'The Act of Killing'

Apr 10, 2014

'The Act of Killing'

Movies arrive so late here in Japan that they often come burdened with the weight of expectation. In the case of “The Act of Killing,” it comes in the wake of near universal critical acclaim, including a No. 1 spot on Sight & Sound ...

'Hunger'

Apr 10, 2014

'Hunger'

Director: Steve McQueen Language: English Steve McQueen is known to all now that “12 Years a Slave” won this year’s best-picture Oscar, but the director’s first feature film, 2008′s “Hunger,” never even opened in Japan. Perhaps the film’s political content — which looks at ...

'Blue is the Warmest Color'

Apr 3, 2014

'Blue is the Warmest Color'

Remember being a teen. Remember the gossip amongst your friends about who had a thing for you, the awkward dates, the stolen kisses. Remember the crushes that came and went all too easily, and then recall the arrival of something else entirely: first love. ...

'Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1962-1969'

Apr 3, 2014

'Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1962-1969'

The 1960s were full of tormented musical geniuses, but The Beach Boys’ singer/songwriter Brian Wilson is hardly the most glorified. I guess quietly going nuts and surviving until a late-life comeback just isn’t as cinematic as going out in a young and beautiful blaze ...

'Barbed Wire Dolls'

Apr 3, 2014

'Barbed Wire Dolls'

Director: Jess Franco Language: French (subtitled in English) Grindhouse aficionados will no doubt recognize the name of director Jess Franco, whose trio of 1970s women-in-prison films are being released on DVD this month. “Barbed Wire Dolls” is the nastiest of the lot, with Lena ...

Marcus Luttrell: a 21st-century war hero

Mar 29, 2014

Marcus Luttrell: a 21st-century war hero

Shake the hand of Marcus Luttrell, and there’s no mistaking the grip of someone who spent many a year holding a weapon. A former U.S. Navy SEAL, Luttrell is your 21st-century war hero, with a book and movie deal relating his near-fatal experiences in ...

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'

Mar 27, 2014

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'

Ah, Hollywood — who else could take a lean, two-page short story and turn it into a bloated $90-million mega-production? Author James Thurber’s short about a timid, henpecked husband who escapes into adventure-packed daydreams first appeared in a 1939 issue of The New Yorker ...

'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

Mar 27, 2014

'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

Comparisons to Terrence Malick are unavoidable with “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” which takes its Southwestern milieu and feckless outlaw couple from “Badlands” but filters it through the more mystical lensing and languid pacing of “Tree of Life.” And just like Malick, director David Lowery’s ...

'Dark Days'

Mar 27, 2014

'Dark Days'

One of the last decade's best documentaries never opened in Japan, but now you can catch it on Vimeo.com. "Dark Days," shot in haunting black and white, explores the literally underground homeless community that existed hidden in New York train tunnels, shrouded in perpetual ...

When fictional bands move from screen to stage

Mar 20, 2014

When fictional bands move from screen to stage

“The Broken Circle Breakdown” is undoubtedly one of the best films you’ll see this or any year — passionate, joyous and heartbreakingly sad — but it’s also remarkable for being one of those rare music films where a fictional on-screen band goes on to ...