaimed sequel to FUSHIGI YUGI created by Yuu Watase and debuts digitally on April 18th. When schoolgirl Takiko Okuda attempts to destroy her father's translation of The Universe of the Four Gods, she is instead sucked into the story, becoming the Priestess of Genbu in an epic journey to find the seven Celestial Warriors!

ARATA: THE LEGEND (Rated ‘T’ for Teens) is a shojo manga series created by Yuu Watase and will debut for the iPad on April 25th. In a mythical world where humans and gods coexist, a ceremony marking the new governing princess is about to occur for the first time in 60 years. Only a girl from the Hime Clan may take this position, but the lack of females born to this family means that a boy called Arata must pose for the role. Meanwhile in modern-day Japan, a boy named Arata Hinohara is starting his new life in high school. He wants to put memories of his difficult past behind him, but things aren't going to be simple when he discovers a mysterious connection to the first Arata...

The second round of April updates also includes new additions to 17 other popular VIZ Media series currently available. Readers should check the app regularly, as new additions and free Chapter 1 previews of forthcoming manga series for the iPad are also featured.

Twenty-seven series are now available on the VIZ Manga App; additional new manga volumes available the weeks of April 18th and April 25th include:

April 18th:
ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND Vol. 2
DEATH NOTE Vol. 11
DRAGON BALL Z Vol. 5
KEKKAISHI Vol. 2
MERU PURI Vol. 4
NATSUME’S BOOK OF FRIENDS Vol. 3
NARUTO Vol. 22
ONE PIECE Vol. 22
ROSARIO + VAMPIRE Vol. 4
RUROUNI KENSHIN Vol. 11
TORIKO Vol. 4

April 25th:
BLACK BIRD Vol. 2
BLEACH Vol. 13
CLAYMORE Vol. 8
D. GRAY MAN Vol. 9
DRAGON BALL Z Vol. 6
FAIRY CUBE Vol. 2
NARUTO Vol. 23
ONE PIECE Vol. 23
VAMPIRE KNIGHT Vol. 6

For more information on the VIZ MANGA APP, visit www.VIZ.com/apps/.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

ACF 983: VIZ Kids slate expands with full slate of new acquisitions


VIZ MEDIA EXPANDS VIZ KIDS IMPRINT
WITH A FULL SLATE OF NEW ACQUISITIONS

New Titles Include Global Blockbuster Franchises
MR. MEN AND LITTLE MISS, POKÉMON And VOLTRON FORCE,
And Rising Stars MAMESHIBA and HERO 108

VIZ Media
, the largest distributor of anime and manga in the United States, has announced a full slate of acquisitions for its kids imprint, VIZ Kids. The acquisitions include DVD, Download-To-Own, and graphic novel licenses for a wide range of well-established global franchises.

“VIZ Media is excited to expand our kids imprint to include a variety of fun new properties,” said Elizabeth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director of VIZ Media. “These new titles use strong storytelling, eye-popping graphics and empowering themes to engage a younger generation of fans.”

HERO 108 – VIZ Kids will be distributing DVDs of this popular series which airs on Cartoon Network. HERO 108 chronicles the battle for peace in the Hidden Kingdom. In addition, VIZ Kids will make the episodes available for download through iTunes. DVDs will be available in May 2011 while downloadable episodes will launch in June 2011.

MAMESHIBA – The irresistibly cute and irrepressibly curious Mameshiba are not quite beans, not quite dogs--they’re a hybrid of both! VIZ Kids will release a graphic novel, MAMESHIBA: ON THE LOOSE!, and a character guide, MEET MAMESHIBA, in July 2011.

POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE: VIZ Kids will release manga, a travel activity kit, and other select merchandise based on the most recent incarnation of the juggernaut POKÉMON™ video game franchise, Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version. Meet all-new Pokémon from the fastest-selling Pokémon video games in history. The travel activity kit will be available in May 2011; Volumes 1 and 2 of the manga will be available in July 2011.

MR. MEN AND LITTLE MISS – Mr. Happy, Little Miss Sunshine and all their Dillydale friends are about to take the graphic novel world by storm! Under the VIZ Kids imprint, VIZ Media will create and distribute original graphic novels starring the lovable MR. MEN and LITTLE MISSES. Little Miss Sunshine, Mr. Bump, Mr. Strong and Little Miss Daredevil books will be available in Spring 2012.

VOLTRON FORCE – Voltron®, the ultimate space adventure from the 1980s, is ready to take the world by storm again! VIZ Kids will produce and distribute original graphic novels based on the all-new animated series VOLTRON FORCE, set to debut on Nicktoons this summer. VOLTRON FORCE reignites the story of five brave space explorers who pilot mighty robot lions that combine to form Voltron, Defender of the Universe. Joining the team are three new cadets, who have the opportunity of a lifetime to fight alongside their heroes and unlock incredible new powers. Let’s Voltron!

The books will be available in Spring 2012. HERO 108, MAMESHIBA, MR. MEN, and VOLTRON FORCE are unique acquisitions because they are properties not owned by any of VIZ Media’s parent companies, Shueisha, Shogakukan and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions.

These acquisitions join an already robust manga and anime VIZ Kids library, which includes THE LEGEND OF ZELDA, PANDA MAN, TARO, BEYBLADE and DINOSAUR KING.

For more information on VIZ Kids, visit www.VIZKids.com.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

ACF 982: Springtime Court Music concert at The Korea Society on Thursday, April 21st

Contemplative Traditions Music Series: Springtime Court Music
When: Thursday, April 21st, 2011 at 6:30 PM
Where: The Korea Society
950 Third Avenue at 57th Street, 8th Floor, NYC
Entrance on 57th Street, south-west corner of the intersection

Artist Han Heejung performs the two-stringed haegûm in the p’ungnyu style, and her subdued and unhurried melodies are designed to prompt contemplation. Han opens with the Yuch'osin chi kok version of Yôngsan hoesang, accompanied by two wind instruments, the taegûm and the hyangp'iri. She also performs the Haegûm sanjo in the style of Chi Yônghûi, a delicate tune reminiscent of Kyunggi folk music with Chinyang, Chungmori, Chungjungmori, and Chajinmori rhythms. Han concludes with Chôk Nyôm, a seven-movement solo piece for haegûm composed by master Kim Yôngjae, and a composition by Yang Sônghwan that derives from the folk music of Kyôngsang province.

P’ungnyu, the classical ensemble music of Korean nobility, is the central theme of The Korea Society’s 2011 traditional music series. As a music of the upper class, P’ungnyu includes the most sophisticated Korean lyric song genre, or kagok, and the indigenous Korean popular song, or sijo. P’ungnyu appears in three varieties: chul-p’ungnyu, with stringed instruments; taep’ungnyu, with wind instruments; and a combination of the two. P’ungnyu also refers to a leisurely state where one becomes appreciative of poetry, music and companionship. Enjoy traditional teas and sweets throughout this special hour of contemplative music, commentary, and Q&A.

About the Performer and Commentator: Han Heejung was a principal member of two traditional orchestras in Korea, the Youth Korean Traditional Music Orchestra and Seoul Korean Traditional Music Orchestra, prior to immigrating to the United States. She graduated from Chu-Gye University for the Arts, where she received traditional academic training and studied under celebrated haegum performers Jung Lim Kim and Kyonng Sook Yang. She joined the Korean Traditional Performing Arts Association’s Chamber Ensemble in 2005, developing new approaches to Korean traditional compositions.

Admission:
$10 Members/Student Guest; $20 Guests; $5 Student Members
Explore Korea card holders attend this program for free with REGISTRATION.

BUY TICKETS

Presented with the generous support of the New York State Council on the Arts.

