The Duel (Hong Kong) 2000

After a long absence, a master swordsman of royal blood, Yeh Cool-son, returns to the emperor’s palace to challenge Snow, a reclusive master, to a dual on new year’s eve. In the days before the dual, strange things happen in the palace, seen mostly through the eyes of Dragon 9, a leader of the guard who alternates between serious pursuit of duty and joking. His girlfriend, Jade, is a prostitute; Princess Phoenix, the emperor’s sister, has been his friend since childhood. There are murders in the palace, and evidence points to Snow, whom Dragon 9 believes is above suspicion. As the princess is attracted to Yeh and as the duel approaches, will Dragon 9 figure out what is going on?

Cast: Andy Lau, Ekin Cheng, Nick Cheung, Vicky Zhao
Directed: Wai Keung Lau
Genre: Action/Fantasy/Romance
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Also Known As: Kuet chin chi gam ji din, Jue zhan zi jin zhi dian (Mandarin)
Country: Hong Kong
Language: Cantonese
Subtitles: English

Cello (2005) (Korea)


A cellist is haunted by strange events after a car wreck.

Review: Mi-ju’s day has gone badly: A former student threatens revenge for a bad grade, an invitation to a concert reminds her of a friend’s fatal car accident and there’s a near accident on her drive home. Over the next few days, the past begins to take on a new and terrifying importance as people start to die and Mi-ju must discover where the evil resides.

Cast: Hyeon-a Seong, Da-an Park, Ho-bin Jeong, Jin Woo, Na-woon Kim
Directed: Woo-cheol Lee
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Horror
Runtime: 94 Minutes
Also Known As: Chello hongmijoo ilga salinsagan
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English

True North (International) (2006)

AvistaZ has allowed this posting of a non-Asian film due to the subject matter and the movie’s uniqueness. It is a rare independent film that deserves to be seen.

Plot: The crew of a bankrupt Scottish trawler turn to smuggling illegal immigrants over the stormy waters of the North Sea.

Writer/director Steve Hudson patterned his debut feature, True North, after classic Greek tragedy. This bleak and despairing drama concerns the Skipper (Gary Lewis) and Sean (Martin Compston), a father and son from the U.K. who co-pilot a small fishing boat called Providence. Though the Skipper remains aboard, Sean inherits all financial responsibility from his dad. But times are hard and the catch so inadequate that it cannot sustain the men. Terrified of being regarded as a failure by his father, Sean devises a dangerous scheme: he and deckhand Riley (Peter Mullan) will illegally pull Chinese immigrants from the far side of the North Sea while the Skipper sleeps, collect money from the stowaways, hide them in the ship’s hold, and deposit them in northern England. All goes according to plan until Sean realizes that they must locate some actual fish to mislead the British authorities. Meanwhile, the Chinese passengers begin to waste away below deck, while a storm and other unforeseen catastrophes threaten the lives and safety of everyone aboard.

Cast: Peter Mullan, Martin Compston, Gary Lewis, Steven Robertson, Angel Li, Hark Bohm, Wang Li Jun, Ren Hao, Shi Ming, Pat Kiernan
Directed: Steve Hudson
Genre: Thriller, Drama
Runtime: 96 Minutes
Also Known As: Dragnet
Country: International

Han Suk-kyu [Forbidden Quest] (2006) (Korea)

Yun-seo comes across an ‘indecent novel’ by chance. Hesitant to read such a book at first, he is soon inspired to write one himself. He even asks his family rival and infamous captain of guards, Gwang-heon, to draw the illustrations for his books. Their book “Heukgokbisa” is soon the most talked about in town and is eventually read by Jeong-bin, the king’s favorite concubine. With Jeong-bin’s involvement, the two men are soon drawn in a tricky web of palace intrigue.

Cast: Jong-ryol Choi, Suk-kyu Han, Min-jung Kim, Beom-su Lee, Dal-su Oh
Directed: Dae-woo Kim
Also Known As: Eumranseosaeng
Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance
Runtime: 139min.
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English

Gojoe (2001) (Japan)

A sumptuous and at times super-charged swordplay fantasy, Gojoe puts the spin on one of Japan’s most popular feudal legends: the battle at Kyoto’s Gojoe Bridge.The basic storyline is simple: warriors of the Heike clan get their heads chopped off by an invisible force at Gojoe bridge. Benkei, a former Buddhist monk plagued by the demons of his own past, sets out to destroy the evil force that lurks at Gojoe, aided by his graverobbing sidekick Tetsukichi. They soon discover that the perpetrator is in fact a young warrior, a former Heike lord named Shanao, out for revenge against his own clan which ordered the death of his family.

All in all, Gojoe, with its roaring monster of a finale and brilliant score (partially by Ishii’s own band Mach 1.67 which also provided the deafening soundtrack to Gojoe’s companion piece Electric Dragon 80,000 V), is a refreshing re-invention of one of the stalwart genres in Japanese cinema, exhilarating and breathtakingly photographed… Full Review

Cast: Tadanobu Asano, Masatoshi Nagase, Daisuke Ryu, Masakatsu Funaki, Jun Kunimura, Urara Awata
Directed: Sogo Ishii
Genre: Action/Historical
Runtime: 2:18:02
Also Known As: Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle, Gojo reisenki
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English

1 Litre of Tears (2005) (Japan)

15-year-old Ikeuchi Aya was an ordinary girl, the daughter of a family who works at a tofu shop, and a soon-to-be high schooler. However, odd things have been happening to Aya lately. She has been falling down often and walks strange. Her mother, Shioka, takes Aya to see the doctor, and he informs Shioka that Aya has spinocerebellar degeneration – a terrible disease where the cerebellum of the brain gradually deteriorates to the point where the victim cannot walk, speak, write, or eat. A cruel disease, as it does not affect the mind in the least. How will Aya react when told about her disease? And how will Aya live from now on?

AKA – Ichi Rittoru no Namida / One Litre of Tears / A Diary with Tears
Broadcasted – 11-Oct-2005 to 20-Dec-2005
Genre – School, romance, health, human
Directed – Murakami Masanori
Screenwriters – Egashira Michiru, Ooshima Satomi, Yokota Rie
Country – Japan
Audio – Japanese
Quality -Medium
Subtitles – English [hardsub]
Episode Run Time – 1 Hour
Total Episodes – 11
Status – Completed[11/11]
Links –

Sawajiri Erika as Ikeuchi Aya
Yakushimaru Hiroko as Ikeuchi Shioka
Nishikido Ryo as Asou Haruto
Jinnai Takanori as Ikeuchi Mizuo