Sarik Andreasyan's thriller 'American Heist' falls short

Nov 4, 2015

Sarik Andreasyan's thriller 'American Heist' falls short

‘American Heist” is a bad movie with a glorious title. Think of the notables with “American” as a topper: “American Sniper,” “American Beauty,” “American Hustle,” even “American Horror Story” had its merits. But “American Heist” takes a good, functional concept and turns it on ...

Agnes b. moves from fashion to film in 'Je m'appelle Hmmm...'

Oct 28, 2015

Agnes b. moves from fashion to film in 'Je m'appelle Hmmm...'

There is a sizable genre of films about fashion designers — Coco Chanel alone has spawned over a dozen movies, TV episodes and mini-series. But designers who make their own movies are a rarity. Seventy-three-year-old Agnes Trouble owns and runs Agnes b., a clothing ...

Scream queen festival arrives in Tokyo

| Oct 28, 2015

Scream queen festival arrives in Tokyo

The point is to scream — a lot. Whether you’re a closet horror fan or just want to holler your head off before heading off to a Halloween party, Scream Queen Filmfest Tokyo has what you need. SQFFT runs through Oct. 31, before traveling ...

Female fears at the dead center of J-horror

Oct 21, 2015

Female fears at the dead center of J-horror

Japan is a scary place. It has inspired masters of horror over three centuries, from Akinari Ueda in the 1700s (“Ugetsu Monogatari”) to Lafcadio Hearn (“Kwaidan”) in the late 1800s, all the way to the 1990s, when Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Cure” and Hideo Nakata’s “Ringu” ...

Women are in trouble at the Tokyo International Film Festival

Oct 21, 2015

Women are in trouble at the Tokyo International Film Festival

Bad things can happen to good women, especially in the movies. For me, the most intriguing films at TIFF this year feature women in trouble. Yes, men may be a lot harder to take down on-screen than women — requiring explosives, monsters and extremely ...

Photographic portal to a secret, bygone world

Oct 14, 2015

Photographic portal to a secret, bygone world

‘The things happening on Tokyo’s streets are always fascinating to me,” Nobuyoshi Araki told me during an interview in 2012. Though best known for being the maestro of Japanese erotica, Araki has retained a particular love for street photography. Now 75, he still loves ...

Atom Egoyan brings the oppression of winter into 'The Captive'

Oct 14, 2015

Atom Egoyan brings the oppression of winter into 'The Captive'

Every parent’s worst nightmare plays out in “The Captive,” Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan’s followup to “Devil’s Knot,” which opened in Japan last year. In both of these films, a child disappears and the police eye the father as the most likely suspect. The difference ...

Home sweet home: Preserving the traditional Kanazawa townhouse

Oct 10, 2015

Home sweet home: Preserving the traditional Kanazawa townhouse

Traditional wooden townhouses called machiya could once be found throughout Japan and were especially common in cities such as Kyoto and Nara in Kansai, as well as Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. More recently, however, their days appear to be numbered, and, as anyone who ...