Friday, April 15, 2011

ACF 981: "The Taste of Tea screening in S.F. for Japanese earthquake relief

NEW PEOPLE TO RAISE ADDITIONAL FUNDS
FOR JAPANESE EARTHQUAKE/TSUNAMI RELIEF
WITH A SPECIAL SCREENING OF
THE TASTE OF TEA

Acclaimed Film By Director Katsuhito Ishii
Offers A Gentle Cinematic Portrait Tackling
Universal Themes Of Time, People
And The Fabric Of Family Relationships

NEW PEOPLE, the nation’s only entertainment complex dedicated to Japanese popular culture, has announced a second film screening event to raise additional funds for Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief. THE TASTE OF TEA, director Katsuhito Ishii’s critically acclaimed and award-winning film about Japanese family life, will screen at NEW PEOPLE on Sunday April 17th at 3:30pm. Suggested donations are $10.00 or more per person. NEW PEOPLE is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown at 1746 Post St.

Proceeds from the screening will be donated directly to the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, administered by JCCCNC and Union Bank in San Francisco’s Japantown. More information on the screening and the work of this relief organization is available at: www.newpeopleworld.com.

NEW PEOPLE raised more than $5,000.00 for relief efforts with its earlier screening of HULA GIRLS in March, just following the disaster. The heartwarming film is set in Fukushima prefecture, site of the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that was heavily damaged during the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th.


THE TASTE OF TEA is based in a rural town surrounded by the natural beauty of Tochigi, Japan, an area that was also heavily damaged by the recent earthquake. The film introduces audiences to the Harunos, a rather unconventional but happy and loving family. They live in a small town in the mountains, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own dramas, quirks and little problems.

As 8-year old Sachiko (Maya Banno) tries to get rid of a giant version of herself who seems to pop up everywhere, her older brother Hajime (Takahiro Sato), privately wrestles with his love-struck heart. Meanwhile, their mother Yoshiko (Satomi Tezuka) is working hard, coming out of retirement as an animator, as her husband and professional hypnotist Nobuo (Tomokazu Miura) watches on with slight apprehension. Even Nobuo’s brother and successful manga artist Todoroki has his problems. And lastly there’s Grandpa, the most bizarre and perhaps the most perceptive of all, who continues to search for a better way to live life to the full.

THE TASTE OF TEA has been called a surreal version of Ingmar Bergman's “Fanny and Alexander,” and presents a heartwarming and visually rich homage to Japanese family life. The film had its international debut at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and won numerous awards at the 2004 Entrevues Film Festival, 2005 Montreal Fantasia Film Festival, 2005 New York Asian Film Festival, 2005 San Francisco Independent Film Festival and the 2005 Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Film.

THE TASTE OF TEA is also available on DVD from NEW PEOPLE Entertainment.

About NEW PEOPLE, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, California, NEW PEOPLE, Inc. (www.newpeopleworld.com) offers the latest films, art, fashion and retail brands from Japan through its unique entertainment destination as well as through licensing and distribution of selective Japanese films. NEW PEOPLE Entertainment (www.newpeopleent.com), a film division of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. strives to offer the most entertaining motion pictures straight from the "Kingdom of Pop" for audiences of all ages, especially the manga and anime generation, in North America. Some titles include DEATH NOTE, GANTZ, KAMIKAZE GIRLS, and THE TASTE OF TEA.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

ACF 980: Free Korean animation series concludes with screening of "Audition"

Audition
South Korea, 2008
When: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm
(Doors open at 6:30 pm)
Where: Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street @ Canal, NYC
(One block from the A, C, E & 1 train Canal Street stops)
Price: Free!!!!!
Seating: First-come, first served
North American Premiere

Korean Cultural Services current free series Korean Movie Night Series 2: Korean Animation Explodes! concludes next Tuesday with a glitzy, gaudy, crowd-pleasing anime-style manhwa (Korean manga) adaptation. Based on the most popular manhwa of the late 90's, AUDITION is a teen-girl-ready romance about four dudes, all misfits, who form a rock band. All the main characters are already licensed products in Korea and this feature film version of their well-known story took 8 years to make.

