(Sergio Leone, Italy/Spain/West Germany, 1964): "There's money to be made in a place like this." So speaks the stranger (Clint Eastwood) of the desert shithole he's just ridden into on the back of a mule. The town, pretty much two rows of bleached buildings facing a...

(John Cassavetes, USA, 1968): The abyss stared down by John Cassavetes' movies is the gap between the need for intimacy and its expression. His characters seek to connect but collide in the process, driven by love but impaired when it comes to obtaining it, terrified of...

(Tod Browning, USA, 1932): One of film history's more enduringly undigestible artefacts, Tod Browning's Freaks is a self-avowed horror movie that never lets you rest easy with what you're asked to be frightened of: real life sideshow 'freaks of nature' who take horrific revenge on someone who has...

The following appeared in The Globe and Mail in October, 2014. When Brad Pitt, as Sergeant Don 'Wardaddy' Collier, tells his raw, kill-shy new tank gunner Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) that “Ideals are peaceful. History is violent,” the words land with the crushing authority of a round...

(Note: I'll get back to this one. It deserves a second look. This is a first-impression review I wrote for  The Globe and Mail in May, 2015.) (George Miller, Australia, 2015): A double-barreled shotgun enema straight to the senses, George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road is an exercise...

(David Ayer, USA, 2014): Fury, both the movie and the Sherman tank from which it takes its name, is hard on the outside, soft on the inside, and sports a big stiff gun for making war. Set during the final months of World War II, when...

(Lloyd Bacon, U.S.A., 1933): As a means of suggesting liftoff from the Depression below, the aviation craze of the early '30s was a natural, and you can feel its surge in the final toppling of King Kong from the Empire State, the airborne effortlessness of Fred...

(Thornton Freeland, U.S.A., 1933): This was RKO producer Merian C. Cooper's other legendary venture to the tropics for the deep Depression year of 1933 and, while it lacks the giant ape and primal sensations of King Kong, it's every bit as dreamy, erotically charged and aviation horny....

(Mikio Naruse, Japan, 1955): A few years after the war, Yukiko (Hideo Takamine) arrives at the door of Kengo (Masayuki Mori) to see if there's anything left of the spark they struck while having an affair in Indochina. He's now married and visibly unexcited by her...

(Christopher Nolan, U.K., 1999): Less than a decade before he began Batman -- and in the process created one of the most successful yet personally stamped movie superhero series -- 29 year-old Christopher Nolan was still making commercials in London. On weekends, he'd round up friends and colleagues...