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'River': sink, swim or keep running

/ Mar 8, 2017

'River': sink, swim or keep running

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Up until about 10 years ago, being a white man in Southeast Asia meant you did pretty much what you pleased and damn the consequences, at least in the realm of fictional cinema. (See Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Beach.”) Often, the characters are thrown ...

'Snow Woman': chillingly modern

/ Mar 1, 2017

'Snow Woman': chillingly modern

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The Japanese folklore story of the “Snow Woman” has been told in many places, in many ways, and in many versions, but best-known is that of Lafcadio Hearn, the Greek-Irish writer who published it in his 1904 collection, “Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange ...

'Man Down': War injuries go beyond the battlefield

/ Feb 22, 2017

'Man Down': War injuries go beyond the battlefield

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‘Man Down” is an indictment of war, and its message is one that focuses on its terrible lingering consequences — specifically, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With many ending up homeless, suffering mental difficulties or becoming suicidal, PTSD is a real issue. ...

'La La Land': Sometimes we need a trip to la-la land

/ Feb 22, 2017

'La La Land': Sometimes we need a trip to la-la land

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La-la land: the mental state of someone who is not aware of what is really happening, and a nickname for the American entertainment industry centered on Los Angeles. These two meanings bleed into each other in director Damien Chazelle’s multi-Oscar-nominated musical, “La La Land,” ...

'Close Knit': The pride that breaks the prejudice

/ Feb 22, 2017

'Close Knit': The pride that breaks the prejudice

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Japan would seem to be a paradise for LGBT people. Transgender “talents” have been appearing regularly on Japanese TV for decades and LGBT folks can walk the streets here with little fear. But dig below Japan’s surface tolerance for sexual minorities, as Naoko Ogigami ...

'Cell': Sometimes it's better to just hang up

/ Feb 15, 2017

'Cell': Sometimes it's better to just hang up

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After seeing “Cell” I wanted to call my grandmother who, with the emergence of the world’s first iPhone in June of 2007, predicted the end of civilization as we know it. Five months later she passed away, and some of my cousins whispered that ...

'Weiner': America's walking, talking punch line

/ Feb 15, 2017

'Weiner': America's walking, talking punch line

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If you feel like your cinematic diet has been a bit lacking in schadenfreude lately, then look no further than “Weiner,” an astounding internet-age documentary of hubris and disgrace, where no stupid behavior, once recorded, ever disappears. Who, you may ask, is Weiner? Well, ...