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Mark Schilling

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

Back to the love hotel for ex-pink film director

Jan 28, 2015

Back to the love hotel for ex-pink film director

Interviews with people you know well can turn awkward if you try to be the probing questioner instead of the coffee-shop companion. No such worries with 61-year-old Ryuichi Hiroki, the former pink film (i.e., soft pornography) director who made his commercial and critical breakthrough ...

Killers

Jan 28, 2015

Killers

Directors: Timo Tjahjanto, Kimo Stamboel Language: Japanese, Indonesian, English (subtitles in English) Cross-border cooperation takes on a bizarre new twist in this Indonesian thriller starring Kazuki Kitamura as a slick businessman turned sick serial killer. His online snuff videos attract the attention of an ...

Sayonara Kabukicho: Life and love in Shinjuku's red-light district

Jan 21, 2015

Sayonara Kabukicho: Life and love in Shinjuku's red-light district

Ryuichi Hiroki has become a victim of his own success, though his studio employers probably don’t see it that way. This one-time maker of so-called pink films (i.e., soft pornography), who became internationally celebrated for intimate indie dramas like “Vibrator” from 2003 and “Yawarakai ...

Eclipse Series 42: Silent Ozu — Three Crime Dramas

Jan 21, 2015

Eclipse Series 42: Silent Ozu — Three Crime Dramas

Director: Yasujiro Ozu Language: Japanese (subtitles in English) Best known abroad for his postwar family dramas, Yasujiro Ozu was, in reality, a more diverse filmmaker, especially in his early silent period. Criterion has put together a box set of three Ozu crime dramas from ...

A longer look at the problems of 'Unbroken'

Jan 14, 2015

A longer look at the problems of 'Unbroken'

Why can’t “Unbroken” — Angelina Jolie’s hit World War II drama — catch a break in Japan? There are presently no plans to release the film here in theaters, on DVD or online, even though it has a strong Japan focus as well as ...

Thermae Romae 2

Jan 14, 2015

Thermae Romae 2

Director: Hideki Takeuchi Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) The sequel to the hit 2012 time-traveling comedy “Thermae Romae” again features bathhouse architect Lucius Modestus (Hiroshi Abe) from ancient Rome, who finds fresh inspiration in the mysterious Land of the Flat-Faced Slaves (i.e., present-day Japan). ...

100 Yen Love: Punching your way out of an old paper bag

Jan 7, 2015

100 Yen Love: Punching your way out of an old paper bag

Boxing films share a similar arc, typically climaxing in a big bout that decides everything — at least everything relevant to the hero’s fate. This does not always means triumph, as fans of the “Rocky” series know, but even in defeat the hero usually ...

Yamamoto Isoroku (Isoroku)

Jan 7, 2015

Yamamoto Isoroku (Isoroku)

Director: Izuru Narushima Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Izuru Narushima’s well-crafted drama about the admiral who was the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, has the look of a flag-waving Japanese war film — Yamamoto’s success meant he was revered as a war hero. ...

What if 'The Interview' had been made in Japan?

Jan 1, 2015

What if 'The Interview' had been made in Japan?

It couldn’t happen here — that was my first takeaway from the massive cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment prompted by the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy “The Interview.” In the film, the two heroes journey to North Korea ostensibly to interview its real-life ...