Archive for the ‘On The Couch’ Category
It was reported a few months ago that Kino Lorber would be releasing Stanley Kubrick’s earliest unreleased works to HD in the fall, and the first Blu-Ray finally has a release date:
Stanley Kubrick’s first feature, Fear and Desire, along with The Seafarers streets October 23rd for all you Kubrick-files out there like me.
Lorber has released a restoration comparison for Stanley Kubrick’s 1953 Fear And Desire. It was recently restored by the Library of Congress and mastered in HD from 35mm archival elements.
Just the fact that we get films like this from Kino in HD is pretty amazing. A long hole in my collection can finally be filled with an official fully restored release. Strong strong work.
With any luck we might get a good doc on the disc and some interesting special feature as well. Info to follow as it comes in.
LONG LIVE THE CULT OF KUBRICK.
Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.
The longer any video format in around the obvious lack of great releases begins to set in years after inception. Blu-Ray being in its 6th year already you would think there’s very little to get excited about at this point. Being a big fan of the format, September 2012 offers one of the best release months for 60′s, 70′s, 80′s and new releases movie in years. Some great old classics, action, comedy films, and there’s also a few discs you might want to buy just to BURN so there is one less copy in the world. I know I will be with one title in particular, but you may absolutely do what suits you. A few details and box art below, please enjoy.
Sixteen Candles (1984) director John Hughes-The first movie of only 8 that Hughes directed out of so many he wrote in the 80′s and early 90′s. It still surprises me how many moments I remember so perfectly from this film. I’m not really sure how many times I saw this on either cable or VHS video in the 80′s, but it must have been quite a lot because I still have dialog mesmerized even though I’ve only watched it 3 times in the last 15 years. A true comedy classic, you see how good Anthony Michael Hall was for the 80′s geek character. Ringwald always had her best work in the Hughes films she did. A really fun film that gets better with time.
Fringe 4th Season(2011-12)- I actually very much enjoyed the 4th season of Fringe. If you’ve been waiting for things to start paying off and being explained, if you make it to the end of this season you most likely will have most of what you want explained straight out for you. After the scare of possibility of being canceled after season 4 , the creators really got to laying things out in the last 10 episodes here. I am glad that Fringe does get one more full season to wrap things up but it really feels as if they decided to give the fans of the show the things that they were craving to know and see at the end of this season. I hope the 5th season has something in store to end it all with a bang.
Re-Animator (1985) director Stuart Gordon- A great straight out gore fest very loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft’s work. Any fan or student of practical FX work or gore films with find something to love here. A great classic 80′s horror flick all the way round.
Titanic 3D/ 2D (1997) director James Cameron- Straight in the fire place she goes. The only Cameron film I have zero love for. Saw it twice in the theater and it was two times too many.
Snow White And The Huntsmen (2012) director Rupert Sanders- I haven’t seen it yet but my Grip friend Shae Vera had seen it on a date and said it he was amazed how shitty it was, so I’ll most likely never bother with a viewing but it you’re into to shit. this might be right up your alley.
Ghosts Of The Abbyss (2003) director James Cameron- This is the one where James Cameron and Bill Paxton after filming Titanic, travel to the final undersea resting place of the fated ship of dreams. I’d rather watch this shit a hundred times in a row than have to sit though Titanic one more time. Not a bad watch if you haven’t seen it before.
Indiana Jones Blu Ray Collection (1981-2009) director Steven Spielberg- I think this has a best chance at the best Blu-Ray set of the year. Indy fans can finally rejoice that they can actually see the 3 good Indy films in HD come September 18. I know the wife and I will be picking up a set and watching all 3 back to back immediately. Can’t wait.
Cabin In The Woods (2012) director Drew Godard- Loved this and am glad it got a theater release after sitting on the shelf at MGM for a few years. It’s extremely inventive, fun and gory as hell. This is the direction I love to see Hollywood go with horror films again. Enough PG-13 remakes and shit storms, please take note, Cabin In The Woods is a fucking awesome film that every horror fan should be rushing out to pick up in September. Come on humans, start supporting Hard R horror again.
The Great Mouse Detective (1986) directors Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, David Michener and John Musker- Loving these classic Disney animation releases on Blu-Ray. The format was made for Animation, the way the picture just pops off the screen is beautiful. We picked up The Rescuers two pack a few weeks ago and were pleasantly surprised by the picture quality again. I’m sure The Great Mouse Detective will look just as good as it did in the theater in ’86.
Supernatural Season 7 (2011-2012)- Really digging this show and the 7th season keeps things rolling strong. Funny, great lore through out all seasons and all the actors walk the line of seriousness and comedy perfectly, a great show to be discovered. I’ll be sad to see it come to an end next year but at least we will have 8 rad seasons total for this cool as hell horror mythos series. The best thing McG will ever be involved in, still can’t believe he is EP. Regardless though, a kick ass series for all horror fans worldwide.
Avengers (2012) director Joss Whedon- I love me some Avengers, My original review here: http://celluloidpopculturejunkie.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/after-the-avengers-movie-in-imax-3d-i-wanted-to-walk-back-into-the-theater-and-see-it-again-and-again-and-again/.
The Blu-Ray I’m sure will not disappoint being that Disney usually pack there big earners with a ton of bells and whistles. I’m looking forward to watching this a few more times and rewinding the greatest Hulk moments ever put on film. HULK going to SMASH the shit out of records again come September 25. I know they’ve got my loot.
Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One Set (2008-2012)- 6 film set- If you haven’t for some reason bought any of the “Phase One” Marvel Studios movies on Blu-Ray and are suddenly in the mood to splurge, here’s your chance to own The Incredible Hulk,Iron Man 1 and 2, Thor, Captain America: First Avenger and Avengers all in one fancy collectors pack made to resemble the suit case Nick Fury uses to carry the Tesseract cube in the Avengers film, pretty slick fokes.
Dark Knight Returns Animated Part 1 (2012)- 76 minutes- This looks very interesting and the other few DC animations I’ve seen over the last 3 years have been pretty good. I’m expecting very special treatment to be given to this material and hope DC has made a great film here. I will be checking this one out as soon as I get the chance. I hope one of the greatest Batman comics ever has been translated well, otherwise it could be war on DC. Fingers crossed.
Bond Collection “50 years” Blu Ray Set (1962-2008)- 22 movies, 130 hours of special features, 50 years of Bond and this set has them all. There were a few film unavailable on HD till now. I’m glad I waited on the full deal, I like the way they’ve designed the set, looks very cool. A definite needed up grade to a great series, good or bad all Bonds are a must own classic.
