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'Lowlife Love': The shady love of the film industry

Apr 6, 2016

'Lowlife Love': The shady love of the film industry

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According to Eiren (Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan), 581 Japanese films were released domestically last year, many of which were low-budget productions shown in small numbers of theaters. Beneath these films “officially” recognized by Eiren is a substratum of straight-to-DVD fare. And at ...

'Cop Car': Joy-riding with dire consequences

Apr 6, 2016

'Cop Car': Joy-riding with dire consequences

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Do you smell the Bacon? You should: The smoke from the griddle is all over the place in this sweaty-palm inducing neo-noir by Jon Watts (who is slated to direct the next “Spiderman”). Kevin Bacon stars as a scary mustachioed bad cop who gives new ...

'Room': There is no room for spoilers

Apr 6, 2016

'Room': There is no room for spoilers

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Anyone who’s ever spent some time hanging around hippies has probably heard the expression “You bought the ticket, you take the ride.” Meaning that if you’ve just gone down the psychedelic rabbit hole, there’s no coming back — at least for the next eight ...

Apr 6, 2016

Tokyo Talkies seeks to broaden exposure to Indian films

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Indian cinema is prolific and diverse, with 1,969 feature titles released by 20 regional film industries in 2014, but movie fans in Japan have few chances to see this vast output. (Let’s not count Bollywood musicals playing silently on monitors in Indian restaurants.) A ...

Film depicting China's shadow over Hong Kong wins top Asian movie award

Apr 4, 2016

Film depicting China's shadow over Hong Kong wins top Asian movie award

A Hong Kong film portraying a dystopian future under Chinese Communist Party rule won one of Asia’s top film awards Sunday at a time when Beijing’s attempts to rein in the city’s democratic development have stoked growing political tensions. “Ten Years,” a feature-length film ...

Keanu Reeves' concoction of 'The Whole Truth'

Mar 30, 2016

Keanu Reeves' concoction of 'The Whole Truth'

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The American judicial system may not have its finest hour in “The Whole Truth” but the film is nonetheless a gripping 90-minute courtroom drama that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The film is unflattering to lawyers and unkind to witnesses — ...

'Bitter Honey': Fishing for the love of a writer

Mar 30, 2016

'Bitter Honey': Fishing for the love of a writer

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Films about elderly men falling for elusive young women (and utimately regretting it) go back to “The Blue Angel” (1930). One Japanese example is Kaneto Shindo’s 1992 “Bokuto Kidan” (“The Strange Tale of Oyuki”), a biopic about writer Kafu Nagai and the prostitute he ...

A terrible film saved by the dog

Mar 30, 2016

A terrible film saved by the dog

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One of the two stars I gave this film is to honor the combined team of Terry Jones, the director and co-writer (and former member of Monty Python), and Simon Pegg, the star who is never out of a single frame. Actually, make that ...

3-D pornography is still pornography

Mar 30, 2016

3-D pornography is still pornography

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During the heyday of Japan’s “pink films” (cinematic porn) in the 1960s and ’70s, directors were given free rein over their pictures as long as they included at least one sex scene per reel. For the late Koji Wakamatsu, perhaps the genre’s most famous ...