With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Monday, May 30, 2011

ACF 1033: Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of license for "AMAGAMI SS"


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of the animated romantic omnibus AMAGAMI SS.

Based on Enterbrain’s (KIMIKISS) hit dating simulation game for the PS2, and produced by Enterbrain themselves in cooperation with animation by the legendary AIC (Ah! My Goddess, Angel Beats, Bubblegum Crisis, Tenchi Muyo,), the 26 episode series, which includes two bonus episodes, was directed and co-written by Yoshimasa Hiraike and takes a truly unique spin in its adaptation from the original material.

Daring to go where few anime based on role-playing games games have dared, AMAGAMI SS eschews the traditional practice of focusing on a handful of characters and instead presents multiple storylines that follow the paths of each of the potential romantic relationships in the original games as a series of separate, alternate stories rather than a single hybrid story.

Synopsis:
When his date stood him up on Christmas Eve two years ago, Junichi Tachibana felt a little piece inside him shrivel up and die. Now he distrusts the very idea of love, which is a shame because Karma is about to hit him back in a MAJOR way. You see, there are SEVERAL girls who would all make wonderful partners for Junichi if he would only open his eyes. Are you ready for a half-dozen or more romances, all at the same time? Neither is Junichi, so through the miracle of animation, you’re about to see how each of those individual romances would have played out if someone had done just the right thing at the right time, as the guy without a date’s luck goes from bad to multi-verse in AMAGAMI SS!

Look for AMAGAMI SS subtitled on DVD this autumn, available at traditional and digital retailers everywhere.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

ACF 1032: NY Premiere of South Korean indie film "Vegetarian" on June 7th

Vegetarian
Directed by LIM Woo-Seong
2010, 113 minutes
Where: Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street
One block from the A, C, E and 1 train Canal Street stops
When: Tuesday, June 7 @ 7PM
Price: Free!!!
All seating is first-come, first served.
New York Premiere

Vegetarian will be the next film in Korean Cultural Society's Korean Movie Night Series 3: The Hidden Gems of Korean Cinema, which focuses on independent films.

Like a Korean version of Todd Haynes’s SAFE, this movie starts when a perfectly normal woman develops a meat phobia that shatters her ordinary life. Unable to stand the sight or smell of meat, soon she can’t even stand to be in the same room as her husband if he’s eaten meat that day. Turning darker, from a tale of a phobia to a story of erotic obsession, VEGETARIAN was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival 2010 and it stars a posse of Korean indie scene veterans.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

ACF 1031: English dubbed version of Angel Beats coming to Anime Network OnDemand


Angel Beats English Dub comes to Anime Network OnDemand in June

Angel Beats will be available starting early in June, 2011 with an all new English Dub. (For info about the subtitled version, also available in June, click here.)

Join the SSS for the fight of their afterlives against a cruel oppressor in a place where death is meaningless, and destiny rules over all. Experience the battles through Purgatory with the new dub featuring Blake Shepard, Brittney Karbowski, and Hilary Haag - coming this June to Anime Network Video on Demand!

WHAT: Angel Beats English Dub on Anime Network OnDemand (VOD)
It sucks being dead. Sucks even more to be trapped in a surreal afterlife where you’re caught between the living and the dead—where a mysterious, violent Angel is trying to pull you over to…somewhere. What do you do? Well, if you’re this group of rough-and-tumble teens, you grab every weapon you can get your hands on and give Heaven hell! High-caliber action and locked-and-loaded comedy meet on a rock and roll battleground in Angel Beats!

WHEN: Thursday, June 2nd, 2011*
*Start dates vary by provider. Check the schedule for details.

WHERE: Anime Network's Cable/Satellite Video OnDemand Service

Friday, May 27, 2011

ACF 1030: July release slate announced by Section23 Films


Home video distributor
Section23 Films has announced its July slate of releases; including the anime series ANGEL BEATS. The complete collection will be released on DVD & Blu-Ray by Section23 client Sentai Filmworks. Product details follow, in order of release.

ORPHEN COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1175 min.
Street Date: 7/5/2011
Format: DVD
Language: English, Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: A must-have for fans of anime and magic alike, Orphen is the exciting and adventurous quest of a young sorcerer as he desperately tries to rescue a beautiful enchantress from a curse that has transformed her into a fierce, vengeful dragon. Together with his apprentice Majic and the spoiled heiress Cleao, Orphen must battle his treacherous instructors from the magical university the Tower of Fang, armies of stone golems, swarms of giant insects, rogue masked avengers, renegade robots, and two dastardly little trolls. Orphen is an adventure like no other! And now you can have all the thrilling swordplay, captivating spells, wicked humor, and charming characters in one action-packed collection! Both seasons for a mammoth 1175 minutes of anime goodness!

ALLISON & LILLIA GENERATION 2
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 7/12/2011
Format: DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: When Lillia learns that she'll be going on vacation with her best friend Treize instead of her mom, she's not sure how she should feel about it. Lillia's parents aren't exactly typical, having saved the world… oh, a dozen or so times. And Treize is a member of a royal family, so the restrictions on what he can do are a royal pain. But still, once she's actually on vacation, she starts to have a good time. Until - people start trying to kill them; they end up with a planeload of orphans; it turns out that Trieze is actually a PRINCE; and did we mention that people are trying to kill them? There are secret identities, aerial dogfights and twisting plots galore ahead as Lillia inherits the family talent for being in the right place at the wrong time in ALLISON & LILLIA - Generation 2!

HIDAMARI SKETCH: HOSHIMITTSU
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 350 min.
Street Date: 7/19/2011
Format: DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Some say that life is like an unfolding tapestry, but living at the Hidamari Apartments is more like being part of a patchwork quilt, one that constantly changes as bits and pieces of the lives and dreams of the young artists who make this extraordinary residence their home are added to the ever-expanding pattern. When we first met Yuno, she'd just been accepted to the prestigious Yamabuki Art School and it was up to her new neighbors at Hidamari to help her find her way in the big scary world. Now a seasoned vet of the Hidamari Apartments herself, Yuno's newest challenge is to help the latest arrivals, Nazuna and Nori, acclimate to life on their own. Of course, since it IS Hidamari, there are still lots of trials and tribulations ahead, and nothing will ever go quite as expected. But with friends like Miyako, Hiro and Sae ready to lend a hand, there will always be a ray of sunshine at the end of every storm in Hidamari Sketch x Hoshimittsu - The Complete Collection.

