Film Topics

'Inside Llewyn Davis'

May 28, 2014

'Inside Llewyn Davis'

by Giovanni Fazio

The Coen Brothers are exceptional among American filmmakers for having had a long and prosperous career without ever significantly watering down or altering their sensibility along the way. You could draw a line from their indie debut “Blood Simple” through to Oscar-winners “Fargo” and ...

'One Minute More'

May 28, 2014

'One Minute More'

by Kaori Shoji

Taiwan has a thriving movie industry that often tips its hat to Japanese culture. For Japanese viewers, the references to AKB48, Tokyo and Japanese food make us feel that much closer to Taiwanese cinema. And now there’s “One Minute More,” based on “Ippunkan Dake,” a best-selling ...

'X-Men: Days of Future Past'

May 28, 2014

'X-Men: Days of Future Past'

by Giovanni Fazio

The new “X-Men” plays like “The Terminator” crossed with “American Hustle” via “12 Monkeys.” Given that the series has spawned six films over 14 years, non-fans may need to do some homework to catch up before viewing. In a future where mutants have been ...

'Oh! Father'

May 22, 2014

'Oh! Father'

by Mark Schilling

Japanese mystery writers have long supplied fodder for TV shows and films, but mysteries of the puzzle-plot sort have reached a saturation point. Or maybe it’s just me, fed up with stories that turn on such vital questions as — in the immortal words ...

'Sake Bomb'

May 22, 2014

'Sake Bomb'

by Kaori Shoji

On the one hand, I’m prepared to love this movie. Junya Sakino, director of “Sake Bomb,” gets it, as they say. He is one of a growing breed of Japanese filmmakers who studied in the U.S. and are now working there. “Sake Bomb” — ...

'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom'

May 22, 2014

'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom'

by Giovanni Fazio

The Great Man theory of history has long been a controversial one: is history shaped by exceptional men who enact change through sheer force of will, or is it the result of larger forces, like class, economics and technological progress? Cinema is an art ...

'The Bay'

May 22, 2014

'The Bay'

by Kaori Shoji

Found footage becomes a different animal under the direction of a major-league director like Barry Levinson (“Rain Man” and “Diner”). “The Bay” is plenty scary but this isn’t your usual found footage horror fare; it’s a faux documentary carrying a very real eco-message. Released ...

'Last Vegas'

May 22, 2014

'Last Vegas'

by Giovanni Fazio

“Last Vegas” is about as clever as the pun of its title. It’s a geriatric riff on “The Hangover” that features four Oscar-winning actors playing to type. Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline play old neighborhood buddies from New York ...

'Wood Job!'

May 15, 2014

'Wood Job!'

by Mark Schilling

Shinobu Yaguchi has become a consistent hit maker by following a simple formula: generate laughs from the stumbles and mistakes of heroes learning a new job, art or sport. This formula usually results in audience cheers and tears when triumph finally arrives after many ...

'Winter's Tale'

May 15, 2014

'Winter's Tale'

by Kaori Shoji

There’s something Shakespearean about “Winter’s Tale.” Perhaps it’s the way everyone talks in British or Irish accents, faked or genuine; or how the emotions seem to fester in the depths of a hot caldron; or the grandiose gestures and sweeping statements that are often ...

'After the Dark'

May 15, 2014

'After the Dark'

by Kaori Shoji

Rather than a gem, John Huddles’ “After the Dark” (original titled “The Philosophers”) is a diamond in the rough — but there’s more rough here than diamond. Still, the premise is intriguing, and so is the setting: an international school in Jakarta on the ...

'Disconnect'

May 15, 2014

'Disconnect'

by Giovanni Fazio

Nicholas Carr, in his eye-opening book “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” has poignantly observed how “When we’re online, we’re often oblivious to everything else going on around us. The real world recedes as we process the flood of symbols ...