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Tropfest gives Japan a peek at Australia

May 29, 2014

Tropfest gives Japan a peek at Australia

by Cameron Allan Mckean

The homegrown Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia will have competition for eyeballs this year as Australia’s Tropfest descends on Japan. The event claims — perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek — to be the “world’s largest short-film festival.” Tropfest is a raucous juggernaut of a ...

Godfather of J-horror escapes from genre's grip

May 28, 2014

Godfather of J-horror escapes from genre's grip

by Mark Schilling

Hideo Nakata could be called the godfather of contemporary Japanese horror, but he would probably hate the label. Regardless, this 52-year-old director of such genre classics as “Ring,” “Ring 2″ and “Honogurai Mizu no Soko kara (Dark Water)” has made J-horror — a combination ...

'Monsterz'

May 28, 2014

'Monsterz'

by Mark Schilling

Hollywood has been remaking Asian films for a long time now, but over the past decade Korean movies have become the focus of remakers attention. One reason is that hit Korean films are often based on the sort of “high concepts” (easy-to-grasp premises) that ...

'Adore'

May 28, 2014

'Adore'

by Kaori Shoji

Sometimes the Japanese title for a foreign film manages to grasp the very essence of the story and display it with the deft, loving care of a jeweler placing a necklace in a glass case. The Japanese title for “Adore” (previously known as “Two ...

'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 ...

'Jo' (Keiji jo Pari Hanzaisosahan)

May 28, 2014

'Jo' (Keiji jo Pari Hanzaisosahan)

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Rene Balcer Language: English English-language French TV series “Jo” stars Jean Reno as a Parisian cop. The out-of-context English is weird at first but you get used to it, even though almost everyone speaks with American accents. French actors playing Americans pretending to ...

The Wolf of Wall Street

May 28, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Martin Scorsese Language: English Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill star in this true-life tale of corrupt Wall Street. brokers Jordan Belfort and Donnie Green, who breeze through the 1980s on a whirlwind of hookers, blow and insider trading. Director Martin Scorsese does a ...

Godzilla: the monster with multiple personalities

May 22, 2014

Godzilla: the monster with multiple personalities

by Mark Schilling

“Godzilla” was the first Japanese movie I saw. It was also the first for many other American baby boomers, though we did not view Ishiro Honda’s 1954 original, but a version that had been heavily edited and dubbed for the U.S. market, with additional ...

'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 ...