Film Topics

Mujin Chitai (No Man's Zone)

Mar 4, 2015

Mujin Chitai (No Man's Zone)

by Mark Schilling

Director: Toshi Fujiwara Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) As the anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown of March 11, 2011, approaches, Toshi Fujiwara’s documentary is a useful reminder of what the Tohoku region suffered. With actress Arsinee Khanjian’s solemnly intoning commentary, ...

Hercules

Mar 4, 2015

Hercules

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Brett Ratner Language: English My mom told me never to trust guys named Dwayne, but we’re going to have to make an exception in the case of “Hercules”: The titular hero is played by none other than muscle man Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. ...

Frank

Mar 4, 2015

Frank

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Leonard Abrahamson Language: English Michael Fassbender stars in this funny but sad portrait of cult musician Frank Sidebottom, aka real-life Manchester musician/performance artist Chris Sievey. The film contrasts Frank’s creative intensity with his band’s completely uninspired careerist keyboard player, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson). It’s ...

Lupin III (Japan title: Rupan Sansei)

Feb 25, 2015

Lupin III (Japan title: Rupan Sansei)

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Ryuhei Kitamura Language: Japanese and English Originally a manga series penned by Monkey Punch, “Lupin III” has made it to the big screen. Shun Oguri plays Lupin III, who alongside on-off girlfriend Fujiko Mine (Meisa Kuroki) and buddies Jigen (Tetsuji Tamayama) and Goemon ...

Path of Blood

Feb 25, 2015

Path of Blood

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Eric Power Language: Japanese (subtitles in English) “South Park” meets “Yojimbo” as directed by “Kill Bill”-era Quentin Tarantino? If that all sounds a bit mad, well, rest assured — it is. “Path of Blood” is an animated film made entirely by director Eric ...

Kinoshita and World War II

Feb 18, 2015

Kinoshita and World War II

by Mark Schilling

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita Language: Japanese (subtitles in English) Criterion’s new box set of five early Keisuke Kinoshita films from the 1940s includes four wartime morale-boosters and the postwar drama “Osone-ke no Ashita (Morning for the Osone Family).” But Kinoshita’s deep humanism made these films ...

Lucy

Feb 18, 2015

Lucy

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Luc Besson Language: English Scarlett Johansson stars in the title role as an American student in South Korea who is tricked into becoming a drug mule by her boyfriend (Pilou Asbaek). The plot thins out when Lucy wakes up in Paris and the ...

Fifty Shades: Uncovered

Feb 18, 2015

Fifty Shades: Uncovered

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Sonia Anderson Language: English “Fifty Shades: Uncovered” is a documentary that explores the wider cultural impact of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” novels. Not since “Deep Throat” in 1972 has a pornographic work won such widespread popularity. Director Sonia Anderson talks to people ...

Bokutachi no Kazoku (Our Family)

Feb 11, 2015

Bokutachi no Kazoku (Our Family)

by Mark Schilling

Director: Yuya Ishii Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Yuya Ishii’s follow-up to his much-lauded 2013 drama “Fune wo Amu (The Great Passage)” is in the same serious humanistic vein — and again contrasts with the 31-year-old director’s raucous, blackly comic earlier work. The story ...

Utopia

Feb 11, 2015

Utopia

by Kaori Shoji

Language: English A familiar dystopian tale unfolds in this U.K. TV series, which is available for streaming online. “Utopia” doesn’t burst with originality but there’s an intriguing Orwellian flavor to it that’s hard to resist. A group of people discover the sequel to a ...

Betty Blue

Feb 11, 2015

Betty Blue

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix Language: English Director Jean-Jacques Beineix’s films continue to appear on Vimeo, and the latest addition is “Betty Blue,” his 1986 masterpiece of doomed romance. Failed writer Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) embarks on a passionate relationship with wannabe muse Betty (Beatrice Dalle), as ...