6 items from 2016
Rebecca Clough Jan 13, 2017
Ask someone for their favourite political thrillers and you’re likely to get a list of Oscar-winning classics, from JFK to The Day Of The Jackal, Blow Out to Argo. But what about those electrifying tales that have slipped under the radar, been largely forgotten or just didn’t get the love they deserved? Here are 25 political thrillers which are underappreciated but brilliant.
Generally, the first hostage to get shot in a heist movie is considered insignificant; luckily this time the young woman killed by terrorists has a devoted boyfriend who vows to avenge her death. Charles Heller (John Savage) already works for the CIA, so he’s able to use secret information to blackmail his bosses into »
The quintessential shot in Robert Aldrich’s filmography is that of a close-up, held for a smidgen longer than the normal length one would think appropriate for such a shot. The face the camera is focusing on is usually a signifier of the most central element in Aldrich’s films: tension. Whether it’s melodrama (Autumn Leaves, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?), war pictures (Too Late the Hero, Attack!), or Westerns, both sober and jocular (Ulzana’s Raid and 4 For Texas, respectively), ideological and external forces wrestle within the psyche that defines Aldrich’s cinema. Metrograph's all-35mm retrospective in New York offers us the opportunity to survey the oeuvre of the auteur who hammered out his cinematic legacy with the vigor of an undoubtedly indignant and irreverent artist. Too Late the Hero (1970)Consistency across genre and modes of filmmaking marks Aldrich as one of the last great studio auteurs, »
1978 cast a long shadow in the world of horror. From Dawn of the Dead to Halloween, the landscape was abundant with everything from the socially relevant to the singularly terrifying, from superior remakes (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) to quirky haunted houses (The Evil). And then there’s the red headed stepchild that no one talks about: Brian DePalma’s The Fury. Frenetic, action packed, and gruesome, The Fury never gets the love from even most DePalma fanatics. What a shame – it’s never less than entertaining, and at its best showcases the director’s mesmerizing visual touch.
Released in March by Twentieth Century Fox, The Fury made $24 million against its $5.5 million budget. That’s good green, folks, and DePalma received favorable reviews, still basking in a critical glow left over from his previous effort, Carrie (’76). So why is it so easily dismissed, ranked along the lines of efforts like Wise Guys, »
- Scott Drebit
When it comes to telekinesis and gory visual effects, the movie that generally springs to mind is David Cronenberg’s 1981 exploding head opus, Scanners. But years before that, American director Brian De Palma was liberally dowsing the screen with claret in his 1976 adaptation of Carrie - still rightly regarded as one of the best Stephen King adaptations made so far. A less widely remembered supernatural film from De Palma came two years after: De Palma’s supernatural thriller, The Fury.
The Fury was made with a more generous budget than Carrie, had a starrier cast (Kirk Douglas in the lead, John Cassavetes playing the villain), and it even did pretty well in financial terms. Yet The Fury had the misfortune of being caught in a kind of pincer movement between Carrie, »
TV is usually the first portal for horror when you’re a kid. At least it was for me; pre internet horror was found either: a) at the movies, b) in comic books, or c) the idiot box. And before we were allowed to see big screen horror, TV scratched that itch. Saturday mornings had Scooby Doo, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, and various other shows, animated or not, to quench our growing curiosity for the weird, creepy, and unusual. But if we were lucky enough to be able to watch after 9 pm, things got much more interesting.
Terrifying stories of miniature monsters, witchcraft, Satanism, and creepy cults awaited our bloodshot eyes. TV was absolutely inundated with horror, channels dripping with malicious behavior in the form of weekly shows or made for TV movies. Of course, the networks (the big – and only – three: ABC, NBC, and CBS) back then had »
- Scott Drebit
Directed by Sydney Pollack.
A New York actor’s volatile reputation keeps him unemployed, which forces him to adopt a new identity as a woman to secure any roles.
With transgender rights being such a hot and important topic in the modern era, Tootsie marks as a befitting, albeit a likely coincidence, Criterion release a Blu-ray for this week. The film follows the talented, yet hostile actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) who comes from the old Method-style of acting from yesteryear, and he cannot adapt to the contemporary (1980s) mode of the homogenised, easily relatable/identifiable performers. His long-suffering agent George (Sydney Pollack) explains that Michael has burnt every bridge and nobody will hire him. Michael hears of an audition from a friend, and one of his acting students Sandy »
- Matthew Lee
6 items from 2016
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