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 ...

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 ...

Japan's filmmakers expand their idea of overseas opportunity

May 18, 2017

Japan's filmmakers expand their idea of overseas opportunity

The Japanese film industry has long been insular, making films by and for Japanese with little input from, or concern for, the outside world. One reason is that its home market is large — Japanese moviegoers buy more than 100 million tickets annually — ...