A little 'je ne sais quois' from Eric Rohmer

| May 25, 2016

A little 'je ne sais quois' from Eric Rohmer

Everything we know about French films, we learned from Eric Rohmer. At least for Japanese cinema lovers, that’s what it felt like, especially in the late 20th century. Until his death at age of 89 in 2010, Eric Rohmer directed 53 films and every ...

'Macbeth': What's done is done again

May 18, 2016

'Macbeth': What's done is done again

Few storytellers can match Shakespeare for his vast range of timeless themes and awesome characters. Imagine what the Bard could have accomplished if he had had a laptop and smartphone. Among his works, “Macbeth” — a compelling study of a husband-wife team whose thirst ...

'Beyond The Reach': Desert thriller runs dry on substance

May 11, 2016

'Beyond The Reach': Desert thriller runs dry on substance

I couldn’t stop thinking about sunscreen during the first two minutes of “Beyond the Reach.” After 15 minutes I was trying to conjure up images of polar ice caps and northern lights. This is what happens when fragile people like me are overexposed to ...

'Six Four': Japan held hostage by the Showa Era

May 4, 2016

'Six Four': Japan held hostage by the Showa Era

‘Don’t you understand what is to have a child taken from you? How could you be a policeman and not understand that?” That’s a line from “Rokuyon” (“Six Four”) the latest addition to Japan’s host of films about kidnapping. “Six Four” is distinctive in ...

'Backtrack': Haunted by other people's pasts

May 4, 2016

'Backtrack': Haunted by other people's pasts

These days, according to a New York Times Opinionator article by Richard Brouillette (March 16, 2015), the psychotherapist’s job is on shifting ground. Doctors are now dealing less with relationships and family problems and treating more patients suffering from workplace trauma and financial stress. ...

Van Sant plots a bleak hike through Aokigahara

Apr 27, 2016

Van Sant plots a bleak hike through Aokigahara

At least Arthur Brennan didn’t want sushi, an AKB48 concert or a night out on the town with a maiko (trainee geisha) on his arm. As Japan’s ranking soars on the international travelers’ destination lists, the more cliched their itineraries seem to get. But ...