ANGEL BEATS COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 350 min.
Street Date: 7/26/2011
Format: DVD
Language: English, Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: It sucks being dead. Sucks even more to be trapped in a surreal afterlife where you're caught between the living and the dead-where a mysterious, violent Angel is trying to pull you over to…somewhere. What do you do? Well, if you're this group of rough-and-tumble teens, you grab every weapon you can get your hands on and give Heaven hell! High-caliber action and locked-and-loaded comedy meet on a rock and roll battleground in Angel Beats!

ANGEL BEATS COMPLETE COLLECTION BLU-RAY EDITION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 350 min.
Street Date: 7/26/2011
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: It sucks being dead. Sucks even more to be trapped in a surreal afterlife where you're caught between the living and the dead-where a mysterious, violent Angel is trying to pull you over to…somewhere. What do you do? Well, if you're this group of rough-and-tumble teens, you grab every weapon you can get your hands on and give Heaven hell! High-caliber action and locked-and-loaded comedy meet on a rock and roll battleground in Angel Beats!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

ACf 1029: "The Iron Ladies" at Asia Society tonight, Thursday, May 26th at 6:45 PM

Jung (Chaicharn Nimpulsawasdi)

The Iron Ladies
Directed by Yongyoot Thongkongtoon
Thailand, 2000, 104 minutes
When: Thursday, May 26th, 2011 at 6:45 PM
Where: Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), NYC

Winner of 10 awards and nominated for two others, this is a delightful, funny sports-themed movie with a message. It's based on the true story of a male volleyball team that competed in the Thai national championships in 1996. The twist is that the men on the team were gays and transsexuals, often referred to as katoeys or ladyboys.

Jung (Chaicharn Nimpulsawasdi) sells sweet rice cakes and is totally supported in his flamboyant gayness by his parents. He's about to leave Lampang, in northern Thailand to go to Bangkok with his friend Mon (Sahaphap Tor). Mon has again failed to make a private volleyball team because he's gay. Just before their train leaves, Jung sees a poster announcing tryouts for the province's volleyball team and convinces Mon to join him in giving it a chance.

Fortunately for them, the team has just gotten a new coach (Shiriohana Hongsopon). She's gay (described as a "dyke" by some of the straights who expect to be on the team) and has no prejudices about who plays. She only wants to put together the best team possible.

Pia (Kokkorn Benjathikoon, center) returns to the team
after her boyfriend has dumped her

When Coach Bee includes Jung and Mon in her picks, all but one of the straights quit to play elsewhere. To bring the team up to the minimum of six players needed, Jung and Mon recruit some of their friends.

These include: a soldier, who's described as being built like a buffalo; Pia, a glamorous cabaret performer who's had silicone breast implants; and a closeted gay who's engaged to marry a "real" woman.

To serve as reservists, Coach Bee recruits a trio from players she's previously coached. These three look so much alike and move in unison to such a degree that one could mistake them for triplets.

Some of The Iron Ladies' fans at the finals

The Iron Ladies is a great watch. It's message of tolerance is a lofty one and is expounded in a gentle manner -- as opposed to hitting one over the head with a sledge hammer -- that befits the nature of the characters. Be sure to stick around for the end credits as they include photos and clips of the actual Iron Ladies from the 1996 team.

ACF Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars, highly recommended.

I absolutely think it'll be best seen at the Asia Society screening, but for those who can't make it, the film is available on DVD to purchase (link at amazon.com) or to rent from Netflix. The same is true for The Iron Ladies 2 (2003), a combination prequel and sequel.

Thursday's screening of The Iron Ladies is being shown as part of the Blissfully Thai film series which is co-presented by Asia Society and Cineaste.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ACF 1028: Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of new comedy animated series


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of MM! (pronounced Emu! Emu!):

This outrageous new animated series comedy that takes a decidedly different bent when it comes to looking at people of a decidedly different bent. Based on the twelve novel series of the same name by the late Akinari Mitsuno, and subsequent manga adaptation illustrated by Issei Hyoujyu with character designs by QP: Flapper, the new series features direction by Tsuyoshi Nagasawa (storyboards for To Loveru), and follows the adventures of a character who discovers that, while he, himself, might be a masochist, there are other people he knows with equally life affecting fixations.

There are twisted tales and twisted tales, but few are as twisted as poor Sado’s, who’s just realized that he LIKES being made miserable. Of course, knowing that only makes him more miserable, which in turn… Well, you get the idea. Desperate to break the circle, Sado volunteers for a special club where he hopes he can work through his issues, only to discover that the other members have equally complex issues to deal with.

The hyper-aggressive club president Isurugi, for example, not only has a violent fear of cats, but also believes herself to be a god! Then there’s Yuno, who’s terrified of men; the Nurse, who forces other people to perform cosplay; and Hayama, who’s not only Sado’s best friend and a compulsive cross-dresser, but also the girl that Sado is infatuated with. (We did say it was complex.) If you think you’ve seen EVERYTHING that can happen in an anime, strap in for a spin on the newest rollercoaster ride in town with MM!

If you’re looking for something just a little unusual (we’d say off the “beaten” path, but that’s not exactly correct for Sado) be on the lookout for MM! Available subtitled in English via both DVD and digital retailers this September.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ACF 1027: Happy Birthday, Seijun Suzuki!

Screenshot of Seijun Suzuki being interviewed in Tokyo
for the Criterion DVD release of Story of a Prostitute
(C) The Criterion Collection 2005

Seijun Suzuki was born in Tokyo, on May 24, 1923. Though best known in the U.S. as a film director, Suzuki has also worked as a television director and has acted. In fact, he is reportedly better known in Japan these days for his roles in films and television than as a director.

After serving in the Japanese army during World War II, Suzuki worked as an assistant director at several studios. He began working at Nikkatsu Studios in 1954 and directed his first film in 1958. From then through 1966 he directed three to four films each year. After Branded to Kill (his fortieth film, released in 1967), Hori Kyusaku, president of Nikkatsu Studios at the time, fired Suzuki, claiming he made incomprehensible movies that didn't make any money. These difficulties basically arose because of Suzuki's boredom with the same B-movie genre material he was assigned. He sought new ways to make the material interesting.

