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Aikawa's brainless fun in 'Deadman Inferno'

May 20, 2015

Aikawa's brainless fun in 'Deadman Inferno'

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Sho Aikawa was once the tough-guy muse of Takashi Miike, appearing in films such as “Gokudo Kuroshakai” (“Rainy Dog”), “Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha” (“Dead or Alive”) and “Gokudo Kyofu Dai-gekijo: Gozu” (“Gozu”) that made the director the international “King of Cult.” The sandpapery voice, ...

Danish filmmaker's emotional, queasy 'Second Chance'

May 20, 2015

Danish filmmaker's emotional, queasy 'Second Chance'

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Scandinavian countries consistently come out tops on the happiness index but Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier (“Love is All You Need”) continues in her apparent quest to dig up the darkest muck in the river bed of the human soul. If you’re familiar with Bier’s ...

Blomkamp's sentimental 'Chappie' comes alive

May 20, 2015

Blomkamp's sentimental 'Chappie' comes alive

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‘Chappie” could almost be described as “Three Thugs and a Baby Bot.” Though the story raises Isaac Asimov-like issues of good vs. evil in the context of robot technology and its human creators, philosophy takes a back seat as family sentiments sashay to center ...

Urban planning

| May 20, 2015

Urban planning

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“Inside Architecture — Dare mo Shiranai Kenchiku no Hanashi” is a fascinating look at the relationship between money and city planning, economy and architecture. The filmmaker behind this formidable documentary is 38-year-old Tomomi Ishiyama, a Fulbright scholar who studied at New York City University ...

All about AV, but no sex in 'Makeup Room'

May 13, 2015

All about AV, but no sex in 'Makeup Room'

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Films that take the audience inside Japan’s huge and diverse porn industry have been appearing for decades. In the 1991 “Skinless Night,” Rokuro Mochizuki told a semi-autobiographical story about a porn director’s desperation to escape the business (an aim that the widely praised film ...

'Ao no Ran' is a riproaring rhapsody in blue

May 13, 2015

'Ao no Ran' is a riproaring rhapsody in blue

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“Ao no Ran” is the latest in the popular Geki×Cine series. To cut a long story short, Geki×Cine is a filmed stage production, but one done so meticulously that not a single moment of relevance or emotion is lost in the translating process. What ...

Terry Gilliam back on form with 'The Zero Theorem'

May 13, 2015

Terry Gilliam back on form with 'The Zero Theorem'

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Terry Gilliam’s “The Zero Theorem,” like most of his films, focuses on the all-too-thin line between sanity and insanity, reality and delusion. Its steampunk-meets-cyberpunk visual style is a wonderful jumble that’s reminiscent of his much loved “Brazil,” with touches like a computer mainframe that ...

Daniel Radcliffe gets devilish in 'Horns'

May 7, 2015

Daniel Radcliffe gets devilish in 'Horns'

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There are few actors who can enjoy the kind of success that Daniel Radcliffe has enjoyed at his age. At 10, he became the face of the multibillion-dollar “Harry Potter” franchise, which became a cultural phenomenon. As the series drew to a close in ...

Acting brings magic to otherwise flat script

May 7, 2015

Acting brings magic to otherwise flat script

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“Horns” is a stewing, blood-infused cauldron of atmospheric horror — and you can expect no less from director Alexandre Aja whose track record so far is frightening (“Piranha 3D,” “High Tension”). With “Horns,” however, Aja has ventured into adaptation territory (up till now, he ...