Sunday, May 19, 2013
When asked about his first time playing a father, Fukuyama said that it felt as if he was doing a live performance where there are many ways to convey the same thing so he relished the feeling of being able to explore various ways of acting. As he is still in the midst of filming for his ongoing drama "Galileo", Fukuyama could only take 4 days and 2 nights off his filming schedule just to be in Cannes for the first time. He will return to Japan on 19 May. Fukuyama also commented that if he had to be surrounded by so many members of the press in Japan, he might have been a bit irritated but in Cannes, he found it an enjoyable experience.
This film also happens to be the last for late actor Natsuyagi Isao who passed away on 11 May due to pancreatic cancer. He played Fukuyama's father in this film where Fukuyama's character finds out after 6 years that his own son had been accidentally switched at birth with another couple's child and he had been raising a boy unrelated to him all this while. Results for the competition category will be announced on 26 May in Cannes.
Lily Frankie who was also in Cannes for the first time, commented that it was a very vibrant place and made him very excited. Ono who last came to Cannes in 2007 for her film "Mogari no Mori", said that it was difficult to come back to Cannes again because it took such a long time before she could have the second opportunity. Meanwhile, Maki who was a newbie at Cannes said that she hoped to come back again.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
3) Shinoda Mariko
4) Amuro Namie
6) Nishino Kana
7) Sasaki Nozomi
10) Masuwaka Tsubasa
Sorimachi Takashi & Matsushima Nanako ordered to pay damages of JPY 3.85m for accident involving their dog
Sorimachi Takashi and Matsushima Nanako were ordered to pay JPY 3.85m as damages to a real estate management company on 14 May at Tokyo District Court after the company filed a lawsuit against the couple for damages of JPY 52.2m. The case arose from an incident in May 2011 at the apartment block where the couple live in. The couple's dog which was with their daughter at the time of the incident, bit a female neighbour's leg and caused the latter to suffer injuries and move out of the estate before the end of the rental period as she was traumatised by the attack. As a result, the company sued the couple for the loss of rental income which would have been paid by the neighbour. The judge ruled that the couple only needed to pay JPY 3.85m which included legal fees for the company and two months' worth of rent that the company had chose to waive for the neighbour when she moved out prematurely even though she had been liable to pay that as a penalty for terminating the rental contract early.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Amami's agency revealed that she has been recuperating at home and going to the hospital for regular checkups and treatment. At the moment, she is recovering well and has been able to carry out her daily activities at home without any problems.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Higashiyama Noriyuki and Vietnamese actor Pham Huynh Dong will be co-leads in the upcoming TBS drama SP "Partner" due to be shown in September this year. The actors attended the production press conference held on 13 May for the drama which is meant to be the commemorative work to mark 40 years of diplomatic ties between Japan and Vietnam.This will be a joint production with Vietnam's national broadcaster VTN and features the friendship between Vietnamese independence activist Phan Boi Chau and Japanese doctor Asaba Sakitaro 100 years ago. Higashiyama who will be playing two roles i.e. Asaba in the Meiji era and a salaryman in the current era, admitted that he did not know about Phan and Asaba prior to taking on this drama but hopes to be able to convey the depth of their friendship through his acting. Co-stars also include Nguyen Lan Phuong, Takei Emi and Ashida Mana.
The story is set in the 70s where Ishihara plays Fumiko, an university student, who gets involved romantically with her assistant professor Katase Shintaro (Iura) and his wife Hinako (Tanaka). However, on 28 February 1972, the police finds Shintaro seriously injured and a young man working in a electronics store (Saito Takumi) dead in a bungalow at Karuizawa while Fumiko and Hinako are also present at the scene. The truth behind the case is not known and the case is quickly classified as a crime of passion which leads to Fumiko being sent to prison. 40 years later, a report writer Torigai Mitsuhiko (Watabe Atsuro) comes to know about this case and goes to interview the elderly Fumiko (Harada Mieko) in prison which leads him to find out what really happened at the bungalow.
Filming has begun in the beginning of April primarily in Karuizawa and will also be shot at various places in Nagano, Tochigi and Chiba in order to show the passing of the seasons.
"Gekiryuu" features a group of 5 former classmates who are now 35 and reunite after a gap of 20 years. When they were students and went on a graduation trip together, one of their female friends disappeared. However, the bewildering thing is that, the 5 of them receive an email from the missing girl and then come together to find out what is going on.
As the cast members are close in age, they talked about how enjoyable the filming was since they had a great time chatting during breaks and learnt a lot from one another. Kiritani even commented that Tanaka is so frank that she speaks her mind freely and does not hide her thoughts.