(Obviously this is a totally different film from Takashi Miike's 1999 film of the same name in English. Miike's live-action Audition, based on a short novel by Ryu Murakami, is about a widower's search for a second wife and the terrifying consequences than ensue.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ACF 979: VIZ titles garner Eisner noms

VIZ MEDIA NOMINATED IN MULTIPLE CATEGORIES
FOR THE 2011 WILL EISNER COMIC INDUSTRY AWARDS

Naoki Urasawa, NAOKI URASAWA’S 20TH CENTURY BOYS
and HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES Nominated

VIZ Media has announced that two of its manga titles and one creator have been nominated in several categories for the 2011 Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards for a total of 4 nominations, as announced by Comic-Con International on April 7, 2011.

Named for pioneering writer and comic artist Will Eisner, the awards recognize exemplary comics, graphic novels and other pop writings, and are given each year as part of the annual Comic-Con International convention. Winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 22nd during Comic-Con, at which VIZ Media will be a major exhibitor and participant in the programs offered. VIZ Media titles are consistently nominated for the Eisner Awards, and in 2008, took home the Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Japan for TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE, by acclaimed creator Taiyo Matsumoto.

The nominated titles from VIZ Media are:

HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES, by Natsume Ono
• Best U.S. Edition of International Material–Asia

NAOKI URASAWA’S 20TH CENTURY BOYS, by Naoki Urasawa
• Best Continuing Series
• Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia

In addition, Naoki Urasawa is nominated for Best Writer/Artist, for his work on NAOKI URASAWA’S 20TH CENTURY BOYS.

“We are thrilled that VIZ Media has several nominees for the prestigious Eisner Awards,” states Alvin Lu, SVP and General Manager, VIZ Media. "The Eisners highlight the best in the comics industry each year, and we are honored to be considered among such a diverse group of nominees.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ACF 978: Comic artist Matt Inman to be guest speaker for New People talk

#1 BESTSELLER COMIC ARTIST AND POP CULTURE PROVACATEUR MATT INMAN TO BE GUEST FOR NEW PEOPLE TALK

Creator Of Popular Web Site THE OATMEAL Appears At NEW PEOPLE For Autograph Session And Lively Presentation On Newly Published Book

NEW PEOPLE will welcome bestseller comic artist and pop culture provocateur Matthew Inman for a special talk presentation and autograph session beginning at 3:00pm on Saturday, April 16th. Inman is the creator of the celebrated website The Oatmeal. He will discuss his work and newest book, 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides), at the NEW PEOPLE event.

The NEW PEOPLE Talks are an ongoing series featuring visionary individuals that are introducing new and original hybrid values and fostering the exchange of philosophies and ideas across different cultures.

To attend the Matthew Inman event, individuals must reserve his book 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides), available for $15, ahead of time at www.newpeopleworld.com.


The event offers free admission with the online reservation of his book, 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides), available for $15.00 at www.newpeopleworld.com. Purchased copy will be distributed at the event. Inman’s autograph session will follow the presentation in the cinema. The Oatmeal's extremely popular merchandise will be available for purchase at the event, but attendance to the NEW PEOPLE Talk will be limited to those who purchase Inman’s book. This event is expected to sell out.

Inman ‘s 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) is a hilarious comics anthology filled with quirky scenes such as samurai sword-wielding kittens and hamsters that love .50-caliber machine guns commingling with a cracked-out Tyrannosaur that is extremely hard to potty train. More than 60 of the artist’s illustrations and guides are also featured in full-color, such as "4 Reasons to Carry a Shovel at All Times" and "8 Ways to Tell if Your Loved One Plans to Eat You."


Inman’s website, The Oatmeal, was created in 2009 and features his humorous comics, drawings and creative, sometimes scathing social commentaries. The site receives more than 4.6 million unique visitors and 20 million page views a month. The Oatmeal also has been featured on programs including Last Call with Carson Daily and was named by Time magazine as one of the Best Blogs of 2010. More information is available at http://theoatmeal.com/book and http://www.facebook.com/theoatmeal.

