Girls for Keeps, Kotsutsubo, My House, Still Human Beings Trailers and Japanese box-office Charts

The Cannes film festival is winding down and critical responses have been mixed for Japanese films. Abbas Kiarostami’s latest film, Like Someone in Love, has had prLike Someone in Love Posteraise for the performances of the actors (particularly the gorgeous Rin Takanashi) but the story with its ambiguous ending has upset many. Thankfully Takashi Miike rescued proceedings with Ai to Makoto. Also flying the flag for Japan was Koji Wakamatsu with his Mishima biopic which has garnered a good review (more on that tomorrow).  I also had the pleasure of seeing the Olympic Flame pass by and managed to get a picture of the young lady carrying it. And all of the sponsors. And the Metropolitan Police Escort.

What is dominating the Japanese movie box-office charts?

  1.  Dark Shadows
  2.  Thermae Romae
  3.  Sadako 3D
  4.  Space Brothers
  5.  Detective Conan: The Mystery of the Eleventh Striker

Tim Burton storms to the top of the charts of the charts as the newest entry at number one while familiar franchise entries make up the rest of the top ten. Thermae Romae is doing excellent business as it remains in the top three  for the fourth week in a row. Enough of that… what Japanese films get released today?

Girls for Keeps                                             Girls for Keeps Movie Poster

Japanese Title: ガールGaru

Release Date: 26th May 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 124 mins.

Director: Yoshihiro Fukagawa

Writer: Hideo Okuda (Novel)  

Starring: Kumiko Aso, Karina, Yuka Itaya, Rei Dan, Rosa Kato, Michiko Kichise, Osamu Mukai, Yusuke Kamiji, Jun Kaname, Kento Hayashi, Eriko Hatsune, Mei Kurokawa, Kenichi Yajima

Based on the 2006 anthology novel Girl, the movie adapts a number of short stories that follow women in their romantic lives and so on. Obviously I’m not the target audience but I recognise a lot of the names involved: Kumiko Aso (Pulse), Yuka Itaya (Suvive Style 5+, Apartment 1303). Eriko Hatsune (Norwegian Wood, Spiral) head the list of beautiful ladies while the handsome men include Kento Hayashi (Arakawa Under the Bridge), Jun Kaname (Casshern), and Kenichi Yajia (Sonatine, Kamikaze Taxi).


Continue reading “Girls for Keeps, Kotsutsubo, My House, Still Human Beings Trailers and Japanese box-office Charts”

Thermae Romae, Chronicle of My Mother, Home: Itoshi no Zashiki Warashi Trailers

I ended last week with a review for The Cabin in the Woods and kicked off this week with news about the Japanese films screening at Cannes. Although the selection of films is small it is still interesting. I’ll probably have more to say on the selection next week. I released news on the UK release of Hara Kiri and the forthcoming Japanese theatrical release in Blood-C: The Last Dark.

What’s happening with the Japanese box-office charts?

  1.  Kamen Rider X Super Sentai Super Hero Taisen
  2.  Detective Conan: The Mystery of the Eleventh Striker
  3.  We Were Here: Part 2
  4.  SPEC: The Movie
  5.  Battleship

There’s an alarming abundance of bad Hollywood movies in the top ten but it is pleasing to see A Letter to Momo break into the top ten. What are some of the titles released today?

Thermae Romae

Release Date:  28th April 2012 (Japan)テルマエ&スパワールド

Running Time: N/A

Director: Hideki Takeuchi

Writer: Mari Yamazaki (manga), Shogo Muto

Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Aya Ueto, Masachika Ichimura, Kai Shishido, Kazuki Kitamura

The live-action adaptation of Mari Yamazaki’s manga of the same name has time travel, culture clash comedy. It was partly filmed in Cinecitta in Rome but features Japanese actors who don’t look too Japanese playing principal Romans characters. This looks like a lot of fun and the recent anime wasn’t too bad. I’m also a fan of Hiroshi Abe so I’d definitely like to give this a go.