The Game Criterion Collection (1997) director David Fincher- The news of Criterion putting out Fincher’s “The Game” on video have been rumored since the release of the film in the theater. Being my favorite film of the director, I am over joyed to finally have them giving me a Blu-Ray presentation that will be how I remember that first viewing in the theater in the late 90′s. So Happy to finally be getting me some David Fincher’s The Game in stunning Criterion HD. Paint me stoked.
Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (1942-1976)- Saboteur / Shadow of a Doubt/ Rope / Rear Window / The Trouble with Harry / The Man Who Knew Too Much / Vertigo / North by Northwest / Psycho / The Birds / Marnie / Torn Curtain / Topaz / Frenzy / Family Plot- 15 films- director Alfred Hitchcock- What more is there to say, 15 Hitchcock films in HD in one set. I pity anyone who doesn’t see the pure awesomeness in this release, so many great classic in one set is unlikely to happen ever again. This would be the perfect set for that young film enthusiast in your life, this is film school in a box if I’ve ever seen it. Pure Ultra Cinema Gold.
So many superb releases to get your hands on this month. I know I’m already lock in for a bunch in this group, some great watching ahead.
Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.
June this year marked our first anniversary here at Celluloid Pop Culture Junkie. So to celebrate that occasion we’re re-watching my 15 must see film noirs and inviting you all to do the same, possibly to discover a new world of cinema gold you never knew existed; And I’m betting some of you will be blown away by the pure awesomeness of these films.
For the purpose of these articles we are going to be looking at the classic “Film Noirs” by definition, starting in the early 40′s spanning to the late 50′s; Slow exposure black and white film cinematography with strong shadows rooted in silent German expressionist films and stories derived mostly from anti-hero crime fiction of the great depression era . Really the term “Film Noir” wasn’t even adopted in America till the 70′s, many of the classics were referred to as Melodramas by US film historians and critics during their initial run. However the term was first used to describe Hollywood films in 1946 by a French critic Nino Frank.Believe it or not, there still is a debate amongst film enthusiasts and scholars alike whether “Film Noir” is an actual distinct genre within itself or not. In all honesty, who really gives a shit? It’s like arguing who the best captain on Star Trek was, it’s a stupid question that’s never ever going to get you laid. So forget it already and just enjoy the actual films with some sort of companion if possible. Now here are some great unforgettable pictures that everyone who loves the movies should see.
If you decide to give any of these a viewing, you’ll find something to fall in love with and will want to turn other humans onto for the rest of your life. I’m not going to rate where these stand in my opinion until the top 6, so the first few articles will be a general “must see” on my list for everyone. You will not be disappointed in any of the following films. All are super dupper cinema gold. Thanks to everyone who’s been following these articles and the blog. I’m sorry it took me so long to finish up this but so many changes in my life right now has side tracked me a bit, but finally here is my top 3 Super Special Fantastic Favorite Film Noirs That All Film Connoisseurs Should Soak Up And Love Like A Fine Wine.
#3-The Killing (1956) director Stanley Kubrick-At 27 years old Stanley Kubrick came to Hollywood to make his third feature film. This was the first time he had a real budget, full crew of experienced technicians and veteran actors that brought something special to the dialog and character that was written on the page. Even at this young age as a director Kubrick ruled the production with a superior studied technical knowledge. My absolute favorite story about the films production is about the first set up on the first day Kubrick told his Oscar winning director of photography Lucien Ballard the set up and shot he wanted with lens choice and position of the camera. After he had gone off to talk to the actors about the scene he had noticed that Lucien had put the camera and dolly track much closer than he had told him, also putting on a wider lens than requested. So, Kubrick went over and asked him what he was doing. The DP told him that it really didn’t matter about the exact position of the camera and he had set the shot up to make it easier for the focus puller and crew to execute the shot with the same effect. On top of that he said that the set up didn’t really change the perspective at all. Kubrick long being an expert photographer knew this was total bullshit and calmly asked Ballard to put the camera and dolly where he had asked for it, put the proper lens on or get off his set. And Kubrick was totally right on the matter. Even at this young age he gave us a brilliant race track robbery film that uses the “same story told from different views and characters” approach( like Kurosawa’s Rashomon before it). The mastery of light is very apparent at this point as well. Great shadows and atmosphere bring the film alive around a great cast of great Hollywood character actors. Lots to love and learn from this picture. Kubrick’s films and life are a true obsession with me and doesn’t look like it’s changing any time soon. Even his early films are something of greatness in themselves and only get better with multiple viewings, always seeing new things. LONG LIVE THE CULT OF KUBRICK.
- #2- The Lady From Shanghai (1947) director Orson Welles- Watching any Orson Welles film always feels like you’re in for a unique experience. One thing Welles had said in interviews in the late 70′s that he realized around and after the production of Lady from Shanghai, “that being so ahead of your time in Hollywood really means, you’re in trouble” . Having almost an hour cut out of any film by a studio obviously changes it completely. The fact that The Lady From Shanghai was a huge bomb, everyone hated it at the time and no one could even look Orson in the eyes when the subject came up amongst his peers , partly prompted him to leave Hollywood for a number of years in favor of work in Europe. The cut of The Lady From Shanghai we have on DVD, is just under an hour and a half and I still think it’s my favorite picture Welles directed. Just imagining the full cut fills me with such awe and wonder because with the film we have today I enjoy every part of so much and never figure it could be any better. I love the way it’s shot, odd angles, deep blacks, slow black and white film and amazing locations. All the weird off beat characters always seem to be playfully sinister and feel “real” in that great movie way. Rita Hayworth plays the perfect gorgeous dark predator/ damsel in distress role, paired with Welles worldly tough guy sailor sucker, the story engages you like very few newer movie can today. This for me has been watched 5-6 time a year minimum since I discovered it about 18 years ago. Just can’t get enough of the Orson Welles classics. My hope is that the Blu-Ray for this is treated with plenty of care by the studio that owns it (which I think is Sony/Columbia). Other wise I’d check it out ASAP if you have never seen this one and love the classics, this is one of the best no question..
