Kazuo Kuroki – Ryoma ansatsu aka The Assassination of Ryoma (1974)


This was also voted No.55 on 1999’s Kinema Jumpo Poll of Top 100 Japanese Films of All Time.
It’s a samurai film but its style is rather different from those Toei & Daiei jidaigeki in 50s & 60s (probably not surprising as an ATG production), It has a non-heroic (or at least, unorthodoxy) portrait of the protagonist: Ryoma, at times even a parody, with the wry humor everywhere in the film. But it also looks a bit like a documentary, as the film is very grainy and the cinematographer is Masaki Tamura, who’s responsible for the look of many Shinsuke Ogawa & later, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s films. Continue reading

Takashi Miike – Jûsan-nin no shikaku aka 13 Assassins [International Version] (2010)


Plot / Synopsis
Based on actual events that served as the inspiration for the 1963 film of the same name, Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins follows a group of noble samurai as they seek to slay a tyrannical, politically connected lord before he seizes control of the entire country. Japan, 1844: as the era of the samurai winds to a close, a sadistic young lord uses his powerful political ties to commit heinous atrocities against the common people. Recognizing the dangers to both his country and its citizens should the lord manage to gain any more power, a concerned government official secretly recruits 13 of the most skilled swordsmen he can find to defeat the evil lord once and for all. But reaching their target won’t be easy, because the elusive lord is constantly flanked by legions of fearless bodyguards. Realizing that the bodyguards would decimate his modest task force in a traditional battle, the assassins’ leader (Koji Yakusho) lays an ingenious trap that will give his men the upper hand, and waits patiently for their prey to take the bait. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi Continue reading

Masud Kimiai – Reza Motori AKA Reza the Motorcyclist (1970)


Reza Motori, who has feigned madness, escapes from an asylum and robs a factory, with the aid of a friend. Afterwards, a young writer, who looks exactly like Reza, visits the asylum in order to write about inmates. There he is mistaken for Reza and detained. Meanwhile, Reza assumes the identity of the writer. Reza falls in love with the writer’s fiancée and decides to give up the money he has stolen from the factory, but his friends prevent him from doing so. Received the best actor and best music prizes at the Third Iranian National Film Festival “Sepas” in 1971. Continue reading

Basil Dearden – The Assassination Bureau Limited (1969)


Based on an unfinished novel, The Assassination Bureau, Ltd by Jack London.

Before the start of World War I, would-be journalist Sonya Winter (Diana Rigg) begins to investigate the Assassination Bureau, a mysterious organization that chooses its targets based on moral issues. In recent years, however, the group has become corrupt and unscrupulous, prompting Sonya to request that the organization assassinate its own leader, Ivan Dragomiloff (Oliver Reed). Amused, Ivan accepts Sonia’s request. But is he really the villain Sonya thinks he is? Continue reading

Umberto Lenzi – A 008, operazione Sterminio AKA 008: Operation Exterminate (1965)


Plot Outline:
The British Secret Service sends agent 606 (Alberto Lupo) to Cairo, to collaborate with an American colleague in searching for a stolen anti-radar device. Arriving in Egypt, he finds that agent A008 is actually an attractive female (played by Ingrid Schoeller). But they soon find out that the assignment won’t be a picnic, as a criminal mastermind named Kemp has sent his henchmen out to destroy them. Fast-paced espionage/spy thriller from director Umberto Lenzi.
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Koreyoshi Kurahara – Nikui an-chikushô aka I Hate But Love (1962)

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Inspired by Preston Sturges’s Sullivan’s Travels, I Hate But Love (Nikui anchikusho) is a high-octane romantic comedy and road movie that follows a celebrity dissatisfied with his personal and professional life who impulsively leaves Tokyo to deliver a much-needed Jeep to a remote village. When his controlling girlfriend (also his career manager) follows, the two must reconcile while dodging reporters.
In the high-octane, unorthodox romance I Hate But Love (Nikui anchikusho), a celebrity (played by megastar Yujiro Ishihara), dissatisfied with his personal and professional lives, impulsively leaves fast-paced Tokyo to deliver a much-needed jeep to a remote village. When his controlling manager, the woman he loves (Ruriko Asaoka), follows, the two must reconcile while dodging reporters. Continue reading