Midnight Bus, Between Men and the Gods, Rokuroku: The Promise of the Witch, Ramen Heads, The Swan is Laughing, Inabe, Sato-kun, Saraba Seijaku, Hoshi Meguri no Machi, CINEMA FIGHTERS, The Crimes That Bind, Kaze no Iro, Chotto Mate Yakyubu!, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi “Tenmei-hen” (Karma Chapter), The Testament of Sister New Devil Departures, Ryuichi Sakamoto PERFORMANCE IN NEWYORK: async, Mitsuya seizaemon zanjitsu roku kanketsu-hen Japanese Film Trailers

Happy weekend!

The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue Sosuke Ikematsu and Friends

I hope everyone is doing fine.

I managed to watch a couple of films but have spent most of my free time editing documents. Nevertheless, I’m happy to be doing such a thing and I hope to complete it today.

On Monday I went to the cinema to see Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri. It was a really powerful black comedy about breaking the cycle of violence. It has a fantastic script and performances given by the cast who are all perfect as characters who endure tragicomic and complex lives but, most importantly, they keep going and never give up. The ironic and violent situations veer between scary and amusing and there’s that cracking dialogue in the early part of the film before it segues into something gently philosophical as characters contemplate how they can move on from bad events. The film treats them tenderly, thankfully. Great performances from all. McDormand and Rockwell for the Oscar wins!

Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri Film Image

I really want to watch A Silent Voice (2017) again. I last saw it at Kotatsu but often think about it. It has been a pretty busy week for me. I posted a review for Memoirs of a Murderer (2017) and The Dark Maidens (2017).

I’m reconsidering my top ten films of 2017 a lot because I want to move a few films around. Blade Runner 2049 will remain at the top but The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue is pure wonder and I think it should be joint number one.

This post has a lot of films and the highlights are the shorts and Rokuroku.

So, what’s released this weekend?

Between Men and the Gods   

神と人との間 「Kami to hito to no aida

Running Time: 89 mins.

Release Date: February 2018

Director:  Eiji Uchida

Writer: Eiji Uchida (Screenplay), Junichiro Tanizaki (Original Short Story)

Starring: Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Shigeyuki Totsugi, Chika Uchida.

Website IMDB

Eiji Uchida (The Grateful Dead, Love and Other Cults) has made one of a trilogy of films dedicated to and based on the works of Junichiro Tanizaki. He reunites with actors from his 2016 film Lowlife Love, to bring a tale of a trio in a love triangle that goes very, very sour. The harsh tone suggested by the synopsis totally fits the style of Uchida so expect cynicism of life and black humour.

Synopsis: Hozumi, a town doctor, has a close friend named Soeda who works as a cartoonist. The two fall in love with Asako but Hozumi steps back and gives away Asako to Soeda who marries her. Alas, Soeda becomes rotten and takes a mistress, turns into a sadist and abuses Asako. Soeda despises Hozumi who never stopped loving Asako. His love turns into hate after an incident…

Midnight Bus  Midnight Bus Film Poster

ミッドナイト・バスMiddonaito Basu

Running Time: 157 mins.

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director:  Masao Takeshita

Writer: Masato Kato (Screenplay), Yuki Ibuki (Original Novel)

Starring: Taizo Harada, Mirai Yamamoto, Kyozo Nagatsuka, Manami Konshi, Ko Nanase, Wakana Aoi,

Website IMDB

This is a film adaptation of Yuki Ibuki’s novel of the same name, which was nominated for the 151st Naoki Prize. It sensitively depicts the moving story of a family struggling to find their way to begin again.

Synopsis: Toshikazu Takamiya is the driver of a late-night high-speed bus which travels back and forth between Niigata and Tokyo. It’s a long distance and that was how he met his wife Miyuki, who journeyed from Tokyo to Niigata to take care of her injured father. They have a son, Rieji, and a daughter, Saiki, but the family have drifted apart. As the years elapsed, the distance grew but there’s always a way to turn a relationship around and head down a road to a happier future. They just have to face each other and then try.

Chotto Mate Yakyubu!    Chotto Mate Yakyubu! Film Poster

ちょっとまて野球部! Chotto Mate Yakyubu!

Running Time: 76 mins.