- #1-White Heat (1950) director Raul Walsh- When I had first come to viewing White Heat I was in a place where I had seen way to many mediocre classic films. Working at a video store as a teenager I found myself picking whole sections of the store to view from A-Z and watching every single film on the shelf in alphabetical order. While I was in the classic cinema section getting to W was some what of a chore, having to go though a few months of viewing with only finding a handful of particularly great works. Then upon watching White Heat I woke up in a big way, finally realizing why James Cagney is considered one of the best actor ever to grace the screen and where some of my favorite gangster films had ganked a large portion of their DNA from. If the Gangster picture is your thing, this is required viewing and you will thank me for turning you on to this super charged classic noir. Director Raul Walsh takes his cast through one of the tightest fastest running stories in the classic genre, with great shots and an ending that could be the best for any anti-hero in film history, this is what great cinema is all about. I’m really looking forward to the Blu-ray of this title as well, Hoping it gets the attention in restoration it deserves, because I’ll be watching it for many years to come. Told You I’d Make It, Top Of The World Ma!
Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.
2011 was still a great year for the growth of Blu-ray , lots of old classics, odd obscure cult films and a long awaited sci-fi saga made their debut in HD. All of them looking better than ever in 1080p and showing the true latitude in the Blu-ray format solidifying it as simply the best true film experience available at home . Here is my top 13 Blu-rays of 2011, with all the great releases this year it was a struggle to get it down to just 13, Here’s part 2, enjoy kids…
7- TAXI DRIVER (1976) Director Martin Scorsese- I can’t remember the exact age I was when I first saw Taxi Driver, but I think it was in my early to mid teens. The first thing that struck me being a professional drummer at the time, was the opening credit sequence with the music of the great Bernard Hermann, such amazing tempo and mood to it. At the same time, the New York florescent like lights, the extreme grittiness of Michael Chapman’s cinematography and the rawness of De Niro/ Scorsese held my attention till the last frame. I always loved anti hero protagonists in stories that to be fully realized, the ending has to have weight and be really ironically messed up in the end. Taxi Driver hits every note that still resonates with lots of people till this day. It never gets old or dated and that is in part to the Scorsese/ De Niro dynamic that has work so well for many years after 1976. The real combined genius of the two can especially be seen in the scenes with a 14 year old Jodie Foster. All the character work done makes it so believable, like both these people actually live and breath in the real New York City of the late 70′s. The film looks the best at home it ever has in the Blu ray presentation. Without looking processed or enhanced in anyway by too much DNR the grain of the film transferred amazingly, bringing out the true beauty of the camera work and art direction. The real gem of the set it the 1987 Laser Disc commentary with Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader that hasn’t been available on any release since the Criterion Laser disc in ’88, this is a must for any Scorsese fan. De Niro kicks ass as Travis Bickle like no anti hero quite has since. One of the great classics to see and enjoy over and over again in 1080p. Quite brilliant shit .
6- LE BELLE ET LA BÊTE (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) CRITERION COLLECTION (1946) Director Jean Cocteau- Again in 2011 Criterion scores super high points on there classic film Blu-ray releases. The 1946 live action french language adaptation of the Beauty and the Beast is my favorite telling of that story, the film is a more adult take. The physical lengths that actor Jean Marais’s went to in his portrayal as the beast was astonishing to say the least. 5 hours getting into make up everyday before shooting , having animal hair glued to every part his visible body with disastrous after effects to his skin. The make up is so amazing it is still stunning that it was done in ’46, along with Cocteau’s direction and expert trick photography FX, it’s a film that will have you thinking twice about what was being technically achieved in the silver age of movie making. True gold in the cinema world, cheers to Criterion for their work on bringing us this and other greats films to our homes on Blu-ray.
5- PATHS OF GLORY CRITERION COLLECTION (1957) Director Stanley Kubrick- Specking of other great films that Criterion is bringing to HD, the next two are some of my absolute favorite classic cinema by my favorite director. Even in the early days of Stanley Kubrick directing career he had no problem in going to great lengths to get the details he felt he needed. Already widely known as a perfectionist, he shot 68 takes of the doomed men’s “last meal” scene. Because the details of the scene required that the actors appear to be engaged in the act of eating, a new roast duck had to be prepared for almost every take. Also shooting in Germany, the prison scene where the men discuss their fates ran overtime on a Saturday. Kubrick could not get what he wanted, and producer James B. Harris came to the set to tell the director after take 63 that overtime was not allowed in Germany. Kubrick resisted stopping in a rare show of temper. He finally got what he wanted by take 74. It must have been abundantly clear even at that point that he was a master of photography, the use of light, shadow, blocking and movement have never been done quite so cinematicly perfect before. The depth of his black and white films are an amazing achievement realizing how slow the film and lens were in the late 50′s compared to today, that makes it so so much more difficult to get a balanced look and feel to a film. The transfer to Blu-ray is like a god send to me, I love Criterion for giving us a film that look unbelievably beautiful and rich compared to the DVD, which looks some what flat. There is no doubt in my head that this is how Paths Of Glory was intended to look by Kubrick himself. Long Live The Cult Of Kubrick.
4- THE KILLING CRITERION COLLECTION (1956) Director Stanley Kubrick- Kubrick’s great race track robbery picture and considered his first true professional film as far as cast, crew and studio financing, even though he had shot and released two independently done features already. My very favorite production story about The Killing is the relationship between Kubrick and the director of photography, this was the first film on which Stanley worked with a cinematographer. Award winning veteran DP Lucien Ballard was hired because Kubrick was officially working on a film union production for the first time which prevented him from using himself as the cinematographer, as he had done in the past. On one particular shot in the scene where the guys plan the robbery, Kubrick asked Lucien to put a dolly track down in a specific place to move though the apartment set and use a certain length lens on the camera; Stanley went over to deal with something else while the shot was being set up, he noticed that the track wasn’t being placed where he had specified, after future inspection he realized a different lens was being placed on a camera much closer to the set than he had asked for. Kubrick call over Ballard asked what he was doing with the set up he asked for, Ballard replied that having the dolly track closer with a wider lens would make it easier for the crew to pull off the tracking shot and that it really wouldn’t change the perspective he wanted that much; Kubrick already at 28 years old was a extremely accomplished 11 year professional photographer understanding lenses and composition better than most humans alive, he knew that Lucien was full of shit and was screwing with him, directly with out raising his voice Stanley said, put the dolly track where I told to with the lens on the camera I asked for or get off my set; And really the best thing about the whole story in that Kubrick was absolutely right, what Ballard wanted to do totally changes the perspective and look of the intended shot. Even at 28 Kubrick wasn’t afraid of some one 20 years his senor. One thing that will always be true in cinema is that the foundation/ guarantee of all Kubrick films is an almost magically shot image on every frame, very close to every single frame could be a beautiful still photo or painting perfectly lit for the subject they cover. As far as the Blu-ray, another brilliant presentation by Criterion. As a bonus feature, Killer’s Kiss Stanley’s 2nd film is included as well, If anything you could say the lighting and use of the New York City of the back drop is very impressive considering he did all his own camera work on that film. One last little bit of trivia is that Rodney Dangerfield reportedly appears as an extra in the racetrack fight scene. Pretty dam cool. Long Live The Cult Of Kubrick.
