The Bad Sleep Well
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
The Bad Sleep Well is a Japanese language thriller about revenge and corporate corruption. The film is occasionally sentimental and the female characters are thinly sketched, but it is still a great film. The Bad Sleep Well’s plot moves both unexpectedly and inevitably to its stark conclusion and pointed social criticism.
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Casablanca, based on the unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick’s, is a romantic drama set during the Second World War in the eponymous Vichy-controlled city. Casablanca lives up admirably to its reputation. It’s a tightly paced and memorable film open about its patriotic and romantic sentiments. Casablanca occasionally strains credulity and threatens to fall into melodrama or slapstick, but the film is easily saved by its essential sincerity and the quality of its acting.
The Hateful Eight
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film, is a mystery Western that centers on a tense standoff between (mostly) strangers in a stagecoach stopover during in a blizzard in Wyoming some years after the Civil War. Released both in 70mm and digitally, The Hateful Eight is largely an homage to old cinema, and, like all of Tarantino’s films, is very cool. Continuing the trend from Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight has more of a political message than Tarantino’s earlier purely stylistic films. Despite its near perfect direction, acting, and pacing, The Hateful Eight is held back by its preference for style over substance and its intense nihilism.