Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2017 - Sarah Jane ""

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - Sarah Jane

Sarah Jane has seen over 5,000 movies. She writes two columns for Talk Film Society; Overlooked & Underseen and Saturday Afternoon Kaiju. She is a member of the Girl Gang. She has appeared on several podcasts including Splathouse and The Screamcast. You can find her on Twitter at @fookthis. You can also find her on Letterboxd at She has four cats, one husband and one kiddo.

Tokyo Drifter (1966) – Directed by Seijun Suzuki
I’m clearly very late to the Suzuki party but I’m just glad I finally made it. This was my first (but certainly not my last) Suzuki film and I loved every second of Tokyo Drifter. The visuals in this tale about a former Yakuza gang member just trying to get along really knocked my socks off. Once you’ve seen this you’ll think “Ah, that’s where Tarantino got that from.” All hail Seijun Suzuki!
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The Crook (1970) – Directed by Claude Lelouch
The opening scene alone of The Crook puts this in a must watch category if you haven’t already seen this amazing movie from France. Within the first few minutes of putting this on I tweeted out “What the fuck am I watching?!” Jean-Louis Trintignant stars as Simon ‘The Swiss’ Duroc. He’s a thief who has spent some time in prison as well as some on the lam. Lelouch gives zero fucks about narrative structure but it doesn’t matter because it all works itself out at the end and you’ll have a great time getting there.
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A Night to Remember (1958) – Directed by Roy Ward Baker
My husband and I are watching all the Criterion films in order of when they put them out. When it was time to watch A Night to Remember I thought “This might be really dry, especially as I’ve seen this story told many times.” Boy, was I wrong. Apart from that stupid “Jack!” “Rose!” story in Titanic, Cameron’s film is almost note for note the same as Baker’s. Sure it doesn’t have all the special effects of Titanic, but what it does have in terms of miniatures is pretty amazing. And, even though I knew the outcome, I cried at some of the more harrowing scenes.
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Night of the Eagle aka Burn Witch, Burn (1962) – Directed by Sidney Hughes
If you’re looking for a movie about a hot professor who finds out his wife has been practicing witchcraft for years, well, have I got one for you! Peter Wyngarde and Janet Blair are both terrific in this gorgeous looking American-British co-production. It’s what the kids call a slow burn but, boy, when it burns it’s on goddamn fire. We all need a little more witchcraft in our lives.
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Cooley High (1975) – Directed by Michael Shultz
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Glynn Turman star in this terrific period piece from 1975. I don’t know why I waited so long to watch this one but I’m so glad I did. The best of friends, Cochise (Hilton-Jacobs) and Preach (Turman), are about to graduate high school. A night of blowing off steam turns into a nightmare for the two boys. The performances in the film are amazing. Shout out to Garrett Morris who plays the boys History teacher. The soundtrack to Cooley High is A+. Don’t sleep on this one like I did.
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Elevator to the Gallows (1958) – Directed by Louis Malle
Speaking of amazing music, Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows has an amazing Miles Davis score that will haunt you for weeks. This was Malle’s first film and wow, what adebut. Jeanne Moreau is tremendous as Florence, a woman who plots with her lover to kill her husband. Malle turns Moreau into a star with this movie and, in turn, begins an amazing career himself.
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1 comment:

Robert M. Lindsey said...

I watched Cooley High last year for the first time also, great and overlooked film.