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by Michael Barrett

11 Aug 2015


Foreign Intrigue is a fascinating curio for the connoisseur of cinematic byways. No classic, it’s mainly a talky and derivative tale as generic as its title. Yet it’s very well done: a continual pleasure to the eye, shot in various locales of mid-‘50s Europe with creamy colors and elegant camera moves by Bertil Palmgren, always tilting upwards or downwards at its actors amid Maurice Petri’s beautiful production design, edited with quaint and pretty transitional swipes, and at all times anchored by Robert Mitchum’s cagey authority as he wanders the shadowy streets between dalliances with the decorative seductiveness of Ingrid Thulin and Geneviève Page as the good/bad female opposites in his life.

The opening sequence, set on a lavish Riviera estate, unfolds to the strains of a romantic “Foreign Intrigue Concerto” by Charles Norman. The aging lord of the manor (Jean Galland) brings a red carnation inside and promptly has a heart attack in his library. His press agent, Dave Bishop (Robert Mitchum), discovers the dying man and, out of curiosity and cussedness, embarks on a trail across Europe to learn the secrets of his employer’s fortune and mysterious past, which may have something to do with blackmailing wealthy industrialists.

by Anthony Perrotta

11 Aug 2015


District 9

5. Starship Troopers (1997)

Starting off our list is Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers. Based on the novel by Robert Heinlein, this sci-fi action flick tells the story of a conflict between mankind and a species of insect known as the Arachnids.

Set in the distant future, not only has earth begun to colonize new planets, but it has developed into a military society as well. However, soon the human race’s very existence is threatened and now this seemingly normal way of life is put to the test.

by Michael Barrett

10 Aug 2015


The Crimson Cult  (onscreen title: Curse of the Crimson Altar ) is a half-demented, half-plodding little British horror item, basically a botch with moments too fascinating to miss.

Robert Manning (Mark Eden) is an antiques dealer who traces his missing brother (who looks nothing like him, but never mind) to the hamlet of Graymarsh, where they have an annual celebration re-creating the burning of a witch named Lavinia a few centuries ago. The first thing that happens to him is running across the type of outlandish pseudo-orgy found in certain 1960s films where partiers engage in bizarre subsitutes for actual debauchery, such as chasing women with cars or painting each other. Supposedly hip and decadent without being able to prove that anyone is stoned, it just looks exhausting.

by Michael Barrett

6 Aug 2015


Bill Morrison assembles fading, deteriorating nitrate film footage into ethereal historical collages and combines them with commissioned music, so that they become symphonic “music videos” that are at once avant-garde yet obvious and accessible to any viewer.

His latest 40-minute work, Beyond Zero: 1914-1918, is scored by Aleksandra Vrebalov and played by Kronos Quartet in seven movements. It’s essentially a dirge in memory of World War I, with the soundtrack adding occasional garbled spoken-word passages from old recordings and finally finishing with chanting by monks, completing the sense of prayer.

by Michael Barrett

5 Aug 2015


Made ten years apart, these Jess Franco films star Howard Vernon in stories about perverse aristocrats who whip and torture naked people. It’s what happens when you have too much time on your hands. The incurably tasteful would insist that too much time is what you need to sit through such provocative trash, but we’ll try to explain the hypnotic allure.

Those who think of Franco as a slipshod, style-free hack would be bowled over by the widescreen black-and-white photography and elegant, arty tone of The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus, a French-Spanish co-production set in a German town upset by the murders of several women. Between Godofredo Pacheco’s camera and Daniel White’s diverse jazz/classical/avant-garde score, they might think Franco’s bringing too much taste, for the first hour and 20 minutes are calm, polite, and even plodding in its investigation, albeit beautifully composed and shot with sleek cat-like movements.

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Moving Pixels Podcast: Coming of Age When 'Life Is Strange'

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"Time travelling and selfies are the central conceits of Life Is Strange.

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