'Watashi no Otoko (My Man)'

Jun 19, 2014

'Watashi no Otoko (My Man)'

Based on a novel by Kazuki Sakuraba, Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s “Watashi no Otoko (My Man)” is described as a film about forbidden love, which immediately raises the question of what, if anything, is “forbidden” in this day and age. In Kumakiri’s other films — such ...

'Gatchaman'

Jun 19, 2014

'Gatchaman'

Director: Toya Sato Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Toya Sato’s live-action version of the 40-year-old “Gatchaman” anime features plenty of CGI action, as the five suited heros fight to save the earth from an evil organization called Galactor. This is an attempt to compete ...

'Sweet Poolside'

Jun 12, 2014

'Sweet Poolside'

Puberty is a time of physical changes that range from the wondrous to the excruciating, but once accomplished are soon forgotten. The beard that greets you in the mirror, which once seemed miraculous and strange, is now just one more morning chore. As Daigo ...

T'ora! Tora! Tora!'

Jun 12, 2014

T'ora! Tora! Tora!'

Director: Richard Fleischer Language: English, Japanese (subtitled in English) Originally a collaboration between 20th Century Fox and Akira Kurosawa, this 1970 film changed drastically when Kurosawa suffered a nervous breakdown on set. Despite Richard Fleischer’s plodding direction the film’s epic set pieces make it ...

'Sad Tea'

Jun 5, 2014

'Sad Tea'

Ensemble dramas about the ups and downs of love, and its various substitutes, are popular now — at least with indie filmmakers. (A contrast to Japan’s commercial romantic dramas, which still focus on star-crossed couples, one of whom is usually dead by the closing ...

'Koroshi no Rakuin (Branded to Kill)'

Jun 5, 2014

'Koroshi no Rakuin (Branded to Kill)'

Director: Seijun Suzuki Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Seijun Suzuki’s notorious 1967 cult-favorite film, “Koroshi no Rakuin (Branded to Kill)” may have a genre-standard plot — a hit man (Jo Shishido) bungles a job and has to go on the run — but it ...

Photo series charts the family unit in changing Japan

May 30, 2014

Photo series charts the family unit in changing Japan

Family photos in Japan, especially ones taken for formal occasions such as shichi-go-san (seven-five-three) ceremonies, are often as stiffly posed as 19th-century tintypes, with Mom, Dad and Junior never cracking a smile. When American photographer Bruce Osborn began taking photos of parents and children ...

Short-film festival offers flicks for free

May 29, 2014

Short-film festival offers flicks for free

Short films are today both everywhere but nowhere, even for many who consider themselves film fans. With digital cameras and other filmmaking gear becoming ever more affordable, the number of short films in every genre is exploding. But little of this huge output plays ...

Godfather of J-horror escapes from genre's grip

May 28, 2014

Godfather of J-horror escapes from genre's grip

Hideo Nakata could be called the godfather of contemporary Japanese horror, but he would probably hate the label. Regardless, this 52-year-old director of such genre classics as “Ring,” “Ring 2″ and “Honogurai Mizu no Soko kara (Dark Water)” has made J-horror — a combination ...