Recent miscellaneous viewing, part two

Charles Bronson as real-life career criminal Joe Valachi in Terence Young's The Valachi Papers (1972)

More random viewing: two obscure independent films from the BFI, Margaret Tait’s poetic Blue Black Permanent (1992) and Maurice Hatton’s gritty fake-umentary about the film business, Long Shot (1977); and three from Twilight Time – George Sluizer’s interesting Americanization of his existential thriller The Vanishing (1993), Terrence Young’s straightforward fact-based crime saga The Valachi Papers (1972), and D.W. Griffith’s monumental but deeply troubling Birth of a Nation (1915).

Kinji Fukasaku’s Yakuza epic

Bunta Sugawara as Shozo Hirono, the violent spirit of Japanese post-war economic recovery in Kinji Fukasaku's Battles Without Honor and Humanity

Arrow releases yet another impressive limited edition box-set with their dual-format edition of Kinji Fukasaku’s Battles Without Honor and Humanity, a key work in the transition of Japanese cinema from the “classical” post-war period to a more transgressive critique of the nation’s history and culture.

Criterion Blu-ray review: Richard Brooks’ In Cold Blood (1967)

The atmospheric introduction of Robert Blake as Perry Smith in Richard Brooks' In Cold Blood (1967)

Criterion’s Blu-ray of Richard Brooks’ In Cold Blood (1967) gives the film a stunning visual presentation and enhances it with a substantial collection of supplements dealing with the original murder case, author Truman Capote’s approach to reporting the story, and the stylistic and technical innovations brought to the project by Brooks and his collaborators.

Random notes: two films and a book

Erwin Leder as the psychopathic killer K in Gerald Kargl's unsettling Angst (1983)

A variety of approaches to horror are on display in Guillermo Del Toro’s new film Crimson Peak; a book about Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining which gathers together articles, essays and interviews from the ’80s to the present; and a disturbing 1983 Austrian film based on a real-life multiple murder, Gerald Kargl and Zbigniew Rybczynski’s Angst.

DVD Review: Appropriate Adult (2011)

The British legal system has something called the “appropriate adult”. This is a volunteer who’s brought in to observe interrogations when a suspect is deemed incapable of looking out for their own interests, either through some learning disability or other mental handicap. At the beginning of ITV’s two-part fact-based drama, Janet Leach (Emily Watson), a […]

Blasts from the past

Jim Thompson’s “A Christmas Carol”

New releases from the BFI, 2016

Getting serious

British black-and-white fantasies