Award Season Begins for 2017! Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s ‘Before We Vanish’ & Ishii Yuya’s ‘The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue’ win Best Picture at TAMA Film Awards!

TAMA New Wave, on its 9th year of giving awards, honors Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s sci-fi thriller Before We Vanish and Ishii Yuya’s romantic-drama The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue as the year’s Best Picture winners. Last year, we reported the award-giving body has recognized Yamashita Nobuhiro’s Over the Fence and Sakamoto Junji’s Danchi as 2016’s best.

TAMA New Wave started in 2000 for the purpose of discovering new talents to bring fresh perspectives into the Japanese film industry. In 2009, it introduces the movie awards to appreciate talents that are “full of vitality” thus connecting movie fans and filmmakers together. [ Official Website ]

Here’s the complete list of recipients after the jump!

Continue reading “Award Season Begins for 2017! Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s ‘Before We Vanish’ & Ishii Yuya’s ‘The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue’ win Best Picture at TAMA Film Awards!”

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!

 

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Live action Coverage: Timeline + Buzz for Death Note! Kenichi Matsuyama & Tatsuya Fujiwara returns!

The Death Note movies of Kenichi Matsuyama and Tatsuya Fujiwara serve as my introduction to Japanese live-action movies. Matsuyama is especially memorable in Death Note for the perfect combination of subtle, thrilling and comedic acting. I saw the first Death Note movie after I watched Matsuyama in Norwegian Wood. Somebody told me about his almost perfect portrayal of the world’s “greatest detective.” Matsuken’s L is what I imagined the fictional character would be in real life.

That was late 2011, a few years after the first Death Note movie was released. Five years later, we’re into the fifth live-action adaptation of the manga made famous by Tsugumi Ohba, with illustration by Takeshi Obata. 

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Casting News + Scoop! [Oct 10-12] Of Love, Birthday Cards, Death Notes, and Late-night diners!

Alice Hirose takes the spotlight in the fairy tale/romantic mystery mashup L-エル- (from filmmaker Ten Shimoyama who previously helmed Shinobi starring Joe Odagiri and Yukie Nakama).

As we previously reported, the cast includes Yuki Furukawa and Ryo Narita. 

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PsychoDrama [Talkback]: Kinema Junpou No 1722. Issue features 50 actors under 30 to look out for + Did they get everyone right? [Part 1 of 4 Parts]

When Kinema Junpou announced their 50 names of actors (under 30) to watch out for, the whole PD community was not surprised. I mean, most of the names have been featured on the site – one way or another. Just take a look at the top 30 hit list [ promising | hottest ] and you’ll notice that most of them are included in the Kinema list.

I’d love to open up the discussion on both those who are already part of our list and those who may be considered “under the radar” since I think we have some exciting names in the Kinema Junpou list that need some research. Here’s the rub: If you’re an editor exposed to all the buzz inside the Japanese entertainment industry, you obviously have the advantage (and disadvantage) since – I really believe – we on the outside has a more ‘objective” look. Then again, that’s debatable of course!

Let’s see…. so we have 50 names!

Continue reading “PsychoDrama [Talkback]: Kinema Junpou No 1722. Issue features 50 actors under 30 to look out for + Did they get everyone right? [Part 1 of 4 Parts]”

Casting News + Scoop! [Mar 13- Apr 27]: Mirai Shida + Taishi Nakagawa; Death Note 2016; Natsumi Firefly + Japanese movies about ‘unrequited’ love!

It’s been a while since I posted a casting news/scoop, but there is a reason for that. I’m doing an extensive research on live action adaptation (Japanese, American and French) so it has taken almost all of my time. But it is definitely worth it! I’ll be posting Part 1 of the series very soon, please stay tuned!

I browse some of my favorite Japanese entertainment portals and was happy to note that Mirai Shida is – once again – active on the scene. I always love watching her and I think she deserves the spotlight and the raves that many of the ‘veteran’ J-ent watchers are bestowing on her. If you have not seen her yet, try one of her most important movies – Nobody to watch over Me – where she plays the sole survivor of a family haunted by tragedy. She also made waves in Yoji Yamada’s Kabei: Our Mother, and to think that both movies were more than 5 years old makes me sad.

How come ‘talents’ like Ayame Gouriki, Emi Takei, and Kasumi Arimura get to play significantly important roles while an amazing and definitely more talented actress like Mirai Shida only gets to play supporting parts? Now, that’s the greatest tragedy of them all.

The tradition of playing supporting roles for Shida continues, but this time, she will play second lead to Tao Tsuchiya.

