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 ]
Adrift in Tokyo (Tenten) is about two men - without any real connection - walking the streets of Tokyo who encounter different kinds of people, experience the city's sights and sounds and in the process discover something deeper about themselves and the purpose (or lack of it) of their lives. Fumiya Takemura (Joe Odagiri) plays a redundant law student who amassed a huge debt while Aichiro Fukuhara (Tomokazu Miura) is a collector who, at first, showed Takemura what might happen to him if he can't pay. However, in a surprising twist, the collector offers an unusual proposal which if accepted will cover up the young man's debt.
What the Movie is all about: Takemura has no friends and no family. He's a student but he doesn't have any particular ambitions. In other words, he isn't going anywhere fast. Were all this not enough, the sorry sad sack has a debt of 800,000 yen. Fukuhara, a surly debt collector with a glorious mullet, is on his case. After roughing Takemura up, he gives him an ultimatum-72 hours to pay up, or else. Takemura barely has his wits about him again when he runs across Fukuhara a second time, and this time the thug has a different proposal-a walk. That's right, in exchange for a million yen, Takemura must accompany Fukuhara on a walk across the city of Tokyo. Starting in a distant corner of the city, they begin their trek towards downtown, striking up a conversation. It's at this point that Fukuhara admits that he's recently killed his wife, and intends to turn himself in at Kasumagaseki police station-because, he says, it's the finest in town. The pair's itinerary, however, is hardly a quick and direct one. The disparate duo drift here and there, hanging out and coming across a host of eccentric personalities, creatures of the urban jungle's various habitats. As their walking, talking and trading truths continues, the arrangement between Takemura and Fukuhara starts to transform into friendship. [ Narrative by Nicolas Archambault for Fantasia Film Festival ]
Why you need to watch this movie: Adrift in Tokyo has a unique mix of comedy, drama, and what some are calling as "slice of life". It is definitely one of Satoshi Miki's best movies, with a very funny Joe Odagiri who share credits with Tomokazu Miura for making this an absorbing and entertaining film.
The big reveal regarding the purpose of Miura's request to walk the streets of Tokyo is unexpected, yet it seems completely logical to the whole story. Both men are lonely in their own terms but having the chance to be together while absorbing the spirit of the city, they discovered hidden joys.Read more...
Haruma Miura's new movie, Five Minutes to Tomorrow, has a draft (tentative) movie poster already!
We posted about this casting news way back in November of last year, and quoted the director who gave a bit details on what the movie is all about:
Five Minutes to Tomorrow is a romantic mystery that depicts the sadness of lost souls. It is adapted from Honda Takayoshi’s novel of the same title. Reading the book, I was entranced by the unique worldview imparted through the depictions of identical twin sisters who are in love with the same man, and a man who lives his life according to a clock that is set five minutes late.
However, I was most inspired by the portrayal of a lonely man who is intrigued by a pair of beautiful and mysterious twin sisters.
Halfway through this film, the twin sisters get into an accident while on holiday, and only one survives. But is the woman that returns to her lover the right twin? What if they have switched places? As the protagonist’s suspicion grows, the film turns into a mystery in the vein of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. [ read more ]
The movie poster was released during the Cannes Film Festival celebration.
It took 3 years for Tetsuya Nakashima to make his follow up to the acclaimed 2011 movie Confessions, and what better way than to cast some of Japan's best talents in a movie that is predicted to bring in a lot of fireworks! Nakashima was reported to have been attached to the live action adaptation of Attack on Titan but left due to "creative differences".
Whatever the case, he is said to be very excited to launch this latest feature and get back to the genre that is both familiar and exciting.
My goal is to make a violent fantasy never before seen in Japanese cinema.Read more...
Tokyo Sonata is a fascinating look at one modern Tokyo family where everyone seems to have something on their mind but could not freely express it. It features two promising young stars who play brothers - Kai Inowaki, in his movie debut, is a young piano prodigy who secretly trains and used the money his family gave him for karate lessons. Yu Koyanagi is a young man who is totally clueless on what he wants in life, but decided to join the military. Their parents - Teruyuki Kagawa and Kyoko Koizumi have no idea what's happening with their children, and who in turn have secrets of their own.
What the Movie is all about: A typical household secretly teeters on the verge of collapse in this stark drama from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Businessman Ryuhei Sasaki (Teruyuki Kagawa) is the principal breadwinner of a seemingly happy family in Tokyo, with Ryuhei looking after his teenage sons, Takashi (Yu Koyanagi) and Kenji (Kai Inowaki), with his wife, Megumi (Kyoko Koizumi). But what Megumi and her children don't know is that Ryuhei is out of a job; his position was outsourced to a company in China, and he's too ashamed to tell his family the truth. Ryuhei leaves home every morning as if he's going to the office, but instead visits employment centers in hopes of landing a new job and eats lunch at a kitchen for the indigent. One day, while waiting for free porridge, Ryuhei meets an old friend who is in a similar predicament, Kurosu (Kanji Tsuda); Kurosu ends up bringing Ryuhei home for dinner so they can discuss their fictive day at work and maintain their subterfuge. Megumi, who is not as well-adjusted as she appears, one day spots her husband in a soup line while running errands, and discovers the truth about his employment status, though she doesn't dare confront him. And as Takashi and Kenji begin drifting away from their emotionally distant parents, Kenji starts to suspect things are not as they should be, and begins spending his lunch money on music lessons in hopes of starting a career as a pianist. Tokyo Sonata was an official entry at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. [ Narrative by Mark Deming ]
Why you need to watch this movie: There are some very funny scenes here involving the father when he suddenly got terminated from a top-level job and became a mall cleaner. No one could deliver such performance than Kagawa who is always such a consumate performer in all his roles. Kai Inowaki, who also made waves in Confessions 2 year later, was only 13 years old when he was cast to play the piano prodigy, and the dramatic scenes required of him were delivered almost perfectly, especially the confrontation scene with Kagawa.