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director: Tadaaki Horai

Writer: Tomoike San (Screenplay), Takana Yukue (Original Manga),

Starring: Kenta Suga, Yuta Koseki, Ryosuke Yamamoto, Yuko Nagata, Keisuke Horibe, Takayuki Yanagi, Atsushi Arai, Shuto Miyazaki, Seiji Fukushi,

Website IMDB
This
special gem won the Audience Award and Hikari TV Award at the Pia Film Festival Every person would like to be loved and adored by someone but don’t ever forget that the other person is a human and has their own thoughts and feelings.

Synopsis: Kenritsu Jingen High School fields an average baseball team but the guys are dedicated and will soon head to a training camp. A new semester begins and teammates Hiroki Ohori (Kenta Suga), Kohei Akimoto (Yuta Koseki) and Natsuki Miyata (Ryosuke Yamamoto) are all looking forward to improving their skills but when Hiroki fails a test he is told that if he doesn’t retake it and pass, he won’t be able to part in training camp.

The Crimes That Bind   The Crimes That Bind Film Poster

祈りの幕が下りる時 Inori no maku ga oriru toki

Running Time: 119 mins.

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director: Katsuo Fukuzawa

Writer: Mi Risei (Screenplay), Keigo Higashino (Original Manga),

Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Junpei Mizobata, Rena Tanaka, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ran Ito, Nanako Matsushima, Fumiyo Kohinata,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Veteran detective Kyoichiro Kaga (Hiroshi Abe) and his cousin, and fellow detective, Yuhei Matsumiya (Junpei Mizobata) investigate the death of Michiko Oshitani. She is originally from Shiga Prefecture but was found dead at an apartment in Tokyo and the apartment’s owner Mutsuo Koshikawa has gone missing.


There is seemingly no connection between the Michiko and Mutsuo but a link with a famous stage director named Hiromi Asai (Nanako Matsushima) appears. Michiko and Asami both graduated from the same school but a new dead-end emerges when there isn’t a connection between Hiromi Asai and Mutsuo Koshikawa. The only evidence Detective Yuhei Matsumiya finds is something near Michiko Oshitani’s body which has the names of 12 bridges surrounding the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. When Detective Kyoichiro Kaga discovers the clue he becomes agitated because there’s a connection with his late mother…

Hoshi Meguri no Machi   Hoshi Meguri no Machi Film Poster

星めぐりの町 Hoshi Meguri no Machi

Running Time: 108 mins.

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director: Mitsuo Kurotsuchi

Writer: Mitsuo Kurotsuchi (Screenplay),

Starring: Nenji Kobayashi, Mitsu Dan, Hiroshi Kanbe, Naomasa Musaka, Mitsuru Hirata, Reiko Takashima,

Website IMDB
Tofu is great. A special lady introduced me to it a long while back but it wasn’t until Japan and the company of another special lady that I really took to it.

Synopsis: Nenji Kobayashi stars as a tofu-maker who takes in the son of a relative of his deceased wife. The boy endured the shock of the Great East Japan Earthquake and has trauma from that event which the old man helps him overcome.

Rokuroku: The Promise of the Witch   Rokuroku The Promise of the Witch Film Poster

ロクロク Rokuroku

Running Time: 91 mins.

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director: Yudai Yamaguchi

Writer: Keita Amemiya, Yuki Kumagai (Screenplay),

Starring: Miho Nakanishi, Shiho, Karia Nomoto, Erika Asakura, Mickey Curtis, Mayuko Iwasa, Motoki Ochiai, Kokone Sasaki,

Website IMDB

Yudai Yamaguchi, the man behind low-budget trashy horror films like Meatball Machine (2005), Tamami: The Baby’s Curse (2008), and Deadball (2011), works with Keita Amemiya, creator of the GARO franchise, to bring this collection of horror tales to the big screen.

Synopsis: I remember I agreed to something stupid…

A promise, lost in a comer of the girls’ minds.

Izumi is a normal woman who lives with her parents and a dementia-afflicted grandfather but her life takes a strange turn when he receives a social media friend request from her middle-school classmate Mika, someone she has bad memories of. The two meet and go to the restaurant at a hotel but they are trapped there and, despite looking for a way to escape, go into going to a room numbered 666. It is there that they encounter Rokuroku, a woman with a long-neck woman who wears a red kimono. Rokuroku says to Izumi and Mika,“You promised.” Audiences will soon find out just what was promised and what has happened to others who have encountered Rokuroku over the course of nine tales…

Inabe   Inabe Film Poster

いなべ Inabe

Running Time: 38 mins.

