More eclectic recent viewing, from 1970s detective noir to an Italian anthology from the ’60s to Japanese horror and classic ’50s sci-fi.
A round-up of recent reviewing across multiple genres – western, black comedy, musical, animation, road movie.
A new digital restoration of King Hu’s epic period ghost story Legend of the Mountain (1979) from Masters of Cinema reveals this languid masterpiece in all its pictorial glory; a stunning dream of a movie.
On a recent evening, my friend Steve and I washed down a Death Wish triple bill with an excess of pizza and beer … I know it wasn’t healthy, but we had a good time.
Recent viewing includes a range of genre movies, from bloated big-budget international productions to scrappy low-budget independents, from large-scale fantasies to lo-fi science fiction, from horror remakes and sequels … all available on Blu-ray.
The ambitious and very expensive early sound-era musical King of Jazz, featuring Paul Whiteman and his band, gets a spectacular restoration which makes the most of the original two-strip Technicolor process on Criterion’s extras-packed Blu-ray.
A critical, but long-suppressed film from the New German Cinema, Volker Schlöndorff’s adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s first play Baal (1970) gets an impressive release on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection. This aggressively unsettling film is packaged with an excellent selection of contextual supplements.
Recent viewing has included three pairs of movies – two Anime features from 2016 (In This Corner of the World and Your Name), two thrillers from 1967 and 1972 by English directors (Point Blank and Pulp), and a pair of gritty horror-tinged thrillers from 1979 and 1981 which transcend their exploitation roots (The Driller Killer and Ms. 45).
Frank Sinatra, a star and celebrity, could also be an impressive actor when he cared to make the effort: two of his best performances from the 1960s, in John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Mark Robson’s Von Ryan’s Express (1965), reveal a willingness to play flawed characters and expose their weaknesses.
An obscure silent melodrama reveals an odd niche in British social history: Trapped By the Mormons (1922) was a fumbled piece of propaganda intended to warn English women of the dangers posed by the misunderstood American sect.