All families have secrets and it is usually the parents who solve them before it became a big crisis. In this case, the family's redemption fell on the youngest member of the family when he finally had the chance to prove who he is and what he's capable of.Read more...
Ryuhei Matsuda celebrated his birthday last May 9th, which makes him a real "thirty-something" guy like Gyouten, the character he portrayed in the Mahoro series of movies and dramas. As of this writing, he has made 40 movies, starting with Gohatto (Taboo) where he plays a young Samurai and the upcoming Jinuyo Saraba (which we featured in Part 2 of this actor's bias articles) as a bank teller who decided to live in a poor locale.
In this Part, we're celebrating Ryuhei Matsuda's best movies, and why his characters and his performances matter - for his fans and for those who maybe willing to explore his work. This is more than an introduction to Ryuhei Matsuda but an affirmation of the power, beauty and scope of his work.Read more...
Those in doubt that Rena Nounen can level up her acting need to watch this longer teaser trailer for the new movie Hot Road!
I guess the first trailer released for the said movie is not enough to feature Nounen in some of her more intense dramatic scenes, but this time there are enough to give us more idea about her relationship with Hiroomi Tosaka and her Mom, who is supposed to be at odds with her.
Charming with an innocent and boy-next-door on-screen presence, actor and martial arts practioner Masahiro Inoue maybe considered one of Japan's under-rated performers.
He got his start in acting portraying Keigo Atobe in the Prince of Tennis musical The Imperial Presence Hyotei Gakuen as part of the Hyoutei B Cast. In 2009 he portrayed the lead role in Kamen Rider Decade, Tsukasa Kadoya, who had the ability to transform into the title character and in the music video for Gackt's Journey Through the Decade as the series' main character. He later reprised his role for the two-part series finale of Kamen Rider Wizard. He also starred in Zebraman: Vengeful Zebra City. He is said to be a real-life Tae Kwon Do practitioner. [ The Wiki ]
I wonder why drama and Asian movie portals have ignored to include his role in Aozora no Tamago. While the mystery/thriller drama has a problematic script and confused (understatement) character depictions, Inoue made it worthwhile and even amusing to watch. Credit also goes to co-star Shintaro Akutsu for their on-screen chemistry.
A lot are still to be desired when it comes to both Inoue and Akutsu's acting, but this was a good opportunity for Inoue to hone his performance, since his role in the Kamen Rider series (Tsukasa Kadoya aka Kamen Rider Decade) is more on action sequences and less on acting. He continues his Kamen Rider adventures with the upcoming June 2014 release of Kamen Rider Battride Wars.
Dori Sakurada's role in the current baseball drama Yowakutemo Katemasu made him look comedic and even a bit on the looney side as Kasumi Arimura's stalker. I have some doubt with regards to the credibility of many of Japan's drama directors since - in all honesty - they can't properly supervise their actors and make them do over-acting most of the time. I mean, even Kanata Hongo is doing some irritating over-the-top acting in this high-profile drama!
But enough of that, let's focus on Sakurada because there is definitely a lot of potential in this young talent that is not being put to good use. There is a good review of his acting performance here:
Sakurada Dori is a semi popular actor in Japan under the Amuse agency. He has been working since 2007 at least and is most well know for staring in a Prince of Tenis stageplay. But his career really took off in 2010 where he was cast in 7 TV drama’s and films including the mega popular BECK. It is not until 2011 that his connection with Hello Project appeared. When a H!P girl is lucky enough to get a film vehicle to star in usually her male leads are either unknowns or fellow Idols. However very few of these leads are ever seen again let alone cast in three different projects, one after the other.
This time last year in 2011 Aichan of Morning Musume fame was cast in a Valentines day drama special called Koi Choco: Bittersweet Angel on TBS. It is about a girl working a cafe (Takahashi Ai) who get visited by an Angel. [ read more ]
Two upcoming movies will prove if the tumblr blogger and this author are right.
Sakurada is part of Gajimaru Restaurant's Love, set for a September 2014 release where he plays Shota, a character who got involved with his best friend, played by Seika Taketomi. They are the other couiple in this love story involving 4 people.
A more challenging role is up for Sakurada in Marching to Tomorrow (Marching Ashita e) where he plays Tadanobu, a member of a marching band. The coming of age movie depicts conflicts and relationships between him and players of the band, who will be joined by another band to participate in an important Japanese festival/event.
A high priority of the actor is school, and he is apparently preparing for his future. The fact that he also models show how dedicated he can be when it comes to work. He is also slated to release his first photobook this coming June, that includes some reflections on his studies abroad.
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