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Finding courage and hope in 2016

Dec 21, 2016

Finding courage and hope in 2016

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The Year of the Monkey is drawing to a close. Despite the events in the real world, this year at least brought us some soulful films. Perhaps the filmmakers wanted to prepare us for the impending yuckiness of future reality. Still, my picks for ...

The bad year that pervaded the screens

Dec 21, 2016

The bad year that pervaded the screens

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The past year has been a cursed one. It began with the death of David Bowie and proceeded to get worse on every level: political hysteria, impending ecological doom, the creeping encroach of net-connected tech into every corner of our lives, and a blurring ...

Is Southeast Asia now Japan's competition?

Dec 14, 2016

Is Southeast Asia now Japan's competition?

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Japan is an Asian entertainment powerhouse, is it not? This October’s Japan Contents Showcase, which was held in Tokyo’s Odaiba and Shibuya areas, included markets for film and TV (TIFFCOM), animation (TIAF) and music (TIMM), with 356 Japanese companies selling to 1,539 registered buyers, ...

'Beep' tracks down 8-bit maestros

| Dec 14, 2016

'Beep' tracks down 8-bit maestros

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Here’s one for the gamers: “Beep: A Documentary History of Game Sound” interviews more than 80 composers, sound designers and voice actors in a comprehensive look at its topic. Starting with mechanical pinball bells, “Beep” moves through the bleepy 8-bit sounds of 1980s arcade ...

Meryl Streep pipes up on doing what you love

Dec 8, 2016

Meryl Streep pipes up on doing what you love

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One of the best lines uttered in Stephen Frears’ film “Florence Foster Jenkins” comes from Meryl Streep in the role of Florence — which the actress gracefully repeats for me during her interview for The Japan Times. “Florence said, ‘People can say she couldn’t ...

'Smoke': the movie that blazed a trail for indies

Dec 7, 2016

'Smoke': the movie that blazed a trail for indies

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Just in time for Christmas, Yebisu Garden Cinema is reviving a film that was one of the cinema’s biggest hits in the 1990s, director Wayne Wang’s “Smoke,” in a crisp new digital remastered version. Watching it again after all these years, it’s hard not ...