'R100'

Feb 6, 2014

'R100'

Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) The hero of comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto’s fourth feature is a sad-sack furniture salesman (Nao Omori) who engages a dodgy company to supply him with dominatrixes of various bizarre and painful specialties at all times of the ...

'Dakishimetai: Shinjitsu no Monogatari (I Just Wanna Hug You)'

Jan 30, 2014

'Dakishimetai: Shinjitsu no Monogatari (I Just Wanna Hug You)'

Of Japanese medical melodramas there is no end. Targeted largely at the female audience, they appear on the lineups of Toho and other major distributors with the regularity of cherry blossoms in April. What’s the attraction? It’s not as though the vast majority of ...

'Kuroyuri Danchi' (The Complex)

Jan 30, 2014

'Kuroyuri Danchi' (The Complex)

Director: Hideo Nakata Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) This 2013 shocker by Hideo Nakata stars former AKB48 singer Atsuko Maeda as a young woman who moves into a creepy old danchi (public housing complex) with her family and discovers that her elderly next-door neighbor ...

Actress Nikaido sets her own agenda

Jan 23, 2014

Actress Nikaido sets her own agenda

Many young Japanese film actors start as models or pop stars and then, as they accumulate magazine covers or CD sales, move into TV and films. Many also play versions of themselves again and again on screen, which may suit their fans just fine, ...

'Chiisai Ouchi (The Little House)'

Jan 23, 2014

'Chiisai Ouchi (The Little House)'

Several veterans of Japan’s old studio system are still working, but Yoji Yamada is the only one still directing for the studio he started out with, back in 1954. He has directed 81 films for Shochiku; his extraordinary box-office success with the “Tora-san” series, ...

Joze to Tora to Sakana-tachi (Josee, the Tiger and the Fish)

Jan 23, 2014

Joze to Tora to Sakana-tachi (Josee, the Tiger and the Fish)

Director: Isshin Inudo Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) In this offbeat 2003 drama, a self-involved college student (Satoshi Tsumabuki) becomes the lover of a defiantly independent, lonely-hearted disabled girl (Chizuru Ikewaki). Ikewaki’s salty performance is by turns funny and poignant, while film itself is ...

'Bilocation'

Jan 16, 2014

'Bilocation'

“There will never be another you” goes the jazz standard, but is it true? Have you ever thought that your spitting image might be wandering the world somewhere? What if you encountered you on the street? I would make fast tracks in the opposite ...

'Fune wo Amu (The Great Passage)'

Jan 16, 2014

'Fune wo Amu (The Great Passage)'

Director: Yuya Ishii Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Yuya Ishii’s drama about a nerdy word maven (Ryuhei Matsuda) who spends decades editing a dictionary may not seem based on the most cinematic of topics, but Matsuda’s solid (if low-key) performance, as well as Ishii’s ...