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Mikres Afrodites (1963)
An artistic pastoral romance
Based on the classic tale of "Daphnis and Chloe", the movie tells the story of a ten year old boy, Skymnos, and a twelve years old girl, Chloe, who both are eager to experience their first love. Around 200 BC a group of nomadic shepherds, who live in a kind of innocent pagan world, in the search of a new pasture land for their flock, arrive in a fishing village inhabited only by women. Tsakalos, one of the shepherds, falls in love with Arta, as young Skymnos does with Chloe. The young couple observes the older one in order to achieve their sensual awakening. But in the end when Skymnos misunderstands Chloe's rape by an other young shepherd, and as he couldn't cope with the bitter taste of betrayal, he decides to give his own tragic end to the story. We talking about a mastery made pastoral romance film by Nikos Koundouros, with excellent black-and-white photography. The sunlight and shadow provide additional visual counterpoint to the film's main thematic contrasts. Markopoulos' tender and naive music gives points to eroticism that is all over the place but never in a vulgar way.
A few words about the film...
An artistic film about love, depression, death, God and other philosophical inquiries. If the movie could manage to give answers to these inquiries then we could talk about a masterpiece. More outdoor scenes should have been shot cause the winter and rainy scenery of Patmos Island gave points to the gloomy mood of the movie. The scenery, along with Jan Kaczmarek's music, helped Ismailos to make an atmospheric, theatrical directed, drama. Ismailos is a talented director (she tried to keep a balance), good actress and decent writer. Hope to see more works of hers at the future. Unfortunately I found Erich Wildpret's performance really flat. I think the movie deserves to be opened to a wider audience.
He wasn't just a gay poet...
I respect Smaragdis for his efforts to do great cinema, but unfortunately he is not a great film director. The proof is this movie. Some beautiful images are not enough when you have to deal with Kavafis's life and work. The only analysis on his character is that he was homosexual and a shy person. Nothing more. The worst of all is that we never hear his excellent way of speaking that he was famous for. Dimitris Katalifos is a really good actor and he portrays Kavafis well with his expressiveness, as we never hear him talk. Vasilis Diamantopoulos who portrays Kavafis at his late is also great and unfortunately mute. Maybe the suitable title for this movie should be "The mute poet". Vangelis music is majestic as always. Konstantinos Kavafis was a great poet and one of the most significant personalities of the modern greek world. He deserves a better film version of his life, work and personality. Cause he wasn't just a homosexual poet as he is displayed in this movie.
Sky Riders (1976)
Pros and Cons of "Sky Riders"
Music 9/10 (Lalo Schifrin's music gives more tense especially at the action scenes)
Scenery 10/10 (Meteora are really breathtaking... we should see more often this place in movies)
James Coburn 8/10 (Cool as always... Classic Coburn)
Scenario: 4/10 (Plain scenario, no surprises... ok it's a 70's scenario but still they could have work it more... I mean James Coburn fighting Leftist terrorists on Meteora?..)
Direction 5/10 (Hickox isn't Hitchcock, that's for sure... aerial shootings though where actually good)
Conclusion: It's a classic 70's action movie. If you decide to spend your time to watch it you won't regret it. But the next morning you'll not remember a lot. Maybe only the stunning scenery of Meteora. It's 7/10 by me.
Lord of the Flies (1990)
Great book, bad adaptation, average movie
I read William Golding's book when I was 11 years old and it was a real shock for me. The movie shocked me too but with a negative way this time. I thought that I was watching the story of the book in fast forward. No character analysis. Many important parts of the story left out, some others changed totally. The scenery was nice, the kids performances were decent, the problem were on the scenario and the direction. You take a masterpiece and you turn it into a decent movie. I hope some day we will have the chance to see a really great adaptation of this marvelous book.
Ta hromata tis iridos (1974)
A surrealistic view on the entertainment industry
During the shooting of a TV commercial spot on a beach, the crew watch a middle-aged man, who holds an umbrella, to disappears into the sea. The production company says that it was nothing more than a commercial trick, but the sound recorder and composer of the spot music, who was present during the disappearence, has second thoughts and starts to investigate what really happened. During this investigation the hero tries to understand what is logical and what absurd. The brilliant final scene shows us how the media manipulate the audience as a non thinking mass. Nikitas Tsakiroglou gives an exceptional perfomance as the main character. Stamatis Spanoudakis music score is one of the best ever written for a greek movie. Panayotopoulos gave us an excellent surrealistic view on the entertainment industry.
You Were Never Really Here (2017)
Pros and cons of "You Were Never Really Here"
Direction 8/10 (Ramsay made a brutal, grim and dark thriller... you have a sense that you are inside Joe's head... and Ramsay doesn't manipulate how we are supposed to feel about her antihero... in my opinion one of the most significant British directors)
Joaquin Phoenix 8/10 (Another peculiar character portrayed well by Phoenix... he is at his best lately)
Music 7/10 (Greenwood's score creates an atmosphere of dread)
Production 7/10 (The producers gave creative freedom to Ramsay)
Scenario 5/10 (Sparse dialogue, lack of traditional narrative structure and disjointed edits are giving points to those who are complaining about a boring movie... It also reminded me of Scorsese's "Taxi Driver", war veteran who cleans New York city from criminals and a saviour of teenage girls, who gets involved in a political scandal)
Pros and cons of "Rampage"
George's (the gorilla) sense of humor.
