Film Topics

'Oh! Father'

May 22, 2014

'Oh! Father'

by Mark Schilling

Japanese mystery writers have long supplied fodder for TV shows and films, but mysteries of the puzzle-plot sort have reached a saturation point. Or maybe it’s just me, fed up with stories that turn on such vital questions as — in the immortal words ...

'Sake Bomb'

May 22, 2014

'Sake Bomb'

by Kaori Shoji

On the one hand, I’m prepared to love this movie. Junya Sakino, director of “Sake Bomb,” gets it, as they say. He is one of a growing breed of Japanese filmmakers who studied in the U.S. and are now working there. “Sake Bomb” — ...

'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom'

May 22, 2014

'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom'

by Giovanni Fazio

The Great Man theory of history has long been a controversial one: is history shaped by exceptional men who enact change through sheer force of will, or is it the result of larger forces, like class, economics and technological progress? Cinema is an art ...

'The Bay'

May 22, 2014

'The Bay'

by Kaori Shoji

Found footage becomes a different animal under the direction of a major-league director like Barry Levinson (“Rain Man” and “Diner”). “The Bay” is plenty scary but this isn’t your usual found footage horror fare; it’s a faux documentary carrying a very real eco-message. Released ...

'Last Vegas'

May 22, 2014

'Last Vegas'

by Giovanni Fazio

“Last Vegas” is about as clever as the pun of its title. It’s a geriatric riff on “The Hangover” that features four Oscar-winning actors playing to type. Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline play old neighborhood buddies from New York ...

'Wood Job!'

May 15, 2014

'Wood Job!'

by Mark Schilling

Shinobu Yaguchi has become a consistent hit maker by following a simple formula: generate laughs from the stumbles and mistakes of heroes learning a new job, art or sport. This formula usually results in audience cheers and tears when triumph finally arrives after many ...

'Winter's Tale'

May 15, 2014

'Winter's Tale'

by Kaori Shoji

There’s something Shakespearean about “Winter’s Tale.” Perhaps it’s the way everyone talks in British or Irish accents, faked or genuine; or how the emotions seem to fester in the depths of a hot caldron; or the grandiose gestures and sweeping statements that are often ...

'After the Dark'

May 15, 2014

'After the Dark'

by Kaori Shoji

Rather than a gem, John Huddles’ “After the Dark” (original titled “The Philosophers”) is a diamond in the rough — but there’s more rough here than diamond. Still, the premise is intriguing, and so is the setting: an international school in Jakarta on the ...

'Disconnect'

May 15, 2014

'Disconnect'

by Giovanni Fazio

Nicholas Carr, in his eye-opening book “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” has poignantly observed how “When we’re online, we’re often oblivious to everything else going on around us. The real world recedes as we process the flood of symbols ...

'Post Tenebras Lux'

May 15, 2014

'Post Tenebras Lux'

by Giovanni Fazio

If you wanted to make a parody of the modern art film, you’d have a hard time making it more ridiculous than Carlos Reygadas’ glacially paced, obtuse, festival-focused film “Post Tenebras Lux,” which somehow won him Best Director at Cannes in 2012. Poetic long-take ...

'Momose, Kocchi wo Muite (My Pretend Girlfriend)'

May 8, 2014

'Momose, Kocchi wo Muite (My Pretend Girlfriend)'

by Mark Schilling

First love, or hatsukoi, is a big topic in Japanese teen films, as well as almost everywhere else in popular culture. It’s attractive because of its innocence and purity, as well as the almost inevitable fleetingness of the relationship — if indeed, it is ...

'My Little Princess (Violetta)'

May 8, 2014

'My Little Princess (Violetta)'

by Giovanni Fazio

When we talk about revenge flicks, they’re usually violent and involve someone like Charles Bronson, or Uma Thurman with a samurai sword. But there is another type of revenge flick: the autobiographical one, in which the whole raison d’etre of the film is the ...