The easternKicks.com Podcast

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

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.

Episode 30: The best of NYAFF 2021

August 17th, 2021

In this episode, we turn our eye to some picks from the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), including an extended chat about Benny Chan's final film Raging Fire. Meanwhile Maja Korbeca chats to the "Grandmother of Hong Kong Cinema" Ann Hui, recipient of the NYAFF 2021 Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award.  

This episode's timecodes   

00:31 - Episode introduction
02:16 - Back to live festivals with NYAFF and Raging Fire
15:36 - Hand Rolled Cigarette and Limbo
22:59 - Shadows and more from Hong Kong
28:59 - Maja interview with Ann Hui
41:41 - Some picks screening from  South Korea, including Spiritwalker, The Prayer and Midnight
49:38 - More picks including Three Sisters and Escape from Mogadishu
51:50 - Picks from Japan, including Last Of The Wolves and Junk Head
52:10 - Picks from Taiwan, including As You Like It, The Silent Forest and My Missing Valentine
58:13 - Outro

The New York Asian Film Festival continues with both in-person screenings and online until 22 August. 

Episode 29: PTU and Johnnie To’s crime drama years

July 9th, 2021

In this episode contributor Kaj van Zoelen joins James and Andy to revisit PTU and the classic crime dramas of Johnnie To. Will we ever see its like again? Meanwhile Stephen Palmer shares thoughts on a decidedly different example from To, My Left Eye Sees Ghosts

This episode's timecodes   

00:00:35 - Episode introduction
00:01:38 - PTU review
00:24:01 - PTU and the HK crime drama resurgence of 2000s
00:52:10 - Stephen Palmer on My Left Eye Sees Ghosts
00:58:54 - James and Kaj share some easternKicks Picks
01:06:08 - Outro

PTU is available now on UK Blu-ray from Eureka Entertainment. 

Episode 28 - The World of Wong Kar-wai

June 25th, 2021

In this special edition, we celebrate the return of Wong Kar-wai's classic in newly remastered versions to cinemas. Special guest Bede Cheng, Managing Director at L’Immagine Ritrovata Asia, the laboratory responsible for the new editions, joins us for a chat about the restoration process. Meanwhile, contributors Colette, Theo, Phillip, Yonah, Ethan and Stephen share their thoughts on the filmmakers work. We also have the perfect podcast fuel from Bun House / Wun's Tea Room & Bar.

This episode's timecodes   

00:00:56 - Episode introduction
00:02:08 - Phillip on As Tears Go By
00:07:19 - Bede Cheng interview part one - What is restoration?
00:26:30 - Ethan on Wong Kar-wai
00:30:49 - Bede Cheng interview part two - Working with WKW
00:33:23 - Theo on Fallen Angels
00:35:57 - Bede Cheng interview part three - More on working with WKW
00:47:11 - Yonah on 2046
00:48:13 - Colette on Wong Kar-wai
01:01:55 - Stephen on Chungking Express
01:07:26 - Outro

Wong Kar-wai films screen at the BFI Southbank and ICA Cinema throughout July. 

Episode 27: Time & Tide & Tsui

June 15th, 2021

On this episode James and Andy are joined by easternKicks contributors Phillip O'Connor and Fedor Tot to chat about the new release of Tsui Hark's 2000 action classic Time and Tide, and the director's career at point, with his fleeting dalliance with Hollywood and USA films, pairing with Jean-Claude Van Damme on Double Team and Knock Off

This episode's timecodes   

00:00:33 - Episode introduction
00:03:50 - Time and Tide review
00:37:05 - Enter JCVD
00:40:52 - Double Team review
00:45:26 - Knock Off review
01:13:33 - easternKicks Picks
01:22:50 - Outro

Time and Tide is available now on UK Blu-ray from Eureka Entertainment. Double Team and Knock Off are available on Uk Blu-ray from 88 Films.

