5 items from 2013
Blue Velvet has plenty of the makings of noir: a sultry and dangerous atmosphere, big city fear, femme fatale (Dorothy Vallens/Isabella Rossellini), an intrepid detective working outside the police force (Jeffrey Beaumont/Kyle MacLachlan), and, of course, Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), a psychopath akin to the best of late-period classic American noirs.
By stirring the pot a bit Lynch moves these ingredients closer to something like revisionist noir or satire. The detective and his love interest Sandy Williams (Laura Dern) are more characters from a Nicholas Ray or John Hughes film than anything hard-boiled; the color scheme pushes the pastel-suburbs so far from the darkly saturated nighttime city as to be nearly comical that the two coexist; even Hopper’s Booth takes the psycho-sexual penchants of the worst of Richard Widmark or Ralph Meeker to new extremes.
Blue Velvet’s centerpiece trope is The Slow Club, a dim, sensual »
- Neal Dhand
The Friday Noir column has been tugging along at a steady pace for well over a year at this point. After being privy to so many double-crosses, back stabbings, bleak outlooks and cynical one-liners, it feels like the right time to shine some proverbial light on the sinister world of film noir. What follows is a list of five previously movies reviewed that best exemplify many of the alluring qualities of this fondly remembered and frequently emulated genre.
Some pertinent details details about the list below need be shared with the readers in the hopes of anticipating and preventing any head scratching. First, the list is comprised strictly of films from the classic noir era, thus limiting the candidates to such films made and released in the mid 1940s up until the late 1950s. Neonoirs, and there are excellent ones, make no mistake about it, are therefore ineligible. The list »
- Edgar Chaput
This article is dedicated to Andrew Copp: filmmaker, film writer, artist and close friend who passed away on January 19, 2013. You are loved and missed, brother.
Looking at the Best Actor Academy Award nominations for the film year 2012, the one miss that clearly cries out for more attention is Liam Neeson’s powerful performance in Joe Carnahan’s excellent survival film The Grey, easily one of the best roles of Neeson’s career.
Along with negligence, other factors commonly prevent outstanding lead acting performances from getting the kind of critical attention they deserve. Sometimes it’s that the performance is in a film not considered “Oscar material” or even worthy of any substantial critical attention. »
- Terek Puckett
Review by Sam Moffitt
The private investigator has been with us for years, decades really. When I was younger I read as many private eye mysteries as I did science fiction and horror novels and short stories. I read as much of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett and Mickey Spillane as I could find. I also read a lot of the two MacDonald’s, Ross MacDonald’s novels about Lew Archer (one of which made a great movie with Paul Newman as Harper) and John D. MacDonald’s novels about Travis McGee. Although McGee was not strictly speaking a Pi he still functioned as one in MacDonald’s color coded novels like Darker Than Amber (which made a great movie with Rod Taylor).
- Movie Geeks
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: April 23, 2013
Price: DVD $19.95, Blu-ray $29.95
Studio: Olive Films
Kirk Douglas (Paths of Glory) stars as an unscrupulous boxer who fights his way to the top, but eventually alienates all of the people who helped him on the way up in the 1949 film noir drama Champion.
Midge Kelly (Douglas), hitchhiking west with his crippled brother Connie (Arthur Kennedy, Lawrence of Arabia), is hustled unprepared into a pro boxing match. Though he’s severely beaten, his manager (Paul Stewart, Kiss Me Deadly) finds him promising. In California, Midge and Connie find nothing but menial jobs, from which Midge gets relief by seducing a lovely young waitress (Ruth Roman, Strangers on a Train). One shotgun marriage later, ambitious Midge falls back on the only option he knows: boxing. Seduced by the cheering crowds, money, and women, Midge becomes more and more of a hero in public… »
5 items from 2013
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