Who are Japan's Best Young Actors? Celebrate with PsychoDrama as we discuss the best young actors Japanese cinema has produced for the past 2 decades or so... We started with Masanobu Ando, Kengo Kora, Mirai Moriyama, and Takumi Saito and now, we're starting again with Shun Oguri, Gou Ayano, Shota Sometani & Kamiki Ryunosuke, Masaki Suda (and about 10 other awesome talents!) We also did separate posts for Satoshi Tsumabuki [Tears for You | Villain | Snowy Love Fall in Spring | Waterboys ] and Ryuhei Matsuda [ The Matsuda Magic: Taboo | Nightmare Detective | Phone Call to the Bar ] Let us know if you have any particular name in mind!
Hundreds of films from all over the world are submitted at the Cannes Film Festival but only a chosen few are given the privelege to compete for the Palm d'Or - the much coveted grand prix of the said prestigious international film festival. Japan has always enjoyed being part of the elite list of nations with multiple candidates for the said award. For the 67th edition of Cannes, Naomi Kawase's latest masterpiece, Still the Water, will continue that tradition.
Jessica Goodman over at the Huffington Post reports:
The Cannes 2014 lineup features more films directed by woman than it did in the past two years, and has doubled the number of female-directed films that will compete for the Palme d'Or from last year. In 2014, there will be two female-directed films presented for the top award -- "Still the Water" from Naomi Kawase and “Le Meraviglie” from Alice Rohrwacher.
Last year's main competition included just one female directed film, "Un Chateau En Italie," directed by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, and Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring" was notably left out. Six female-directed films were featured overall in the festival.
"Usually I don’t mention the number (of films directed by women)," Thierry Fremaux, the festival's director, said during the 2014 selection announcement in Paris. But this year he noted that 15 of the 49 films announced on Thursday are directed by women. Most of those films are in Un Certain Regard. Jane Campion is still the only female director to ever have won the Palme d'Or -- for "The Piano" in 1993 -- and currently presides over the main jury. [ read more ]
Kawase and her crew was reported to be ecstatic over the news that her latest work has been invited to join in the competition. It was also noted that Kawase's grandmother is from the island of Amami Oshima, where the film was shot, and that the story is one of the tales she used to tell her when she was young.Read more...
Confessions (Kokuhaku) features some of Japan's most promising young talents - Ai Hashimoto, Mana Ashida, Yukito Nishii, Kai Inowaki and one of the industry's most popular leading ladies Takako Matsu. It is a tale of revenge, teen angst and the cruelty and prejudices of today's youth.
What the Movie is all about: Tetsuya Nakashima wrote and directed this edgy drama about a woman who plots revenge against a handful of irresponsible youths. Yuko Moriguchi (Takako Matsu) is a teacher who spends her days looking after a class of frequently unruly seventh graders.
One day, Yuko calmly announces to her class that she's leaving her job soon as she's still struggling with the recent death of her young daughter. She adds that she knows who was responsible for the child's drowning, they happen to be among the students in her class -- and that the milk they're drinking may just be infected with a deadly disease.
Though a series of flashbacks, we become witnesses to Yuko's difficulties with her students, the actions of the nameless students she believes are guilty of murder -- one of whom is planning vengeance against Yuko, while the other sinks deep into paranoia -- and the incidents that suggest the likely innocence and guilt of the parties involved [ Narrative by Mark Deming ]
Why you should watch this movie: If you love dramatic thrillers with a twist, then this is the perfect movie for you. If you're a fan of Takako Matsu, then you will definitely love her here because she was utterly convicing! The fact that it also stars Ai Hashimoto is enough to pique interest since Hashimoto is one incredibly gifted young actress.
High school students can be such annoying, irritating creatures who exhibit their own set of prejudice and preferences - they are put on spotlight here with dramatic effect. There are some disturbing scenes - not for the faint of heart, but the whole feature running 106 minutes is worth every single bit.Read more...
Sway (Yureru) features three amazing Japanese talents (with Joe Odagiri in the lead) who excelled in this mystery-drama-thriller involving a love triangle that turned deadly, sibling rivalry and Japanese legalese.
What the Movie is all about: A murder investigation reveals a deep-rooted sibling rivalry in director Miwa Nishikawa's brooding family drama. On the one-year anniversary of his mother's death, Tokyo art and fashion photographer Takeru (Joe Odagiri) returns to his small hometown in order to pay his respects. But all is not well back home, and when Takeru's authoritative father questions his sincerity, the frustrated son strikes back with accusations of violent conduct.
Though the situation is initially diffused by Takeru's older brother Moniru (Teruyuki Kagawa), who stayed behind to run the family business, tensions once again start to run high when Tekeru, Moniru, and pretty childhood friend Cheiko (Yoko Maki) decide to celebrate their reunion by taking a hike in the wilderness. Tragedy strikes, however, when Takeru wanders off to photograph the landscape while Minoru and Cheiko get into a heated argument on a suspension bridge. After rejecting Minoru's advances, Cheiko falls to her death. Takeru saw nothing, and though Minoru claims responsibility for Cheiko's death the authorities still launch a full investigation.
With the evidence against Minoru mounting, it quickly becomes apparent that the older sibling is deeply resentful of the fact that he was forced to remain at home with his overbearing father as Takeru departed for Tokyo and began living the good life. Cheiko's rejection was simply the last straw for Minoru, who subsequently rejects his brother's help and places himself at the mercy of the powers that be. [ Narrative by Jason Buchanan ]
Why you should watch this movie: Joe Odagiri is in top form as he plays an arrogant art-fashion photographer who left the small town to settle in the big city. Leaving behind his family including his older brother played by Teruyuki Kagawa who was great playing the kind but insecure and volatile Minoru and his flame Cheiko (Yoko Maki who looks quite alluring).
