Aikawa's brainless fun in 'Deadman Inferno'

May 20, 2015

Aikawa's brainless fun in 'Deadman Inferno'

Sho Aikawa was once the tough-guy muse of Takashi Miike, appearing in films such as “Gokudo Kuroshakai” (“Rainy Dog”), “Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha” (“Dead or Alive”) and “Gokudo Kyofu Dai-gekijo: Gozu” (“Gozu”) that made the director the international “King of Cult.” The sandpapery voice, ...

All about AV, but no sex in 'Makeup Room'

May 13, 2015

All about AV, but no sex in 'Makeup Room'

Films that take the audience inside Japan’s huge and diverse porn industry have been appearing for decades. In the 1991 “Skinless Night,” Rokuro Mochizuki told a semi-autobiographical story about a porn director’s desperation to escape the business (an aim that the widely praised film ...

Is there life after death for Japan's aging women?

Apr 29, 2015

Is there life after death for Japan's aging women?

When Katsumi Sakaguchi quit working as a documentary filmmaker in the spring 2008 to look after his mother Suchie, he thought he was doing the right thing. Then 78, Suchie was suffering from what Sakaguchi describes as “mental confusion” following the death of her ...

Takeshi Kitano's gang of nursing-home yakuza

Apr 29, 2015

Takeshi Kitano's gang of nursing-home yakuza

Takeshi Kitano has had some of his biggest critical and commercial successes with gangster films, beginning with his 1993 international breakthrough “Sonatine” and continuing through to his 2012 hit “Outrage Beyond” (“Beyond Outrage”), which screened in competition at the 2012 Venice Film Festival. But ...

Surviving the night of the long tentacular knives in 'Parasyte: Part 2'

Apr 22, 2015

Surviving the night of the long tentacular knives in 'Parasyte: Part 2'

When we left Shinichi (Shota Sometani) and his inseparable parasite companion Migi at the end of Takashi Yamazaki’s 2014 sci-fi/horror hit “Kiseiju” (“Parasyte: Part 1″), the space-alien organisms who had found human hosts in the city of Higashi Fukuyama were not only slaughtering humans ...

Jidaigeki revival?

| Apr 15, 2015

Jidaigeki revival?

The jidaigeki (samurai period drama) genre, whose films and TV series featuring sword-swinging samurai once dominated popular culture here, has long since fallen on hard times. In contrast to its 1950s peak, when jidaigeki accounted for nearly half the films in theaters, the genre ...

How do you cure an allergy to money?

Apr 8, 2015

How do you cure an allergy to money?

When is a “multitalented” person too “multi”? Where is the line between extending your creative energies in new directions and spreading yourself thin? That question occurred to me after seeing the quirky comedy “Jinu yo Saraba: Kamuroba Mura E” (“A Farewell to Jinu”), Suzuki ...

'April Fools' gets the wrong end of the practical-joke schtick

Apr 2, 2015

'April Fools' gets the wrong end of the practical-joke schtick

The Japanese film industry has themed many movies around that imported holiday, Christmas, or, more specifically, Christmas Eve, which has become Japan’s date night of date nights. Even those outside the local film industry now celebrate special days that originated elsewhere, including Halloween, Valentine’s ...