Source: Sanspo / Nikkansports
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Natsuyagi was scheduled to have received an award at the Golden Glory Awards in February this year but was absent due to flu. As a result, his wife Mariko received the prize on his behalf and read out his statement that he was deeply humbled by the receipt of this award.
Throughout his career, Natsuyagi had appeared in more than 300 dramas and movies of various genres after he quit Keio University and entered acting school. His classmates in the same year included Harada Yoshio, Hayashi Ryuzo, Chii Takeo and Taichi Kiwako and they were collected known as the Hana no 15ki sei (The Flower 15th Batch). He made his acting debut in 1966 with the movie "Hone made Shaburu".
Although I posted this in my other blog, I thought this should also be posted here now that Platina Data is scheduled to be shown in Singapore later this month. No, I didn't pay $25 for the premiere today (11 May) because I simply did not fancy paying this amount of money for the popcorn, drinks and a poster which I have nowhere to hang up. No doubt I'm absolutely dying to watch the movie and see how it differs from the novel, I'll have to hang on till the end of the month and find out for myself. If you've seen the movie today, please....do not tell me what you saw. ^__^
Even though I bought this book in September last year, I only managed to complete it in late March because I read a few pages and stopped for a long time because I was tied up with other things. It doesn't mean that this novel is bad in any way though so I would like to make this clear. I have a bad habit of wanting to buy new books even though I still have a huge number of unread stuff to go through so I'm trying hard to resist the urge to get new books and aiming to finish my waiting list first. Since the movie version was just released in March, I thought that I should finish this first in case the movie does come to Singapore anytime soon. Last time I heard, it should be coming to our cinemas in May! (UPDATE: It's scheduled to be shown from 23 May!)
Anyway, if you haven't read this novel and wish to avoid knowing how the story develops, I would suggest that you skip this review. I certainly do not want to spoil the fun for you especially if you are in the midst of reading it or haven't even started.
Before I begin sharing my thoughts on this, let me give a summary of the key characters involved and their relationships with one another. Note that there are some minor characters I've left out since they did not appear for too long:
Asama Reiji - assistant police inspector of Metropolitan Police Department's 1st section
Tokura - Asama's junior and partner
Nasu - the chief of MPD's 1st section
Kiba - subsection chief of MPD's 1st section
Shiga Takashi - chief of National Police Agency's Special Analysis & Research Institute
Kagura Shogo - Ryuuhei's father, a ceramic artist
Tateshina Saki - the programmer who developed the DNA Investigation system
Tateshina Kousaku - Saki's elder brother
Minagami Youjirou - a professor in neurology at Shinseiki University Hospital and Ryuuhei's doctor
Shiratori Risa - a American-Japanese who is doing research on DNA profiling
Suzuran - Ryuu's girlfriend
Chikushi - a former architect who lives at a remote settlement in Borero City
Sasori - a former bartender who used to work at a bar operated by a gang and lives in the same settlement as Chikushi
Despite the fact that there are so many characters in this story, the movie version chooses to make some changes to the lineup and only showcases the characters I've put in bold as the main cast (based on what I see from the movie's official site). I am guessing some of the characters above may also appear in the movie. Besides this, Tateshina Kousaku's character is also missing from the lineup while Minagami is changed to become a female (Suzuki Honami) in the movie.
The novel can be largely broken up into three main arcs i.e. the events leading up to the development of the DNA Investigation System, the Tateshina siblings' double murders and the manhunt for Kagura. To begin with, the novel talks about how the police is developing this DNA Investigation System which uses DNA data to do matching in order to find criminals easily and accurately. Besides that, it can also help to project how the person may look like and even reveal specific physical characteristics about the criminal and his/her family members. However, Asama being the type of old-school police detective you see in most police dramas who believe in using his feet to find the criminals i.e. going around looking for clues or questioning people, he doesn't believe in the DNA Investigation System which is very strongly "promoted" by Kagura. Despite Asama's resistance and lack of faith in the system, it turns out to be a great thing after all as the police solve cases quickly and get their hands on the criminals easily. Kagura who strongly believes in the worth of his system and data then takes part in efforts in boosting awareness of the system and getting all Japanese citizens to provide their DNA to be included in the database despite concerns over privacy etc.
The second arc is set some time after the DNA system takes off and it is then revealed that the system is actually developed by the Tateshina siblings who stay in a VIP room at Shinseiki University Hospital. Kagura is also revealed to have a dual-personality by the name of Ryu so he has to seek treatment at the same hospital to allow Ryu to "appear" at designated times to do his thing. However, during one of the visits to the hospital, Kagura finds the Tateshina siblings dead in their room and starts to doubt whether Ryu could be behind it. In addition, he is horrified to see that his own DNA was found on Saki which will place him under suspicion as the culprit.