Not bad, considering that Tsuchiya is pretty much a competent actress herself. I’d love to see Shida on the big screen anyway, so I’m happy she’s back! The pair of Tsuchiya and Shono Hayama is a reunion of their Mare (asadora) casting where both play the siblings of Yo Oizumi and Takako Tokiwa. I fondly remember Tokiwa as the young mother of Yuya Yagira from an earlier movie, Shining Boy and Little Randy – so having Yagira also in that popular asadora is another reunion of sorts. 

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [Mar 13- Apr 27]: Mirai Shida + Taishi Nakagawa; Death Note 2016; Natsumi Firefly + Japanese movies about ‘unrequited’ love!”

Japan’s Best Actors – The Hottest List [Top 15; 2016 Edition]

During our first rankings, it was Satoshi Tsumabuki who ruled! Aside from winning Best Actor at the Japan Academy for Villain, Tsumabuki dominated the casting buzz – with back to back roles, including lead roles for My Back Page (with Kenichi Matsuyama), Smuggler and Fly With the Gold. A year later, it was Ryuhei Matsuda’s turn  – he also won Best Actor and had a string of amazing films. On our third year, it was Shota Sometani who dominated the rankings.

Sometani went on to top the rankings 2 years in a row, with Yuya Yagira closing in at 2nd place… This year is very different!

 

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Casting News + Scoop! [Mar10-13]: Masaki Suda dominates casting news + Romancing Yu Aoi; Is Satoshi Tsumabuki her ideal on-screen partner? DISH//’s Takumi Kitamura rocks!

Our previous casting news round-up features both Satoshi Tsumabuki and Masaki Suda but for different projects – Suda, of course, grabbed another role which is now the subject of extensive discussion [ re: his character and what sort of performance he must do in order to do justice to the role. ] I’m talking about Oboreru Knife and I’m inviting you to join in the recent discussion! In today’s casting news, Suda may not be playing the lead character, but knowing his ability to steal scenes – I will not be surprised if he overwhelms his co-stars! The movie – Somebody [Nanimono] is all about 5 Uni students whose lives intertwined with both romantic and dramatic colors. Suda’s co-stars include Takeru Satoh (lead role), with Masaki Okada, Fumi Nikaido and Kasumi Arimura playing the other main characters. What makes this movie both anticipated and ‘problematic’ is how the actors can generate interesting chemistry between each other and as a whole.

I know that some of you have seen Mondai no Aru Restaurant, the acclaimed TV drama where Suda and Nikaido played a couple. While I considered the series as one of the best I’ve seen last year, the interaction between Nikaido and Suda has some unexplored areas, and I am in need of closure. I wish that their characters were explored more… 

I don’t know if they will be romantically paired again in this new project, but it seems Arimura is Suda’s girlfriend this time around. While both Nikaido (My Man) and Arimura (Biri Gal) both got Best Actress nom at the Japan Academy, Nikaido is miles away when it comes to talent. I’m not trying to insult or belittle Arimura because she can play well herself, but no one can come close to Nikaido. If you have someone like Nikaido and Suda acting together in a movie, you begin to doubt how their co-stars can catch up with them. Of course, Masaki Okada is as talented as one actor can get. [ I enjoyed watching Okada with Yui Aragaki in Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku very much! ]

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [Mar10-13]: Masaki Suda dominates casting news + Romancing Yu Aoi; Is Satoshi Tsumabuki her ideal on-screen partner? DISH//’s Takumi Kitamura rocks!”

Death Note 2016: “Consummate” actors Sosuke Ikematsu & Masaki Suda battle for supremacy; Masahiro Higashide, the casting’s weakest link?

I can’t develop feelings. That’s how most idiots screw up. – Light Yagami

The dead god of death will disappear, but the DEATH NOTE will remain. The ownership of this DEATH NOTE is usually carried over to the next god of death that touches it, but it is common sense that it is returned to the Great god of death. Only by touching each other’s DEATH NOTE can human individuals who own the DEATH NOTE in the human world recognize the appearance or voice of each other’s god of death. – Death Note Rule [ quotes taken from Wikiquotes ]

If you cast two of Japan’s most exciting and talented actors in one movie, then you would expect a lot of fireworks!

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In the case of the 2016 upcoming Death Note movie, having Sosuke Ikematsu (as Kenichi Matsuyama & Kento Yamazaki’s successor to L) and Masaki Suda (as a fervent follower and admirer of Kira; following the footsteps of Tatsuya Fujiwara & Masataka Kubota’s Light) then you got an exciting movie in the making.

Continue reading “Death Note 2016: “Consummate” actors Sosuke Ikematsu & Masaki Suda battle for supremacy; Masahiro Higashide, the casting’s weakest link?”

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