Suzuki filed suit and a lengthy legal battle ensued. It was ultimately settled out of court. Although he received less compensation than he sought, Suzuki did obtain an apology from Hori. Still he went through a lengthy period during which he was blacklisted by the film studios and had to work in television. In the late '70's, he was again able to make films. His Zigeunerweisen (1980) won 17 awards and was nominated for 6 others.

For me the greatest recognition of his work is the inclusion of a great many of his films in The Criterion Collection. These include Youth of the Beast (1963), Story of a Prostitute (1965), Tokyo Drifter (1966), Branded to Kill (1967). Some of his other films, including Underworld Beauty (1958), Kanto Wanderer (1963), Tattooed Life (1965), and the aforementioned Zigeunerweisen are available from other distributors.

So, huge AsianCineFest thanks to Suzuki for producing a fabulous body of fascinating works, and best wishes for a "Happy Birthday!"

Seijun Suzuki at IMDb

Seijun Suzuki at Wikipedia

Monday, May 23, 2011

ACF 1026: Subtitled version of Angel Beats coming to Anime Network Online in June

Angel Beats (subtitled) comes to Anime Network Online in June

This summer, Angel Beats is fighting its way to the fans and making it's debut on Anime Network Online. Join the SSS for the fight of their afterlives against a cruel oppressor in a place where death is meaningless, and destiny rules over all. Are you ready to throwdown?

WHAT: Angel Beats (subtitled) on Anime Network Online
It sucks being dead. Sucks even more to be trapped in a surreal afterlife where you’re caught between the living and the dead—where a mysterious, violent Angel is trying to pull you over to…somewhere. What do you do? Well, if you’re this group of rough-and-tumble teens, you grab every weapon you can get your hands on and give Heaven hell! High-caliber action and locked-and-loaded comedy meet on a rock and roll battleground in Angel Beats!

WHEN: Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

WHERE: Anime Network's Online Streaming Service

ABOUT ANIME NETWORK
Anime Network is the leading broadcast and digital distributor of Japanese animation and Asian cinema in North America. Headquartered in Houston, TX, Anime Network was founded in 2002 and launched as one of the first VOD networks on most major cable providers. Anime Network’s mission is to bring the best in anime programming to everyone in North America. In addition to our VOD network, consumers can access our Video website. The dynamic website, featuring an ever growing anime community, includes a subscription service that mirrors the VOD network and allows viewers to catch up on episodes they may have missed on broadcast.

Website: www.theanimenetwork.com

Sunday, May 22, 2011

ACF 1025: Happy Birthday, Maggie Q!


Asian-Vietnamese actress Maggie Q (born Margaret Denise Quigley) was born May 22, 1979 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her father is an American of Irish and Polish descent who met her Vietnamese mother while he was stationed there during the war. Maggie grew up in Hawaii with four siblings. She began modeling in Tokyo at the age of 17, moved to Taipei, and then Hong Kong. There she began her acting career, first on TV, then in films. Her early film work included an appearance as "girl in car" in Rush Hour 2 in 2001, and a starring role in Lethal Weapon the following year.


Maggie Q in Balls of Fury (2007)

Among her more recent film credits are Mission Impossible III, Live Free or Die Hard, and the role of a priestess in the recently released humanity vs vampires flick Priest.

Since the fall of 2010, she has starred as the latest incarnation of Nikita. In this CW television station series, her character is an assassin who's gone rogue against the nefarious, secret agency that trained her. This represents an interesting change from earlier manifestions of the character: the original 1990 French film Nikita; Black Cat (a Hong Kong remake/rip-off); Point of No Return (the Hollywood version starring Bridget Fonda); and the prior TV series La Femme Nikita, which starred Peta Wilson. The show has done well and has been renewed for the fall 2011 season.

So "Happy Birthday, Maggie Q," and best wishes for continuing success on TV and in films.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

ACF 1024: "Uncle Boonmee" coming to Asia Society on Sunday, May 22nd at 5:00 PM

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Thailand, 2010, 113 minutes
When: Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 at 5:00 PM
Where: Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), NYC
Post-screening Q&A with director

Foreign Language Film of the Year,
London Critics Circle Film Awards 2011

"A work of unostentatious beauty and uncloying sweetness."
J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

The Blissfully Thai film series at Asia Society continues tomorrow with this extraordinary film that won the Palme d'Or award at last year's Cannes Film Festival.

Uncle Boonmee follows the final days of a man’s life. In the lush countryside, Uncle Boonmee is visited by his loved ones, including his deceased wife appearing as a ghost and his long-lost son who has taken on a non-human form. Mysterious as it is, nothing is scary in the world of Uncle Boonmee. This peaceful and poetic film meditates on the myths and secrets of the universe.

Uncle Boonmee webpage at Asia Society

Info about the complete Blissfully Thai film series here.

ACF 1023: Takehiko Inoue's Smile: Pray for Japan illustrations now available from VIZ


VIZ MEDIA AIDS FUNDRAISING FOR JAPANESE
DISASTER RECOVERY WITH TAKEHIKO INOUE’S
SMILE: PRAY FOR JAPAN ILLUSTRATIONS

Lifelike Portraits Drawn By Legendary Manga Creator
In The Days Following The Earthquake And Tsunami
To Be Available On iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad In North America

VIZ Media continues to assist international fundraising efforts for Japanese disaster relief. The company has announced that it will make legendary manga (graphic novel) creator Takehiko Inoue’s newest Smile series of illustrations available to North American iPhone™, iPod™ Touch and iPad™ users via the VIZ Manga App. All VIZ Media proceeds from these purchases will be donated directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society to aid victims in the areas ravaged by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Fans can enjoy these breathtaking and touching illustrations on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. SMILE: PRAY FOR JAPAN Volume 1, contains Inoue’s illustrations numbered 34 through 100 and will be available for $9.99. SMILE: PRAY FOR JAPAN Volume 2 will contain illustrations 101 to 120 for $1.99. As Inoue creates additional pieces, VIZ Media will continue to make them available in sets of 20 for $1.99.

Takehiko Inoue (creator of VAGABOND, REAL, and SLAM DUNK, all published by VIZ Media) created these pieces as a gesture of support for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11th. Using his finger and an iOS iPad app developed by Psoft Mobile called Zen Brush, he initially began drawing images of people smiling and posting them online as an experiment. But circumstances would have the Smile series take a different turn. On March 12th, the day after the massive earthquake, Inoue posted Smile illustration number 34, entitled “Pray,” with the victims of the devastating disaster in mind. Since then he has continued to draw piece after piece, with over 125 illustrations currently in the series. In Japan, the Smile series is also used to help with disaster recovery fundraising efforts.

