Shakthi: The Power (India) (2002)

Settled in Canada, of Indian origin, Nandini and Shekhar live a fairly harmonious and busy lifestyle with their young child. While Nandini has family in Canada, Shekhar has no one to call his own. Then one day there is breaking news of violence in India, and that’s when Shekhar asks Nandini to accompany him to India as he fears that his parents may have been killed. Nandini is shocked to find out that Shekhar does indeed have family, but had never discussed this with her, nevertheless she accompanies him. Upon arrival, they are greeted by Shekhar’s uncle and cousin, and it is then that this young couple learn that they have entered a war between two families – a war they and their child may not survive.

Cast: Karisma Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Sanjay Kapoor, Deepti Naval, Shahrukh Khan
Directed: Krishna Vamsi
Genre: Action, Drama, Romance, Adventure
Runtime: 170 minutes
Also Known As:
Country: India
Language: Hindi
Subtitles: English

Wild Zero (Japan) 2000

Aliens are invading the planet and turning humans into zombies! Get out your black leather because now is the time for all great rockers (played by members of the J-Rock band Guitar Wolf) to come to the aid of their planet. Rock on, dudes!

Cast: Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf, Drum Wolf, Masashi Endô
Directed: Tetsuro Takeuchi
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Horror, SciFi
Runtime: 98 min
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English Hardsubbed

Suriyothai (Thailand) (2001)

An extraordinary film, Suriyothai is an epic historical motion picture that portrays one of Thailand’s foremost heroines, Phra Suriyothai. Her actions would unite her people and win the war against an unstoppable enemy. She is the queen who fought and died to protect her husband and king’s life, while advancing into battle against the invading Burmese battalion in the 14th century. This is her story…

Review: Every now and then, there will be a film that individuals will find themselves on the “hate it” or “love it” side. Thailand’s recent Suriyothai is one such movie that falls into this division. Many have deemed it the “Braveheart” of Asia, while others have considered it otherwise. Though this film by Chatrichalerm Yukol bears its similarities to Braveheart, I cannot categorize this movie into the same niche as that film. I believe Suriyothai can stand on its own merit entirely against any epic historic piece of work. It’s a story of one woman’s strong will and love for her king and country that drives this movie, and also what makes it all work out in the end.

Cast: M.L. Piyapas Bhirombhakdi, Sarunya Wongkrachang, Chatchai Plengpanich, Johnny Anfone, Mai Charoenpura
Directed: Chatrichalerm Yukol
Genre: Historical, Drama
Runtime: 185 minutes
Also Known As: The Legend of Suriyothai
Country: Thailand
Language: Thai
Subtitles: English hardsubbed

Drugstore Girl (Japan) (2004)

Motoki Katsuhide’s “Drugstore Girl” is a light, cute, and often pathetic comedic story of a beautiful young pharmacology student who turns a group of middle-aged men into raving, lecherous gits whilst starting a new life in a new town. Obayashi Keiko (Tanaka Rena) finds her live-in boyfriend cheating on her and subsequently bolts her apartment in Shinjuku, boarding the JR and basically disembarking at a random station. She ends up in the town of Masao on the outskirts of Tokyo-to and there she begins a new life (except for the fact that she has her pharmacology classes back in the city). Whimsically letting things fall into place, she lands a job at “Hustle Drug”, a new Wal-Mart sort of super store which threatens to put the local mom & pop merchants out of business. A group of middle-aged men – consisting of three of the local merchants (druggist, baker and kombini owner), a monk and Keaton-esquire homeless man – initially plan to sabotage the grand opening of Hustle Drug, but one sight of the lovely Obayashi and the old boys quickly forget about their economic agenda. When their leader Nabeshima (Emoto Akira) discovers that Obayashi plays lacrosse, the old boys set out to learn this strange new sport, complete with fishing nets and protective gear made from cardboard boxes and bamboo.

Cast: Rena Tanaka, Akira Emoto, Yuji Miyake, Masatô Ibu
Directed: Katsuhide Motoki
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 105 minutes
Also Known As: Doraggusutoa gâru
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English

Barefoot Gi Bong (Korea) (2006)

A mentally disabled man from a small village trains for a big city marathon.

Well done with a light touch and a lot of humor, Barefoot Gi Bong offers excellent performances by both the main characters and the supporting cast. Its themes of disability as an arbitrary category — who’s really disabled here? — and running as a metaphor for goals and journeys, allows us to explore topics like the exploitation of the weak, family love/loyalty, and the dignity in life that should be accorded to all as a basic human right.

Cast: Eun-jeong Hwang, Dae-han Ji, Deok-hyeon Jo, Hyo-jin Kim, Su-mi Kim, Hyeong-jin Kong, Byung-gil Kwun, Ha-ryong Lim, Hyeong-jun Lim, Hyeon-jun Shin, Jae-hun Tak, Ji-Won To
Directed: Su-kyung Kwon
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Runtime: 100 minutes
Also Known As: Barefoot Ki bong, Maenbal-ui Kibong-i, 맨발의 기봉이
Country: Korea
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English

B420 (Hong Kong) 2005


Koey believes happiness is like a bottle of Coke, it’ll soon become tasteless if you don’t enjoy it right away. Simon believes happiness is similar to planting trees. You need to water them everyday, and the true satisfaction comes when they blossom. Willy does not believe in happiness at all. Three lives intersect. Three totally different personalities. Three ways of experiencing life and love.

Cast: Miki Yeung, Sam Lee, Ben Hung
Directed: Mathew Tang
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Runtime: 1:28:00
Also Known As: Before Twenty…Before Too Old
Country: China/Hong Kong
Language: Cantonese
Subtitles: English