Japan Cuts 2011: LOVE AND TREACHERY Review

Love and Treachery is an erotic drama that considers its characters at such a distance that we can't really get a feel for either of the modes the movie is going for. The performances are so stiff, so emotionally opaque,... More »
  

Japan Cuts 2011: THE SEASIDE MOTEL Review [Charles' Take]

I'll warn you advance: I have almost nothing positive to say about The Seaside Motel, the jumbled chronology anthology from director Kentaro Moriya, based on the manga by Yukio Okada. It's not an offensively bad movie in any real way--instead... More »
  

Japan Cuts 2011: TOILET Review

Naoko Ogigami's dysfunctional family dramedy Toilet is just slightly on the wrong side of twee and it's certain to turn a certain segment of the audience off, with its quirky collection of agoraphobics, socially awkward man-children, and snooty poets. This... More »
  

JAPAN CUTS 2011: BIRTHRIGHT (AKA UMBILICAL CORD) Review

Birthright, aka Umbilical Cord, is a deliberately paced psycho-drama about family, rejection and revenge. They say revenge is a dish best served cold, which, coincidentally, happens to be the best way to go into this film. Not because it's a... More »
  

JAPAN CUTS 2011: RINCO'S RESTAURANT Review

[With the Continental U.S. premiere of Rinco's Restaurant happening this, Wednesday, July 13th at Japan Society's Japan Cuts, we now revisit Niels Matthijs' earlier review -- Ben Umstead]Even though female directors are on the rise in Japan, they often limit... More »
  

Japan Cuts 2011: SWORD OF DESPERATION Review

If you're a fan of chanbara dramas--those sensitive, occasionally weepy samurai films that pop up every year or so--then you've probably already seen director Hideyuki Hirayama' Sword of Desperation. Well, if not the actual film, then some configuration of it... More »
  

NYAFF/JAPAN CUTS 2011: HEAVEN'S STORY Review

When one hears the word 'epic' one usually thinks of 'battles' and 'dragons', 'conspiracy and intrigue', 'larger-than-life filmmaking.' When one hears the words 'revenge story' images of Charles Bronson mowing down street punks or Choi Min-sik dishing out justice with... More »
  

Japan Cuts 2011: LOVE & LOATHING AND LULU & AYANO

It's interesting to note that that the director of the (anti-?) porn drama Love & Loathing & Lulu & Ayano, Hisayasu Satō, is himself a director of pink films. Since 1985, he's directed a couple dozen films in the exploitation... More »
  

NYAFF/JAPAN CUTS 2011: OSAMU TEZUKA'S BUDDHA: THE GREAT DEPARTURE Review

The first part in a projected trilogy based on Osamu Tezuka's 8 volume manga, Toei Animation's Buddha: The Great Departure chronicles the early life of Prince Siddhartha in bombastic fashion, constructing an epic on a scale intended to rival old-school... More »
  

NYAFF/Japan Cuts 2011: RINGING IN THEIR EARS Review

The film starts out with Noko, a lead singer of Japanese metafunk band Shinsei Kamattechan, on stage, singing while holding a laptop in front of him. With fans' comments flying across the live streaming images of the concert in the... More »
  

NYAFF 2011: MILOCRORZE: A LOVE STORY Review

Milocrorze: A Love Story is like a My Little Pony shitting Gummi Bears into a river of Coca-Cola under a bright pink sky full of rainbows. It's super sweet, kind of gross, plenty weird, and damn awesome.The film's director Yoshimasa... More »
  
 
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