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Western Tokyo Movies

Updated April 19, 2010

As part of Movie City Tokyo, FilmInFocus looks at a list of 10 diverse movies shot in Japan’s capital by Western filmmakers.

Slide 1: Introduction
Slide 2: Tokyo Joe (1949)
Slide 3: House of Bamboo (1955)
Slide 4: My Geisha (1962)
Slide 5: You Only Live Twice (1967)
Slide 6: The Yakuza (1974)
Slide 7: Sans Soleil (1982)
Slide 8: The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989)
Slide 9: Flirt (1995)
Slide 10: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Slide 11: Tokyo! (2008)
Slide 1: Introduction

Slide 1: Introduction

When we first chose Tokyo as a destination for FilmInFocus’ Movie City series, we thought of Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola’s brilliant depiction of the city from a Western outsider’s point of view. In the film, Tokyo is seen as a somewhat confusing and alienating place to American visitors Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray. So, taking the example of Lost in Translation, we decided to look at other films shot in Tokyo by U.S. or European directors which view the city with fresh eyes. Some titles – such as The Bad News Bears Go to Japan or Jackass: The Movie – didn’t quite make the final list of 10, but the films represented here are nevertheless diverse and fascinating in their differences. They range from a Humphrey Bogart movie from the 1940s to a Hollywood franchise threequel from the 2000s, from a pseudo-documentary film essay by erudite French filmmaker Chris Marker to one of the Toxic Avenger movies from Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma outfit.




Julianne Moore

Updated April 16, 2010

Julianne Moore is the Oscar-nominated star of Far From Heaven and Focus Features’ upcoming The Kids Are All Right.

Being Flynn's Mother
An Army Childhood, A Training in TV
One Tough Broad
A Director's Favorite
A Creative Family Unit
Awards Darling
Comic Timing
Being Flynn's Mother

Being Flynn's Mother

Photo by David Lee

While Paul Weitz’s BEING FLYNN focuses mainly on the complex father/son relationship between Nick (Paul Dano) and his dad, Jonathan (Robert De Niro), the mother, Jody Flynn (beautifully portrayed by Julianne Moore), is a key third figure in this family drama. Playing the mother from Nick’s childhood, Moore is paired with Liam Broggy, who plays the younger version of Paul Dano’s Nick. For Moore, the part was crucial to understanding the story. “The bond between a child and a single mother is a tight one,” she explains. “Paul Weitz captures the intimacy of that, getting a dynamic between Liam and I for our scenes together.”  For the real Nick Flynn (author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, on which BEING FLYNN is based), seeing Moore in action during filming was an overwhelming experience: “On the set I couldn’t even look at Julianne at first, except on a monitor. Finally, around noon, I was able to speak to Julianne, who was happy to talk with me. Then the next day, I went through it all again and so I left the set early. But I had to try to normalize that for myself so I would be able to watch the movie.” For audiences for nearly 30 years, Moore has brought that emotional reality and potency to the characters she plays, be it in drama or comedy.




Movie City | Los Angeles

Updated April 16, 2010

Los Angeles may be the entertainment capital of the world, but it’s also entertaining all by itself.

Los Angeles | City of Dreams
Los Angeles | City in Southern California
Los Angeles | City of History
Los Angeles | City of Industry
Los Angles | City of Screenings
Los Angeles | City in the Movies
Los Angeles | City in Real Life
Los Angeles | City of Dreams

Los Angeles | City of Dreams

Los Angeles may be second largest city of the United States, but in our cultural imagination it is so much bigger. In addition to being the city of angels, L.A. has been the city of dreamers. Sometimes those dreams were realized in huge and heroic ways, and other times they are pre-packaged and vacuum-sealed to be sold across the world as corporate intellectual property. And sometimes the dreams turn into nightmares. As Joel Bleifuss’ impressive survey of L.A. stories, “L.A. From Every Angle,” abundantly illustrates, not every dream of L.A. is a cinematic one.




Josh Hutcherson

Updated April 15, 2010

Josh Hutcherson: This Kid is All Right
Josh Finds An Agent
Josh Finds His Voice
Josh Finds Strange, New Worlds
Josh Finds His Way
Josh Hutcherson: This Kid is All Right

© Photo: Suzanne Tenner

Josh Hutcherson: This Kid is All Right

In Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are Alright, Josh Hutcherson plays Laser, your basic teenage boy into skateboarding, hanging out with his buds and finding his biological dad. You’d think he might be a bit shy with such an impressive multiple-Oscar-nominated film family. His two moms are Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. His biological dad is Mark Ruffalo. And his sister, Mia Wasikowska, just starred as Alice in Tim Burton’s blockbuster Alice in Wonderland. But the young 18-year-old ingénue is really a seasoned veteran of film and television. Popping up on the TV pilot “House Blend” at the 10, Hutcherson had set his heart on acting when he was just 4.




Great Babies of History

Updated April 09, 2010

With Babies in theaters, we take look back on some of the most memorable babies of all time.

