Monday, January 31, 2011

Sûîto Homu aka Sweet home (1989)

This is a stylish horror flick from Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa.
Although the story is taken from a Capcom game for the Japanese Nintendo system in 1989, it is really exciting.
A television producer is arriving with his crew and daughter at an abandoned mansion where bizarre painter Mamiya Ichiro used to live with his family. They are interested in filming of his extraordinary fresco paintings in the house.
But when people start dying, the rest of them will notice that they are not alone and the ghost of his dead wife is looking for blood instead of her also dead baby. There is tense and nice gory scenes and a happy end at all. But the battle for survival will be tough!

Zítra vstanu a oparím se cajem aka Tomorrow I'll wake up and scald myself with tea (1977)

This is one of the most clever and funny films ever made about time travel. A bunch of former nazis survive to the 90s as they use anti-aging medicine. They plan to change history of mankind by travelling back to the Second World Was and help Hitler. They will give him a nuclear bomb that they stole from a museum (does it really work actually?). They are collaborating with space pilot Karel but when the last one dies accidentally their plans are going to ruin.
All because of Karel's brother, John who is taking his place because he is in love with one of Karel's flirts. So funny situations begin when everything's going wrong back at Hitler's bunker in a period where Nazis were winning the war. Misunderstandings will give place to a humorous plot and John will try to escape from this death trap using the time travel spaceship. I can say this is an extraordinary obscure film from Czechoslovakia and director Jindrich Polák. Petr Koska is brilliant in his three roles: Jan Bures, Karel Bures and Jan pretending to be Karel. Well done!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tres días aka Before the fall (2008)

Where is the salvation for a family when a meteorite is going to destroy planet Earth and a serial killer is after them?
Ale is the main character, a guy who doesn't care so much for his cousins and his relationship with his mother is not at the best point. With the arriving of the end of life, people panic and chaos rules upon earth. This will be the chance for Lucio, the maniac killer of town's several children to escape. He seeks for revenge because Ale's brother helped police years ago to arrest him. So he will find Ale's family and the manhunt will begin. But after all what is the meaning of saving life when everyone's gonna die? It is an excellent film by director Francisco J. Gutierrez and producer Antonio Banderas. I liked its photography and the real intense moments!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kumonosu-jô aka Throne of blood (1957)

Two co-fighters, Washizu and Miki, are samurais under the service of the same lord. As they return to their base after a victory into a battle, they will loose their destination while crossing the Cobweb forest and they will meet a ghost spirit who will tell them about their future.
They won't believe it but after all the future is already written.
So Shogun's favorite samurai, Washizu starts to be more ambitious and paranoid following his wife advices. The betrayal starts when he kills his master and then is being after his best friend Miki. After Miki's death, he raves into the castle and he will find that his sins are changing his fate. A dark fate which reminds us that the one who thinks only about himself, stands alone in the end. This is an epic tale about games of mind, connecting destiny and brave achievements. One of the best films of international cinematography directed by Akira Kurosawa!

La casa dalle finestre che ridono aka The house of the laughing windows (1976)

Pupi Avati is one of the masters of Giallo films.
After seeing this extraordinary film I realized that the best films are those that you have to create their end.
The suspense is everywhere as it was at 'Zeder', a Pupi's older film I saw lately. It is not bloody at all but the real terror comes from your thinking.
Stefano (again?) is the protagonist of this mysterious story. He is a paintings restorer who is being called by a dwarf mayor of a closed community. His job is to save an old fresco inside a reconstructed church. Its painter was Legnani, a crazy (or not?) painter who liked painting people on their last moments.
The atmosphere is weird and people begin to act more and more strangely. When Antonio, Stefano's friend is being murdered, the last one will try to discover the dark secret between the fresco painting and the community!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Zombie Strippers! (2008)

Ok I think this actually funny film will be the CULT one in the next twenty years. So think about it and give it a try.
You don't have any expectations of a film where porn star Jenna Jameson acts. The story is so simple and the acting is quite good.
When a mad scientist infects some people with a virus, a death squad will participate for their elimination. But accidentally a member of this team will have a wound and becomes the next zombie. The real trouble begins when he enters a strip club and attacks a dancer.
Soon more strippers will turn into zombies and they eat the clients.
And the war between the humans and the zombies will leave no time for thinking. Only for bloodsucking!

Evangelia Christakou - Sharp (2010)

An attempt to interpret the gaze focused on the female.
A journey for the spectator, with elements of voyeurism as watching through a keyhole, which eventuates in the encounter with the "sharp" side of the female.
This is an excellent work from my friend Evangelia Christakou who lives and works in London!

