'Soko Nomi Nite Hikari Kagayaku (The Light Shines Only There)'

Apr 24, 2014

'Soko Nomi Nite Hikari Kagayaku (The Light Shines Only There)'

Japan’s image overseas might have a funhouse aspect, but even many outlanders who live here only get a selective view of the place, since their Japanese colleagues and friends mostly come from the educated, middle-class stratum of society and live more or less stable, ...

'Yokomichi Yonosuke Monogatari (The Story Of Yonosuke)'

Apr 24, 2014

'Yokomichi Yonosuke Monogatari (The Story Of Yonosuke)'

Director: Shuichi Okita Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) An unconventional drama about a bumpkin (Kengo Kora) in Tokyo during the 1980s, who though persistence and sweet obliviousness befriends a spoiled rich girl (Yuriko Yoshitaka) who elevates him from pet to boyfriend. The film is ...

'Thermae Romae II'

Apr 17, 2014

'Thermae Romae II'

Hideki Takeuchi’s “Thermae Romae” — literally “Roman Bath” — was 2012′s surprise box office smash in Japan, earning nearly ¥6 billion, the second-highest that year. Based on Mari Yamazaki’s hit manga, the film was about a bathhouse architect named Lucius (Hiroshi Abe) in ancient ...

'Hidamari No Kanojo' (Girl in the Sunny Place)

Apr 17, 2014

'Hidamari No Kanojo' (Girl in the Sunny Place)

Director: Takahiro Miki Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) In Takahiro Miki’s romantic drama, a shy salesman (Jun Matsumoto) reconnects with a former junior high classmate (Juri Ueno) who is now a successful businesswoman. He falls for her, but she has a secret that turns ...

'Crows Explode'

Apr 10, 2014

'Crows Explode'

In Japanese films, high-school classrooms are often portrayed as rowdy environments where kids can talk, tease, flirt and fight, without any visible adult supervision. But when the teacher walks through the door the fun — if that’s what it is — usually ends. There ...

'Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo' (The Kirishima Thing)

Apr 10, 2014

'Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo' (The Kirishima Thing)

Director: Daihachi Yoshida Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Daihachi Yoshida’s 2012 high-school drama focuses on those impacted by the resignation of star-player Kirishima from the volleyball team, including an enraged best friend (Masahiro Higashide) and a young movie director (Ryunosuke Kamiki). Made with a ...

Cycling Sayama

Apr 5, 2014

Cycling Sayama

A forested area bordering western Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture offers day-trippers a chance to experience the great outdoors on two wheels.

'Sanbun no Ichi (One Third)'

Apr 3, 2014

'Sanbun no Ichi (One Third)'

Caper movies have their conventions, one being that the crook anti-heroes may get to run their fingers through their loot, but they hardly ever get to keep it. The prototype is Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing” (1956), in which elaborate planning and clockwork execution pay ...

'Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de (The After-Dinner Mysteries)'

Apr 3, 2014

'Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de (The After-Dinner Mysteries)'

Director: Hijikata Masato, Ishikawa Junichi Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Hijikata Masato’s murder mystery, set on a cruise ship bound for Singapore, is based on a popular TV series about a ditzy heiress-turned-detective (Keiko Kitagawa) and her smooth, know-it-all butler (Sho Sakurai). Cartoonish murder ...

Trial by media, conviction by word of mouth

Mar 27, 2014

Trial by media, conviction by word of mouth

Yoshihiro Nakamura makes movies that puzzle, surprise and illuminate their themes both cleverly and literally (the fireworks of “Golden Slumber,” the comet of “Fish Story”). Everyone’s heard of the “butterfly effect” — how a small action in one place (a butterfly flapping its wings ...