John Irvin – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979)

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Complete 7-part, 290-minute BBC miniseries plus BBC interview – John Le Carre – The Secret Centre

Complex but compelling, this miniseries is based upon one of John Le Carré’s greatest works and serves as a grand summing-up for the late Sir Alec Guinness, one of Britain’s greatest actors. Guinness literally is Smiley: Le Carré said that Guinness served as a template for the character’s cunning and mournful rectitude. In anyone else’s hands, Smiley might have seemed a blank and lifeless character, but Guinness’ matchless ability to play within a scene while seeming to think well beyond it is magnetic. Guinness was the great everyman and underplayer of the generation that gave us such great British Shakespearean actors as Olivier, Richardson, and Gielgud. He’s helped, too, by sharp dialogue lifted almost word-for-word from the book and terrific supporting performances (particularly an entirely silent but amazingly communicative Patrick Stewart, who has a cameo as Karla), which almost entirely obscure the fact that the miniseries largely consists of people sitting in rooms talking. It’s a literate treat that brings to life the gray morality and conflicting loyalties of the Cold War. Be advised: viewers can get lost in the intricate plot if they don’t pay close attention.
— Nick Sambides, Jr. Continue reading

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Pierre Granier-Deferre – Adieu, Poulet AKA The French Detective (1975)

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Synopsis
In the French city of Rouen an election is marred by a fight between the supporters of two of the candidates. In the fracas a man is beaten to death and the killer then shoots a passing police officer! The officer has time to warn his colleagues that the killer is Proctor, a well-known thug whose brother is campaigning on behalf of law and order candidate Lardatte! Commissaire Verjeat’s pursuit of Proctor is hampered by Lardatte for whom he has a personal dislike and misses no opportunity to humiliate. As a result he then finds himself with a very short time to capture Proctor, since he faces a promotion and a posting outside of Rouen, which will take him off the case. Verjeat is sure that this is courtesy of Lardatte and his police contacts! To cap it all, his sidekick, the eccentric Inspector Lefevre, implicates them both in a case of police corruption! Continue reading

Derek Jarman – The Tempest (1979)

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Quote:
Prospero, a potent necromancer, lives on a desolate isle with his virginal daughter, Miranda. He’s in exile, banished from his duchy by his usurping brother and the King of Naples. Providence brings these enemies near; aided by his vassal the spirit Ariel, Prospero conjures a tempest to wreck the Italian ship. The king’s son, thinking all others lost, becomes Prospero’s prisoner, falling in love with Miranda and she with him. Prospero’s brother and the king wander the island, as do a drunken cook and sailor, who conspire with Caliban, Prospero’s beastly slave, to murder Prospero. Prospero wants reason to triumph, Ariel wants his freedom, Miranda a husband; the sailors want to dance. Continue reading

Jim Cinque – The Night Of The Cat (1973)

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When her sister is murdered by a group of goons working for a local mobster, Beth goes on the fritz, donning a wig, taking martial arts lessons, and using a cane to help take on opponents. Soon, she meets her sibling’s murderers face to face, and they’re in for it. Kathy Allen and George Oakley star in this North Carolina revenge opus. No-budget no-frills regional filmmaking at its rawest awaits you in this Charlotte, North Carolina celluloid catastrophe about a woman who becomes an avenging “catwoman” and takes on the mob. With bare titties, godawful acting, hilariously lame “action,” and joyously unconvincing fight scenes, it’s not only a breath-taking wonder from beginning to end, but so utterly simplistic that you’ll need to take notes to follow it. Morganna, the uber-busty stripper for became famous in the 80s as baseball’s “The Kissing Bandit,” appears in a strip club scene. Continue reading

Akio Jissoji – Mandara (1971)

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Quote:
An often-overlooked confederate of Oshima Nagisa (1932-) and Yoshida Yoshishige (1933-), Jissoji Akio (1937-) was one of the avant-garde cinema directors of the early 1970s to focus on issues of sexuality and changing cultural values. Although Jissoji is best known for his first feature film Mujo (1970) and his biggest box office success Teito monogatari (1988), his second feature Mandara best portrays his attitude towards sexuality and Japanese culture. Working with the noted script writer Ishido Toshiro (1932-), who wrote the scripts for a number of famous films, including Oshima’s The Sun’s Burial (1960), Night and Fog in Japan (1960) and Yoshida’s A Story Written in Water (a.k.a. Forbidden Love, 1965), Jissoji created a complex portrayal of a utopian cult attempting the union of sexuality and an agrarian way-of-life. Two pairs of alienated unmarried college students from Kyoto visit an isolated hotel on a beach near Tsuruga where they become enmeshed in the devious schemes of the charismatic cult leader who eventually leads his surviving disciples on a fatal ocean voyage. Continue reading

Akio Jissoji – Uta AKA Poem (1972)

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Quote:
This is the last film of the ATG trilogy of the director Akio Jissoji, who sought the roots of inner psychology and eroticism. It’s a story of a young man who turns his back on the modern world, seeking to be a protector of a family and heads to his destruction. Continue reading

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