Film Topics

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 ...

Escape From Tomorrow

Jul 16, 2014

Escape From Tomorrow

by Kaori Shoji

An audacious kick-in-the-ribs at the Disney kingdom, “Escape From Tomorrow” is cool, cool stuff — albeit in a clunky and kitsch Ed Wood kind of way. Director Randy Moore made his film guerilla style by taking a small camera and stealth sound-recording equipment into ...

Blood Ties

Jul 16, 2014

Blood Ties

by Giovanni Fazio

“Blood Ties” feels a lot like a film made by someone who grew up on a diet of gritty 1970s crime flicks set in New York, made by the likes of William Friedkin, Sidney Lumet, and Martin Scorcese. Clive Owen, making a spotty attempt ...

Les Reines du Ring

Jul 16, 2014

Les Reines du Ring

by Kaori Shoji

French mothers have a reputation for being smoking, skinny bundles of alluring discontent, decked out in black dresses and heels. But now comes “Les Reines du Ring” (“Wrestling Queens”) — a delightful tale about a French mother who only wants her teenage son’s approval ...

'Maleficent'

Jul 10, 2014

'Maleficent'

by Kaori Shoji

“Maleficent” takes you on a ride into a non-kiddie realm of betrayal, vengeance and mother-daughter brouhaha. Is that a good thing for a Disney audience? On the other hand, look at “Frozen,” which dealt with some sibling rivalry and female empowerment issues. That worked, ...

'Omoide no Marnie (When Marnie Was There)'

Jul 9, 2014

'Omoide no Marnie (When Marnie Was There)'

by Mark Schilling

Since its start nearly three decades ago, Studio Ghibli has been dominated by the creativity of co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. But since the turn of the millennium, five of its 10 feature films have been made by other, younger directors. One reason ...

'Into Great Silence'

Jul 9, 2014

'Into Great Silence'

by Kaori Shoji

Imagine a movie that’s not a movie at all, but an act of contemplation. This is “Into Great Silence.” Sometimes a prayer, more often a rumination, it’s a film that sprung from one man’s urge for silence. Director Philip Groning wanted to make a ...

'The Dance of Reality'

Jul 9, 2014

'The Dance of Reality'

by Giovanni Fazio

Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky blew people’s minds with two of the hippie era’s most esoteric movies: “El Topo” (1970) and “The Holy Mountain” (1973). They were midnight-movie megahits, praised to the heavens by the likes of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and it seemed ...

'Fading Gigolo'

Jul 9, 2014

'Fading Gigolo'

by Giovanni Fazio

John Turturro is a fine actor, and can certainly do comedy when he wants to — he stole the show with the briefest of cameos in “The Big Lebowski” (1998) — so it’s hard to figure out what went wrong with “Fading Gigolo,” which ...

'The Devil's Violinist'

Jul 9, 2014

'The Devil's Violinist'

by Kaori Shoji

This is a tribute to Niccolo Paganini, the 19th-century violinist often resurrected on screen, mainly for his utter, utter hotness — it was said Paganini didn’t make a distinction between the Stradivarius in his hand and whatever lady he happened to fancy at that ...