dial m

Alfred Hitchcock dismissed Dial M for Murder as too simplistic, an example of him coasting compared to his other works; but history seems to have disagreed with him. Confined mostly to one room, this tale of a washed up tennis pro’s attempt to murder his wife for insurance money is forced to experiment with daring, foreshadowing camerawork to keep the shots exciting. But when a crime writer gets involved with the would-be murderer’s wife the plot goes all wrong, forcing him invent a new scheme on the spot. The pleasure of this film comes from what you know a character is actually thinking when he or she smiles sweetly and says goodbye. Dial M for Murder (in 3D) is showing at Film Forum (209 West Houston st.) at 1:10, 3:20, 5:30, 7:40, and 9:50 this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

Werner Herzog’s Fata Morgana, playing at 6pm this Saturday at The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens (36-01 35th Ave, New York, NY), should be worth the lengthy subway ride to MOMI. One of Herzog’s most abstract films, it consists only of beautifully shot images of the Sahara Desert paired with the audio of sixteenth century Guatemalan creation myths and 70s German avant-garde texts, as well as a Leonard Cohen soundtrack. Youtube clips suggest a moving, ethereal experience, surveying sand-swept landscapes and urban decay, “natives that do not fit in their environs,” and other dreamlike scenes. By taking apart cinema to its barest elements, these shots have more a guttural effect, emphasizing the subliminal power of every cinematic choice and the eerie dissonance of Herzog’s image/sound combinations.

In the near future, Detroit is on the edge, struggling under the weight of unchecked crime and financial catastrophe. Robots get enlisted in the police force, but when one kills someone during its demonstration, the program looks lost. Only one man can save Detroit and he’s “Part Man, Part Robot, All Cop.” That’s right, Robocop has arrived at the IFC Center (323 Avenue of the Americas) for midnight showings on Friday and Saturday, just in time to get a leg up before the 2014 remake. As part of the new cyborg program, a dying police officer is saved by being built into the first Robocop. He is sent out to fight criminals everywhere and single handedly reigns in crime, but can he fight corruption within the police force itself? Does he have the will to resist or is he more robot then man?