Icon has announced their Australia release slate for the rest of the year, and it’s pleasing to see that a major distributor has made a commitment to releasing Asian cinema theatrically. Along with the previously announced festival favourite 13 Assassins, Takashi Miike’s phenomenal chanbara bloodbath, Xiaosong Gao’s My Kingdom (August 11), Taiwanese director Charlie Chu’s Mayday 3DNA concert film (September 15), Tony Ching’s The Emperor and the White Snake (September 22), starring Jet Li and the legendary Tsui Hark’s Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D – also starring Jet Li. Also on the slate are fixtures Jodie Foster’s The Beaver, Piranha 3D copycat Shark Night 3D and Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady. Project Nim will finally see the light of day (September 29), and Sydney Film Festival hit Tucker & Dale Vs Evil will also have an exclusive screening at Sydney’s Dendy Newtown.
TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL
Directed by: Eli Craig
Cast: Alan Tudyk (Death at a Funeral)
Screening exclusively at Dendy Newtown, in Sydney, from July 28. Other states TBC.
TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL is a hilariously gory, good-spirited horror comedy, doing for killer rednecks what ‘Shaun of the Dead’ did for zombies. Tucker and Dale are two best friends on vacation at their dilapidated mountain house, who are mistaken for murderous backwoods hillbillies by a group of obnoxious, preppy college kids. When one of the students gets separated from her friends, the boys try to lend a hand, but as the misunderstanding grows, so does the body count.
TUCKER AND DALE VS EVIL has been a hit on the festival circuit, debuting at Sundance, and winning the Midnight Audience Award at SXSW.
Directed by: Xiaosong Gao
Cast: Barbie Hsu, Han Geng, Wu Chun (14 Blades)
IN LIMITED RELEASE FROM AUGUST 11
Four years in the making, MY KINGDOM (Da Wu Sheng) is a sweeping story of love, honour and revenge set against the backdrop of Chinese opera during its heyday in 1920s Shanghai. Written by Zou Jingzhi, one of China’s most popular writers, the story centers around two sworn brothers and their quest to regain their master’s honour. Their relentless quest leads them to fame and love, but also to their own downfall.
Bringing this epic tale to life is director Gao Xiaosong, one of a new wave of young Chinese directors defining the next evolution of Chinese cinema. Playing the lead roles are three of today’s hottest young idols in Asia: Wu Chun, Han Geng and Barbie Hsu.
Directed by: Wen Yen Kung, Rong-ji Chang
Cast: Richie Ren, Suet Lam, Rene Liu, Mayday.
IN LIMITED RELEASE FROM SEPTEMBER 15
MAYDAY 3DNA follows Mayday, Asia’s biggest rock band, with footage of performances from their 2010 concert tour. MAYDAY 3DNA is directed by Taiwanese director Charlie Chu. The movie strings together live performances from Mayday’s concerts while telling three separate love stories involving Mayday fans in Lijiang, Guangzhou, and Taichung.
Editor’s note: Although we’d never heard of this Taiwanese band, it turns out they’ve been around since 1997, with seven studio albums under their belt and a massive following across Asia.
Directed by: Tony Ching (An Empress and the Warriors)
Cast: Jet Li (Hero, Kiss of the Dragon)
IN LIMITED RELEASE FROM SEPTEMBER 22
Eva Huang (Kung Fu Hustle) stars as the White Snake, who transforms into a beautiful woman to rescue and live with the man she falls in love with – a herbal physician (Raymond Lam). When their town is plagued by a mysterious disease, she sacrifices her supernatural power and energy to help him save the townspeople but is found out to be a serpent when the sorcerer (Jet Li) arrives.
Editor’s notes: This big-budget (for Hong Kong) film cost HK$200 million (AU$23 million) will actually be released close to the Hong Kong date, following the pattern of day-and-date releases that we’ve been lucky enough to see lately.