Film Topics

Vampire Academy

Jul 30, 2014

Vampire Academy

by Giovanni Fazio

Knock-off; noun: a copy or imitation of something popular. Knock off; transitive verb: to do hurriedly or routinely. Meeting both definitions is “Vampire Academy,” a tween-targeted novel franchise penned by Richelle Mead, which has been adapted to the big screen as a lazy, deja-vu-inducing ...

Ida

Jul 30, 2014

Ida

by Kaori Shoji

Pawel Pawlikowski has a solid reputation in Europe — especially Britain, for award-winners such as “Summer of Love” (2004) and “Last Resort” (2000). But after spending his entire film career away from home, Pawlikowski returned to his native Poland to try something different. “Ida” ...

Mea Culpa (Tomoyo, Saraba to Iou)

Jul 30, 2014

Mea Culpa (Tomoyo, Saraba to Iou)

by Giovanni Fazio

People often talk about French films as if they were nothing but talky and arty, but the French have a fine tradition of policiers: tough, hardboiled cop and crime movies such as “Le Cercle Rouge” (1970) or “Un Prophete” (2009). “Mea Culpa” is one ...

Love beyond the realms of erotic cinema

Jul 23, 2014

Love beyond the realms of erotic cinema

by Mark Schilling

The varieties of love are many: From the chaste and platonic, to the sexually uninhibited and emotionally obsessed. In a long career as a pinku eiga (pink film) director Yuji Tajiri has concentrated on the latter end of the scale, but in his latest ...

Sunshine on Leith

Jul 23, 2014

Sunshine on Leith

by Kaori Shoji

Who wouldn’t want a man that walks 500 miles (and 500 more) just to be with you? In 1988 the Scottish band The Proclaimers released their album “Sunshine on Leith” featuring the song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” which had all the buoyant freshness ...

Godzilla

Jul 23, 2014

Godzilla

by Giovanni Fazio

The old Godzilla movies made by Japan’s Toho studio between 1954 and 2004 were B-grade monster movies. They were cheesy and primitive, for the most part, but displayed the charm of inventive filmmakers who were trying to transcend the limitations of budget and technology ...

Attila Marcel

Jul 23, 2014

Attila Marcel

by Kaori Shoji

French animation director Sylvain Chomet debuted in 2003 with “The Triplets of Belleville,” a five-course meal of a film, rich with a surreal visual style and Gallic wit, and followed it up with “The Illusionist,” a gorgeous adaptation of a Jacques Tati film. Now ...

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 ...