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The Great Passage (2013)

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You might think that a movie about compiling a dictionary – even the first ever “living dictionary” – is going to be about as compelling as watching paint dry. Under normal circumstances you’d probably be right, but normal circumstances don’t take The Great Passage’s sterling cast and sensitive filmmaker Yuya Ishii’s deft handling of everyday social interactions into account.

It’s 1995 (pre-computing technology, if you can believe that. Or, you know, check with Wiki) and Mitsuya Majime (Ryuhei Matsuda, Big (read more)

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Shinobi (2005)

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One of my friends likes to refer to this film not as Shinobi, or even as the clever and yet ridiculously literal subtitle, Heart Under Blade, but as – and this is a patented title you understand – the People With Shiny Eyes Movie. Now, that might sound ill-considered, but it’s much more descriptive than you’d think, because the main couple in this big-budget fantasy romance about warring ninja clans do indeed have very shiny eyes. Admittedly, … (read more)

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