Boundary-pushing Asian movies on tap at Gateway

  • Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
    BAE Doo-na in THE HOST, a Magnolia Pictures release.
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From the August 8, 2013 edition

For six days, “Asia Extreme” offers a pure dose of the boundary-pushingFar East cinema that has been filtering through Hollywood genre movies for more than a decade. Curated by film critic Hope Madden and local filmmaker Jason Tostevin, the series features 25 films made to get hearts pounding.

The line-up includesseveral local theatrical debuts like the awesomely titled Thai chopsocky saga “This Girl Is Bad-Ass!”, as well asU.S. premiere of the Japanese anime feature Blood C: The Last Dark and the Korean omnibus film Horror Stories.”

If you’re new to the continent’s over-the-topoutput, there are also a generous handful of titles in the “essential” category. Here are five not to miss.

“House”

Midnight Thursday

This epically strange1977 cult classicwith a malevolent ghost at play has a mirthful, candy-colored brand of sadism that is glorious to behold. Plus it lets youcross “Watch a Japanese schoolgirl get eaten by a piano” off your bucket list.

“The Host”

Midnight Friday

With Bong Joon-ho’s 2006 tale of a dysfunctional Seoul family facing off against a slimy behemoth, you get great monster effectlike in “Pacific Rim,” but with compelling charactersand plotting.

“Ringu” (The Ring)

1:30 p.m. Saturday

The 1998film that unleashed a flood of Japanese horror movie remakes in the U.S., this introduction to agonizing death by VHS tape is as creepy as they come.

“Oldboy”

4:30 p.m. Sunday

A violently gorgeous mindf--- that clings like a nightmare, Park Chan-wook’s 2003 entry in his “Revenge Trilogy” is infamous in genre circles, and rightly so. See it now, before Spike Lee’s remake hits theaters in November.

“Election”

1:30 p.m. Tuesday

A versatile workhorse with more than 50 films to his credit, Hong Kong’s Johnnie To counts Quentin Tarantino among his admirers. The filmmaker’s slow-burn gangster film from 2005 gets deep into the rituals of triad leadership before administering a gut punch of a finale.