The 100 Best Contemporary Japanese Movies - Psycho Drama is launching 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 ]

Another five upcoming Japanese movies to look forward to. One of them from Kazuyoshi Kumakiri, who once described the kind of movies he like to make:

My teacher in university was Sadao Nakajima, who is quite a famous director. But I didn't respect him and his films are not my kind of films at all. So at first I wanted to make films which were very different from his, just to anger him, to rebel. And also the other student made these very cute love stories and those bored me. So I wanted to make very different, unique kinds of films. [ source ]

Kumakiri's latest is entitled Blazing Famiglia. The movie revolves around a family of former teenage gangsters. Yoshimi Tokui and the young Kento Hayashi star.

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Sion Sono, on the other hand, will be releasing his new film The Land of Hope, a follow up to Himizu. The controversial Japanese filmmaker is best known for his films as well as avant-garde poetry performances. In The Land of Hope, it's about an emotional family drama, showing how different generations – a young couple, and their parents – are living an uncontrollable situation, says Wildgrounds. More of these films after the jump!

01. Blazing Famiglia

 

About the Movie: Blazing Famiglia is the story of a former bike gang leader, now middle-aged with a rebellious kid, who reunites with his old friends only to rediscover the thrills of his youth.
Cast: Yoshimi Tokui, Kento Hayashi and Sadao Abe
Release Date: September 8, 2012

The Buzz: Variety reviewed the film

For decades a staple of Nipponese straight-to-video "V-cinema," biker-gang subculture gets a galvanizing bigscreen treatment in helmer Kazuyoshi Kumakiri "Blazing Famiglia." A coming-of-ager baptized in blood and steeped in soulful midlife blues, the film reps an action aesthetic of savage masculine beauty that harks back to the golden age of yakuza films in the 1970s. Readers of the original 1999 manga by Hiroshi Tanaka will constitute the core aud for the pic's September domestic rollout; Asian action markets will feel the heat as well.
Pic introduces mechanic Tetsu Hino (comedian Yoshimi Tokui), whose cluttered apartment; dismissive wife, Kiri (Chisun); and teenage son, Shuhei (Kento Hayashi), signal a washed-up life. One day, Tetsu is jolted from inertia by a brutal assault on Shuhei's g.f., Makoto, also the daughter of his old friend Atsushi Yokota (Sadao Abe). He gathers his former bosozoku (delinquent biker pals) to exact rough justice on the young punks responsible, initiating Shuhei into the notorious world of his father, a member of east Japan's most notorious biker gang, Shinsha. [ source ]

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02. The Northern Canaries

About the Movie: The Northern Canaries, an upcoming adaptation of a story by Confessions author Kanae Minato. Sayuri Yoshinaga stars as a former Hokkaido elementary school teacher who reunites with her students 20 years after a tragic incident claimed the life of her husband and caused her to leave her
life as a teacher behind.
Cast: Mirai Moriyama, Eiko Koike, Hikari Mitsushima, Ryo Katsuji, Ryuhei Matsuda, and Aoi Miyazaki also appear.
Release Date: November 3, 2012
The Buzz: I don't how long how big Ryuhei Matsuda's role in this movie, but I'm just excited to know he's part of the cast. Aside from I'm Flash (also to be shown this year), I look forward to any movie starring this amazing actor. I also am happy to note that Ryo Katsuji is part of the cast. Katsuji won the Rookie of the Year award at the 29th Japanese Academy award for the film Aegis (from award winning filmmaker, Junji Sakamoto.)

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03. Akko's Secret

About the Movie: Haruka Ayase stars as Atsuko “Akko-chan” Kagami, a 10-year-old elementary school student who’s transformed into a 22-year-old college student by a compact mirror which was enchanted by a magical spirit. Excited by her new-found access to as much make-up and fashion as she can handle, Akko-chan thinks, “Adulthood’s the best!”
Soon, Akko-chan meets a potential love interest in an elite cosmetics executive (Masaki Okada) whose company is at risk of a hostile takeover. In order to fight against this, he’s been working hard on a new product line, and Akko-chan begins formulating a wild idea that might help.
Cast: Haruka Ayase and Masaki Okada
Release Date: September 1, 2012.
The Buzz: Masaki Okada is one of the busiest young actors in Japan today. Everyone will remember how 'despicable' a character he portrayed in Villain (Akunin) and his laugheable character in Confession, as the naive new teacher. He's back in form as the leading man opposite Haruka Ayase in this film, aimed to titilate the younger movie audience.

