Jul 13, 2017
Despite being a fantastic go-to costume on Halloween, witches in the West have never had it easy. There were the Salem witch trials of the 1690s, and similar trials elsewhere in North America and Europe through the 17th century, which served as warnings to independent women that they could be persecuted at any moment.
Jun 1, 2017
Japanese movies tend to portray Japanese dads as male chauvinists who never step into the kitchen if they can help it and have little interest in raising their kids. Consider Yasujiro Ozu's timeless classic "Tokyo Story." Sure, Chishu Ryu played a kind and gentle patriarch — but did he once help the women in his family or even get his own tea? That's a big negative and it applies to countless screen fathers and many real-life ones, too.
May 25, 2017
If you're the type who sticks around after a movie to read the credits, you'll know it takes more than one village to make a feature-length film. Ten or even 20 villages is more like it. Among the villagers are people with the title of "storyboard artist" and "film researcher," although, like many artisans in the digital world, they are a disappearing breed. "Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story" is a documentary that sheds light on two such professionals who dedicated themselves to the art.
Apr 27, 2017
Tomihiko Morimi's novel "Night Is Short, Walk On Girl" (Japanese title: "Yoru wa Mijikashi Aruke yo Otome") is set in the same universe as its predecessor, "The Tatami Galaxy" ("Yojohan Shinwa Taikei"), and is the latest to get the anime treatment by Masaaki Yuasa's Science Saru animation studios. This film, however, focuses a bit less on the male protagonist known only as "Senpai" and more on his love interest, "Kuro Kami no Otome" (the Girl with Black Hair). Notice the lack of identity beyond simple attributes? It's a way to make the story as generic as possible, though the film ends up being anything but.
Apr 13, 2017
Apr 6, 2017
"Ankoku Joshi" is a murder mystery involving six pretty JK (slang for joshi kosei, high school girls)" who all have something to hide. The film's title literally means "pitch black girls," which pretty much explains their characters' personalities in what soon becomes a grisly little tale directed by Saiji Yakumo.
Mar 29, 2017
Mar 15, 2017
Everywhere you look these days, it feels like it's just Trump, Trump and even more Trump. It's worth taking a moment to recall that 23 years ago many people were just as sick of O.J. Simpson when the amiable American football star-turned-TV/movie celebrity became the main suspect in the brutal murder of his estranged wife, Nicole, and the subsequent trial/media circus marked the beginning of the age of binge coverage.
Mar 10, 2017
Mar 8, 2017
Mar 1, 2017
Even a casual film buff knows that "Bicycle Thieves," the 1948 black-and-white film by Vittorio De Sica, is regarded as one of The Great Films of All Time. It's the best-known film by far of Italian cinema's postwar neorealist movement, but those who wish to delve deeper into that rich vein can binge this month at Yebisu Garden Cinema, with its Cinema Neo Classico Italia showcase.
Feb 15, 2017
Feb 8, 2017
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 America presented in director Craig Atkinson's documentary "Do Not Resist," where every small town needs an IED-proof armored vehicle.
Feb 1, 2017
Hiroki Matsukata, who died at age 74 on Jan. 21, may have been born into an acting family — his father was jidaigeki (historical drama) actor Jushiro Konoe — but in his yakuza films for the Toei studio in the 1960s and '70s, Matsukata's portrayals of feral-but-charming hoods seemed to boil up off the streets, not a studio lot.
Jan 25, 2017