“Takehiko Inoue’s lifelike portraits of everyday Japanese people smiling have inspired hope in the wake of the terrible events that struck the country on March 11th, and we’re honored to help with ongoing fundraising efforts by making them available to fans in North America,” says Hyoe Narita, Executive Vice President of VIZ Media. “We encourage iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users to contribute to the Japanese Red Cross Society and enjoy these moving images as a testament to the resilience and indomitable spirit of the Japanese people.”

Friday, May 20, 2011

ACF 1022: 5th Anniversary Japan Day @ Central Park, this Sunday, May 22nd

O-mikoshi (portable shrine) procession at 2010 Japan Day

5th Anniversary
Japan-Day @ Central Park
When: Sunday, May 22, 2011, 11 AM – 6 PM
Where: Rumsey Playfield & Bandshell Area in Central Park
FREE ADMISSION

The theme of the 5th annual Japan Day @ Central Park is “GANBARE! JAPAN!” in recognition of the devastating earthquake and tsunamis that hit Japan in March. Besides a special charity tent dedicated to raising funds for relief and recovery*, Japan Day will feature a variety of family-friendly activities and inspirational stage performances featuring entertainers from Japan and the U.S.

Japan Society will be co-hosting the language tent in the Bandshell Area - please stop by to say "konnichiwa" and learn some new words of hope and encouragement!

NOTE NEW LOCATION:
Central Park's Rumsey Playfield (for performances) and Bandshell Area
(for activities). Main Entrance at 69th Street and 5th Avenue.

For a detailed schedule of events, transportation options, and more, please visit japandaynyc.org.

*Donations will be accepted both through the Japan Day website and at the festival, and will be forwarded to organizations raising funds for disaster relief and recovery, including Japan Society’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund and J.C.C. Fund's 2011 Northeastern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

ACF 1021: "I-San Special" at Asia Society tomorrow evening at 6:45 PM

I-San Special / Kuen pra chan tem doueng
Directed by Mingmonkol Sonakul
Thailand, 2002, 110 minutes
When: Friday, May 13th, 2011 at 6:45 PM
Where: Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), NYC

The Blissfully Thai film series, presented by Asia Society in association with Cineaste, will continue tomorrow night with this film inspired by an idea of Apichatpong Weerasethakul (the director of Cannes Palme d'Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, which will be shown on Sunday, May 22nd).

The film -- whose Thai title can be literally translated as "Night of the Full Moon" -- centers on the passengers on a run-down bus as it departs from Bangkok and makes its overnight run to a small town in north-east Thailand. The film's most unusual premise is that while they are on the bus, the passengers become manifestations of the actors in a radio soap opera set in the luxurious Jarawee Hotel.

"Danny," the hotel owner, and "Phen," the young model,
in front of a pull-down screen at the back of the bus

It is only when they are off the bus -- at the bus station in Bangkok, stopping for gas or to have a flat tire fixed, and finally arriving in I-San -- that the film's actors become the "real people" in the film. For example, a young, apparently pregnant young woman becomes a glamorous model when on the bus, while a handsome young half-Thai, half-American male is the handsome hotel owner.

Mingmonkol Sonakul
has done a marvelous job in keeping things visually interesting, since the overwhelming bulk of the film transpires within the small confines of the bus. The passengers -- whom I understand are non-professionals -- are perfectly cast to reflect the characters on the radio whom they portray, and whose words, unless I miss my guess, they lip-synch.

Admittedly, I-San Special will not appeal to all. But I found it to be a fascinating and intriguing cinematic experiment that succeeds remarkably well. A unique film experience that merits an ACF Rating of 3 out of 4 stars, solidly recommended

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ACF 1020: Free sceening in NYC of Korean Indie "Missing Person" on Tuesday, May 24

MISSING PERSON
South Korea, 2008, 95min
When: Tuesday, May 24 @ 7PM
Doors open at 6:30PM.
Where: 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.
North American Premiere

Missing Person will be the next film in the Korean Cultural Service's Korean Movie Night Series 3: The Hidden Gems of Korean Cinema. This series focuses on outstanding, recent indie films from the peninsula.

Winner of “Best Film” at the Jeonju Film Festival and the “Artistic Achievement Award” at Greece’s Thessaloniki Film Festival, MISSING PERSON will mess you up. A real estate agent takes out the frustrations of his job and life by regularly tormenting a mentally ill kid in his basement. As violence trickles down from the upper levels of society to the lower, the entire city begins to simmer and boil over with fear, hate and mistrust in this shocking dissection of modern society, leavened with pitch black comedy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ACF 1019: Review of Korean Indie "Re-encouter"

RE-ENCOUNTER
Directed by MIN Yongkoun
South Korea, 2009, 107 minutes

Re-encounter was shown on Tuesday, May 10th as the first film in Korean Movie Night Series 3: The Hidden Gems of Korean Cinema. The series focuses on independent movies. This one features two fantastic lead performances.

Hyehwa (YOO Da-In) is an assistant to a veterinarian who is a single parent with a young son. In addition to her work in the vet's office, Hyehwa picks up abandoned or stray dogs, several of whom wind up living with her in her small apartment. There she also has a black plastic 35mm film canister in which she saves her fingernail trimmings (?!). In her mid-twenties, she lives a life that, all-in-all, is relatively quiet and uneventful.

Quite unexpectedly, her high school sweetheart, Kim Hanso (YOO Yun-Suk), suddenly reappears. About six years earlier, he had left for Canada when she was pregnant with their child, who died shortly after being born. Now back in Korea, where he injured one of his legs while performing his military service, he tells Hyehwa that their child did not actually die but was secretly adopted. Believing that he has found their daughter, he urges Hyehwa to join him so the three of them can have a "last chance to be together."

This psychological drama is infused with mystery and conflict, as Hyehwa first resists, then gradually succumbs to Hanso's entreaties. Most wonderfully, things she says and does earlier in the film acquire deeper additional meaning as the story progresses.

Re-encounter easily holds its own in any comparison with the best independent films made in the U.S. It's intriguing and, as I said at the start of this review, it has two stellar performances from its leads.

ACF rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; highly recommended.

The next film in Korean Movie Night Series 3: The Hidden Gems of Korean Cinema will be Missing Person, which will be shown next Tuesday. Info about it in tomorrow's post.