3- CITIZEN KANE (1941) Director Orson Welles- For some reason this film really only gets better with age. The brilliance of every aspect of the production stands forefront in the Blu-ray and should be required viewing by every student, movie lover and professional film maker a like. In a real way the relationship that Welles and his Oscar winning DP Gregg Toland had was the exact opposite of Kubrick’s and DP Ballard on The Killing; On the first day of shooting, the first day he was ever on a movie set, Welles had no idea that it wasn’t customarily the directors job to physically set the lights where he wanted them, cinematographer Toland walk closely behind the Orson making a “shhhh” motion to all technicians he approached, letting the director do as he would; Later, the DP when asked why he would let an amateur like Welles set his shots up for him, he cited that the only way that some one like him, a veteran in Hollywood, will learn something new is to watch someone who’s never done it before. Also later in the film when Orson asked Toland to teach him about lens and the camera more, he told Welles he could teach him everything he knew in a weekend. In the end, it was this film that really destroyed Orson Welle’s directing career even though he would go on to direct a number of get pictures, but on none of them was he given total creative control like on Citizen Kane. Now if you really are one of those people who don’t understand why this is regarded by many film makers as the “greatest film ever made”, the Blu-ray is loaded with supplements including a great commentary from director Peter Bogdanovich who knew Welles for the last 18 years of his life; Also the brilliant award winning documentary the Battle Over Citizen Kane will give you an idea of the chaos the director caused with the picture, almost having his films negative bought and burned by top Hollywood players, one of the best “making of ” Docs ever done; on top of that the HBO dramatic movie RKO 281 in included as well. So much is right about this film and the HD disc is something to enjoy for a long while to come.
2- BARRY LYNDON (1975) Director Stanley Kubrick- Really this might have been my first pick of the year had the disc had a documentary or commentary, something. With no extra at all it still takes a strong second place. Again here we have a case of a film that was made for viewing on Blu-ray, the visuals that Kubrick has achieved is likened to the Thomas Gainsborough and other 18th century paintings he emulated so perfectly in his period masterpiece. The tones and use of light is unparalleled, even till this day nothing else has been able to achieve the look and feel of the film. First thing that comes to mind when thinking about Barry Lyndon is the look of the scenes shot all by candle light. A 50mm Carl Zeiss lens specially build for a NASA satellite was borrowed and modified with the Kollmorgen adapter used in still cameras to shoot whole scenes with only candle light. At f/0.7, the aperture was the largest build ever for movie use, and I’m sure no one has tried to do the same thing again. Kubrick pushed the medium every time he shot a film, no one will make anything with quite so much attention to detail again. Mostly because he took quite a long time to complete a project, Lyndon took 200 days to shoot over over a 2 year period; and the studios let him work the way he worked because he was Kubrick. No one is going to get two or three hundred days to shot a movie anymore unless it’s considered a guaranteed hit, and there is almost nothing that is. It’s been turned into business driving art, or maybe I’m wrong and it’s always been money driven. In reality the attention to every part of his productions, Stanley Kubrick has left us with viewing experiences that can never be replicated by any other filmmaker again. At least we have the chance to view and take in his genius in the comfort of our homes at the highest quality ever available. Long Live The Cult Of Kubrick.
1- STAR WARS SAGA (1977-2005) Directors Lucas, Kirshner, Marquand- Most who knows me are aware of my love for Star Wars. As a child of the 70′s and early 80′s, I was in that perfect age group to have the OG trilogy capture my imagination, it’s one of the big reasons that I decided to make my living in the entertainment industry. Over the years Uncle George has tinkered with the films so many times that the original seen in theaters May 1977 has long been lost. It really use to get me pretty worked up to think of some of the changed done for the Special Editions, Greedo shooting first is so lame and wrong, the dewbacks moving scene looks like crappy CG from a video game and the Jabba stuff in the hanger bay stops the flow and pacing that worked so well in the beginning. A New Hope gets off fine compared to some of the shit in Jedi, god what a shit pile ending with Hayden Christensen’s ghost beside Kenobi and Yoda with that shitty new song choice ending the saga now, where’s my yub nub track now? Well as expected there is new tweaking and changes to all the films, and to my surprises no matter how absolutely shitty the new screaming of Vader “NOOOOOO!” as he throws the Emperor to his death in Jedi is, I actually had been able to step back in the first time in my life and just watch these films as they now exists, I fully realized that these are George Lucas’s films. No one else, no matter how much they bitch and moan will never be the inventor of this universe. Uncle George is, and he’ll continue to mess with his creation till the end of days and we will keep buying it up until the wookie factory stops turning out stories in our favorite galaxy far far away. As far as the Blu-ray presentation, this is by far the best these films have ever looked, great new commentaries, deleted scenes and new never before seen footage on the bonus disc is worth the price of the set alone to true OG trilogy geeks. Holy Grail stuff for anyone who’s followed the films since the start. This set is a great reason to get into Blu-ray if you haven’t done so already. I am really looking forward to seeing what surprises the format has coming up in 2012.
Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.
2011 was still a great year for the growth of Blu-ray , lots of old classics, odd obscure cult films and a long awaited sci-fi saga made their debut in HD. All of them looking better than ever in 1080p and showing the true latitude in the Blu-ray format solidifying it as simply the best true film experience available at home . Here is my top 13 Blu-rays of 2011, with all the great releases this year it was a struggle to get it down to just 13, enjoy part 1 kids…
13- THE HOLLY MOUNTAIN (1973) Director Alejandro Jodorowsky- This film is direct proof of massive drug use and counter culture taking over in the movie industry in the 70′s. It really is a type of film that just doesn’t get made anymore, filled with esoteric and religious symbolism, incredible psychedelic imagery and breaking every rule they say you should never break when making a film; but it’s a kind of brilliance that doesn’t get nurtured anymore by mainstream culture as it did by the flower power/rock n’ roll culture out of the 60′s into the 70′s. This true original film is unlike any other filled with amazing images that will affect you one way or another for a long while after viewing them. With the amazing job on the print transfer to HD I was blown away at the brilliance of Jodorowsky’s attention to detail and ability to hold your attention with only images and simple score. To say it is a vast improvement over the DVD transfers would be a true understatement. If you are a fan of this and El Topo you owe it to yourself to pick them both up. I truly love what the 70′s brought to the film world, this is one of the jewels.
12- ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1951) Directors Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske- There’s only a few classic Disney animated films that really resonates with me for some reason, the 1951 Alice In Wonderland is definitely one of them. The colors, crazy characters, psychedelic imagery and great storytelling still hold up so well (kicks the shit out of the latest Burton/Depp shit bomb), It’s hard to believe it’s 61 years old. On Blu-ray these hand drawn films absolutely pop off the screen, the format was made for animation lovers. Pick up a few of these and you will want to own them all, this true classic is looking better than ever.
11- DUMBO (1941) Directors Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen, John Elliotte- Disney continues their superb effort this year with the ever brilliant Dumbo. I forgot how much this one taps into your inner child and upon viewing the bitter, worry ridden adult starts to melt away. No matter how much you don’t feel like watching it, the breath taking imagery done by the first animation masters of their craft will have you finding yourself lost in this film. The reason I love this one so much is the really odd dream montage with the surreal elephants and other experimental animation in the middle. So cool and out of character for Disney these days. Again the treatment of the material to HD is amazing. It’s very hard to believe something looks so good yet so natural made in 1941 and presented in a digital format. Love the Blu-ray.
10- PULP FICTION (1994) Director Quentin Tarantino- This is one of those films I never get tired of and as many times as I’ve seen it, it still has me laughing in all the same places. It’s about as good as mainstream American film making got in the 90′s. It started out a smaller independent film that changed the way things were done once again in the entertainment industry. A lot of people tried to come up with their own versions of what Pulp Fiction did so well, but no one succeeded in the same way as Quentin. Now after watching all his other films, you know no one does it like Tarantino a true American auteur director. Pulp has never looked better than in this release and we also get a “look back” doc that has some great insights from some of the players in the film. I especially like Travolta’s anecdotes about Quentin, very entertaining.
9- CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982) Director John Milius- Some movies from when I was a young kid play a lot different on reviewing them 30 years later. A very few hold up to what my interpretation was of “good film making” at 5 to 10 years old, most are so shitty on a production stand point it’s hard to make it through them or even remember why I liked them so much as a youngling. There are those few and far between that hold up and even surpass my original memory. The 1982 “Conan The Barbarian” is one of those film experiences that to me hasn’t been done quite so raw, with dark humor and shot so close to the look of the Frazzetta paintings of the character since maverick American director John Milius went to Spain, with 20 million dollars and a virtually unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger to film the fantasy epic. Since this film was released on VHS video tape and on cable TV in the mid 80′s I must have seen it 25 times minimum and until the Blu-ray release I’ve never really grasped the true beauty of the photography of Conan. In a time before CG, the film to me plays much better than most fantasy adventure films up to the late 90′s. Schwarzenegger really does have a brilliant screen presence that for an actor who was unknown, his choices and physical confidence was unexpected and perfect for the character, and hasn’t been matched to this day. With a great array of classic moments from punching out the camel, drunken Conan and company, to the vicious sword play all the way though, I now remember why this film has stuck in my head for so many years and will continue to make the rounds into my Blu-ray player for many years to come. Arnold really did kick some serious ass in the 80′s, which is a hard act to follow especially if that act is yourself.
8- TRON (1982) Director Steven Lisberger- One of my favorite sci-fi movies of the 80′s and I think it holds up better and makes more sense today, than it did in 1982. The film was a financial bomb as far as Disney was concerned. Even though they did an amazing job with the 17 million dollar budget, the 33 million US theatrical gross wasn’t enough for another Tron film to be considered in the 80′s. With the advent of home video and a growing cult following, Tron had really found an audience and large enough fan base that Disney did a sequel 18 years later in 2010 and a third on its way in the next few years. This means they hit a chord that was so far ahead of its time, it took the rest of the world almost two decades to catch up to what most of my friends knew who saw the film at 6 years old. That shit kicks ass! Tron is absolutely the most brilliant sci-fi story telling which mirrors what is happening in society in the 80′s and more so today. The presentation on the Blu-ray is so amazing and so far ahead of the DVD image quality I can only imagine a 70mm projected version beating this viewing experience out. The documentaries are some of the best I’ve seen and enjoyed. This is a must own for all sci-fi and FX fans, and for you film nerds out there this is the first feature film to use CG imagery for entire sequences on screen. Neat stuff for sure.
Part 2 coming soon…
Till Next Time. Stay Tuned
Hey Everybody,June this year marks our first anniversary here at Celluloid Pop Culture Junkie( Now this series of articles has run well into July and looks like August as well). So to celebrate that occasion we’re re-watching my 15 must see film noirs through out the month and inviting you all to do the same, possibly to discover a new world of cinema gold you never knew existed; And I’m betting some of you will be blown away by the pure awesomeness of these films.For the purpose of these articles we are going to be looking at the classic “Film Noirs” by definition, starting in the early 40′s spanning to the late 50′s; Slow exposure black and white film cinematography with strong shadows rooted in silent German expressionist films and stories derived mostly from anti-hero crime fiction of the great depression era . Really the term “Film Noir” wasn’t even adopted in America till the 70′s, many of the classics were referred to as Melodramas by US film historians and critics during their initial run. However the term was first used to describe Hollywood films in 1946 by a French critic Nino Frank.Believe it or not, there still is a debate amongst film enthusiasts and scholars alike whether “Film Noir” is an actual distinct genre within itself or not. In all honesty, who really gives a shit? It’s like arguing who the best captain on Star Trek was, it’s a stupid question that’s never ever going to get you laid. So forget it already and just enjoy the actual films with some sort of companion if possible. Now here are some great unforgettable pictures that everyone who loves the movies should see.
If you decide to give any of these a viewing, you’ll find something to fall in love with and will want to turn other humans onto for the rest of your life You will not be disappointed in any of the following films, all are super duper cinema gold. Finally TOP 6 TIME!!! Sorry for the delay for anyone reading this series of articles but we are back with the first half of my top 6 of 15 must see Classic Film Noirs. First up today in the number 6 spot is a director that has been on this list a few time already, with his first feature film that kicked the world in the balls with a classic Bogart detective tale that has so many great cinema moments in it, it’s just plain stupid.
