• X

    X

    ★★★★½

    “Someday we’re all going to be too old to fuck. Life’s too short, if you ask me.” Words of wisdom from porn star Bobby-Lynne

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Deep Throat in this satirical tribute to the 1970s - arguably the greatest decade in the US for horror and porn films, and independent filmmaking in general. And the film is full of homages and meta references to all three. Yet woven into this ironic and humorous story of sex, drugs, rock…

  • The Last Picture Show

    The Last Picture Show

    ★★★★★

    I have a soft spot for films that shine a spotlight on America in the 1950s. If done well, they depict not only the prosperity, confidence, and conformity of the era, but also the discontent, despair, and rebellion lurking just beneath the surface – forces that would bring much upheaval in the next decade.

    The Last Picture Show does this exceptionally well, although the emphasis is firmly on the downside of societal changes in the 1950s, beautifully interwoven with the…

  • Promising Young Woman

    Promising Young Woman

    ★★★★

    “Revenge” films, when done well, can be deeply satisfying. When films create truly despicable characters who get their just deserts at the hands of those who they harmed, it’s tempting to stand up and cheer when the tables are finally turned. And while Promising Young Woman sets up that familiar arc, there are enough twists along the way to keep viewers from settling into a "been there, seen that" mindset.

    Sure, there are plot points that feel too convenient and…

  • The Hitch-Hiker

    The Hitch-Hiker

    ★★★½

    Director Ida Lupino packed a lot into a simple, 71-minute story - a murderous hitchhiker takes 2 men hostage as he tries to evade the police in Mexico. It's loaded with tension as the hostages become increasingly desperate. Very well done.

  • The Misfits

    The Misfits

    ★★★★½

    "The Misfits is life viewed from the lip of the grave." - screenwriter Arthur Miller

    Despite the grandeur and elegance that John Huston brings, there is an overwhelming tone of melancholy to The Misfits. I’m not talking about the fact that it was the last film for both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, nor that Montgomery Clift (although he wouldn’t die until five years later) was only a shell of his former self and was clearly on a downward trajectory.…

  • Miranda

    Miranda

    I like a good exploitation film now again, and I recently realized that I have never seen anything by the provocative Italian director, Tinto Brass (Is there a better name for a director?). Brass began his career making mainstream genre films, gained plenty of notoriety - or infamy - for making 1979's 3-hour orgy Caligula (starring Malcolm McDowell), and then spent the 80s and 90s making soft-core erotic dramas.

    1985's Miranda is not one of his better known films, but…

  • The Vampires or, The Arch Criminals of Paris

    The Vampires or, The Arch Criminals of Paris

    ★★★★

    Les Vampires is considered one of the most influential films in history. After all, it single-handedly invented the crime thriller genre. Yet for years I avoided it because I just couldn't bring myself to invest nearly 7 hours in the experience. Fortunately, those good folks at Criterion Channel added it to the lineup in 10 segments, as it was originally released. So it felt like watching a season of, say, Stranger Things.

    Not all of the segments are great, and…

  • The Possession of Joel Delaney

    The Possession of Joel Delaney

    I’ve seen around 1,000 horror movies, so I consider myself fairly well acquainted with the genre -especially films from the 1970s and earlier. So I was a bit surprised when I stumbled across this 1972 film (starring Shirley MacLaine!) that I had never heard of. And after watching it, let me just say that it deserved the quick descent into obscurity that it experienced.

    Aside from the appearance and performance of Ms. MacLaine, there is nothing particularly notable or remarkable…

  • The Witches

    The Witches

    ★★½

    It’s impossible for me to see this film as anything other than a vanity project for the powerful producer Dino De Laurentiis to remind the world that his wife, the 37 year old Silvana Mangano, is still smoking hot. Duly noted. And I presume the five accomplished directors signed on because… well… Dino is a powerful producer. It’s certainly not because they had a fabulous script to work with. And so everyone involved – excepting Mangano – appeared to be…

  • After the Thin Man

    After the Thin Man

    ★★★★

    "Driver, take us somewhere we can get the taste of respectability out of our mouths." Nick Charles

    After the Tin Man picks up right where the 1934 original left off – and not just in plot. The film has the same director, writers, and of course William Powell and Myrna Loy return as Nick and Nora. (Even “Skippy” returns as Asta the dog.) In fact, the only thing After lacks is the freshness of the original. But watching this felt…

  • Gaslight

    Gaslight

    ★★★★½

    This British film tends to get overshadowed by its Hollywood remake, 4 years later, starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. But I found this 1940 film (itself the adaptation of a popular 1938 play) every bit as engaging as its big budget remake. Anton Walbrook was wonderfully manipulative and slimy as the husband, and Diana Wynyard, as the wife, gives a quieter and more subtle performance that that of Oscar-winner Bergman.

    This film is leaner and grittier than the American…

  • Body Snatchers

    Body Snatchers

    ★★★

    The world certainly didn’t need a second remake of the classic 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The 1978 version was quite good, moving the paranoia from a small town to the big city of San Francisco. Here the action moves to an army base, which I found much less interesting. The practical effects were well done, and nothing says “1990s” like a full frontal of Meg Tilly. Let’s see them try THAT in 1956.