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Genocidal Organ

Director: Shûkô Murase

Writer: Shûkô Murase (screenplay), Project Itoh (novel)

Cast: Yûichi Nakamura, Takahiro Sakurai, Sanae Kobayashi

Cert: 15

Running time: 115mins

Year: 2017




What’s the story: In 2022, five years after terrorists detonated a nuclear device in Sarajevo, civil war has become widespread. Clavis Shepherd (Nakamura), member of US Special Forces, discovers a reason for this violence may lie with the elusive American John Paul (Sakurai) and the hunt is on.

What’s the verdict: Brutal and bleak, Shûkô Murase’s Genocidal Organ is a chillingly believable view of future warfare.

Ambitious sci-fi, its source novel comes from the late Satoshi Itoh, who wrote this, Harmony and The Empire of Corpses under the pseudonym Project Itoh before dying aged 34...

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Criterion Collection: Les Diaboliques (1955)

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Writer: Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jérôme Géronimi (screenplay), René Masson, Frédéric Grendel (collaboration), Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac (novel)

Cast: Vera Clouzot, Simone Signoret, Paul Meurisse

Cert: 12

Running time: 117 mins

Year: 1955


Film: medium_5
Extras:


What’s the story: Christina (Clouzot), the frail owner of a large French school, lives in fear of her husband, school director M. Delassalle (Meurisse). Together with Delassalle’s mistress Nicole (Signoret), Christina plots her husband’s murder. But, killing him could be the beginning of more trouble…

What’s the verdict: One of cinema’s great shockers, after more than sixty years Les Diaboliques (aka The Fiends or The Devils depending on which print you’re watching) is yet to creak.

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Blu-ray Review: The Life of Oharu

Welcome to Cinematic Greens

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Writer: Kenji Mizoguchi, Yoshikata Yoda (screenplay), Saikaku Ihara (novel)

Cast: Kinuyo Tanaka, Toshiro Mifune

Cert: PG

Running time: 137 mins

Year: 1952


Accolades:
1952 Venice Film Festival
International Award

Electric Shadows rating: medium_5
Criterion Extras: medium_3


What’s the story: In 17th century Japan, noblewoman Oharu is exiled from Kyoto for the crime of loving someone belonging to a lower caste, beginning a lifelong struggle against misfortune.

What’s the verdict: Winner of the International Award at 1952’s Venice Film Festival, The Life of Oharu proved Japanese cinema did not start and stop with Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, grand prize winner at Venice a year before.

Where Rashomon was kinetic and visceral, The Life of Oharu was c...

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T2 Trainspotting

Director: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (screenplay), Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting & Porno novels)

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Anjela Nedyalkova

Cert: 18

Running time: 117mins

Year: 2017


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What’s the story: Twenty years after Mark Renton (McGregor) stole £16,000 from his friends, he returns to Edinburgh from Amsterdam. Recovering junky Spud (Bremner) is happy to see him, and Simon aka Sick Boy (Lee Miller), running a failing pub, tries to get Mark involved in a plan to open a massage parlour. But, the psychopathic Begbie, out of prison after a long stretch, seeks revenge.

What’s the verdict: “Nostalgia is why you’re here.” So Sick Boy, now known as Simon, spits at Renton on a trip to the Scottish countryside.

Twenty-one years after the ...

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Live By Night

live-by-night-uk-posterDirector: Ben Affleck

Writer: Ben Affleck (screenplay), Dennis Lehane (novel)

Cast: Ben Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Brendan Gleeson, Robert Glenister, Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Remo Girone, Chris Cooper, Chris Messina

Cert: 15

Running time: 128mins

Year: 2016


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What’s the story: Against the backdrop of Prohibition Boston and Florida, Irish First World War veteran turned small-time crook Joe Coughlin finds himself working for the Italian mob during the liquor wars.

