'Love's Twisting Path': An old-school samurai swashbuckler

Film / Reviews Apr 10, 2019

'Love's Twisting Path': An old-school samurai swashbuckler

Now a spry 84, Sadao Nakajima is one of the few directors from Japan's studio era who is still active. After joining Toei in 1959 and making his directorial debut in 1964, Nakajima shot yakuza actioners and samurai swashbucklers (chanbara eiga) for more than ...

'JK Rock': A rock 'n' roll battle of the sexes

Film / Reviews Apr 3, 2019

'JK Rock': A rock 'n' roll battle of the sexes

There are many Japanese musical films about aspiring rock and pop stars (though not Hollywood-style musicals, which are seldom made here.) Among the best-loved is "Linda, Linda, Linda," Nobuhiro Yamashita's 2005 film about four teenage girls who hastily form a band and wow the ...

'Makuko': Love, life and that same old E.T. story

Film / Reviews Mar 20, 2019

'Makuko': Love, life and that same old E.T. story

The "visitor from another planet" story is doable, even for an indie filmmaker with no budget. All you need are aliens who have assumed human forms, but don't quite get the whole humanity thing. Two recent examples are Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 2017 films "Foreboding" and ...

'Ramen Shop': Finding your family through food

Film / Reviews Mar 13, 2019

'Ramen Shop': Finding your family through food

Food is sustenance, food is pleasure and, as Eric Khoo's nostalgia-drenched "Ramen Shop" reminds us, food is memory. The last is not often seen in Japanese foodie movies, which tend to focus on the hero's arduous journey to mastery of a culinary art. So when the ...

'Running Again': Solving problems with a good run

Film / Reviews Mar 6, 2019

'Running Again': Solving problems with a good run

Running scenes have been a staple since the start of the movies, but in the silent days the fleet-footed hero was usually trying to outrun the police. Now, competitive running in its various forms, from the ekiden relay to the marathon, has become a ...