About NEW PEOPLE, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, California, NEW PEOPLE, Inc. (www.newpeopleworld.com) offers the latest films, art, fashion and retail brands from Japan through its unique entertainment destination as well as through licensing and distribution of selective Japanese films. NEW PEOPLE Entertainment (www.newpeopleent.com), a film division of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. strives to offer the most entertaining motion pictures straight from the "Kingdom of Pop" for audiences of all ages, especially the manga and anime generation, in North America. Some titles include DEATH NOTE, GANTZ, KAMIKAZE GIRLS, and THE TASTE OF TEA.

Monday, April 11, 2011

ACF 977: "BLUE EXORCIST premieres on VIZAnime on Wednesday, April 20th

PARANORMAL ANIME ADVENTURE BLUE EXORCIST
PREMIERES ON VIZANIME.COM THIS MONTH

New Aniplex Series About A Teenager And His Infernal Destiny
Launches In The U.S. Only Days After Japanese Debut

VIZ Media has announced that it will serve as an official distribution partner for Aniplex of America’s domestic debut of the BLUE EXORCIST anime series. VIZ Media will carry the new action series (subtitled) on its VIZAnime website beginning Wednesday, April 20th, just days after its eagerly anticipated debut on Japanese TV on April 17th. New episodes will stream on the site every Wednesday.

In the animated series, Rin, along with his twin brother Yukio Okumura are raised by an eminent priest, Shiro Fujimoto, but one day Rin discovers that their biological father is actually Satan! As the border between “Assiah” (the human world) and “Gehenna” (demon’s world) is intruded upon by evils, Rin vows to become the ultimate exorcist to defeat his own father, Satan. To hone his raw skills, Rin enters True Cross Academy to train with other exorcist candidates. Can Rin fight the demons and keep his infernal bloodline a secret? It won't be easy, especially when drawing his father’s sword releases the demonic power within him!

VIZ Media is the official North American publisher of the BLUE EXORCIST manga (graphic novel) series, created Kazue Kato. Volume 1 is on sale now and is published under the company’s Shonen Jump Advanced imprint. BLUE EXORCIST is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and carries an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

BLUE EXORCIST Volume 1 also is scheduled to be available starting today, April 11th, as part of VIZ Media’s expansive digital manga library available exclusively for the VIZ MANGA APP for the Apple® iPad™ mobile device. For more information on the VIZ MANGA APP, visit www.VIZ.com/apps/.

Manga creator, writer and illustrator Kazue Kato won the prestigious Tezuka Award when she was only 19 for her work, Rabbit And I, published in Japan in Akamaru Jump magazine. Her latest manga series, BLUE EXORCIST, debuted in Jump Square magazine in April of 2009.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

ACF 976: Anime Network Online to simulcast Maria Holic Alive starting today

Anime Network Online to Simulcast Maria Holic Alive this April

From SHAFT (He is My Master, Pani Poni Dash) and director Shinbo Akiyuki (Hidamari Sketch, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei) comes Maria Holic Alive, the continuation of Kanako and Mariya's hilariously perverse misadventures in Ame no Kisaki school for girls. Episode 1 premieres online this Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 10 pm Central Daylight Time.

WHAT: US Debut of Maria Holic Alive on Anime Network Online
The craziness continues in Maria Holic Alive! Kanako and Mariya are back, and up to their old tricks once again at the Ame no Kisaki school for girls. With Kanako's penchant for breaking out in hive's when a boy is near and Mariya's sadistic nature (plus her love of torturing poor Kanako), there's no telling what kind of antics they'll get into! Don't forget Matsurika, the sharp-talking maid, who puts them both in their places every chance she gets. The nose bleeds will run wild, as silly, sexy fun collides with short-fused cross dressers and towering terrors in Maria Holic Alive!

