Category Archives: Movies

Review: The Personal History of David Copperfield

It’s been a while since I’ve read Dickens, but Armando Iannucci’s fast-paced version of the novelist’s warmest tale feels to me more faithful to the spirit of Dickens than the usual stuffy cinematic adaptations (almost all of which are Great … Continue reading

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Review: The Man Standing Next

This sleek fictionalized rendering of the events leading up to the assassination of South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee in 1979 is the second movie I’ve seen about the incident, whose particulars, after more than 40 years, are still being disputed … Continue reading

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Review: Just 6.5

Casual moviegoers, and perhaps even more dedicated ones—the kind who try to keep up on world trends—may harbor misunderstandings about Iranian cinema, thinking that it divides neatly between socially relevant domestic fare, like the movies of Asghar Farhadi (A Separation), … Continue reading

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Review: King of Thieves

Were it not based on a true story, this heist film would have likely been derided as just another excuse for providing employment to that cohort of British male actors who have pushed past 65. In that regard, it’s quite … Continue reading

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Best Movies 2020

Needless to say it was a pretty bad year for movie-watching, or, at least, it was bad if you wanted to watch movies in a theater. I’m not averse to watching movies on smaller screens (I draw the line at … Continue reading

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Review: Song to Song

If timing is everything then it will be interesting to see how Terrence Malick’s 2017 feature fares at the box office in Japan during a pandemic. It has less to do with logistical issues — I predict the movie will … Continue reading

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Review: Book Club

In a time when going to the movies is considered by many an endeavor fraught with peril, the choices made by Japanese distributors and movie houses invite extra scrutiny. Here we have a frivolous American romantic comedy originally released in … Continue reading

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Far From Heaven

I am slowly adding reviews to this blog that I wrote for the Japan Times and the Asahi Shimbun in the 90s and early 00s and which are not currently on the web. This review from the Asahi was published … Continue reading

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Review: Tezuka’s Barbara

Macoto Tezka’s live action movie version of his father Osamu Tezuka’s early 70s adult manga combines pastiche and originality in a way that’s dramatically stimulating without being particularly memorable. The original comic’s outrageousness was a function of its time and … Continue reading

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Review: About Endlessness

Swedish director Roy Andersson’s gift, if you can call it that, is how perfectly he envisions existence, a trait that’s interpolated cinematically as meticulously blocked scenes, uniformly stark lighting, and little if no camera movement. The mood is minimalist black … Continue reading

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