Release Date: November 01st, 2013

Director: Koji Fukada

Writer: Koji Fukada (Screenplay),

Starring: Hiroaki Matsuda, Ami Kurata, Yui Ito, Koji Nishida, Minami Inoue,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Tomohiro hasn’t seen his sister Naoko in 17 years so he is surprised and suspicious when she returns to their home in Inabe with a baby. Despite having to work on a pig farm, when she tells him to help her dig a hole he follows. During their journey through Inabe’s landscape, their childhood memories are brought back and they dig up something else…

Sato-kun    Sato-kun Film Poster

サトウくん Satou-kun

Running Time: N/A

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director: Omoi Sasaki

Writer: Omoi Sasaki (Screenplay),

Starring: Katsuya Hijikata, Kazuma Ichioka, Akihiro Nishino, Puroyakyu Yamamoto, Emi Iwamura,

Website

Synopsis: Hijikata is the son of a family who run a hot-spring house in a snowy region of Japan. One day, Hijikata’s friend Sato-kun shows up and claims he is an alien who has escaped from a concentration camp and asks for shelter. Hijikata informs the police who take Sato-kun away. Plagued by guilt, Hijikata spends his time in the hot-spring alone but soon the townspeople join him because they all feel the same way.

The Swan is Laughing   The Swan is Laughing Film Poster

白鳥が笑う Hakuchou ga warau

Running Time: N/A

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director: Hiroshi Okuyama

Writer: Hiroshi Okuyama (Screenplay),

Starring: Takayuki Haranishi, Mio Uema, Reo Sugawara, Atsushi Miyamoto, Yoshiko Kuroda, Miku Shimura, Mari Hayashida,

Website Website

Synopsis: The setting of this film is Tomakomai, a town elementary school-kid Sho-chan calls home. His parents have just got divorced and lately he has been hanging around with the mysterious Swan Pops, a man who has been around a nearby lake for a very long time. Sho-chan discovers the past of the man and makes him confront it.

Ramen Heads   Ramen Heads Film Poster

ラーメンヘッズ Ra-men Hezzu

Running Time: 93 mins.

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director:  Koki Shigeno

Writer: N/A (Screenplay),

Starring: Shota Iida, Kumiko Ishida, Katsuya Kobayashi, Yuki Ohnishi, Tom Takahashi, Osamu Tomita,

Website IMDB

Synopsis from IMDB: In ‘Ramen Heads,’ Osamu Tomita, Japan’s reigning king of ramen, takes us deep into his world, revealing every single step of his obsessive approach to creating the perfect soup and noodles, and his relentless search for the highest-quality ingredients. In addition to Tomita’s story, the film also profiles five other notable ramen shops, each with its own philosophy and flavour, which exemplify various different aspects the ramen world. Mixing in a brief rundown of ramen’s historical roots, the film gives viewers an in-depth look at the culture surrounding this unique and beguiling dish. This is a documentary record of 15 months in the lives of Japan’s top ramen masters and their legions of devoted fans.

Saraba Seijaku   Saraba Seijaku Film Poster

サラバ静寂 Saraba Seijaku

Running Time: N/A

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director: Kenichi Ugana

Writer: Kenichi Ugana (Screenplay),

Starring: Kaito Yoshimura, Sumire, Ryuya Wakaba, Nobu Morimoto,

Website

 

Synopsis: In this dystopian film, the future is a place where entertainment like music and films have been banned. However, in one small corner of Japan, there is a place known as “Sanoba Noizu” where music is performed secretly. Mizuto (Kaito Yoshimura) and Tokio (Ryuya Wakaba) are two young lads who escape their dull existence working at a screw factory in this place and there they meet Hikari (Sumire) whose father was killed for having music.

Kaze no Iro   Kaze no Iro Film Poster

風の色 Kaze no Iro

Running Time: 119 mins.

Release Date: January 26th, 2018

Director: Jae-young Kwak

Writer: Jae-young Kwak (Screenplay),

Starring: Takemi Fujii, Yuki Furukawa, Maiko Ito, Naoto Takenaka, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Tomoya Ishii, Yoshiko Nakada, Mantaro Koichi,

Website IMDB

Jae-young Kwak directed My Sassy Girl (2001), a mega-hit that took Asian cinema fans by storm and was part of the Korean New Wave that swept the world away. He tried to recapture that hit with Windstruck (2004) and Cyborg Girl (2008) and then pretty much disappeared after the remake of his super hit before resurfacing in Japan.

Synopsis from IMDB: Before Ryo’s girlfriend dies, she tells him that a woman who looks identical to her is in Hokkaido. To find out, Ryo travels to Hokkaido.

