The easternKicks.com Podcast

A regular magazine programme about East Asian film, with the latest news, reviews and interviews

Episode 40: Making Waves

June 25th, 2022

James and Andy chat exclusively about Focus Hong Kong's Making Waves, a Hong Kong screening programme coming to London from 8 to 10 July. Full disclaimer, they might have had something to do with it...

This episode’s handy timecodes

00:31 - Episode introduction
01:43 - An introduction to Focus Hong Kong
05:00 - The Making Waves programme
06:19 - Comrades, Almost A Love Story and Peter Chan holo-presence
13:41 - July Rhapsody
18:32 - Anita
22:34 - Hand Rolled Cigarette
24:51 - Breakout Brothers
26:48 - The First Girl I Loved
28:24 - Tales from the Occult
35:43 - Outro

Making Waves takes place at the Soho Hotel and Garden Cinema from 8th to 100th July. Check the website for more details. 

Episode 39 - The Sadness special

May 11th, 2022

To celebrate the global release of gruesome horror The Sadness on Shudder, James and Andy chat through the film, with an exclusive interview with the films director, Rob Jabbaz.

This episode’s handy timecodes

00:31 - Episode introduction
01:54 - The Sadness, a quick explainer
08:39 - Rob Jabbaz interview
28:11 - Reactions to the interview
34:52 - easternKicks Picks!
42:40 - Outro

The Sadness is available to exclusively stream on Shudder from 12th May. 

Episode 38 – Spotlight on… Zatoichi

May 3rd, 2022

This time Jonathan Wroot, senior lecturer in film studies, joins James and Andy to chat in detail about the topic of his new book, Zatoichi! As well as the various influences and successors. And yes, we chat Rutger Hauer too!

This episode’s handy timecodes

00:00:44 - Episode introduction
00:02:12 - Before we start, how did our guest get into Asian film?
00:06:05 - Kitano's Zatoichi, was it a remake?
00:13:10 - Let's go back to the start 
00:17:08 - How star Shintaro Katsu's previous work fed into the film series
00:20:22 - Zatoichi begins
00:25:05 - A minor diversion on Shintaro Katsu's brother
00:29:09 - Something for everyone, the Daiei way
00:30:23 - How wacky did the films get?
00:32:46 - Are there roots to disabled swordsmen?
00:38:14 - The Marvel connection
00:40:45 - Good ol' Westerns
00:45:34 - Zatoichi The Last
00:47:54 - The female versions
00:52:13 - Let's talk about Rutger (and other influences)
01:07:26 - Recommendations on where to start
01:15:43 - Outro

Jonathan's book, The Paths of Zatoichi, is available now from rowman.com/lexington. Use discount code LXFANDF30 and get 30% off!

Music played on the show: 
Zatoichi’s Lullaby, sung by Shintaro Katsu. The most commonly known version of the Zatoichi theme song, which first turned up in Zatoichi and the Fugitives (#18).

Festivo – the musical number from the end of Zatoichi 2003, written and composed by Keiichi Suzuki.

Episode 37 – The Long Walk special

March 9th, 2022

Seriously cutting into their Giallo viewing time, James and Andy chat to Laos film director Mattie Do and her other 'alf, screenwriter Christoper Larsen in detail about their superb genre-crossing sci-fi horror, The Long Walk and much more.

This episode’s handy timecodes

00:00:31 – Episode introduction
00:02:16 – Interview with Mattie Do and Chris Larsen
00:52:32 – The easternKicks take on The Long Walk
01:08:05 – Outro

The Long Walk is available on digital now via Light Bulb Film Distribution in the UK, and Yellow Veil Pictures in the US.

Episode 36 - The End of the Year Show

December 23rd, 2021

This episode is a real meeting of minds, as Panos Kotzathanasis of Asian Movie Pulse joins James and Andy to chat about the trends and topics of the year, all bizarrely summed up by titles of soul and funk songs (?) Meanwhile easternKicks regulars Niina and Theo share thoughts on their favourite films of the year. 

This episode's handy timecodes   

00:00:44 – Episode introduction
00:02:39 – What's in Santa's hat (don't ask!)
00:03:33 – Smoke.Netflix.Chill
00:18:26 – (Get on the) Partyline 
00:34:55 – Niina on Howling Village
00:37:43 – Sitting in Limbo
00:45:07 – East West Shuffle
00:53:54 – Theme For "Five Fingers Of Death"
01:05:03 – Spice Of Life (Oh Yes, You're the Best)
01:06:21 – Theo on Drive My Car
01:19:56 – Outro

Episode 35 – All Aboard… for Hellbound!