Slide 1: Introduction - Great Babies of History
Slide 2: The Child of God - The Baby Jesus
Slide 3: The Children of Empire - Romulus and Remus
Slide 4: Child of Hope - Keith Haring's Radiant Baby
Slide 5: Child of Commerce - The Gerber Baby
Slide 6: Child of Legend - Hercules
Slide 7: Child of Fantasy - Mowgli
Slide 8: Child of Power - Bronzino’s Portrait of Giovanni de' Medici
Slide 9: Child of Racism - Tar baby
Slide 10: Child of Cinema - The baby in Rescued from an Eagle Nest
Slide 11: Child of Capitalism - Baby Herman
Slide 12: Child of Comics - Swee'Pea
Slide 13: Child of Crime - The Lindbergh baby
Slide 14: Child of Horror - The It's Alive baby
Slide 15: Child of Persistence - Baby Huey
Slide 16: Children of Television - Rugrats
Slide 17: Child of the Coen brothers - Junior from Raising Arizona
Slide 18: Child of Satan - Rosemary's Baby
Slide 1: Introduction - Great Babies of History

Slide 1: Introduction - Great Babies of History

In Babies, the four infants (Ponijao, Bayarjargal, Mari, and Hattie) ascend into the ranks of famous babies, a group that, as it turns out, is fairly restricted. Sure everyone loves babies, but by definition babies haven’t been around long to do very much that will get them noticed. Nevertheless certain babies have been so memorable that they have become essential elements of our cultural fabric. The following is a nursery of babies that made a difference at a very young age.




Get To Know Your Rabbit Movies

Updated April 02, 2010

As a special Easter article, FilmInFocus puts together a list of the best and weirdest films involving our floppy-eared friends.

Slide 1: Introduction
Slide 2: Harvey (1950)
Slide 3: The Nasty Rabbit (1964)
Slide 4: Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972)
Slide 5: Night of the Lepus (1972)
Slide 6: Watership Down (1978)
Slide 7: Fatal Attraction (1987)
Slide 8: Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Slide 9: Donnie Darko (2001)
Slide 10: The Brown Bunny (2003)
Slide 11: Hank and Mike (2008)
Slide 1: Introduction

Slide 1: Introduction

To celebrate Easter – the time of the year when the bunny is king – FilmInFocus presents an alternative and utterly incomplete guide to movies about, featuring or just tenuously referring to rabbits. Though staples of the rabbit/bunny movie genre such as the recent smash hit The House Bunny (above), any and all films featuring Bugs Bunny and the 2009 Oscar nominee Rabbit a la Berlin, the following list should hopefully provide something for all cinematic tastes.




L.A. from Every Angle

Updated April 01, 2010

As Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg shows, there are many different L.A.s inside the city limits. Joel Bleifuss takes us on the tour of how artists imagine Los Angeles.

Slide 1: Greenberg and Baumbach at Musso & Frank
Slide 2: L.A. for Hollywood
Slide 3: L.A. for Native Americans
Slide 4: L.A. for Silent Filmmakers
Slide 5:  L.A. for Californios
Slide 6: L.A. for the Muralists
Slide 7:  L.A. against the Communist Muralists
Slide 8: L.A. for the Muralists Again
Slide 9: L.A. for the Hard-Boiled
Slide 10: L.A. of the Film Noir
Slide 11: L.A. of the Cynics
Slide 12: L.A. of the Desperate
Slide 13: L.A. for the Dreamers
Slide 14: L.A. for the Modernists
Slide 15: L.A. for the Doers
Slide 16: L.A. for the Hustlers
Slide 17: L.A. of the Painters
Slide 18: L.A. of the Logo
Slide 19:  L.A. of the new Artists
Slide 20: L.A. of the Mexican-American Writers
Slide 21: L.A. of the Singer/Songwriters
Slide 22:  L.A. of Lowlifes
Slide 23: L.A. of the Essay Writers
Slide 24: L.A. of Gay Detectives
Slide 25: L.A. for Rock ’n’ Rollers
Slide 26: L.A. of the Privileged
Slide 27: L.A. of the Cholos
Slide 28: L.A. of the Gangstas
Slide 29: L.A. for the children of the rich and famous
Slide 30: L.A. for the children of the rich and famous, Part 2
Slide 1: Greenberg and Baumbach at Musso & Frank

Slide 1: Greenberg and Baumbach at Musso & Frank

Speaking of his latest film, Greenberg, Noah Baumbach told Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t know which came first—wanting to set a movie in L.A. or wanting to do a movie about a forty-something guy who can’t get out of his own way.”

Here is forty-something Ben Stiller as Roger Greenberg sitting in the Musso & Frank Grill.

Baumbach’s wife, the actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, is a hometown girl. He attempted to make the movie as realistic as possible by shooting the film in local landmarks, like the Musso & Frank Grill, founded in 1919 and as such the oldest restaurant in Hollywood.
Mark Olsen reports: “[Baumbach] was sitting recently in the Hollywood landmark Musso & Frank Grill for a photo shoot. He used the location in Greenberg, including the actual wait staff and some of the establishment’s regulars, to add to the lived-in authenticity of the film. The restaurant was closed, and the strange stillness of the place seems in tune with the Los Angeles of Greenberg, a mix of the eerily disturbing and comfortingly homey.”