Film Topics

'Live'

May 1, 2014

'Live'

by Mark Schilling

When I was 12 I thought the movie parodies in “Mad” magazine were hilarious. Now I suppose I’m harder to please — or just older — but parodies that self-consciously mock their source, while cutely paying homage to it, quickly put me in a ...

'Withnail & I'

May 1, 2014

'Withnail & I'

by Giovanni Fazio

Kichijoji’s storied Baus Theater will be closing its doors on June 10, but it is going out with a bang, reviving a bunch of its most popular hits from the past three decades, including “El Topo,” “Sid & Nancy,” “Picnic” and “Dark Star.” The ...

'Labor Day'

May 1, 2014

'Labor Day'

by Kaori Shoji

There’s nothing like an extremely stressful situation to bring people together. Keanu Reeves said something like that in “Speed,” and by the end of the movie he had a relationship in the works with Sandra Bullock. By the sequel, though, they had already broken ...

'A2-B-C'

May 1, 2014

'A2-B-C'

by Giovanni Fazio

Too much of the conversation on the Fukushima No.1 nuclear accident is driven by ideologues — sensationalist bloggers predicting the extermination of mankind on the one hand and, on the other, nuclear industry shills insisting plutonium inhalation is just like eating bananas — when ...

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

Apr 24, 2014

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

by Kaori Shoji

Spider-Man returns once again — something other superheroes also have a tendency of doing. Marvel Comics’ entomological superhero, aka Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), is up to his web-spinning ways again in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ — the second in the rebooted “Spider-Man” movie series ...

'The Day of the Siege: September Eleven 1683'

Apr 24, 2014

'The Day of the Siege: September Eleven 1683'

by Giovanni Fazio

Putting “September Eleven” in the title of your film pretty much assures that viewers are going to be thinking of one thing. Yet director Renzo Martinelli’s historical epic is not about the al-Qaida terror attacks of 2001, but the siege of Vienna in 1683, ...

'Omamamia'

Apr 24, 2014

'Omamamia'

by Kaori Shoji

Let’s get one thing clear: Women want to lose weight. Even if they’re rail thin, women still want to be skinnier than they are. That is, everyone except German actress Marianne Sagebrecht, who wears every one of her pounds with regal grandeur and walks ...

'Dark Blood'

Apr 24, 2014

'Dark Blood'

by Giovanni Fazio

River Phoenix could be called the Heath Ledger of his generation: young, blonde, handsome, intense; both rose to fame as straight actors in gay roles (Phoenix in “My Own Private Idaho,” Ledger in “Brokeback Mountain”) and both died from accidental overdoses, just as their ...

'The Railway Man'

Apr 17, 2014

'The Railway Man'

by Kaori Shoji

Speaking as a Japanese, “The Railway Man” is extremely difficult to sit through, as it deals with the treatment of British POWs by the Japanese Army after they took Singapore during World War II. Actually, contemplating even a fragment of the events that unfolded ...

'Thermae Romae II'

Apr 17, 2014

'Thermae Romae II'

by Mark Schilling

Hideki Takeuchi’s “Thermae Romae” — literally “Roman Bath” — was 2012′s surprise box office smash in Japan, earning nearly ¥6 billion, the second-highest that year. Based on Mari Yamazaki’s hit manga, the film was about a bathhouse architect named Lucius (Hiroshi Abe) in ancient ...

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

Apr 17, 2014

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

by Giovanni Fazio

Captain America was a comic-book superhero inherently tied to old-school American nationalism. Born as an anti-Nazi symbol in the unified America of the 1940s he was literally clad in the Stars and Stripes. For a time it seemed he wouldn’t survive the post-Watergate cynicism ...