Japan Times

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
3.5/5 37 Seconds (2019) Mark Schilling Hikari has left us with a fresh, vibrant, extraordinary film. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2020
2/5 Beneath the Shadow (2019) James Hadfield The film ends up in an awkward hinterland, neither atmospheric enough to work as a mood piece, nor sufficiently taut to satisfy as a suspense story. EDIT
Posted Feb 13, 2020
3/5 () Mark Schilling No, this is not your average otaku movie. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2020
2.5/5 () James Hadfield Anyone concerned about the rapid infiltration of technology into every aspect of daily life is unlikely to be further troubled by AI Amok. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2020
3/5 () James Hadfield An extremely valuable document, with a powerful humanist sentiment that even sceptics may find persuasive. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2020
4/5 () Mark Schilling [Yuki] Tanada, who wrote the script, uses her offbeat premise to examine fundamental human issues with insights sharp and compassionate, specific and poetic. EDIT
Posted Jan 23, 2020
4/5 () James Hadfield It's a very unaffected performance, and when [Serena Motola] has to dig deep, she responds with outpourings of emotion so raw, they're almost painful to watch. EDIT
Posted Jan 23, 2020
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling As Jun, Shuna Iijima delivers an emotionally raw, ego-free performance. EDIT
Posted Jan 17, 2020
Last Letter (2018) James Hadfield Being an Iwai production, Last Letter is generally attractive to look at, although the languid spell cast by its visuals is broken by some superfluous drone shots and distracting camera wobble. EDIT
Posted Jan 17, 2020
5/5 Ongaku (2019) James Hadfield This indie anime by director Kenji Iwaisawa, adapted from Hiroyuki Ohashi's cult manga, gets the year off to a terrific start. EDIT
Posted Jan 10, 2020
3.5/5 Complicity (Kazenoki wa koto no youni) (2018) Mark Schilling [Complicity] is cause for celebration. EDIT
Posted Jan 9, 2020
3/5 () James Hadfield A scene of Lupin and Laetitia sparring on a Parisian rooftop is so delightful, I wish it had gone on for longer; ditto a skydiving sequence that suggests the director has been cribbing from Kathryn Bigelow's '90s surfer caper, Point Break. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling The highlights from the series' glorious past are full of an energy, warmth and laughter seldom found in Japanese films today. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2019
2/5 () James Hadfield Some occasional ironic touches aren't enough to excuse the staleness of the cliches. EDIT
Posted Dec 5, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling Talking the Pictures brings us the magic of the movies. EDIT
Posted Dec 5, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling With nuanced performances from the main cast, the film delicately but firmly reveals the family's hidden realities. EDIT
Posted Dec 4, 2019
1.5/5 Human Lost (2019) Matt Schley No longer human? Make that no longer interested. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2019
2.5/5 Earthquake Bird (2019) James Hadfield There's a choppiness and impatience to the storytelling, with crucial scenes getting dispatched in a cursory fashion. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2019
2.5/5 () Mark Schilling When it comes to Japan's best-known samurai story there is nothing new under the sun - or rather yen sign. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2019
4/5 () James Hadfield A timely, bracing snapshot of the sorry state of news media in Japan today. EDIT
Posted Nov 15, 2019
2.5/5 () Mark Schilling These stories develop and intersect in ways that will surprise no one who has seen a rom-com EDIT
Posted Nov 14, 2019
3/5 One Night (2019) James Hadfield For all the storminess of its narrative, "One Night" is at its most engaging when it lets in a little light. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
3.5/5 Little Miss Period (2019) Mark Schilling The film combines quirky fantasy and quotidian reality to funny, heart-warming and instructive (at least to male viewers) effect. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2019
Love Actually (2003) Kaori Shoji Out of the cacophony of other, newly minted love affairs that promise eternal love forever and ever, theirs stand out like a winter fern among hothouse roses, adding a much-needed zest to the bouquet. EDIT
Posted Nov 5, 2019
3/5 Family of Strangers (2019) James Hadfield Family of Strangers is at its strongest when it aims for naturalism, watching the protagonists' relationships develop against the backdrop of the hospital's daily routines. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2019
