It’s been a good couple of weeks for movies.
I caught Paul Schrader’s magnificent First Reformed during its theatrical run recently. It’s a powerful and affecting work, and arguably the director’s most impressive piece in several decades (and I say this as a great and vocal fan of The Canyons). As I noted on social media in the wake of my screening, Diary Of A Country’s Priest might be an apt subtitle under First Reformed, with Schrader taking a microscopic look at the contemporary America of now in much the same way he did in the 1970s and 1980s with Taxi Driver and American Gigolo. It’s a fitting conclusion to the director’s ‘God’s lonely man’ cycle.
Where June was dominated by Indicator’s Budd Boetticher box-set July has been run to the beat of the same boutique home video label’s Sam Fuller-orientated collection. Somehow even more lavish and impressive than the Boetticher release, Sam Fuller At Columbia, 1937-1961 is as good as these things get. I went through the films in chronological order, with Fuller’s presence more and more becoming the further one gets, from It Happened In Hollywood, an early writing gig for the director, through to Underworld U.S.A., which stands as peak Fuller. Next month’s anchor release is going to be Criterion’s Von Sternberg & Dietrich set, which might just best them all.