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      Cinema Escapist

      Cinema Escapist is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Richard Yu, Anthony Kao.

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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      Servant of the People (2016) Anthony Kao Even if you’re not interested in politics, or didn’t watch Servant of the People season one, this movie is an enjoyable romp that you could easily watch on a weekend night.
      Posted Dec 16, 2022
      Hunt (2022) Anthony Kao While it’s action-packed and cinematographically competent, the film is like a “greatest hits” compilation of historical tropes from 1980’s South Korea, one that fails to innovate upon the era’s historiography.
      Posted Dec 16, 2022
      The Ambush (2021) Anthony Kao The Ambush is best analogized to the UAE’s F-16s. It’s something you’d enjoy watching, but not the main attraction compared to America’s latest productions—say, some F-35s stuck in political limbo.
      Posted Dec 16, 2022
      Chile '76 (2022) Anthony Kao 1976 shows how oppression need not be active nor visible, for its most pernicious varieties whisper rent-free in people’s heads...
      Posted Nov 13, 2022
      Yuni (2021) Anthony Kao Yuni offers a distinctive artistic vision with its usage of poetry and color, and is all the more remarkable for emotively addressing potentially sensitive topics amidst Indonesia’s ongoing rise in religious conservatism.
      Posted Aug 21, 2022
      Emergency Declaration (2021) Anthony Kao While Emergency Declaration feels refreshing as a sort of mid-budget disaster movie that Hollywood doesn’t make often these days, it pales in comparison to other recent Korean media touching on similar themes.
      Posted Aug 09, 2022
      Sniper: The White Raven (2022) Anthony Kao Sniper: The White Raven seems tailored to the Western zeitgeist, even if it was actually filmed before February 2022’s Russian invasion and likely targeted at domestic Ukrainian audiences
      Posted Jul 04, 2022
      Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (2021) Anthony Kao While Bad Luck Banging is definitely art house, nobody can accuse it of being bland or forgettable...
      Posted Jan 21, 2022
      Parallel Mothers (2021) Anthony Kao ...artistically praiseworthy, though it is worth considering to what degree it'll actually have a political impact, especially when compared to movies about historical memory from elsewhere in the world.
      Posted Dec 22, 2021
      Raging Fire (2021) Richard Yu Donnie Yen's latest film is heavy on action but begs the question of whether the HK cop drama genre is overdone and in need of a refresh.
      Posted Nov 12, 2021
      Under the Open Sky (2020) Anthony Kao The ability to compel viewers to re-examine the society around them-that's the mark of a good socially conscious film, and Under the Open Sky earns it.
      Posted Aug 09, 2021
      Okay Madam (2020) Anthony Kao While it won't shift any societal discourse or pioneer new ways of filmmaking, Okay Madam competently fulfills its likely intended purpose of providing dynamic, family-friendly entertainment.
      Posted Aug 09, 2021
      Escape From Mogadishu (2021) Anthony Kao the film depicts relations between North and South Korean characters is worth deeper examination. Unlike other popular media about inter-Korean relations...
      Posted Jul 30, 2021
      A Family (2020) Anthony Kao As the first major, internationally streamable movie to address the yakuza's waning influence, A Family is a valuable addition to discourse around Japanese organized crime.
      Posted Jun 28, 2021
      Sweet & Sour (2021) Anthony Kao Sweet & Sour isn't a lighthearted first date movie. However, it'll likely resonate with many East Asian viewers, and provides an unexpectedly rich look at South Korea's contemporary societal woes.
      Posted Jun 28, 2021
      Night in Paradise (2020) Anthony Kao With its Jeju location and an intriguing female protagonist, Night in Paradise adds new dimensions to the storied tradition of Korean gangster films.
      Posted Jun 07, 2021
      The Great War of Archimedes (2019) Anthony Kao The Great War of Archimedes becomes a refreshingly self-aware commentary on Japan's militarism and contemporary national ethos.
      Posted Jun 07, 2021
      Seobok: Project Clone (2021) Anthony Kao ...instead, the movie bit off more it could chew, and became a hollow clone of prior works in the "exploration of humanity" sci-fi subgenre.
      Posted Jun 07, 2021
      Natural Light (2021) Anthony Kao Despite its martial premise and seeming historical significance though, Natural Light will appeal far more to hardcore art film buffs than historians or war movie aficionados.
      Posted Mar 26, 2021
      The Call (2020) Anthony Kao Through effective world-building and acting, The Call creates a distinctively chilling and suspenseful vibe that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats until its very last moments.
      Posted Mar 26, 2021
      Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue (2021) Anthony Kao The film presumes familiarity with the authors it depicts, and will carry much more meaning for those with an existing passion for Chinese literature, culture, and history.
      Posted Feb 12, 2021
      Notturno (2020) Anthony Kao Notturno builds some empathy, but only of a vague, fleeting variety. That might be enough for winning cinematic awards and pleasing the festival circuit. But...
      Posted Feb 12, 2021
      Space Sweepers (2021) Anthony Kao Space Sweepers deploys A-list stars atop a jumble of narrative and aesthetic tropes that seem generated by a Silicon Valley AI trained with a dataset of K-drama, anime, and Western hits.
      Posted Feb 09, 2021
      The Rescue (2020) Richard Yu Between action-packed rescues, acrobatic stunts, and scenes where civilians laud the bravery and heroism of China's Coast Guard, The Rescue at least makes for good propaganda, even if it's lacking in dramatic complexity.
