Film Topics

'Idai Naru, Shurara-bon (The Great Shurara-bon)'

Mar 13, 2014

'Idai Naru, Shurara-bon (The Great Shurara-bon)'

by Mark Schilling

Superheroes by definition have super powers. In Japan, instead of leaping tall buildings with a single bound, these heroes often shoot energy projectiles from their hands — easy and effective, save when your opponent has more wattage. This may seem childish, but it can ...

'Frozen'

Mar 13, 2014

'Frozen'

by Kaori Shoji

Frozen” is a story of two journeys: one of Princess Anna, who wants to rescue her kingdom from a permanent winter, and the other of her older sister Elsa, who (unintentionally) generated the blizzard that has entrapped their castle and its surroundings in mile-high ...

'Don Jon'

Mar 13, 2014

'Don Jon'

by Giovanni Fazio

The elephant in the room of almost any relationship in the age of Web 2.0 is, undoubtedly, Internet porn. Guys watch it, and their women either know or suspect they do, but nobody really wants to talk about it because, yo, it’s nasty! “Don ...

'Philomena'

Mar 13, 2014

'Philomena'

by Kaori Shoji

The Catholic Church in Ireland has much to answer for in “Philomena,” the real-life story of an Irish woman who was thrown into a convent as a pregnant teenager and forcibly separated from her baby son when he was 3 years old. She spent ...

'The Motel Life'

Mar 13, 2014

'The Motel Life'

by Giovanni Fazio

Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff play brothers Frank and Jerry Lee, who live on the margins in low-rent, dead-end Nevada carrying the weight of childhood trauma well into dysfunctional middle age. So far, so typically U.S.-indie. Their mother died when they were still kids, ...

'Ieji (Homeland)'

Mar 6, 2014

'Ieji (Homeland)'

by Mark Schilling

Many documentaries have been made about the nuclear-plant disaster in Fukushima and its aftermath, but relatively few feature films. One reason could be seen in the rough handling local critics gave “Kibo no Kuni (The Land of Hope),” Sion Sono’s 2012 film set in ...

'12 Years a Slave'

Mar 6, 2014

'12 Years a Slave'

by Kaori Shoji

It’s hard to resist comparing “12 Years a Slave” with “The Butler.” Both are based on real men and their stories — “The Butler” is an insider’s look at the black American experience from the mid 20th century to about the time Barack Obama ...

'Gloria'

Mar 6, 2014

'Gloria'

by Giovanni Fazio

All the lonely people, where do they all come from?” Lennon and McCartney posed the question, and “Gloria” provides an answer. Gloria, played by Paulina Garcia, is a 50-something divorcee whose children have grown up and moved out; she lives by herself in Santiago, ...

'RoboCop'

Mar 6, 2014

'RoboCop'

by Kaori Shoji

This reboot (roboot?) of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 kinetic action classic reprises the concept of man-as-machine and vice versa, this time in the blindingly white conference room of evil conglomerate OmniCorp, as its executives ponder how best to deploy their newest creation. This is police ...

'Indignados'

Mar 6, 2014

'Indignados'

by Giovanni Fazio

Tony Gatlif’s movies have always been about music, rhythm, movement and the rush of travel as much as any particular story, and his latest, “Indignados,” takes that to an extreme. Inspired by the best-selling screed of former French resistance fighter and concentration-camp survivor Stephane ...

'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

Feb 27, 2014

'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

by Gioanni Fazio

“What have we done?” cries Bilbo Baggins at the end of “The Desolation of Smaug,” and he could well be speaking for the filmmakers. Peter Jackson and company have taken JRR Tolkien’s one-volume predecessor to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and blown it ...

'Lovelace'

Feb 27, 2014

'Lovelace'

by Giovanni Fazio

“Lovelace” is a film that comes bifurcated, with a big red line down the middle separating its two acts into “The Dream” and “The Bummer.” In the first act we get the breezy story of Linda Lovelace, star of the 1972 mainstream porn blockbuster ...