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What’s the verdict: Ben Affleck returns to the work of Dennis Lehane for his latest delve into the life on the other side of the law. His directorial debut Gone Baby Gone, based on Lehane’s book of the same name, drew critical gushes. Live By Night is attracting as much fire as lead character Joe Coughlin.

Which is surprisin...

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Silence (2016)

silence-posterDirector: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Martin Scorsese & Jay Cocks (screenplay); Shûsaku Endô (novel)

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Issei Ogata, Liam Neeson

Cert: 15

Running time: 161mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: Two Portuguese priests journey to 17th century Japan to discover the whereabouts of a colleague who has reportedly renounced his religion. The two priests also attempt to spread Catholicism, but find danger in the ruling class attempting to drive foreign beliefs from the land, often violently.

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What’s the verdict: Even ignoring The Last Temptation of Christ, religion and chiefly Catholicism have loomed large in Scorsese’s work...

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The Best Films of the 2016 BFI London Film Festival

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Another BFI London Film Festival belongs to the ages. And this 60th anniversary festival was done proud by some of the best cinema you will see this year (or next dependent upon UK release patterns).

Below is Electric Shadows’ Top 10 of this year’s LFF. Please note that in Brexit Britain immune systems seem to have fallen as low as the pound. With a heavy cold racking this gutsy scribe’s constitution, part days and bed rest replaced full film indulgence. This meant Personal Shopper, Certain Women (the LFF’s Best Film winner), The Birth of a Nation, Dog Eat Dog and Ethel and Ernest were all missed in favour of Lemsip and blankets.

All the above movies seem like Top 10 contenders.

Press screening scheduling clashes meant Elle was chosen over Manchester By the Sea and Your Name over ...

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Elle

elle-posterDirector: Paul Verhoeven

Writer: David Birke (screenplay), Philippe Dijan (novel)

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling, Judith Magre, Jonas Bloquet, Alice Isaaz, Christian Berkel, Laurent Lafitte, Lucas Prisor, Raphaël Lenglet

Cert: 18

Running time: 130mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: After being raped in her home, businesswoman Michele seemingly puts the incident aside to calmly continue with her busy life. When her attacker contacts her again, a power play ensues.

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What’s the verdict: Well ensconced in his 70s, Paul Verhoeven has lost none of the provocative audience baiting that has seen him produce great movies (Black Book, RoboCop, Starship Troopers, Katie Tippel, The 4th Man) and dreadful ones (Basic Instinct, Showgirls).

Elle is a great movie...

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A Monster Calls

a-monster-calls-posterDirector: J.A. Bayona

Writer: Patrick Ness (and novel)

Cast: Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson

Cert: 12A

Running time: 108mins

Year: 2016

 


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What’s the story: Conor, a young boy whose mother is seriously ill with cancer, is visited by a giant tree monster who he thinks can help him.

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What’s the verdict: J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls immediately joins The Spirit of the Beehive, Pan’s Labyrinth, and the too-little remembered Paperhouse as a first class film about the power of art and imagination to battle the difficulties of real life.

Or to put it another way, it’s Billy Elliott with a big monster instead of ballet.

It is also one the most effective tearjerkers of recent times, so take a big box of tissues (blokes, that goes for you ...

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The Handmaiden

the-handmaiden-posterDirector: Park Chan-wook

Writers: Park Chan-wook, Chung Seo kyung, Sarah Waters (novel)

Cast: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Jo Jin-woong

Cert: 18

Running time: 144mins

Year: 2016


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What’s the story: In 1930s Korea, when the country was under Japanese rule, a pickpocket posing as a handmaiden schemes with a local conman to rob a Japanese noblewoman of her fortune.

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What’s the verdict: Since making an impression on the global stage with the military thriller JSA back in 2000, South Korean director Park Chan-wook has become one of the most audacious and exciting directors on the scene.

A Park Chan-wook movie is not watched, but experienced. The films are playful, dark, violent, shocking...

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