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.
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.
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).