Storytelling is all about execution. You can have the most fascinating, compelling, edge-of-your-seat concept, but, if the execution flounders, nothing else matters. Take the story about the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo which saw the introduction of volleyball as an… Read More ›
Adventurous, heartrending, and undeniably raw, “CODE NAME: Nagasaki” offers a reimagined documentary told through the language of cinema. [North Bend Film Festival]
When it comes to self-discovery, there is no one right path, no universal means for those who walk this earth to become comfortable with themselves. This is the struggle, the burden we all share, whether we’ll admit it or not…. Read More ›
Beware the traps laid within Arrow Video’s restoration of “Irezumi” as the path made lead to your peril.
In the opening moments of Yasuzô Masumura’s Irezumi (1966), we witness a man drug a woman, then design and ink a spider tattoo on her back. As he works on the floor, bent over her, her only reaction is to… Read More ›
Director Yasuzô Masumura’s 1958 satire “Giants and Toys” is remarkably prescient of today’s ailments.
It’s rarely more than coincidence when a piece of art intersects with moments in history neatly. Black Panther (2018) released about a year into the Trump presidency, a film in sharp contrast against an administration dealing with accusations of white… Read More ›
Brutal entanglements and a thrilling narrative have what it takes to “Deliver Us From Evil.”
Returning to the director’s seat for the second time, Hong Won-chan trades murder most foul within the blue collar arena for the underbelly of Asia and Southeast Asia in Deliver Us From Evil (다만 악에서 구하소서). In a film that’s… Read More ›
Zhang Yimou’s spy thriller “Cliff Walkers” subverts expectations at every turn, offering a meal for hungry audiences.
Writer/director Zhang Yimou is many things, but subtle is not one of them. His projects often feature beautiful cinematography and elegant performances while exploring the complexities of humankind, resulting in films that are often far more poetic than narratively straight…. Read More ›
Ran Slavin’s feature debut, “Call for Dreams,” is “A Page of Madness” for the 21st century.
According to the press notes for Call for Dreams, Israeli director Ran Slavin started the project in pursuit of a “new cinematic form.” Slavin began with the idea to collect dreams from strangers that he could use as inspiration for… Read More ›
Studio Ghibli’s “Earwig and the Witch” is now available on home video.
February 2021 saw the theatrical release of a new Studio Ghibli film, Earwig and the Witch, and it wasn’t quite as well received as hoped. While the switch from hand-drawn animation to 3D CG was, initially, off-putting, the real issue… Read More ›
Akira Kurosawa Series: A Look Back on “Stray Dog.”
By the end of Akira Kurosawa’s 1949 detective drama, Stray Dog, there is not a character that escapes the fray without rolling around in the mud, figuratively and literally. Every decision has consequences, and every action has a reaction. Some, more… Read More ›
“Crazy Samurai: 400 vs. 1” Blu-ray Giveaway
Tak Sakaguchi was a street fighter when writer/director Ryûhei Kitamura hired him to play Prisoner KSC2-303 in Versus (2000). Since then, Sakaguchi developed quite the resume as a live actor, voice actor, and stunt coordinator in films large and small. Now… Read More ›
Sorry, Studio Ghibli fans, “Earwig and the Witch” is terribly off key.
Studio Ghibli’s Earwig and the Witch marks their 22nd feature film and their first 3D animated feature. Adapted from the 2011 novel by Diana Wynne Jones (the second film of theirs adapted from her books, the first being Howl’s Moving… Read More ›
Travel the globe with gentlemen thief Lupin III in his latest adventure “Lupin III: The First.”
First created by artist Monkey Punch in 1967, the adventures of gentlemen thief Lupin III have generated multiple mangas, tv series, and films depicting a variety of escapades. During a press interview for Lupin III vs. Detective Conan: The Movie… Read More ›
Explore the depths of the oceans in director Ayumu Watanabe’s manga adaptation “Children of the Sea.”
One of the things I love about GKids Films, a distributor of Asian animated films, is the absolute variety and high quality of each production they release in the U.S. The films they release range from stop-motion (My Life as… Read More ›
Nobuhiko Ôbayashi’s “Labyrinth of Cinema” is a fitting final opus. [Fantasia Film Festival]
There is no film more indicative of “you either love it, or you don’t” than Nobuhiko Ôbayashi’s 1977 horror film, House. The surrealist and absurdist take on the typical haunted house story creates a film that defies all convention and… Read More ›
“Crazy Samurai Musashi” eschews bombast in favor of quiet restraint. [Fantasia Film Festival]
Long takes have become the new major flex a filmmaker can make in their films these days, from Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), to Sam Mendes’s 1917, even making its way into video games like… Read More ›
Surprise hit of 2017, “One Cut of the Dead,” now out on physical release.
In the middle of shooting a zombie film, the cast and crew find themselves fighting off an actual zombie attack. This is the premise for the 2017 release One Cut of the Dead from director Shin’ichirô Ueda adapted from the… Read More ›
Genre mash-up “Samurai Marathon” gets off to a messy start but comes together mid-stride.
Described as “a lively action flick with a samurai twist,” latest Well Go USA release Samurai Marathon meets that description with a unique vigor. Directed by Bernard Rose (Candyman) and adapted from the novel “The Marathon Samurai: Five Tales of… Read More ›
Feel-good anime “Ride Your Wave” is a visual joy with a mix of old and new romantic themes.
If you’re still looking for romance the week after Valentine’s Day, or perhaps if you’re desperate for something warm and colorful to beat the winter blahs, Masaaki Yuasa’s new anime feature, Ride Your Wave, might be just the pick-me-up you… Read More ›