A brief survey of recent viewing ranging from classics to contemporary, from class to cheese: thrillers, sci-fi and horror featuring black magic, killer robots, demons, evil stepdads and retro-’50s rock-n-roll biker gangs.
Criterion’s release of Elaine May’s one-of-a-kind Mikey and Nicky (1976) on Blu-ray calls attention to one of the most unjustly neglected movies of its era, a devastatingly raw dissection of masculinity, friendship and betrayal by a filmmaker who was too distinctively original to fit comfortably into the business of Hollywood.
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.
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.
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).