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A Promise: 'It's hard to care about these doomed lovers'

Dec 17, 2014

A Promise: 'It's hard to care about these doomed lovers'

by Giovanni Fazio

‘A Promise” seeks to be an intensely intimate portrait of repressed desire; a European “In The Mood For Love” set in pre-Great War Germany, with enough attentive butlers, elegant interiors and Sunday-finest promenades to make any Merchant-Ivory fan swoon. Based on the novel “Journey ...

Elena: 'A face permanently set in lines of disappointment'

Dec 17, 2014

Elena: 'A face permanently set in lines of disappointment'

by Kaori Shoji

A Russian friend once defined the Russian temperament with one word: “heavy.” That certainly holds for the characters in “Elena,” an excellent tale of a Russian family struggling to navigate a world defined by Western capitalism and the supposed magical powers afforded by digital ...

Ju-on: Owari no Hajimari (Ju-on: The Beginning of the End)

Dec 17, 2014

Ju-on: Owari no Hajimari (Ju-on: The Beginning of the End)

by Mark Schilling

Director: Masayuki Ochiai Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Horror veteran Masayuki Ochiai attempts to revive the moribund “Ju-on” (The Grudge) series with that genre flick perennial: the origin story. Model/actress Nozomi Sasaki gives good scream as the elementary school teacher investigating the mysterious absence ...

3 Days to Kill (Last Mission)

Dec 17, 2014

3 Days to Kill (Last Mission)

by Kaori Shoji

Director: McG Language: English, French, German (subtitled in English) Renner (Kevin Costner) is a CIA agent with cancer, desperate to reconnect with his estranged family (living in Paris) but equally hankering for a miracle drug that would extend his life. The deal is that ...

The Moon in the Gutter (Mizo no Naka no Tsuki)

Dec 17, 2014

The Moon in the Gutter (Mizo no Naka no Tsuki)

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix Language: French (subtitled in English) Jean-Jacques Beineix wowed the world with his 1981 debut “Diva,” but his 1983 follow-up, “The Moon in the Gutter,” bombed — rare was the review that didn’t use the word “pretentious.” Three decades on, it stands ...

Night Boat

Dec 13, 2014

Night Boat

by Iain Maloney

“Night Boat” is Alan Spence’s second novel set in Japan, but his first to deal entirely with Japanese characters and situations. Night Boat, by Alan SpenceCanongate Books, Fiction. The novel sees him sail into more risky waters than “The Pure Land,” but it’s a ...

Armies ready for battle in final 'Hobbit' film

Dec 11, 2014

Armies ready for battle in final 'Hobbit' film

by George Hadley-Garcia

There’s a scene in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Volume 2″ where Michael Madsen’s Budd character asks Daryl Hannah’s Elle: “Now you ain’t gonna hafta face your enemy on the battlefield no more, which ‘R’ are you filled with: relief or regret?” Elle tries to ...

A vision of love through money and migration

Dec 10, 2014

A vision of love through money and migration

by Kaori Shoji

At first glance, Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen’s “Ilo Ilo” is a familiar tale. A family in Singapore hire a Filipina maid to care for their irate 10-year-old son, an Asian brat extraordinaire. Eventually the boy bonds with the maid, and the two become closer ...