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'Child's Pose'

Jun 12, 2014

'Child's Pose'

by Kaori Shoji

In “King Lear,” Shakespeare wrote that a thankless child is sharper than a serpent’s tooth. In that vein, Cornelia (Luminita Gheorghiu) feels the pain of the serpent’s bite throughout”Child’s Pose,” a film by Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer. As a wealthy architect with connections ...

'Noah'

Jun 12, 2014

'Noah'

by Giovanni Fazio

Darren Aronofsky has been such a challenging, inventive filmmaker for so long that when I saw the trailers for “Noah,” I cringed. It looked like every other formulaic summer blockbuster rather than a film from the guy who brought us sentient refrigerators in “Requiem ...

'The Host'

Jun 12, 2014

'The Host'

by Kaori Shoji

At the heart of this sci-fi thriller is a long, probing look at the relationship between a girl and … herself. “The Host” combines real romance with a philosophical approach to the familiar premise of Earth being invaded by aliens. Most of the time, ...

'Jodorowsky's Dune'

Jun 12, 2014

'Jodorowsky's Dune'

by Giovanni Fazio

Frank Pavich’s documentary, “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” explores director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s legendary attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel “Dune” to the big screen — one of cinema’s great what-ifs. The documentary covers the two years from the project’s inception to 1975, when it fell ...

'Last Passenger (Original title: Panic Train)'

Jun 12, 2014

'Last Passenger (Original title: Panic Train)'

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Omid Nooshin Language: English Few things are more groan-inducing than a commuter train that stops at every station, but a train that goes at breakneck speeds and never stops? Now that’s scary. Directed by Omid Nooshin and starring Dougray Scott, this Hitchcockian terror ...

T'ora! Tora! Tora!'

Jun 12, 2014

T'ora! Tora! Tora!'

by Mark Schilling

Director: Richard Fleischer Language: English, Japanese (subtitled in English) Originally a collaboration between 20th Century Fox and Akira Kurosawa, this 1970 film changed drastically when Kurosawa suffered a nervous breakdown on set. Despite Richard Fleischer’s plodding direction the film’s epic set pieces make it ...

'Virginia'

Jun 12, 2014

'Virginia'

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Dustin Lance Black Language: English “Straight to DVD” is usually a harbinger of doom, but in the case of “Virginia,” it’s gotta be worth a look, based on the people involved — actors Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris, director Dustin Lance Black and ...

The unspoken disease that can destroy families

Jun 6, 2014

The unspoken disease that can destroy families

by Kaori Shoji

Of the 17,500 cases of uterine cancer reported yearly in Japan, nearly half are cervical cancer, usually triggered by a virus spread by sexual intercourse. Because of this, sufferers often conceal the fact from friends and families and continue working at their jobs as ...

The pleasures of driving like an absolute maniac

Jun 5, 2014

The pleasures of driving like an absolute maniac

by Kaori Shoji

“Need for Speed” is an ode to the automobile and not the green, hybrid kind either. The vehicles in this movie are sleek, sexy, gas-guzzling, carbon-spewing planet-destroyers, and director Scott Waugh revels in shooting them from every conceivable angle (plus a few you never ...

'Sad Tea'

Jun 5, 2014

'Sad Tea'

by Mark Schilling

Ensemble dramas about the ups and downs of love, and its various substitutes, are popular now — at least with indie filmmakers. (A contrast to Japan’s commercial romantic dramas, which still focus on star-crossed couples, one of whom is usually dead by the closing ...

'Balancing Act'

Jun 5, 2014

'Balancing Act'

by Kaori Shoji

It’s a sad, anxious world when a hard-working dad has no choice but to sleep in his car and eat at a soup kitchen. Such is the fate of 40-year-old Giulio (Valerio Mastandrea), whose act of infidelity (sex with a colleague in the archives ...

'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

Jun 5, 2014

'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

by Giovanni Fazio

Wes Anderson has always been a bit of a mystery to me. His films are remarkably consistent in their approach and stylistic idiosyncrasies, yet they seem equally capable of leaving me rapturous (“Moonrise Kingdom”) or cold (“The Darjeeling Limited”). I’m not alone here: Check ...