Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2017 - Peter Martin ""

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - Peter Martin

Peter Martin is a connoisseur of 70s cinema, managing editor:, contributing writer: Fandango and
On Twitter @peteramartin.

Outside current releases, my primary focus remains the 1970s, but I'm always delighted when a film from another decade catches my eye and swirls me down into its own peculiar taste.
GOD TOLD ME TO (1976; Larry Cohen)
I've loved every Larry Cohen picture I've seen; he's a strong writer and vivid director. What made this one stand out was the utter, elusive mystery at the heart of it.
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STRAY DOG (1949; Akira Kurosawa)
Early in the year I tore through the director's early work, which was mostly instructive. With this effort, Kurosawa seemed to take off the gloves and really start punching, hard.
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WHIRLPOOL OF FATE (1925; Jean Renoir)
I am out of my depth when it comes to silent films, and I watched this only because it's Renoir, but my! What a captivating and urgent experience, completely not what I was expecting.
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THE SILENT PARTNER (1978; Daryl Duke)
I can't believe I haven't seen this until now, but it's a truly exceptional picture, featuring Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer at high points, and drawn from a Curtis Hanson script.
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THE SHOOTING (1966; Monte Hellman)
Working from Carole Eastman's script, Hellman fashions something quite existential and thrilling, with pre-stardom Jack Nicholson always ready to kick the hornet nest.
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PIT STOP (1969; Jack Hill)
I knew I liked Jack Hill's 70s exploitation pictures, but this is one I'd never heard of and it really races, baby! Kind of breathless and very exciting; Ellen Burstyn is great.
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THE BREAKING POINT (1950; Michael Curtiz)
Really, really remarkable, especially since this is based on Hemingway's TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT and is so radically different that the friendly first adaptation. John Garfield is awesome and the movie has a welcome, nasty edge with a whallop of an ending.
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We can always wish the original vision had been finalized, but watching this on DVD was still quite satisfying, much more so that I could ever have imagined when I avoided it in theaters in 1980.
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DARKNESS (2002; Jaume Balaguero)
I'd seen the U.S. theatrical version on opening night, which was dull and uninspiring, but finally seeing the director's cut on DVD was almost a revelation. The director's version is scarier and more brutal, but also more thrilling. Young Anna Paquin really commands the screen.
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BLUE SUNSHINE (1977; Jeff Lieberman)
Another "classic" that I never happened to see before, this is a thoughtful thriller that really lives up to its reputation, constantly surprising as it jukes its way to an eye-opening conclusion.
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CHOPPING MALL (1986; Jim Wynorski)
Yet one more popular title that I finally caught up with. It's even more fun (and depraved) than I expected it would be, but I especially enjoyed the actors and their characterizations. And those security robots!
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THE BLACK CAULDRON (1985; Ted Berman, Richard Rich)
I've intentionally avoided seeking this one because I heard so much about it "back in the day" but thought the darker themes would be too off-putting for an animated film. I was right; it is very, very dark, but it's also an astoundingly beautiful example of hand-drawn animation.
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1 comment:

Brittani Burnham said...

The Black Cauldron is the only one I've seen, and I only saw it once when I was a child. It's something I'd like to watch again, as I barely remember it now.