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Mark Schilling

For Mark Schilling's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Gross-out gags make 'Gintama' a miss

/ Jul 5, 2017

Gross-out gags make 'Gintama' a miss

Some actors have a knack for picking good material. And some, like Shun Oguri, drift from stinker to stinker: "Museum," "Terra Formars," "Galaxy Turnpike," "Lupin the Third." Still considered a box-office force despite this dismal track record, Oguri stars in "Gintama," the live-action adaptation of ...

Issey Ogata finds wonderland in Riga in 'Magic Kimono'

Jun 28, 2017

Issey Ogata finds wonderland in Riga in 'Magic Kimono'

Issey Ogata has built his career on virtuoso one-man theater shows in which he changes characters, from drunken salaryman to female fishmonger, as easily as other actors change clothes, while amusing audiences and winning critical accolades with sui generis portrayals that dig down to ...

Dean Fujioka evokes sympathy for the con man in 'Marriage'

/ Jun 28, 2017

Dean Fujioka evokes sympathy for the con man in 'Marriage'

Marriage scammers in the movies may be masters of deception, but their motives are usually clear enough. In Charlie Chaplin's "Monsieur Verdoux" (1947) the title character weds and murders widows to support his family. In Miwa Nishikawa's "Dreams for Sale" (2012), a husband and ...

Don't follow this scary Pied Piper to the cinema

/ Jun 21, 2017

Don't follow this scary Pied Piper to the cinema

Released in 2003, Takashi Shimizu's "Ju-on: The Grudge" and "Ju-on: The Grudge 2" both had a simple premise — vengeful ghosts turn an ordinary suburban house into a death trap — but the scares, such as a kohl-eyed dead boy with a terrifying grip, ...

A scorched-earth fix to a celebrity scandal

| Jun 15, 2017

A scorched-earth fix to a celebrity scandal

Scandals can send a celebrity's career careening off a cliff. This is especially true in Japan, where minor violations of the social code can lead to major personal repercussions. But even by Japanese standards the fallout from the June 2 arrest of actor Ryo Hashizume, ...

Sion Sono serves up some blood-sucking fun in 'Tokyo Vampire Hotel'

Jun 14, 2017

Sion Sono serves up some blood-sucking fun in 'Tokyo Vampire Hotel'

Vampires have been a staple of Western pop culture since Bram Stoker published his best-selling novel "Dracula" in 1897. The hit "Twilight" series of films (2008-12) made the monsters hot again as millions of teens swooned to the romance of Bella (Kristen Stewart) and ...

Kendo drama 'Mukoku' takes a stab at Showa Era sports spirit

/ Jun 14, 2017

Kendo drama 'Mukoku' takes a stab at Showa Era sports spirit

One of the attractions of Asian martial arts for many Westerners (including this one) is the promise of self-improvement that goes beyond better street fighting. In Kazuyoshi Kumakiri's "Mukoku," a turgid film set in the kendo world, mastery of the sword is supposed to not ...