Monday, May 16, 2011

ACF 1018: Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo on DVD & PBS tomorrow, May 17, 2011

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo on DVD 5.17.11 via Factory 25

Edited-for-TV version airs on PBS Independent Lens series
the same day as the DVD release

"A doorway to something huge and eternal." -- Time Out New York

"Bewitching" -- The Village Voice

"Finds insights and forges connections that transcend squeamishness"
-- Film Comment Magazine

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo delves into the mystery of Japan's age-old love affair with insects. From the fabled first emperor who dubbed Japan the "Isle of the Dragonflies," to the cricket-selling businesses of the 1800s, and finally to modern-day Tokyo where a beetle recently sold for $90,000, insects inspire an enthusiasm in Japan seen nowhere else in the world.

Interspersed with the philosophies of anatomist Dr. Takeshi Yoro, one of Japan's best-selling authors, and laced with poetry, literature, and art inspired by insects, the film is a quiet, rhythmic observation of traditional Japanese values and the intense appreciation of something so seemingly mundane. It challenges filmgoers to observe the world from an uncommon perspective that might change not only the way we think about bugs, but about life.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, won the Cinema Eye Spotlight Award, and was released theatrically in over 40 cities across the United States. The film will have its television premier on the PBS series Independent Lens on May 17, 2011, the same day as the DVD release.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo trailer.

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo webpage

Sunday, May 15, 2011

ACF 1017: Hamtaro video game for iPhone, IPad Touch, & iPad now available

VIZ MEDIA LICENSES AND DISTRIBUTES
NEW HAMTARO VIDEO GAME
FOR iPHONE, iPOD TOUCH AND iPAD

Kids’ Favorite Hamsters Leap Into
A Fun Interactive Mobile Universe

VIZ Media has announced that it has licensed the rights for a HAMTARO: LITTLE HAMSTERS, BIG ADVENTURES video game for the Apple iPhone™, iPod™ Touch and iPad™ to Egg Ball Games. VIZ Media is the official North American distributor of the iApp game, which is available now for $1.99 US/CAN; the game is available also in Latin America and Europe. To learn more about HAMTARO: LITTLE HAMSTERS, BIG ADVENTURES, visit: www.VIZ.com/apps.

HAMTARO: LITTLE HAMSTERS, BIG ADVENTURES features 3 colorful and original game environments and dozens of levels. The game is Facebook enabled and offers an interactive Game Center for posting personal and worldwide high scores. Players can also unlock 9 exclusive HAMTARO wallpapers to further customize their iPhone.

“We’re very excited to bring HAMTARO: LITTLE HAMSTERS, BIG ADVENTURES to North American iPhone and iPad users,” says Aadil Tayouga, Licensing Analyst. “This game launches the much-loved hamster character into the interactive mobile digital realm, and we look forward to introducing him and his friends to a whole new generation of players.”

Based on the popular 1997 manga (graphic novel) and TV series (more than 350 episodes) which has been broadcast in 40 countries, the HAMTARO application will captivate both children and adults as they help Hamtaro and his friends collect items they need to rack up big scores and unlock new levels.

HAMTARO game Screen

In HAMTARO: LITTLE HAMSTERS, BIG ADVENTURES, Pashmina, Cappy and Sandy meet Hamtaro at the Ham-Ham club to ask him for help. Players follow Hamtaro across multiple environments in order to recover lost objects and satisfy their Ham-Ham friends as quickly as possible.

Based on a simple Match-3 principle, the game is composed of a 7 by 7 grid of elements, where players must align at least 3 identical items to create a "bag" of each kind. At the bottom of the grid, 3 friends are waiting for the "bag" of a specific item that players must give them before they lose patience. The real skill comes when creating combos, which can multiply scores. The bigger the combo a player creates, the greater the score! Each Ham-Ham also has its own special power to help players on missions. Discover them all and use them wisely to achieve the best score!

About EggBall
Founded in 2010 by 3 video games professionals, Egg Ball is a game publisher and developer based in Paris, whose main goal is to provide gamers around the globe with fun games with a real emphasis on appealing graphics and engaging. With five games under their belt, Egg Ball is working on new original stories in more and more fun games in an increasingly dynamic environment. Not limited to the video game industry, Egg Ball also dev elops a wide range of other multimedia mobile for business or marketing on all platforms. Website: http://www.eggball-games.com

About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation.

The company offers an integrated product line including the popular monthly manga anthology SHONEN JUMP magazine, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and website at www.VIZ.com.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

ACF 1016: The Prince of Tennis on Amazon Instant Video starting May 18th

VIZ MEDIA DELIVERS EXCITING SPORTS ACTION WITH
THE PRINCE OF TENNIS ANIME SERIES
ON AMAZON INSTANT VIDEO

Season 1 Premieres And Follows On And Off Court Adventures
Of A Young Tennis Prodigy On A Quest For The Championship

VIZ Media has announced the release of THE PRINCE OF TENNIS on Amazon Instant Video. The first season episodes of the sports anime (1-13) will be available for purchase starting Wednesday, May 18th for $1.99 each.

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

THE PRINCE OF TENNIS anime series (dubbed, 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 fueled the title’s continued popularity.

For more information on THE PRINCE OF TENNIS, please visit www.VIZAnime.com.

Friday, May 13, 2011

ACF 1015: "Ploy" at Asia Society tonight

Ploy (right) shares music with Wit in the hotel bar

Ploy
Directed by Pen-ek Ratananuang
Thailand, 2007, 107 min.
When: Friday, May 13th, 2011 at 6:45 PM
Where: Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), NYC
Post-screening Q&A with the director

Blissfully Thai, a series of eight Thai films co-presented by Asia Society and Cineaste, begins tonight with this enigmatic film about a couple whose marriage is in trouble.

Wit, who owns a restaurant in America, and Dang, his wife, a former Thai movie star, arrive in Bangkok for a funeral after a 20 hour flight. Tired and jet-lagged, they check into their hotel suite, but Wit quickly leaves to get some cigarettes. Apparently in no hurry to get back upstairs, he ensconces himself in the hotel bar where he meets 19 year old Ploy, a lovely young thing, slender with Afro-like hair.

Learning that she has a several hour wait before her mother arrives from Stockholm, Wit invites her to freshen up and rest in his room. This does not sit well with Dang, who is already suspicious of her husband because, while looking for the luggage key, she found a woman's name and number written on a piece of paper in his clothing.

