Film Topics

'Sad Tea'

Jun 5, 2014

'Sad Tea'

by Mark Schilling

Ensemble dramas about the ups and downs of love, and its various substitutes, are popular now — at least with indie filmmakers. (A contrast to Japan’s commercial romantic dramas, which still focus on star-crossed couples, one of whom is usually dead by the closing ...

'Balancing Act'

Jun 5, 2014

'Balancing Act'

by Kaori Shoji

It’s a sad, anxious world when a hard-working dad has no choice but to sleep in his car and eat at a soup kitchen. Such is the fate of 40-year-old Giulio (Valerio Mastandrea), whose act of infidelity (sex with a colleague in the archives ...

'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

Jun 5, 2014

'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

by Giovanni Fazio

Wes Anderson has always been a bit of a mystery to me. His films are remarkably consistent in their approach and stylistic idiosyncrasies, yet they seem equally capable of leaving me rapturous (“Moonrise Kingdom”) or cold (“The Darjeeling Limited”). I’m not alone here: Check ...

'Redemption'

Jun 5, 2014

'Redemption'

by Kaori Shoji

What would British action movies be without Jason Statham? As quiet as a wake for an old man with no friends. Thankfully, Statham is still at the top of his game, even if his new movie, “Redemption,” is a bit of a muddle. Strutting ...

'Pompeii'

Jun 5, 2014

'Pompeii'

by Giovanni Fazio

Perhaps it’s a mistake to expect anything more from Paul W.S. Anderson — the director of the never-ending “Resident Evil” series and generic fare such as “Alien vs. Predator” — but I was hoping for something more than a shameless rip-off of “Gladiator” with ...

'Monsterz'

May 28, 2014

'Monsterz'

by Mark Schilling

Hollywood has been remaking Asian films for a long time now, but over the past decade Korean movies have become the focus of remakers attention. One reason is that hit Korean films are often based on the sort of “high concepts” (easy-to-grasp premises) that ...

'Adore'

May 28, 2014

'Adore'

by Kaori Shoji

Sometimes the Japanese title for a foreign film manages to grasp the very essence of the story and display it with the deft, loving care of a jeweler placing a necklace in a glass case. The Japanese title for “Adore” (previously known as “Two ...

'Inside Llewyn Davis'

May 28, 2014

'Inside Llewyn Davis'

by Giovanni Fazio

The Coen Brothers are exceptional among American filmmakers for having had a long and prosperous career without ever significantly watering down or altering their sensibility along the way. You could draw a line from their indie debut “Blood Simple” through to Oscar-winners “Fargo” and ...

'One Minute More'

May 28, 2014

'One Minute More'

by Kaori Shoji

Taiwan has a thriving movie industry that often tips its hat to Japanese culture. For Japanese viewers, the references to AKB48, Tokyo and Japanese food make us feel that much closer to Taiwanese cinema. And now there’s “One Minute More,” based on “Ippunkan Dake,” a best-selling ...

'X-Men: Days of Future Past'

May 28, 2014

'X-Men: Days of Future Past'

by Giovanni Fazio

The new “X-Men” plays like “The Terminator” crossed with “American Hustle” via “12 Monkeys.” Given that the series has spawned six films over 14 years, non-fans may need to do some homework to catch up before viewing. In a future where mutants have been ...

'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” — ...