Takeshi Kitano and the men who watch women sleeping

Feb 24, 2016

Takeshi Kitano and the men who watch women sleeping

An older man, a much younger woman and a mystery that surrounds their relationship — for the Japanese, it’s a familiar story. The woman doesn’t say much, letting her youthful allure and beauty do most of the talking. The man doesn’t say much either; ...

Meryl Streep as a runaway rocker in 'Ricki and the Flash'

Feb 24, 2016

Meryl Streep as a runaway rocker in 'Ricki and the Flash'

It has been seven long years since Jonathan Demme came out with what is popularly known as a “woman’s movie” (don’t say “chick flick” — there’s a difference) with “Rachel Getting Married.” In many ways, “Ricki and the Flash” feels like the sequel to ...

Introducing the complex refugee experience to Japan

Feb 10, 2016

Introducing the complex refugee experience to Japan

The plight of refugees is dauntingly hard to comprehend for the majority of Japanese who have been brought up believing they live in a racially homogeneous nation. (Let’s reserve the falseness of this belief for another story.) Eri Ishikawa, chair of the board of ...

'The Martian' has thrills for the sci-fi nerd in everyone

Feb 4, 2016

'The Martian' has thrills for the sci-fi nerd in everyone

‘The Martian” (released in Japan as “Odyssey”) is one of those movies where you kick yourself afterward for not having read the book first. Otherwise, you’ll be going into this unprepared for the blasts of wondrousness, which hit you right in the eyes and ...

Japan's epic samurai dramas are in a tight spot

Feb 3, 2016

Japan's epic samurai dramas are in a tight spot

Japanese can roughly be split into two camps: those equipped with an encyclopedic knowledge of history and those who have only a vague idea of who the samurai were or that a Shogun once lived in what is now the Imperial Palace. The history ...