Michael Powell’s final masterpiece, Peeping Tom (1959) virtually ended his filmmaking career, but it’s rediscovery in the 1970s and ’80s restored him to the pantheon of cinematic greats. Revisiting the film on Blu-ray reinforces my appreciation of a film which was ahead of its time.
Jess Franco’s Count Dracula (1970) is a dull and unnecessary version of the story, but Pere Portabella’s “making of” Cuadecuc, Vampir (1971), included as a supplement on Severin’s Blu-ray, is a fascinating meditation on the story.
Criterion’s Blu-ray release of Robert M. Young’s The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982) gives new life to a remarkable but too-little known film which takes on greater urgency in the current political climate in the U.S.
The limited 50th anniversary re-release of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is a reminder of the power of grand, ambitious filmmaking to transport an audience into complex imaginary worlds.
Recent viewing includes Mel Gibson as an angry father, Chinese marines fighting in Africa, cops tracking drug dealers and violent bank robbers, and a couple of American International horrors.
Four typical thrillers centred on grim men expressing themselves through violence are offset by two thrillers in which strong women control events … through violence.
Sometimes the best movie experiences depend on knowing as little as possible about what you’re watching. This was certainly true recently when I discovered the work of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead in Arrow Video’s excellent two disk set of Resolution (2012) and The Endless (2017).
Imagination, if followed honestly, can easily trump coherence and plausibility; what matters is how sincerely a filmmaker follows the narrative ideas out of which a movie arises. Three relatively recent movies offer a great deal of pleasure as they disappear enthusiastically down their own respective rabbit holes.
Two Blu-ray releases from Indicator represent shifts occurring in American filmmaking at the end of the ’60s, with Don Siegel’s near-perfect heist movie Charley Varrick (1973) quietly trashing all the rules once imposed by the Production Code and Alan Arkin’s directorial debut with Jules Feiffer’s Little Murders (1971) offering an unsettling, blackly comic dissection of the violence at the heart of American society.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death (1946) uses a 4K restoration by Sony from the original three-strip Technicolor negative and the film looks absolutely ravishing.