Keanu Reeves' concoction of 'The Whole Truth'

Mar 30, 2016

Keanu Reeves' concoction of 'The Whole Truth'

The American judicial system may not have its finest hour in “The Whole Truth” but the film is nonetheless a gripping 90-minute courtroom drama that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The film is unflattering to lawyers and unkind to witnesses — ...

A terrible film saved by the dog

Mar 30, 2016

A terrible film saved by the dog

One of the two stars I gave this film is to honor the combined team of Terry Jones, the director and co-writer (and former member of Monty Python), and Simon Pegg, the star who is never out of a single frame. Actually, make that ...

Documentary delves into the darker side of Kawasaki

| Mar 30, 2016

Documentary delves into the darker side of Kawasaki

Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture is famed for three things: yakiniku barbecue restaurants, sex shops and a high crime rate. Though parts of the city are middle class, a grittier and lower-income image of Kawasaki has persisted through the years. “Sakura no Kino Shita” (“Under ...

Altering the history and gender of 'The Danish Girl'

Mar 23, 2016

Altering the history and gender of 'The Danish Girl'

Are you into Scandinavian design? If you are, “The Danish Girl” will have you swooning. Even the first 10 seconds of the opening scene will provoke design envy and, for those who care about the details, Copenhagen apartment envy, circa 1926. Director Tom Hooper ...

The transformative power of Japan's 'magical girls'

Mar 16, 2016

The transformative power of Japan's 'magical girls'

There is one surprising thing about Japan’s male-dominated — some may say rabidly misogynistic — society: manga and anime support women. True, there are plenty of examples to the contrary (take a short stroll through any Akihabara anime shop if you need proof). But ...

'Mia Madre' unpacks the burdens that women carry

Mar 16, 2016

'Mia Madre' unpacks the burdens that women carry

Why does the burden of balancing work, family and sanity almost always ends up on the shoulders of women? Hints can be gathered in “Mia Madre,” winner of the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Cannes Film Festival last year. The film’s female ...

'The Lobster' offers a sci-fi solution for 'sexless Japan'

Mar 2, 2016

'The Lobster' offers a sci-fi solution for 'sexless Japan'

Back in the 1990s, an unmarried woman in Japan who was 25 or older might have been called a “Christmas cake.” The term equated them with the seasonal cakes that were sold for half price after Dec. 24, and it contained an explicit warning ...