Film Topics

'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 ...

'The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones'

Apr 17, 2014

'The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones'

by Kaori Shoji

While other fantasy heroes and heroines — such as Katniss Everdeen (“The Hunger Games”) or, heck, Harry Potter — had no time or funds to enjoy themselves, the heroine of “The Mortal Instruments,” Clary Fray (Lily Collins), is a privileged teenager living in a ...

'The Past'

Apr 17, 2014

'The Past'

by Giovanni Fazio

Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) is returning from Tehran to Paris after an absence of four years to meet his estranged wife, Marie (Berenice Bejo, from “The Artist”), who has asked to finalize a divorce. He stays at her home, but any thought of patching things ...

'Crows Explode'

Apr 10, 2014

'Crows Explode'

by Mark Schilling

In Japanese films, high-school classrooms are often portrayed as rowdy environments where kids can talk, tease, flirt and fight, without any visible adult supervision. But when the teacher walks through the door the fun — if that’s what it is — usually ends. There ...

'August: Osage County'

Apr 10, 2014

'August: Osage County'

by Kaori Shoji

As far as craziness in families goes, it can’t get worse than what’s shown in “August: Osage County.” Start to finish, the film recalls rusty barbed wire, the type usually seen around maximum security prisons. Mind you, the story has nothing to do with ...

'The World's End'

Apr 10, 2014

'The World's End'

by Giovanni Fazio

“The World’s End” seems a lot like director Edgar Wright’s attempt to repeat the success of his 2004 cult hit “Shaun of the Dead.” Where “Shaun” was basically a comfortably numb stoner dropped into a very British version of “Night of the Living Dead,” ...

'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 ...