Directed by Evangelia Christakou
Performed by Evangelia Christakou
Videography by Sofia Kourkoulakou
Music by J.S. Bach

Zeder (1983)

Zeder is not a zombie movie actually. It is more into a ghost story blended with mystery elements.
Pupy Avati is a great Italian director and this film is one of his best I think. If you are interested into thinkable horror films, this is your stuff.
The story starts like this. When Alessandra buys a second hand typewriter as a present to her lover and journalist Stefano, he finds out some secret imprints on the ribbon, written from its last owner. Paolo Zeder used that type machine and he had discovered K-Zones, areas in which the dead are restored to life back in the 1950's. Stefano's investigations bring him in contact with a group of renegade scientists that are still making experiments to prove Zeder's theories. But what is the cost of this strange discovery and where it shall lead Stephano?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ying xiong wu lei aka Heroes shed no tears (1986)

What can we say about the extraordinary film 'Heroes shed no tears'?
Director John Woo gave us a masterpiece of violence and heroic achievements!
When Chan Chung and his loyal co-fighters capture a powerful drug lord, his personal army will hunt them in order to save him.
But the fearless mercenaries won't stop to anything even if they will fight to the army of another enemy after they will save a woman from the hands of a sadistic captain. Chan's family will be on target now so he will have to save them both and run away with his hostage. The armies that are after him will collide with some native hunters so the manhunt will start and millions of bullets will fly!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

La noche del terror ciego aka Tombs of the blind dead (1971)

This is a great and hard to find horror film from the early 70s.
It is much better than a lot of slashers and zombie movies that released the latter half of the 70's and the entire 80's.
Betty and Virginia used to be class and roommates as students of the college.
When they meet up again in Lisbon after some years they will organize a trip into the Portuguese's inland.
But Betty likes Roger, Virginia's closest friend so the last one is jealous and will leave off the train and stay the night at an abandoned monastery located in Berzano. People don't like to speak for this place because they think it is haunted by the Templars, a legion of evil knights who lived there back in the 13th century.
They quested for eternal life by drinking human blood and committing sacrifices.
Now is the time to wake up back from the dead and seek for new victims!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Üç maymun aka Three monkeys (2008)

This film is a great achievement for the Turkish Nuri Bilge Ceylan who won the best prize in Cannes festival in 2008 as the best director.
His great film is about a poor family and their broken relationship.
Eyüp is working as a driver for the politician Servet, his wife Hacer as an assistant at a restaurant and their son Ismail spending his days doing nothing. 
When Servet will hit an innocent at a car accident, he will pay Eyüp to take his place as the immolator. But is this the only cost that Eyüp has to pay? 
When Hacer will ask for more money to Servet in order to buy a car for Ismail, she will find her self in love with him and the passion will burn her soul. 
When Ismail find out the truth about his mother's secret relationship, he will be in a difficult position. And their lives will change for ever after Eyüp will be free again.
Amazing photography, strong acting and emotional writing are the tools that the famous Turkish director has used and completed this extraordinary film!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fukushû suru wa ware ni ari aka Vengeance is mine (1979)

Iwao Enokizu was one of the most cruel serial killers ever lived.
He has killed a lot of people with no reason in several places of Japan.
No one ever understood his motivations but the great director Shôhei Imamura find out the way to visualize the whole story of his crimes.
Ken Ogata gives an impressive performance and the movie as a whole is utterly brilliant.
As a child, Iwao used to be a rebel against society. So he will spend some years in prison for different penalties and he will start the killings in search of his esoteric ego as pretending to be a fake businessman or lawyer at individuals while cheating and stealing money from them. The story is really dark and the characters are so realistic. Their passions and need for something great in their lives is the accomplishment of this great directing. Love, hate, betrayals, are all mixed up.
Iwao has no feelings at all even when he will face his death penalty while his father and his wife try to enclosure their secret in their hearts. Great cinema!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lik Wong aka Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991)

The CULT movie! Maybe and the goriest.
Located in a prison back in 2001 it is the story of Ricky, a guy with supernatural powers imprisoned for killing his girlfriend's assassin.
He has to fight against the Gang of four, the leaders of the four sections of prison and Cyclops, the sadist & evil assistant of the warden.
Cyclops will try to humiliate him through hard punishments and he is also a weird man who likes mints putted in his fake eye.
Ricky's epic try for survive is going to start and the blood will be so much.
With a simple plot, smooth directing and easy to watch acting, this film contains parts of drama and action blended with hilarious situations that will make laugh a lot. Ricky is being represented as the messiah for other prisoners, a hero who will overpass his own trials in order to help others.