Dang makes a call

A goodly portion of the film takes place in two hotel rooms. In Wit and Dang's room , Ploy's presence brings out Dang's jealousy and insecurity, both of which are exacerbated by her heavy drinking and apparent drug use. There may also be an underlying mental condition, as at one point Wit urges Dang to take her medication.

The other room, recently vacated, is being used by an alluring room maid for an early-morning tryst with the hotel bartender. Their passionate relationship stands in stark contrast with that of Wit and Dang, for whom love has seemed to have past its "expiration date."

The room maid checks herself out

However, things are not necessarily as they seems in this well-crafted and mysterious exploration of human feelings. Events that are depicted realistically turn out to be fantasies or dreams, so that there is much of which the viewer cannot be sure. For example, did the black eye Dang sports near the end of the film come from the assault shown or from some other unseen event?

Ploy is a fascinating, engrossing film what is well-worth seeing. Solidly recommended with an AsianCineFest rating of 3 out of 4 stars.

The Blissfully Thai film series runs from May 13th - June 17th, 2011. Detailed information about the entire series is available here.

It's worth noting that tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon will offer a special conversation with directors Pen-ek Ratanaruang and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives), followed by a reception. For information about this special event, click here.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

ACF 1014: Pokemon Travel Activity Kit for those ages 5 and up available May 31st

© 2011 Pokémon. © 1995-2011 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
TM, ®, and character names are trademarks of Nintendo.


NEW POKÉMON TRAVEL ACTIVITY KIT FROM VIZ MEDIA
GIVES KIDS HOURS OF FUN THIS SUMMER

Just in time for summer, VIZ Media delivers hours of Pokémon fun with the POKÉMON TRAVEL ACTIVITY KIT. Featuring Snivy, Tepig, Oshawott and other new Pokémon from the Unova region, the POKÉMON TRAVEL ACTIVITY KIT includes an activity pad, poster, stickers and six chunky crayons, all packaged in a suitcase-style case! Recommended for ages 5 and up, the POKÉMON TRAVEL ACTIVITY KIT also makes a wonderful gift.

The POKÉMON TRAVEL ACTIVITY KIT will be available on May 31st from the VIZKIDS imprint for the suggested retail price of $11.99 U.S. / $13.99 CAN, and includes:

• One 64-page POKÉMON activity pad (featuring word finds, mazes and other puzzle activities)
• Two full-color POKÉMON sticker sheets
• One double-sided poster for POKÉMON sticker play
• Six POKÉMON crayons
• Don’t forget to pull out the divider for bonus Legendary Reshiram and Zekrom standees!

The POKÉMON TRAVEL ACTIVITY KIT is one of several Pokémon releases from the VIZKIDS imprint. Look for POKÉMON BLACK & WHITE, the manga series inspired by the most recent POKÉMON video game releases, Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version for the Nintendo DS™ family of systems. Meet all-new Pokémon from the fastest-selling Pokémon video games in history. VIZ Media will launch the POKÉMON BLACK & WHITE series in July 2011.

For more information on VIZ Media’s POKÉMON manga and anime titles, please visit www.VIZ.com/Pokemon/.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

ACF 1013: VIZ Media celebrates 25th Anniversary

VIZ MEDIA CELEBRATES 25th ANNIVERSARY

25 Years of Storytelling and Pioneering New Paths in Global Entertainment

VIZ Medi
a will celebrate its 25th Anniversary on July 7th, 2011, a truly remarkable and wonderful achievement. Over its 25 year history, VIZ Media has led the transformation of manga and anime from a niche category sold only at specialty retailers into a mass media phenomenon popularized on Cartoon Network, Hulu and iTunes, and available at Barnes & Noble and Walmart.

Today, VIZ Media is North America’s largest distributor of anime and manga, and is leading the global anime and manga industries to their digital futures. To celebrate 25 years of pioneering new paths in global entertainment and publishing, later this year VIZ Media will be unveiling new properties, marketing programs, and distribution partnerships.

Since 1986, VIZ Media has primarily distributed titles exclusively owned by its parent companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co., Ltd.. In 2011, VIZ Media will diversify its award-winning library further by licensing properties from other global content creators as well as creating its own content. On the digital front, VIZ Media has created partnerships with Apple, Hulu, Netflix, Google and more, leading the way to new paths for distribution of manga and anime.

“For 25 years, VIZ Media has been telling stories that resonate with audiences and fans all over North America,” said Hidemi Fukuhara, President and CEO of VIZ Media. “Even after two-and-a-half decades of explosive growth, we still see tremendous potential to adapt, grow and leverage our library of world-renowned and beloved characters. With a full slate of new anime and manga releases planned this year, VIZ Media has something for everyone.”

The VIZ Media library includes global blockbuster franchises like NARUTO, INUYASHA, POKÉMON, DRAGON BALL Z, YU-GI-OH!, BLEACH, VAMPIRE KNIGHT, and DEATH NOTE. VIZ Media’s manga titles are available at mass retailers everywhere, and through VIZ Media’s free VIZ Manga App for the iPad™, iPhone™, and iPod Touch™, the first manga-dedicated app in North America. VIZ Media anime titles can be seen on Disney XD, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, is available for Download-to-Own/Download-to-Rent via iTunes, PlayStation®Network, Amazon Instant Video and Zune on Xbox LIVE®, and for streaming on the company’s own VIZAnime.com, Hulu and Netflix, and is available for purchase on DVD at mass DVD retailers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ACF 1012: Section23 Films announces its June 2011 release slate


SECTION23 FILMS ANNOUNCES JUNE SLATE

HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD COMPLETE COLLECTION
Available on June 28th

Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its June slate of releases, including the highly anticipated complete collection of High School of the Dead to be released on DVD & Blu-Ray by Section23 client Sentai Filmworks.

Here's what'll be coming in June 2011, in order of release:

MAID SAMA COLLECTION 1
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 6/7/2011
Format: DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Getting sent to Seika High School is scary enough if you're a guy, but now that the notorious former boys' school has gone coed, the unfortunate girls who've been enrolled there have only one goal - getting through each day as it comes. But into this untamed and testosterone-filled wilderness comes a girl on a mission; a girl who's not afraid of any male and is willing to take them on in that most deadly of all arenas: the Student Council! As Seika's first ever female president, Misaki Ayuzawa talks the talk and walks the walk, but after school hours she morphs into something rather different… a waitress at a maid café! So when cool, aloof and handsome Usui Takumi discovers Misaki's secret, things are going to get VERY interesting, very quickly! The blackboard jungle's about to bloom with some decidedly feminine touches, because sometimes it takes a maid to maintain order in MAID SAMA, Collection 1!

