Every decade has its director(s) of note. Today, it’s Christopher Nolan, and before him it was David Fincher, and then Tarantino and the Coen Brothers, and Cameron, Scorsese, De Palma and Spielberg dominating different years.
And then you have helmers in the ’60s like Kubrick and John Frankenheimer turning out classic after classic. Frankenheimer, in particular, excelled in movies that defined the then paradigm of genre thrillers — The Manchurian Candidate, The Train, Seconds, Seven Days in May, The Fixer, and many more — only to become regulated to assigned projects in the successive decades.
Frankenheimer continued to make movies until he passed away in 2002. Seemingly out of nowhere, Frankenheimer made one of the all-time great action films in 1998 with Ronin.
Ronin (Arrow Video) hands down has the best car chase sequence ever filmed for a movie. That takes into account similar car chase sequences in movies like Bullitt, The French Connection and To Live and Die in L.A.
Ronin boasts an all-star cast that includes Robert De Niro, Jonathan Pryce, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård, Sean Bean, Michael Lonsdale and skating star Katarina Witt.
In the film, a group of mercenaries are brought together by an Irish gang to rip off a briefcase from the mob. Ronin escalates with every move: Are the mercs dependable? What does the case contain? Who among the group is playing for both sides? And last but not least, how much action can you squeeze into a normal two-hour film?
There are betrayals, intrigue and more than one amazing car chase sequences. Ronin literally took every movie car chase ever made and bumped it up to the next level.
Ronin the name refers to a samurai that wanders the wasteland and has no master.
The 4K restoration and Blu-ray release by Arrow Video includes some great extras including an newly recorded interview with cinematographer Robert Fraisse, plus featurettes that have been included on previous DVD releases of Ronin, one of which has Quentin Tarantino narrating a visual essay of the films of De Niro.
To his credit, Frankenheimer made a movie that was not only an instant classic but also a companion movie to the films he made during his heyday in the ’60s.
Maurice (Cohen Film Collection) stands as an equal to any film from the Merchant/Ivory collaboration, which includes Howard’s End, Room With A View or The Remains of the Day among others.
It should also be noted that the films released on disc by Cohen Films are thought out and packed with featurettes as any disc set released by the Criterion Collection.
Some of the extras on this set include a one-on-one between writer/director Tom McCarthy and James Ivory where they discuss every aspect of the film as well as an on-stage Q&A with Ivory and cinematographer Pierre Lhomme.
James Wilby and Hugh Grant star in this grand adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel, which while published posthumously in 1971, was written nearly sixty years earlier. Grant and Wilby enter into a romantic relationship while attending Cambridge in 1909. Although they part ways they meet years later after Grant has married at his upper-class estate. Wilby then finds himself involved with Grant’s stable boy (Rupert Graves).
Part of the allure of Maurice is the top quality acting, not just by the leads, but also by all the supporting players. Ben Kingsley shows up briefly as an American hypnotist and Helena Bonham Carter shows up even briefer in a cameo as a spectator at a cricket match.