CINEMA FIGHTERS   CINEMA FIGHTERS Film Poster

Running Time: 94 mins.

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director: Naomi Kawase, Ken Ochiai, Kentaro Hagiwara, A.T., Toshimichi Saito

Writer: N/A,

Starring: Takayuki Yamada, Anna Ishii, AKIRA, Ryo Komai, Kiko Kobayashi, Mitsuko Baisho, Misa Fujii, Nobuyuki Suzuki,

Website

Synopsis: Six stories inspired by pop music from the likes of E-Girls and others. Some important directors like Naomi Kawase are involved.

Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi “Tenmei-hen” (Karma Chapter)    Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202 Ai no Senshi-tachi Tenmei-hen (Karma Chapter) Film Poster

宇宙戦艦ヤマト2202 愛の戦士たち 第四章「天命篇」 「Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202: Ai no Senshi-tachi」

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Running Time: N/A

Director: Nobuyoshi Habara

Writer: Harutoshi Fukui (Screenplay),

Starring: Daisuke Ono (Susumu Kodai), Takayui Sugo (Juzo Okita), Noriko Kuwashima (Yuki Mori), Kenichi Suzumura (Daisuke Shima), Aya Uchida (Yuria Misaki), Rina Sato (Makoto Kato), Aya Hisakawa (Kaoru Niimi),

Website    MAL    ANN

Synopsis from ANN: Three years after the Yamato’s return from the planet Iscandar. The people of Earth restored their planet with the Cosmo Reverse System, and they signed a peace treaty with Garmillas. In addition to reconstruction, Earth developed a new defense fleet that includes the state-of-the-art battleship Andromeda. The Earth goes down a path of military expansion, despite Starsha Iscandar’s wishes. The Yamato helps accomplish this so-called peace, but it comes at the price of many invaluable sacrifices. The goddess Teresa, who prays for tranquility in space, calls the Yamato to a new voyage. The threat of Gatlantis is sweeping over the universe and approaching Earth.

The Testament of Sister New Devil Departures   The Testament of Sister New Devil Departures Film Poster

新妹魔王の契約者 DEPARTURES Shinmai Maō no Testament Departures

Running Time: N/A

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director:  Hisashi Saito

Writer: Yasunori Yamada (Screenplay), Tetsuto Uesu (Original Creator), Nekosuke Okuma (Original Character Design)

Starring: Ayaka Asai (Mio Naruse), Sarah Emi Bridcutt (Yuki Nonaka), Yuichi Nakamura (Basara Tojo), Irori Nomizu (Kurumi Nonaka), Kaori Fukuhara (Maria Naruse), Seiko Yoshida (Zest), Yuu Asakawa (Chitose Hasegawa),

Animation Production: Production IMS

Website ANN

Synopsis from ANN: Basara Tōjō met his two cute little sisters, Mio Naruse and Maria Naruse. The two sisters revealed themselves as a member of the demon clan and Basara as a member of hero clan, demon clan’s enemy, and is not related by family. Mio is the future Demon Lord and since Mio’s power is not fully awakened, Basara will protect her from the demons who are after the power she inherited from her deceased father, Demon Lord Wilbert.

Ryuichi Sakamoto PERFORMANCE IN NEWYORK: async   Ryuichi Sakamoto PERFORMANCE IN NEWYORK async Film Poster

坂本龍一 PERFORMANCE IN NEW YORK: async Sakamoto Ryuichi PERFORMANCE IN NEWYORK: async

Running Time: 70 mins.

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director:  Stephen Nomura Schible

Writer: N/A (Screenplay),

Starring: Ryuichi Sakamoto

Website

Synopsis: Stephen Nomura Schible, director of the documentary Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (2017), captures a two-day live performance at Park Avenue Armory in New York.

Mitsuya seizaemon zanjitsu roku kanketsu-hen    Mitsuya seizaemon zanjitsu roku kanketsu-hen Film Poster

三屋清左衛門残日録 完結篇 Mitsuya seizaemon zanjitsu roku kanketsu-hen

Running Time: 98 mins.

Release Date: January 27th, 2018

Director: Tomohiko Yamashita

Writer: Rei Izumi (Screenplay), Shuuhei Fujisawa (Original Work)

Starring: Kinya Kitaooji, Yuuka, Dai Watanabe, Hitomi Takahashi, Kouki Okada,

Website

Synopsis: The latest in the adventures of Mitsuya Seizaemon. He must go to Edo to retrieve the body of his lord’s brother.

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