Film Topics

Les Reines du Ring

Jul 16, 2014

Les Reines du Ring

by Kaori Shoji

French mothers have a reputation for being smoking, skinny bundles of alluring discontent, decked out in black dresses and heels. But now comes “Les Reines du Ring” (“Wrestling Queens”) — a delightful tale about a French mother who only wants her teenage son’s approval ...

'Maleficent'

Jul 10, 2014

'Maleficent'

by Kaori Shoji

“Maleficent” takes you on a ride into a non-kiddie realm of betrayal, vengeance and mother-daughter brouhaha. Is that a good thing for a Disney audience? On the other hand, look at “Frozen,” which dealt with some sibling rivalry and female empowerment issues. That worked, ...

'Omoide no Marnie (When Marnie Was There)'

Jul 9, 2014

'Omoide no Marnie (When Marnie Was There)'

by Mark Schilling

Since its start nearly three decades ago, Studio Ghibli has been dominated by the creativity of co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. But since the turn of the millennium, five of its 10 feature films have been made by other, younger directors. One reason ...

'Into Great Silence'

Jul 9, 2014

'Into Great Silence'

by Kaori Shoji

Imagine a movie that’s not a movie at all, but an act of contemplation. This is “Into Great Silence.” Sometimes a prayer, more often a rumination, it’s a film that sprung from one man’s urge for silence. Director Philip Groning wanted to make a ...

'The Dance of Reality'

Jul 9, 2014

'The Dance of Reality'

by Giovanni Fazio

Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky blew people’s minds with two of the hippie era’s most esoteric movies: “El Topo” (1970) and “The Holy Mountain” (1973). They were midnight-movie megahits, praised to the heavens by the likes of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and it seemed ...

'Fading Gigolo'

Jul 9, 2014

'Fading Gigolo'

by Giovanni Fazio

John Turturro is a fine actor, and can certainly do comedy when he wants to — he stole the show with the briefest of cameos in “The Big Lebowski” (1998) — so it’s hard to figure out what went wrong with “Fading Gigolo,” which ...

'The Devil's Violinist'

Jul 9, 2014

'The Devil's Violinist'

by Kaori Shoji

This is a tribute to Niccolo Paganini, the 19th-century violinist often resurrected on screen, mainly for his utter, utter hotness — it was said Paganini didn’t make a distinction between the Stradivarius in his hand and whatever lady he happened to fancy at that ...

'Nanpu (Riding the Breeze)'

Jul 2, 2014

'Nanpu (Riding the Breeze)'

by Mark Schilling

Movies about women who fly off to foreign climes to reboot their lives are a thriving subgenre, though the heroines are mostly from well-off countries, Japan included. Women from the more troubled parts of the world may also cross borders to start new lives, ...

'Edge of Tomorrow'

Jul 2, 2014

'Edge of Tomorrow'

by Kaori Shoji

Some movie stars never let up, and Tom Cruise is a prominent example. In his 50s now, Hollywood’s resident Prince Charming is still making action movies with the same laddish physique and boyish smile showcased in the first “Mission: Impossible.” Cruise is in nitty-gritty ...

'Children of the Revolution'

Jul 2, 2014

'Children of the Revolution'

by Giovanni Fazio

When asked by a comrade why the press had such intense fear and loathing of the Red Army Faction’s female members, Ulrike Meinhof replied, “Women are at the heart of human reproduction. Women are supposed to be passive, obedient, available and conciliatory. Women who ...

'Ironclad: Battle for Blood' (Ironclad Blood War)

Jul 2, 2014

'Ironclad: Battle for Blood' (Ironclad Blood War)

by Kaori Shoji

If extraterrestrials visited England in the year 1221, they would have taken one look and gone home. Life was horrible then — full of marauding, armored men, hell-bent on driving the pointy ends of swords into each others’ midriffs. That’s how “Ironclad: Battle for ...