WHEN: Sundays at 10 pm Central Daylight Time.

WHERE: Anime Network Online
Episode 1 - Guests
Episode 2 - Registered Users
Episode 3+ - Premium Subscribers

ACF 975: MARIA HOLIC ALIVE! licensed by Sentai Filmworks; coming soon to U.S.


SENTAI FILMWORKS ACQUIRES
MARIA HOLIC ALIVE! LICENSE

Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of Maria Holic Alive! the follow up to the hit comedy and nosebleed bonanza Maria Holic. Broadcasting in Japan was scheduled to begin on April 7. Maria Holic Alive! will soon be available in the U.S.

Synopsis: Some things never change: Ame no Kisaki, that famous and extraordinarily exclusive boarding school, STILL doesn’t accept boys. And Kanako, Kisaki’s most romantically unfortunate student, STILL doesn’t accept them either. They give her the hives. Literally. Sadly, that means that Kanako’s STILL trying to connect with ANYONE of the same sex, and having the usual horrid luck; STILL being in imminent peril of dying from the constant nosebleeds she gets from being over stimulated by the presence of her fellow classmates; and STILL being forced to endure the tragedy of sharing a room with the school’s most beautiful girl, who is, of course, STILL a guy in drag. Poor Kanako! She came to school to major in loving women, and instead she’s STILL failing relationships in Maria Holic Alive!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

ACF 974: Reminder - Concert for Japan

CONCERT FOR JAPAN
When: Saturday, April 9, 11 AM — 11 PM
Where: Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, NYC
Between 1st and 2nd Avenues

Japan Society presents a 12-hour concert benefiting organizations that directly help people affected by the earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan. With dozens of music acts and performances throughout the day, confirmed performers for the GALA BLOCKS, organized by John Zorn, include Philip Glass & Hal Willner; Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Zorn; Ryuichi Sakamoto; and Bill Laswell with gigi band. In addition, special activities will be available for all ages, from making origami cranes and washi lanterns for good wishes to unlimited access to Bye Bye Kitty!!! Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

CONCERT SCHEDULE (for the most up-to-date listing of performers, ticket availability, and viewing the concert live online, click here)

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM OPEN CONCERT New York Suwa Taiko Association led by Hiro Kurashima, Kokoro Gospel Choir
More to come!

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM GALA BLOCK (GALA BLOCK ticket required: $100)
Philip Glass & Hal Willner
Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson & John Zorn
** Limited availability**
Buy Tickets

2:45 PM – 5:30 PM OPEN CONCERT (seating is first come, first served)
Performance order TBD
Masayo Ishigure (koto), Mutsumi and Masumi Takamizu (ji-uta sankyoku), James Nyoraku Schlefer (shakuhachi), Sadahiro Kakitani (ryuteki - gagaku flute), Taikoza (taiko), Yumi Kurosawa (koto), Taka Kigawa (piano)
More to come!

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM GALA BLOCK (GALA BLOCK ticket required: $100)
SOLD OUT
Ryuichi Sakamoto solo
Bill Laswell with gigi band

8:00 PM - OPEN CONCERT (seating is first come, first served)
Performance order TBD
Hard Nips, Echostream, The Suzan, Me & Mars, DJ Aki, plus Salmé from Tokyo!

ENTRANCE FEE (Does not include GALA BLOCKS)
$5, cash at door

GALA BLOCK CONCERT SEATS$100 per gala block (includes Entrance Fee and assigned seating to GALA BLOCK)
Limited to Two Tickets per order per GALA BLOCK

Tickets available on-line or by visiting Japan Society’s box office or calling 212-715-1258.

In addition to the music, CONCERT FOR JAPAN offers special activities for all ages over the course of the event: making origami cranes and washi lanterns for good wishes and recovery, basic Japanese language lessons with the theme "Reach out to Japan," and unlimited access to Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven & Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art, Japan Society's current gallery exhibition. Throughout the day, visitors are invited to explore the Japan Society landmark building from top to bottom capturing images with a camera or phone, to redeem a gift.

