'A Five Star Life'

Jan 30, 2014

'A Five Star Life'

Unless one has a lot of wealth at handy disposal, one goes through a fair share of less than luxury hotels. Though in my case, “less” tends to lean toward “vastly less.” Anyway, here’s the story of a woman whose job is to stay ...

'The Lone Ranger'

Jan 30, 2014

'The Lone Ranger'

Director: Gore Verbinski Language: English Johnny Depp’s Tonto may be the sidekick to Armie Hammer’s daring Lone Ranger, but really it’s the guy with the bird on his head who steals the show. Crammed with overblown action sequences and splendid scarlet-and-orange sunsets over jagged ...

'American Hustle'

Jan 23, 2014

'American Hustle'

Being an American is an art form and the path is long and arduous, as we see all too plainly in “American Hustle,” a huge, sloppy American Dream saga set in 1978. Based loosely on the famed “Abscam” scandal that put several congressmen behind ...

'Thor: The Dark World'

Jan 23, 2014

'Thor: The Dark World"

Another year, another Marvel movie. The story begins several thousand years ago, when the warriors of Asgard stop the Dark Elves from using their mega-weapon, the Aether, to destroy the universe. Elf leader Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) escapes and lies low for a few millenniums. ...

Star Trek Into Darkness

Jan 23, 2014

Star Trek Into Darkness

Director: J.J. Abrams Language: English A dark chapter in the journey of the Enterprise, “Into Darkness” shows Kirk (Chris Pine) at his most vulnerable, while Spock (Zachary Quinto) is distracted by relationship problems with Uhura (Zoe Saldana). Their foe: a one-man weapon of mass ...

'Pawn Shop Chronicles'

Jan 16, 2014

'Pawn Shop Chronicles'

Not a whole lot of U.S. moviegoers seemed to know about “Pawn Shop Chronicles” when it opened there last year. It had a limited release, then fizzled into the ether. Which is probably the best thing for the planet and its inhabitants, but to ...

'Ender's Game'

Jan 16, 2014

'Ender's Game'

The sense of wide-eyed wonder and hopefulness that characterized Orson Scott Card’s 1985 sci-fi novel “Ender’s Game” is mostly absent in this adaptation, replaced by a knowing, slick competence. Very little rings true, despite Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and Viola Davis delivering super-serious performances ...

'A Late Quartet (25-Nen-me no Gengaku Shijuso)'

Jan 16, 2014

'A Late Quartet (25-Nen-me no Gengaku Shijuso)'

Director: Yaron Zilberman Language: English A lovely film to look at, listen to and contemplate, “A Late Quartet” brings together Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Daniel Lerner as a renowned string quartet in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Against issues ...

The way we were, or reflections for the new year

| Jan 12, 2014

The way we were, or reflections for the new year

In the dusky light of ōmisoka (大晦日, Dec. 31), I spotted something that’s become a rarity on Tokyo streets: a dead animal. Actually it was a yamabato (山鳩, turtle dove) — and its feathers were tragically strewn among the blood and gore like a ...

'Dangerous Liaisons'

Jan 9, 2014

'Dangerous Liaisons'

Dangerous Liaisons” is compelling, not necessarily because of its content but because this is a Chinese movie adapted from an 18th-century French novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. It has exactly zero working-class characters, not counting the occasional maid. That’s an event in itself. ...