Film Topics

'Noah'

Jun 12, 2014

'Noah'

by Giovanni Fazio

Darren Aronofsky has been such a challenging, inventive filmmaker for so long that when I saw the trailers for “Noah,” I cringed. It looked like every other formulaic summer blockbuster rather than a film from the guy who brought us sentient refrigerators in “Requiem ...

'The Host'

Jun 12, 2014

'The Host'

by Kaori Shoji

At the heart of this sci-fi thriller is a long, probing look at the relationship between a girl and … herself. “The Host” combines real romance with a philosophical approach to the familiar premise of Earth being invaded by aliens. Most of the time, ...

'Jodorowsky's Dune'

Jun 12, 2014

'Jodorowsky's Dune'

by Giovanni Fazio

Frank Pavich’s documentary, “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” explores director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s legendary attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel “Dune” to the big screen — one of cinema’s great what-ifs. The documentary covers the two years from the project’s inception to 1975, when it fell ...

'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 ...