This event replaces the annual j-CATION culture festival scheduled for that day.

100% of proceeds from this event will go to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

Concert for Japan is generously supported by Mitsubishi International Corporation and Kikkoman Corporation.

Friday, April 08, 2011

ACF 973: Expanded digital library for VIZ Manga App for iPad for first half of April

VIZ MEDIA EXPANDS iPad DIGITAL LIBRARY
WITH A NEW ROUND OF MANGA UPDATES
FOR FIRST HALF OF APRIL

ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND, BLACK BIRD, BLUE EXORCIST
And KEKKAISHI Join The Latest Additions
To 12 Other Popular VIZ Media Manga Titles

VIZ Media continues the expansion of its digital manga manga (graphic novel) library available exclusively for the VIZ MANGA APP for the Apple® iPad™ mobile device with several new series that will premiere during the first half of April.

The latest update features the launch of the shojo series ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND and the fantasy-action of KEKKAISHI on April 4th. Another popular shojo manga series, BLACK BIRD, and the supernatural adventure BLUE EXORCIST will premiere on April 11th. The VIZ MANGA APP is available for free through the iTunes Store and all manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the application for $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) per volume. More than 100 manga volumes are now available for download.

ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) is the romantic shojo drama created by Yuu Watase (ARATA: THE LEGEND, FUSHIGI YUGI, CERES: CELESTIAL LEGEND). Rejected way too many times by good-looking (and unattainable) guys, shy Riiko Izawa goes online to sign up for a free trial of a mysterious Nightly Lover "figure." The very next day a cute naked guy is delivered to her door, and he wants to be her boyfriend! Has Riiko died and gone to heaven? The cute guy turns out to be sweet, smart, a great cook, and lots more. And he looks like a million bucks, which is what he's going to cost Riiko if she doesn't return him in time...

KEKKAISHI (rated ‘T’ for Teens) is an action series created by Yellow Tanabe. By night, junior high student Yoshimori Sumimura is a “kekkaishi” – a demon-hunter who specializes in creating magical barriers around his prey. By day, Yoshimori’s got some other demons to battle: an addiction to sweets and a seriously crotchety grandfather! Yoshimori’s pretty 16-year-old neighbor and childhood friend, Tokine Yukimura, is also a kekkaishi, but their families are feuding over who is the “true practitioner” of the art. In the opening volume, Yoshimori couldn’t care less about catching demons… until he realizes that his apathetic attitude is taking a toll on his friendship with Tokine. Just as he decides to take matters into his own hands, a couple of amphibious demons and the pesky ghost of a pastry-chef show up to complicate matters!

BLACK BIRD (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) is the award-winning shojo manga series by Kanoko Sakurakoji. There is a world of myth and magic that intersects ours, and only a special few can see it. Misao Harada is one such person, and she wants nothing to do with magical realms. She just wants to have a normal high school life and maybe get a boyfriend. But she is the bride of demon prophecy, and her blood grants incredible powers, her flesh immortality. Now the demon realm is fighting over the right to her hand...or her life!

BLUE EXORCIST (Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) was created by Kazue Kato and introduces Rin Okumura, a boy who is the son of a famous exorcist but never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto, the priest who raised Rin, forces the boy to face a terrible truth – the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin’s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself. Can Rin fight the demons and keep his infernal bloodline a secret? It won't be easy, especially when drawing his father’s sword releases the demonic power within him!

April updates also include new additions to 12 other popular VIZ Media series currently available. Readers should check the app regularly, as new additions and free Chapter 1 previews of forthcoming manga series for the iPad are also featured.

