Film Topics

'Downton Abbey'

Jul 2, 2014

'Downton Abbey'

by Kaori Shoji

Directors: Various Language: English Created by Julian Fellowes “Downton Abbey” finally comes to Japan. NHK is airing the first season and DVDs will be out on rental shelves starting Aug. 6. The intricacies of English aristocratic relationships unfold in the years following World War ...

'American Hustle'

Jul 2, 2014

'American Hustle'

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: David O. Russell Language: English Near the beginning of this deliciously funny 1970s caper flick, we see Christian Bale as a small-time hustler. Right off the bat, it shows us the commitment of Bale, who is physically transformed once again (with a big ...

'The East'

Jun 26, 2014

'The East'

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Zal Batmanglij Language: English Brit Marling plays a corporate spy who goes deep undercover (i.e., Birkenstocks and no baths) with a shadowy eco-terrorist group. Her sympathies waver as she falls under the spell of the neo-Luddite group’s culty leader (Alexander Skarsgard), while continuing ...

'Snowpiercer'

Jun 26, 2014

'Snowpiercer'

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Bong Joon-ho Language: English, Korean (subtitled in Japanese) Survivors of a future ice age have boarded a train called “Snowpiercer,” which endlessly circles the globe fueled by a permanent engine designed by the train’s owner, Wilford (Ed Harris). A ruthless class system prevails ...

'Petal Dance'

Jun 26, 2014

'Petal Dance'

by Mark Schilling

Director: Hiroshi Ishikawa Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) In this 2013 drama two college friends (Sakura Ando and Aoi Miyazaki) enlist a young stranger (Shiori Kutsuna) to drive them north to visit a former classmate (Kazue Fukiishi) who attempted suicide. The ensuing action feels ...

Jobs (Steve Jobs)

Jun 19, 2014

Jobs (Steve Jobs)

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Joshua Michael Stern Language: English A century from now, people may look back on the first decade of the millennium and describe it with a single word: Apple. The creator/deity behind that company will also be recalled, though not always with fondness. Watch ...

'Gatchaman'

Jun 19, 2014

'Gatchaman'

by Mark Schilling

Director: Toya Sato Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Toya Sato’s live-action version of the 40-year-old “Gatchaman” anime features plenty of CGI action, as the five suited heros fight to save the earth from an evil organization called Galactor. This is an attempt to compete ...

Amateur (Ai Amateur)

Jun 19, 2014

Amateur (Ai Amateur)

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Various Language: English When “Pulp Fiction” was released in 1994, Quentin Tarantino overshadowed all other U.S. indie directors at the time. Hal Hartley’s “Amateur” — an offbeat thriller — was released that same year, and it’s an absolute gem. Isabelle Huppert stars as ...

'Last Passenger (Original title: Panic Train)'

Jun 12, 2014

'Last Passenger (Original title: Panic Train)'

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Omid Nooshin Language: English Few things are more groan-inducing than a commuter train that stops at every station, but a train that goes at breakneck speeds and never stops? Now that’s scary. Directed by Omid Nooshin and starring Dougray Scott, this Hitchcockian terror ...

T'ora! Tora! Tora!'

Jun 12, 2014

T'ora! Tora! Tora!'

by Mark Schilling

Director: Richard Fleischer Language: English, Japanese (subtitled in English) Originally a collaboration between 20th Century Fox and Akira Kurosawa, this 1970 film changed drastically when Kurosawa suffered a nervous breakdown on set. Despite Richard Fleischer’s plodding direction the film’s epic set pieces make it ...

'Virginia'

Jun 12, 2014

'Virginia'

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Dustin Lance Black Language: English “Straight to DVD” is usually a harbinger of doom, but in the case of “Virginia,” it’s gotta be worth a look, based on the people involved — actors Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris, director Dustin Lance Black and ...