Roman bath house architect Lucius (Hiroshi Abe) is a perfectionist and traditionalist who gets fired from his architectural practice. In order to cheer him up, a friend takes him to a bathhouse but Lucius slips through a time portal and ends up in modern day Japan. Although initially bewildered Lucius takes inspiration from modern day Japanese baths and implements the designs in his Roman bathhouses. This sees him become favoured by Emperor Hadrian (Ichimura) but clash with emperor-in-waiting Antoninus (Kazuki Kitamura). Lucius soon finds himself caught up in political intrigue in between his time travel adventures but it is not all bad as he has met a beautiful aspiring manga artist named Mami (Ueto) who loves to sketch him.

Continue reading “Thermae Romae, Chronicle of My Mother, Home: Itoshi no Zashiki Warashi Trailers”

Crayon Shin-chan: Arashi o Yobu! Ora to Uchu no Princess, Toilet and Women Trailers and Japanese Charts

Taritari Mise no NekoI started off this week with a review of a sub-standard J-horror and then posted some major news in the form of the Berserk anime movie trilogy getting an international release. I then posted more trailers for up-coming films that have caught my eye – especially Rent-a-Cat and The Life of Guskou Budori – but did I review any more films? Alas no. Instead of watching Japanese films over the weekend I ended up watching western ones and beta testing software. I’m undecided as to what I should watch tonight – possibly Takashi Shimizu’s Ju-On: The Grudge or Akira Kurosawa’s Drunken Angel… The picture above has no connection to any of this beyond there being a cat in it and the trailers and Ju-On have lots of cats. The Japanese box-office charts has also been dominated by one (albeit a nuclear powered time travelling robot one) up until this week.

01.  SPEC: The Movie
02. We Were There: Part 1
03. Doraemon – Animal Adventure
04. Titanic 3D
05. Sherlock Holmes

The top ten is looking rather interesting with The Artist entering number 7, Titanic 3D entering at 4 and SPEC: The Movie taking the number one spot (the only movie released last week to enter the charts). I may just start watching the television original Keizoku 2: SPEC.

What’s released today?

Crayon Shin-chan: Arashi o Yobu! Ora to Uchu no Princess

Release Date: 14th April 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Soichi Masui

Writer: Yoshito Usui, Kyoko Kogure

Starring: Akiko Yajima, Miki Narahashi, Keiji Fujiwara, Satomi Korogi, Shozo Endo 

The film celebrates the 20th anniversary of Yoshito Usui’s Crayon Shin-chan franchise which began life as a manga in Weekly Manga Action magazine all the way back in 1992. Its anime debuted in the same year and has even been shown around the world. To date there are over 800 episodes. Tragically Usui died in a hiking accident but the show continues. I must admit to having never been fond of the anime when I watched it on British television because I found the American dub irritating.


One day, Shin-chan (Yajima) and his sister Himawari (Narahashi) are fighting over pudding when two mysterious men appear. Shin-chan signs a paper that is presented to him by the two men and then finds himself and his family abducted by a UFO and taken to the Himawari star.


Toilet and Women                                                 Donzumari Benki Movie Poster       

Japanese Title: どんずまり 便器

Romaji: Donzumari Benki

Release Date:  14th April 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 81 mins.

Director: Haruhi Oguri

Writer: Haruhi Oguri

Starring: Nahana, Kuniaki Nakamra, Keiko Sugawara, Shun Sugata, Shohei Uno, Yuko Genkaku,

This film has an odd title and an intriguing trailer. This little indie film is the debut of Haruhi Oguri and it has quite a few stars like Nahana who made her debut in Suicide Club and recently appeared in River, Yuko Genkaku who has been in notable titles like Instant Swamp and Love Exposure. The biggest name in the cast is Shun Sugata who has appeared in the gore-filled Tokyo Gore Police as the chief inspector as well as Takashi Shimizu’s Marebito. Most notable (for me) is his work with Kiyoshi Kurosawa as he has appeared in Pulse, License to Live and Eyes of the Spider.

Narumi (Nahana) is an aggressive person who served a jail term for stabbing someone. Upon her release she heads back to her home town to stay at her younger brother Kei’s (Nakamura) house. The two only had each other when they were growing up due to their parents dying in an accident and so Narumi does not take to kindly to seeing Kei’s girlfriend Kana (Sugawara) being a part of their lives. Narumi wants Kei for herself and so she reveals a dark secret to Kana.

