Topics

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 ...

The Scottish song heard around the world

Jul 23, 2014

The Scottish song heard around the world

by Kaori Shoji

“Sunshine on Leith” was a much-loved stage musical, featuring the songs of Scottish band The Proclaimers, that ran from 2007 to 2013. But when Dexter Fletcher signed on to direct the film adaptation of the musical, he had never seen it. “People kept asking ...

Love beyond the realms of erotic cinema

Jul 23, 2014

Love beyond the realms of erotic cinema

by Mark Schilling

The varieties of love are many: From the chaste and platonic, to the sexually uninhibited and emotionally obsessed. In a long career as a pinku eiga (pink film) director Yuji Tajiri has concentrated on the latter end of the scale, but in his latest ...

Sunshine on Leith

Jul 23, 2014

Sunshine on Leith

by Kaori Shoji

Who wouldn’t want a man that walks 500 miles (and 500 more) just to be with you? In 1988 the Scottish band The Proclaimers released their album “Sunshine on Leith” featuring the song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” which had all the buoyant freshness ...

Godzilla

Jul 23, 2014

Godzilla

by Giovanni Fazio

The old Godzilla movies made by Japan’s Toho studio between 1954 and 2004 were B-grade monster movies. They were cheesy and primitive, for the most part, but displayed the charm of inventive filmmakers who were trying to transcend the limitations of budget and technology ...