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Japanese Film ‘Fireworks’ Finds Distributors Around the World

Japanese Film ‘Fireworks’ Finds Distributors Around the World
A recent press conference for the upcoming Japanese film “Fireworks” confirmed that finishing touches are still being put on the animated feature ahead of its August 18 release.

The film’s full name, “Fireworks: Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom?,” refers to the story of schoolkids watching fireworks who are debating whether they look different depending on where they’re viewed from. Meanwhile, a girl named Nazuna is about to move to a different school due to her mother’s remarriage. A boy falls in love with Nazuna, and the two teenagers decide to run away.

“Fireworks” is based the live action TV series which was directed and written by Shunji Iwai in 1993. Iwai won the Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award for the series.

Produced by Genki Kawamura, who also shepherded global hit animated film “Your Name,” voice actors include Suzu Hirose, Masaki Suda, Mamoru Miyano, and Takako Matsu.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

“9 Souls” is Toshiaki Toyoda’s masterpiece

What began with “Pornostar” and “Blue Spring”, found its apogee in “9 Souls”, one of the greatest samples of Japanese indie cinema.

Nine convicts escape prison, since the tenth, Yamamoto, lost it just before a rat, which showed the others the way out appeared on their cell. The convicts have decided to search for a money stash hidden by Yamamoto and so they function as a team, despite the fact that they differ in age, crime and general background. Torakichi is the eldest and acts as the leader of the group. He has killed his own son. Kazuma is a young man, former member of a bike gang. He stabbed four members of his own gang. Inui is a bomber (of sorts) who suffers from epilepsy. Shiratory is a dwarf, and a doctor who aided suicide. Michiru, the last one to enter prison, is an adolescent who killed his father. Ushiyama
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

The Little House (Chiisai ouchi)

Forget English soap operas about upstairs and downstairs upheavals, Yoji Yamada's chronicle of a life in the little Tokyo house with the little red roof is an emotional grabber. It's the war years of patriotic acquiescence and home-front selfishness -- and a secret, forbidden romance. The Little House (Chiisai ouchi) Twilight Time Savant Blu-ray Review Limited Edition 2014 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 136 min. / Chiisai ouchi / Ship Date August 11, 2015 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95  Starring Takaku Matsu, Haru Kuroki, Takataro Kataoka, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Chieko Baisho Cinematography Masashi Chikamori Art Direction Mitsuo Degawa, Daisuke Sue Film Editor Iwao Ishii Original Music Joe Hisashi Written by Yoji Yamada, Emiko Hiramatsu, Kyoko Nakajima Produced by Tadashi Ohsumi Directed by Yoji Yamada

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

When Twilight Time brings out a disc not licensed from a major studio, I pay special attention. Last year they released a good Yoji Yamada film called The Twilight Samurai,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Ultra-Violence of ‘World of Kanako’ Stirs Japanese Box Office, Online Uproar

Ultra-Violence of ‘World of Kanako’ Stirs Japanese Box Office, Online Uproar
Tokyo – “Confessions” director Tetsuya Nakashima’s latest hyper-violent drama “The World of Kanako (Kawaki)” has stirred up a storm of controversy since its June 27 release in Japan.

Slapped with an R-15 rating, meaning than no one 14 and under can see it, the pic stars Koji Yakusho (“Memoirs of a Geisha,” “13 Assassins”) as a former detective with a hair-trigger temper searching for his missing teenage daughter, whose “model student” image turns out to be a sham.

The hero’s outrageous behavior, from violent rape to attempted vehicular homicide, has prompted a flood of critical comments on message boards and social networks, especially when theaters offered a special student discount to encourage more teens the daughter’s age to see the film. “This is a film that shouldn’t be shown to students,” one commentator opined.

In reaction Nakashima has issued a statement saying “I’m really sorry if (the film) is too grotesque.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Frozen’ Gets Hot Start in Frosty Japan

‘Frozen’ Gets Hot Start in Frosty Japan
Tokyo, Hong Kong – Walt Disney’s “Frozen” has had the biggest opening weekend of the year to date in Japan for a foreign pic.

