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 ...

An inside look at the anime industry

Jan 11, 2014

An inside look at the anime industry

Many books about anime and its makers have been published abroad in English and other languages, but few are by Japanese critics and scholars. In Japan, it’s the reverse, with non-Japanese anime writers excluded from publishers’ lists.

Fukada's young castaways on adulthood's shores

Jan 9, 2014

Fukada's young castaways on adulthood's shores

Born in Tokyo in 1980, Koji Fukada released his first film in 2004, but his breakthrough was 2010′s “Kantai (Hospitalité),” a witty black comedy about a mysterious stranger who talks his way into a job at a small Tokyo printing shop and is soon ...

'Hotori no Sakuko (Au Revoir l'Eté)'

Jan 9, 2014

'Hotori no Sakuko (Au Revoir l'Eté)'

Compared to his avant-garde French new-wave peers, Eric Rohmer seemed to direct in a lighter, more conventional key: All those casually chic young heroines photographed in the more attractive parts of France, all those stories about their various love troubles. Also, from a Hollywood ...

'Kagi Dorobo no Method (Key of Life)'

Jan 9, 2014

'Kagi Dorobo no Method (Key of Life)'

Director: Kenji Uchida Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) Kenji Uchida is known for his clever scripts, directed with a brisk pace and flawless comic timing, and his latest film, about a failing actor (Masato Sakai) who exchanges identities with a successful hit man (Teruyuki ...

Our movie highlights of the coming year

Jan 2, 2014

Our movie highlights of the coming year

Another year, another raft of unmissable movies. Here are the most hotly anticipated releases for JT film critics Mark Schilling, Kaori Shoji and Giovanni Fazio — get them in your diary now. “American Hustle” (directed by David O. Russell; opens Jan. 31): After “The ...