Periklis Hoursoglou – O diaheiristis AKA The Building Manager (2009)

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The story of 50-something Pavlos unfolds in an unspecified modern-day Greek city, portraying the man’s midlife crisis with a light and gently ironic tone. Pavlos takes over custodial duties from his aging mother and immediately has to deal with a disaster involving a sewage pipe. The fix-it job becomes complicated and creates an apt parallel to Pavlos’s increasingly complicated personal circumstances. At heart Pavlos is gracious and kind, and he tries to be a good husband, son, and building manager. But the ensuing state of affairs turns him into a morose and angry man whose nerves sometimes snap. Will Pavlos succeed in fixing the broken sewage pipe before he can fix his own “broken” life? Director and screenwriter Periklis Hoursoglou, who plays the lead role, has shot a drama with comic touches and gentle socio-critical accents. Hoursoglou succeeds in creating a faithful, entertaining, and even touching portrait of “ordinary” interpersonal relations. Continue reading

Vera Chytilová – Pasti, pasti, pasticky AKA Traps (1998)

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From starburstmagazine
For anyone feeling a little squeamish, of vegetarian inclination or just full from a hearty meal, the graphic opening scenes of Traps (or Pasti, Pasti, Pasticky to give its original title) that feature pig castration may prove a little difficult to stomach. These images also feel burned into your retina somehow; a poignant, pre-emptive piece of filmmaking that becomes disturbingly relevant later in the film. For Czech new wave director Vera Chytilovà, filmmaking was a mission. She became a dominant force in the industry and was often described as a militant feminist, although she preferred the term individualist. Traps bears many of the hallmarks that justify both these labels, and even now remains both boldly ambitious and deeply flawed. Continue reading

Claude Lelouch – Le chat et la souris AKA Cat and Mouse (1975)

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Synopsis:
A jaded and charming police inspector is assigned along with his cheerful partner to a case involving the mysterious death and/or suicide of a wealthy entrepreneur. The chief suspect is his enchanting wife who was aware that her husband had a mistress. It is also possible that the dead man may be the victim of a radical terrorist group. Continue reading

Takeshi Kitano – Ryûzô to 7 nin no kobun tachi AKA Ryuzo and His Seven Henchmen (2015)

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From hollywoodreporter.com
To the many ways in which the career of Japanese auteur and action star Takeshi Kitano resembles that of Clint Eastwood, we can now add another: Both have made the increasingly obligatory geezer-comeback film. It was retired astronauts in Eastwood’s Space Cowboys; in Kitano’s Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen, we get yakuza who hobble out onto not-so-mean-anymore streets attempting to regain their fearsome reputations. A bit sillier than it needs to be to earn the laughs it winds up getting, the likeable picture (which got a Japanese release in April) isn’t colorful enough to reach beyond the director’s established fan base here. Of those who follow Kitano, some will lament his small role onscreen. Continue reading

Martin Scorsese – It’s Not Just You, Murray! (1964)

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Synopsis:
Now middle-aged, mobster Murray looks back at his humble beginnings as a bootlegger and his rise to becoming wealthy and highly influential. Through it he talks about how much of his success and happiness is due to the support of his “friend” Joe. Unfortunately the only one who blindly believes Joe is anything close to a friend is Murray, because it’s obvious to everyone that Joe back-stabs him at every chance and is sleeping with his wife.– IMDb. Continue reading

Fernando Fernán Gómez – La vida por delante (1958)

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Review
“La Vida por Delante” is the second film of Fernan Gomez, one of the most complete Spanish Cinema artists. After his debut in “Manicomio” (1954) as co-director, the turbulent career as a filmmaker Fernan-Gomez has been little appreciated by the public, being more known for his acting career at the orders of other directors.

This has made possible in part, we lose some of the gems that this director has given throughout his career.

It is an interesting film but still far from the levels of talent would reach director years later with works like “El Mundo Sigue” (1963) and “El Extraño Viaje” (1964). Continue reading

Shion Sono – The Virgin Psychics AKA Eiga: minna! Esupâ da yo! (2015)

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From Busan International Film Festival:

High school student Kamogawa Yoshiro wakes up one day to discover that he has psychic superpowers. He also soon discovers that others in the city have the gift, only some of them are hellbent on causing trouble. He becomes embroiled in several strange incidents and eventually overcomes those seeking to do the city and its people harm, meeting the woman of his dreams along the way. A film that takes a different approach to the superhero genre by introducing a joyful young man who becomes a hero not by boasting of his superpowers but by overcoming temptation.
The Virgin Psychics is an adaptation of a serial comic strip that has been published in Weekly Young Magazine since 2009. It was later made into a TV show (also by SONO Sion) in 2013 and is the director’s fifth film. SONO is the same filmmaker who brought us Love & Peace, Shinjuku Swan, The Chasing World, and the independent film Whispering Star (scheduled to be released in theaters next year), which was shot in the area ravaged by the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown. (PARK Jin-hee) Continue reading