Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

. Director/Screenwriter: John Carpenter By Roderick Heath In the dark alleys of a modern cityscape, war is brewing. Heavily armed gang members stalk the dark, only to be spotlighted and coldly massacred by policemen, the bringers of death rendered dehumanised figures as the camera elides their faces and concentrates instead on their hands and weapons. …

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You Were Never Really Here (2017)

. Director/Screenwriter: Lynne Ramsay By Roderick Heath Here there be spoilers... Glasgow-born director Lynne Ramsay gained international repute with her impressionistic debut narrative film Ratcatcher in 1999. Ramsay cemented her status as a filmmaker to watch with her portrait of crisis adrift, Morvern Callar, in 2002, and her American film debut, the 2011 adaptation of …

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The Searchers (1956)

Director: John Ford Screenwriter: Frank Nugent By Roderick Heath John Ford was hardly lacking in fame and acclaim when he released The Searchers. He’d already captured four Oscars as Best Director, proof he stood for his peers as the most admired of American filmmaking talents. Given how rarely Westerns were given such awards and serious …

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Galaxy Express 999 (1979) / Adieu, Galaxy Express 999: Final Stop Andromeda (1981)

Ginga Tetsudô Surî-Nain / Sayônara, Ginga Tetsudô Surî-Nain: Andromeda Shûchakueki Director: Rintaro Screenwriters: Kon Ichikawa, Shirô Ishimori; Hiroyasu Yamaura By Roderick Heath Leiji Matsumoto isn’t a household name outside of Japan except to fans of manga and anime, Japan’s beloved, specific styles in cartooning and animation. But for anyone who does love those art forms, …

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Touki-Bouki (1973)

Director/Screenwriter: Djibril Diop Mambéty By Roderick Heath Following its 2007 restoration by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki-Bouki has emerged in recent years to be celebrated as one of the finest products of African cinema. Touki-Bouki made a Sight & Sound Film Poll as one of the hundred greatest films of all …

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The Land That Time Forgot (1975) / At The Earth’s Core (1976) / The People That Time Forgot (1977) / Warlords of Atlantis (1978)

Director: Kevin Connor Screenwriters: Michael Moorcock, James Cawthorn, Milton Subotsky, Patrick Tilley, Brian Hayles By Roderick Heath Movies like Star Wars (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) stand large as templates for contemporary blockbuster cinema, for better and for worse. But I’ve long thought of them rather as a culmination in popularity for …

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Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

Director: Sydney Pollack Screenwriters: Edward Anhalt, John Milius (uncredited: David Rayfiel) By Roderick Heath John Jeremiah Garrison “Liver-Eating” Johnson was one of those authentic characters of the American West’s history who nonetheless occupies a blurred zone between fact and legend. Born in 1824, Johnson became one of the strange breed of wandering trappers and traders …

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Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

. Director/Screenwriter: Carl Franklin By Roderick Heath Although crime films and thrillers never went away, the late 1980s and ‘90s saw a busy revival of noir film, a new mode conscious of the genre’s past but invested with a hard edge of contemporary awareness. A battery of filmmakers including Michael Mann, John Dahl, Howard Franklin, …

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Planet of the Apes (1968)

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner Screenwriters: Rod Serling, Michael Wilson By Roderick Heath Although overshadowed in appreciation amongst high cinephiles by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2018 brings the fiftieth anniversary of another hugely popular and influential science fiction film: Franklin J. Schaffner’s Planet of the Apes. 1968 was a pivotal year for sci-fi cinema, …

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The Sheik (1921) / The Son of the Sheik (1926)

Directors: George Melford, George Fitzmaurice By Roderick Heath This essay is offered as part of the Allan Fish Online Film Festival, a festival founded by Jamie Uhler and hosted by Wonders in the Dark, held to honor the memory of the late cineaste extraordinaire Allan Fish. Rudolph Valentino. Over ninety years since he died aged …

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