Film Topics

'Scoop!': Read all about it here

Sep 21, 2016

'Scoop!': Read all about it here

by

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 ...

'Someone's Xylophone': Yoichi Higashi hits an unusual tone

Sep 14, 2016

'Someone's Xylophone': Yoichi Higashi hits an unusual tone

by

Yoichi Higashi has made everything from commercial hits to festival favorites in his five-plus decades as a director, while taking up politically sensitive subjects and unpopular issues. His 1992 smash “The Bridge with No River” (“Hashi no Nai Kawa”) depicted the raw prejudice endured ...

'The BFG': With an emphasis on the friendly

Sep 14, 2016

'The BFG': With an emphasis on the friendly

by

The Japanese have never really warmed to the stories of Roald Dahl, with the exception of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Even then, they’re probably not thinking of Dahl, it’s more about Johnny Depp and the Wonka Chocolate bars sold at most high-end supermarkets ...

'Bittersweet': A Henry Higgins of vegetarianism

Sep 7, 2016

'Bittersweet': A Henry Higgins of vegetarianism

by

The idea of “love” in Japan used to be defined by literature until manga came along and changed the scenery. Now, almost everyone dips into manga to learn the ropes, and often that process starts as early as the first grade. My niece was ...

'Self/Less': Losing oneself in the narrative

Aug 31, 2016

'Self/Less': Losing oneself in the narrative

by

The age of excessive high-tech is a good time to be filthy rich, especially if you happen to be an entitled scoundrel whose level of wealth-fueled egomania makes Scrooge look like a benevolent fuddy-duddy. In “Self/Less,” Ben Kingsley as New York real estate mogul ...

'Gods of Egypt': What an ungodly mess

Aug 31, 2016

'Gods of Egypt': What an ungodly mess

by

In the latest issue of Kinema Junpo, Japan’s most venerable film magazine, you can read a lengthy tribute to Gaga, the dogged independent movie distributor that’s marking its 30th anniversary this year. The occasion is certainly worth commemorating: This is the company that released ...