Kotoko, SPEC: The Movie, Totecheeta Chikicheeta, Atsuhime Number 1, Trailers

Alien PosterI started off this week with some nice news when Goregirl nominated me for an award (which I’ll respond to tomorrow) and I worked on a few reviews for some J-horror films and posted two trailers for films I’m eager to watch plus there was news of the Terracotta Film Festival. As far as what’s happening next week I had such fun writing my Sion Sono Season posts that I want to start a new season soon so I’ll break out my DVD’s in preparation. Anyway, I read a book about the making of Alien named Alien Vault which was fascinating and featured a replica of this Japanese ad which was amusing and not a patch on the US poster which has the egg and legendary tag-line: In space no one can hear you scream.

How does the Japanese box-office chart look?

  • 01.  Doraemon – Animal Adventure
  • 02. We Were There: Part 1
  • 03. Sherlock Holmes
  • 04. Puss In Boots
  • 05. Pretty Cure All Stars

Well the top ten are choked full of adaptations of books/manga/anime which is a familiar state of affairs. Doreamon holds on to the top spot with over thirty-five million dollars grossed so far. I knew he was popular but wow. We Were Here, Liar Game: Reborn and Precure are still doing good business too and Arakawa Under the Bridge is still in the top twenty. Interestingly Drive has entered at number fourteen. I hope it hangs in there and performs well since it was one of the best films of last year.

All of the films released today look entertaining but Kotoko and SPEC look the most exciting and if I had to lay down my money for cinematic goodness it would go to those two. Here are the trailers!


Release Date: 07th April 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: 91 mins.

Director: Shinya Tsukamoto

Writer: Shinya Tsukamoto

Starring: Cocco, Shinya Tsukamoto

Kotoko is from Shinya Tsukamoto the director of Tetsuo, Vital and Nightmare Detective. It has recieved excellent reviews and will get a UK release via Third Window Films later this year.

A single mother (Cocco) begins to see doubles and becomes paranoid which makes taking care of her baby a nightmare. Her only relief from the double vision is singing and cutting herself but she soon suffers a nervous breakdown and her baby is taken away. One day, while riding a bus, she sings to herself and this catches the attention of a man (Shinya Tsukamoto) who falls in love with her. The man is a novelist and he begins stalking her until they engage in a volatile relationship which seems to ease her visions and paranoia. Then her baby returns and her condition worsens.


SPEC: The Movie

Release Date: 07th April 2012 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi

Writer: Yuie Nishiogi

Starring: Erika Toda, Ryo Kase, Chiaki Kuriyama, Denden, Saki Fukuda

The director of 20th Century Boys and dark comedy/thriller 2LDK brings us the cinematic sequel to a long-running drama series that started out on TBS.

Detective Saya Toma (Erika Toda) has an IQ of 201 and works together with veteran detective Takeru Sebumi (Ryo Kase) in the Unsolved Crimes Unit taking on and cracking mysterious cases that others have given up on.

  Continue reading “Kotoko, SPEC: The Movie, Totecheeta Chikicheeta, Atsuhime Number 1, Trailers”

Japanese Box Office and POV ~Norowareta Film~, Afro Tanaka, Utahime, Are Any of You Alive? Trailers

Another week packed full of films. I’ve started watching Akira Kurosawa classics – Yojimbo and Seven Samurai so far with I Live in Fear next on the schedule. I also saw The Woman in Black in a packed cinema yesterday and loved every minute of it despite the squealing of the Harry Potter-brigade. Speaking of cinemas… what does the Japanese box office look like this week?

01. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
02. Always: Sunset on Third Street 3
03. The Wings of the Kirin
04. Hayabusa: The Long Voyage Home
05. Ace Attorney

Well Phoenix Wright didn’t break into the top three but it’s still a respectable entry unlike Berserk, Arakawa and The Woodsman and the Rain which are all outside the top ten (ouch!). Released this week are a pretty awesome set of films. And Afro Tanaka.