Twenty-four series will be available on the VIZ Manga App; additional new manga volumes available the weeks of April 4th and April 11th include:

Available now:
DEATH NOTE Vol. 10
DRAGON BALL Z Vol. 3
NARUTO Vol. 20
ONE PIECE Vol. 20
OTOMEN Vol. 5
OURON HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB Vol. 5
ROSARIO + VAMPIRE Vol. 3
RUROUNI KENSHIN Vol. 10

Available April 11th:
BLEACH Vol. 12
CAPTIVE HEARTS Vol. 4
CLAYMORE Vol. 7
D. GRAY MAN Vol. 8
DRAGON BALL Z Vols 4
NARUTO Vol. 21
ONE PIECE Vol. 21

For more information on the VIZ MANGA APP, please visit www.VIZ.com/apps/.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

ACF 972: Happy Birthday, Jackie Chan!

Jackie Chan was born 57 years ago today in Victoria Peak, Hong Kong. As a young child he was apprenticed to the same Chinese opera school, where Sammo Hung was an "elder brother" and which Yuen Biao also attended. The three later starred together in several movies, such as My Lucky Stars (1985) and Dragons Forever (1988). At the school Jackie learned acrobatics, singing, and martial arts.

Rumble in the Bronx (1995)

Based on his ability to perform amazing stunts and to portray likeable characters in Hong Kong action and action/comedy films, Jackie became one of the most popular stars of international cinema. For many years he unsuccesfully tried to break into the U.S. mainstream. His earliest attempt was in Battle Creek Brawl (1980), also known as The Big Brawl. He finally achieved success in this regard with Rush Hour (1998) and again with Shanghai Noon (2000).

Mr. Nice Guy(1997)

Last year, he co-starred with Jaden Smith in the remake of The Karate Kid, which I thought was a fine re-imagining of the 1984 original that starrd Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio. (Of course, it more correctly should have been titled "The Kung Fu Kid," but I believe there were issues that necessitated keeping the same title in the remake.)

Jackie Chan's First Strike (1996)

His succeess in English-language films has not precluded him from making continuing to make Asian films as well. While he's getting a bit "long in the tooth" for some of the more demanding stunts for which he became famous, he still has the capacity to please, entertain, and amaze, both in live-action films and in doing voice overs for such films as Kung Fu Panda and its sequel, which is due out this year.

So, Happy Birthday, Jackie, and many, many, many happy returns to the big screen!

ACF 971: VIZ Media expands relationship with Netflix

VIZ MEDIA EXPANDS RELATIONSHIP WITH NETFLIX
TO OFFER POPULAR ANIME TITLES AVAILABLE
TO WATCH INSTANTLY FROM NETFLIX

Popular Series BLEACH, NARUTO, INUYASHA
and More Become Available Starting April

VIZ Media has announced that several of its most popular anime series will be offered to U.S. audiences by Netflix, Inc., the world’s leading Internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV shows. Starting in April, BLEACH, NARUTO, and INUYASHA are among the popular titles which can be instantly streamed from Netflix. More titles will be announced shortly.

VIZ Media series (Uncut and Subtitled) to be offered by Netflix include:

BLEACH: Episodes 1-109 (Seasons 1-2; Rated TV-14)
NARUTO: Episodes 1-104 (Seasons 1-2; Rated TV-14)
HIKARU NO GO: Episodes 1-75 (Complete Series; Rated TV-G)
HONEY AND CLOVER: Episodes 1-36 (Complete Series; Rated TV-14)
NANA: Episodes 1-47 (Complete Series; Rated TV-MA)
INUYASHA: Episodes 1 – 167 (Seasons 1 – 7; Rated TV-14)

“VIZ Media is excited to bring some of our bestselling animated properties to its Netflix subscribers in the U.S.,” says Brian Ige, Senior Director, Animation. “Netflix is the market leader and the availability of these new VIZ Media titles through the service will give fans the flexibility to choose how and when they want to consume their favorite anime. We look forward to expanding our relationship with Netflix to include additional titles in the near future.”

“We are pleased to partner with VIZ Media as a means to offer popular anime series to our members,” said Lisa Nishimura, VP of Content Acquisition. “It is our goal to add a wide variety of content to our growing library of movies and TV shows, and building relationships like this, helps us move forward in our efforts.”