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Walker

by Glenn Erickson

Alex Cox attacks the Reagan years with a political tale sung in the key of the Italo Spaghetti Western: expect plenty of slow motion shots of stylish pistolero mercenaries fighting for the historical ‘filibuster’ William Walker. Look him up, he’s the patron saint of every neocon and would-be soldier of fortune. Everybody on this show…

China Gate

by Glenn Erickson

The messy politics of the Indo-China War didn’t confuse writer-director Samuel Fuller; as the machine gun- toting Nat King Cole snarls, hating Commies is an end unto itself!  Fuller’s second outrageous Cold War combat fantasy pits a handful of French Legionnaires and mercenaries against the might of the International Communist Conspiracy, to stop the flow…

Miracle in Milan

by Glenn Erickson

Still believe in the goodness of people?   Still hold out hope for the future?   If so this is one picture you’ll want to catch up with sooner than later. ‘The Good Totò’ is literally found in a cabbage patch; the simple magic of kindness enables him to turn a shanty town into a…

You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man

by Charlie Largent

You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man Blu ray Kino Lorber 1939 / 1.33:1 / 79 Min. Starring W.C. Fields, Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen Written by Charles Bogle Directed by George Marshall, Edward CLine Charlie McCarthy was W.C. Fields’ most formidable antagonist—a wide-eyed charmer with a bright (not to mention permanent) smile, Charlie was everything the…

Conquest of Space

by Glenn Erickson

George Pal’s ill-fated ‘future docu’ followup to Destination Moon still stirs the imagination, rendering in vivid Technicolor the visionary images that amazed us in Chesley Bonestell’s paintings about space travel. We still love the movie even if we want to shove the script and whoever approved it out an airlock without a space helmet. It’s…

Hester Street

by Glenn Erickson

Every breakout independent hit seems like a miracle. This delightful ‘little’ picture was fated to be ghetto-ized into ethnic theaters before its producers opted to distribute it themselves. Capturing a vibrant part of the immigrant experience, Joan Micklin Silver’s micro-production often has a big-picture look; it charmed audiences and became a sleeper success. Star Carol…

Edgar G. Ulmer Sci-Fi Collection

by Glenn Erickson

Kino’s triple-threat Edgar Ulmer show has great commentaries plus HD debuts of his two ‘Texas’ movies, that likely have not been seen in their original widescreen aspect ratios since the 1960s. Ulmer’s first tale of a solo space invader has the pleasing look of a silent-era expressionist film. His take on a time travel paradox…

The Whistle at Eaton Falls

by Glenn Erickson

TCM premiered a welcome restoration of this honorable Louis de Rochemont drama last year, and now it’s on a pristine-quality Blu-ray. Almost an ‘anti- film noir,’ the story of a labor conflict in a tiny New England hamlet is a docu-drama that actually has a positive, if not Utopian, ending. Fine direction by Robert Siodmak…

The Apartment 4K

by Glenn Erickson

Writer-director Billy Wilder’s favorite and perhaps best movie takes the leap to 4K, revealing even more beauty in the images of Joseph LaShelle and the designs of Alexandre Trauner . . . we all feel like we’ve lived in C.C. Baxter’s New York flat. Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond’s ‘dirty fairy tale’ best expresses the difficulty…

Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 3

by Glenn Erickson

There may still be people unaware of the anarchic joy of Tex Avery, so we’re making it our business to enlighten them. This third Volume of Tex’s MGM cartoons has both variety and some top favorites, plus his first, the intense Blitz Wolf and his last, the surreal Cellbound. Plus the insane King Size Canary,…

Captains of the Clouds

by Glenn Erickson

Michael Curtiz’s flashy and splashy wartime morale booster began as a pre-Pearl Harbor show of support of our Canadian friends’ contribution to the war effort. A vehicle for James Cagney, its script is a trifle about bush pilots competing for a woman and then showing The Right Stuff when it comes time to join up…

Broken Lullaby

by Glenn Erickson

The lasting horror of war is the blight it leaves on the lives of those left behind. Early sound pictures tried to deal with the guilt and pain of WW1, and the great Ernst Lubitsch took time out from romantic comedies and musicals for this very grim rumination on lies and responsibility. A French soldier…

Ordinary People

by Glenn Erickson

This celebrated dysfunctional family story won four Oscars, the most deserved easily being Alvin Sargent’s superb adapted screenplay. The viewer buzz initially centered on the surprise of Mary Tyler Moore’s unexpected casting against type, but even more alarming was author Judith Guest’s scary message that ‘perfect’ families are an illusion. We found the drama absorbing…

