Results tagged “Thriller”

Night Moves (1975) / Scarecrow (1973) Blu-ray Reviews: The WAC Gets Hacked

The Warner Archive Collection rescues two neglected classics with Gene Hackman, including his one and only pairing with Al Pacino.
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One of the most difficult acts to follow from 20th Century film history, the great Gene Hackman returns to astonish classic filmgoers (and maybe a few Millennials curious as to why everyone else shakes their head over the mere mention of Welcome to Mooseport or Heartbreakers) in two recent Blu-ray releases from the Warner Archive Collection. Night Moves (1975, Warner Bros.) The inimitable Mr. Hackman ‒ at the height of his career as a leading man here ‒ stars in this gripping neo-noir from director Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde, The Chase). One of several thrillers written for the silver

Trailer Trauma 4: Television Trauma (2017) Blu-ray Review: TV Spots-a-Go-Go

Garagehouse Pictures unveils its most ambitious compilation ever ‒ and the result is nothing but incredible.
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Once more, Garagehouse Pictures has assembled another magnificent gathering of movie trailers for fans of genre flicks to drool over. This time, however, they have put together something entirely (well, partly) different from previous trailer compilation outings: a Blu-ray devoted entirely to television spots for a variety of exploitation movies released to theaters over the course of several decades. Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking, "An entire Blu-ray of nothing but TV spots?" Well, yes, dummy, that's exactly what this is! Sure, it may seem like a rather ambitious project to put together, but you have to

Hell Night (1981) Blu-ray Review: A for Effort

Scream Factory goes all-out for the minor low-budget college slasher flick with Linda Blair.
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One of several dozen slasher movies to find its way to screens during the slasher horror movie boom of the late '70s and early '80s, Tom DeSimone's Hell Night always seems like the one that gets left out in the cold. Granted, there's very little to outwardly discern the 1981 shocker starring The Exorcist's Linda Blair from any other movie of the era featuring a group of annoying college kids being murdered in an isolated setting. (Well, other than the fact that it stars Linda Blair, of course!) In fact, were one to make a check-list of '80s college slasher

The Fox with a Velvet Tail (1971) Blu-ray Review: An Engaging Twist on the Giallo

Mondo Macabro brings us a fascinatingly unique romantic thriller take on the cult subgenre.
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From the surreal (and trippy) animated opening credits accompanied by a spectacular track by the mysterious talents of one Shawn Robinson (a tune which serves as the underlying theme throughout the bulk of the production), it is rather obvious this Italian/Spanish co-production is very different from other gialli of the time. Or any time, for that matter. Indeed, as the intriguing (if somewhat predictable) film ‒ also known as to English-speaking audiences as In the Eye of the Hurricane ‒ plays out, it seems to transgress from the routinely bloody and sex-laden Euro "whodunit" the giallo is now known for

The High Commissioner (1968) Blu-ray Review: The Accidental Spy from Down Under

Kino Lorber brings us a fun tale of an abrasive detective wrapped up in international intrigue starring Rod Taylor and Christopher Plummer.
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The notion of a Eurospy movie was hardly anything new in 1968. If anything, it was becoming rather mundane to European filmgoers who had been bombarded by a jaw-dropping assortment of bastardized 007 clones by the time our film in question first hit screens. And yet, the makers of The High Commissioner (aka Nobody Runs Forever) nevertheless managed to give their project a unique twist: an abrasive, unsophisticated copper straight from the Outback as the protagonist. Made before fellow Aussie George Lazenby engaged in his shortlived stint as James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the late great Rod

He Walked By Night (1948) Blu-ray Review: The Dawn of Dragnet

The film that helped form the world of police procedurals receives a beautiful restoration from ClassicFlix.
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Although He Walked By Night may not be considered a household movie title today, it nevertheless remains a founding pillar to the entertainment industry. For had it not been for this atmospheric 1948 film noir from screenwriter Crane Wilbur (House of Wax), a certain minor actor (and music lover) by the name of Jack Webb would not have struck up a friendship with an LA police detective. And had that not have happened, younger generations, a series known as Dragnet would not have come to pass, which means the gigantic world of police procedurals and forensic dramas may never have

The Man Who Died Twice (1958) Blu-ray Review: Um, Is That a Spoiler Alert?

