Ava Gardner and James Mason star in the ravishing romantic drama from Albert Lewin

‘Pandora and the Flying Dutchman’ on FilmStruck

I have a soft spot for Albert Lewin, a literary Hollywood writer/producer turned director with a continental sensibility and an eye for handsome imagery (if not always cinematic storytelling). His productions tended toward literary adaptations (The Good Earth, which he produced, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, which he scripted and directed) but Pandora and […]

‘Wings of Desire’ – Angels over Berlin on FilmStruck

“There are angels over the streets of Berlin,” insists Wim Wenders in his lyrical fantasy Wings of Desire (Germany, 1987), but these are like no angels you’ve never seen. Bundled in dark overcoats, they watch over the city with ears open to the heartbeat of the human soul, listening to the internal musings and yearnings […]

Young Dais and Ryohei Suzuki in the hip-hop musical gang war thriller from Japan

‘Tokyo Tribe’ – gonzo gang war musical on Amazon Prime Video

The films of Sion Sono, who is fast closing in on Miike Takashi as Japan’s cinema wildman rebel, are increasingly outrageous, unhinged, extreme, and unpredictable, pushing expectations as well as boundaries, and trying anything and everything in a wildly creative (if unfocused) attempt to refresh familiar genres. Tokyo Tribe (Japan, 2014), adapted from a graphic […]

John Cassavetes, Britt Ekland, Peter Falk, and Gena Rowlands

John Cassavetes is ‘Machine Gun McCain’ on FilmStruck

John Cassavetes was doing his Orson Welles thing—by that I mean acting in whatever movie paid well so he could finance his own, personal productions—when he took the lead in Machine Gun McCain (Italy, 1968), an Italian mob picture/heist movie hybrid shot in large part on location in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. […]

Y.K. Kim produces and stars one of the most entertainingly incompetent bad movies ever made

‘Miami Connection’ – Gonzo bad movie hilarity on Amazon Prime

Another chapter in the cult canon of movies that are so bad that they become inadvertent comedies, Miami Connection (1988) is a gonzo B-movie from the eighties created by Y.K. Kim, a martial arts instructor and inspirational speaker who took his talents to the big screen despite a complete lack of screen charisma or acting […]

Ursula Andress and Marcello Mastroianni star in the satire by Elio Petri

‘The 10th Victim’ – Reality TV is a killer on Amazon Prime

Before The Hunger Games, before Battle Royale, before The Running Man, there was Elio Petri’s The 10th Victim (1965), the original Survivor set in a near future of unlikely fashions and pop-art stylings, where comic books are the literature of the day, murder games have become the dominant form of media entertainment, and war has […]

The Belladonna of Sadness from Japan, directed by Eiichi Yamamoto

‘The Belladonna of Sadness’ on Amazon Prime and Fandor

The Belladonna of Sadness (Japan, 1973), a lost classic of Japanese animation, is an erotic drama by definition, but it is quite a sophisticated one that is part subversive folk tale, part rock ballad musical, and part experimental filmmaking. Set in an unnamed kingdom in an abstracted medieval Europe, it’s a provocative film about female […]

Kim Ok-bin stars in the South Korean action hit from Byung-gil Jung

‘The Villainess’ – a ferocious South Korean Nikita on Hulu

The Villainess (South Korea, 2017) is not a remake of La Femme Nikita but it is surely built from the DNA of that defining action classic. It opens on an amazing action sequence, a seemingly unbroken take from the jittery POV of some ferocious but still-unseen fighter wiping out armies of thugs with bullets, knives, […]

Nieves Navarro and Simon Andreu star in Luciano Ercoli's classic giallo from Italy.

‘Death Walks at Midnight’ – Giallo meets high fashion on Amazon Prime

Death Walks at Midnight (Italy, 1972) is not actually a sequel to Death Walks on High Heels (1971) but in the proudly opportunistic tradition of Italian genre pictures it recalls an earlier success and director Luciano Ercoli he reunites his team of collaborators.This time around, Nieves Navarro (under the screen name Susan Scott) is a […]

Nieves Navarro, Frank Wolff, and Simon Andreu star in Luciano Ercoli's classic giallo from Italy

‘Death Walks on High Heels’ – Voyeurs and killers on Amazon Prime

Luciano Ercoli isn’t the most well-known or prolific directors in the distinctly Italian giallo genre of horror films but he made his mark with a pair of sleek and sexy and stylish films with Spanish actress Nieves Navarro (under the screen name Susan Scott) and leading man Simón Andreu and screenwriters Ernesto Gastaldi and Mahnahén […]