(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 Boorman, USA, 1967): The image of Lee Marvin, perched on the rocks surrounding Alcatraz, about to slip into the deathly waves rolling between him and the city of San Francisco rising in the distance, suggests a primal force on the move: a monster on...

(George Miller, Australia, 1981): Visually abstracting the playground potential of the Australian desert, George Miller's second Mad Max movie qualifies as the most expressive open road movie since Monte Hellman's Two-Lane Blacktop, but where the American filmmaker evokes Antonioni on the highway, Miller is channeling Chuck Jones. The Road Warrior is...

(George Miller, Australia, 1979): Long before the mug-shot facial creases and vodka-fumed anti-Semitic rants confirmed the Mad in Max might refer to something other than just angry, Mel Gibson was pushing crazy in George Miller's first movie, a stripped-for-speed Aussie grindhouse smashup that featured the baby-faced, blue-eyed...

(Ben Wheatley, UK, 2013): Suggesting a movie that might be playing inside a head suffering from multiple personality disorder, Kill List, Ben Wheatley's nerve-wracking exercise in tonal extremities and jolting strangeness, may be less genre mashup than crash-up, but the overriding impression that everything is playing out...

(Daryl Duke, Canada, 1978): Cinematically, Toronto has generally preferred to let its strong film noir leanings remain latent, in movies that tilt conspicuously in the direction of alienation, haunted characters and stories about people adrift in a city that shows no mercy. This is the...

(Lee Jeong-beom, South Korea, 2010): With his carefully-scissored bang job that says look-at-me way more loudly than leave-me-alone, the shy pawnbroker Cha Tae-sik (Bin Won) is a trigger just waiting to be pulled. This we know because Lee Jeong-beom's The Man From Nowhere is a...

(Chad Stahelski, David Leitch, USA, 2014): Playing out somewhere between biblical prophecy and pop cultural wet dream, John Wick serves up the pleasures of the familiar with an intoxicating efficiency that somehow clobbers any resistance one might have to being told precisely what one already...

(Jung Byung-gil, South Korea, 2012): In the process of pushing revenge to graphic, ritualized and obsessive extremes not seen as a national cinematic calling card since the Italian spaghetti western, even the darkest South Korean movies have invariably flirted with comedy before, but Jung Byung-gil's...

(Giulio Petroni, Italy, 1966): Before it was named as such, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was lurking in the Hollywood western in all those movies about remorseful gunslingers and Civil War vets struggling to stay peaceful in the face of mounting provocation, but in the Italian...