Kino Lorber digs up a beautiful print of a less-than-remembered guilty pleasure B-noir from Republic Pictures.
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The career of the late Vera Ralston was perhaps more fascinating off-screen than it was on. After escaping her native Czechoslovakia immediately before the Nazis closed the borders off during World War II, the former ice skater later became Republic Pictures head Herbert J. Yates' personal discovery, and he frequently cast her in pictures. Alas, even Ralston's thick Czech accent ‒ coupled with the fact she she didn't speak English terribly well and had to learn her lines phonetically ‒ was not enough to excuse her "unique" acting skills, and it was only a matter of time before her career

Only Noirs and Horses: Four Flicks from the Warner Archive

From classic psychological thrillers to obscure westerns, these WAC releases are worth betting money on.
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In keeping with their tradition of debuting and re-issuing timeless and forgotten classics alike, the Warner Archive Collection has recently brought forth four titles from its vaults. Among this quartet is the classic psychological thriller Undercurrent, and three new-to-DVD rarities: Full Confession, which may very well be the darkest "religious" film I have ever seen; the fascinating western noir Cow Country; and ‒ branching out from the cowboy motif ‒ the long lost '50s family-friendly adventure, The Lion and the Horse. Undercurrent (1946) By and far the most recognized title in the mix, Vincente Minnelli's Undercurrent (also known as You

The Big Knife (1955) Blu-ray Review: Cuts Like a Life

Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, and a barely restrained Rod Steiger star in this dark exposé of '50s Hollywood from Arrow Academy.
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Trying to classify The Big Knife as one particular film genre over another isn't an easy task. But then, there weren't too many movies in the 1950s which brought up the possibilities of Hollywood corruption and cover-ups to light. Nowadays ‒ especially in the wake of the once-powerful movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's fall from the limelight ‒ it's easier for the public to imagine the sort of depths studio executives would sink to. And that's precisely the sort of pickle The Big Knife's tormented protagonist Charlie Castle is up against in this 1955 "exposé" from the acclaimed director of Kiss

Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) Blu-ray Review: It Happened One Time

Odd, compelling, and strangely satisfying, this unique and controversial film returns to shock contemporary audiences for entirely different reasons.
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Hailing from that time before the Southern Gothic tale somehow transformed into hicksploitation, Suddenly, Last Summer extends from the creative talents of both Tennessee Williams and Gore Vidal and co-stars Montgomery Clift. That right there should indicate to most out-ward viewers there will be a certain subject matter hidden in the story's proverbial closet. In the hands of The Barefoot Contessa writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, however, the subdued element of homosexuality is about as subtle as, well, Liberace. And yet, somehow, they got away with it in 1959, mainly thanks to an element many exploitation filmmakers of the time would

The Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975) Blu-ray Review: Deep Red Something

Sergio Martino's wild giallo/poliziotteschi/comedy hybrid is just as jaw-droppingly amazing as it sounds.
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An ordinary man of an artistic nature witnesses a brutal murder, only to meet a cast of kooky characters as he sets out to find the killer since the local police captain can't or won't do anything. Even if you've only ever seen one Italian giallo in your life, the aforementioned synopsis would go on to become one of the most conventional themes in an the otherwise unconventional subgenre. The motif is especially prominent in the early (and even later) works of Dario Argento, who changed both the face and style of filmmaking forever throughout the first half of the

Running on Empty (1988) Blu-ray Review: Fam on the Run

Sidney Lumet's stunning drama, featuring a standout performance by an Oscar-nominated River Phoenix, hits BD from the Warner Archive.
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While I may not be able to recall every single feature I have ever seen in a moviehouse (and, believe me, there have been many), Sidney Lumet's 1988 drama Running on Empty has always managed to stand out in my mind for some reason, despite the fact that I really don't remember much of the movie itself. And yet, at the same time, I found myself saying "Oh yeah, this happens" an awful lot upon my recent second viewing of the film, nearly 30 years after seeing it on the big screen in '88. I suppose the film must have

Seven Days in May (1964) Blu-ray Review: The Terror from Within

John Frankenheimer's political paranoia thriller ‒ featuring a script by Rod Serling ‒ receives a beautiful makeover from the Warner Archive.
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The looming threat of nuclear war. A less-than-favorable US President sporting the lowest approval on record in a heap of trouble concerning Russia. No, it's not something ripped straight from today's news; rather, it's the setting for Seven Days in May ‒ a tense 1964 political thriller from Ronin director John Frankenheimer and Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling. Released theatrically by Paramount Pictures just two years after the director's previous offering, The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May reunites Frankenheimer with one of his best-known on-screen collaborators, the great Burt Lancaster (Birdman of Alcatraz). Set in an early Cold War-era

The Bridge at Remagen (1969) Blu-ray Review: A Much Shorter Longest Day

Cigar-chomping George Segal and Ben Gazzara act against Nazi Robert Vaughn in this WWII action flick, now available in beautiful High-Definition from Twilight Time.
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From John Guillerman, the late visionary of The Blue Max, The Towering Inferno, The Day They Robbed the Bank of England, and that one version of King Kong everyone suddenly began to like after Peter Jackson's remake came out (though they still ignore that sequel) comes one of the first American productions to be filmed behind the Iron Curtain. While based on real life people and events, 1969's World War II action picture The Bridge at Remagen takes hold of its story with a decidedly loose grip, giving director Guillerman the opportunity to let exercise a different kind of liberty.

