Film Topics

'The Act of Killing'

Apr 10, 2014

'The Act of Killing'

by Giovanni Fazio

Movies arrive so late here in Japan that they often come burdened with the weight of expectation. In the case of “The Act of Killing,” it comes in the wake of near universal critical acclaim, including a No. 1 spot on Sight & Sound ...

'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones'

Apr 10, 2014

'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones'

by Kaori Shoji

Despite the unoffical verdict that the “found footage” genre is dead as the dodo, there are those who have a weakness for the stuff, namely myself. Forgive me if I seem predisposed toward “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” but it does breathe a bit ...

'Sanbun no Ichi (One Third)'

Apr 3, 2014

'Sanbun no Ichi (One Third)'

by Mark Schilling

Caper movies have their conventions, one being that the crook anti-heroes may get to run their fingers through their loot, but they hardly ever get to keep it. The prototype is Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing” (1956), in which elaborate planning and clockwork execution pay ...

'Blue is the Warmest Color'

Apr 3, 2014

'Blue is the Warmest Color'

by Giovanni Fazio

Remember being a teen. Remember the gossip amongst your friends about who had a thing for you, the awkward dates, the stolen kisses. Remember the crushes that came and went all too easily, and then recall the arrival of something else entirely: first love. ...

'Wałesa: Man of Hope'

Apr 3, 2014

'Wałesa: Man of Hope'

by Kaori Shoji

Poland’s legendary filmmaker Andrzej Wajda takes on Lech Wałesa, Poland’s man of the people, in this fictional documentary “Wałesa: Man of Hope,” and it comes as somewhat of a surprise. At 88 years old, Wajda’s insular and experimental artistic approach has shifted to a ...

'Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1962-1969'

Apr 3, 2014

'Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1962-1969'

by Giovanni Fazio

The 1960s were full of tormented musical geniuses, but The Beach Boys’ singer/songwriter Brian Wilson is hardly the most glorified. I guess quietly going nuts and surviving until a late-life comeback just isn’t as cinematic as going out in a young and beautiful blaze ...

'Enough Said'

Apr 3, 2014

'Enough Said'

by Kaori Shoji

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been a comedic icon on American TV for two decades or so — her presence on “Seinfeld” no doubt kept several thousand people from slitting their wrists. She is the other half of why “Enough Said” works, and the question is, ...

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'

Mar 27, 2014

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'

by Giovanni Fazio

Ah, Hollywood — who else could take a lean, two-page short story and turn it into a bloated $90-million mega-production? Author James Thurber’s short about a timid, henpecked husband who escapes into adventure-packed daydreams first appeared in a 1939 issue of The New Yorker ...

'Parked'

Mar 27, 2014

'Parked'

by Kaori Shoji

They say people can endure having nowhere to live, but having nothing to drive is licking the very bottom of the barrel. That fate hasn’t come to “Parked” protagonist Fred Daly (Colm Meaney), at least not yet. But he’s inching closer, as he eases ...

'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

Mar 27, 2014

'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

by Giovanni Fazio

Comparisons to Terrence Malick are unavoidable with “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” which takes its Southwestern milieu and feckless outlaw couple from “Badlands” but filters it through the more mystical lensing and languid pacing of “Tree of Life.” And just like Malick, director David Lowery’s ...

'21 Jump Street'

Mar 27, 2014

'21 Jump Street'

by Kaori Shoji

Jenko used to be a girl-magnet jock-god, so this high school thing should be a breeze for him. Not so for his cop buddy Schmidt (Jonah Hill), who was an overweight, bullied nerd and hasn’t changed much since graduation. The surprise is that high ...