DEMON KING DAIMAO COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 6/14/2011
Format: DVD
Language: English, Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98
SYNOPSIS: After enrolling at the Constant Magic Academy, Akuto Sai discovers he's not just a gifted student with magical powers; he's destined to become the Demon King. And though he's not that crazy about the idea, it drives the girls wild! From the sexy school girls in his class to the skin-obsessed android who's programmed to seduce him, Akuto has no shortage of wacky girl trouble. How much temptation can a demon king take? How much naughty anime antics can you handle? Find out in Demon King Daimao!

DEMON KING DAIMAO COMPLETE COLLECTION BLU-RAY EDITION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 6/14/2011
Format: BD
Language: English, Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: After enrolling at the Constant Magic Academy, Akuto Sai discovers he's not just a gifted student with magical powers; he's destined to become the Demon King. And though he's not that crazy about the idea, it drives the girls wild! From the sexy school girls in his class to the skin-obsessed android who's programmed to seduce him, Akuto has no shortage of wacky girl trouble. How much temptation can a demon king take? How much naughty anime antics can you handle? Find out in Demon King Daimao!

YOU'RE UNDER ARREST: FULL THROTTLE (SEASON 3) COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 6/21/2011
Format: DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Whether it's pursuing suspects on in-line skates while wearing bikinis, confronting rogue wrestlers, rescuing orphans from the yakuza, or even handling giant snakes, there's no job that's too hard or too strange for the bold female officers of the Bokuto Police Station to take on! But even though the thin and shapely blue line of our favorite police officers is once again back in action, not everything's the same: Miyuki's been in the U.S., studying American police techniques while Natsumi's been serving in the military! Are the streets of Japan really ready to handle THAT kind of knowledge as dispensed by the minds of THAT particular pair of highly unorthodox defenders of law and order? Let's just say that Law will probably come out okay, but Order's going to take a severe bruising in the process. There are plenty of handcuffs, fisticuffs, high speed chases and even giant mushroom costumes ahead in the ultimate complete collection of YOU'RE UNDER ARREST: FULL THROTTLE!

HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 6/28/2011
Format: DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: It began without warning. It continues without mercy. Now a band of high schoolers join forces with guns, swords, baseball bats and anything else they can get their hands on to battle a bloodthirsty, flesh-hungry zombie apocalypse. Slashing action, stunning animation, and jawdropping excitement make HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD the most hotly anticipated adventures of the year. For horror fans and animation addicts alike, nothing offers the high-energy adrenaline of HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD!

HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD COMPLETE COLLECTION BLU-RAY EDITION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 6/28/2011
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: It began without warning. It continues without mercy. Now a band of high schoolers join forces with guns, swords, baseball bats and anything else they can get their hands on to battle a bloodthirsty, flesh-hungry zombie apocalypse. Slashing action, stunning animation, and jawdropping excitement make HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD the most hotly anticipated adventures of the year. For horror fans and animation addicts alike, nothing offers the high-energy adrenaline of HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD!

Monday, May 09, 2011

ACF 1011: VIZ offering Dragon Ball promo for VIZ MANGA APP through May 16th

VIZ MANGA APP for the iPad

CAPTURE DIGITAL DRAGON BALL MANGA FOR
20% OFF WITH NEW VIZ MANGA APP PROMOTION

Famed Akira Toriyama Manga Classic On Sale For A Limited Time
For Digital Download On iPad, iPhone And iPod Touch!

VIZ Media has announced a special invitation to manga fans and followers of the popular DRAGON BALL series with news of a brand new VIZ MANGA APP promotion that offers digital versions of the classic action adventure story for the Apple iPad™, iPhone™ and iPod Touch™ for only $3.99 – 20% off the normal MSRP. The promotion starts today for a limited time only and ends on Monday, May 16th at midnight PST.

Creator Akira Toriyama’s classic manga series, DRAGON BALL (rated ‘T’ for Teens), introduces a young monkey-tailed boy named Goku (a wry update of the classic Chinese "Monkey King" legend), whose quiet life changes when he meets a girl named Bulma who is on a quest to collect seven "Dragon Balls." If she gathers them all, an incredibly powerful dragon will appear and grant her one wish. She's on a mission to find the seven orbs, but first she must convince young Goku to join her on her quest. With a monkey tail, super-human strength, and a magic staff for a weapon, Goku's ready to set out on the adventure of a lifetime...

VIZ MANGAAPP for iPhone & iPad Touch

Renowned worldwide for his playful, innovative storytelling and humorous, distinctive art style, Akira Toriyama burst onto the manga scene in 1980 with the wildly popular DR. SLUMP. His hit series DRAGON BALL (published in the U.S. as DRAGON BALL and DRAGON BALL Z) ran from 1984 to 1995 in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, and is published in North America by VIZ Media. Toriyama is also known for his design work on video games such as Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, Tobal No. 1, and most recently, Blue Dragon. His recent manga works include COWA! (also published by VIZ Media), Kajika, Sand Land, Neko Majin, and a children's book, Toccio the Angel.

The VIZ MANGA APP is the leading application to read Japanese manga on the iPhone iPod Touch, and iPad. The app is free to download through the iTunes store, and volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada for only $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) each. An extensive library of almost 200 volumes is available now, including popular series such as BLEACH, BLUE EXORCIST, DEATH NOTE, NARUTO, ONE PIECE and many more. Readers are encouraged to check the app regularly, as new additions to the store and free Chapter 1 previews of other forthcoming manga series are featured.

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

ACF 1010: Naoki Urasawa's Monster is now available on VIZ Anime.com

NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER IS UNLEASHED ON VIZANIME.COM

Anime Crime Thriller Based On An Acclaimed Manga Series Offers
A Tale Of Conspiracy, Political Intrigue And Murder

VIZ Media has let loose the tense psychological crime drama of NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER on VIZAnime.com, the company’s own premier website for free anime, as well as through the streaming content provider HULU (www.Hulu.com). VIZAnime is a free-to-use interactive web destination that is now the permanent home to some of the company’s best-loved animated series.

NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER (rated TV-MA, subtitled) is presented uncut and will launch with Episodes 1-15 available immediately. Fifteen new episodes will debut each week, with the concluding episodes 61-74 streaming June 3rd.

What would you do if a child you once saved grew up to be a monster? An ice-cold killer is on the loose, and Dr. Kenzo Tenma is the only one who can stop him! Tenma, a brilliant neurosurgeon with a promising future, risks his career to save the life of a critically wounded young boy named Johan. When the boy, now a coldhearted and charismatic young man, reappears nine years later in the midst of a string of unusual serial murders, Tenma must go on the run from the police, who suspect him to be the killer, to find Johan and stop the monster he set loose upon the world.

Conspiracies, serial murders, and secret government experiments set against the grim backdrop of the formerly communist Eastern Europe are masterfully woven together in this compelling work of suspense. The critically acclaimed NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER manga series is also published in North America by VIZ Media and was nominated for the prestigious Eisner Award.

For more information on NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER anime series, visit www.VIZAnime.com.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

ACF 1009: Special theatrical screening of doc "Eatrip" in S.F. on May 21st, 2011

NEW PEOPLE PRESENTS A SPECIAL THEATRICAL SCREENING OF
EATRIP – A JAPANESE FOOD DOCUMENTARY

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

NEW PEOPLE, the nation’s only entertainment complex dedicated to Japanese popular culture, will present a special theatrical screening of the new culinary documentary Eatrip on Saturday, May 21st, to celebrate the release of the DVD by NEW PEOPLE Entertainment. (Read about the scheduled release of the DVD here.) 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 screen at 3:00pm, 5:00pm, and 7:00pm. A special ticket package for $25.00 includes a pass to the screening, a copy of the new DVD and a promotional poster. Tickets to the movie-only are available for only $10.00. More details on the Eatrip screenings are available at: www.newpeopleworld.com.

Eatrip director Yuri Nomura

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.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

ACF 1008: More new manga titles for VIZ Manga App + additions to 17 other series!

VIZ MANGA APP PRESENTS FOUR NEW MANGA TITLES
FOR iPAD, iPHONE AND iPOD TOUCH

VIZ MANGA APP To Offer HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES, not simple,
MAOH: JUVENILE REMIX And HYDE & CLOSER;
Additions To 17 Other Popular VIZ Media Manga Series Also Announced

VIZ Media has announced four new manga (graphic novel) series that will be offered for digital download within the VIZ MANGA APP for the Apple iPad™, iPhone™ and iPod™ Touch. The latest update offers two acclaimed works from celebrated manga creator Natsume Ono – HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES and not simple – that are available now. Two additional new series – MAOH: JUVENILE REMIX and HYDE & CLOSER – will debut for digital download on May 9th and May 16th respectively. Updates for the first half of May to 17 other popular manga series have also been announced.

The VIZ MANGA APP is now available for free for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch through the iTunes Store, and all manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada from within the application for only $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) per volume.

In Natsume Ono’s HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, recently nominated for a 2011 Eisner Award), a wandering samurai Akitsu Masanosuke is a skilled and loyal swordsman, but his naïve and diffident nature has time and again caused him to be let go by the lords who have employed him. Hungry and desperate, he becomes a bodyguard for Yaichi, the charismatic leader of a gang called "Five Leaves." Although disturbed by the gang's sinister activities, Masa begins to suspect that Yaichi's motivations are not what they seem. And despite his misgivings, the deeper he's drawn into the world of the Five Leaves, the more he finds himself fascinated by these devious, mysterious outlaws.

Natusume Ono’s not simple (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) tells the story of Ian, a young man with a fractured family history, travels from Australia to England to America in the hope of realizing his dreams and reuniting with his beloved sister. His story unfolds backwards through the framing narrative of Jim, a reporter driven to capture Ian's experiences in a novel titled, not simple.

Don’t miss Natsume Ono’s rare U.S. personal appearance at Kinokuniya Books in New York City on Tuesday, May 10th starting at 7:00pm.

Manga creator Megumi Osuga’s MAOH: JUVENILE REMIX (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) features a boy with special powers who may be the key to stopping the spread of crime, big money and urban sprawl in a story of confrontation and determination. Ando is a high school student who has the power to make others say out loud what he's thinking. Inukai is the mysterious leader of a vigilante group called Grasshopper, which is at odds with the city's redevelopment plan. In this chaotic city, these two will come together to weave a story of courage.

The fantasy driven action of creator Haro Aso’s HYDE & CLOSER introduces readers to Shunpei Closer, your average... well, slightly below average kid in junior high who finds himself in the middle of a great battle of dark sorcery. With cursed dolls coming after him one after another, Shunpei Closer's life is in danger! If that weren't enough, Hyde, the teddy bear given to him by his grandfather, suddenly comes alive to rescue him. With Hyde's help, can Shunpei save himself and live to see another day?

Additional new VIZ Media manga volumes available the weeks of May 2nd, May 9th and May 16th include:

May 2nd:
ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND Vol. 3
CAPTIVE HEARTS Vol. 5
DEATH NOTE Vol. 12
DRAGON BALL Z Vol. 7
KEKKAISHI Vol. 3
NARUTO Vol. 24
ONE PIECE Vol. 24
ROSARIO + VAMPIRE Vol. 5
RUROUNI KENSHIN Vol. 12

May 9th:
BLACK BIRD Vol. 3
BLEACH Vol. 14
CLAYMORE Vol. 9
D. GRAY MAN Vol. 10
DRAGON BALL Z Vol. 8
FUSHIGI YUGI: GENBU KAIDEN Vol. 2
NARUTO Vol. 25
ONE PIECE Vol. 25
OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB Vol. 6

May 16th:
ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND Vol. 4
DRAGON BALL Z Vol. 9
KEKKAISHI Vol. 4
NARUTO Vol. 26
NURA RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN Vol. 2
ONE PIECE Vol. 26
OTOMEN Vol. 6
ROSARIO + VAMPIRE Vol. 6
RUROUNI KENSHIN Vol. 13

The VIZ MANGA APP is the leading application to read Japanese manga on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, with an extensive downloadable library of the most popular manga series in the world. The app now offers almost 200 volumes available for download. Readers are encouraged to check the app regularly, as new additions to the store and free Chapter 1 previews of other forthcoming manga series are featured.

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