Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018)

HIROKAZU KOREEDA Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  Japan, 2018.  AOI Promotion, Fuji Television Network, GAGA.  Screenplay by Hirokazu Koreeda.  Cinematography by Ryûto Kondô.  Music by Haruomi Hosono.  Production Design by Keiko Mitsumatsu. Costume Design by Kazuko Kurosawa.  Film Editing by Hirokazu Koreeda.  Cannes Film Festival 2018.  Toronto International Film Festival 2018.  Golden Globe Awards 2018. Hirokazu Kore-eda revisits the dynamics of Still Walking but set within…

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First Man (2018)

DAMIEN CHAZELLE Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  USA/Japan, 2018.  Universal Pictures, DreamWorks, Perfect World Pictures, Temple Hill Entertainment, Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, Dentsu, Fuji Television Network.  Screenplay by Josh Singer, based on the book by James R. Hansen.  Cinematography by Linus Sandgren.  Produced by Marty Bowen, Damien Chazelle, Wyck Godfrey, Isaac Klausner.  Music by Justin Hurwitz.  Production Design by…

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Radiance (Hikari) (2017)

NAOMI KAWASE Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.  Japan/France, 2017.  Comme des Cinémas, Kino Films, Kumie, MK2 Productions.  Screenplay by Naomi Kawase.  Produced by Naoya Kinoshita, Masa Sawada, Yumiko Takebe.  Music by Ibrahim Maalouf.  Film Editing by Tina Baz.  Cannes Film Festival 2017.  Toronto International Film Festival 2017. Ayame Misaki is excellent as a woman who has been assigned the task of writing…

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Before We Vanish (Sanpo suru shinryakusha) (2017)

KIYOSHI KUROSAWA Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.  Japan, 2017.  Django Film, Nikkatsu.  Screenplay by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Sachiko Tanaka, based on the play by Tomohiro Maekawa.  Cinematography by Akiko Ashizawa.  Music by Yûsuke Hayashi.  Film Editing by Kôichi Takahashi.  Cannes Film Festival 2017.   Three aliens come to Earth and take over human bodies, sent here on a scouting mission to get to…

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Ikiru (1952)

AKIRA KUROSAWA Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  Japan, 1952.  Toho Company.  Screenplay by Akira Kurosawa,  Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni.  Cinematography by Asakazu Nakai.  Produced by Sojiro Motoki.  Music by Fumio Hayasaka.  Production Design by Takashi Matsuyama.  Film Editing by Koichi Iwashita.   A mild-manner civil servant (Takashi Shimura, getting a rare lead role from his frequent collaborator Akira Kurosawa) finds out that he…

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Older Brother, Younger sister (Ani Imoto)

BBBB (out of 5) Yoshiko Kuga is excellent as a young woman in a remote village who cannot marry her sweetheart because her elder sister (played by megastar Machiko Kyô) has a bad reputation as a loose woman.  Kyo has left home and refuses to give her family her address, which causes her loving sister great…

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Furious Seven (Fast & Furious 7)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Yet another powerful gadget acts as the silly excuse for the old gang to get together again, a few years older but just as fun as they were the last time around.  This time it’s a “God’s eye” device created by an expert hacker (Nathalie Emmanuel) that enables the user to observe anyone, anywhere…

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Trouble Every Day (2001)

CLAIRE DENIS Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB.5.  France/Germany/Japan, 2001.  Arte France Cinema, ARTE, Canal+, Centre National De La Cinematographie, Dacia Films, Kinetique, Messaouda Films, Rézo Films, Rezo Productions, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen.  Screenplay by Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau.  Cinematography by Agnes Godard.  Produced by Georges Benayoun, Philippe Liegeois, Jean-Michel Rey.  Music by Tindersticks.  Production Design by Arnaud de Moleron.  Costume Design by Judy…

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Dragnet Girl (Hijosen no Onna)

BBB (out of 5) Yasujiro Ozu makes a crime thriller and, not surprisingly, most of it takes place in the domestic sphere.  The dragnet girl of the title is an office typist who is also the girlfriend to a shady gangster, assisting him in pulling off cons for money.  After a young student joins the gangster’s circle…

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Still The Water (Futatsume No Mado)

BB.5 (out of 5) On a gorgeous tropical island in the Pacific, a boy is being raised by his single mother after being sent there from Tokyo by his father, while his friend is dealing with her mother’s terminal illness.  They live under the shadow of a situation at the beginning of the film when a dead body…

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Empire Of Passion (Ai No Borei)

BBBB (out of 5) Nagisa Oshima follows his notoriously explicit In The Realm of The Senses with a tamer but still erotic tale of sex and guilt.  The wife of a dull rickshaw driver falls into the arms of a sexy ruffian and the two become regular lovers, indulging quite passionately in the pleasures of the flesh…

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Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai

BBBB (out of 5) Forest Whitaker is terrific as a hired hit man who styles himself a modern day samurai, elegantly swinging his guns into his jacket as if they were swords and keeping his copy of the Hagekure on him for reference at all times.  He is best friends with a Haitian ice cream seller…

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