It earned $9.5 million on 598 screens and 602,347 admissions on the March 15-16 weekend.

That tops the opening weekend of “Monsters University, the number one B.O. foreign picture of 2013, which went on to score $88 million.

By comparison, the last Disney cartoon to open in Japan, “Brave,” bowed on a similar 563 screens, but got a much frostier reception. It earned only $1.4 million on 106,271 admissions.

Driving the popularity of “Frozen” are not only its Oscars wins, but also the smash hit renditions of “Let It Go” by local artists May J, whose version is used as the ending song, and Takako Matsu, who voices Elsa in the Japanese dub.

“Frozen” has been a huge hit in Asia – and many other places – achieving a record setting $77 million in South Korea and $48.2 million in China,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Berlin Film Review: ‘The Little House’

Berlin Film Review: ‘The Little House’
Adapting but not enlivening Kyoko Nakajima’s novel, Nipponese journeyman Yoji Yamada cranks out his umpteenth bourgeois family drama with “The Little House,” driven by an adulterous affair so discreet and passionless, it makes the characters and their wartime setting feel stuffier than they should. Observing civilian life while the nation was at war from 1936-1945, the film’s re-creation of the early Showa period yields more elegant aesthetics than the 82-year-old helmer’s vapid contempo remakes like “About My Brother” or “Tokyo Family,” but it’s still a long sit at 136 minutes. Coming in third at the domestic B.O. upon release, this nostalgia vehicle is suited only to Japan’s older audiences and Taiwan’s Nipponese culture buffs.

At the funeral of his great-aunt, Taki Nunomiya (Chieko Baisho), Takeshi (Satoshi Tsumabuki) reminisces about the old spinster, who, at his prompting, wrote memoirs of her early life as a
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Berlinale 2014. Final Competition Titles

  • MUBI
Joining the titles already announced—including films by Alain Resnais and Dominik Graf—the following films complete the lineup for the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival's Competition section.

Bai Ri Yan Huo (Black Coal, Thin Ice)

People’s Republic of China

By Yinan Diao (Night Train, Uniform)

With Fan Liao, Lun Mei Gwei, Xuebing Wang

World premiere

Boyhood

USA

By Richard Linklater (Before Midnight, Me & Orson Welles)

With Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater

International premiere

Chiisai Ouchi (The Little House)

Japan

By Yoji Yamada (Tokyo Family, About Her Brother)

With Takako Matsu, Haru Kuroki, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Chieko Baisho

International premiere

Historia del miedo (History of Fear)

Argentina / Uruguay / Germany / France

By Benjamin Naishtat - feature debut

With Jonathan Da Rosa, Claudia Cantero, Mirella Pascual, Cesar Bordon, Tatiana Gimenez

World premiere

Jack

Germany

By Edward Berger

With Ivo Pietzcker, Georg Arms, Luise Heyer, Vincent Redetzki, Jacob Matschenz,
See full article at MUBI »

Berlin completes competition line-up

  • ScreenDaily
Berlin completes competition line-up
Richard Linklater’s Boyhood to compete for the Golden Bear; Beauty and the Beast, starring Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux, to play out of competition.

The 64th Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 6-16) has added 15 titles to its Competition programme, completing the line-up of 23 films - of which 20 will vye for the Golden Bear and Silver Bears.

The programme includes 18 world premieres and three feature debuts.

The line-up includes the international premiere of Boyhood, from Before Midnight director Richard Linklater. The film, which will premiere at Sundance, was shot over short periods from 2002 to 2013 and covers 12 years in the life of a family, featuring Mason and his sister Samantha. Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater star.

World premieres include In Order of Disappearance, directed by Hans Petter Moland, which stars Stellan Skarsgård as a snow plough driver whose son’s sudden death puts him in the middle of a drug war between theNorwegian mafia and the
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Berlin Film Festival Completes Competition Lineup

Berlin Film Festival Completes Competition Lineup
London — The Competition lineup of the 64th Berlin Intl. Film Festival has been completed. The program includes 18 world premieres and three feature debuts.

