Japan Times

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
3/5 () Mark Schilling As Ai, [Akari] Hayami is earnest and direct, but not annoyingly didactic. EDIT
Posted Jun 20, 2019
4/5 () Matt Schley Even within a more standard framework, though, [director Masaaki] Yuasa's voice shines through. EDIT
Posted Jun 20, 2019
3/5 The Way of the Gun (2000) Giovanni Fazio The violence here seems about par for the course with this sort of film, while the thin characterizations and pulp-fiction setting don't allow for any real emotional impact. EDIT
Posted Jun 17, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling A uniquely-Kurosawa mix of showbiz comedy, woman-in-jeopardy thriller and romantic drama with [Atsuko] Maeda's lonely-but-intrepid heroine serving as the strong connecting thread. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2019
4/5 We Are Little Zombies (2019) James Hadfield It's a bravura finish to an extremely accomplished debut. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2019
3/5 () Mark Schilling [Miyoko] Asada fully inhabits the character, from her surface affability and relentless drive to her essential hollowness. EDIT
Posted Jun 5, 2019
3.5/5 () Matt Schley [Lupin the Third. creator Kazuhiko] Kato has passed, but his creation is in the hands of a director who gets what makes Lupin and his frenemies so cool in the first place. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2019
2.5/5 () Mark Schilling These subplots are mostly filler of a familiar sort. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2019
3/5 () James Hadfield For once, I'm cautiously hopeful for a sequel. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2019
3.5/5 Jesus (Boku wa Iesusama ga Kirai) (2018) Mark Schilling Less a snarky sacrilege than a projection of Yura's own limited understanding - a kid-sized savior, if you will. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling I left the screening room laughing. EDIT
Posted May 20, 2019
2/5 () James Hadfield Although the Breakers have a few ups and downs on the way to their eventual triumph, the arc of the film's sporting drama is surprisingly shallow. EDIT
Posted May 20, 2019
3/5 () Mark Schilling It's also a sharp commentary about a society that, for all its surface niceness, can be brutally competitive, with few second chances for the losers. EDIT
Posted May 20, 2019
4/5 Promare (2019) Matt Schley Just try to leave the theater without feeling a blazing passion in your guts. EDIT
Posted May 20, 2019
4/5 () Mark Schilling But the comic bits are pungent and sharp, while the more serious scenes have depth and bite. EDIT
Posted May 20, 2019
3/5 () Matt Schley [Birthday Wonderland] is not the first, and will almost definitely not be the last, to try to push the Miyazaki buttons - and while it succeeds on the surface, it lacks the deeper emotional core to make for something truly wondrous. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling Similar to his two celebrated senpai (seniors), [director Shinya] Tamada creates visual dynamism in a confined space. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling Kingdom clips along while delivering intricately and imaginatively choreographed action scenes that are fun to watch if not especially deep. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2019
3/5 () James Hadfield It's an honest depiction of the vague boundaries of 20-something romance, and takes the time to show its unequal relationships from both sides. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2019
2/5 () James Hadfield Although it has some mild digs at the Japanese establishment, there's little in "A Gambler's Odyssey 2020" that seems likely to keep politicians awake at night. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling More than splashy stunts and effects, Nakajima stages these scenes with subtle movements that signal an explosive clash and wave-like rhythms of attack and defense that build to a life-or-death test. EDIT
Posted Apr 11, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling "JK Rock" cleverly combines a main story about hot-looking rockers with a subplot about a teen girl band. EDIT
Posted Apr 5, 2019
4/5 Marie Antoinette (2006) Kaori Shoji Marie Antoinette is in no way a historical film -- it's a wispy but nonetheless brilliant cutout of a girl who just wanted to have fun. But at the end of the day and in the relative privacy of her bathtub, she would give way to a unnamed sadness. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2019
2.5/5 () Mark Schilling It's somewhat like watching a wealthy heiress torn between investing in a safe-but-dull mutual fund or an exciting-but-risky start-up. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2019
2.5/5 () Mark Schilling The movie and its audience are not so lucky. Hit rewind all you want: It's still the same derivative, overly obvious "Makuko." EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
3.5/5 () Matt Schley Tiger is like the Shinjuku version of a religious ascetic, with movie theaters and Golden Gai as the sites of his pilgrimages. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
3.5/5 Ramen Shop (2018) Mark Schilling Unlike the Japanese movie chefs who cook as a semi-religious ritual - Zen and the art of omelet flipping - Wee demystifies his work while making his creations look delicious. EDIT
Posted Mar 13, 2019