- #6-The Maltese Falcon (1941) director John Huston- A first film for any director always holds something special. You usually see a talent emerging not fully formed but striking to the imagination. With John Huston’s first film he was as so few directors are right out of the gate, a force to be reckoned with. Humphrey Bogart as Private detective Samel Spade leads the stellar cast, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and Elisha Cook Jr. amongst many other players inhabiting one of the greatest films ever made. The dark and twisting plot runs quite fast for a movie from 1941. The dialog delivered as only film noir characters can speak. Suggested subtext in every exchange, quick sarcastic retorts and a super cool “fuck you” attitude to every question or situation makes Bogart into a god through the camera lens. This is the film that cemented him in my head at a super talent and one of the mediums great artist to be rediscovered through many generation of films lovers and artist alike. Add to that the directing talents of a young John Huston and you have an atom bomb of film geek joy exploding to scorch your brain with the plain cinema bliss. This is what film noir and classic film is all about, the stuff dreams are made of.
- #5-Sunset Boulevard (1950) director Billy Wilder- Of so many great movies Billy Wilder directed, Sunset Boulevard stands at the top of the best film ever made about the life of making films. I love movies about Hollywood and the dark and seedy world which Los Angeles becomes in this film is of legend. The story starts with a William Holden voice over and shots of Sunset Boulevard and then a house with a pool. Detectives around the pool are trying to fish out Holden’s screen writer characters dead body. The whole story is told from a voice over from a dead body in a swimming pool, how dam cool is that as a hook in the first few minutes. Pure pure gold. You’ve also got what could be the best casting in film history with silent screen star Gloria Swanson playing the aging “has been” actress Norma Desmond and Eric Von Stroheim as Max Von Mayerling, her sullen butler servant companion. They inhabit the roles smashing the line between playing and being a character, bringing such brilliance to a role you somewhat closely resembling in career and life, must have been a extremely hard to make real with out going a bit crazy for both players. Swanson’s performance is nothing short of breath taking even re-watching it 61 years later, a must study for every actor and/or actress. For the keen film geek you’ll also see guest appearances by Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nilsson and H B. Warner as the “wax works ” bridge partners to Norma, all major silent screen stars in their day. So much inside stuff about the business of making movies was exposed for the first time in a dark way to the American public and the world, and also garnering some mixed emotions in Hollywood about Wilder’s picture. Some studio head publicly scorned the director for exposing the world to the dark take on the city of angels and the industry that made it a giant in the desert. A must see for every film fan and casual watcher, see how amazing classic film can get with Sunset Boulevard. Come see what all the hype is about, it’s all right here.#4- Touch Of Evil (1956) director Orson Welles- After his first film, so ahead of its time it almost crushed his directing career in 1941, Orson Welles still found work as a actor in Hollywood and Europe though out the 40′s and 50′s. He still went on to direct a hand full of great films even though the studio financiers kept tight rein on the final product put up on the scene. Touch of Evil is one of those film that was talked about how the executives at universal stepped in and re cut the film with out Welles’s approval and released a very compromised version both in content and in score. In response to the treatment of his film Welles wrote very a detailed 58 page memo to Universal outlining the problems with the cuts they had made and the reason why he made the first choices for the film. Pleading with them to please put the film back to his original cut, the studio ignored the memo released their cut of the film. I have seen the original cut on VHS and was confused by obvious cuts in the scenes flow, weird music cues and edits. Thanks to Charlton Heston bringing forth an original copy of the Welles memo in 1998, which has thought to have been lost, Universal re edited the film to all the choices outlined in the memo and giving us a very complete version of Touch Of Evil as Orson Welles intended us to see it. What really is the difference? We’ll with the Welles cut of the film we have better flow of music to atmospheric sound(no more out of place music), all the drug content is back in, better flow in editing and choice of takes and plainly we get the film intended by the director. So ahead of its time, this film plays like a movie from the 70′s shot in black and white, all the actors have great characters to work with, the story is dark as can be for American cinema of the mid 50′s, the lighting and shot choices are inspired genius to say the least and Orson Welles’s Captain Hank Quinlan is one of those amazing characters in cinema who seems so real to me. Another great role he disappears into , never once thinking your watching an actor or performance, this is a true actor and artist at the height of his craft. A shame the film world realized too late what they had in Welles and his Jedi like storytelling abilities. Put this on your list to see asap, greatness is waiting to be discovered here. As every Orson Welles picture or performance holds something great to be discovered in his take on certain material and story, Touch of Evil is at the height of American cinema as one of the top 50 films ever made with out question.
Top 3 are coming up this week. Thanks to anyone who is following this set of articles and sorry again for the delay, all the above 3 films are defiantly worth a viewing. Some serious cinema super power here. Happy viewing, hope you discover something awesome this week.
Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.
June this year marks our first anniversary here at Celluloid Pop Culture Junkie. So to celebrate that occasion we’re re-watching my 15 must see film noirs through out the month and inviting you all to do the same, possibly to discover a new world of cinema gold you never knew existed; And I’m betting some of you will be blown away by the pure awesomeness of these films.For the purpose of these articles we are going to be looking at the classic “Film Noirs” by definition, starting in the early 40′s spanning to the late 50′s; Slow exposure black and white film cinematography with strong shadows rooted in silent German expressionist films and stories derived mostly from anti-hero crime fiction of the great depression era . Really the term “Film Noir” wasn’t even adopted in America till the 70′s, many of the classics were referred to as Melodramas by US film historians and critics during their initial run. However the term was first used to describe Hollywood films in 1946 by a French critic Nino Frank.Believe it or not, there still is a debate amongst film enthusiasts and scholars alike whether “Film Noir” is an actual distinct genre within itself or not. In all honesty, who really gives a shit? It’s like arguing who the best captain on Star Trek was, it’s a stupid question that’s never ever going to get you laid. So forget it already and just enjoy the actual films with some sort of companion if possible. Now here are some great unforgettable pictures that everyone who loves the movies should see.
If you decide to give any of these a viewing, you’ll find something to fall in love with and will want to turn other humans onto for the rest of your life. I’m not going to rate where these stand in my opinion until the top 6, so the first few articles will be a general “must see” on my list for everyone. Director Billy Wilder starts today’s list off with more cinema gold.
- Double Indemnity (1944) director Billy Wilder- The great director Billy Wilder brings us one of the all time great films, with script co-written by pulp master Raymond Chandler. Staring Fred MacMurray as insurance salesman Walter Neff who finds himself wrapped up into the perfect scheme to help murder trophy wife Barbara Stanwyck/Phyllis Dietrichson’s older husband and take the life insurance money for their own. The only one to stand in their way is master claims investigator Barton Keyes played by the legendary Edward G. Robinson. Stylish cinematography, great snappy dialog and performances that you can use as your go to as an actor or actress, this one has it all. If you’ve never seen this film you should find it and watch the dark brilliance unfold in front of your virgin “indemnity” eyes. I wish in a way I was the ones of you who have no idea this film exists, because that way I could have my mind blown again by how dam good classic cinema can be (it happens so rarely these days) . Lucky lucky humans who decide to give this one a watch, Gold, Gold, Gold!
