June 29, 1990 |
Masaki Kobayashi's near-10-hour, three-part "Human Condition" ("Ningen No Joken") trilogy is one of the monumental achievements in motion-picture history. It is also one of the most obscure, for the trilogy--"No Greater Love," "Road to Eternity" and "A Soldier's Prayer"--suffered from poor international distribution upon its completion in 1961. Having regained its rights to "The Human Condition," the venerable Shochiku Film Co. presented it at the old Kabuki Theater on Adams at Crenshaw in 1970.
January 18, 1993 |
Japanese moviegoers again are standing in long lines in the freezing cold to see a film with a story line and ending they already know. The attraction? Tora-san, the ambling, lovable Everyman whose down-home frankness and big heart have made him one of Japan's most familiar cultural icons and the star of the world's longest-running film series. The 45th installment in the "Otoko Wa Tsurai Yo" ("It's Hard Being a Man") series opened the day after Christmas.
August 30, 1990 |
It's a musical about a love affair between an American soldier and an Asian woman, set in an Asian country. "Miss Saigon"? No, it's "Sayonara," scheduled to open next June as part of the California Music Theatre season at Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The show's producers are trying to make sure their musical, set in Japan, doesn't raise a ruckus similar to that surrounding the casting of a white actor in a Eurasian role in "Miss Saigon."
September 25, 1995 |
The Japan Foundation's annual Japan Today film festival begins Friday at the Monica 4-Plex, and this year it is part of an ongoing series of performances, exhibitions and forums taking place in Santa Monica. Among the films in the festival are a pair of major productions from the venerable but ever-vital Shochiku Co., "Nowhere Man" (at 7 p.m.) and "We Are Not Alone" (at 9:30 p.m.). The latter will be repeated several times through Oct.
May 19, 1995 |
Kazuyoshi Okuyama's "The Mystery of Rampo" is a supremely elegant and sensuous romantic fantasy that imagines prolific mystery writer Edogawa Rampo (1894-1965) becoming involved in one of his own stories. A box-office champ in Japan, it fittingly marks the centennial of Shochiku Co. Ltd., proprietor of the renowned Grand Kabuki and one of the oldest, most distinguished film studios in the world.
October 31, 1990 |
The Little Tokyo Cinemas in Yaohan Plaza in downtown Los Angeles will close its doors for the last time tonight, leaving the nation without a Japanese-language movie house. Except for the war years of the '40s and the year between the closing of the Kokusai in 1986 and the opening of the Little Tokyo in June, 1987, Japanese-language theaters--as many as four at one time--have been operating in Los Angeles for 80 years.
November 17, 2012 |
The Expendables 2 Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99 Available on VOD beginning Nov. 20 Doubling down on what worked just fine two years ago, this sequel brings back Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and adds Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme to the roster of action veterans paying homage to the big, dumb guns-and-bombs flicks of the 1980s. The plot this time has the team of mercenaries losing one of their own and exacting revenge, but "plot" isn't really the point of either of the "Expendables" movies; the idea is to show buff, beloved old stars, swapping quips and bullets while running in slow-motion ahead of explosions.
December 31, 1998
Vi Graham, 81, teacher and social worker dedicated to providing continuing education for adults. Born Vi Thies in Staten Island, N.Y., she earned a degree in social work at UCLA, where she established a dormitory for non-sorority women. Before her 1941 marriage to high school sweetheart Willard Graham, a picture of the two of them at a dance appeared in Life magazine.