by J.R. Jones
As part of its ongoing weekend matinee series on serial killers, Music Box is screening Richard Fleischer's true-crime hit The Boston Strangler (1968), with the late Tony Curtis, in one of his best performances, playing Albert DeSalvo, who confessed to the murders of 13 women in the Boston area. My long review focuses mostly on these two men, but we shouldn't forget Fleischer, who earlier had made the masterful film noir The Narrow Margin (1952). After seeing a huge triptych exhibit at the Expo '67 in Montreal, Fleischer decided to tell the story of the citywide pursuit of the strangler with split-screen compositions, which were in vogue at the time but not to the extent Fleischer intended. With its seven- and eight-panel compositions, The Boston Strangler was hopelessly screwed in TV pan-and-scan broadcast; even a modern flat screen doesn't really cut it—there's just too much information onscreen—which is why this presentation by Music Box shouldn't be missed.
Also in this week's issue, we have a Critic's Choice for Martin (1978), George A. Romero's poignant and shit-yourself-scary tale of a teenage vampire in suburban Pittsburgh (it's his best after Night of the Living Dead). And there are new capsule reviews of The Desert of Forbidden Art, about a museum in remote western Uzbekistan that collected and preserved painters censored by the Soviet Union; The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the last of three Swedish features that adapt Stieg Larsson's best-selling thriller trilogy (the Hollywood version of the first book arrives next year, directed by David Fincher of The Social Network fame); Hideaway, the latest from French director Francois Ozon (8 Women, Under the Sand); Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel, a documentary profile of the Playboy founder; Max Manus, a Norwegian biopic of an anti-Nazi resistance hero, and Paranormal Activity 2. the sequel to the 2009 horror hit. Trailers after the jump.