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Breaking into and out of Japanese show biz

Feb 17, 2016

Breaking into and out of Japanese show biz

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Eiji Uchida’s scabrous new comedy about the struggles of a down-and-out indie film director, “Lowlife Love” (“Gesu no Ai”), confirms what I have known for years: Japanese show business can be brutal to the weak or clueless. They end up used and discarded, like ...

'The Shell Collector' wields a healing kind of poison

Feb 17, 2016

'The Shell Collector' wields a healing kind of poison

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In English, you usually don’t want to be compared to marine life. “Cold fish,” “shark” and “whale” are not often intended as compliments, and “come out of your shell” is commonly addressed to the anti-social. Japanese have a somewhat different take on the undersea ...

'Unbroken' opens in Tokyo with few complaints

| Feb 17, 2016

'Unbroken' opens in Tokyo with few complaints

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In a small victory for freedom of speech, independent distributor Bitters End opened Angelina Jolie’s controversial World War II prison camp movie “Unbroken” at Shibuya’s Theatre Image Forum, and in the end there were no fascist sound trucks or other harassment — just a ...

Ex-Ghibli auteur reflects on his Oscar-nominated animation

Feb 17, 2016

Ex-Ghibli auteur reflects on his Oscar-nominated animation

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The coming-of-age story is familiar: A shy girl has problems fitting in and conjures up an imaginary friend. In Oscar-nominated animation “When Marnie Was There” the inner torment of the girl is expressed with originality through luscious, hand-drawn images. Hand-illustrated animation is the trademark ...

Entering the mind of an icon in 'Steve Jobs'

Feb 11, 2016

Entering the mind of an icon in 'Steve Jobs'

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With roles in films such as “300,” “Inglourious Basterds” and the “X-Men” series, Michael Fassbender, 38, is no stranger to action. “I’ve learned to enjoy action movies,” he tells The Japan Times. “They’re more difficult than they look, with the special effects and assorted ...

Apple fans get a fairly good origin story

Feb 11, 2016

Apple fans get a fairly good origin story

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‘It’s like five minutes before every launch, everyone goes to a bar and gets drunk and tells me what they really think,” laments Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) during the closing stretch of Danny Boyle’s buoyant, breathless biopic. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has done an ingenious ...

Introducing the complex refugee experience to Japan

Feb 10, 2016

Introducing the complex refugee experience to Japan

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The plight of refugees is dauntingly hard to comprehend for the majority of Japanese who have been brought up believing they live in a racially homogeneous nation. (Let’s reserve the falseness of this belief for another story.) Eri Ishikawa, chair of the board of ...