Monthly Archives: September 2022

Review: Downton Abbey: A New Era

Having jumped ship on the beloved British series around the time Dan Stevens left, I assumed this movie installment would be an entirely self-contained episode with no need to brush up on what happened in those latter seasons I missed. … Continue reading

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Review: The Princess

Twenty-five years after she perished in a car crash while fleeing paparazzi in Paris, Princess Diana’s overstuffed legacy hardly needs another cinematic boost (that biopic with Kristen Stewart opens in Japan next month), but this HBO documentary does a pretty … Continue reading

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Media watch: The orphans who made it to Japan

We rarely have anything positive to say about the late Shinzo Abe, but with his state funeral happening tomorrow we wanted to point out at least one good thing he did. This year marks the 50th anniversary of normalized relations … Continue reading

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Review: The Dry

The awkward title of this mystery, based on a best-selling novel, describes a small town in rural Australia that has been suffering through a drought for some time. The intent seems to be to prepare an environment of discomfort and … Continue reading

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Review: The Monopoly of Violence/Babi Yar. Context

For those of us who don’t live in France or, for that matter, the EU, the so-called Yellow Vest Movement, in which mostly working people and far-left and far-right elements opposed to Emmanuel Macron’s neoliberal policies clashed violently with police … Continue reading

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Review: Lamb

Though it does contain a cosmic joke that’s shockingly funny if not particularly original, Icelandic director Valdimar Johannsson’s Lamb seems stuck for most of its running time in narrative limbo. Atmospherically creepy and purposely bizarre, its milieu is nevertheless so … Continue reading

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Review: Petite Maman

Serious movies that focus on the lives, particularly the inner lives, of children make me suspicious; or, at least, mildly uncomfortable. The assumption of innocence allows filmmakers to exploit feelings in the viewer that might be more problematic were the … Continue reading

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“Pachinko,” Korean heritage, and sidestepping the real Japan

Last spring I saw Korean-Japanese filmmaker Yang Yonghi’s latest documentary, Soup and Ideology, at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. During the post-screening Q&A, Yang expressed frustration over her belief that Japan has not really produced any great films about … Continue reading

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Media watch: Government does itself no favors with new incentives to promote My Number cards

For several years the Japanese government and, more specifically, the new digital agency has been trying to sell the public on the My Number system, which assigns a 12-digit ID number to everyone who lives in Japan. Assigning the numbers … Continue reading

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Review: Hostage: Missing Celebrity

Basically meta-cinema for dummies, Pil Gam-sung’s debut feature takes full advantage of its star’s screen image to keep you guessing as to how much he is acting. Hwang Jung-min has cultivated an enviable, respectable career playing a wide variety of … Continue reading

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