I have a soft spot for just about every film version of A Christmas Carol. This is partially due to the fact that one of my first and last acting roles was in a stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless tale mounted by my elementary school where I got the opportunity to play the spooky silent specter of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. … Continue reading THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS YET TO COME

Spies Among Us: ANOTHER COUNTRY (1984)

“And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago, Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know; We may not count her armies, we may not see her King; Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering; And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase, And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths … Continue reading Spies Among Us: ANOTHER COUNTRY (1984)


In recent years I’ve seen a critical push to apply familiar terms like Film Noir to all manner of Japanese crime films made during the 1950s and 1960s. The term has even been applied to the culturally specific Sun Tribe films (please see my previous post that discusses Sun Tribe films) as well as Pink Films of an adult nature and the more experimental and … Continue reading NIPPON NOIR: I AM WAITING (1957)

Everyone’s Gone Crazy: VIOLENT COP (1989)

“Beat” Takeshi Kitano has been making headlines recently. Late last year the 70-year-old Japanese filmmaker, actor, author and entertainer was awarded France’s coveted Legion of Honor for his contribution to contemporary arts while film retrospectives in New York and Rio de Janeiro, along with a spate of fresh Blu-ray releases from Film Movement and Third Window Films, have spawned renewed interest in his work. Kitano … Continue reading Everyone’s Gone Crazy: VIOLENT COP (1989)


“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.” – William Shakespeare (from As you Like It) “I’d like to destroy this premise that cinema is fiction.” – Shohei Imamura The fuzzy line that separates fiction from reality has become increasingly blurred in recent years. Reality … Continue reading ART MEETS ARTIFICE IN SHOHEI IMAMURA’S A MAN VANISHES (1967)


Springtime has arrived in California and do you know what that means? BUGS! During the past week I’ve battled a couple of spiders in my kitchen, wrangled with a beetle that invaded my bathroom and took up arms against a small army of moths raiding my closet. These creepy critters seem to be everywhere so it seemed like a good time to revisit one of … Continue reading WHEN INSECTS ATTACK: GENOCIDE (1968)


Otaku: In Japan a young person who is obsessed with computers or particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills. (definition from The Oxford Dictionary) Otaku: Obsessed fan; geek; nerd. Not restricted to anime fans, otaku is a general and relatively insulting word used to describe people obsessed with some particular hobby. (definition from I’ve never referred to myself as … Continue reading TOKYO GONE GAGAGA: OTAKU (1994)

Jewel Thieves & Giant Monsters: DOGORA (1964)

After reading and writing about Peter H. Brothers’ book Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda recently I was motivated to watch Dogora (1964), which is one of Honda’s lesser-known films and one that I hadn’t had the opportunity to see yet. I’m not sure how I managed to overlook this little gem involving a giant jellyfish from outer space with … Continue reading Jewel Thieves & Giant Monsters: DOGORA (1964)

Screen Sorcery: Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

Belladonna of Sadness (1973) begins with a joyful wedding. We first meet the lovely Jeanne, our guide through this strange fairy tale, and her beau Jim as they exchange marriage vows. When the couple returns to their humble abode, their wedded bliss is interrupted by the arrival of the reigning king and his minions who brutally assault Jeanne in an act of ceremonial rape that … Continue reading Screen Sorcery: Belladonna of Sadness (1973)


My favorite moment of this year’s Oscar telecast occurred when a sprightly 82-year-old Christopher Plummer took the stage in a beautiful velvet suit to accept his Best Supporting Actor award. He was incredibly gracious and gave one of the best speeches of the night. It was obvious that the Canadian actor hadn’t lost any of the charm that has made him so appealing to audiences … Continue reading 10 GREAT CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER PERFORMANCES