Boxing films, like all sporting yarns, are often less about the game than the rigorous framework it provides for discipline, focus and getting your life back on track. That’s certainly the case in Masaharu Take’s 100 Yen Love, in which a thirty-something slob is forced to fend for herself after a series of unfortunate events expose her to life’s harsh realities.
An inspirational event that captured the world’s attention, the 2010 Copiapo mining accident in Chile – in which 33 miners were trapped underground for 69 days – seemed tailor-made for a stirring Hollywood adaptation. But arriving in the wake of more cinematically accomplished survival stories like The Martian, In the Heart of the Sea and The Revenant, the miners of The 33 seem to have had an easy time of it.
In the years since Hayao Mayazaki announced his retirement as the de facto king of Japanese animation, many have pointed to Mamoru Hasoda to take up the mantle. With films like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars and Wolf Children, Hasoda has developed a winning blend of escapism, charm and thoughtful narrative insight to back up his claim.
Donnie Yen and director Wilson Yip reunite for a third round of wing chun-related action, this time detailing the grandmaster Ip Man’s clash with a corrupt American property tycoon played by Mike Tyson, alongside a title challenge from a rival master (Max Zhang Jin). Veering away from the series’ breast-beating jingoism, Ip Man 3 trades the crowd-pleasing intensity of its predecessors for a more introspective portrait of its central character.
Love the Coopers reminds us that there are few things worse than booze-fuelled family gatherings, but one of them is definitely schmaltzy Hollywood movies about such reunions. Drawing numerous narrative threads towards a climactic yuletide dinner, the film introduces four generations of one family, who must overcome grudges and failings, let slip the odd lingering secret, and possibly realise the true meaning of Christmas.