aYour most enduring images and memories of film noir tend to be rooted in the 1940s and 1950s: say the words and monochromatic visions of Fedoras, the luscious satin robes and the unrestrained streams of cigarette smoke. This makes him a difficult genre to deal with today, even if his themes and social angles are hardly specific to the era. It leans heavily on period design and feels like an empty cosplay; Update it often and the mysterious romance dissipates.
Attractive new edition of Guillermo del Toro for nightmare alley (Now on all major VOD platforms) It gets just the right balance, even if its early 1940s production and costume design was opulent in a way that the original 1947 Edmund Golding, among the darkest and darkest of classic noirs, can still be. Dilapidated and hugely luminous, Del Toro indulges in a degree of fetishism never less than when Cate Blanchett was on screen, wrapped, wrapped, hair-trimmed and upstairs as a lethal toxic psychoanalyst. But it retains a true shock of human depravity and moral curiosity, all in Bradley Cooper’s brilliant leading performance as a cold-blooded aspiring carnival worker willing to join high society at any cost. Cooper wears a high-waisted fedora and jumpsuit well enough, but the tortured inner life of his character never feels like it’s wearing quotes.
nightmare alley strut in a similar persuasiveness to Curtis Hanson on the court LA secret (Amazon) – She is now 25 but so convincingly immersed in her period and beauty that she at once feels much older and as modern as a chrysanthemum flower. This black-hearted, acid-tongued adaptation of James Ellroy’s labyrinthine saga about police rot isn’t a paraphrase of any classic characteristic: it simply looks like it should have always been there, given the rich and glamorous combinations of mid-century Hollywood. World-building and the fluency of the stellar cast in crackling jazz and wit. Hanson’s movie came out one year after Lee Tamahori modeled after Lee Tamahori, was similarly planned, and is not remembered by many. Mulholland Falls (Amazon), an appropriately moody fun diversion in which every actor looks amazing and has a pose.
Del Toro also breaks the unfortunate streak of filmmakers reimagining already beloved examples of the genre: an uncharacteristic remake of the 1970s. big sleep And double compensation It was forgotten for some reason. But 1981 is a thorny, steamy year for Bob Raffelson Postman rings always twice (Google Play) held up better than the cynical critics of the time had expected. He doesn’t set out to perfect Tay Garnett’s lean, mean 1946 dash, but instead focuses on what his predecessor couldn’t: frank physical energy between superstars Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange. And Steven Soderbergh’s curvy, underrated under (Apple TV) Successfully Recreates Its Black Origin (Robert Siodmak’s 1949 crossPlaced in the specific setting of urban American darkness in the mid-1990s, the fragile chiaroscuros have been replaced by yellow neon lights.
Younger filmmakers feel more comfortable elevating principles of black film into brightly lit and unrecognizably different 21st-century worlds: see Rian Johnson’s innovative conflation of noir moral code and high school politics at brick (2005; Chile), or David Robert Mitchell’s divisively eccentric wandering Under the silver lake (2018; Moby), as millennial anxiety continues to derail the Los Angelino mystery. In today’s cinema, there is more than one way to prevent noir from fading to gray.
Also new on streaming and DVD
Now available on DVD and Blu-ray for non-Disney+ subscribers, this thoughtful and heartfelt game from Pixar deconstructs its frantic formula of storytelling to explore more subtle teen truths with just the right amount of figurative intelligence. Oddly enough, denying a cinematic release is one of the studio’s smartest efforts lately.
The premise is intriguing: Jacob (the observant George MacKay) thinks he’s a wolf trapped in a man’s body, and finally meets a clan spirit during therapy. But Natalie Biancheri’s somber film is too concerned with moral dualities to have as much impact as the gender dysphoria allegory that it continues to suggest.
Speaking of tamers, MTV’s crew of pranksters are (mostly) back together, and middle age doesn’t seem to have brought them any wisdom. Which is exactly what you’d hoped from a reunion of Johnny Knoxville and others: their trick remains unchanged, even as a few friends are lost along the way, lending a kind of lofty challenge to their arrested development.