The 100 Best Contemporary Japanese Movies - Psycho Drama has launched an ambitious project to compile 100 of the best modern-day Japanese movies from the last 2 decades or so. Featuring the best young actors of their generation - from Joe Odagiri, Takako Matsu and Tadanobu Asano, to Satoshi Tsumabuki, Hikari Mitsushima, Mao Inoue, Ryuhei Matsuda, Shun Oguri and Masanabu Ando to the current crop of exciting young talents - Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Sosuke Ikematsu, Kento Yamazaki, Fumi Nikaido and Ai Hashimoto. [ click here ]
Movies such as The World of Kanako and the upcoming Solomon's Perjury and Assassination Classroom (see these films in our Most anticipated J-movies for 2015) are generating a lot of excitement for the new, fresh young talents it feature.
Is the time for the likes of Masaki Suda, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Kento Yamazaki, Shuhei Nomura, Sota Fukushi to hand over their status as "most promising" into the hands of these newcomers?
Hiroya Shimizu who figured prominently in Kanako is also part of the young cast of the two-part movie Solomon's Perjury. His ascent into the young actor's league is pushed further with the new WOWOW drama entitled Angel's Knife (Tenshi no Naifu).
Topbilled by Keisuke Koide (Parade, Cyborg She), the drama features three young murderers played by Shimizu, Nijiro Murakami and Takumi Kitamura. who was hunted down by the father of their victim.
Some interesting tidbits about the three young actors after the jump!Read more...
With such lithe physique (petitite, must be the perfect word!) and intense, deliberate acting , Aoi Morikawa is fast becoming one of Japan's most important young actresses.
In The World of Kanako, Morikawa plays a victim as a drug dependent teen who eventually got murdered. It was a brief,yet powerful role and Morikawa was just perfect! She looks the part - frail, with no self-confidence and definitely in need of attention and approval from her peers. I just wish they would give her more meaty, challenging roles in the future!
Which is essentially what is hapenning to her career right now!
Morikawa is the lead star in the upcoming Chokolietta with Masaki Suda, and again in another movie - not as dark perhaps as her previous roles - Onnanoko Kirai - where she plays the lead.
If you've watched WOWOW's xxxHolic, then you may also remember her in Episodes 4-5.
Tetsuya Nakashima's latest film The World of Kanako (Kawaki) has some similarities to its predecessor, the recipient of the 34th Japan Academy Prize Best Film, Confessions. Aside from having the filmmaker's favorite actors, it also features some new faces. In fact, Nana Komatsu, the main character of the movie, is freshly recruited.
4 out of 5 stars
For the role of Kanako, I thought it would be very hard to find someone to play this girl who is so attractive in appearance yet whose internal workings you couldn’t really figure out, but we found newcomer Nana Komatsu in an audition. [ source ]
But the lack of acting experience proved to be more of a challenge to Komatsu rather than a disadvantage. With the likes of Fumi Nikaido, Ai Hashimoto, and a host of young stars expected to play their roles to perfection, Komatsu showed everyone why she won the audition.
As Akikazu Fujishima, Komatsu was an ever alluring presence. Combining sensuality, innocence, mischief (and notoriety) shown at different parts of the movie, Komatsu weaves her own brand of magic and brought to life a fictional character that is hard to forget. Can someone so young be so heartless, so cruel, so inconsiderate of others?Read more...
Will you choose rom-coms (Five Minutes to Tomorrow and Au Haru Ride) over a sports-movie featuring Kame and Satoshi Tsumabuki? Or will you settle for an anime like Naruto? How about Rena Nounen's Princess Jellyfish?
Some exciting new movies for the locals this December!
[JMovie in December] Vancouver no Asahi | 20th December 2014 | Satoshi Tsumabuki, Kazuya Kamenashi, etc /ND pic.twitter.com/Nk03g8DY7M— JapaneseDorama&Movie (@JDoramaID) December 10, 2014
[JMovie in December] Five Minutes to Tomorrow | 27th December 2014 | Haruma Miura, Liu Shishi, Joseph Chang /ND pic.twitter.com/Nkr9B51DuZ— JapaneseDorama&Movie (@JDoramaID) December 10, 2014
[JMovie in December] Ao Haru Ride | 13th December 2014 | Tsubasa Honda, Masahiro Higashide, Yua Shinkawa, etc /ND pic.twitter.com/NR9SRcuWAh— JapaneseDorama&Movie (@JDoramaID) December 10, 2014
Let's take a closer look at these movies...
Haruma Miura's Five Minutes to Tomorrow appears to be highly-anticipated in local theaters and early box office returns (in China) shows the movie has earned ¥8.35 million (roughly) 1.3 million USD.
Last October, we reported that Miura was praised for his performance in the movie. Miura is probably one of the most inconsistent Japanese actors today, and while his performance in a previous movie, The Eternal Zero, lacked both conviction and authenticity, reviewers of this movie, were inclined to say he did a reverse and performanced quite well. I guess, we'll be the judge of that!Read more...
Having the awesome opportunity to start an acting career via a high-profile Hollywood film - The Last Samurai and the chance to star with Tom Cruise and some of Japanese movie industry's best talents, Sosuke Ikematsu is also destined to become one of Japan's dramatic young actor by virtue of his movie role choices alone.
