Film Topics

Two men and a tot make a half-decent film

Oct 15, 2014

Two men and a tot make a half-decent film

by Mark Schilling

When indie directors take a more commercial turn, the usual explanation is the bigger paycheck, but it’s not always so simple. Yuya Ishii’s shift from the raucous films of his early career to the more genteel, mainstream 2013 film “Fune wo Amu (The Great ...

Minuscule: 'A refreshingly different approach to animation'

Oct 15, 2014

Minuscule: 'A refreshingly different approach to animation'

by Giovanni Fazio

Most children’s animation these days is motor-mouthed to the extreme and larded with snarky pop-culture gags, but French film “Minuscule” takes a refreshingly different approach. Filmmakers Helene Giraud and Thomas Szabo honed their skills on animated shorts over the past decade and now drop ...

Harmonic slips in time, identity and language

Oct 8, 2014

Harmonic slips in time, identity and language

by Mark Schilling

World War II-themed films by elderly Japanese directors with direct experience of the war are not only becoming scarcer, but are also distinctly different from those of younger filmmakers trying to appeal to a mass audience. Kazuo Kuroki’s 2006 film “Kamiya Etsuko no Seishun ...

iNumber Number: 'Reeks of blood, mud and sweat'

Oct 8, 2014

iNumber Number: 'Reeks of blood, mud and sweat'

by Kaori Shoji

“iNumber Number” is the final film in the World Extreme Cinema (WEC) event at the Human Trust Cinema Shibuya, in Tokyo, and suffice to say, it takes the “hit me on a gut level” statement to a new dimension. WEC was designed to showcase ...

Death-row samurai spills ink, not blood

Oct 1, 2014

Death-row samurai spills ink, not blood

by Mark Schilling

Why have samurai movies become so middle-aged and sedate? Starting in the silent days and continuing through their 1950s peak, period films with top-knotted heroes typically featured a big one-against-many finale with flashing swords and the occasional firearm. Especially in the early days, both ...