Michel Gondry, Léos Carax, and Bong Joon-ho’s Tokyo!

Tokyo! is a portmanteau film comprised of three shorts set in the eponymous city, all by directors not themselves from Japan: Michel Gondry and Léos Carax from France, and Bong Joon-ho from South Korea. Gondry’s “Interior Design” is based on the comic book “Cecil and Bell in New York” by Gabrielle Bell, with the action […]

Michael Douglas vs. the yakuza in Ridley Scott’s Black Rain

Ridley Scott’s police thriller Black Rain (1989) opens in New York City at a time when The Meatpacking District actually was a meatpacking district. Tough cop Nick (Michael Douglas) is a ridiculously aggressive, foul-mouthed tough guy who tools around the city astride his crotch rocket. The despised Internal Affairs department suspects him of being a […]

Seven Samurai protect others to save themselves in Akira Kurosawa’s Shichinin no samurai

Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is awesome and perfect, and this most recent viewing has affirmed its place among this blogger’s all-time favorites. It’s a big movie, by which I mean it makes the best use of its generous running time with just the right amount of everything: romance, comedy, drama, suspense, and action. Nearly half […]

All the world’s a stage in Kenneth Branagh’s As You Like It

I’ve been a Kenneth Branagh fan ever since seeing the joyous trifle Much Ado About Nothing on a date with my first girlfriend in high school. Probably to my date’s dismay, it was also the moment I fell passionately in love with Emma Thompson. Later, I enjoyed his down and dirty Henry V, the Hitchcockian […]

Dreams and memory in Satoshi Kon’s Paprika

There’s a huge interest in Japanese manga and anime in the US, but it’s rare for an anime feature film to get a theatrical release. From the name and poster alone (indeed, what caught my own interest), one might not even guess Paprika is foreign-language, let alone anime. Anime is a medium, not a genre, […]

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