Much action (mostly at the second part)... after all that's the primary thing you ask from a movie based on a video-game.
Scenario 1/10 ("Characters" and "plot" are two words that this scenario doesn't know what they mean... some scenes are outrageous unreal).
Direction 4/10 (Peyton didn't avoid the clichés, although some action scenes are well made).
Dwayne Johnson 3/10 (But that's OK, it's Dwayne Johnson, you know what to expect).
Jeffrey Dean Morgan 2/10 (He looked like a bad immitation of Robert Downey Jr).
Naomie Harris 5/10 (She was decent, in comparison with the other actors of the cast).
If you are a Dwayne Johnson and video-games fan this is what your looking for. I'm not. 4/10 by me.
The Do-Over (2016)
Pros and cons of "The Do-Over"
One funny moment... or maybe two. That's it.
Luis Guzman 6/10 (Good actor)
Casting 6/10 (A bounch of well known comedians, Matt Walsh, Kathryn Hahn etc)
Scenario 2/10 (Unrealistic and predictable scenario, even for a comedy with silly jokes)
Adam Sadler 3/10
David Spade 4/10 (funny in his role, or just funnier than Sadler)
Not what I call a good comedy. 3/10 by me.
Sweet Virginia (2017)
Pros and Cons of "Sweet Virginia"
Scenario 6/10 (Terse script, plain scenario not complicated, no plot holes but nothing that we haven't see before... not much character analysis, covered by good acting though)
Direction 7/10 (Jamie Dagg made a good dark Neo-Noir/Neo Western thriller)
Jon Bernthal 7/10
Christopher Abbott 8/10 (Really convincing as a psycho character... scary convincing!)
Actually I found no important weaknesses in this movie.
Nice movie. 7/10 by me.
Total Eclipse (1995)
Great cinematography and great DiCaprio
The movie stays on the friendship and love between Verlaine and Rimbaud and doesn't focus at the artistic nature of those two great french poets. The scenario is based on the letters the 2 poets sent to each other. Yorgos Arvanitis cinematography gives a dark atmosphere that surrounds the heroes. Leonardo DiCaprio gives a passionate performance in a role that his managers suggested him to reject. 7/10 by me.
Teleftaia apostoli (1949)
The first postwar Greek movie that was censored.
A young woman arrested for her mother's murder, narrates her story to the police officers. A melodramatic movie with atmospheric lighting, about the Greek resistance during the German occupation. The movie was censored in 1949 because according to the scenario a Greek woman betrayed her family and her nation in the name of love with a German military officer. The producing company decided to make a change to the scenario so the movie can be on theaters again. They changed her nationality to an Hungarian that can't understand why the Greeks resisting to Nazism. This new version brought the movie back to cinemas after three years in 1952. The movie was the first Greek entry to the competition of Cannes Film Festival in 1951, nominated for the Grand Prize of the Festival.
A surrealistic allegory on bourgeoisie.
A bourgeois family, the father and his three sons, inherits a rural mansion. By the time they move to the mansion, the sloth, the tepidity and sleep gradually corrodes the four men. They wake up from their lethargy only to eat and to have sex with the young and beautiful housemaid. The youngest son feels distressed with the situation and decides to break free from stagnation and confinement. Together with the maid he tries to get out to the world but after a few steps he falls asleep under a tree. A surrealistic allegory on the torpor and the decay of the upper class. The movie has a solid structured atmosphere, supported by the magnificent photography which diffuses a light that seems to stop the time. The camera move in the vast mansion indolently like the mesmerized situation of the people that captures. The movie won the Best Movie Award at the Locarno International Film Festival and the 2nd places at the Chicago International Film Festival and Thessaloniki Film Festival.
O anthropos me to garyfallo (1980)
Nikos Belogiannis, the man with the carnation
This movie is about Nikos Belogiannis, the fighter of the Greek Communist Party, with the disarming smile and the carnation on his lapel. After the Greek Civil War (1946-1949), Belogiannis returned to Greece, got arrested and sentenced to death for his political beliefs and actions. Charles De Gaulle, Pablo Picasso, Charlie Chaplin, Jean Paul Sartre, Jean Cocteau, Nazim Hikmet and many others, intellectual persons and artists from all over the world are sending telegrams to the Greek government demanding the cancellation of the sentence. The famous Italian actor Gian Maria Volonte was about to play the role of Belogiannis but due to health reasons he passed the role. Then the director Nikos Tzimas, asked Foivos Gikopoulos to play the role. Gikopoulos had no acting experience. Tzimas had asked him before to translate the scenario in Italian for Volonte, when he noticed Gikopoulos resemblance to Belogiannis. The critics wrote good reviews for Gikopoulos performance but this was only a foray in cinema business for him. He is now a dean at the Aristoteleio University of Thessaloniki teaching Italian literature. The movie is famous for the Greek all star cast including actors like Katrakis, Kazakos, Alexandrakis, Ypsilanti, Fyssoun, Antonopoulos and many others. The famous composer Mickis Theodorakis wrote the music of the film. The director Nikos Tzimas won the Special Diploma at the Moscow Film Festival for this movie.