December 7th, 2021

Is this deja vu? A Korean streaming series taking Netflix by storm. No, it's not Squid Game, but Train To Busan director Yeon Sang-ho's Hellbound. James and Andy chat about the series and wonder, will there be another? Meanwhile James has some more easternKicks picks.

This episode's handy timecodes   

00:00:44 - Episode introduction
00:02:28 - Putting Hellbound in context
00:07:52 - A brief synopsis
00:11:29 - How it fits with Yeon's other work
00:22:29 - Just what are the demons?
00:24:12 - Comparison with Yeon original Jiok/The Hell animations
00:29:50 - Ah man, more 'VIPs'? 
00:31:17 - Other throwaway elements (or are they?)
00:33:43 - On the cast (and casting choices)
00:37:05 - Will there be more?
00:46:06 - Other Korean series making waves
00:55:05 - easternKicks picks
01:07:52 - Outro

Episode 34 - The horror of Hong Kong!

October 27th, 2021

Yes, it's that time of year again, and we turn our focus to modern Hong Kong horror, from the tail end of the Shaw Brothers right up to Fruit Chan's Coffin Homes. Meanwhile, Niina and Stephen share some of their favourites...

This episode's handy timecodes   

00:00:49 - Episode introduction
00:02:18 - Why Hong Kong horror?
00:08:00 - Into the 80s
00:10:34 - Niina on Seeding Of A Ghost
00:13:51 - The evolution from Shaw Brothers
00:25:01 - The glorious descent into Category III
00:27:17 - The 1990s
00:38:07 - Post-handover and the 2000s
00:46:03 - Stephen on Hex
00:49:56 - The last decade
00:56:04 - The future of Hong Kong horror...(?)
01:03:17 - Outro

Episode 33 - Do you like calamari?

October 15th, 2021

This time we look at a certain very popular streaming series that seems to have taken over the world (or at least every news platform). That's right, it's Squid Game time! Meanwhile, James has a few more picks to choose from. And don't forget, you can still take advantage of a discount with our friends at Gweilo Beer! 

This episode's handy timecodes   

00:45 - Episode introduction
01:52 - Let the Squid Game commence
06:52 - Hwang Dong-hyuk, hardly a talent from outta nowhere
11:28 - Korea's so hot right now...
16:06 - High production values, quirky style
19:59 - Wrong-footed pacing
26:48 - Subtitle 'controversy'
30:32 - Superb acting performances
35:28 - How about those other controversies?
43:11 - Do You Want More?!!!??!
47:00 - Time for more easternKicks Picks
57:26 - Outro

Squid Game is streaming now on Netflix!

Episode 32 - Spotlight on… A Tale of Two Sisters

September 13th, 2021

This episode we look back on Kim Jee-woon's classic Korean horror more patterned wallpaper than John Lewis, A Tale Of Two Sisters, with help from Stephen Palmer and Yonah Sichrovsky. We also announce a new association with Gweilo Beer! Don't forget to get your discount! But most importantly, will someone explain what's going on to Yonah? Find out!

This episode's timecodes   

00:45 - Episode introduction
03:43 - An introduction to A Tale of Two Sisters
07:50 - The house of William Morris
13:18 - A very British Asian horror?
16:07 - The perfect moment
24:10 - When did the American Remakes start?
27:16 - The legacy of Two Sisters
33:56 - A good time to revisit
37:26 - Does it hold up?
44:33 - We finally work out the ending for Yonah (spoilers!)
48:27 - What else would we like to see getting the special edition treatment? 
56:59 - Outro

A Tale Of Two Sisters is available now on Blu-ray from Arrow Video.

Episode 31 – Spotlight on… Daimajin

August 25th, 2021

Phillip O'Connor joins Andy and James for a detailed look at everyone's favourite diminutive kaiju, Daimajin, recently restored and on Blu-ray. Okay sure, he's tall, but he's definitely no Godzilla...

This episode's timecodes   

00:31 - Episode introduction
02:05 - Daimajin's origins
06:28 - Shall we talk about the, erm, plot?
12:27 - Some of the different elements of the films
22:08 - Daimajin's design and special effects
31:20 - Production and shooting
33:45 - Obligatory Steven Segal cameo
36:40 - Original release and popularity
39:38 - Where'd the wee fella go?
43:52 - Godzilla composer Akira Ifukube's film scores
47:57 - Masks and cleft chins
49:27 - The three directors
52:10 - What next?
56:59 - easternKicks Picks
59:06 - Outro

The Daimajin Trilogy is available now on Limited Edition Blu-ray from Arrow Video.

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