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'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 ...

Paul Haggis: Spinning reality into a web of fiction

Jun 19, 2014

Paul Haggis: Spinning reality into a web of fiction

by Giovanni Fazio

“Today, too often, we’ve gotten used to telling the audience things in bold, in all-caps or underlined, and solving everything for everybody.” So says Paul Haggis, the screenwriter and director who won Oscars back-to-back with “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004 and “Crash” in 2005. ...

'Watashi no Otoko (My Man)'

Jun 19, 2014

'Watashi no Otoko (My Man)'

by Mark Schilling

Based on a novel by Kazuki Sakuraba, Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s “Watashi no Otoko (My Man)” is described as a film about forbidden love, which immediately raises the question of what, if anything, is “forbidden” in this day and age. In Kumakiri’s other films — such ...

'Her'

Jun 19, 2014

'Her'

by Kaori Shoji

The fact that the promotional poster for “Her” features the lone, male, mustachioed face of Joaquin Phoenix tells you most of what you need to know about this gentlyhorrific tale of the nearfuture. This is a world that very much resembles our own, but ...

'Third Person'

Jun 19, 2014

'Third Person'

by Giovanni Fazio

We meet Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde — the two stars of “Third Person” — inside an upscale hotel in Paris.She knocks on the door to his room, and he seems pleased to see her…Or is he? They tease each other, blowing hot and ...

'3 Days to Kill'

Jun 19, 2014

'3 Days to Kill'

by Kaori Shoji

This is one terrible movie — the equivalent of a date that any sane woman would avoid like bird flu. Now that I’ve stuck on the warning label I can relax, and tell you that I secretly loved “3 Days to Kill.” Directed by ...

'300: Rise of an Empire'

Jun 19, 2014

'300: Rise of an Empire'

by Giovanni Fazio

This may be little more than trashy B-movie material, but at least it’s not the hideous war-on-terror propaganda film that the first “300″ was, which had Spartans — warriors from a fascist state built on the back of mass slavery — yammering on about ...

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 ...