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Friday, May 13, 2005

Short Takes: May 13, 2005


Cabin Fever

Director: Eli Roth
Language: English
Currently showing
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Five teenagers are spending a weekend at a cabin in the woods, but things take a bad turn when a blood-covered man appears on their doorstep. Soon after that, a strange skin rash surfaces on one of the teens. Afraid of being infected, the others isolate her, but it's not long before they all find themselves threatened by this unknown flesh-eating virus. A throwback to the B-grade horror flicks of the '80s, this low-budget film was directed by a former assistant to David Lynch.


The Edukators

Director: Hans Weingartner
Language: German
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

It's summertime in Berlin and things are heating up as the Edukators, a new breed of social activists who wreak havoc on wealthy suburban homeowners while they're on vacation. One night a rich businessman makes an unexpected return home and the Edukators are forced to take him hostage and hide out at a remote cabin. There, they learn their benign hostage used to be a raging student radical and soon they're all taking turns cooking and sharing the same bedroom. The movie is too well-behaved and stylish to convey an angry political message, but the ending takes you by surprise. (Kaori Shoji)


Shall We Dance?

Director: Peter Chelsom
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

In this Hollywood remake, Richard Gere plays the corporate drone, aching for a bit of joie de vivre and Jennifer Lopez plays his dance teacher/object of desire. The original actors, Koji Yakusho and Tamiyo Kusakari, were able to evoke that tired, unspoken melancholia, but Gere looks like he's never boarded a crowded commuter train in his life and J. Lo is excessively icy and unbending (even on the dance floor). The chemistry is the wrong kind -- the steamy, sexy, manufactured-in-Hollywood kind -- and negates everything that made the original so sweet and endearing. (Kaori Shoji)


The Gift From Beate

Director: Tomoko Fujiwara
Language: English and Japanese
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

When she was a GHQ staff member in Tokyo, Beate Sirota Gordon was asked to write a draft on human rights for the postwar constitution. The result was Article 24, which stipulates gender equality in Japan. This Japanese-made documentary focuses on the struggles Gordon faced at the time and examines the influence of Article 24 for women in current-day Japan. Playing at Iwanami Hall, (03) 3262-5252.



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