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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Departures (Okuribito)

BBB (out of 5) After a successful run as a cellist with a symphony orchestra, Daigo is laid off when the dwindling audiences can no longer be ignored. He moves back to his home town with his wife and accepts the only job he can get, working in a funeral home and helping prepare bodies…

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Bright Future (Akarui Mirai)

BB.5 (out of 5) Two friends work in a factory that makes restaurant hand towels and blow their world apart when one decides to kill his boss and his boss’s entire family. The murderer’s father comes to visit after finding out that his son has been sentenced to death, staying at his apartment with the…

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Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (Ichimei)

BBBB (out of 5) Remake of the Masaki Kobayashi classic that puts the emphasis more on slow, dramatic dread than the crisp visual energy of the original.  An aging samurai shows up at the doorstep of a great lord and makes a request to perform ritual suicide on the lord’s estate and rid himself of…

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