'Paddington': Can the 'other bear' crack the Japanese market?

Jan 13, 2016

'Paddington': Can the 'other bear' crack the Japanese market?

‘I can’t pinpoint the exact reason, but Paddington remains a somewhat distant character for me.” So wrote teddy bear aficionado Satomi Terakawa in an email interview. Terakawa harbors a lifelong love for stuffed toy bears, and spent 15 years designing and making teddy bears ...

Brutal true story behind 'Moby Dick'

Jan 13, 2016

Brutal true story behind 'Moby Dick'

Finally we can start talking about something other than “the force” and how a guy in New York had his name legally changed to Darth Vader. “In the Heart of the Sea” is opening this weekend, and it’s an adventure story on a whole ...

A golden year for aging stars in film

| Jan 13, 2016

A golden year for aging stars in film

A while back we heard that 50 is the new 30, but Hollywood has gone beyond that, as a whole new reserve corps of talent is emerging to tell us that 70 is the new 35, and that at 60 you’re a mere baby. ...

'The Forest' can't see the woods for the props

| Jan 8, 2016

'The Forest' can't see the woods for the props

Mount Fuji now has worldwide fame thanks to its World Heritage status, but less-known is the fact that some of the surrounding area — specifically the Aokigahara Jukai forest — is a suicide hot spot. This is common knowledge among Japanese, especially those who ...

Spielberg captures Cold War fears in 'Bridge of Spies'

Jan 6, 2016

Spielberg captures Cold War fears in 'Bridge of Spies'

Mankind owes much to Steven Spielberg. Without him, many of us would never have known the existence of Oskar Schindler (“Schindler’s List”), become aware of the events behind the Munich Olympics in 1972 (“Munich”), seen the U.S. slave trade depicted in a major Hollywood ...

Setsuko Hara and the changing face of Japanese womanhood

Jan 1, 2016

Setsuko Hara and the changing face of Japanese womanhood

At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, Yasujiro Ozu’s “Tokyo Story” remains on my list of least favorite movies. I’m in good company — every woman I know dislikes it, and the passing of the film’s star, Setsuko Hara (at 95 years old), in September ...

Del Toro's 'Crimson Peak' alluring but far from scary

Dec 30, 2015

Del Toro's 'Crimson Peak' alluring but far from scary

Real estate, sexual passion and family secrets are crammed into the atmospheric thriller “Crimson Peak,” directed by Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Pacific Rim”). I have an inkling Del Toro dislikes modern society and abhors modern notions of security. His films always unfold in ...