House on Haunted Hill is, like most William Castle films, a gimmicky bauble that puts all reason to the side and wants nothing more than to entertain you. And it succeeds, at least for me.
The Lonely Film Critic
Victoria & Abdul (Frears, 2017)
Yikes. Any film that ends with an Indian subject kissing the bust of Queen Victoria is bound to get into trouble, and Victoria & Abdul deserves it, I’m sorry to say.
I Walked with a Zombie (Tourneur, 1943)
What could have been an unimaginative retread of Jane Eyre is instead an immersive daydream of a film, all thanks to Jacques Tourneur’s superb eye for framing shadows and enhancing his story’s psychological unease.
10 Cloverfield Lane (Trachtenberg, 2016)
Contained in a claustrophobic bunker for much of its running time, 10 Cloverfield Lane is an exercise in scouting out trust.
The Phantom Carriage (Sjöström, 1921)
The level of refinement in this film—one made in 1921, almost a century ago—is astonishing. The double exposure used to give transparency to the phantoms is artfully done, certainly, and the acting is more nuanced and intuitive here than in most films released this decade.
Blade Runner 2049 (Villeneuve, 2017)
In terms of blockbusters from this year, this one really takes the cake, doesn’t it? One can picture Villeneuve paring his nails while overseeing this endeavour, exuding an air of confident control as the vision of Philip K. Dick and Ridley Scott lands in his capable hands.
The Uninvited (Allen, 1944)
The plot of The Uninvited is almost like a reconceptualization of Daphne de Maurier’s Rebecca, and the Hitchcock adaptation was released a few years before this. So it’s hard not to compare them.
Eyes Without a Face (Franju, 1960)
The film moves in patterns. It’s unhurried about the task at hand, nor does it hurry to reveal too much, too quickly.
American Made (Liman, 2017)
I was prepared for the worst. A few groans and a migraine, maybe. Instead, I actually thought it was rather… fun?
Night of the Demon (Tourneur, 1957)
Night/Curse of the Demon is not top-tier Jacques Tourneur, and if he were still alive today, I think Tourneur would say the same.
Carnival of Souls (Harvey, 1962)
Carnival of Souls is very noticeably low-budget. So much so that you don’t have to visit the IMDb Goofs section for insight.
THX 1138 (Lucas, 1971)
THX 1138 divests itself of context to the point of inner paralysis. Unlike classic dystopian models, it makes no attempt to thread the needle for us, opting instead for an observational approach that feels almost anthropological.
Häxan (Christensen, 1922)
Häxan is one wickedly innovative silent film, and I mean that in a good way.
Halloween (Carpenter, 1978)
If John Carpenter’s Halloween doesn’t feel as fresh today as it once was, it’s understandable.
Laura (Preminger, 1944)
“The devil is in the detail” as they say, and that could also be Laura’s tagline.