'Shin Godzilla': The metaphorical monster returns

Aug 3, 2016

'Shin Godzilla': The metaphorical monster returns

Watching “Shin Godzilla,” Toho’s reboot of its signature monster series, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the non-Japanese fans forced to read a blizzard of subtitles for this extremely talky and densely populated film, with a break every 10 minutes or so for Godzilla ...

Our favorite monster returns to terrorize Japan in 'Shin Godzilla'

Jul 28, 2016

Our favorite monster returns to terrorize Japan in 'Shin Godzilla'

After 12 years in storage (or on Monster Island) a Japanese Godzilla is roaring again. Toho film studios has revived the world’s favorite atomic-breathed monster in “Shin Godzilla,” which is set for nationwide release today. However, a lot has changed since the big guy ...

Crowdfunding offers freedom to filmmakers

Jul 27, 2016

Crowdfunding offers freedom to filmmakers

It’s not easy making indie movies in Japan. The big studios only want commercial projects with proven fan appeal, usually based on hit manga, novels or TV dramas. Given the need, government funding schemes are paltry, with much of the money going to films ...

'Ken and Kazu': The yakuza isn't all guns and glamour

Jul 20, 2016

'Ken and Kazu': The yakuza isn't all guns and glamour

Most films about the yakuza depict its members as fully formed and distinctly different from the general run of humanity, somewhat like action figures just out of the box. The reality, as Hiroshi Shoji’s “Ken and Kazu” shows us with a gritty directness and ...

'Ishibumi': Tragic history set in stone

Jul 13, 2016

'Ishibumi': Tragic history set in stone

An annual ritual on Japanese television on or around Aug. 6 is a number of special programs about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Truth be told, after many years in this country I tune out more than I tune in. Just as ...

'Desperate Sunflowers': Women on the verge of friendship

Jun 29, 2016

'Desperate Sunflowers': Women on the verge of friendship

Movies about female friendship are no longer rare: In the 25 years since the seminal “Thelma and Louise,” even the Japanese film industry has figured out that two or more women bonding on screen can be good for the box office. But what about ...