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"Gallants," a geriatric kung fu comedy.

Reviewed at the 2010 New York Asian Film Festival. If Betty White can host "Saturday Night Live" at age 88, why can't a bunch of former martial arts heavyweights headline their own kung fu movie at 60? They can, as evidenced by surprisingly athletic and impressively self-deprecating performances from Bruce Leung and Chen Kuan-tai in NYAFF selection "Gallants." Unlike their aging American counterparts, who stretch their faces tighter across their skulls with each new role,...

"Alien Vs. Ninja": I can sum this movie up in three words.

Reviewed at the 2010 New York Asian Film Festival. High concepts don't get much more low-brow than "Alien Vs. Ninja," a great victory for truth in advertising and a movie whose subject matter can be -- and is -- summed up in just three words. Crackling with enthusiasm (if not high-end special effects), the movie delivers exactly what it promises, not a bit more, not a bit less. Don't expect this NYAFF selection to go the Janus Film/Criterion Collection route the way "House"...

"Symbol": Are you there, God? It's me, Hitoshi Matsumoto.

Reviewed at the 2010 New York Asian Film Festival. Hitoshi Matsumoto, a famous Japanese comedian whose work outside of the two features he's directed I have to confess to being completely unfamiliar with, has sported some truly horrendous big-screen haircuts. In his impressively bizarre mockumentary "Big Man Japan," Matsumoto played an ineffectual part time superhero whose droopy personality seemed to physically manifest itself in the sheets of long, scraggly hair closing in on his...

"Bodyguards and Assassins": The revolution will be verbalized.

Reviewed at the 2010 New York Asian Film Festival. For its first languid hour, the extremely talented cast of "Bodyguards and Assassins" lecture each other about the importance of the Chinese Revolution. No one speaks to anyone else; everyone just stands around giving speeches. Once they've made their point at great length, we're treated to an extremely well-crafted and thrilling chase and fight sequence through the convincingly recreated streets of 1900s Hong Kong. The two parts...

"Secret Reunion": A blockbuster with brains.

Reviewed at the 2010 New York Asian Film Festival. We've been subjected to so many dumb domestic blockbusters in recent years -- movies that don't so much entertain as lull you into a mildly pleasurable state of waking brain death -- that we're in danger of forgetting that these films can (and, really, are supposed to) also be about something. Hollywood still has easiest access to enormous budgets and cutting edge special effects, but all of that pales in comparison to good old-fashioned...

"Confessions": War may be hell, but it has nothing on high school.

Reviewed at the 2010 New York Asian Film Festival. "Confessions" is the latest from Tetsuya Nakashima, who in 2006 made "Memories of Matsuko," my absolute favorite of the films I've seen over the years at the New York Asian Film Festival. "Matsuko" was all about the gaping divide between its peppy musical numbers and frenetic, "Amelie"-bright visuals and what was in fact a wicked downer of a tale about a fallen woman who keeps falling and falling and falling...

"L.A. Streetfighters": a major midnight movie discovery.

Reviewed at the 2010 New York Asian Film Festival. In the 1990s, "Beverly Hills, 90210" set the standard for actors too old to play high school students, with a cast that included Luke Perry (25-years-old playing 16 at the start of the series) and Gabrielle Carteris (16 going on 30). But they all look like fetuses compared to Jun Chong, the hilariously old geezer who plays a high school student named Young in "L.A. Streetfighters." According to the website Video Junkie, Chong...

"Little Big Soldier," Jackie Chan's other newest movie.

Reviewed at the 2010 New York Asian Film Festival. You'd have to be ghoulish to want to see Jackie Chan, who's now (a plenty spry) 56 years old, still trying anything like the hanging-off-helicopters, 100-foot-jump-without-a-net stunts that made him an unparalleled action star. But that raises a philosophical question: what's a Chan movie without jaw-dropping Chan-style action sequences? Of late, it's been the "The Spy Next Door" and a handful of other studio films that...