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. 

Yamashita Nobuhiro's 'Over the Fence' continues the tradition he sets in showcasing individuals marginalized by society and their own family. The movie centers on a recently divorced and traumatized man and a club hostess with an unconventional personality.

Over the Fence - Movie Review

Shiraiwa Yoshio (Odagiri Joe) returns to his hometown, in Hakodate, as a result of his separation from his wife and daughter. He enrolls in a vocational school taking up carpentry to start anew, though he remains unsure what to do with his life. 

A fellow student Daishima (Matsuda Shota) befriends Yoshio and invites him to a nightclub. While discussing business with his new friend, a young hostess - Satoshi (Aoi Yu) - begins to dance and act like a swan (or a big bird for that matter). Yoshio is intrigued. He recalls the same girl doing the same bird-like impressions previously. Daishima sets them up, Yoshio seems hesitant, but the bird 'impressionist' pushes him forward - perhaps sex would do them both good?

Director Lee Sang-Il returns to crime drama-thriller, in the tradition of the award-winning Villain (Akunin), as he collaborates for the second time with Yoshida Shuichi for the big screen adaptation of the author's 2014 novel, Rage (Ikari). Observers of the filmmaker remark that Sang-Il is hard to classify since he has done both 'feel good' and hard-hitting movies. But the director finds his passion for making films about human greed and propensity to violence and their intimate interactions. Rage tells the story of a young man who murdered a couple, becomes a fugitive and escapes while undergoing plastic surgery.

Ikari (Rage) - Movie Review

A year after the gruesome double murder, three new faces appear in three different spots - in downtown Tokyo, a small fishing village in Chiba, and near the US-military installations in Okinawa. Are these young men - in any way - connected to the highly publicized murder?