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Mount Meru: for those who like to aim high

Dec 28, 2016

Mount Meru: for those who like to aim high

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If Mount Everest is the iconic goddess of mountains, then Meru in the Indian Himalayas is the unattainable, unknowable bad-ass rock star, beckoning to a chosen few from an impossibly remote place high in the sky. Unlike Everest, Meru isn’t famed for its legendary ...

'Rogue One': On the Dark Side of reanimation

Dec 28, 2016

'Rogue One': On the Dark Side of reanimation

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How much do you want a new “Star Wars”? When J.J. Abrams’ “The Force Awakens” opened to enormous fanfare last December, it felt like watching a beloved rock band making its comeback tour after a long hiatus. Sure, the original members couldn’t quite muster ...

'Stonewall': We need to talk about Danny

Dec 28, 2016

'Stonewall': We need to talk about Danny

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“Stonewall” is a bit of a head-scratcher. A fictional account of the 1969 Stonewall riots — a series of events that subsequently triggered the gay rights movement in America — it’s directed by Hollywood’s resident disaster-movie specialist, Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day,” “The Day After ...

'Ruined Heart': a belated release

| Dec 28, 2016

'Ruined Heart': a belated release

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When you’re covering a film fest, sometimes you crave a quick jolt. I’m still not sure how Khavn’s “Ruined Heart” (Japan title: “Kowareta Kokoro”) snuck into the main competition section of Tokyo International Film Festival in 2014, but watching it at the time felt ...

Japanese movies may set ties with China in motion in 2017

Dec 24, 2016

Japanese movies may set ties with China in motion in 2017

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Japanese movies have the potential to give fresh impetus to efforts by Tokyo and Beijing to warm political relations in 2017, as evidenced by the recent smash-hit animation “Your Name.” in China. Yoji Yamada, a prominent Japanese film director whose latest comedy’s remake is ...

A new wave of Japanese filmmakers matches the old

Dec 21, 2016

A new wave of Japanese filmmakers matches the old

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Nearly two decades after the Japanese New Wave of the 1990s, the directors who led it, including Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Hirokazu Koreeda and Naomi Kawase, are still the local industry’s most prominent faces abroad. But this year a new generation of filmmakers has finally started ...

Finding courage and hope in 2016

Dec 21, 2016

Finding courage and hope in 2016

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The Year of the Monkey is drawing to a close. Despite the events in the real world, this year at least brought us some soulful films. Perhaps the filmmakers wanted to prepare us for the impending yuckiness of future reality. Still, my picks for ...

The bad year that pervaded the screens

Dec 21, 2016

The bad year that pervaded the screens

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The past year has been a cursed one. It began with the death of David Bowie and proceeded to get worse on every level: political hysteria, impending ecological doom, the creeping encroach of net-connected tech into every corner of our lives, and a blurring ...