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When it comes to the Beatles, we'll never let it be

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The Beatles’ career as a live band came to a — literally — screeching halt in August 1966, when on their final American tour, the howling of frenzied female fans became so deafening they could no longer hear themselves play. Author Tom Wolfe, describing a San Francisco stadium gig, wrote ...

'Harmonium': Dangerously good family drama

Sep 28, 2016

'Harmonium': Dangerously good family drama

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The films of Koji Fukada have long wrapped ambitious themes in deceptively unassuming genre packages. His 2011 international breakout “Hospitalite” (“Kantai”) begins as a quirky comedy but becomes a sharp-edged drama of deceptions and secrets. Last year’s “Sayonara” starts as an offbeat essay in ...

'Sully': Ditching the plane to save lives

Sep 28, 2016

'Sully': Ditching the plane to save lives

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For a while I thought Harrison Ford should run for U.S. president, but now I’m convinced Tom Hanks is the one, with Clint Eastwood as secretary of state. The two have teamed up for “Sully” (Eastwood directing and Hanks as the titular character), the ...

Shep Gordon lives life like a movie

| Sep 28, 2016

Shep Gordon lives life like a movie

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Behind every star, you can be sure there’s a schmoozing, shouting manager who got them where they are. It’s not a profession noted for its integrity; managers most often make news when being sued by a former client. Yet comedian Mike Myers (“Austin Powers”) ...

Animated film 'Your Name.' taking nation by storm

Sep 27, 2016

Animated film 'Your Name.' taking nation by storm

The animated film “Your Name.” is taking Japan by storm, with its box office revenues surpassing the ¥10 billion ($99 million) mark in just 28 days since its release, marking a milestone for a Japanese animation other than the works of renowned director Hayao ...

Hany Abu-Assad: Making strong voices heard

Sep 21, 2016

Hany Abu-Assad: Making strong voices heard

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Ever since the first series of “Pop Idol” screened on British TV in 2001, the televised music competition has become practically inescapable, with franchises springing up everywhere from Macedonia to the Maldives. Given how cannily stage-managed these “reality” shows really are, though, it almost ...

'Scoop!': Read all about it here

Sep 21, 2016

'Scoop!': Read all about it here

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Japanese weekly scandal magazines are pond scum, are they not? Dishing up grainy paparazzi photos of the famous and powerful, accompanied by wink-wink stories about improprieties and crimes — alleged or exposed — they appeal to the lowest common denominator, with their only raison ...

'Stranger Things' happened in the 1980s

| Sep 21, 2016

'Stranger Things' happened in the 1980s

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The streaming wars continue, and one advantage Netflix has over its rivals is that it releases its original content in Japan without much annoying time lag. That’s true of their new paranormal series “Stranger Things,” which came out in the dog days of summer ...

Yuki Tanada's new film sees the humor in societal changes

Sep 17, 2016

Yuki Tanada's new film sees the humor in societal changes

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The Japanese women directors who have been gaining attention in the past two decades, beginning with frequent Cannes invitee Naomi Kawase, tend to be serious types, understandably. Their struggle for respect and recognition in a male-dominated industry is difficult enough — and goofy comedies ...