'A Gambler's Odyssey 2020': A lot of controversy about nothing

Film / Reviews Apr 10, 2019

'A Gambler's Odyssey 2020': A lot of controversy about nothing

Given the timid, committee-driven nature of modern Japanese film production, it's rare for anything to make it into the cinemas with even the slightest whiff of controversy still clinging to it. "A Gambler's Odyssey 2020" is a pungent exception. Kazuya Shiraishi's movie has been cultivating ...

Suchmos' 'The Anymal' aims high but misses the mark

Music Mar 27, 2019

Suchmos' 'The Anymal' aims high but misses the mark

Of all the acts to emerge during the recent city pop revival, when the funk-inflected AOR of early-1980s Japan seemed to be coming back in vogue, Suchmos has been by far the most successful. Last year saw the sextet graduate to playing arenas and ...

'Siblings of the Cape': Uncomfortable, yet compelling

Film / Reviews Mar 6, 2019

'Siblings of the Cape': Uncomfortable, yet compelling

There are films that take you places you rather wish they wouldn't. Within the first 10 minutes of "Siblings of the Cape," I was ready to stop watching, but something about Shinzo Katayama's scruffy, transgressive debut kept me hooked. While it's hard to give an ...

'Samurai Marathon': A sprint through Japanese history

Film / Reviews Feb 27, 2019

'Samurai Marathon': A sprint through Japanese history

The arrival of U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry's infamous "black ships" in 1850s Japan prompted some unusual reactions from a country that had spent the past few centuries shut off from the outside world. Few were as offbeat as that of the feudal lord Itakura ...

'Another World': An uneasy reunion for old friends

Film / Reviews Feb 20, 2019

'Another World': An uneasy reunion for old friends

While the jury at last year's Tokyo International Film Festival made some unimpeachable selections, it was left to viewers to supply the biggest surprise of the event. "Another World" was an unexpected choice for the Audience Award, which typically goes to more comedic fare ...