- Night And The City (1950) director Jules Dassin- Put together the greatest understanding of light and shadow, use of practical locations, lighting accents, scene blocking and you have a technically stunning film in Night and the City. The fact that director Jules Dassin made the movie under the pressures of the Hollywood communist black list looming over him is incredible. From Dassin himself in an interview he said that 20th Century Fox studio head Darryl Zanuck handed him the book and said that this would be his last picture with them and he’d better get out of the States, go to London, get a script going quick, shoot all the expensive scenes first and make a great film because it would be his last, most likely of his career. Even though he would go on to make great films in France till 1981, his career almost died because of someone naming him as a communist sympathizer. Amongst all this chaos he still managed to bring us a superb piece of film noir for the ages. A decidedly American view in the portrayal of the “fish out of water, that just can’t win” story and the protagonist Harry Fabian. Played expertly by Richard Widmark, a hustler that can’t ever have a scheme work out, until he meets and hustles the worlds greatest Greco-Roman wrestler of all time and things go down hill fast from there. As these film do most of the time, it doesn’t end well for anybody in the picture. I do really love the use of the real locations in London, brilliant sets and production design that absolutely add atmosphere and great visual metaphors through out . A real gem in the classic cinema catalog, much to be learned from the direction of almost every aspect of this film and production.
- Beat The Devil (1953) director John Huston- Shot on location in Italy, John Huston delivers again with the great Humphrey Bogart at the helm as aging American playboy Billy Dannreuther. Four international crooks are stranded in Italy waiting for the repair of their steamer ship, Billy and Mrs. Dannreuther accompany them on the way to Africa to swindle land with rich uranium deposits. A British couple the Chelms, gets caught up in the groups business and schemes, where fun and folly turn deadly at the drop of a hat. The tone that Huston walks with this film is amazing, great comedic moments that plays on convention of the film noir story and delivery of archetype heroes and villains. Helped along with co writing credit going to Truman Capote, slick and lightning fast dialog is delivered by actors, all at the height of their craft. Brilliant performances all play off each other to give us truly great cinematic characters and moments. All this is wrapped up with gorgeous Italian locations shot by master cinematographer Oswald Morris. Rule number one, anytime you see John Huston on a film it’s always worth a look or two or three. One really interesting fun fact for film geeks I’ve found out while writing this article is that Humphrey Bogart was involved in a serious automobile accident during production, which knocked out several of his teeth and screwed up his ability to speak. Huston hired a young British actor noted for his mimicry skills to rerecord some of Bogart’s spoken lines during post-production looping. Although it is undetectable when viewing the film today, it is Peter Sellers who provides Bogart’s voice during some of the scenes in this movie. Dam cool trivia to me.
And that does it for part 3. Ending off with another superb John Huston classic. Next time we count down the first half of my top 6 all time favorite films noirs. Radness upon radness upon awesome.
Stay Tuned. Till Next Time.
Hey Everybody,June this year marks our first anniversary here at Celluloid Pop Culture Junkie. So to celebrate that occasion we’re re-watching my 15 must see film noirs through out the month and inviting you all to do the same, possibly to discover a new world of cinema gold you never knew existed; And I’m betting some of you will be blown away by the pure awesomeness of these films.
For the purpose of these articles we are going to be looking at the classic “Film Noirs” by definition, starting in the early 40′s spanning to the late 50′s; Slow exposure black and white film cinematography with strong shadows rooted in silent German expressionist films and stories derived mostly from anti-hero crime fiction of the great depression era . Really the term “Film Noir” wasn’t even adopted in America till the 70′s, many of the classics were referred to as Melodramas by US film historians and critics during their initial run. However the term was first used to describe Hollywood films in 1946 by a French critic Nino Frank. Believe it or not, there still is a debate amongst film enthusiasts and scholars alike whether “Film Noir” is an actual distinct genre within itself or not.
In all honesty, who really gives a shit? It’s like arguing who the best captain on Star Trek was, it’s a stupid question that’s never ever going to get you laid. So forget it already and just enjoy the actual films with some sort of companion if possible. Now here are some great unforgettable pictures that everyone who loves the movies should see. If you decide to give any of these a viewing, you’ll find something to fall in love with and will want to turn other humans onto for the rest of your life.
I’m not going to rate where these stand in my opinion until the top 6, so the first few articles will be a general “must see” on my list for everyone. This week we have a private detective theme to this article. Starting off will a great Howard Hawks/ Bogart number:
- The Big Sleep (1946) director Howard Hawks – Bogart as wise cracking detective Philip Marlowe, total brilliance. The first thing that strikes you about this one is the speed and wit at which dialog is delivered through the whole piece. I really started to think about it and it feels like they do twice as many words spoken per minute than most films (10 times as many if you’re talking a Michael Bay movie), and the wittiness of the character banter brings a smile to your face quite often during viewing. The on screen chemistry between Bogart and Bacall is undeniable, they both hold a certain presence that makes you want to keep your eyes on them and the characters they inhabit continually . This would be the second film that the pair appeared in together, the first being Hawks’s 1944 To Have Or To Have Not. This time out director Howard Hawks brings us a more refined performance from Bacall, holding here own again the much more experienced actors. Watching these kind of films it reminds me about how little dialog is delivered now a days without a few quick cuts, close-ups and cut-aways to hide actors and directors mistakes. Here we have a film mostly shot in medium and wide shots, takes run 3-4 minutes on average and with perfect execution technically hitting a load of camera moves and focus marks during these long takes. If done well like here, the viewer hardly even notices the movement of camera opposite the actors moves. In this film we have acting masters and a director that were at the height of their game, it’s definitely one movie I’ve learned a lot from and enjoyed the multiple viewing reveling in if nothing else, Bogart’s command of the screen and camera lens. If you haven’t really seen many Bogart films this would be one to start off a long love affair with one of the silver screen’s great actors. With out question, a must see for everyone.
