Brief notes on recent random viewing choices; a mixed bag of horror, fantasy, action, genre revisionism, satire and political thrillers.
Two recent Blu-ray releases from Indicator showcase the idiosyncratic intensity of Terence Stamp’s acting. William Wyler’s The Collector (1965) is a prestigious Hollywood production, while Alan Cooke’s The Mind of Mr. Soames (1970) is a little-known low-budget Amicus feature.
I’m a sucker for sales and recently spent a lot on-line buying stacks of Blu-rays from Arrow Films and Severin at discount prices, adding a lot of titles to my backlog. In recent weeks, I’ve started making my way through the new Arrow titles, which include an assortment of genre offerings, some completely unknown, others old favourites.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Masters of Cinema’s new Blu-ray of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure (1997) drew me back for another attempt to understand this maddeningly enigmatic horror film; like its mysterious killer, it exerts an almost hypnotic hold on the viewer.
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).