Film Topics

Lost in a dingy maze of booze, sex and crime

Jul 30, 2014

Lost in a dingy maze of booze, sex and crime

by Mark Schilling

Golden-gai, a warren of tiny bars near Shinjuku’s Kabukicho entertainment district, has long been a refuge for writers, musicians, filmmakers and other artistic types, who congregate at drinking establishments with like-minded patrons. The area also has a seedier, less reputable side, which is graphically ...

Hope (So-won/Negai)

Jul 30, 2014

Hope (So-won/Negai)

by Kaori Shoji

It was every parent’s worst nightmare: In South Korea in 2008, an 8-year-old girl was abducted and violently raped on her way to school. The perpetrator was caught and the girl identified her attacker, but she still had to appear at a public trial ...

Vampire Academy

Jul 30, 2014

Vampire Academy

by Giovanni Fazio

Knock-off; noun: a copy or imitation of something popular. Knock off; transitive verb: to do hurriedly or routinely. Meeting both definitions is “Vampire Academy,” a tween-targeted novel franchise penned by Richelle Mead, which has been adapted to the big screen as a lazy, deja-vu-inducing ...

Ida

Jul 30, 2014

Ida

by Kaori Shoji

Pawel Pawlikowski has a solid reputation in Europe — especially Britain, for award-winners such as “Summer of Love” (2004) and “Last Resort” (2000). But after spending his entire film career away from home, Pawlikowski returned to his native Poland to try something different. “Ida” ...

Mea Culpa (Tomoyo, Saraba to Iou)

Jul 30, 2014

Mea Culpa (Tomoyo, Saraba to Iou)

by Giovanni Fazio

People often talk about French films as if they were nothing but talky and arty, but the French have a fine tradition of policiers: tough, hardboiled cop and crime movies such as “Le Cercle Rouge” (1970) or “Un Prophete” (2009). “Mea Culpa” is one ...

Love beyond the realms of erotic cinema

Jul 23, 2014

Love beyond the realms of erotic cinema

by Mark Schilling

The varieties of love are many: From the chaste and platonic, to the sexually uninhibited and emotionally obsessed. In a long career as a pinku eiga (pink film) director Yuji Tajiri has concentrated on the latter end of the scale, but in his latest ...

Sunshine on Leith

Jul 23, 2014

Sunshine on Leith

by Kaori Shoji

Who wouldn’t want a man that walks 500 miles (and 500 more) just to be with you? In 1988 the Scottish band The Proclaimers released their album “Sunshine on Leith” featuring the song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” which had all the buoyant freshness ...

Godzilla

Jul 23, 2014

Godzilla

by Giovanni Fazio

The old Godzilla movies made by Japan’s Toho studio between 1954 and 2004 were B-grade monster movies. They were cheesy and primitive, for the most part, but displayed the charm of inventive filmmakers who were trying to transcend the limitations of budget and technology ...

Attila Marcel

Jul 23, 2014

Attila Marcel

by Kaori Shoji

French animation director Sylvain Chomet debuted in 2003 with “The Triplets of Belleville,” a five-course meal of a film, rich with a surreal visual style and Gallic wit, and followed it up with “The Illusionist,” a gorgeous adaptation of a Jacques Tati film. Now ...

Rewind This!

Jul 23, 2014

Rewind This!

by Giovanni Fazio

Presumably, Josh Johnson’s amusing documentary “Rewind This!” is a trawl through the cultural history of the video tape and the people who are still attached to this format. But, more than that, it’s a portrait of a certain type of otaku fanboy: those obsessed ...

Reflections on the dark side of a tropical island

Jul 16, 2014

Reflections on the dark side of a tropical island

by Mark Schilling

Naomi Kawase was once Japan’s best-known female director abroad; now she is one of its most internationally prominent directors, regardless of gender. This change is largely due to her long association with the Cannes film festival, where her first fiction feature, “Moe no Suzaku ...

Enemy

Jul 16, 2014

Enemy

by Giovanni Fazio

Very few directors have picked up the gauntlet thrown down by David Lynch’s films such as “Lost Highway” and “Mulholland Drive.” These are films steeped in mysteries so deep that Lynch himself is positively daring audiences to wrap their heads around them; they are ...