      Posted Dec 29, 2020
      The Old Town Girls (2020) Richard Yu The Old Town Girls will not leave you fulfilled or satisfied, but the essence of a good neo-noir film is not a "feel-good" experience. Films like these are meant to be dark and depressing, and The Old Town Girls delivers on that promise.
      Posted Dec 24, 2020
      The Best Is Yet To Come (2020) Anthony Kao ... a strong solo directorial debut for Wang. The film's choice of an investigative journalist protagonist is also laudable given China's tightening media environment.
      Posted Oct 28, 2020
      Yellow Cat (2020) Anthony Kao Yellow Cat feels more like a series of thinly grafted vignettes. It also caters heavily to hardcore fans of classic cinema, rather than broader contemporary audiences.
      Posted Oct 28, 2020
      Deliver Us From Evil (2020) Anthony Kao ...the film still provides a great degree of entertainment, and should please anybody looking for a solid action flick.
      Posted Oct 28, 2020
      76 Days (2020) Richard Yu 76 Days excels at putting the toll of the pandemic into human terms. Most people only saw the pandemic in terms of daily case counts, however, behind every statistic is a human face.
      Posted Sep 27, 2020
      #Alive (2020) Anthony Kao The film offers an enjoyably youthful tone that weaves itself throughout a suspenseful narrative...perfectly tailored for the time of coronavirus.
      Posted Sep 08, 2020
      The Eight Hundred (2020) Richard Yu "Overall, the film is still worth a watch if you're interested in Chinese history and politics. If the political message doesn't interest you, at least The Eight Hundred has decent special effects amidst explosions and gun battles."
      Posted Sep 07, 2020
      Fukushima 50 (2020) Anthony Kao Fukushima 50 is no Grave of the Fireflies or Chernobyl, and that's regrettable given Japan's historical moviemaking prowess.
      Posted Aug 18, 2020
      Detention (2019) Anthony Kao The film represents a significant milestone in Taiwan's reckoning with its authoritarian past.
      Posted Aug 18, 2020
      My Prince Edward (2020) Richard Yu My Prince Edward is a well produced showcase of some of the struggles that young women in Hong Kong...grapple with as they break out from the conservative mindsets of their parents' generation to forge their own independent paths in life.
      Posted Aug 10, 2020
      Beasts Clawing at Straws (2020) Anthony Kao Easy to enjoy, full of energy, and filled with suspense-Beasts Clawing At Straws should please anybody who wants an entertaining crime thriller...
      Posted Feb 25, 2020
      The Closet (2020) Richard Yu The Closet is a softer introduction to horror. There's no jump-scares or blood and guts...instead, the film focuses on Sang-won's personal journey in becoming a better dad for Ina.
      Posted Feb 20, 2020
      Secret Zoo (2020) Anthony Kao The film mixes lighthearted humor with low-key social commentary, offering a heartwarming but passionless viewing experience.
      Posted Jan 30, 2020
      The Man Standing Next (2020) Anthony Kao Offers a rigorous retelling of events, but results in an overloaded narrative that caters to history buffs at the slight expense of casual viewers and cinephiles.
      Posted Jan 30, 2020
      Ashfall (2019) Anthony Kao Ashfall might be a trope-ridden blockbuster, but it's one with geopolitical significance.
      Posted Jan 16, 2020
      This Is Not What I Expected (2017) Richard Yu The film's heavenly portrayal of cuisine is better than any aperitif to prepare you for dinner
      Posted Dec 30, 2019
      Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019) Richard Yu Ip Man 4 captures the zeitgeist of the "yellow peril" that's swept across a contemporary America threatened by the economic and geopolitical rise of the People's Republic of China.
      Posted Dec 20, 2019
      So Long, My Son (Di jiu tian chang) (2019) Anthony Kao "So Long, My Son" offers a humanistic look at China in the wake of Reform and Opening...It's a winning formula for anyone who's into East Asian art cinema or modern Chinese history.
      Posted Dec 17, 2019
      I'm Livin' It (2019) Richard Yu I'm Livin' It constantly reminds us of the value of emotional wealth over material wealth.
      Posted Dec 14, 2019
      Wet Season (2019) Richard Yu While Hollywood continues to highlight the glittering side of Singapore, local films like Wet Season will provide a valuable outlet for the less joyful moments of life
      Posted Dec 08, 2019
      Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains (2019) Richard Yu Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains demonstrates deep roots in Chinese culture...besides being set in a literal shan shui environment, the film also assumes the essence of a shan shui painting
      Posted Dec 07, 2019
      Samurai Cat (2014) Anthony Kao If you're a cat lover, Neko Samurai is an awesome boredom-killer that will make you (and your feline companion(s), provided they're feeling up to it) purr with content.
      Posted Nov 29, 2019
      The Insult (2017) Anthony Kao Unlike 2018's other Foreign Language nominees, "The Insult" has real political power-to help its homeland heal from the past.
      Posted Nov 29, 2019
      A Sun (2019) Anthony Kao A Sun crafts an intricate, character-driven drama that's compelling enough to entertain audiences throughout its two and a half hour runtime.
      Posted Nov 29, 2019
      Better Days (2019) Richard Yu While taking an emotional toll, the all-too-realistic bullying scenes also make the film more realistic and empathetic for audience members.
      Posted Nov 11, 2019
      The Shadow Play (2018) Richard Yu The Shadow Play is not a movie that you kick back and watch on Netflix at the end of a long day; it's a film that requires involvement and thought on the part of the viewer.
      Posted Nov 04, 2019
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