Daijobu 3 Kumi (Nobody's Perfect)

Nov 12, 2014

Daijobu 3 Kumi (Nobody's Perfect)

Director: Ryuichi Hiroki Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Based on Hirotada Ototake’s autobiographical novel about teaching in a primary school despite being born without arms and legs, Ryuichi Hiroki’s classroom drama was obviously made to educate and inspire. The film does not gloss over ...

Parasyte: Gory invasion of the cannibal body snatchers

Nov 5, 2014

Parasyte: Gory invasion of the cannibal body snatchers

The closing film of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, Takashi Yamazaki’s “Kiseiju: Part 1 (Parasyte: Part 1),” arrives in theaters with a lot of hype. Based on Hitoshi Iwaaki’s best-selling manga about the stealth invasion of Earth by alien parasites, the film is ...

Eien no 0 (The Eternal Zero)

Nov 5, 2014

Eien no 0 (The Eternal Zero)

Director: Takashi Yamazaki Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Takashi Yamazaki’s 2013 film about World War II kamikaze pilots generated both big box-office receipts and major controversy. Boiled down, it’s about one pilot’s wish to return home alive, despite being branded a coward by his ...

Pale Moon: Bored bank teller embraces the root of all evil

Oct 29, 2014

Pale Moon: Bored bank teller embraces the root of all evil

American bank robber Willie Sutton, who allegedly made more than $2 million over a 40-year criminal career, once told a reporter that he robbed banks because “that’s where the money is.” In the usual heist movie, however — with Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing” (1956) ...

Hayao Miyazaki Collection

Oct 29, 2014

Hayao Miyazaki Collection

Director: Hayao Miyazaki Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Now that 73-year-old Hayao Miyazaki has retired from directing feature animations (die-hard fans still hope that his “never” means “maybe”), the time has come for career summations. One comes in the form of the Hayao Miyazaki ...

Spooky tales from beyond the grave

Oct 25, 2014

Spooky tales from beyond the grave

Ghost stories are universal, but Japanese ghost stories, argues Zack Davisson in “Yurei: The Japanese Ghost,” are unique. So much so that Davisson, a translator and essayist who is something of a specialist in the supernatural, uses yūrei, the Japanese word for spook, throughout ...

Vision of anime's future at Tokyo International Film Festival

Oct 22, 2014

Vision of anime's future at Tokyo International Film Festival

The Tokyo International Film Festival, running through Oct. 31, is no longer Asia’s biggest or most important festival — that honor is now claimed by the recently held rival Busan film festival. But its 27th edition — the first to reflect the full influence ...

TIFF Critic's Picks: Japanese directors to watch

Oct 22, 2014

TIFF Critic's Picks: Japanese directors to watch

Despite TIFF’s anime focus this year, its lineup of live-action Japanese films is as wide ranging as ever, with one glaring exception: Classic Japanese movies are almost nowhere on the program, and only one Japanese film, Daisuke Yoshida’s “Kami no Tsuki (Pale Moon),” is ...

Kiyosu Kaigi (The Kiyosu Conference)

Oct 22, 2014

Kiyosu Kaigi (The Kiyosu Conference)

Director: Koki Mitani Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) A historic 1582 conference to decide the fate of the shogunate following warlord Oda Nobunaga’s death may not sound like the stuff of comedy, but Koki Mitani extracts laughs from the schemes and foibles of the ...