One of his most recent films, Yuya Ishii's Our Family - serves as one of his launch pads to work with one of Japan's premiere dramatic actor Satoshi Tsumabuki. Says Maggie Lee @Variety:
A harder-hitting companion piece to Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Tokyo Sonata” that might well have been titled “Tokyo Requiem,” “Our Family” depicts a Japanese household imploding under the strains of a crumbling economy. Yuya Ishii’s first serious drama in a career consisting primarily of satirical dramedies demonstrates a new gravitas and compassion:
Ikematsu enlivens the intense drama with a dash of youthful restlessness. [ read more ]
After my first view of the film, I have to say, Ikematsu lives up to his reputation as a scene stealer. No wonder he stars in not one but two of Yuya Ishii's recent works - Our Family and The Vancouver Asahi. While his roles in both movies are supporting parts, he was given enough space to work his magic and shine.Read more...
Sites and blogs dedicated to award-watching in Japan may not be as popular as the Oscar-watchers (those who dedicate analysis, statistics and reporting on the Oscar Race) In fact, we maybe one of the few doing that. Last year, we made our first predictions focusing on the Best Picture and Best Performances. For 2014 (38th Japan Academy Prize, which will be announced on March 2015), we'll begin by listing down potential Best Picture nominees.This year, a few Japanese movies garnered prestigious awards from international film festivals, and some acting awards too - particularly the big win by Haru Kuroki at Berlin, where she distinguished herself as Best Actress, the 4th Japanese to win in said festival.
Update #6 - The Wind Rises chosen as one of 2014's Favorite Movies by Sight and Sound critics!
Update #5 - The Light Shines Only There main artists win big! Masaki Suda grabs Best new Actor trophy! [ This news we've mentioned already, but love to repost due to Suda's win which we failed to say! ]
Update #4 - Hochi Film Awards - Rurouni Kenshin made waves with most nominations! Rie Miyazawa (again) gets Best Actress nod. Junichi Okada wins Best Actor.
More about the nominees and winners here.Read more...
If you've seen the 2011 movie Life Back Then, you'll remember Masaki Okada's most challenging role to date as the bullied Kyohei who began a lonely existence as a cleaner of dead people's homes. Among his co-stars is Shota Sometani. Fast forward to 2014 and you'll wonder how much acting mileage 3 years could do to Sometani's career as both share top billing in the upcoming sci-fi thriller Strayer's Chronicle.
4 out of 5 stars
With a teaser trailer up, giving us an exciting glimpse into what the movie is all about, the movie's production commitee has also came up with an amazing poster - making use of both actor's expressive eyes! In what maybe considered another high-profile role for Sometani, he shares the spotlight with his former co-star and play rivals as both possess extraordinary powers in this movie adaptation of a Takayoshi Honda novel.
The big difference between mainstream actresses like Juri Ueno, Aya Ueto and even Maki Horikita to Chizuru Ikewaki is the latter's apparent lack of pretense when it comes to image building. Chizuru who portrayed one of the most memorable movie characters in contemporary Japanese movies - Josee - in the bittersweet and moving story of two young lovers in Josee, The Tiger and The Fish - has built up an acting resume by playing unconventional, dark and oftentimes unflattering characters. She also opted to play supporting parts that, most often than not, steal scenes from the main stars simply because she can.
5 out of 5 stars
Her previous small (yet notable) role in The Great Passage reminds us that she is still around. It's just a matter of time when we shall wonder with awe watching her once again on the big screen - and playing the major role. It takes less than a year to do so and what a character it was!
It was the relatively new filmmaker Mipo O who put Ikewaki back into the glare of the spotlight with an uncompromising performance in the director's award-winning film, The Light Shines Only There (Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku). There are glimpses of Josee in her character, but as Chinatsu Oshiro, we are to witness the birth of a new fictional character out to haunt us long after we've seen the movie.
Skeptical yet willing to fall in love, Chinatsu is a young woman who knows herself inside and out. As the older sister of Takuji (Masaki Suda), she finds hope and the bliss of a promising relationship when her brother introduced her to Tatsuo Sato (Gou Ayano). Currently struggling to make ends meet, Chinatsu is single handedly supporting her family composed of their Dad who suffers from sexual addiction as a result of his medical confinement. Her Mom, who is obliged to take care of him, while being subjected to sexual advances and Takuji composed this family who live on the outskirts of the city.Read more...
13oys and Men - Promoting the awesome and talented young Japanese actors, with lots of screenshots and insights into the careers of top and upcoming young talents.
Asian Addicts Anonymous - Comprehensive reviews and recaps of exciting Japanese drama, including interesting post on Asian music and movie news.
Dorama Doll - a new blog that will feature recaps of selected Japanese dramas, most probably related to Johnny & Associates talents, with some great recommendations on what to watch if you're new to the J-drama scene.
Genkinahito's Blog - Reviews, news, box office results & some amazing insights into Japanese films, including manga and anime.
My Drama Tea - Honest and insightful reviews of Japanese drama, also reviews of Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese dramas, with music news and movie reviews.
Ritsu No Dorama Land - J-dorama reviews with a difference, complete with recaps that really complements the review.
OtherWhere - Excellent and varied trailer showcase, insightful reviews of Japanese movies (both indies and mainstream), and a great resource for news on Studio Ghibli too!
The Corner of the Mind - Drama reviews (with detailed analysis of up and coming dramas via first impressions) and anime spotlights.