Amazing on-screen chemistry between the actors with a good number of suspense and dramatic scene which distinguishes the movie from a whole bunch of Japanese dramatic thrillers.Read more...
Known in Asian circles as Japan's fashionably eccentric actor, Joe Odagiri is back on television via Rivers Edge Okawabata Detective Agency (Ribasu Ejji Ookawabata Tanteisha).
Based on the manga series "Ribasu Ejji Ookawabata Tanteisha" by Yuho Hijikata (writer) and Akio Tanaka (Illustrator). Odagiri plays a researcher cum detective in a small agency, where he represents a third of the workforce. Joining him is the head of the detective agency (Renji Ishibashi) and reception clerk Megumi (Maya Koizumi).Read more...
Baseball is big in Japan, the reason why there is a new drama series from NTV - Yowakutemo Katemasu and an equally (perhaps even more) anticipated movie Asahi Vancouver (from topnotch director Yuya Ishii) featuring popular Japanese actors. While the movie is still in production, the first episode of the drama was aired last night.
3 out of 5 stars
Yowakutemo Katemasu is all about a substitute teacher (Ninomiya Kazunari) and his ragtag team of uninspired, insecure young boys who love baseball but lacks the will to win.
Victory is possible even for the weak!
This is their battlecry. Talk about David and Goliath! Can a ragtag team win a baseball championship?
First they need to have a complete line up of players, thus began the adventures and misadventures of Tamo Aoshi (Ninomiya Kazunari) as he recruits the best possible baseball players from the student body.
Two of the main young stars are already in the team - Shirao Tsuyoshi (Yuto Nakajima) and Ebato Mitsuteru (Kento Yamazaki) with their team manager, Tarumi Yuzu (Arimura Kasumi) doing most of the logistics. Another guy, Akaiwa Kimiyasu (Sota Fukushi) left the team in haste after a humiliating loss.
Still in need of players, Aoshi recruited from unexpected places - bringing in students who are not into the game itself - Kamezawa Junichi (Kanata Hongo) is a member of the school band while Okatome Kei (Shotaro Mamiya) is in track and field. Others are recruited with the same unorthodox style.Read more...
While he has little screentime in the new political thriller Mozu, Shota Sometani continues to make waves as he grabbed not one but two prominent roles in 2 upcoming films - Doraibu In Gamo from Masaki Tamura and Sion Sono's Tokyo Tribe.
With a yakuza father who was kicked from the group and made a laughing stock in the community, Saki (Mei Kurokawa) and Toshi (Sometani) struggled to survive while living at the shabby Drive in Gamo located at the side of the road. Saki rebelled, got pregnant and suffered from domestic violence from her abusive husband. With no future prospects, she returned to Toshi and their desperate existence...
Stay tuned for the updated Top 30 Hottest Japanese Young actors list with Sometani grabbing an even higher place!
Mozu Season 1 - Mozu no Sakebu Yoru, provides the kind of excitement that will keep you guessing and asking for more. The use of light and shade, playing with gorgeous colors, amazing sound effects and using difficult camera angles make this drama worth consideration.
5 out of 5 stars
While this is just a first impression from the premier episode (which runs 90 minutes), I would expect the intensity to remain consistent throughout the series - given the quality of the cast, the production value and the story involving political intrigues, assassinations, terrorism, mystery bomber and family drama.
A surprising, yet delightful (but short) scene shows favorite and super actor Shota Sometani as a TV documentary-journalist covering the bomb attack!
Detective Osugi (Teruyuki Kagawa who figured prominently in Tokyo Family and one of the best character actors living today), Miki (Yoko Maki, fresh from her win as Best Actress for Ravine of Goodbye) and Kuraki (Hidetoshi Nishijima), a police superintendent are the main cast.Read more...
Based on the novel "Yowakutemo Katemasu" by Hidemine Takahashi, NTV will start broadcasting a new drama starting April 12 and will star Nino Kazunari and a number of promising young talents including Sota Fukushi, Yuto Nakajima, Kento Yamazaki, Kanata Hongo, Shotaro Mamiya and many others.
Tamo Aoshi (Ninomiya Kazunari) is a substitute teacher at his alma mater, a prestigious private high school which admits 200 students to Tokyo University every year. He becomes the coach of the weak baseball club which has only five members and has never won a game since it was established. The highest number of times they have thrown the ball back and forth without dropping it is nine. They prefer the outfield because the infield is scary. Furthermore, they practice on the grounds only three hours a week. At other times, they study, study and study. But they love baseball. Finding them interesting and strange creatures, Aoshi decides that he will give his charges victory, guided by his offbeat theory “triumph is possible even if weak”. And then they seriously set their sights on the annual nationwide high school baseball championship with their brand of preposterous baseball. [ from DramaWiki ]
Kazunari was a disappointment in Platina Data, something that shocked me totally since he is definitely a talented actor - Letters from Iwo Jima, Yellow Tears, The Lady Shogun and Her Men and Door to Door are some of the movies featuring his best acting highlights. This new drama would probably give him the much needed push back to his previous acting level - since he's quite good portraying the "little" man up against stronger rivals.
He's the baseball coach and the new teacher on the block, who aims to transform a winless baseball team.
How about the young cast? Who are they, and who will definitely shine?Read more...
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