- Murder My Sweet (1945) director Edward Dmytryk- Tough guys, guns, girls, schemes and one big league blond. Another sweet Philip Marlowe story this time played by Dick Powell, not quite as epic as the Bogart take on the character but still great in its own right. The real jewel for cinephiles on this one is the razor sharp storytelling and direction by Edward Dmytryk., extremely dark for American cinema even film noir. The pools of light and shadow inhabit the sets and become a character all in their own, adding to the dread felt by Marlowe through out the piece. A very great example of the classic blond femme fatale played by Claire Trevor, an actress well into her 34th role after only 10 years of acting, she sets a performance bar that’s hard to match by the other players. Thrown in as well are a peppering of classic great ideas and climaxes in story and action that have been copied many times before. I really don’t want to spoil one moment in particular that has been copied at least 2-3 time as far as I know and I’m thinking of stealing it for a short film idea myself, I love the visual that much. Bottom line, a film with superb visual understanding, dark storytelling and a few iconic moments that sear them selves into the cinephiles brain for life. Another film to fall in love with, at very least an idea stimulator for the storytelling impaired.
- Kiss Me Deadly (1955) director Robert Aldrich- A blonde in a trench coat tries to flag down a car on a dark desert road, passed by the first one she desperately jump in front of the second. Slamming on the brakes barely avoiding her, the driver hard boiled private dick Mike Hammer offers her a ride. As they race down the shadow covered highway the credit role to director’s Robert Aldrich (the Dirty Dozen) film of the Mickey Spillane’s best selling novel. This film is as dark as they come with mostly great acting, brilliant cinematography and one of the best endings from the 50′s noirs. Ralph Meeker inhabits the character of Mike Hammer, a serious bad ass. He seems like he could really beat the shit out of any takers with still maintaining a human side with his love for his friends and women alike. The great mystery object story angle leave us with a brilliant third act and a climax that will have you skipping back to take a look at it a few times. A surprise awaits you if you watch this one, a great twist as to what everyone is fighting for, and as usual guns, girls and mayhem.
There’s the second List of 3 for you guys to get going on. Next one will be coming out soon.
Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.
June this year marks our first anniversary here at Celluloid Pop Culture Junkie. So to celebrate that occasion we’re re-watching my 15 must see film noirs through out the month and inviting you all to do the same, possibly to discover a new world of cinema gold you never knew existed; And I’m betting some of you will be blown away by the pure awesomeness of these films.For the purpose of these articles we are going to be looking at the classic “Film Noirs” by definition, starting in the early 40′s spanning to the late 50′s; Slow exposure black and white film cinematography with strong shadows rooted in silent German expressionist films and stories derived mostly from anti-hero crime fiction of the great depression era . Really the term “Film Noir” wasn’t even adopted in America till the 70′s, many of the classics were referred to as Melodramas by US film historians and critics during their initial run. However the term was first used to describe Hollywood films in 1946 by a French critic Nino Frank. Believe it or not, there still is a debate amongst film enthusiasts and scholars alike whether “Film Noir” is an actual distinct genre within itself or not. In all honesty, who really gives a shit? It’s like arguing who the best captain on Star Trek was, it’s a stupid question that’s never ever going to get you laid. So forget it already and just enjoy the actual films with some sort of companion if possible. Now here are some great unforgettable pictures that everyone who loves the movies should see. If you decide to give any of these a viewing, you’ll find something to fall in love with and will want to turn other humans onto for the rest of your life. I’m not going to rate where these stand in my opinion until the top 6, so the first few articles will be a general “must see” on my list for everyone. We’ll start thing off today with a John Huston heist classic:
- The Asphalt Jungle (1950) director John Huston- Locked away for seven years criminal mastermind Doc Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe) feels he has conceived the perfect heist. First thing after hitting the streets Doc puts together a team of thieves to help execute the job. With superb acting and cast all around, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, John McIntire, even Marilyn Monroe in a small roll; And most important Sterling Hayden is Dix Handley a bad ass low level “Strong-arm” man who gets involved in a robbery that will net a million dollars in jewels. Things go wrong, people get messed up, things go really wrong, more people get messed up. Basically the only two reasons you should need to watch this immediately if you haven’t already seen it is Sterling Hayden and John Huston. Anytime Hayden took on this bad ass hard boiled anti-hero type role he knocked it out of the park and always had you remembering his character, he’ll pop up again in later films on this list most defiantly. Now director John Huston is one of those names that when you see it you should pick up that film a watch the hell out of it. Simply because you will see magic over and over no matter how many time you watch one of the films he’s directed they only get better and better, a true cinema master and artist in the highest regards. My recommendation is get you hands on every film he directed and revel in the brilliance. You can start with this one if you like.
- Out Of The Past (1947) director Jacques Tourneur- The first thing you notice about this beautiful little number is the extremely fast and snappy dialog, it’s text book Noir. The story goes Robert Mitchum/Jeff Bailey is a gas station owner in a small town, a man comes to the gas station who use to know Bailey and wants a meeting with him. Turns out Jeff was a Private Detective that skipped out on a case for a wealthy criminal client and now that client (Kirk Douglas) has found him and wants a chat. This would be the perfect film to show someone who would like to get into classic film noir, a great introduction to the genre. Director Jacques Tourneur shows his brilliant understanding of blocking actors, use of light and shadows, highlighting the superb black and white photography. This one’s a real winner and if you would like to be a winner as well you might like to check this shit out.
- Mildred Pierce (1945) director Michael Curtiz- Joan Crawford in her Oscar winning Best Actress performance, chilling as hell. Starting the picture off at night at a house on the beach. With 6 shots to the heart a man with a funky little mustache falls to the floor uttering his last word “Mildred”, a smoking gun thrown at his side. Seconds later a car rushes away from the house, cutting to the seaside boardwalk. A distraught Joan Crawford/ Mildred Pierce walks towards a railing looking as though she is planing to jump over in an attempt to kill herself. Stop by a cop who convinces her to take a walk instead of a swim, she meets an old friend who owns a bar on the walk and we start the story of a woman who takes control of her life in the 40′s and becomes a success in business only to give everything up for her spoiled daughter. A great study in the roll reversal of male and female part in these films. Everything ruthless and dirty down that a guy normally does in the noir films, Joan Crawford takes that destructive male energy and make it decidedly female and it is scary as hell. Once she turns, she tears though anyone standing in her way to get what she wants. One you might not want to watch with the wife or girlfriend , forbid she gets any ideas from the piece and decides to go all Mildred Pierce on your ass. You’ve been warned.
So, that’s the first 3 Film Noirs of my favorite 15 list for your viewing pleasure this month. Hope you decide to give a few of them a look.
Till Next Time. Stay Tuned.