Based on the popular manga series "Little Forest" written & illustrated by Igarashi Daisuke, Little Forest: Summer and Autumn is the first installment of the 2-part live-action adaptation written and directed by Mori Junichi. Starring Hashimoto Ai in the title role of Ichiko, it tells the tale of a young woman who left the big city to settle back in her small hometown Komori, located on a mountain in the Tohoku region. It may be a temporary transfer for Ichiko, as she lives with nature while trying to reflect on certain life events that led to her hometown journey.

Little Forest: Summer & Autumn - Review

The town's name Komori is translated to 'little forest', Ichiko explains. She notes further the humidity since it's located at the bottom of a mountain basin, thus there is a damp and sweltering heat during summer. As the title suggests, it covers both summer and autumn, with each season featuring dishes prepared by Ichiko using local ingredients. As each dish is prepared, Ichiko also reveals a bit of herself.

Lowlife Love -下衆の愛, produced by Adam Torel's Third Window Films, written and directed by Uchida Eiji, tells the story of an indie filmmaker - Tetsuo (Shibukawa Kiyohiko) - who refuses to compromise his artistic integrity and submit to the commercialization of his craft. After producing a minor hit a few years back, he struggles with his personal life and career until an upcoming actress, Minami (Okano Maya) and a promising scriptwriter, Ken (Oshinari Shugo) enter the scene.

Lowlife Love- review

Shy and naive but determined, Minami travels to the city to realize her dreams of becoming an actress. At Tetsuo's acting school, she met Ken, who wrote a script that could be the launching pad for her career. During the audition, Tetsuo became excited with Minami's prospect as a dramatic actress and considers Ken's script to be his ticket to acclaim and return to form. Seeking financial support from an unscrupulous producer Kida (Denden), Tetsuo assembles his cast and crew to start the biggest project of his career.

Studio Shochiku employs (more TV than film director) Murakami Shosuke to handle the live-action adaptation of Hazuki Matcha's manga "Isshukan Friends". Starring Kawaguchi Haruna, Yamazaki Kento, Matsuo Takashi, and Uesugi Shuhei, the movie tells the story of two high school students - Kaori (Haruna) who refuses to accept the offer of friendship from Yuki (Yamazaki), her classmate, since she suffers from temporary memory loss. It's always about forgetting all her newfound friends after a week, and then her memory resets. 

One Week Friends - review

While there is no scientific definition that can explain what's happening to our heroine, there is a medical condition called transient global amnesia. However, it precludes the inability to recognize people, especially close friends. Following the 'logic' behind the author's assumption of Kaori's memory loss, we were told that Kaori's parents decided to transfer their daughter to another school, to prevent her from meeting her friends, which she can no longer remember.

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.