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Historical truths can take decades to unearth

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Journalist Eidai Hayashi is battling cancer. At 83 years old, he can barely keep hold of his fountain pen, since the pain has spread to every part of his body. “I quit chemotherapy, though I know the cancer is just going to spread and get bigger,” he says in Shinji ...

'Cell': Sometimes it's better to just hang up

Feb 15, 2017

'Cell': Sometimes it's better to just hang up

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After seeing “Cell” I wanted to call my grandmother who, with the emergence of the world’s first iPhone in June of 2007, predicted the end of civilization as we know it. Five months later she passed away, and some of my cousins whispered that ...

'Weiner': America's walking, talking punch line

Feb 15, 2017

'Weiner': America's walking, talking punch line

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If you feel like your cinematic diet has been a bit lacking in schadenfreude lately, then look no further than “Weiner,” an astounding internet-age documentary of hubris and disgrace, where no stupid behavior, once recorded, ever disappears. Who, you may ask, is Weiner? Well, ...

Punk: How cinema ignored something so loud

Feb 8, 2017

Punk: How cinema ignored something so loud

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Once upon a time, Hollywood was good at co-opting and selling youth culture. When rock ‘n’ roll and biker gangs came along in the 1950s, the studios came up with generational totems like “Blackboard Jungle” and “The Wild Ones.” Beatlemania spawned “A Hard Days ...

'Survival Family': Soft-pedaling through dystopia

Feb 8, 2017

'Survival Family': Soft-pedaling through dystopia

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To Hollywood, “dystopian future” usually means invading aliens, exotic technology and gigantic explosions. Shinobu Yaguchi’s “Survival Family” posits an alternative, more mundane cause of civilizational collapse: Japan’s electric grid suddenly freezes up, like a laptop that’s been doused with hot coffee. Televisions go blank, ...

| Feb 8, 2017

'Do Not Resist': The consequences are high

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Armored personnel carriers prowl the streets as bulky stormtroopers with automatic weapons and body armor batter down doors. Light aircraft and drones cruise the skies above, monitoring the movements to and from individual dwellings 24/7. Afghanistan? Nope, this is the troubling image of white-picket-fence ...

'Tangerine': The fruitful use of smartphones

Feb 1, 2017

'Tangerine': The fruitful use of smartphones

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Tammy Wynette sang it so it must be true: “Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman.” In the case of Los Angeles-based transgender sex workers Alexandra (Mya Taylor) and Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) in “Tangerine,” the hardships are doubled as they deal with the ...