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Mark Schilling

For Mark Schilling's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

'The Long Excuse': Can a jerk find redemption?

/ Oct 12, 2016

'The Long Excuse': Can a jerk find redemption?

Miwa Nishikawa has made films about various sorts of scapegraces and con artists, but her latest, “The Long Excuse,” may be her first about a certifiable jerk. There’s no other way to describe Sachio Kinugasa (Masahiro Motoki), a middle-aged celebrity novelist who pontificates on ...

My Dad and Mr. Ito: No one can be daddy's girl forever

/ Oct 5, 2016

My Dad and Mr. Ito: No one can be daddy's girl forever

The opening of Yuki Tanada’s new film “My Dad and Mr. Ito” promises a comedy of the quirky family variety. The 34-year-old Aya (Juri Ueno) and her 54-year-old lover (Lily Franky), whom she calls “Ito-san” (Mr. Ito), are living in age-inappropriate, tight-budgeted bliss when ...

'Harmonium': Dangerously good family drama

/ Sep 28, 2016

'Harmonium': Dangerously good family drama

The films of Koji Fukada have long wrapped ambitious themes in deceptively unassuming genre packages. His 2011 international breakout “Hospitalite” (“Kantai”) begins as a quirky comedy but becomes a sharp-edged drama of deceptions and secrets. Last year’s “Sayonara” starts as an offbeat essay in ...

'Scoop!': Read all about it here

/ Sep 21, 2016

'Scoop!': Read all about it here

Japanese weekly scandal magazines are pond scum, are they not? Dishing up grainy paparazzi photos of the famous and powerful, accompanied by wink-wink stories about improprieties and crimes — alleged or exposed — they appeal to the lowest common denominator, with their only raison ...

Yuki Tanada's new film sees the humor in societal changes

Sep 17, 2016

Yuki Tanada's new film sees the humor in societal changes

The Japanese women directors who have been gaining attention in the past two decades, beginning with frequent Cannes invitee Naomi Kawase, tend to be serious types, understandably. Their struggle for respect and recognition in a male-dominated industry is difficult enough — and goofy comedies ...

'Someone's Xylophone': Yoichi Higashi hits an unusual tone

/ Sep 14, 2016

'Someone's Xylophone': Yoichi Higashi hits an unusual tone

Yoichi Higashi has made everything from commercial hits to festival favorites in his five-plus decades as a director, while taking up politically sensitive subjects and unpopular issues. His 1992 smash “The Bridge with No River” (“Hashi no Nai Kawa”) depicted the raw prejudice endured ...

The delicate notes of 'Someone's Xylophone'

Sep 7, 2016

The delicate notes of 'Someone's Xylophone'

Japanese directors now routinely do dozens of media interviews to publicize their new films, especially if they are on the indie end of the spectrum. The stars of said films also sit down with the press, if not as commonly, but though I have ...

'Karate Kill': Kick back to a good old action film

/ Sep 7, 2016

'Karate Kill': Kick back to a good old action film

Back in the 1990s, a British trade magazine sent me to Los Angeles every November to report on the American Film Market — then mostly an emporium of cheapo genre films, held at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. It was the heyday of the ...