Monster-film maker tackles other big menace

Aug 15, 2013

Monster-film maker tackles other big menace

Norman England is the world’s leading non-Japanese expert on all things Godzilla, if hours logged on the set are any measure. From 1999 to 2004, he spent, by his own estimate, 150 days at Toho Studios watching the king of kaiju (monsters) come to ...

When young creators answer the big city's siren call

Aug 15, 2013

When young creators answer the big city's siren call

Veteran scriptwriter and director Toshiyuki Morioka had more than a professional interest in making his new film “Jokyo Monogatari.” Based on an autobiographical manga by Rieko Saibara, its story of an aspiring artist coming to Tokyo to learn her trade and make her fortune ...

'Jokyo Monogatari'

Aug 15, 2013

'Jokyo Monogatari'

So many Japanese have relocated to Tokyo over the years to make their fortunes — or simply to escape rural poverty — that there is a word to describe the act: jōkyō (which the dictionary defines as “proceeding to the capital [Tokyo]“). Something similar ...

Various Toho war films

Aug 15, 2013

Various Toho war films

Director: Various Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Amazon Spain is selling Spanish/English-subbed DVDs of old Toho war movies, including 1963′s “Taiheiyo no Tsubasa (Attack Squadron!),” with Toshiro Mifune starring as a fighter squadron leader, and 1968′s “Rengo Kantai Shirei Chokan: Yamamoto Isoroku (Admiral Yamamoto),” ...

'Homesick'

Aug 8, 2013

'Homesick'

I once had a promising career as a teacher at a city day-care center in Hollywood (yes, that Hollywood). For one thing, I enjoyed interacting (translation: playing) with my charges, mostly African-American kids aged 9 to 12. For another, I liked making stuff with ...

'Eiga: Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de (The After-Dinner Mysteries)'

Aug 1, 2013

'Eiga: Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de (The After-Dinner Mysteries)'

Japanese love mysteries, in print and on the screen, but foreigners, by and large, don’t take to Japanese mystery movies. For decades, Japanese producers were happy to concentrate on the big domestic market for local whodunit films, while making only half-hearted attempts to sell ...

'Kurenai no Buta (Porco Rosso)'

Aug 1, 2013

'Kurenai no Buta (Porco Rosso)'

Director: Hayao Miyazaki Language: Japanese (English subs/dub) Hayao Miyazaki’s 1992 anime “Kurenai no Buta (Porco Rosso)” is now available in Japan as a multi-language-subbed/dubbed Blu-ray. This action-fantasy about a porcine World War I pilot who battles air pirates while vying with a rival for ...

Jul 25, 2013

There's a royal problem in portraying the ruler

Akira Kurosawa once told me that if he were to make a film about the Emperor, “I would probably be killed. … Even if the film were highly positive, just the fact that I was using the Emperor as a character would be enough ...

'Akaboshi'

Jul 25, 2013

'Akaboshi'

I used to attract proselytizers, usually some variety of Christian, when I was thumbing around the United States in the early 1970s. Unlike most drivers who offered me rides, they didn’t want a captive ear for their personal confessions or rants. Instead they relentlessly ...

'Shokuzai (Penance)'

Jul 25, 2013

'Shokuzai (Penance)'

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) YesAsia has started selling an English-subbed Hong Kong version of “Shokuzai (Penance),” Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s five-part chiller about a mother (Kyoko Koizumi) who yearns for karmic retribution against the classmates of her dead daughter, who saw her ...