Shih Chun in King Hu's 1967 wuxia pian classic from Taiwan

Blu-ray: ‘Dragon Inn’ / ‘Legend of the Mountain’ – King Hu on Criterion and Kino

Dragon Inn (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) Legend of the Mountain (Kino, Blu-ray, DVD) After the success of Come Drink With Me, the pioneering wuxia pian (“martial chivalry”) adventure that mixed martial arts, romance, comic action, and historical settings, Hong Kong director King Hu went to Taiwan for the opportunity to make films with greater freedom. Dragon […]

Marlene Dietrich in the 1932 classic by Josef von Sternberg

Criterion Blu-ray: Dietrich & Von Sternberg in Hollywood

Dietrich & Von Sternberg in Hollywood (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) At the dawn of the sound era, as German movie star Emil Jannings left Hollywood to return to Germany, the actor invited Austrian-born/American-raised director Josef von Sternberg (who directed Jannings in The Last Command, 1928) to Universum Film A.G. to direct him in that studio’s first […]

Blu-ray: ‘Curse of the Cat People’ from Shout! Factory

Curse of the Cat People (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray) The success of the original 1942 Cat People, a shadowy psychological horror film simmering with sexual repression, prompted RKO to request a sequel from producer Val Lewton. His solution was surprising and inventive: Curse of the Cat People (1944), a psychological drama with a child’s perspective and […]

Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Nouri in the film by Jack Sholder

Cult Blu-ray: ‘Basket Case,’ ‘Ichi the Killer,’ ‘Macon County’ justice, and ‘The Hidden’ with Kyle Maclachlan

Basket Case (Arrow, Blu-ray) Ichi the Killer (Well Go, Blu-ray) Macon County Line (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray) The Hidden (Warner Archive, Blu-ray) Basket Case (1982), the debut feature of filmmaker Frank Henenlotter, is a gruesome little cult indie-horror drama of brotherly love and righteous vengeance shot on location in the seedier sections of New York City. […]

Anne Carlisle in the cult film by Slava Tsukerman

Blu-ray: Androgyny and aliens in eighties cult film ‘Liquid Sky’ on Vinegar Syndrome

Liquid Sky (Vinegar Syndrome, Blu-ray+DVD Combo) An avant-garde artifact straddling the eighties movie underground and the growing American independent movement, Liquid Sky (1982) broke into the college film circuit thanks to a trippy mix of drug culture, sexual androgyny, and indie sci-fi weirdness playing out in the New York eighties bohemian scene. Director Slava Tsukerman […]

Jessica Harper in Dario Argento's landmark giallo

Profundo Argento: ‘Suspira,’ ‘Cat O’ Nine Tails,’ ‘Deep Red,’ ‘Opera,’ and ‘The Church’ in new Blu-ray editions

Suspiria (Synapse, Blu-ray) The Cat O’ Nine Tails (Arrow, Blu-ray+DVD Combo) Deep Red (Arrow, Blu-ray) Opera (Scorpion, Blu-ray) The Church (Scorpion, Blu-ray) Dario Argento was the master choreographer of the distinctly Italian art of horror known as giallo, was a baroque, often sadistic kind of slasher movie that favors intricately-designed murder sequences and aesthetic beauty […]

Giuliano Gemma (billed as Montgomery Wood) as Ringo in the spaghetti westerns from Dessario Tessari

Spaghetti Blu-ray: A pair of ‘Ringo’s and ‘A Fistful of Dynamite’

A Pistol for Ringo/The Return of Ringo: Two Films by Dessario Tessari (Arrow, Blu-ray) A Fistful of Dynamite (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray) Duccio Tessari is not one of the directors known for spaghetti westerns. In fact, he only directed two in his long and successful career, both with Giuliano Gemma (billed as Montgomery Wood) playing against […]

Paul Whiteman and his Band star in the 1930 musical revue directed by John Murray Anderson

Criterion Blu-ray: ‘King of Jazz’ restored, ‘An Actor’s Revenge,’ and Dreyer’s ‘Passion of Joan of Arc’

King of Jazz (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) An Actor’s Revenge (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) The Passion of Joan of Arc (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) I came to King of Jazz (1930) with low expectations, I confess. I knew that the early sound film is a landmark production but I’m no fan of the stage style revue films and […]

Anna Pavlova stars in the 1916 silent movie epic directed by Lois Weber

Silents Please: Lois Weber restored and ‘The Covered Wagon’ on Blu-ray

Shoes (Milestone, Blu-ray, DVD) The Dumb Girl of Portici (Milestone, Blu-ray, DVD) The Covered Wagon (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray, DVD) Lois Weber holds a place in film history as the first major woman film director in Hollywood. What’s often forgotten in that honor is the talent that gave her a successful 25 year making films for […]