Hard-boiled is hard. One slip in tone, a moment of sentimentality, any break in story or character credibility and the tough, spare, merciless universe crumbles, usually into kitsch. Robert Aldrichs Kiss Me Deadly (1955), Jules Dassins Rififi (1955), Claude Sautets Classe tous risques (1960), John Boormans Point Blank (1967), John McKenzies The Long Good Friday (1980), and Matthew Vaughns Layer Cake (2004) never waver.
Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Dursts directorial debut The Education of Charlie Banks took a long time to find release after its festival showings in 2007. Having Dursts name attached might not have helped its case.
Kiyoshi Kurosawas films often envelope their characters and viewers in an intense sense of isolation and despair. When a young woman, paranoid of supernatural attack, slowly retreats into a back room, the camera moves forward to lead us further away from her world. At the end of a dimly-lit street, someone suddenly jumps down a high tower to her death. The horrified reaction of a witness is lost among the grey shades of many faceless, out-of-focus passers-by.
Shinjuku, Tokyo in the late 60s and early 70s was an electrifying place: student radicals, avant-garde street performers, drag queens, and assorted hippies crossed paths in a vortex of vibrant counterculture. In the heart of Shinjuku stood the Shinjuku Bunka, the Art Theatre Guilds flagship showplace. Painted stark greyin contrast to the surrounding gaudy commercial theatersthe Bunka introduced Tokyoites to European art cinema as well as to the most daring Japanese independent productions of the day.
From its first shot of an eye with a flashing iris that yields to light playing upon the ocean, Polis is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place, establishes itself as a meditation on the life and poetic vision of the 20th century American poet Charles Olson and his muse Americas oldest seaport, Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Alex Coxs 1986 cult classic Sid and Nancy recounts the whirlwind relationship and tragic end of punk rocks Romeo & Juliet, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. Gary Oldman is amazing, and portrays the Sex Pistols bassist hauntingly well. Chloe Webb is as terrific as she is irritating, and Nancy was most definitely the latter.