Nightmare Alley (2021) – Guillermo del Toro

Based on the novel of the same name del Toro’s latest is a lush, shining example of the noir genre, and features strong performances and visuals. I loved how faithful it was to the spirit of the novel, there were a few necessary changes, but none that change any of the overall arcs for any…

Murder By Contract (1958) – Irving Lerner

I’ve been checking out some noir titles over the past few weeks, checking in with one of my favorite genres. This was perhaps my least favorite of the bunch. I think it could have been a little better constructed, and perhaps delved into the issues that plagued the film’s lead character, Claude (Vince Edwards). Claude…

The Lineup (1958) – Don Siegel

The port city of San Francisco serves as the backdrop for this noir thriller that features Eli Wallach as a homicidal criminal on the trail of a heroin shipment from Hong Kong he’s expected to collect and deliver. Each shipment has been stowed in statuettes, dolls, and other such trinkets, all in the hands of…

5 Against the House (1955) – Phil Karlson

The stunning Kim Novak joins Guy Madison, Brian Keith, Alvy Moore, and Kerwin Matthews in this noir thriller, 5 Against the House. Once again, this was a film I hadn’t heard of, but rather enjoyed it as I settled in for it. A group of Korean war vets are getting the most out of the…

Lord of Illusions (1995) – Clive Barker

I remember discovering the writings of Clive Barker, and how his writing actually got under my skin, and freaked me out a bit. He definitely won a fan in me, and then the film, Hellraiser, wow! And while Nightbreed garnered itself a bit of a cult following, Lord of Illusions never seemed to, which bums…

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) – Shane Black

Excluding The Predator (what the hell was that?) Shane Black has been one of my favorite Hollywood writers, and I was super-excited when it was announced he was getting into the director’s chair for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Set, like most of Black’s tales, at Christmas, this one is a slice of modern noir. Robert…

Nightmare Alley (1946) – William Lindsay Gresham

Before I see del Toro’s new film, which is an adaptation of this novel, I wanted to visit the source material, because I do love me a good noir story, and this one is a classic. And perhaps because the beats and the tropes of the noir genre are so familiar it’s easy to suss…

Against All Odds (1984) – Taylor Hackford

Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward and James Woods star in this noir-esque film that fumbles visually, as far as I’m concerned. Everyone knows the hit song by Phil Collins that came out of this film, and honestly, when it’s used over the end credits that shows a crying and struggling to smile Ward, it’s got a…

The Sniper (2021) – Chang Kuo-Li

Taiwanese author Chang Kou-Li delivers an action thriller this week. With its North American debut, The Sniper, is available now from House of Anansi Press, features a translation by Roddy Flagg and reads like the best of Hong Kong cinema. There are action beats, police investigations, involving characters and a weaving story that takes you…

The French Connection (1971) – William Friedkin

William Friedkin’s 1971 classic has deserved a rewatch for awhile, and I was quite happy to settle in for it. I like Gene Hackman, who won himself an Academy Award for his turn as NYPD officer Popeye Doyle, and I’m a huge fan of Roy Scheider who plays his partner, Cloudy, and received a nomination…