3/5 The First Supper (2019) Mark Schilling The film tells truths about its central family that go beyond melodramatic revelations to a messier and more troubling reality. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2019
2.5/5 No Smoking (2019) James Hadfield The impact of the performances is dulled by static camerawork and a drab, washed-out palette. EDIT
Posted Oct 24, 2019
2.5/5 108: Revenge and Adventure of Goro Kaiba (2019) Mark Schilling The film's comic strategy is that of the pie-throwing battles in the silents: If one pie in the face - or panting body in bed - is funny, 50 are funnier. EDIT
Posted Oct 24, 2019
2.5/5 Special Actors (2019) James Hadfield An amiable but rather flaccid caper comedy. EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2019
3/5 The Promised Land (2019) Mark Schilling The Promised Land celebrates the natural beauty of its setting, with sweeping drone shots of radiant fields, and even holds out hope, though it comes too late for some. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2019
2.5/5 Her Blue Sky (2019) Matt Schley Her Blue Sky feels more like a retread than a rediscovery. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
4/5 The Truth (2019) Mark Schilling In Deneuve's bravura performance, it's a struggle for the ages. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 The Forest of Love (2019) James Hadfield Hinges around an extremely ripe performance by Kippei Shiina as Joe Murata. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling There is more to newcomer [Minori] Hagiwara's performance than eyes that could drill through steel. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2019
2.5/5 () Mark Schilling The disjunction between the film's mundane provincial surface and the overblown romanticism of its story is borderline ridiculous. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2019
2.5/5 () James Hadfield The action is perfunctory, and the film is just a little too eager to descend into sentimentality. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2019
3.5/5 () Matt Schley A significant portion of the characters' charm comes from designer Yukiko Horiguch. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2019
2/5 () Mark Schilling In [Shun] Oguri's smirking, self-involved performance, a pose is about all we get. [Full review in Spanish] EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2019
3/5 Kioku ni gozaimasen (2019) Mark Schilling I found myself grinning as [writer and director Koki] Mitani pulled one plot rabbit after another out of his hat - or rather his still nimble brain. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2019
3.5/5 () James Hadfield Joe Odagiri has made a handsome directorial debut. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
2.5/5 () Mark Schilling Falls back on standard genre tropes. EDIT
Posted Sep 4, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling More than just a new talent showcase, Mugen Foundation is an experiment in form. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2019
2/5 NiNoKuni (2019) Matt Schley All in all, the plot is about as lifeless as the animation. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2019
3.5/5 () Mark Schilling The song-and-dance scene is staged with an energy and panache that recall classic Hollywood musicals, but underscored by [director Shinobu] Yaguchi's own brand of realism. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2019
3.5/5 () James Hadfield Emoto and Takiuchi have a convincing chemistry as two people totally at ease with each others' bodies, even if they're better at conveying intimacy than uncontrollable lust. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2019
3/5 () Mark Schilling The story burbles along entertainingly enough, but is contrived in the extreme. EDIT
Posted Aug 16, 2019
1.5/5 () James Hadfield Director [Doris] Dorrie's muddle of spirituality, Freudian psychology, politics and family history occasionally recalls the work of Alejandro Jodorowsky, but she's never able to sustain the spell for long. EDIT
Posted Aug 16, 2019
2.5/5 () Mark Schilling The film is more about atmospherics and attitudinizing than compelling storytelling. EDIT
Posted Aug 7, 2019
() Patrick St. Michel It's an energy that carries over to the songs and the audience, resulting in a special night that can now be revisited whenever fans want. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2019
4/5 Melancholic (2018) Mark Schilling Darkly funny, viscerally thrilling and improbably heartwarming. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2019