'The Call'

Mar 27, 2014

'The Call'

Director: Brad Anderson Language: English “The Call” is an engrossing thriller, not least because of its strand of feminist empowerment. Halle Berry plays an LA 911 operator who gets a call from a girl (Abigail Breslin) who has been kidnapped and stashed in the ...

'The Broken Circle Breakdown'

Mar 20, 2014

'The Broken Circle Breakdown'

Love is supposed to crush you and marriage is the fast track to long-time despair. Such dark truisms are flung about in “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” a Belgian film whose spirit is so 20th-century Americana it may as well be draped in the Stars ...

'Saving Mr. Banks'

Mar 20, 2014

'Saving Mr. Banks'

The word “no” comes out of the lips of P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) more frequently than any other (I counted five in less than 50 seconds of screen time). She often strings them together like beads, presenting them to Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) himself, ...

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Mar 20, 2014

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Director: Thor Freudenthal Language: English Logan Lerman, star of last year’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” has another cinema identity as Percy Jackson. Despite the nerdy name, Percy is a direct descendant of Greek sea god Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) and is a pretty ...

Surviving the latest trend in American cinema

Mar 13, 2014

Surviving the latest trend in American cinema

Who is this man? The protagonist in “All is Lost” is also its sole character — an older (but astoundingly fit) stranded sailor portrayed by 77-year-old Robert Redford. He’s unnamed, and does not speak except for right at the beginning of the film when ...

'Frozen'

Mar 13, 2014

'Frozen'

Frozen” is a story of two journeys: one of Princess Anna, who wants to rescue her kingdom from a permanent winter, and the other of her older sister Elsa, who (unintentionally) generated the blizzard that has entrapped their castle and its surroundings in mile-high ...

'Philomena'

Mar 13, 2014

'Philomena'

The Catholic Church in Ireland has much to answer for in “Philomena,” the real-life story of an Irish woman who was thrown into a convent as a pregnant teenager and forcibly separated from her baby son when he was 3 years old. She spent ...

The Frozen Ground

Mar 13, 2014

The Frozen Ground

Director: Scott Walker Language: English Nicolas Cage and John Cusack, together in a crime suspense drama in Alaska: How heavenly to see two Hollywood actors who have worked since the 1980s bring solid craftsmanship to roles they could have knocked out with their eyes ...

I hereby take myself as my lawfully wedded <I>yome</I>

| Mar 9, 2014

I hereby take myself as my lawfully wedded yome

I was trudging home the other night with a dōryō (同僚, colleague) after another in a series of sābisu zangyō (サービス残業, unpaid overtime) sessions, debating whether to skip dinner or stop off at the nearest 24-hour sūpā (スーパー, supermarket). Out of the blue, my ...

'12 Years a Slave'

Mar 6, 2014

'12 Years a Slave'

It’s hard to resist comparing “12 Years a Slave” with “The Butler.” Both are based on real men and their stories — “The Butler” is an insider’s look at the black American experience from the mid 20th century to about the time Barack Obama ...