Apr 22

Tom Baker reviews “Moon,” “Shutter Island” and “The Wolfman”

Tom Baker (Chiba-ken, 1989-91) is a staff writer for The Daily Yomiuri. He usually writes for DYWeekend, the paper’s arts and leisure section. You can follow Tom’s blog at tokyotombaker.wordpress.com.

His two latest articles are movie reviews, one of “The Wolfman,” and one that discusses “Moon” and “Shutter Island” together. Here are some excerpts:


In most werewolf movies nowadays, it is standard to show a person’s nose and jaw elongating into a snaggletoothed lupine muzzle when they transform from human to wolf. [Makeup artist Rick] Baker has done that before, but in this film he pays homage to Lon Chaney Jr.’s furry but still humanoid look in the 1941 film The Wolf Man, on which the new film is based. Then and now, the title monster has modest fangs, a woolly forehead, a beard that goes up to his eyes and a nose that darkens at the tip.

Our first glimpse of Baker’s version of this classic face is literally over in a flash, as we see it illuminated by a pistol shot during a nocturnal battle. (In case you missed it the first time, the scene repeats a moment later, with a larger gun.) Later scenes reveal the monster’s face at greater length.

Read the full review here.


Teddy Daniels and Sam Bell are men who love their wives. They are also the respective protagonists of two new movies, Shutter Island and Moon, that take us far enough inside the characters’ heads to see each man passionately embracing his wife in a dream.

But when Teddy awakes, he finds himself trapped on his movie’s titular island, unhappily remembering that his wife has been dead for years. And when Sam awakes, he finds himself trapped on his movie’s titular heavenly body, unhappily remembering that his wife is on Earth, and he has not seen her for many months.

Teddy (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a U.S. marshall investigating the disappearance of an inmate from a prison hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island, Mass., in the 1950s. Sam (Sam Rockwell) is the solitary human staffer of a mining facility on the dark side of the moon, possibly in the 2050s.

The settings are very different, but both are ominous, isolated places in which intense psychological drama will unfold. In both movies, the protagonists have high-stakes confrontations with themselves, and with the powers that be.

Read the rest of the review here. The review is deliberately spoiler-free, but you can read Tom’s further comments about the endings of “Moon” here and “Shutter Island” here.

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