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'The World's End'

Apr 10, 2014

'The World's End'

by Giovanni Fazio

“The World’s End” seems a lot like director Edgar Wright’s attempt to repeat the success of his 2004 cult hit “Shaun of the Dead.” Where “Shaun” was basically a comfortably numb stoner dropped into a very British version of “Night of the Living Dead,” ...

'The Act of Killing'

Apr 10, 2014

'The Act of Killing'

by Giovanni Fazio

Movies arrive so late here in Japan that they often come burdened with the weight of expectation. In the case of “The Act of Killing,” it comes in the wake of near universal critical acclaim, including a No. 1 spot on Sight & Sound ...

'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones'

Apr 10, 2014

'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones'

by Kaori Shoji

Despite the unoffical verdict that the “found footage” genre is dead as the dodo, there are those who have a weakness for the stuff, namely myself. Forgive me if I seem predisposed toward “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” but it does breathe a bit ...

'Hunger'

Apr 10, 2014

'Hunger'

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Steve McQueen Language: English Steve McQueen is known to all now that “12 Years a Slave” won this year’s best-picture Oscar, but the director’s first feature film, 2008′s “Hunger,” never even opened in Japan. Perhaps the film’s political content — which looks at ...

'The Killing'

Apr 10, 2014

'The Killing'

by Kaori Shoji

Language: English “The Killing” is a “Twin Peaks” redux for millenials, but without the weird comedy. This is the tragic story of the corpse of a 17-year-old found in a car registered to a Seattle councilman. The local police investigation is unwillingly headed by ...

'Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo' (The Kirishima Thing)

Apr 10, 2014

'Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo' (The Kirishima Thing)

by Mark Schilling

Director: Daihachi Yoshida Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Daihachi Yoshida’s 2012 high-school drama focuses on those impacted by the resignation of star-player Kirishima from the volleyball team, including an enraged best friend (Masahiro Higashide) and a young movie director (Ryunosuke Kamiki). Made with a ...

Apr 10, 2014

Finding a heap of treasure in 'Zipang Punk'

by Kaori Shoji

It’s the late 16th century, when Japan was in the vicelike grip of rich and ruthless warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Things were good at the top, but the rest of Zipang (Japan) was poor, hungry and repressed. Welcome to “Zipang Punk — Goemon Rock III.” ...

Geki×Cine marks 10 years of screen-stage marriage

Apr 10, 2014

Geki×Cine marks 10 years of screen-stage marriage

by Kaori Shoji

You wouldn’t know it to look at our poker faces, but deep down every Japanese is a drama queen. For more than a millennium, the Japanese have retained an incredible love — nay, obsession — for drama, and the more extravagantly cheesy the better. ...

Polish history captured by a man who was there

Apr 3, 2014

Polish history captured by a man who was there

by Kaori Shoji

He may be 88 years old and the director of 54 films, but Polish film giant Andrzej Wajda is still evolving as a storyteller. His latest, “Wałesa: Man of Hope,” opens in Tokyo on April 5 (as “Wałesa: Rentai no Otoko”) and marks his ...

'Sanbun no Ichi (One Third)'

Apr 3, 2014

'Sanbun no Ichi (One Third)'

by Mark Schilling

Caper movies have their conventions, one being that the crook anti-heroes may get to run their fingers through their loot, but they hardly ever get to keep it. The prototype is Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing” (1956), in which elaborate planning and clockwork execution pay ...

'Blue is the Warmest Color'

Apr 3, 2014

'Blue is the Warmest Color'

by Giovanni Fazio

Remember being a teen. Remember the gossip amongst your friends about who had a thing for you, the awkward dates, the stolen kisses. Remember the crushes that came and went all too easily, and then recall the arrival of something else entirely: first love. ...

'Wałesa: Man of Hope'

Apr 3, 2014

'Wałesa: Man of Hope'

by Kaori Shoji

Poland’s legendary filmmaker Andrzej Wajda takes on Lech Wałesa, Poland’s man of the people, in this fictional documentary “Wałesa: Man of Hope,” and it comes as somewhat of a surprise. At 88 years old, Wajda’s insular and experimental artistic approach has shifted to a ...