Film Topics

'47 Ronin'

Apr 17, 2014

'47 Ronin'

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Carl Rinsch Language: English You’ll enjoy this as soon as you stop thinking it has anything to do with the Chushingura episode in Japanese history. This is a visually stunning superhero movie with “oriental” costumes and A-list J-movie stars such as Ko Shibasaki ...

'Hidamari No Kanojo' (Girl in the Sunny Place)

Apr 17, 2014

'Hidamari No Kanojo' (Girl in the Sunny Place)

by Mark Schilling

Director: Takahiro Miki Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) In Takahiro Miki’s romantic drama, a shy salesman (Jun Matsumoto) reconnects with a former junior high classmate (Juri Ueno) who is now a successful businesswoman. He falls for her, but she has a secret that turns ...

'Hunger'

Apr 10, 2014

'Hunger'

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Steve McQueen Language: English Steve McQueen is known to all now that “12 Years a Slave” won this year’s best-picture Oscar, but the director’s first feature film, 2008′s “Hunger,” never even opened in Japan. Perhaps the film’s political content — which looks at ...

'The Killing'

Apr 10, 2014

'The Killing'

by Kaori Shoji

Language: English “The Killing” is a “Twin Peaks” redux for millenials, but without the weird comedy. This is the tragic story of the corpse of a 17-year-old found in a car registered to a Seattle councilman. The local police investigation is unwillingly headed by ...

'Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo' (The Kirishima Thing)

Apr 10, 2014

'Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo' (The Kirishima Thing)

by Mark Schilling

Director: Daihachi Yoshida Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Daihachi Yoshida’s 2012 high-school drama focuses on those impacted by the resignation of star-player Kirishima from the volleyball team, including an enraged best friend (Masahiro Higashide) and a young movie director (Ryunosuke Kamiki). Made with a ...

'The Counselor'

Apr 3, 2014

'The Counselor'

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Ridley Scott Language: English The reptilian charms of Michael Fassbender are in full effect in this dark tale of drugs, sex, betrayal and unspeakable violence. Fassbender plays a brilliant lawyer who gets in over his head with a Mexican drug cartel. Brad Pitt ...

'Barbed Wire Dolls'

Apr 3, 2014

'Barbed Wire Dolls'

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Jess Franco Language: French (subtitled in English) Grindhouse aficionados will no doubt recognize the name of director Jess Franco, whose trio of 1970s women-in-prison films are being released on DVD this month. “Barbed Wire Dolls” is the nastiest of the lot, with Lena ...

'Dark Days'

Mar 27, 2014

'Dark Days'

by Giovanni Fazio

One of the last decade's best documentaries never opened in Japan, but now you can catch it on Vimeo.com. "Dark Days," shot in haunting black and white, explores the literally underground homeless community that existed hidden in New York train tunnels, shrouded in perpetual ...

'The Call'

Mar 27, 2014

'The Call'

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Brad Anderson Language: English “The Call” is an engrossing thriller, not least because of its strand of feminist empowerment. Halle Berry plays an LA 911 operator who gets a call from a girl (Abigail Breslin) who has been kidnapped and stashed in the ...

'Upside Down'

Feb 13, 2014

'Upside Down'

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Juan Solanas Language: English Adam (Jim Sturgess) and Eden (Kirsten Dunst) live on two planets suspended one above the other, with opposing gravities. One planet is affluent, thanks to the labor of its exploited twin, and citizens of the two are not allowed ...