I looked back through my Netflix queue to see when I first watched Anatomy of a Murder and it turns out it was back in January 2009 and while I remembered enjoying it I didn't remember the film per se. So it was a treat to pop this new Criterion Blu-ray in the player and settle in to Otto Preminger's 1959 thriller with James Stewart in the lead and an impressive supporting cast and a feature filled with dialogue you can't get enough of.
As for the transfer, it's almost too good as a moment early on featuring the makeup on Lee Remick's bruised face is so obvious it's almost comical, but you're hardly paying attention as she does everything in her power to seduce Stewart into taking her husband's case.
Anatomy for a Murder may best be known in the movie blogosphere as a film that features what may arguably be Saul Bass's most well known title sequences. Well, you can watch those titles below, but I've also included one of Criterion's "Three Reasons" videos that gives you a great taste of what this film has to offer, particularly when it comes to the courtroom dialogue.
As if I needed to say it, this is a title I most certainly recommend.
Martha Marcy May Marlene
I didn't receive a copy of Martha Marcy May Marlene for review, but I most certainly will recommend it and I need to get my hands on a copy just so I can watch the Mary Last Seen short film that ultimately helped Sean Durkin get the feature film made. The short is available on the Blu-ray and for anyone that's seen this film, just give the trailer for Mary Last Seen a watch below and tell me you don't get the chills when you see that house.
World on a Wire (Criterion Collection)
Shamefully, I have not had a chance to watch this Blu-ray yet, but I am just waiting for the opportunity when I have three-and-a-half hours set aside to take a look at what Criterion describes as "a gloriously paranoid, boundlessly inventive take on the future from German wunderkind Rainer Werner Fassbinder. With dashes of Stanley Kubrick, Kurt Vonnegut, and Philip K. Dick, Fassbinder tells the noir-spiked tale of reluctant hero Fred Stiller (Klaus Lowitsch), a cybernetics engineer who uncovers a massive corporate conspiracy." I'm frustrated I can't watch it right now.
I also have to add, the art on both Anatomy of a Murder and World on a Wire is exceptional. You can take a look at how artist Sam Smith developed the World on a Wire art right here.
Puss in Boots
Releases Friday, February 24
I look at Rango as an animated film more for adults, but if you're looking for a title for the whole family, Puss in Boots is probably the best of 2011's family friendly animated titles. To take it a step further, it's plain and simply a good movie and one I would watch again.
I haven't seen The Way yet, which is Emilio Estevez's follow-up to Bobby featuring Martin Sheen as a father who heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the "El camino de Santiago," and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.
The film earned some acclaim out of Toronto in 2010, but never seemed to catch on in 2011, most likely due to the fact ARC Entertainment and Producers Distribution Agency didn't have the kind of marketing budget a smaller film like this needed to gain large word-of-mouth. It did, however, manage $4.4 million after being released in only 33 theaters back in October. That tells me I need to finally take the plunge and watch it.
I've had a screener of this for some time, but it arrived in the midst of Oscar season and other films were of a higher priority. On top of that, I haven't heard anything all that good about it. However, with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley starring and William Monahan (The Departed) making his directorial debut I have to at least give it a watch.
The Son of No One
Channing Tatum once again teams with Dito Montiel on the heels of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Fighting. I haven't seen this film, but buzz out of its 2011 Sundance premiere wasn't what I would call positive.
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As a visual and aural piece of cinema, Backcountry is quite effective, but too much time is dedicated to superfluous scenes that only cause the story to drag rather than be as engaging as the filmmaking itself.
Matthew McConaughey is attached to star in The Billionaire's Vinegar, the story of one rich man's search to determine if the bottles of wine he spent too much money on actually belonged to Thomas Jefferson.