Additions to the lineup include Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” which stars Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, Hans Petter Moland’s “In Order of Disappearance,” which toplines Stellan Skarsgard and Bruno Ganz, and Christophe Gans’ “Beauty and the Beast,” starring Vincent Cassel and Lea Seydoux.

Japanese veteran helmer Yoji Yamada (“The Twilight Samurai”) makes his fifth appearance in the fest’s Competition section with “The Little House.”

Also playing will be Celina Murga’s “The Third Side of the River,” Rachid Bouchareb’s “Two Men in Town,” Karim Ainouz’s “Praia do Futuro” and Ye Lou’s “Blind Massage.”

The Competition titles announced last month can be found here.

The section includes films from Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Netherlands, Norway,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Movie Review - Dreams for Sale (2012)

Dreams for Sale (Japan: Yume uru futari), 2012.

Written and Directed by Miwa Nishikawa.

Starring Teruyuki Kagawa, Yûsuke Iseya and Takako Matsu.

Synopsis:

Married couple Kanya and Satoko are left devastated when their izakaya restaurant burns to the ground. Kanya’s continuous drunken stupor and rejection of his wife’s optimism leads to a drunken one-night stand. Initially angry, Satoko soon sees in Kanya’s betrayal a means to finance their dream of a new restaurant.

Dreams for Sale concludes the end of a three year absence from filmmaking for Japanese director Miwa Nishikawa. A celebrated filmmaker within contemporary Japanese cinema, her 2009 nomination for a Naoki Literature award set her aside as an accomplished storyteller across narrative mediums. Dreams for Sale is a tale of marriage fraud, though Nishikawa has admitted that it is a fictionalised account of the subject.

Perhaps best known for her performance of a vengeful school teacher in 2009’s Confessions,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Lff Review: Dreams For Sale (Yume Uru Futari)

Director: Miwa Nishikawa

Cast: Sadawo Abe, Takako Matsu, Len Tanaka

Running time: 137 minutes

Synopsis: When their restaurant burns down, married couple Kanya and Satoko are broke. But after Kanya receives a considerable payoff from he woman with whom he has a drunken affair, his wife hatches a plan to make money and rebuild their business: forcing her husband to court vulnerable women and defraud them of their savings…

The opening montage of Nishikawa’s fourth feature film might seem slightly tenuous, but there’s a unifying theme – a man killed on a busy road, an injured athlete, a spilt drink, and unprotected sex – accidents, of course, do happen. And whilst that may be the case, it’s notion that contrasts against actions that are far more purposeful and malicious, albeit ones born out of a mistake. Perhaps the biggest accident of all is that, despite suffering from a number of glaring flaws,
See full article at The Hollywood News »

BFI London Film Festival 2012 – ‘Dreams For Sale’, a modestly played, humorous and occasionally moving drama

Dreams For Sale (Yume uru futari )

Directed by Miwa Nishikawa

Written by Miwa Nishikawa

Starring Yûsuke Iseya, Teruyuki Kagawa, Takako Matsu, Rena Tanaka

The financial downturn continues to provide fresh ingredients, more food for though in this bittersweet Japanese comedy drama, in which a stuggiling couple have just suffered an economic tragedy as an accidental fire has gutted their modest Shibuya situated izakaya restaurant. Kanya (Yûsuke Iseya) and Satoko’s (Teruyuki Kagawa) marriage was already under financial and emotional strain, and a night of lonely drinking leads to Satoko to sleep with a drunk woman he meets on the subway, the next morning she convinces him to take a stack of yen and put it too good use, as it was guiltily donated to her by her mortally sick lover unbeknownst to his wife and children. Initially furious Kanya suddenly has an eureka moment, and wonders if lightning can strike
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Trailer for Miwa Nishikawa's "Yume Uru Futari"

From Yahoo! Japan comes the trailer for Yume Uru Futari, the latest movie by director and screenwriter Miwa Nishikawa (Sway, Dear Doctor).

