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Ai no Uzu (Love's Whirlpool)

Dec 10, 2014

Ai no Uzu (Love's Whirlpool)

by Mark Schilling

Director: Daisuke Miura Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Daisuke Miura’s adaptation of his stage play about eight strangers who sign up for a sex party in Roppongi was rightly tagged with an R-18 rating e_SEmD there’s plenty of explicit sex — but the film, ...

Maleficent

Dec 10, 2014

Maleficent

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Robert Stromberg Language: English Angelina Jolie stars in the title role of this Disney makeover of “Sleeping Beauty.” Maleficent is a nice fairy goddess, but she is betrayed and doomed to a life of darkness. Seeking vengeance, she puts a curse on the ...

Looking Japan's film-industry myths in the eye

Dec 3, 2014

Looking Japan's film-industry myths in the eye

by Mark Schilling

Who doesn’t love a listicle titled “(X) surprising things you never knew about (Y)”? What surprises me about a lot of commentary on the Japanese film industry — from insiders and outsiders alike — is how it substitutes judgment calls (usually of the “Japanese ...

Homeland

Dec 3, 2014

Homeland

by Giovanni Fazio

Language: English Hulu.jp strengthens its roster with the welcome addition of Showtime series “Homeland,” now in its fourth season. “Homeland” focuses less on clock-ticking cliffhangers and more on psychologically complex characters and deep layers of paranoia and suspicion. Claire Danes, in the best performance ...

Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)

Dec 3, 2014

Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)

by Mark Schilling

Directors: Kentaro Otani, Keiichi Sato Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Based on Yana Toboso’s best-selling manga, this Kentaro Otani fantasy/action film stars Hiro Mizushima as a demon who becomes a butler to the cheeky teenage heir (Ayame Goriki) to a toy-company fortune. Suave, but ...

Modern Family

Dec 3, 2014

Modern Family

by Kaori Shoji

Language: English This Emmy Award-winning TV series, now in its sixth season, is available for viewing on hulu.jp. Ed O’Neill stars as Jay Pritchett, the head of a diverse and sprawling family whose members have minds of their own and attitudes to match. It’s ...

Documentaries at the margins of modern life

Nov 26, 2014

Documentaries at the margins of modern life

by Kaori Shoji

There is no film festival in Japan quite like the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (YIDFF). Going against the current of easy entertainment and mind-numbing CGI, the festival is a solid, seriously cinematic event held in Yamagata every two years. From its inception in ...