Le dirigeable fantastique aka Inventor Crazybrains and his wonderful airship (1906)

Georges Méliès gives an extraordinary short film back in 1906 where a crazy scientist is looking for the technical solutions to complete the construction of his airship. But as he falls to sleep, his ideas become forms and demons who enter his brain and try to confuse him. So when he wake ups after a surreal dream he is completely mad. Very funny execution, it is another great short from the French pioneer of cinema.

Monday, January 17, 2011

F (2010)

A teacher whose life is ruined and his relationship with his ex family is not good, starts being paranoid about a gang of kids who murder people in different schools and colleges.
Someday when he will be at class with his daughter, he will find out that his college is being attacked and will try to discover what happens.
But the killings will have been started and his race to survive and save his daughter will continue on the dark rooms of the building.
One by one, assistants, teachers, even cleaners will die.
Is he going to survive? But is all this for real or something else happens?
I liked this film even if lots didn't understand its purposes. But who cares? I think there are two kinds of viewers. The ones that want the end always to be happy or just clear and the others who want to think. I am in the second team so I don't care about what everyone thinks. This movie is well directing with suspense all over the place and the acting is also good. The atmosphere is realistic and the plot is fine. The gore is cool though. So just let your fantasy work after its end and don't listen to others bad opinions. It's cinema for thinkers!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Burning Moon (1992)

The Burning Moon is one of the bloodiest movies ever.
What do you want for the menu?
Rapes, decapitations, killings, stabbings, head explosions.
As gore as you can take without throwing out your dinner.
Directing and acting are awful but the soundtrack is just fine.
Olaf Ittenbach is an ultra gore director and knows the tips for a good splatter movie. He is also the protagonist, playing a guy who is addicted to drugs and fights around with his friends. He has a lot of problems in the house and when his parents leave him with his younger sister, he will fright her telling two disturbingly morbid stories.
The first one could be the ideal love story but the man is a psycho killer who escaped from a clinic and starts killing everyone who meets. He falls in love with a woman but when she finds out who he really is, she is leaving him. But he will follow her at her house and the bloodbath will begin. At the second story we will find a satanic priest who rapes and kills various women at the small town he lives. A lot of people think that another guy is responsible for the massacre and soon they will pay someone to kill him. In the middle time the priest committed suicide but he will help the innocent man to rise from the dead and take revenge on his murderer. A cult film for viewers with guts!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kigeki aka Comedy (2002)

A short anime about a young girl who, desperate to save her village, sets out in search of a legendary swordsman who accepts only rare books of a particular genre as payment, directed by Kazuto Nakazawa.

Friday, January 14, 2011

PVC-1 (2007)

The best words to describe this extraordinary single shot film could be :
Breatheless, intensity, suspense! 
Shot in real time, PVC-1 is based on the true story of a woman who is turned into a human time bomb in a bizarre act of terrorism in 2000. A gang whose members are a family attack another one in their farm in the middle of a jungle somewhere in Colombia. Their motivation are money so they put on mother's neck a PVC tube full of explosives. 
She and her family will have to find 15 million pesos or her head will explode. It is ironic that this family has no money at all and even no electricity working at their house. Father will make an appointment with local authorities at an abandoned place to see how they can help his wife. Panic is everywhere and a specialist into explosives try to switch off the bomb but he is so nervous. Is she going to survive?  
The effect of real time direction will make you fell nervous as a person on location. It is written in the most minimalistic form I ever seen. Without any artificial lighting, without any close ups, without any cuts, with only little dialogue, with amateurish acting and no soundtrack at all, talented Greek director Spiros Stathoulopoulos reaches the level of high profile film-directing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cemeterio del terror (1985)

When 3 couples of teenagers visit an abandoned house near a cemetery looking for fun, they will find out that their plans will lead them to death.
A terrible killer, Devlon have been lived there and when the boys found his black magic book, they stole his corpse and resurrected him without knowing his past.
So now they are hunted, facing their fate in the old house.
Soon another team of kids will visit the cemetery as they are looking for some adventure. But the dead will rise and the kids will run for their lives.
Dr. Cardan was a superstitious investigator of Devlon's past crimes so he knows what he is capable of. So he will return to the cemetery and try to help the children.
But what will be the cost? I really enjoyed it's end.
This cool horror film could be the Mexican Evil dead.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fri os fra det onde aka Deliver us from evil (2009)

