The usual year-end round-up – not necessarily the best movies or disks, but some of the ones I most enjoyed, from high art to entertaining trash. The sheer range of what’s available should lay to rest any lingering rumours about the demise of physical media.
Horror, westerns science fiction, crime, magic, demons, vampires, zombies, witches, a one-legged detective, people trapped in a deadly house, a damsel in distress and a film editor driven mad by cheap exploitation movies …
Recent viewing includes a stark western (compared to the work of Dreyer by Bertrand Tavernier), an entertaining adventure souffle from frequent collaborators John Huston and Humphrey Bogart, and a ground-breaking satirical drama from Robert Aldrich which dealt sympathetically with lesbianism in the late 1960s.
Recent viewing features stylized violence, classic martial arts, western noir and political Ozploitation on more disks from England
Brief notes on recent random viewing choices; a mixed bag of horror, fantasy, action, genre revisionism, satire and political thrillers.
Criterion’s Blu-ray release of Robert M. Young’s The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982) gives new life to a remarkable but too-little known film which takes on greater urgency in the current political climate in the U.S.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Dead Man (1995) presents a luminous transfer of Jim Jarmusch’s masterpiece, a western which is also a poetic contemplation of the conflict between a material world and spiritual survival.
A round-up of recent reviewing across multiple genres – western, black comedy, musical, animation, road movie.
In his early work, Sydney Pollack explored various genres from a distinctly literary perspective before becoming a maker of prestige, middlebrow Hollywood entertainments; excellent Blu-ray presentations of his best features – Castle Keep (1969), They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) and Jeremiah Johnson – reveal a promise not entirely fulfilled in a long career.
Some recent Twilight Time releases showcase the value of melodrama as social critique and character study.