I am an artist, critic, teacher and avid movie buff. Currently, I write about film for "The New York Sun."
Phase IV 1974
"'Phase IV' is, shall we say, a creature unlike any other. Even as a teenage kid watching the picture at the local grindhouse, I realized it wasn’t your typical creature feature."
The full review can be found at "The New York Sun": www.nysun.com/article/was-saul-bass-the-real-director-of-psycho
The Woman on Pier 13 1949
Here's a terse little noir masquerading as anti-communist propaganda or is it the other way around? Whatever the case, "The Woman on Pier 13" is a tough nugget of a picture with a sterling cast and director Robert Stevenson firing on all cylinders notwithstanding a bare-bones budget. The ending is as maudlin as you might fear and the script often didactic, but it's a suspenseful trip all the same. As for nuance, let's hear it for the ladies, Laraine Day and Janis Carter. As for grit: yeah, Robert Ryan is on hand.
The Pale Blue Eye 2022
Atmosphere, this movie has plenty of; sparkling cinematography, as well. And the actors? Top flight. But this story of murder, mutilation and the military has not an iota of suspense, an abundance of plot holes and an ending that is overly talky when it's not utterly ridiculous. And why poor Edgar Allan Poe was roped into the plot is a gimmick hardly worth mooting. Postmodernist caprice--we can live without it.
Hitch's first American movie is over-the-top in terms of atmosphere and graced with fine performances, particularly from the supporting cast and, of course, Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers. But the movie turns into a slog 'round about the moment Laurence Olivier does all that 'splainin' about how his late wife's arrant and slatternly ways. So blame this on Daphne du Maurier whose book undergoes the same slowdown in terms of mystery and intrigue.