Another great film from Denmark. Although it has some similarities with Sam Peckinpah's ''Straw dogs'' and John Carpenter's ''Assault on precinct 13'' it's different on the storytelling as a report in different social groups and the impact in ordinary people.
Johannes and Pernille live with their two children in a small town where time passes peacefully. Lars, Johannes brother is a truck driver and he is messing his life drinking with friends and beating his girlfriend.
He is jealous about his brother's happiness. One day he will be in trouble when he will be the main suspect of a car accident. The victim is Ingvar's wife, a former military man who is suspicious of everyone.
So Lars will trap an immigrant who survived Yugoslavia's war as the responsible for the accident.
Soon the situations will be effective to everyone's life and a game of death will start!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The world is Big and salvation lurks around the corner (2008)

This is the proposal of Bulgaria for the Academy awards of 2011.
A beautiful story about a young man who survives a crash accident.
But his parents die there and then he suffers from amnesia.
So his grandfather has to help him remember his family and his roots.
Together they rent a tandem (bicycle with two seats) and they start a journey from Germany to Bulgaria.
In changing places, time and transport, crossing half Europe, they play backgammon, the simplest, and yet the most complex of all games. 
That game leads Alex to the realizations of who he is, and that game is symbolic to the story. Destiny is the dice we hold in our own hands and life is a game on the edge between chance and skill.
Great acting, nice photography and a dramatic plot with emotional moments are the basic elements of this excellent film!

Månguden (1988)

John Vinge is a lonely cop who tries to discover the mysterious killer slaughtering families out at the Swedish forests. 
The killer is wearing an African mask, the mask of Moon God.
He tries to confuse police's research while sending them a video with his actions.
John is forced to collaborate with doctor Erland but he doesn't like him at all.
John's father, en ex cop who is not satisfied with John's work and he always yelling on him. He is ill into the hospital and has a secret relationship with the doctor.
John is trying to find more details inviting a museum and asking for help a specialist in African culture and civilization. But the woman working there has a strange guy as an assistant who is looking for the same thing, the mask of Moon god.
Who is the killer and who keeps terrifying secrets about the past?
This cult Swedish film was lost for almost twenty years and this is the reason I couldn't find any trailer.
But it's a cool gem blending Giallo movies genre with slasher and mystery.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Afro Samurai: Resurrection (2009)

Afro is back!! with his unique haircut he kills everyone on his road seeking for revenge for his dad torturing.
But wasn't his dad dead? Yeah until Jinno's evil sister, Sio brought him back to life with the help of the satanic droid scientist in order to torture him in front of the eyes of Afro.
When they steal Afro's headband of n.1 assassin he will have to find n.2 assassin to kill him and take his one to challenge Sio following the samurai's code.
Maybe the plot is not so exciting as the first's film but it was quite good.
It is always interesting to enter Afro's strange universe blending sci fi, hip hop culture, traditional Japanese style with gore and technology.

Oktapodi (2007)

This is a funny escape of two octopi through the small streets of a Greek island village. It could be in Santorini. So their true love can help them survive. It was nominated for the 2009 Oscar animated short film!

Tir Nan Og - Danica DeCosto (2003)

This is a wonderful animation about the lovely story of a young girl and her grandmother who is going to die.
It reminded me one of the best anime I have ever seen, Windaria back in 1986 where the human souls were been represented as birds. A great work!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jianyu aka Reign of assassins (2010)

Another great action film from China. Su Chao-pin and John Woo have created a genre classic ten years after Lee Ang's masterpiece and it is a thrilling and poignant experience worthy of the best martial arts epics.
It is a story about Zeng Jing who was a member of an assassins elite force, better known as Black Stone. After killing the family of a minister in order to steal the corpse of a Buddhist monk, she splits up with her companions, Lei Bin, the Magician and Zhan Qing whose leader is the Wheel King.
She changes her face with a doctor's help and disappears for some years.
But the past will not leave her alone and soon the assassins will come back to find the corpse and kill her as well.
But this will not be her only problem to care about.
If you enjoyed the Wong-Fei-Hung films, iron monkey, crouching tiger hidden dragon, fist of legend, fong sai yuk then you should check this out.

Le monstre - Georges Melies (1903)

Georges Melies was a pioneer of cinematography and was described as "the alchemist of light'' by Charles Chaplin. This short film is about an Egyptian prince who has lost his beloved wife and he has sought a dervish who dwells at the base of the sphinx. The prince promises him a vast fortune if the dervish will only give him the opportunity of gazing once more upon the features of his wife. The dervish accepts the offer.
And then comical situations happen. This is one of the earliest films in cinematography using special effects!

