In a distant future, competing corporations have divided the Earth, turning it into a non-stop war-field of nationalistic, Orwellian proportions. Battles rage across the globe, and during one particularly brutal frontline assault, an ancient, dormant race of mindless killer mutants is unknowingly unleashed from a prison deep within the planet’s bowels.
The career of French auteur Jean-Luc Godard can be viewed in stages: a celebrated debut with the Nouvelle Vague; a controversial, confrontational, Maoist phase; and an uncompromising, artistically vibrant period that runs into the present and finds the onetime enfant terrible of the press working far from the spotlight.
Much of Jim Jarmusch's 10th film unravels at airy outdoor Spanish cafes where an enigmatic, well-dressed man sits alone sipping espressos and absorbing the surrounding environs. Equally mysterious individuals interrupt the stretches of solitude to stop, sit and join him in conversation. Grade: B.
Flicker Alley, a leading curator, restorer and distributor of lost and forgotten cinema gems, digs up a particularly niche bunch for its latest collection. Under Full Sail: Silent Cinema on the High Seas details early celluloid depictions of the grand vessels that sailed the world’s waterways at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. The five films (one full-length and four shorts, all excellent transfers) are snapshots of a forgotten time when mammoth ships with masts to the heavens took seafarers to adventure.
Japanese filmmaker Seijun Suzuki opens his 1963 yakuza actioner with a literal bang as sharply dressed gangsters battle on a dark backcountry road in the Tokyo outskirts. Bullets fly. Autos careen off the road. Bodies pile up. A glorious screen-engulfing car explosion ends this out-of-control melee but kick-starts a dirty Rock & Roll number.
Herk Harvey’s classic 1962 low-budget horror flick Carnival of Souls is twisted into an odd, disquieting but ultimately unsatisfying thriller in the new effort from German filmmaker Christian Petzold. Nina Hoss stars as the titular Yella, who decides to flee her abusive husband in the countryside for a new life and job in the city.
I wish that I didn’t have to review Timecrimes. Not that I didn’t like it — quite the opposite. This Spanish sci-fi thriller is one of the most original films released in years. Why the hesitation? Simple. In order to experience this intense mind-fuck puzzle to its fullest, confronting it blank is essential.
Snuggling up with your loved one and a movie is a perfect Valentine's Day activity. Cinema and the holiday d'amour make a perfect match. Romance and love have driven the arts for time eternal, and cinema is no exception. What films should you watch on Valentine's Day? The answer depends on a wild variety of variables, personal preferences, time allotment and more. One thing is certain, however: If the wrong ones are chosen, your romantic evening will nosedive.
Choosing the year's best DVDs is a difficult task. The market has become so large, divergent, inclusive and specialized that comprehensive surveys are Herculean efforts, with the only guarantee being that something of worth is overlooked.