Category Archives: Movies

Review: Kung Fu Stuntmen

Perhaps because it was produced by a guild of Hong Kong-based stuntmen, this documentary about the evolution of their craft since the 1950s is both exhaustive (quite a feat at 92 minutes) and wonkish. Every legend you can think of … Continue reading

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Review: Emergency Declaration

Given its star power and large cinematic canvas, this disaster film would qualify as a blockbuster had it been made by Hollywood in the 70s or 80s. Nowadays it would just seem anachronistic, but since it was made in South … Continue reading

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Review: Dream Horse

The British working class underdog movie is a proven box office winner, and much more convincing, if not more sentimental, than its American cognate, which is usually centered on sports. This almost apologetically formulaic fictionalization of a true story that … Continue reading

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Best movies 2022

Though the pandemic has in no way subsided in Japan—Christmas Eve marked a new one-day record for deaths from COVID—this year I managed to regain the movie-watching pace I enjoyed before 2019, and therefore am resuming the compilation of a … Continue reading

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Review: Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody

British actor Naomi Ackie plays the powerhouse pop singer in this latest bid to cash in on her legacy, and does a formidable job in creating a distinctive on screen character, lip-syncing to beat the band, a talent that may … Continue reading

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Review: Flag Day

Knowing that Sean Penn directs and stars in this drama, based on a true story, and that he plays a truth-challenged, mostly absent father, the alert viewer will already be forewarned about the emotional drudgery in store. Taken from a … Continue reading

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Review: Tomorrow Morning

It’s impossible to underestimate the aspirational power of movies. The popularity of Hollywood cinema during the Depression was due to its ability to remove people from the anxiousness of their everyday lives for a few hours, usually by presenting characters … Continue reading

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Review: Never Goin’ Back

This seems to be the season in Japan for delayed releases of American comedies set in Texas and centered on female characters. Though I think Support the Girls, which came out here two months ago, is a better movie, Never … Continue reading

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Review: Blind Ambition

Robert Coe and Warwick Ross’s subtly effective documentary about four Zimbabwe emigrants to South Africa walks a careful line in explicating the men’s difficulities in adjusting to new lives in a place fraught with risks for outsiders—doubly so in a … Continue reading

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“2046,” October 2004

The movie reviews I wrote for the Asahi Shimbun between 1996 and 2010 are not available on the internet, so I am slowly trying to add them to this blog. Someone once said that it wasn’t until Wong Kar Wai’s … Continue reading

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