Written and directed by first-timer Kanai Junichi, under Stardust Pictures, Yurusenai Aitai - ゆるせない、逢いたい (translated into English as 'Again') is about the romantic relationship between Hatsumi (Yoshikura Aoi) and Ryutaro (Yagira Yuya) that turned ugly. 

Again (Yurusenai Aitai) - Movie Review

Released in 2013, I'm fortunate to screen this film even after four years because of the cast (the amazing Yagira Yuya!), and the serious theme of the movie. 

Notwithstanding the unusual title, Her Love Boils Bathwater (湯を沸かすほどの熱い愛), is an intensely dramatic film, yet subtle in revealing the secrets of the Kono family. Bathwater is as much a family drama as it is a woman's journey towards death and remembrance. Nakano Ryota, the film's director, maybe the future of Japanese cinema. After his first full-length film, Capturing Dad, Ryota offers Her Love Boils Bathwater with an all-star cast led by Miyazawa Rie, Sugisaki Hana, and Odagiri Joe.

Her Love Boils Bathwater - Review

Futaba (Miyazawa) is a determined single mother to Azumi (Sugisaki). One day at work, she collapsed and later discovered she only has a few months to live. She has cancer and it has metastasized throughout her body. She worries about Azumi, who is constantly harassed and bullied at school. She must plan for the future of her daughter even if that's the last thing she has to do.

Tokyo Sunrise - 走れ、絶望に追いつかれない速さで, a film about the close friendship between Ren (Taiga) and Kaoru (Kobayashi Ryuju), is subtle and powerful in its depiction of a brotherly love that may be more than what it seems. Written and directed by Nakagawa Ryutaro under Tokyo New Cinema, the movie encompasses the slice of life genre due to the mix of certain story elements that makes it part road trip, part romance, and part mystery. 

Tokyo Sunrise - Movie Review

Ren and Kaoru have been roommates for years. While both are single, Kaoru is in a serious, romantic relationship with Risako (Kurokawa Mei). The trio could have maintained the status quo but Kaoru decided to transfer from Tokyo to Osaka, thus he admits having a long distance relationship may not work for him and his girlfriend. 

Kumakiri Kazuyoshi's latest film Mukoku centers on two disconnected individuals - Kengo (Ayano Go) and Tooru (Murakami Nijiro) who find solace in the martial arts of kendo. The older Kengo recently lost his mom while his dad is confined in a nearby hospital. He is an accomplished kendōka (剣道家) who has won numerous medals under the tutelage of his dad. However, he has stopped competing and now works as a security guard. He's also a heavy drinker who fools around with a girl and seems to have little regard for his well-being.

Mukoku - Movie Review

Tooru is a high school student who enjoys rap music, hangs out with his friends, but oftentimes is haunted by his near-death experience of drowning. On his way from school, he was bullied by kendo players but a monk, who happens to be a kendo teacher himself intervened. Complimenting on his posture, the monk encouraged Tooru to join and embrace martial arts. While having second thoughts, the young man soon warms up to the idea. 

Written, produced and directed by Takeba Liza, Haruko's Paranormal Laboratory is the filmmaker's follow-up to her award-winning film The Pinkie. This time, instead of a young man's finger cloned into his duplicate, the romantic interest of Takeba's heroine is a television miraculously transformed into a handsome, charming young stud.

Haruko's Paranormal Laboratory - Movie Review

Our heroine, Haruko (Nozaki Moeka), appears like any normal young girl, but she's a loner with hardly any friends. Her desire to engage in something supernatural sets her apart from girls her age. Unfortunately, obsessing over aliens, ghosts, and UFOs made her a target of bullying and she was made to suffer for it. Being bullied aside, she manages to take her time, graduate and work at a local store. 

She also enjoys being herself in front of an old TV set.