Recent viewing includes a range of genre titles, high and low-end, from Vinegar Syndrome and Arrow Video: serial killers, Japanese vampires, sewer-dwelling mutants, zombies and a schizophrenic woman struggling to maintain a tenuous hold on reality.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Victor Erice’s second feature, El Sur (1983), presents this exquisite depiction of childhood innocence and loss in a breathtakingly rich hi-def transfer, with excellent, informative supplements.
Recent Blu-ray editions from Indicator in the UK call attention to a couple of interesting but largely forgotten movies from the ’60s: Sidney Lumet’s John le Carre adaptation The Deadly Affair (1966) and Jack Gold’s The Reckoning.
Two recent Criterion releases, Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills (2012) and Graduation (2016), illustrate the richness of the Romanian New Wave; formally rich, morally complex, and dramatically powerful, they both look superb on Blu-ray and Criterion supplements them with substantial contextual material which reveal Mungiu to be one of the finest artists working in film today.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Dead Man (1995) presents a luminous transfer of Jim Jarmusch’s masterpiece, a western which is also a poetic contemplation of the conflict between a material world and spiritual survival.
Twilight Time has recently released a strong selection of crime-related Blu-rays, ranging from Marilyn Monroe’s debut as a lead in Roy Ward Baker’s Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) to Sam Fuller’s powerful revenge noir Underworld USA (1961), from Larry Peerce’s urban nightmare The Incident (1967) to a pair of ’70s exercises in police realism, Richard Fleischer’s The New Centurions (1972) and Philip D’Antoni’s The Seven-Ups (1973).
Like many filmmakers of his generation, Walter Hill began his career with strong, individualistic work, but somehow eventually drifted into aimlessness. His directorial debut, Hard Times (1975), still holds up, but his most recent film, The Assignment (2016), is transgressive but unfocused.
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.
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.