A Field in England
Ben Wheatley, with films like Free Fire and High Rise, seems to be making a career out of making the kinds of films that people are so sure no one makes anymore. Set during the English Civil War, A Field in England, while certainly not for everyone, is a throwback to the slow-moving atmospheric horror films of the 1970’s. Though flawed, it’s one of the most original English language films to be released in years.
Bill Cunningham New York
Endearing and more than a little odd, Bill Cunningham was a fashion photographer for the New York Times from 1978 up until his death in 2016. This documentary highlights and celebrates the eccentricities, brilliance and keen eye of one of the greatest and most humble candid photographers ever to live. We see a man not interested in changing the landscape of photography, or fashion, or in creating art, or anything even remotely pretentious or highfalutin. He just loves fashion.
“Murder has a sound all of its own.” If that isn’t a contender for greatest tag-line of all time, what is? Directed by Brian De Palma and starring John Travolta, Blow Out is an absolutely thrilling political conspiracy thriller with more than a little bit of influence from Alfred Hitchcock. It’s so good even Pauline Kael raved about it.
No one does Shakespeare like Kurosawa. Ran, loosely based off King Lear, is no question the greatest Shakespeare adaptation Akira Kurosawa ever made but a strong contender for his best film. Made toward the end of his career, Ran may not feature Kurosawa regulars Toshiro Mifune or Takashi Shimura but the performances across the board in this film are impeccable. It doesn’t waste a moment of its near 3-hour run-time and is guaranteed to stay with you for a long, long time. An unforgettable epic and a masterpiece.
Don’t Look Now
Whether they’re editors like David Lean or cinematographers like Nicholas Roeg, some of the most fascinating directors are the ones that come to the job from roles other than screenwriting. Starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, Roeg’s third narrative feature film is a haunting ghost story set primarily in Venice, Italy. While gaining plenty of notoriety thanks to its frank depiction of sex, Don’t Look Now is an absolutely gripping and bone-chilling thriller.