Takako Matsu and Sadao Abe star as Satoko and Kanya (or maybe Nukiya?), a married couple who live a happy life together running their small Tokyo eatery until they lose everything in a fire.

When Kanya spends the night with a regular customer, Satoko immediately comes up with a plan: she’ll have her husband commit marriage fraud to earn enough money to get back on their feet financially. Together, they take advantage of lonely women and swindle each out of large sums of money, but their activities soon begin to cast a shadow on their own relationship.

Yume Uru Futari” will be released by Asmik Ace Entertainment in Japan on September 8, 2012.

Update: Replaced with a shiny new 1080p YouTube embed
See full article at Nippon Cinema »

Iseya, Kagawa, Shofukutei join cast of Miwa Nishikawa’s “Yume Uru Futari”

Today more cast members were announced for Miwa Nishikawa’s next film Yume Uru Futari. The new additions are Yusuke Iseya, Teruyuki Kagawa, and Tsurube Shofukutei.

Kagawa has previously worked with Nishikawa in both Sway and Dear Doctor, the latter of which starred Shofukutei.

Although Iseya hasn’t appeared in any of her films, they did work together on the set of Distance in 2001 when she was Hirokazu Kore-eda’s assistant director.

Today also saw the release of a new poster for the film. It features the two main stars—Sadao Abe and Takako Matsu—looking particularly shell-shocked with a small tagline under them which translates to something like “Humanity’s greatest enigma, man and woman”.

In the film, their characters are a married couple who conspire to commit marriage fraud. The targets of their scam are played by Lena Tanaka, Sawa Suzuki, Tae Kimura, Tamae Ando, and Yuka Ebara,
See full article at Nippon Cinema »

What To Buy this Week: DVD and Blu-ray releases for April 25th

It’s another jam-packed week of DVD and Blu-ray releases, here’s the rundown of what’s available to buy from today, April 25th 2011.

Street Wars (DVD/Blu-ray)

Steven Seagal (Under Siege, Machete) stars as Elijah Kane, the head of a crack undercover police unit ridding the Seattle streets of its deadly criminals. Kane and his team are in a race against the clock to bring to justice the coldblooded gang who is behind the lethal drug that is raising the body count of young people in city. To make matters worse, Kane’s unit is ordered to protect a filmmaker who’s set on exposing the city’s most dangerous city slums at any cost… Even if it means risking the lives of Kane’s hard-knock team. Review.

Woochi: The Demon Slayer (DVD/Blu-ray)

When a dark lord obtains the secret to unimaginable power, an elite army of shape-shifting
See full article at Blogomatic3000 »

Foreign Objects: Confessions (Japan)

Watch enough foreign language movies and you’re bound to develop some (usually incorrect) perception of that particular country’s citizens. Korean people are more likely to kick you than they are to smile. French folks will cheat on each other at the drop of a pastry. There are no schools for acting in Thailand. You get the idea. Japanese films are no different and in fact offer up more than one assumption about the culture. And no, they don’t all have to do with lactation or the enticing aroma of girls’ underwear. Some are about the overwhelming fear that Japanese society appears to have towards its own children. The youth of the nation are alternately dangerous to others (Battle Royale) or to themselves (Suicide Club), but the one constant is the complete lack of connection or understanding the adults have for their teenage counterparts. It’s an intriguing idea and one writer/director Tetsuya Nakashima (Kamikaze
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Confessions: DVD Review

Director: Tetsuya Nakashima. Review: Adam Wing. Based on the award-winning novel by Minato Kanae, Confessions (a.k.a. Kokuhaku) is a beautiful, tragic and deeply affecting drama about a teacher's terrifying plan to avenge her daughter's murder. Writer-director Tetsuya Nakashima is best known for candy-covered voyages and bubblegum bounciness, taking tragic tales of darkness and drowning them in vibrant colours and sing-along pop numbers. With Confessions he takes a significant step, shifting his attention to the blues and greys of modern Japanese society. He’s no stranger to pulsating soundtracks, spunky editing and imaginative use of CGI, but with Confessions he grounds his heart-wrenching tale in gut-punching reality. The result is no less hypnotic, but in removing the comic book trimmings of previous work, Nakashima has provided a more lasting impression. Takako Matsu - Nakashima’s first and only choice for the lead - plays Yuko Moriguchi, a tragic teacher
See full article at 24FramesPerSecond »

