• Blast of Silence

    Blast of Silence

    Stellar low budget noir following a contract killer in Harlem on Christmas. Memorable for so many reasons including the voice over of Lionel Strander, the jazzy score, and the director/writer/star’s visual eye.

  • The Killer

    The Killer

    Better on a second watch because of its absurdity.

  • Marnie


    “Marnie, mind my leg.”

    A strange and sprawling epic from Hitchcock, one that deals with so much at once it can be hard to keep up. The outdated psychoanalytical concepts seem to mesh imperfectly with the sexist overtones. It makes it difficult to tell if the screenwriter is condemning how men exert control in relationships or if it sees Sean Connery’s character as a white knight. The rhythm of the picture really dies down by the third act. From the…

  • The Andromeda Strain

    The Andromeda Strain

    Meticulous application of realism with a low key cast, smart script, incredible set design, and a real sense of terror.

  • Violent Streets

    Violent Streets

    Gosha’s bloody take on Yakuza politics is brutal and honest, with very little humor. The ending seems to suggest that the street level thugs are caged chickens while the ones who make the money are caged dogs. In the 2nd to last scene, we see two “corporation,” bosses flying away together bragging about how much money they will make in the city and how they pay “worms,” to fight their wars for them. Gosha refers to farm animals more than…

  • Red Cliff

    Red Cliff

    Americanized Cut

    A massive war reenactment and visual spectacle with Woo paying homage to his favorite films including heavy doses of Seven Samurai and Lawrence of Arabia. Can’t wait to see the international version, which is almost twice the length. That long-take from the bird’s perspective is unforgettable, as are many of the strategies employed by the characters. A strong picture and one that is better the longer it runs, and the bigger the screen.

  • Dishonored


    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Another stunning picture from the unbeatable team of Dietrich and Von Sternberg, Dishonored did everything in its power to push the envelope in its day. That means many shots of Marlene’s shins and calves, but also many beautiful moments of her alone with her cat, playing piano, or spying for her country. The director is experimenting with editing resulting in haunting long dissolves in between scenes, almost as if one frame is bleeding into another slowly. As mentioned, Marlene Dietrich…

  • Bullet in the Head

    Bullet in the Head

    A brutal epic and likely Woo’s magnum opus, having much to say and unwilling to hold back. The aftershock from the picture lives up to the title.

  • Cops vs. Thugs

    Cops vs. Thugs

    Fukasaku expands after the Battles Without Honor or Humanity series by focusing on the similarities between cops and street Yakuza. Hierarchies in both factions are also explored and major corporations are shown to be controlled by both. Artful photography is a highlight as the camera uses space to focus on posture and body language that bullies from either side use to persuade, manipulate, and control others. Patient interior shots lend to the dialogue driven scenes in between chaos and violence.…

  • A Better Tomorrow

    A Better Tomorrow

    A little heavy on the Buddhist brotherly love motifs, A Better Tomorrow still kicks ass and shoots as many people as possible, while telling an interesting story. John Woo has a warped sense of morality.

  • Hard Boiled

    Hard Boiled

    While holding a baby, after shooting someone: 
    “Hey, X-Rated Action.”

    Pretty cool. Lots of guns and ridiculous deaths, but sweet, humorous, and self aware. Awesome stunts and an all-time cast.

  • Get Carter

    Get Carter

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Hard-boiled, beautifully composed, and unfortunately sexist Get Carter shows Michael Caine going dark places to avenge his brother and his character is held accountable for going way too far. The ending saved the picture for me and I’ll remember it well. 

    Great shot: Parking garage long take.