Le cercle rouge 4K

by Glenn Erickson

Jean-Pierre Melville in 4K?  That’s an inviting idea. All of Melville crime pictures are memorable, and this is one of his best-remembered, a traditional caper drama with a wordless heist scene that lasts almost half an hour. The color production stars three big French actors and one Italian. Alain Delon and Gian Maria Volonté are…

Shakedown 1950

by Glenn Erickson

There’s always somebody new in the rat race trenches whose motto is ‘how to make friends and deceive people.’ Howard Duff’s photographer uses his camera to extort money from criminals while polishing his image as a grabber of Pulitzer-worthy news photos. But how long can he maintain his charade with mobsters Brian Donlevy and Lawrence…

RoboCop 4K

by Glenn Erickson

Arrow Video bumps yet another of its top special edition titles up to 4K Ultra HD, just for home theater enthusiasts after the best and brightest of big screen experiences. The movie looks better than ever, and although the unrated version still packs too much gore overkill for average viewers, we respect the Horror-Comic vibe…

Outrage

by Glenn Erickson

The only woman director to work in Hollywood in the 1950s, Ida Lupino earned full marks as a creative innovator and a positive force in the industry. It was a restrictive time for the movies: politically, socially, every which way. But Lupino’s independent film about a rape victim passed through the censorship gauntlet — as…

The Flight of the Phoenix

by Glenn Erickson

Now up for grabs in Region A, it’s the Robert Aldrich movie that wins over all that see it. The epitome of Men In Peril adventures, the tale of 14 random oil men marooned in the Sahara is brutal yet optimistic about human cooperation — please, the world needs more of that right now. James…

A Star is Born 1937

by Glenn Erickson

They’ve hit us with three remakes of this one, one about another actress and two about music stars — maybe the next will be about a TikTok star. Thanks to an unexpected full digital restoration from original Technicolor elements, this 1937 original once again plays like a winner. Silent legend Janet Gaynor is Esther Blodgett,…

The Godfather Trilogy 4K

by Glenn Erickson

The most prestigious franchise in the Paramount corral hasn’t dimmed in esteem or popularity despite its somewhat lesser third installment. The whole trilogy was given an impressive restoration by Robert A. Harris, and this new remastered 4K set retains that very good work. Francis Coppola can’t be faulted for not wanting to revive the old…

The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm

by Glenn Erickson

The big-scale Cinerama fantasy once thought unrecoverable is back — a terrific restoration brings us George Pal’s ode to fairy tales, filmed on Bavarian locations with an international cast. Laurence Harvey and Karl Boehm are the brothers that compiled the famed tales of princesses, witches, magic spells and fiery dragons. Their idealized biography is interspersed…

What Color is Green Hell?

by Glenn Erickson

There’s nothing so good as being able to consult people who know more than we do, who deal in facts and can back up their assertions with proof. The excellent new Blu-ray for Monster from Green Hell has a nifty color sequence at the end which raised a lot of questions and wrong guesses. Thanks…

The Devil Strikes at Night

by Glenn Erickson

It’s the most impressive ‘new’ movie we’ve seen this year: Robert Siodmak’s 1957 political thriller fictionalizes a true mass murder case in 1943 Berlin — one that a high-ranking Nazi wants to justify the extermination of ‘undesirables’ for the furtherance of Aryan white supremacy. The snapshot of home-front Berlin is fascinating, and also the depiction…

The Little Rascals Volume 4

by Charlie Largent

The Little Rascals Volume 4 Blu ray – The ClassicFlix Restorations ClassicFlix 1933, ’34, ’35,/ 1.37:1 / 218 Min. Starring George McFarland, Dorothy DeBorba, Dickie Moore Written by H.W. Walker Directed by Robert F. McGowan, Gus Meins Often dismissed for their old-fashioned ways, classic films should be applauded for those very qualities. For better—and sometimes…

Lies & Deceit: Five Films by Claude Chabrol

by Glenn Erickson

Claude Chabrol was the most prolific of the New Wave directors. He didn’t only do murder thrillers; this fine selection of Chabrols from the ten year period 1985-1994 begins with a pair of detective tales but moves on to a masterful adaptation of a great book and two engrossing experiments, one of them picking up…

Monster from Green Hell

by Glenn Erickson

Fondly remembered as a permanent resident on all-night movie channels, this patchwork concoction has just enough ‘good stuff’ to qualify as a fun monster show. Jim Davis’s stock-footage safari arrives just in time to be irrelevant to the fate of the title monsters; some good actors are along for what amounts to a picnic in…