Although it’s impossible to keep up with all the disks from Twilight Time, I’ve recently been binging on some of their newer releases.
Paul W.S. Anderson wraps up his 15-year zombie apocalypse with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), one of the best episodes in the series, while Yeon Sang-ho’s Train to Busan (2016) scales the zombie heights in style.
The pleasures of black-and-white cinematography are on full display in Ken Hughes’ The Small World of Sammy Lee; shot on the streets of Soho and the East End by the great Wolfgang Suschitzky, this story of a small-time entertainer and compulsive gambler desperately trying to raise cash to pay off a gangster is a finely observed depiction of the seedier side of pre-Swinging London, shot through with bleak humour and the tentative possibility of redemption.
M. Night Shyamalan’s Split (2017) in one of his most accomplished films yet, a taut, tense psychological thriller in which every character, even the “villain”, elicits audience sympathy.
Criterion resurrects an important American independent film with a stunning Blu-ray of Jack Garfein’s Something Wild (1961), a showcase for members of the Actors Studio and the Method.
A recent trip to England produced stacks of new disks, some interesting books, and several in-flight movies.
2016 was an impressive year for movies on disk, with a wide variety of new and classic releases, prestige productions and exploitation, and some interesting rediscoveries … too many to pick just a handful of “bests”.
At my annual New Year’s ritual of dinner and movies at my friend Steve’s, I finally got to sample the home 3D viewing experience; we sampled a number of movies, old and new, cheap and expensive, but while the experience had some interesting aspects, I can’t imagine wanting to watch in 3D too often.
Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog (2015) is a charming, discursive, ultimately deeply moving exploration of death, loss, grief and life. Criterion’s Blu-ray edition provides an illuminating conversation with the filmmaker about her art, her career, and her experience of life.
Criterion’s Blu-ray release of One-Eyed Jacks is one of the disk highlights of the year, its restored image and sound confirming this great western’s stature. Marlon Brando’s sole directing effort is a key transitional moment between the traditional western and the national myth it represented and the modern deconstruction of that myth by filmmakers like Sam Peckinpah and Arthur Penn.