Fat Choi Spirit (Hong Kong) 2002


Andy is a legendary Mahjong player. Years ago Andy’s passion for Mahjong cost his family their entire fortune – his brother Louis then turned against him. Now, as Louis is having some financial troubles, Andy offers to take care of him and their aging mother. Gigi, Andy’s ex-flame, is increasingly disappointed in Andy’s rejection – she spitefully wishes he’ll never win at the Mahjong table again. Will her words come true?

Cast: Andy Lau, Ching Wan Lau, Louis Koo, Gigi Leung, Cherrie Ying, Man-Wai Wong, Tian-lin Wang, Tin Sang Lung, Wai Leung Hung
Directed: Johnnie To
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 96 Minutes
Also Known As: Lik goo lik goo san nin choi, Johnny To New Year Project, Li gu li gu xin nian cai
Country: Hong Kong
Language: Cantonese, Japanese, English
Subtitles: English
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0307034/

Rikidozan: A Hero Extraordinary (Japan/Korea) (2004)

In the aftermath of World War II, the Japanese were looking for heroes to cheer for, and Rikidozan fulfilled that need, becoming a beloved national icon and the idol of millions. But little did the Japanese public know that he was actually an ethnic Korean. Having already experienced anti-Korean prejudice as a youth, Rikidozan struggled to keep his true origins hidden from an adoring Japanese fanbase. While dealing with this personal turmoil, he would go on to amass a vast empire of business holdings. But what happens when those interests attract the attention of the Yakuza?

Find out in this no-holds-barred look at a national hero. Director Song Hae-Sung (Failan) helms the gripping bio-pic Rikidozan: A Hero Extraordinary starring Sul Kyung Ku and Nakatani Miki! Considered to be the “Father of Puresu” and a legend in Japan, Rikidozan (Silmido’s Sul Kyung Ku, who gained weight and learned Japanese to play the role) would have a major impact on the world of professional wrestling, turning it into the number one sporting attraction in Japan. But even with all his success, Rikidozan’s rise to the top wouldn’t be easy!

This is a chronicle of the life of Korean-born wrestler Rikidozan, who, after being barred from Japanese wrestling because of his ethnic origins, became a sensation in the United States in the 1950s. Rikidozan was a real athlete and has been immortalized in this film. When Japan was crippled from World War II, Rikidozan became the nations inspiration. After, being rejected from sumo wrestling because he was Korean, he went to America where he became an in ring sensation. Upon his return he made the biggest impact of his life on the people of Japan as they considered him to have conquered America, their wartime enemy. He was a national hero. He brought professional wrestling to Japan, where it has flourished ever since. In Japan wrestling is not a fad that comes every now and again, it’s a rite of passage.

Cast: Kyung-gu Sol, Miki Nakatani, Tatsuya Fuji, Masato Hagiwara, Masakatsu Funaki, Keiji Mutoh, Cheol-min Park
Directed: Hae-sung Song
Genre: Drama/Biography/Sport
Runtime: 137 minutes
Also Known As: Yeokdosan, Rikidozan
Country: Japan/Korea
Language: Japanese/Korean
Subtitles: English
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0435931/

Pistol Opera (Japan) (2001)

Pistol Opera

From a director who is credited with being a huge influence on Quentin Tarantino comes Pistol Opera. With vivid imagery that captures the attention, not to mention a very attractive leading lady, Pistol Opera takes the viewer on an amazing journey through the world of Stray Cat, a hired gun with a love for her pistol currently engaged (reluctantly at first) in a competition to be number one among the top gunslingers. Simple enough story, right? Hardly! What follows is a film that keeps your fingers on the rewind button, your mouth wide open and your eyes ready to bug out of your skull. A simple skeleton of a plot is covered with layers of sexuality (both subtle and in your face) violence and a whole bunch of WTF moments that make this film a cult classic.

Viewer Discretion is Advised!

Cast: Makiko Esumi || Sayoko Yamaguchi || Hanae Kan || Masatoshi Nagase || Mikijiro Hira
Directed: Seijun Suzuki
Genre: Crime / Action / Drama
Runtime: 01:52:20
Also Known As: Pisutoru opera
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0285906/

Ame Agaru (Japan) (1999)

Shortly before his death in 1998, Akira Kurosawa completed a screenplay entitled Ame Agaru, based on a short story by Shugoro Yamamoto. Kurosawa passed on before he could bring this story to the screen, but one of his assistants, Takashi Koizumi, has directed a film adapted from the script, following as closely as possible the style of the master. This traditionally styled samurai story harkens back to Kurosawa’s best-known works, and features Shiro Mifune, the son of Toshiro Mifune, one of Kurosawa’s favorite actors, in a key role.

Ihei Misawa and his wife Tayo, stranded by rains at a country inn, bring a great deal of happiness to the other residents of the inn by means of Ihei’s generosity and good spirit. Ihei is a masterless samurai and fencing expert. Ihei comes to the attention of Lord Shigeaki, who hires him as fencing instructor for Lord Shigeaki’s men. But Ihei’s expertise causes friction and jealousy in Shigeaki’s castle and his future there comes into doubt.

Cast: Akira Terao, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Shiro Mifune, Fumi Dan, Hisashi Igawa, Hidetaka Yoshioka
Directed: Takashi Koizumi
Genre: Drama/Action/Historical
Also Known As: After the Rain, Après la pluie, When the Rain Lifts
Runtime: 91 min
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0181960/

The Bird People In China (Japan) (1998)


A young Japanese salaryman is sent by his company to a remote Chinese village to evaluate precious Jade that is found there, but before he arrives meets the yakuza who was sent to tail him to protect his bosses interest in the company. When the men finally arrive their mission becomes sidetracked by their interest in a mysterious young village girl, her haunting English language song and the secret that makes men fly like birds.

Cast: Masahiro Motoki, Renji Ishibashi, Mako
Director: Takashi Miike
Genre: Adventure
Also Known As: Chûgoku no chôjin
Run Time: 1:58:28
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese

The Railroad (Korea) (2007)

The Railroad

Two wounded souls. One destination.

Park Heung Sik, director of The Twins and the critically acclaimed short film “A Day”, presents his sophomore feature, The Railroad. During its screening at the 11th Pusan Film Festival, the film was well received by both critics and audiences. Starring Kim Kang Woo (Beast and the Beauty) and Son Tae Young (Sad Movie), The Railroad is a meticulously choreographed psychological drama about the lives of two unrelated people and the circumstances that ultimately bring them together.

Man Soo (Kim Kang Woo) is a train conductor. Everyday he performs the same old routines, and gradually his days begin to feel as uneventful and predictable as the ongoing rotation of the wheels on his train. One day, his train gets caught in a messy accident involving a passenger’s suicide, and he is forced to take leave from work. He gets on the last train.

Hanna (Son Tae Young) is an attractive college instructor who is having an affair with a married professor. Her world is turned upside down when his wife confronts her. Abandoned and betrayed by her lover, Hanna is forced to face her own demons. She quits her job, and hops onto the last train. A train conductor and a college instructor seem to share nothing in common. But for Man Soo and Hanna, brought together by fate, finding solace in the companion of a stranger has never been better.

Cast: Son Tae-Young, Kim Gang-Woo, Baek Jong-Hak
Directed: Park Heung-Sik
Genre: Romance / Drama
Runtime: 107 minutes
Country: Korea
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English