Revisiting old favourites like the original Star Trek series and familiar genres from samurai sword fights to supernatural monsters is like eating comfort food, triggering familiar emotions; even Satanic horrors can be paradoxically soothing.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Kenji Mizoguchi’s The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939) makes available one of the earliest masterpieces by this great Japanese director; although the film shows its age, the director’s remarkable technique of long takes and composition in depth is impressive.
I’ve recently been dipping into the ’60s and ’70s with two Criterion Blu-rays of major works by Orson Welles, a couple of Robert Altman’s signature titles, and a new J.G. Ballard adaptation from Ben Wheatley.
With Kubo and the Two Strings, Laika Entertainment continue to expand the possibilities of stop-motion animation in a fantasy which takes the nature of storytelling as its main subject.
The Immortal Story (1968), Orson Welles’ last completed fiction feature, adapted from an Isak Dinesen story, gets a gorgeous Blu-ray release from Criterion with a collection of substantial supplements providing background and context for the director’s first colour feature, which is also the most erotic film he made.
Some movies are so odd it’s hard to see how they came to be made … like Laslo Benedek’s brooding thriller The Night Visitor (1971) with its pulpy plot and cast of major international stars.
Brief thoughts on some genre movies released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video, plus a couple of interesting books about the making of Cy Endfield’s Zulu and Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.
Sex runs through the history of the movies as both spectacle and disrupter of narrative; Russ Meyer reveled in it, while Charlie Kaufman finds in sex poignant emotional depths.
Twilight Time offer a thriller maligned on its initial release, a harsh western directed by an Englishman in Spain, and a sprawling Hollywood epic which was one of the last of the big ’60s roadshow productions.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls (1962) restores the richness of the striking imagery which gives this low-budget classic its mysteriously haunting power.