The trauma of becoming exceptional

Apr 15, 2015

The trauma of becoming exceptional

Long before it won three Oscars and was nominated for best picture, “Whiplash” — about the mesmerizing and often inexplicable relationship between a music student and his demonically obsessive teacher— had created a big stir in Japan. Media darling and California-based film critic Tomohiro ...

'The Search' for a reprieve from war in Chechnya

Apr 15, 2015

'The Search' for a reprieve from war in Chechnya

Prestigious film awards are often a kiss of death. After all the commotion and red-carpet moments of glory, the winners may fade away or become the victims of attacks launched by the media. Such is the case with Michel Hazanavicius, who bagged a totally-out-of-left-field ...

Woody Allen's sweet tooth, polished till it shines

Apr 8, 2015

Woody Allen's sweet tooth, polished till it shines

In an interview back in the late 1990s Woody Allen described himself as “thin but fun,” and the exact same thing could be said about many of his movies — doubly so for his latest film “Magic in the Moonlight.” This pleasant, diverting film ...

Documentary on Japanese 'war brides' is gaining steam

| Apr 8, 2015

Documentary on Japanese 'war brides' is gaining steam

The documentary-film scene just keeps getting better, and here’s one recent example that strikes a chord. Three women (Kathryn Tolbert, Lucy Craft and Karen Kasmauski) — all first-born daughters of Japanese war brides who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s to wed Americans ...

Ex-MMA fighter Gina Carano whips 'In the Blood' into submission

Mar 25, 2015

Ex-MMA fighter Gina Carano whips 'In the Blood' into submission

If you like watching strong athletic women in film, look no further than “In the Blood.” Former mixed martial artist Gina Carano not only stars here, she practically whips this movie into weepy submission. Though I wasn’t the one getting beaten up by her ...

Disappointment, delusion and eternal love in 'Cafe de Flore'

Mar 25, 2015

Disappointment, delusion and eternal love in 'Cafe de Flore'

Jean-Marc Vallee, whose “Dallas Buyers Club” bagged three Oscars last year, released a film in 2011 called “Cafe de Flore.” The two works are radically different in style and content but it feels like they share a common thread. In both films, Vallee treats ...

The Expendables 3

Mar 25, 2015

The Expendables 3

Director: Patrick Hughes Language: English Don’t groan — this isn’t as bad as you think. Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who co-founded the “Expendables” team many years ago, has turned violent and is neck-deep in arms trading. Now he is all set to wipe out ...

Where did all the Japanese fathers go?

| Mar 23, 2015

Where did all the Japanese fathers go?

Aside from ikumen (イクメン, men who play a role in raising their children), Nihon no otōsan (日本のお父さん, Japanese fathers) are a pretty sad lot. The vast majority of them have been and continue to be kaya no soto (蚊帳の外, literally “outside the mosquito net,” ...