Monthly Archives: July 2011

“Stage and Spectacle”: The Golden Coach (Jean Renoir, 1953)

Upon returning to Europe after spending WWII as a Hollywood exile, where he had turned out studio product ranging from the sublime (The Southerner) to the not-quite-ridiculous (Woman on the Beach, which suffered more from studio interference, by all accounts, … Continue reading

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“Frantic”: Zazie dans le métro (Louis Malle, 1960)

Director Louis Malle’s third feature signals a sea change in his work: gone are the dark visuals and themes of the neo-noir Elevator to the Gallows, let alone the envelope-pushing erotic fireworks of The Lovers (though, like Elevator, Zazie is … Continue reading

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“Death in the Afternoon”: The Hit (Stephen Frears, 1984)

An unexpectedly unconventional  British gangster film, The Hit avoids for the most part any of the usual trappings of the genre–a penchant for brutal ultraviolence, for one–opting instead to present a thoughtful, even philosophical, character study. For one thing, anti-hero … Continue reading

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“No Exit”: Brute Force (Jules Dassin, 1947)

This explosive, powerhouse prison film effectively reunites a large number of cast and crew from the previous year’s The Killers: producer Mark Hellinger, composer Miklos Rózsa, screenwriter Richard Brooks (uncredited for his Killers work), star Burt Lancaster and actors Edmond … Continue reading

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“Flower of Evil”: Pale Flower (Masahiro Shinoda, 1964)

Japanese New Wave meets old-style film noir in Masahiro Shinoda’s exceptional black-and-white film, every bit as extraordinary as his later Double Suicide (1969), a cubist/minimalist deconstruction of a well-known Kabuki drama. In addition to the prevalent noir tropes (location shooting … Continue reading

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Take Two: Ernest Hemingway’s The Killers (Robert Siodmak, 1946 & Don Siegel, 1964)

[Introducing Take Two, a new feature on this blog that will explore the contextual (historical, aesthetic and otherwise) similarities and differences between two versions of the same material, whether two films based on the same source or simply original and … Continue reading

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“Disaster Capitalism”: Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Michael Bay, 2011)

For its first twenty minutes or so, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is not only eminently watchable, it’s also downright fascinating, putting forward—in a clever and calculatedly streamlined fashion—an Autobot-centered conspiracy theory behind the Space Race, leading up to Apollo … Continue reading

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