Ayase is becoming one of Japan's most popular actresses, with some amazing achievements herself. Says Nippon Cinema:

In 2000, Ayase was convinced by a friend to enter the the 25th Horipro Talent Scout Caravan and she wound up winning the Special Jury Prize. Because she didn’t have any traditional entertainment-related skills to show off at the time, she would instead do an imitation of a rabbit in her early variety show appearances. She made her acting debut on the 2001 NTV drama “Kindaichi Case Files”. Her first starring role came two years later in the Fuji TV drama “Hotaru no Hikaru”.

In 2004, she beat out 723 other auditioners for the role of Aki Hirose in the TBS drama “Sekai no Chuushin de, Ai wo Sakebu”. The role drastically increased her public exposure and popularity as an actress. [ source]

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04. The Land of Hope

About the Movie: The Land of Hope is set in a countryside village, suddenly devastated by an earthquake. It’s about a family of farmers facing an impossible choice; to evacuate the era like most people and leave behind everything, or take action to keep living there. After Himizu, this new film confirms that Sono is one of the few filmmakers in Japan willing to talk openly about the March 2011 disasters and the consequences. [ Wildgrounds ]
Cast: Jun Murakami, Megumi Kagurazaka, Isao Natsuyagi, Naoko Otani, Yutaka Shimizu. Hikari Kajiwara, Denden, Daikichi Sugawara, Takashi Yamanaka, Kenzo Kawarazaki
Release Date: No definite release date yet, but reports mention Fall 2012.
The Buzz: Sion Sono made following statements about the movie:

The Great East Japan Earthquake led to explosions at Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant, releasing a massive quantity of radioactive materials. This disaster destroyed lives of many people ‒ lives that they used to know until that day. Faced with this unprecedented crisis, I am greatly alarmed that only the scale of the nuclear accident and not much else is talked about in Japan. I fear that we will simply become desensitized to the idea of radiation in time and “co-exist” with it, willy-nilly, conveniently “forgetting” about it in our daily life. The government may well declare that the nuclear crisis, the focus of our attention since last March, has been resolved.
I make this movie because I want people to “relive” “that time” again, to go back into March last year. By reliving that day again, we will be able to appreciate the horrifying
reality that we are forced into ‒ the reality of having to live with radiation. Thatʼ’s what we must talk about now.

These thoughts are behind my determination to make this movie. [ source ]

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05. Paikaji Nankai Sakusen

About the Movie: Sadao Abe, who is also in the cast of Kazuyoshi Kumakiri's Blazing Famiglia, stars as a cameraman named Sasaki who decides to take a trip to an island in southern Japan to cheer himself up after being laid off. After he gets drunk with some campers one night, he wakes up to discover he’s been relieved of all his money and possessions. Later, he meets a young man from the city named Okkochi (Kento Nagayama), the Kansai dialect-speaking Apa (Shihori Kanjiya), and Kimi (Nozomi Sasaki) and the four of them begin a life of island survival together.
One day, Sasaki hears a rumor of the four homeless campers who stole his stuff, and he begins formulating an intricate plan to both recover his property and get revenge. [ Nippon Cinema ]
Cast: Sadao Abe, Kento Nagayama, Shiori Kanjiya, Nozomi Sasaki, Pierre Taki.
Release Date: July 14, 2012.
The Buzz: I'm really looking forward to watch Kento Nagayama in this movie. The award winning young actor is definitely in my list of 'the ones to watch'. He also got the Rookie of the Year award from the Japanese Academy awards last year, just like Ryo Katsuji who got it 5 years before.

 

Which among the movie above do you look forward to the most? Are you a fan of Masaki Okada? Kento Nagayama or Ryo Katsuji? Let us know what you think!

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