Muses of Japanese Cinema @TIFF: Mitsushima Hikari, Ando Sakura, Yu Aoi & Miyazaki Aoi + Their featured films!

The 30th Tokyo International Film Festival is about to start and one of this year’s special event is the celebration of the selected works of actresses Ando Sakura, Mitsushima Hikari, Miyazaki Aoi, and Aoi Yu. Dubbed ‘Muses of Japanese Cinema’, the four are also expected to join panel discussions right after the film showing.

Here’s more:

The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is excited to unveil the key visual of the Muses of Japanese Cinema: Sakura ANDO, Yu AOI, Hikari MITSUSHIMA and Aoi MIYAZAKI. Photographed by the acclaimed photographer and film director Mika NINAGAWA, the theme of the visual is celebration and the unique and attractive characteristics of “Tokyo.”  In this year’s Japan Now section, we are highlighting the work of these four iconic actresses in honor of the powerful sparks they generate on screen, their collaborations with renowned directors and their increasing international stature as one of the special programs planned to celebrate our 30th anniversary. [read more]

Each will have two featured movies. Extensive discussions of these films after the jump!

Continue reading “Muses of Japanese Cinema @TIFF: Mitsushima Hikari, Ando Sakura, Yu Aoi & Miyazaki Aoi + Their featured films!”

Based on the novel “Gukoroku” by Nukui Tokuro, the live-action adaptation (also entitled like the novel) is a clash of two acting giants in Japanese cinema – Tsumabuki Satoshi and Mitsushima Hikari, playing siblings.

Acting extravaganza aside, it’s also the debut full-length film of Ishikawa Kei, who took film directing in Poland under a scholarship from the Japanese government. Continue reading “Traces of Sin – ‘Gukoroku’ [Movie Review]”

Casting News + Scoop! [July 18-26] Updating Japanese-Korean movie collaboration hitlist + The buzz on Eita, Mitsushima Hikari and Tsumabuki Satoshi + Ikuta Toma’s Sensei!

There are plenty of casting news featuring Japan’s more established actors, including Tsumabuki Satoshi, Eita, Mitsushima Hikari, Aragaki Yui, and Ikuta Toma. This post is dedicated to their new movies and TV drama and more!

One Hitoshi’s latest project – Okuda Tamio ni Naritai Boy to Deau Otoko Subete Kuruwaseru Garu – features the unlikely ‘team-up’ of Tsumabuki Satoshi and Mizuhara Kiko as ‘lovers’ or are they? 

 

The story centers on Kōroki, a 35-year old man who uses the life of Japanese singer and songwriter Tamio Okuda as a guide for his own life. He works as an editor at the lifestyle magazine “Mare,” where he meets Akari Amami, a mischievous fashion press writer, and falls in love with her at first sight. The manga chronicles the joy and sadness of his relationship.

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [July 18-26] Updating Japanese-Korean movie collaboration hitlist + The buzz on Eita, Mitsushima Hikari and Tsumabuki Satoshi + Ikuta Toma’s Sensei!”

Casting News + Scoop! [May 3-10] Spotlight on Aoi Yu, Mitsushima Hikari, Kadowaki Mugi, Nagayama Kento and Ikematsu Sosuke – New and exciting projects!

When it comes to compelling, haunting, sensual, and hypnotic performances, I have come to rely on Aoi Yu, Mitsushima Hikari, and Kadowaki Mugi. These actresses are known for their on-screen collaboration with some of Japan’s best filmmakers, and their latest projects have generated a lot of buzzes – some may be potential award winners!

 

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [May 3-10] Spotlight on Aoi Yu, Mitsushima Hikari, Kadowaki Mugi, Nagayama Kento and Ikematsu Sosuke – New and exciting projects!”

2017 Most Anticipated Japanese Movies: Traces of Sin (Gukoroku) – 愚行録 [Kei Ishikawa]

Gukoroku (also known as Traces of Sin) is the reunion of Satoshi Tsumabuki and Hikari Mitsushima on the big screen. Both award-winning actors play siblings in the Tv series Wakamonotachi (together with Eita, a frequent co-star of both).  The movie is the first full-length film of Kei Ishikawa and tackles the issue of a brother-sister relationship in an atmosphere of mystery and crime. Based on the novel “Gukoroku” by Tokuro Nukui, the film also explores social elites in Japan.

Tsumabuki is the kind of actor who does his best when acting together with equally competent players. He did an acting showdown with Kenichi Matsuyama in My Back Page (he plays a journalist, while Matsuyama is an activist during late 1960s Tokyo), this time he’s (once again) a reporter and the trailer already shows some intense moments between him and co-star Hikari Mitsushima.  The film premiered at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, with Mitsushima showing her fashion flair!

