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by Michael Barrett

14 Jun 2016

Crimson, also called The Man with the Severed Head, and whose Spanish title means “The Rats Don’t Sleep at Night”, is a Spanish-French crime drama masquerading as a horror film via a left-field plot twist about a partial brain transplant. It stars Spanish horror icon Paul Naschy, billed as Paul Nash, and hails from a golden era of horror cinema. Don’t get excited yet.

Gangster Jack Surnett (Naschy) is about to open a jewelry store’s safe when the greed of one of his henchmen accidentally triggers the alarm. Surnett is promptly shot in the head by police, and a drunken doctor (ubiquitous character actor Carlos Otero) suggests—wait for it—taking him to an old friend who’s working on brain transplants. That surgeon and his equally surgical wife (Silvia Solar, radiating warmth and intelligence) need a freshly decapitated head, so the gang picks a rival gangster (Roberto Mauri) known as The Sadist—the decisions just keep getting smarter—whose tendencies will naturally start taking over the patient.

by Michael Barrett

9 Jun 2016

City of Women begins as it will continue, with the voice of masculine authority and presumption undermined by the mockery of feminine voices. The blue field of opening credits announces Marcello Mastroianni’s name, to be answered with a woman’s teasing weariness at using him again, and Luis Bacalov’s nostalgic piano doesn’t begin until she orders “Music, Maestro”.

We begin with that almost parodically powerful image: the camera is a train rushing into a dark tunnel. As a passenger, Snaporaz (Mastroianni) begins to nod, signaling that the film is entering a dream-state, and the bottle on the table between him and a beautiful woman (Bernice Stegers) pokes its cheeky phallic pose into every shot until the man’s erotic fantasy leads him literally astray—off the train, into the woods and finally into a hotel hosting a feminist convention.

by Michael Barrett

8 Jun 2016

A middle-aged actress (Juliette Binoche) rehearses for a play with her young assistant (Kristen Stewart) at a gorgeous Swiss mountain retreat known for its gathering clouds in Clouds of Sils Maria (2015), one of last year’s most acclaimed films. As aesthetically beautiful in composition and movement as it is intelligent in dialogue and its layered conception of “acting”, the movie explores the women’s issues and relationships with depth and lightness, and nods to high art and popular art: all anchored in the mundane and suffused by the mysterious.

Most reviewers loved this movie. PopMatters previously reviewed the DVD release, and I’ve previously raved about it here. Yet some of you still haven’t seen it, right? Not to worry, it’s freshly out on Blu-ray from Criterion. We know it’s a great film, so all that’s left is to call attention to the extras on the disc.

by Danilo Castro

7 Jun 2016


Summer is officially here. As busy schedules make way for warm weather and lounging by the pool, it’s the perfect time to catch up on the extensive catalogues of your favorite streaming services. Because it can be a little daunting choosing where to begin, we’ve selected ten quality films coming this month to some of the most popular streaming platforms. From Golden Age Hollywood to epic blockbusters, the diverse picks on this list are the perfect way to get summer movie watching underway.

by Michael Barrett

26 May 2016

Suspicion (1941)

Warner Archive has recently upgraded three Alfred Hitchcock films to Blu-ray, retaining the extras from their previous DVD releases. One film was a hit while two weren’t. In his book-length interview with Francois Truffaut, Hitchcock tended to define his “good” and “successful” films in box-office terms, dismissing the others as failures and mistakes because they didn’t do well. It’s a modest and hardly “artistic” stance, while Truffaut tended to be one of those critics, to paraphrase Raymond Durgnat’s own Hitchcock book, who divide the master’s work into the major and minor masterpieces.

The hit was 1941’s Suspicion, which feels calculated to remind audiences of the director’s Oscar-winning Rebecca (1940). The same actress, Joan Fontaine (winning her own Oscar this time), plays a woman who makes a hasty marriage when she falls for a charming stranger and spends the rest of the movie in an agony of second-guessing as she fears he really hates her.

//Mixed media

Indie Horror Month 2016: Executing 'The Deed'

// Moving Pixels

"It's just so easy to kill someone in a video game that it's surprising when a game makes murder difficult.

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