Sabotage – 1936 Hitchcock

Not to be confused with the 1942 Hitchcock title Saboteur- this one is from Joseph Conrad’s “Secret Agent”, is an extremely brisk 77 minutes, and is most noteworthy for a brilliantly dramatic editing sequence featuring

Café Lumière – 2003 Hsiao-Hsien Hou

A near-staggering achievement of mise-en-scene that serves both as a devoted homage to Ozu and as a major triumph for Hsiao-Hsien HouBefore the film really starts there’s a dedication to Ozu’s centenarian 100 year old

After Hours – 1985 Scorsese

The opening and closing shots serve as bookends - Scorsese is flying around the office with his trademark active camera A riff of “Alice” or Wizard of Oz (he’s trying to get home for most

Death of a Salesman – 1985 Schlöndorff

It is a remarkable combination of pieces (a Pulitzer Prize winning source material, Alex North as the composer, Michael Ballhaus the cinematographer, and a talented cast)—but then Volker Schlöndorff largely keeps it woefully stagebound  (The

Gambit – 1966 Neame

Light and airy—Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine carry this heist caper into the archives (by a thin margin) Notable for the false star surreal opening where they pull off the heist to perfection (MacLaine doesn’t

Bad Education – 2004 Almodóvar

My second time viewing it, first since theater in 2004, and what a revelationIt’s a captivating multi-layered web narrative trapped in a world with transcendent visuals "a rapturous masterwork" in 4 stars from Travers “Almodóvar

Millennium Mambo – 2001 Hsiao-Hsien Hou

Like all of Hsiao-Hsien Hou’s work it’s observational in style--we are tracking the life of Qi Shu’s Vicky—mostly in one room— Hou’s camera is often lingering at a distance in long takes right on her

The King of Comedy – 1982 Scorsese

There are three stand-alone bravura sequences in Scorsese’s The King of Comedy: the freeze frame credits, the shot of De Niro with the cardboard audience backdrop, and the lighting of the house of Sandra Bernhard—all

The 100th Best Director of All-Time: John Carpenter

Carpenter. Carpenter’s filmography would rank him farther down the list (around #125-130) but there’s authorship in his work that isn’t there with directors ahead of him on the filmography list like William Friedkin or Milos

Al Capone – 1959 Richard Wilson

An impressive film—Richard Wilson is no auteur but the direction is beyond competent, Lucien Ballard (Peckinpah’s best work) is the DP, Rod Steiger gives a tour-de-force lead and the writing and ensemble are great, tooHalf

Champagne – 1928 Hitchcock

Most memorable for being (I believe) cinema’s first freeze-frame. But it isn’t just in the archives for this one cinematic flourish—this film is a series of high-wire stylistic exercises Trojan-horsed in a pretty bland narrative

The 99th Best Director of All-Time: Hayao Miyazaki

Miyazaki. With Walt Disney’s actual influence as a film artist/director (vs. his acknowledged brilliance as a businessman, innovator and producer) an ongoing debate for decades there is little disagreement from most cinephiles that Miyazaki is

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