Death and madness from Indicator

Marshal Frank Patch (Richard Widmark) keeps an eye on a small western town in Death of a Gunfighter (1969)

A pair of recent Indicator releases resurrect a couple of all-but forgotten features with major stars. Richard Widmark plays a Western lawman whose time has passed in Death of a Gunfighter (1969), the first movie credited to phantom director Alan Smithee, while George C. Scott is a former New York judge dealing with grief by taking on the identity of Sherlock Holmes; his therapist just happens to be named Dr. Watson (Joanne Woodward).

Lars Von Trier’s Europe Trilogy (1984-1991): Criterion Blu-ray review

Fisher (Michael Elphick) confronts the violence inside himself in Lars von Trier's Element of Crime (1984)

Criterion start 2023 with an excellent three-disk set of Lars von Trier’s Europe Trilogy, the three aggressively confrontational movies with which he began his career by digging into the lingering traces of Fascism which plagued the continent in the second half of the 20th Century. Impressive new transfers are given context by commentaries and seven hours of documentaries and interviews with and about von Trier, his intentions and creative process.

Stanley Kwan’s Rouge (1987):
Criterion Blu-ray review

Chan (Leslie Cheung) immerses himself in theatricality in Stanley Kwan's Rouge (1987)

Rouge (1987), Stanley Kwan’s meditation on romance, the passage of time and the imminent return of Hong Kong to China after almost two centuries of British colonial rule, gets a luminous restoration for Criterion’s new Blu-ray edition, which also includes an interview with Kwan and two documentaries by the director which explore issues of gender in Chinese cinema and his own identity as one of the first openly gay Chinese directors.

Criterion Blu-ray review: Whit Stillman’s Barcelona (1994)

Fred (Chris Eigeman) attempts ineffectually to erase anti-American graffiti with a marker in Whit Stillman's Barcelona (1994)

Criterion has released a stand-alone Blu-ray edition of Whit Stillman’s Barcelona (1994), the final part of his triptych about young Americans striving to define themselves as they navigate an uncertain world. A romantic comedy with troubling undertones, it deals with the mixture of naivety and arrogance which creates a problematic relationship between the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Blu-rays from Kino Lorber

Detective Bo Lockley (Michael Moriarty) in the climactic elevator standoff with "Stick" (Tony King)

Kino Lorber have been offering a wide range of movies in generally fine transfers, from the work of Jean Rollin and Jess Franco to poverty row exploitation classics, ’70s Italian exploitation, foreign and arthouse titles, and recently a number of titles from some of the more obscure byways of the ’70s.

Blasts from the past

Mario Bava and Italian genre film: Horror

Unearthing memories: BBC’s Maigret and rural Canadian violence

Boxed in … the urge to collect

Year-end ruminations: 2016