Fish on Land

Release date:  18th of February, 2012

Running time: 108 mins.

Director: Yusuke Iseya

Writer: Tomoki Tsujichi (novel)

Starring: Mirai Moriyama, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Nae Yuki, Hirofumi Arai, Kenichi Takito, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Masahiko Tsugawa

Based on Tomoki Tsujiuchi’s best-selling novel the film looks like a class act. It is directed by Yusuke Iseya who starred in the awesome 13 Assassins, the awesome Kore-eda film After Life and the amusing Sukiyaki Western Django.

Mirai Moriyama plays a university student on the cusp of graduation, With a job already waiting for him he decides to take a bicycle trip on his last summer vacation. During this trip he comes across a drive-in theatre called House 475 which is run by Seiji (Hidetoshi Nishijma. He decides to help out at the drive-in and through working with Seiji begins to change his view on life.

Continue reading “Japanese Box Office and POV ~Norowareta Film~, Afro Tanaka, Utahime, Are Any of You Alive? Trailers”

Mitsuko Delivers, Cut, Ousama Game, Friends Naki on Monster Island 3D Trailers and Japanese Film Chart Top 5

Christmas is just over a week away and my consignment of Japanese horror films has arrived so no more skimping on reviews – I’ll dial it back up to two a week! I’ve got quite a few anime reviews on ice with Noein coming in for New Years Eve – a year after I last watched it.

I’m also going to try and get a little order into my trailer posts so commenting on charts and the latest releases will continue on Saturdays and brand new trailers for future releases get their own posts on Fridays.

Japanese Film Chart Top 5

  1. OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let’s Go Kamen Riders
  2. Kaibutsu-kun The Movie
  3. Real Steel
  4. K-ON! The Movie
  5. Genji Monogatari: Thousand Year Mystery

I have never paid any attention to the Kamen Rider series and I don’t intend to start now even if the number one film is part of the mega popular franchise. Interesting to see that K-ON! Is still hanging in the top five beating Genji Monogatari which debuted last Saturday and entered the charts at number 5.

New Releases for today

The latest Japanese films to be released are a refreshing mix of original ideas and familiar horror and a kids film thrown into the mix:

Mitsuko Delivers

Japanese Theatrical Release: 17th December, 2o11

UK DVD Release Date:   May 2012 via Third Window Films

Running Time: 109 min.

Director: Yuya Ishii

Starring: Riisa Naka, Aoi Nakamura, Ryo Ishibashi, Shiro Namiki, Miyoko Inagawa, Miyako Takeuchi, Momoka Oono, Yoshimasa Kondo, Yukijiro Hotaru, Keiko Saito

I only heard about this when I did a little coverage of the BFI London Film Festival where the film was playing. It stars Ryo Ishibashi, a familiar face from many Miike Takashi works including Audition, as well as Takeshi Kitano films like the brilliant Kids Return and Brother. I’m familiar with the lead actress through her work in anime like Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time  Aoi Nakamura was one of the actors in the Third Window Films release  Quirky Guys and Gals.


Mitsuko (Riisa Naka) is a young woman who is nine-months pregnant, broke and alone in Tokyo. Her parents think that she’s in America with her boyfriend but she’s actually in dire straits as she is forced to move out of her apartment and yet she remains positive and believes that things will turn out alright. She doesn’t know where she will go but decides to revisit her past including a boy who had a crush on her (Aoi Nakamura).


Japanese Theatrical Release: 17th December, 2o11

Running Time: 132 min.

Director: Amir Naderi

Writer: Amir Naderi, Shinki Aoyama

Starring: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Takako Tokiwa, Denden, Takeshi Sasano, Shun Sugara,

The Iranian director of Cut is unknown to me but the film looks to combine a love of film with gritty violence. Oh, and it stars Denden.

A struggling filmmaker Shuji (Hidetoshi Nishijima) becomes a human punching bag to pay off his brother’s debts. These debts were incurred in order to fund films and the non-payment resulted in the brother being killed by the Yakuza.

Continue reading “Mitsuko Delivers, Cut, Ousama Game, Friends Naki on Monster Island 3D Trailers and Japanese Film Chart Top 5”