'Stranger Things' happened in the 1980s

| Sep 21, 2016

'Stranger Things' happened in the 1980s

The streaming wars continue, and one advantage Netflix has over its rivals is that it releases its original content in Japan without much annoying time lag. That’s true of their new paranormal series “Stranger Things,” which came out in the dog days of summer ...

Prize-winning short 'Oh Lucy' brings humor to the classroom

| Aug 17, 2016

Prize-winning short 'Oh Lucy' brings humor to the classroom

Given the potential global audience available on digital film platforms, it is surprising how few Japanese filmmakers have invested in foreign-language subtitles to get their films out there. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise to find director Atsuko Hirayanagi’s short comedy “Oh Lucy” up ...

'High-Rise': J.C. Ballard adaptation topples on screen

Aug 3, 2016

'High-Rise': J.C. Ballard adaptation topples on screen

In 1955, the city of St. Louis finished construction on the Pruitt-Igoe housing estate, designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki (who would later build New York City’s Twin Towers). A raw-concrete sprawl of 33 tower blocks, it was meant to halt the spread of slums ...

| Aug 3, 2016

Where's the money?

Hillary Clinton’s long march to the U.S. presidency continues unabated, and many voters are so scared of the idea of President Donald Trump, they’d vote for Clinton even if she sprouted fangs and hissed like a cobra. But anyone who’s all comfy with the ...

'Dope': It's hard to kick the stereotyping habit

Jul 27, 2016

'Dope': It's hard to kick the stereotyping habit

Growing up black in America inevitably means dealing with the stereotypes that the majority (white) culture places on you, and more than a few films have explored those tensions. With “Dope,” Nigerian-American writer-director Rick Famuyiwa takes it a step further and asks: What does ...

There's a starman, waiting on the screen . . .

Jul 20, 2016

There's a starman, waiting on the screen . . .

In 1975, just as David Bowie had achieved breakthrough success, he was simultaneously teetering on the verge of a nervous breakdown. A re-issued single of “Space Oddity” was No. 1 in the U.K., and he scored his first No. 1 single in the States ...

'Trumbo': Shining over Hollywood's blacklist

Jul 20, 2016

'Trumbo': Shining over Hollywood's blacklist

American conservatives are forever whinging about “liberal Hollywood,” but really they have only themselves to blame. When they were in the cultural ascendancy back in the 1940s-50s, they used their power — through groups such as the MPA (Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation ...