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Modern Family

Dec 3, 2014

Modern Family

by Kaori Shoji

Language: English This Emmy Award-winning TV series, now in its sixth season, is available for viewing on hulu.jp. Ed O’Neill stars as Jay Pritchett, the head of a diverse and sprawling family whose members have minds of their own and attitudes to match. It’s ...

Documentaries at the margins of modern life

Nov 26, 2014

Documentaries at the margins of modern life

by Kaori Shoji

There is no film festival in Japan quite like the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (YIDFF). Going against the current of easy entertainment and mind-numbing CGI, the festival is a solid, seriously cinematic event held in Yamagata every two years. From its inception in ...

Yokudo: Lingering but confused gaze of indie director

Nov 26, 2014

Yokudo: Lingering but confused gaze of indie director

by Mark Schilling

Major film festivals, with their hurry-hurry schedules, are places to polish your sound bites, not launch into nuanced disquisitions. People want your opinion in 25 words or less. When someone asked me what I thought of Kiki Sugino’s “Yokudo (Taksu)” after a screening at ...

Monica Z: 'Shaky rise of Sweden's best-loved chanteuse'

Nov 26, 2014

Monica Z: 'Shaky rise of Sweden's best-loved chanteuse'

by Kaori Shoji

Swedish jazz singer Monica Zetterlund was her country’s best-loved chanteuse, but she wanted more. And the one thing that gave her a chance at global stardom? She could sing in English without a European accent. “Monica Z” (International Title: “Waltz For Monica”) tells the ...

Dhoom 3: 'Bollywood and Hollywood in equal portions'

Nov 26, 2014

Dhoom 3: 'Bollywood and Hollywood in equal portions'

by Kaori Shoji

The first “Dhoom” (2004) was more Bollywood than serious action movie, and then “Dhoom: 2″ (2006) upped the ante by bringing in some A-list actors and easing off the dancing. Now, with the third edition to the series, it seems director/co-writer Vijay Krishna Acharya ...

Edge of Tomorrow (All You Need is Kill)

Nov 26, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow (All You Need is Kill)

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Doug Liman Language: English Just when you think you take can’t any more Tom Cruise, here’s a movie that shows him as something new — weak, sly and ingratiating. Cage (Cruise) is forced into combat in a futuristic society threatened by aliens and ...

Inside Llewyn Davis

Nov 26, 2014

Inside Llewyn Davis

by Giovanni Fazio

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel CoenLanguage: English “Inside Llewyn Davis” is neither the best Coen brothers’ film, nor the worst, but it has everything a fan of the Coens could desire: a strong sense of period detail, a choice soundtrack curated by T Bone Burnett, ...

Filmex brings art and brutality to Tokyo cinemas

Nov 19, 2014

Filmex brings art and brutality to Tokyo cinemas

by Mark Schilling

Now in its 15th edition, Tokyo Filmex is Japan’s leading art-over-commerce festival, offering a lineup packed with films screened earlier this year at major festivals around the world, while disdaining the glitz and glamour of the recently ended Tokyo International Film Festival. The Filmex ...

Hurt-till-you-laugh approach to making comedies

Nov 19, 2014

Hurt-till-you-laugh approach to making comedies

by Mark Schilling

When Yosuke Fujita’s debut feature “Zenzen Daijobu (Fine, Totally Fine)” started making the international festival rounds in 2008, it charmed nearly everyone who saw it. This laugh-until-you-hurt comedy about two outsider pals in pursuit of the same socially awkward girl won the Nippon Cinema ...