One of the great films of the Hong Kong New Wave, Tsui Hark’s Chinese Revolution era adventure is notable for focusing not on the war or heroic men, but on the friendship that grows between three women who find themselves involved in a tangled web of espionage.
All in all, brains aren’t really scary – at least up until that moment when you see one pick up a hammer with its spinal cord and come flying at you.
Steve McQueen stars as a San Francisco cop assigned to protect a witness against the Mob. Before the film winds to its thrilling conclusion on the tarmac of San Francisco International, viewers will marvel at McQueen’s casual cool and one of the best car chases in cinema.
On the surface, The Wicker Man is the story of how one police constable’s attempt to scrooge up a town’s May Day revelries fails miserably when the community comes together to celebrate the reason for the season. But The Wicker Man is a film with complex depth, and delving into those murky waters is aided considerably by a few of the key texts that went into crafting the film’s story.
Although one certainly cannot dismiss the impact of World War II on the United States, it’s an order of magnitude more shocking to witness the devastation wrought across Europe. For all our suffering, we could come home to a country that remained largely untouched by large-scale conflict. Those in Europe, however, were already home.
A double agent operating in London dreams of retiring, but his life is complicated when he is assigned to assassinate a traitor: himself. With one foot in the pop art fantasy of James Bond and another in the grim world of John Le Carre, A Dandy in Aspic never quite succeeds at being either.
Testi plays Milo, a small-time hood who, when the film opens is lugging his wounded buddy through a field after a heist that has apparently gone rather poorly. His friend dies, and Testi buries him in the field before getting arrested and ending up in a jail run by Oliver Reed’s Vito Cipriani.
Born in the Dutch town of Utrecht in September of 1952, Sylvia Kristel grew up the daughter of hoteliers. Living in a hotel provided her with, if not exactly a conventional childhood, certainly an interesting one, as the rotating cast of oddball characters that inevitably show up at a hotel, both as guests and staff, provided a sometimes surreal background for Sylvia and her two siblings.
At its core, Marketa Lazarová is the story of two rival clans in early 13th century Bohemia: the primitive Pagan raiders the Kozlíks, lorded over by a brutal patriarch; and the slightly more civilized Lazars, led by an opportunistic father who, while unwilling to participate in the bloody raids perpetrated by the Kozlíks, is more than happy to swoop in after the fact and scavenge for anything he might think could be of value.
If horror films have taught us anything, it’s that you should always be suspicious of a really good real estate deal. is that house a gorgeous vision of Victorian craftsmanship on the market for peanuts? Don’t buy it, unless you plan to use it as a place to which you invite a group of apparent strangers with the promise that if they can survive spending one night in it, you’ll give them a million dollars.
Although lord knows the world doesn’t need another origin story — modern films are positively obsessed with explaining every single detail of every single character in film history, leaving nothing to assumption or mystery and never accepting that sometimes we simply don’t need to know — The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an origin story.
On The Cultural Gutter, I’m taking a look at diversity in science fiction. Specifically, Syfy Gets Diverse looks at the Syfy Channel television shows Killjoys, Dark Matter, Defiance, and The Expanse, all of which feature gender and racially diverse ensemble casts.