Continue reading “2017 Most Anticipated Japanese Movies: Traces of Sin (Gukoroku) – 愚行録 [Kei Ishikawa]”

Wakamonotachi 2014: Ep 7-11 Review + Afterthoughts

Update: The final episode of Wakamonotachi is a bit of an anti-climax with most of the scenes in Episodes 9-10 already summing up the drama. 

With one final episode to be released soon, the Japanese drama Wakamonotachi continues to reveal new twists and turns as the stellar cast put on a show that is not perfect, yet can be quite a thrilling ride with dramatic and comedic scenes out to impress (or depress) the viewers.

The Story so far: Asahi (Satoshi Tsumabuki) raised his younger brothers and sister due to the deaths of their parents. Satoru (Eita), the second son, was incarcerated for swindling an old lady of her millions. Hikari (Hikari Mitsushima) is the only girl among the five – is having an affair with a married man, who happens to be the Doctor she works with at the ICU for pediatric patients.

The other members of the family Haru (Tasuku Emoto) and Tadashi (Shuhei Nomura) are both students, with Haru still clinging to his theater club instead of looking for a job while Tadashi is on the verge of manhood, discovering his first love.

Continue reading “Wakamonotachi 2014: Ep 7-11 Review + Afterthoughts”

Wakamonotachi 2014: First Impressions + Episode 1-6 Review

I recently asked the question: Can Wakamonotachi compete with the best Asian drama during its broadcast? After watching the first six episodes, I have to say the 2014 version of the 1966 original FujiTV drama has a lot of good things to offer – particularly in the acting department – Hikari Mitsushima, Yu Aoi, Eita and Shuhei Nomura were standouts. There are also some dramatic scenes that tug at the heart and an equal measure of fun and comedy to keep the drama interesting.

But some scenes may appear incredulous – particularly those involving Satoshi Tsumabuki’s character as it seems to be someone drawn from yesteryears. Nobody wants to watch a moral, idealistic, highly-strung character in the majority of the episodes.It’s the first time I felt disappointed with Tsumabuki as an actor.

While I may seem critical of the drama, I highly recommend it. Our reviews have been performance oriented since the beginning, and there are a lot of acting highlights here.

Continue reading “Wakamonotachi 2014: First Impressions + Episode 1-6 Review”

Can Young People (Wakamono Tachi) compete with the best in Asian drama? Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima reunite as one family!

Japanese drama addicts are probably looking forward to the July 2014 broadcast of Young People (Wakamono Tachi) starring Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima, Masami Nagasawa and Yu Aoi among its star-studded cast. The fact that the cast is not only “stars” but talented and critically acclaimed actors make all the difference. Can it duplicate the success of the 1966 original drama? Will there be deviations to the original story? Will the characters be altered to suit the modern times?

These questions will have answers soon, but let’s focus on one issue here: How was the on-screen chemistry between our talented cast? Have they been together before in a drama or a movie perhaps? What sort of roles did they play together?

Continue reading “Can Young People (Wakamono Tachi) compete with the best in Asian drama? Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima reunite as one family!”

Satoshi Tsumabuki leads powerhouse cast for Wakamonotachi (The Youngsters); Hikari Mitsushima, Eita & Shuhei Nomura co-star!

Award-winning dramatic actor Satoshi Tsumabuki will join forces with Hikari Mitsushima, Eita, Tasuku Emoto and Shuhei Nomura in the upcoming drama “Wakamonotachi” (The Youngsters). The five stars will play siblings who lost their parents early in their childhood, and together they struggle to live – with several emotional clashes due to their different dreams and aspirations. These emotional confrontations and their various relationships will be the focus of the drama first aired in 1966.

 

Tsumabuki and Mitsushima were in the award-winning movie Villain (Akunin), which won for Tsumabuki, the Best Actor trophy at the Japan Academy Prize back in 2011. Mitsushima was also in the award-winning drama Soredemo, Ikite Yuku, this time with Eita as the leading man. In essence, we have three of the best dramatic actors working in Japan together in this drama which will also commemorate FujiTV’s 55th anniversary.

The show is reported to be ready for broadcast this coming July. Also in the show are Yu Aoi and Ai Hashimoto, Yu Aoi also figured prominently with Tsumabuki in Tokyo Family.

Continue reading “Satoshi Tsumabuki leads powerhouse cast for Wakamonotachi (The Youngsters); Hikari Mitsushima, Eita & Shuhei Nomura co-star!”

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