Episode 26: One-Armed Jimmy

May 29th, 2021

Join Andrew, James and easternKicks contributor Yonah Sichrovsky for some mainly 'armless fun, as we chat about kung fu classic One Armed Boxer, and director and star, the notorious Jimmy Wang Yu

This episode's timecodes   

00:00:52 - Episode introduction
00:02:41 - One Armed Boxer review
00:19:20 - Jimmy Wang Yu: The main who would be Bruce?
00:34:28 - Will we ever see the popularity of kung fu films return?
00:44:09 - easternKicks Picks: James
00:54:54 - More easternKicks Picks: Yonah, including Demon Slayer
01:02:17 - Outro

One Armed Boxer is available now on UK Blu-ray from Eureka Entertainment.

Episode 25: Cliff Walkers and Zhang Yimou

May 8th, 2021

We look at the acclaimed director's latest film, Cliff Walkers, as well his genre work over the last decade. While easternKicks regulars Phillip O'Connor, Maja Korbecka and Stephen Palmer join us for their thoughts on Zhang's work.

This episode's timecodes   

00:00:32 - Episode introduction
00:02:50 - Cliff Walkers review
00:28:10 - Other works
00:30:10 - Stephen Palmer on the 2008 Olympics
00:36:03 - A Simple Noodle Story aka A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop aka 'Zhang Yimou's Blood Simple' (sigh)
00:41:20 - Maja Korbecka on The Road Home
00:47:40 - The Flowers Of War
00:51:00 - Phillip O'Connor on The Great Wall
00:53:05 - The Great Wall
00:57:30 - Shadow
01:00:15 - One Second and Under The Light
01:09:30 - Outro

Cliff Walkers is released in cinemas now, screening in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand via CMC Pictures. 

Episode 24: Spotlight on… Battle Royale

April 16th, 2021

We revisit Kinji Fukasaku's classic Battle Royale and its sequel in honour of the new 4K UHD release. Why is it such a classic, even after 20 years? 

This episode's timecodes   

00:01:14 - Episode introduction
00:02:50 - Ready to rumble? It's time for Battle Royale
00:34:07 - Battle Royale II: Requiem. Why?
00:54:54 - easternKicks picks
00:55:54 - Outro

Battle Royale is released on Limited Edition 4K UHD Blu-ray 5-disc boxset from Arrow Video from 26 April 2021, with a brand new 4K UHD restoration of the theatrical and director's cut, two cuts of Battle Royale II on separate Blu-rays, and the soundtrack CD.

Episode 23: Indonesian Folk Horror special

April 13th, 2021

This episode we explore Indonesian Folk Horror, from the classics of the 80s to the new films of Joko Anwar, Timo Tjahjanto, as well as an exclusive interview with Kimo Stamboel about The Queen Of Black Magic.

This episode's timecodes   

00:00:31 - Episode introduction
00:02:47 - The Queen Of Black Magic review
00:08:52 - Comparison with the original The Queen Of Black Magic
00:16:06 - James chats to Kimo Stamboel
00:52:34 - Indonesian Horror, then and now; Satan's Slave and Satan's Slaves
01:00:39 - May The Devil Take You and May The Devil Take You Too
01:07:38 - Impetigore
01:16:19 - Outro

The Queen Of Black Magic is available to stream now from Shudder, along with the original and Anwar's Satan's Slaves and Impetigore. The original Satan's Slave is available from Severin Films on Blu-ray and DVD. 

Episode 22: Tokyo Dragon Chef vs Crazy Samurai

April 13th, 2021

James and Andy are joined by Life Of Action and action co-ordinator Mike Fury to chat about Tokyo Gore Police director Yoshihiro Nishimura similarly-titled (but somewhat less gory) Tokyo Dragon Chef, as well as looking back on the career of Japan's 'Tom Savini'. We also discuss the latest from frequent Nishimura collaborator Tak Sakaguchi, Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1, aka Crazy Samurai Musashi, featuring a 77-minute one-take.

This episode's timecodes

00:00:31 - Episode introduction
00:02:00 - Tokyo Dragon Chef review
00:17:10 - Yoshihiro Nishimura's career and previous work
00:32:22 - What happened to the Japanese 'splatterpunk' scene?
00:44:26 - What are the chances of online or Blu-ray releases?
00:53:44 - Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 review
01:11:13 - Outro

Tokyo Dragon Chef is available now on digital and DVD from Terracotta Distribution. Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1 is on Well Go USA's streaming service Hi-YAH now, with a Digital, Blu-ray and DVD from March 2.

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