On a formal level, the Master was never more elegant, his camera balletic and ethereal, pirouetting around two lovers locked in an erotic embrace, and swooping down from above to isolate a cellar key clutched in an anxious hand. But there’s a nastiness to Notorious, coursing and seething just beneath its immaculate patina—a sadistic streak that rivals even those of Marnie and Frenzy.
Kitano‘s is a world in which sadness prevails and good things never last, innocence ineluctably disrupted and corrupted by explosive violence. Painterly dreams—dreamt by gangsters, cops, and ordinary teenagers alike—end up splattered with red, as serenity gives way to brutality. And yet the warmth of Kitano‘s particular brand of brotherhood still glows on the palate long after the acidity of his cynicism has subsided.
The latest in our series of writers standing up for hated films is a defence of the beloved director’s genre-splicing flop.
Francis Ford Coppola’s final film to date may not be his best (or even good), but it encapsulates his yearning for creative freedom.
"Strip away the horror accoutrements, and what you’re left with is a contained collection of instantly endearing, thoroughly distinctive characters, who form a tightly structured network of interpersonal dynamics—something more akin to what Quentin Tarantino would call a “hangout film,” powered by ricocheting comedic dialogue and an exceptionally efficient visual engine."
Dishonored is neither the strangest nor the most purely entertaining film in the von Sternberg–Dietrich cycle, but it might just be the most thoughtful, psychologically fertile, and stealthily affecting.
"As saturated with doom as the very best works of its genre, Allen Baron‘s Blast of Silence turns 60 this year—an anniversary that’ll be celebrated quietly by a handful of fans fortunate enough to have unearthed this bleak, brutal, underappreciated noir gem."
"It goes without saying that watching Almodóvar in unmitigated command holds myriad delights, but Julieta finds him working in a very different mode that’s uniquely thrilling: here, he’s conceding ground, tying his creative sensibilities down in order to somehow better harmonise with the material with which he’s working."
"'Branded to Kill' doesn't flow, it staggers—it moves like a dying man, shot through the gut, bleeding out."
"GoldenEye inherently courts comparisons to its progenitors and its progeny alike. In that light, the gloss on the surface begins to flake away, and the defects beneath are exacerbated—everywhere you look, there’s wasted potential."
"Kurosawa was rarely more bitter and dejected than he is here, crafting a sprawling noir tragedy from Shakespeare's text, grappling desperately with identity in the nightmare of faceless modernity."