• Boomerang!

    Boomerang!

    ★★★½

    Week #4 of Criterion Challenge 2022

    This is an interesting, early Kazan work. Boomerang! is sort of split into two sections: one concerns the murder of a beloved priest and its aftermath of a community in grief and shock and the other is a courtroom drama. Usually, I am an absolute sucker for courtroom dramas but here it’s notably weaker than everything else, even if it is still enjoyable for me. The way in which Dana Andrews’ character explains the…

  • Apart from You

    Apart from You

    ★★★★

    Week #3 of Criterion Challenge 2022

    This one left me rather stunned at how good it was. I have seen two Naruse films heretofore (Repast and Sound of the Mountain) and he’s a director often considered to be one of the greatest in Japanese film history. Apart From You just made it clear how badly I need to visit every Naruse film that is available on The Criterion Channel since this is such a poignant and emotionally devastating portrait of…

  • Japanese Girls at the Harbor

    Japanese Girls at the Harbor

    ★★★½

    Week #3 of Criterion Challenge 2022

    For Week 3 of The Criterion Challenge, I ended up ultimately expanding my horizon of Japanese cinema by breaking through into its late silent era, the films of the early thirties by some of the masters of classical Japanese cinema. Upon watching one film by Ozu and Naruse and Hiroshi Shimizu, I have discovered a certain fondness for these Japanese silent films. Between Hollywood films and the films produced in Europe (notably Germany and…

  • Iron Man

    Iron Man

    ★★★½

    Since the genesis of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 with the first film Iron Man, the ongoing franchise has re-invented cinema for better or for worse and certainly shaped blockbuster entertainment. As of 2022, the franchise is in either its fourth or fifth phase OR an ongoing multiverse or….I have no idea. I unfortunately made it through only a little into the Phase 2 films before I failed to keep up with this franchise and now, with a new…

  • Funny Games

    Funny Games

    ★★★★

    Week #1 of Criterion Challenge 2022

    Michael Haneke’s gripping, volatile, darkly comic and self-reflexive Funny Games questions the relationship between audience and media, between violence and consumerism and is one of the more sobering experiences centred around violence in the media. Wonderfully acted and masterfully directed with the sort of grace uncommonly found in such violent films, Haneke seems to challenge notions of viewership. Nothing sells this more than a particularly extended sequence towards the end of the second act…

  • Cure

    Cure

    ★★★★

    Week #1 of Criterion Challenge 2022

    Released in 1997, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure is a beautifully crafted, ominous, gruesome yet quaint serial killer / police procedural film. What really stands out with Cure above all its strengths – performances, script, visuals, and story – is its unsettling stillness. There are no cheap gimmicky scares that are found throughout the film and it’s such a great example of suspenseful, horror cinema that takes a non-traditional methodology.

    This first time viewing left me…

  • To Sir, with Love

    To Sir, with Love

    ★★★½

    Rest in Peace Sidney Poitier (1927-2022)

    What a titanic icon Sidney Poitier was, not just to cinema throughout the latter half of the previous century but upon the African American community from the turmoil of the civil rights movement onwards. Last year I watched Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s No Way Out, Poitier’s screen debut released in 1950 and it was incredible to see just how raw the man was in his first film and it seemed to set in motion decades…

  • History Is Made at Night

    History Is Made at Night

    ★★★★½

    My 2022 movie watching began with two great films starring actor Charles Boyer. The first film of the year was Cluny Brown and that was followed up by Frank Borzage’s History Is Made at Night and both films are among the finest first time viewings that I have had in recent memories and among two of the most beautiful, charming and comforting films of recent memory too.

    Irene Vail (Arthur) is married to the emotionally abusive, manipulative psychopathic Bruce Vail…

  • Cluny Brown

    Cluny Brown

    ★★★★½

    Over the past month or so, I’ve really discovered an even greater appreciation for Ernst Lubitsch than I previously had and Cluny Brown is a bittersweet film in the sense that this was the final film the great master left before his passing. When you consider the filmmaker most closely discussed in relation to Lubitsch – that is probably Billy Wilder – and the amount of tremendous films he had in the years that would follow Lubitsch’s death, one can…

  • I Wake Up Screaming

    I Wake Up Screaming

    ★★★★

    Very glad to have seen this early film-noir. I had not even heard of this one until I saw it added to the Criterion Channel’s November additions and with it listed as the first film in the ‘Fox Noir’ series. Its release year 1941 perhaps holds some significance in that this is the year that is generally understood to be the beginning of Hollywood film-noir more or less and I Wake Up Screaming embodies so much of the tonal, thematic…

  • Nobody

    Nobody

    ★★★★

    Nobody could so easily have been a cheesy, generic action flick but I think it accomplishes a little more than that. Through a commanding lead performance from Bob Odenkirk, it’s a riveting, tragic, darkly comedic character study about a man whose sense of emasculation becomes too much and in turn overcompensates through male rage. Great action sequences and an awesome supporting performance by Christopher Lloyd, Nobody certainly comes across as a visceral experience and Odenkirk’s excellent physical attributes on display in the film certainly feel very believable for a man of middle age.

  • Niagara

    Niagara

    ★★★½

    Noir-vember 2021 Film #1

    While many people seem to do an annual Noir-vember themed movie event, I never have and this is my first attempt to try something. How much I may succeed will ultimately depend upon my commitment to it but Niagara is the first film in what will hopefully be a fruitful 2021 Noir-vember for me.

    This has to be one of the slighter and lighter film noir works that I have seen even if it has some…