Bicycleran aka The Cyclist (1987)

This is a masterpiece directed from Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf.
It describes the odyssey of an Afghan immigrant living in Iran, Nasim.
His wife is very ill and he needs a fortune for her care.
So when a close friend connects him with a promoter who wants to earn money from Nasim's situation, the second one offers him job as a cyclist to his circus.
But is it a real circus or an attempt to deceive him?
The promoter is just another trickster who wants to gain from Nasim's tragic incident.
Nashim will have to cycle for a whole week without stop to collect the money for his wife treatment.
In the meaning time various people will start to come and see his spectacular show. Among them there will be gangs who will bet on him and some of them will try to sabotage him. Can he complete this amazing try or he won't finish the week?
The cycling exhibition at times resembles a passion play where Nasim is continually crucified but will he understand the difference between triumph or illusion at the end?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Kawasaki's Rose aka Kawasakiho ruze (2009)

Betrayal between family members, betrayal between common people of different political areas. betrayal between lovers...
Renowned psychiatrist Pavel Josek is hiding a secret about his daughter and his woman's ex.
He used to be known as the righteous and honest scientist.
But when Ludek who is married with Pavel's daughter Lucie, cheats on her she will find it out. After that  he will want to destroy her family happiness.
So he will find that Pavel was connecting with National secret agencies and was not as moral as he should be.
Pavel was responsible for Borek's force emigration and he kept his wife and child.
Secrets will be no more hidden and the reactions among Pavel's family will appear soon. This extraordinary film from Czech director Jan Hrebejk tells everything about betrayal.
It is fairly proposed as Czech's official suggestion for the 2011 Academy awards at the Foreign Language film section.

Auf der anderen seite aka The edge of heaven (2007)

Human relationships and fate are again the main subject in this superb film from the half German half Turkish director Fatih Akin.
Nejat is an educated German language teacher who doesn't want any relationship with his father when the last accidentally kills a prostitute, Yeter after inviting her to live together.
After Yeter's death Nejat feels responsible for the accident and is looking to find her daughter Ayten to help her studying.
But he doesn't know that Ayten is a political activist fighting for the human rights and better life of Kurdish society.
So when he travels to Instabul to seek for her, she will be already in Germany as she was fled by the Turkish police.
There she will meet Lotte and they finally be together and stay at Lotte's house but Lotte's conservative mother Susanne will not accept Nejat as she always be aggressive.
Then after a chase with the cops, she will be arrested again and deported back to Turkey.
So Lotte will follow her in Turkey and try to free her. But another tragic incident is going to happen and connect the lives of Suzanne, Ayten and Nejat.
A great plot with excellent soundtrack and emotional direction. 
Now I understand why Fatih Akin is my favorite Turkish director!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bôkô Kirisaki Jakku aka Assault! Jack the Ripper (1976)

A woman who work as a waitress and a man who work as a pastry in the same place start killing various women to refresh their aphrodisiac.
The man will be more violent as the woman prompts him to continue his massacre.
The death scenes gave me the creeps not for the blood as for the psychological effect of the killings and the wounds starting always from the victim's vagina.
The soundtrack is sometimes off the theme but I liked it because it alleviates the violent and extra raw scenes.
The acting especially of the main role is really good introducing a constrained and weird character who finally is the cold blood killer and he really enjoys that.
An extraordinary pink eiga film, maybe the best for many fans of the specific style.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (2005)

This is not just a gay story but a study into the sleazy society of Manila.
A father is forced to steal for feeding his family.
His two older sons are his cooperates into the illegal system.
The youngest one, Maximo is feeling more like a girl so he stays in and do the home works in place of his dead mother.
One day he will be attracted by a new young cop who comes to the neighborhood.
But life isn't so simple and soon problems will appear between his family and cops when one of his brothers will be the main suspect for a murder.
A touching but also raw film from Philippines with a lot of nominations and wins through various festivals.

Monday, January 3, 2011

怪哉 (Oddly) - Seem studio (2009)

This blog has already 500 visitors. Thank you so much and I hope you also like my personal taste!
As a small celebration I put this amazing short story based on Strange Tales of a Lonely Studio (a classic literature work with a collection of about 500 stories by Pu Songling of the Qing Dynasty).

Oasis of the Zombies (1981)

After a battle between the Allies and German troops in the African desert at the Second World War, only two men survive knowing the secret about the treasure Germans have brought with.
All the dead soldiers become zombies and when Robert, the son of the American captain returns to the oasis in order to find the treasure, the zombies attack as they are thirsty for blood...human blood!
A classic 80s style zombie film with nice soundtrack but average direction and acting.
Not one of the best but surely one to see if you are a fan of zombie movies!