Hell and High Water (1954) Blu-ray Review: CinemaScope Claustrophobia

Richard Widmark and Samuel Fuller sink to new heights in this wonderful Cold War sub thriller, now available in HD from the folks at Twilight Time.
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Ever the cinematic pioneer, director Samuel Fuller broke new ground ‒ by removing it completely ‒ with his 1954 Cold War thriller Hell and High Water, which would prove to be the first time audiences were exposed to a different kind of submersion. Previously, the wonders of CinemaScope (Hollywood's fancy way of pulling people away from their newly purchased 500lb TV sets at home) were limited solely to majestic Biblical epics, sprawling western dramas, and romantic comedies. Fuller, however ‒ hailing from that rare breed of filmmaker, the kind who created his own path ‒ sensed 20th Century Fox's newfound

The Quiet American (1958) Blu-ray Review: Silent, But Deadly?

Twilight Time gives the overlooked Americanized version of Graham Greene's bestseller an opportunity to speak up and be accounted for.
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Based on bestselling author Graham Greene's 1955 novel of the same name, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's motion picture adaptation of The Quiet American has remained fairly silent since its debut in 1958. Though, when one notes the radical departure Mankiewicz's screenplay takes from its anti-American source material and, more importantly, the pressure Hollywood was receiving from the witch hunters in D.C. at the time, it's not all that surprising the film takes a decidedly pro-American view towards the subject matter. Ultimately, novelist Greene would publicly disavow the feature, though the dynamic dramatic quality of Mankiewicz's film is not the sort of

The Stone Killer (1973) Blu-ray Review: Another Winner Starring Charles Bronson

Michael Winner's overlooked third collaboration with the iconic stone-faced action hero gets the HD treatment from Twilight Time.
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Imagine a movie produced in the wake of both recently-beget Dirty Harry and The Godfather franchises, only constructed like a big-screen two-parter of a classic police procedural show like Hawaii Five-O. Now add United Artists' recently-crowned action movie king, Charles Bronson, place him in-between a venerable assortment of established and future TV veterans alike, and then drizzle the whole project with a funky score from Roy Budd. Et voilà, ladies and gentlemen ‒ the perfect recipe for Michael Winner and Dino De Laurentiis' early '70s action vehicle The Stone Killer! One of six memorable collaborations betwixt Bronson and his future

Inferno (1953) 3D/2D Blu-ray Review: Survival of the Richest

The line between film noir and technicolor melodrama is finely drawn in the sand, as this must-see Twilight Time offering proves.
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While the title may have been used several hundred times over since then, 1953's Inferno is a rare, one-of-a-kind contribution to the film noir genre. And that's mostly because it was filmed in both Technicolor and 3D. Maintaining a delicate balance between noir and melodrama (because that's what happens when you shoot noir in color), this scorching flick from English filmmaker Roy Ward Baker (who would later helm the highly rated Titanic classic A Night to Remember as well as several iconic Hammer horror titles) also sports the unusual distinction of being a survival adventure atop of it all. With

Ronin (1998) Blu-ray Review: Welcome Back to Cinematic Reality, Kids

Arrow Video revives John Frankenheimer's criminally neglected late '90s gritty crime thriller via a beautiful, all-new 4K scan.
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At one point or another amidst whatever we may have selected (or been selected) for our respective careers, we will fall from grace. Even if you're a great filmmaker like John Frankenheimer. In his heyday, the late director (who passed from this world in 2002, shortly after his final contribution to cinema ‒ an HBO docu-drama ‒ premiered) had crafted several groundbreaking films, from the highly fictionalized (but nevertheless well-made) biopic Birdman of Alcatraz, the must-see WWII locomotive heist classic The Train, as well as one of my personal favorites, the 1962 paranoiac conspiracy Cold War thriller, The Manchurian Candidate.

Stormy Monday (1988) Blu-ray Review: Young Sean Bean Learns How to Make It Sting

Mike Figgis' impressive feature film debut ‒ also starring Melanie Griffith and Tommy Lee Jones ‒ returns to razzle, dazzle, and jazzle thanks to Arrow Video.
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Years before he found himself Leaving Las Vegas, the one man showmanship of Britain's own Mike Figgis paved the way for the influx of jazzy, sex-fueled neo-noir titles that all-but dominated the film industry in the early '90s with 1988's Stormy Monday. Inspired by the many magnificent gritty crime dramas that emerged from Europe in the '60s and '70s (and filmed his Figgis' hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where Michael Caine's Get Carter was shot), Figgis' self-described "romantic thriller" finds young Sean Bean as a fellow who is desperate enough to do just about anything for work. Fortunately for him, he couldn't
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