The final arc shows Kagura being aided by Shiratori as he goes on the run to find the truth. Asama who goes after Kagura, slowly realises that there is more to what it seems as they both arrive at the same conclusion...
I must say that the beauty of this novel lies in Higashino Keigo's ability to craft his characters in such a way that gets you fully emotionally invested in what happens to them and to surprise you with unexpected developments just when you least expect and that helps to keep the reader engaged instead of losing interest. Frankly speaking, I thought the first arc was a tad slow but given that it needed to show all the relationships between the characters, explain how the DNA Investigation System came about and why it was touted to be a lifesaver as well as show a contrast in Kagura and Asama's attitudes towards the system. One thinks that it is the solution to everything and can do no wrong while the other thinks that it is definitely not without its flaws. Of course, Kagura gets proven wrong at the end because the same system he believes in actually led to him being accused of something he did not do. No doubt he had suffered while being on the run, I think the experience helped to make him see things from different perspectives instead of being stubborn in everything. It was also good that Asama doubted the accuracy of the system or else he would have been tricked into believing that Kagura was responsible for the murders. Sometimes, a police detective's instinct works better than hard and cold data.
Things start to heat up in the second arc after the murders took place especially as Kagura also doubts himself or rather his other self about whether he is the murderer. Although Kagura and Ryu have been co-existing without much trouble, Kagura does not seem to think too favourably about his alter-ego while Ryu can't be bothered with Kagura either. The amount of faith that Kagura has in his DNA Investigation System can be seen from the fact that he chose to doubt Ryu first instead of the system. With Shiratori's assistance, he begins his journey of being on the run before the police can catch up. During this period, Kagura finds out more things about Ryu and that he even has a girlfriend Suzuran who seems to appear and disappear at will.
The third arc offers a lot of revelations and unexpected twists as Kagura is fighting with an invisible enemy i.e. the real culprit while Asama is investigating the case through his own ways. Although they appear to be going in different directions, they manage to arrive at the same conclusion somehow or so it seems. I won't give away the ending because it is really gripping and very interesting. As for how the main characters end up, I would say that it's a happy ending after all although I think there's a tinge of regret and it's not an ideal fairy tale conclusion. It's something more in tune with the circumstances described in the novel and really more believable as something which might happen in the real world.
On the whole, I think this is a great novel from Higashino which is truly a classic piece of work. I'm not sure if this has been translated into other languages yet but if you can read Japanese, do pick this up and have a go at it. I don't know if the movie follows the novel very closely but I'm guessing it might not, going by some telltale clues in the cast.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Given the fact that Miyazawa only had two days to practice before going on stage, it was extremely tough for her but she still accepted the offer because of her benefactor Noda. Back in late 2008 when Miyazawa was in the early stages of her pregnancy and had not married her then-husband yet, she was about to quit from one of Noda's plays then as it was supposed to run for 2 months and her condition would not allow her to act in it. After hearing that, Noda secretly changed parts of the script so that Miyazawa would have an easier time on stage and that her pregnancy would not be known until she made the announcement herself. According to insiders, Miyazawa only received the script for "Onore Napoleon" in the early hours of 8 May and started rehearsals that afternoon. On the following day, she had to attend the press conference for another play and only continued rehearsals after she was done with that event. Knowing how much Amami, Noda and the rest of the cast and crew wanted the play to finish its run and having watched the play as a member of the audience, Miyazawa then took on the difficult task of standing in for Amami as a way to repay the favour to Noda.
Source: Yomiuri Hochi
Best Leading Actor: Abe Hiroshi (Terumae Romae)
Best Leading Actress: Kiki Kirin (Waga Haha no Ki)
Best Supporting Actor: Kagawa Teruyuki (Kagidorobo no Mesoddo)
Best Supporting Actress: Hashimoto Ai (Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutte yo)
Grand Shario Newcomer Award: Higashide Masahiro (Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutte yo)
Best Director: Hosoda Mamoru (Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki)
Best Script: Uchida Kenji (Kagidorobo no Mesoddo)
Best Music: Ueno Koji (Nobou no Shiro)
Source: Nippon Theatre Staff Film Festival
In addition, Tanihara Shosuke will take on the role of Takenaka Hanbee who was one of the advisors to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In contrast to Kanbee who was seen by Hideyoshi as an ambitious man with a desire to be the ruler of the world, Hanbee was regarded as a quiet man who had no interest for power but was known for his strong friendship with Kanbee. Tanihara had appeared in previous Taigas such as 2004's "Shinsengumi!", 2007's "Fuurin Kazan" and 2010's "Ryomaden".
Other cast additions announced on the same day include Kuroki Hitomi, Kataoka Tsurutaro and Shibata Kyohei.