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'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, ...

'Survival Family': Soft-pedaling through dystopia

/ Feb 8, 2017

'Survival Family': Soft-pedaling through dystopia

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To Hollywood, “dystopian future” usually means invading aliens, exotic technology and gigantic explosions. Shinobu Yaguchi’s “Survival Family” posits an alternative, more mundane cause of civilizational collapse: Japan’s electric grid suddenly freezes up, like a laptop that’s been doused with hot coffee. Televisions go blank, ...

'Suffragette': The strength of women

/ Jan 25, 2017

'Suffragette': The strength of women

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Believe it or not, “Suffragette” is the first feature film out of Britain to focus exclusively on the suffragette movement. What took the country so long? Completed last year, it has finally made it to Japan, and in the light of all that’s happening ...

'Snowden': Making a hero of the 'robot nerd'

/ Jan 25, 2017

'Snowden': Making a hero of the 'robot nerd'

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Just the other day, there was President Barack Obama on the telly, giving his farewell address to the American people. “Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted,” he said gravely. “It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous ...