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The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Aug 6, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Marc Webb Language: English Skinny, geeky, sweet Andrew Garfield returns as Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man in this second installment of “The Amazing Spider-Man” franchise. After finishing high school, Peter and girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone) go their separate ways — but just when the ...

The Lego Movie

Aug 6, 2014

The Lego Movie

by Giovanni Fazio

Directors: Chris Miller, Phil Lord Language: English “The Lego Movie,”was one of the zaniest, sharpest animated comedies of recent years, but the shrill dubbed version that was released in Japan in 2013 missed a lot of the jokes. The DVD, I’m happy to report, ...

Lost in a dingy maze of booze, sex and crime

Jul 30, 2014

Lost in a dingy maze of booze, sex and crime

by Mark Schilling

Golden-gai, a warren of tiny bars near Shinjuku’s Kabukicho entertainment district, has long been a refuge for writers, musicians, filmmakers and other artistic types, who congregate at drinking establishments with like-minded patrons. The area also has a seedier, less reputable side, which is graphically ...

Hope (So-won/Negai)

Jul 30, 2014

Hope (So-won/Negai)

by Kaori Shoji

It was every parent’s worst nightmare: In South Korea in 2008, an 8-year-old girl was abducted and violently raped on her way to school. The perpetrator was caught and the girl identified her attacker, but she still had to appear at a public trial ...

Vampire Academy

Jul 30, 2014

Vampire Academy

by Giovanni Fazio

Knock-off; noun: a copy or imitation of something popular. Knock off; transitive verb: to do hurriedly or routinely. Meeting both definitions is “Vampire Academy,” a tween-targeted novel franchise penned by Richelle Mead, which has been adapted to the big screen as a lazy, deja-vu-inducing ...

Ida

Jul 30, 2014

Ida

by Kaori Shoji

Pawel Pawlikowski has a solid reputation in Europe — especially Britain, for award-winners such as “Summer of Love” (2004) and “Last Resort” (2000). But after spending his entire film career away from home, Pawlikowski returned to his native Poland to try something different. “Ida” ...

Mea Culpa (Tomoyo, Saraba to Iou)

Jul 30, 2014

Mea Culpa (Tomoyo, Saraba to Iou)

by Giovanni Fazio

People often talk about French films as if they were nothing but talky and arty, but the French have a fine tradition of policiers: tough, hardboiled cop and crime movies such as “Le Cercle Rouge” (1970) or “Un Prophete” (2009). “Mea Culpa” is one ...

Yurusarezarumono (Unforgiven)

Jul 30, 2014

Yurusarezarumono (Unforgiven)

by Mark Schilling

Director: Lee Sang-il Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) When Lee Sang-il, responsible for the critically acclaimed hit “Akunin (Villian)” in 2010, remade the 1992 Clint Eastwood Western “Unforgiven” I was expecting a fresh interpretation from this talented director. Instead this drama about a former ...

Rush (Rush: Pride to Yujo)

Jul 30, 2014

Rush (Rush: Pride to Yujo)

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Ron Howard Language: English Based on the legendary 1970s rivalry between Formula One drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, this is a hell of a ride, in a glitzy, glamorous vehicle. Chris Hemsworth has the role of English playboy Hunt and Daniel Bruhl ...

Palestine Stereo

Jul 30, 2014

Palestine Stereo

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Rashid Masharawi Language: Arabic (subtitled in English) Sami and Stereo (Salah Hannoun, Mahmoud Abu-Jazi) are brothers trying to leave Gaza for Canada after an Israeli bombing. Stereo runs a rental sound system to save the $10,000 needed to get them into Canada. Gaza-born, ...

R-18 to G: Are pink films losing their potency?

Jul 30, 2014

R-18 to G: Are pink films losing their potency?

by Mark Schilling

Yuji Tajiri and Shinji Imaoka were two of the “Seven Lucky Gods of Pink” — a group of young pinku eiga (erotic film) directors who were hailed as the genre’s hope after they rose to prominence in the 1990s and early 2000s. That hope ...