On the Docs

I usually resist writing about documentaries because it’s so difficult not to fall into the trap of summarizing the subject without actually dealing with the film — and the bullying/self-congratulatory tone of so many of the current advocacy docs, whether I happen to agree with their politics or not, turns me off instantly.

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Robin Hood(s)

Our friends at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have taken advantage of the publicity build-up for Ridley Scott’s dreadful “Robin Hood” to revive four tales of Sherwood Forest from the Columbia Pictures library. From the auteurist perspective, the most rewarding is Gordon Douglas’s 1950 “Rogues of Sherwood Forest,” another fine example of Douglas’s consistently smooth, [...]

Early Oshima

“Oshima’s Outlaw Sixties” is a fascinating box set from Criterion’s budget Eclipse line that offers five films from Nagisa Oshima’s most furiously creative period, when he seemed to be tearing up the playbook with every new project. It’s a crazy bunch of movies, of which the craziest is probably “Three Resurrected Drunkards,” a 1968 [...]

Torchy Blane

The term “B-movie” has become almost meaningless, applied as it is these days to essentially any low-budget, vaguely disreputable genre film, but it once detonated something quite specific: the short features made to fill the bottom halves of double bills in Depression-era America. Warner Archive has issued all nine films in the “Torchy Blane” [...]

Summer Movies

The New York Times has its summer movie preview issue this week, so there’s no DVD column — but if you’re looking for quick plot summaries of pretty much every movie coming out in the US between now and September, some poor guy has typed them up for you here and here and here [...]