3/5 () James Hadfield "Siblings of the Cape" will undoubtedly be too much for some, but it's a credit to a movie with such unpalatable subject matter that it manages to discomfit without triggering your gag reflex. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
2.5/5 () Mark Schilling Given that everyone in this impromptu running club is dealing with problems that would normally require the better part of a film to solve, the scriptwriters had their work cut out for them. EDIT
Posted Mar 7, 2019
3/5 () Mark Schilling This movie is a mental vacation, with images of lovable cats and portrayals of pure-hearted island folk easing away stress like a long soak in a hot spring. EDIT
Posted Feb 27, 2019
4/5 () Mark Schilling The film is packed with spot-on observations and pointed jabs at the similarly disrespected prefectures of Chiba, Gunma, Tochigi and Ibaraki. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2019
3/5 () Mark Schilling Having attended a few funerals here and seen dozens more on the screen, I thought I knew a bit about the ceremonies and rituals surrounding death in Japan. But "Born Bone Born" by comedian and director Toshiyuki Teruya proved me wrong. EDIT
Posted Feb 25, 2019
3.5/5 Another World (2018) James Hadfield "Another World" takes its title from a book by war photographer Kiyoshi Koishi, but it's echoed by Koh's assertion that the lives of people in this small-town community are no less significant than what's happening in the wider world. EDIT
Posted Feb 20, 2019
3.5/4 Whistleblower (2019) Mark Schilling There are layers within layers to this story. At its heart is a cover-up that, if revealed, would blow the company sky high. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2019
2.5/5 City Hunter: Shinjuku Private Eyes (2019) Matt Schley The film's out-of-touch attempts at humor may find them hunting for the reason the franchise was so popular in the first place. EDIT
Posted Feb 14, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling The stories of the 12 come out, as they must, but the film does not delve sentimentally into their pasts. There are no hokey flashbacks, no overwrought tears. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2019
3.5/5 Chiwawa (Chiwawa-chan) (2019) Mark Schilling Chiwawa, as always, remains elusive. Proving again that someone can be "it" without anyone knowing what "it" actually is. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2019
1.5/5 School-Live! (Gakkô-gurashi!) (2019) Matt Schley Being aggressively boring, in fact, is the greatest sin of "School-Live!" The principle that each scene of a film should push the story forward is discarded with abandon. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2019
3/5 The Nikaidos' Fall (2019) James Hadfield While there are few surprises during the film's journey toward its glum conclusion, it's an attractive trip all the same. EDIT
Posted Feb 8, 2019
3/5 Divine Justice (2019) Mark Schilling I didn't quite buy into it but I had to applaud its ingenuity and wonder how its creator cooked up his elaborately tricky routine - I mean script - with its sleight-of-hand-like plot. Now you understand it, now you don't. EDIT
Posted Jan 25, 2019
3.5/5 Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) Kaori Shoji This is a picture that gets right down to the brass tacks of singleton urban living for women in their 30s. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2019
3/5 His Lost Name (2019) James Hadfield It's just a shame that Hirose's tale of mutually assured deception never seems to get out of second gear. A story this juicy shouldn't leave you feeling only half full. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2019
2.5/5 This Old Road - Konomichi (2019) Mark Schilling The film itself is squarely in the genre's local mainstream in being more of an earnest hagiography than an expose. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2019
3/5 Astral Abnormal Suzuki (2019) Mark Schilling "Astral" indeed. EDIT
Posted Jan 8, 2019
2.5/5 It Comes (2019) Mark Schilling Kuroki raises it to another level with emotions, from raw anger to disturbed self-loathing, stronger than the film's credulity-straining scares. EDIT
Posted Jan 8, 2019
3.5/4 A Crimson Star (Makkana hoshi) (2018) James Hadfield Though it was clearly made on a limited budget, "A Crimson Star" makes good use of its picturesque locations, depicted in luridly over-saturated colors, while its nighttime scenes employ darkness in a way that feels deliberate rather than lazy lighting. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2018
3/5 Maleficent (2014) Kaori Shoji Maleficent leaves most ends dangling sloppily, much like the creepy crawlies that hang from the trees in Aurora's enchanted forest. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2018
3/5 Jam (2006) Mark Schilling The gags are on the silly side, while the brawls and other action scenes aspire to violent realism but end up looking transparently fake, perhaps deliberately so. EDIT
Posted Dec 5, 2018
4/5 Killing (Zan) (2018) Mark Schilling Fans of the genre, eager to see slicing and dicing, may become impatient with Mokunoshin's quest for an answer, but the action, when it comes, is all the more impactful. EDIT
Posted Nov 27, 2018
2/5 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) James Hadfield The wands and wizards are still there, but the magic is gone. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2018