In their Blu-ray set of Alain Robbe-Grillet’s first six features, the BFI provide a superb introduction to novelist and filmmaker’s radical and frequently controversial work which combines high art with lowly genre tropes in illuminating and surprisingly entertaining ways.
Criterion’s resurrection of Robert Montgomery’s Ride the Pink Horse is a revelation; the noir-inflected movie serves as a critique of post-war despair and finds a way for its war-damaged hero to return to life.
An opportunity to meet my favourite film critic, Jonathan Rosenbaum, turned out to be a rich evening of films from around the world.
Watching horror, like watching war films, is a way to experience fear without actually being vulnerable. Vicarious thrills allow us to indulge emotions which, in real situations, would be very unpleasant. We always have the guarantee of personal survival, the threats contained within structured narratives which, traditionally, provided us with a way back to normality.
More releases from Arrow range from the reality based and historical horror of Deranged and Mark of the Devil to the flawed black comedy of The ‘Burbs.
Criterion’s Blu-ray edition of Fellini Satyricon should go a long way towards establishing this phantasmagoric adaptation of the ancient Roman novel as one of the director’s finest and most creatively significant films.
Arrow Video has quickly become one of my favourite sources for both genre and “art” films, with impressive editions of a wide range of titles; most recently I’ve been immersing myself in some of their horror releases.
There’s no connection between the cute CG bear in Paddington and the likable stoner detective in Inherent Vice, other than the fact they are at the centre of two of the most entertaining movies to be released recently.
Recent Blu-rays from Twilight Time are as eclectic as ever. A couple of mainstream Hollywood classics; an oddball excursion into pulp by one of the great Hollywood directors; and a devastating animated fable by a Japanese-American filmmaker based on a very English graphic novel.
Criterion’s Blu-ray of Kihachi Okamoto’s The Sword of Doom (1966) provides a spectacular transfer of this difficult, idiosyncratic samurai film. In the finest performance of his career, the versatile Tatsuya Nakadai provides one of the screen’s great depictions of madness.