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  • In the Realm of the Senses

    In the Realm of the Senses 1976

    ★★★½ Watched 28 Sep, 2015

    The phrase "based on a true story" has been drained of all meaning lately, but at least in 1976 it still had a bit of power, especially when the true story inspired at least three movies in its native Japan.

    In 1936 a young lady named Sada Abe accidentally killed her lover while engaging in some kinky breathplay. She then proceeded to castrate the body and carry the dead man's privates around with her for several days, until the police…

  • The Lady Vanishes

    The Lady Vanishes 1938

    ★★★½ Watched 27 Sep, 2015

    One of the best discoveries I've made in the last year is how much I really, really enjoy the early Hitchcock movies. A string of six thrillers, made from 1934-1938, on a low budget and meant to be "second features" for American movies, are fine-tuned little entertainment machines, engrossing and compelling.

    The Lady Vanishes is Hitchcock's penultimate British movie before making the move to Hollywood. In a fictitious European country, a young Englishwoman, Iris (Margaret Lockwood) is befriended by an…

  • Samurai Rebellion

    Samurai Rebellion 1967

    ★★★★ Watched 23 Sep, 2015

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    It's been said that the best samurai movies are anti-samurai movies; I'm not sure of the truthfulness of that contention, but it is certainly true of the samurai films of Masaki Kobayashi, who five years before had helmed Hara-kiri, one of the best anti-samurai films of all time.

    Toshiro Mifune is Isaburo Sasahara, a proficient swordsman who married into a good family and is not allowed by his wife to forget it for a minute. He holds a good rank…

  • Persona

    Persona 1966

    ★★★★½ Watched 17 Sep, 2015 2

    It had been three years since Ingmar Bergman's desolate, ambiguous The Silence, and his only feature film had been 1964's All These Women, a colossal flop. The French New Wave was sweeping Europe, and it was whispered that Bergman was washed up, a has-been whose most exciting work was behind him.

    So he made Persona, which acts as a massive punch in the face to those allegations.

    Opening with a visual overture than can only be described as a poem…

  • The 10th Victim

    The 10th Victim 1965

    ★★★ Watched 15 Sep, 2015

    Elio Petri's movie version of Robert Sheckley's satiric science fiction story "Seventh Victim" is predictably stylish and, if anything, even more biting than its source.

    In the then-distant 21st century, war has been eliminated by the Big Hunt, a global game of assassination where each participant goes one ten hunts, randomly assigned either the role of Hunter or Victim. The Hunter is given the Victim's identity and complete information; the Victim is told only that someone is hunting them. Survive…

  • Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

    Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion 1970

    ★★★½ Watched 11 Sep, 2015

    Director Elio Petri directed several stylish features through the 60s, looking for his voice, but it wasn't until this movie, a Kafka-esque black comedy rife with political scorn that he found it, and made what is considered to be his masterpiece.

    Gian Volonte is the head of Rome's Homicide Division, and on the day of his rising to the head of the Political Crime division, he visits his mistress, with whom he has a twisted, masochistic relationship: she is aroused…

  • 8½


    ★★★★ Watched 23 Aug, 2015

    Mention 8 1/2 and the immediate reaction is "it's one of the best movies about filmmaking, ever!" I'm not too sure about that, but it is a remarkable movie, no doubts about that.

    Frederico Fellini's study of film director Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) switches rapidly from the pressures of trying to wrestle a production crew and actresses and their agents and their publicists with remarkable , hallucinatory fantasies as Guido tries to escape the mess of his life. A womanizer of…

  • The Sting

    The Sting 1973

    ★★★★½ Watched 28 Aug, 2015

    I have a strong contrarian streak in me. Unless it's in a genre I love, I tend to resist going to movies that are extremely popular. And in the period of 1973-74, The Sting was very popular, indeed.

    In the waning years of the Great Depression, Robert Redford plays an up-and-coming grifter who hits it big when he and his confederates accidentally target a mobster carrying the week's take from a gambling outfit. Unfortunately, the leader of that mob (played…

  • The Dance of Reality

    The Dance of Reality 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 03 Sep, 2015

    Trigger Warnings: Nudity, Urination, Torture.

    In other words, it's a Jodorowsky movie.

    Deemed a "magical autobiography", Jodorowsky muses on his childhood in Tocopilla, a Chilean port and mining town. The son of Ukranian immigrants, his alienation is acute, and not aided a bit by his father, a self-loathing Jew whose idol and role model is Stalin.

    In fact, Jodorowsky leaves his own story for a great swath of the movie to give this man a learning voyage, a renewal and…

  • Trafic

    Trafic 1971

    ★★★ Watched 23 Aug, 2015

    Jacques Tati's first feature film after the colossal failure of Playtime is this comparatively light piece, paid for by Dutch interests and using an auto show in Amsterdam as a goal, if not a backdrop.

    Tati's trademark character, M. Hulot (a character he was attempting to retire in Playtime ) is now an automobile designer, and attempts to shepherd his company's new car, a station wagon with many gadgets that unfold to convert the car into a self-contained campsite, 35…

  • Breathless

    Breathless 1960

    ★★★½ Watched 19 Aug, 2015

    Oh, to have been born fifteen, twenty years earlier! True, I would likely be dead by now. But then, I might have been better able to see what makes Breathless so special.

    Shot for next to nothing on a hand-cranked camera, Godard's debut feature is an ode to low budget crime movies (It's opening dedication is to Monogram Studios), using several unique approaches which are maddening to some.

    Firstly, to get fresh performances from his stars, Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul…

  • The Godfather: Part III

    The Godfather: Part III 1990

    ★★★★ Watched 14 Aug, 2015 1

    I honestly don't know what movie other people were watching.

    You hate Sofia Coppola? Fine. She makes a better director than an actress, I agree. But if you think she's horrible, you haven't seen enough movies. I can show you horrible acting.

    Was it the tying in of the 30 day reign of John Paul I with a Vatican conspiracy angle? I have some Oliver Stone movies you should probably watch.

    Is it because Michael Corleone was made to pay…