Confessions: DVD Review

Director: Tetsuya Nakashima. Review: Adam Wing. Based on the award-winning novel by Minato Kanae, Confessions (a.k.a. Kokuhaku) is a beautiful, tragic and deeply affecting drama about a teacher's terrifying plan to avenge her daughter's murder. Writer-director Tetsuya Nakashima is best known for candy-covered voyages and bubblegum bounciness, taking tragic tales of darkness and drowning them in vibrant colours and sing-along pop numbers. With Confessions he takes a significant step, shifting his attention to the blues and greys of modern Japanese society. He’s no stranger to pulsating soundtracks, spunky editing and imaginative use of CGI, but with Confessions he grounds his heart-wrenching tale in gut-punching reality. The result is no less hypnotic, but in removing the comic book trimmings of previous work, Nakashima has provided a more lasting impression. Takako Matsu - Nakashima’s first and only choice for the lead - plays Yuko Moriguchi, a tragic teacher
See full article at 24FramesPerSecond »

Hong Kong International Film Festival 2011

  • MUBI
Updated through 3/22.

"Some of Asia's top filmmakers screened their new movies to kick off the 35th Hong Kong International Film Festival on Sunday, although the mood was subdued because of Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters," reports Min Lee for the AP. "Japan's crisis cast doubt on whether its actors and directors will attend the Hong Kong festival. Popular Japanese director Shunji Iwai, a native of hard-hit Sendai city, has canceled his appearance at the Asian premiere of his first English-language movie, Vampire. It remains unclear whether prominent Japanese nominees like Koji Yakusho, Rinko Kikuchi and Takako Matsu will attend the awards ceremony, the Asian Film Awards, on Monday."

Still, the show must go on in Hong Kong and the festival, which runs through April 4, opened today with Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai's Don't Go Breaking My Heart and the omnibus film Quattro Hong Kong 2 (trailer above). Don't Go
See full article at MUBI »

Weinstein Sends Well Wishes To Japanese Disaster Survivors At Asian Film Awards

  • WENN
Weinstein Sends Well Wishes To Japanese Disaster Survivors At Asian Film Awards
Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein turned the spotlight on the survivors of the Japanese tsunami and earthquake tragedies at the 2011 Asian Film Awards on Monday - by sending out a heartfelt message.

The fifth annual ceremony took place in Hong Kong, but the Japanese devastation overshadowed the event, with many Asian stars, including nominated actors Koji Yakusho (13 Assassins), Rinko Kikuchi (Norwegian Wood) and Takako Matsu (Confessions), absent from the party.

Weinstein joined Hong Kong actress Carina Lau onstage to present the Best Actor prize, but took a moment to publicly greet Japanese actor Ken Watanabe and send his best wishes to the people of Japan.

Speaking directly into the camera, Weinstein said, "We hope you're safe and we hope things turn very well very quickly."

The tragic events in Japan also played on the minds of other celebrities at the awards show.

Filmmaker Feng Xiaogang, whose earthquake epic Aftershock landed honours for Best Visual Effects and Best Actress (Xu Fan), revealed bosses at two of the movie's key investors, Media Asia and Huayi Brothers, had pledged to donate $76,000 (£47,500) to the country's relief efforts.

Other winners at the Asian Film Awards included Thai film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Best Picture), and South Korean director Lee Chang-dong, who claimed Best Director and Best Screenplay for Poetry.

Ha Jung-woo walked away as Best Actor for his work in The Yellow Sea, and retired producer Raymond Chow, the man behind the careers of Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan, was handed the Lifetime Achievement Award, as previously reported by WENN.
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