Black ‘47 (2018)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a very good revenge action / drama set during the Irish potato famine. It could easily be a Samurai movie, or Spaghetti Western, but the dark, muddy locations are a visual improvement on those genre’s usual settings. Several writers have made the connection to First Blood, which is indeed driven home by a scene in a “police station” and the music. The good thing is that Black ‘47 goes off in it’s own direction after that. Our anti-hero has much deeper motivation for his revenge than John Rambo. You will recognize several fine actors in this film, but I was most happy to see Hugo Weaving as the manhunter (pictured above). Don’t go into this expecting non-stop action. The pace is deliberate between the explosive scenes, but I was never bored. The balance of drama to action is just about perfect. Watch this instead of one of the zillion straight-to-Netflix shitshows, and I doubt you’ll regret it.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Jallikattu (2019)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I am happy to share another excellent movie out of India (you may recall that I recommended Tumbaad not long ago). This story revolves around a rampaging Water Buffalo, but it’s a lot more interesting than that might make you think. Human folly is on full display, with scenes ranging from hilarious to quite dark. There are a few slow moments, but overall this film is awesome, and beautifully shot. The soundtrack is damn good too. Jallikattu is available on Prime, in 4k no less.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Mom and Dad (2017)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

I’m picky about horror comedies, but this is a good one. Nicholas Cage does his thing as dad without slipping into Wicker Man level ridiculousness, and Selma Blair is the perfect choice as mom. The pace is pretty relentless, and the end ramps up the crazy even further. The filmmakers have done an admirable job at keeping the movie effective, and not as silly as it could have easily become in lesser hands.

Available on Blu-ray from Momentum.

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Lord of Illusions (1995)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is a damn good horror film based on Clive Barker’s story “The Last Illusion,” and directed by the man himself. I’d say this only comes in second to Hellraiser among films he’s helmed. It’s cheesy as hell. In spite of that fact, Barker thankfully ditched the one-liners that plagued Nightbreed. I watched this again recently, for the first time in ages, and found the cheese on display quite charming. If you are a Seinfeld fan, the Fromage Knob is turned to 11, because the bad guy was once George Costanza’s boss Mr. Kruger. Don’t take that the wrong way, Daniel Von Bargen (RIP), was a fantastic actor, and this is his best role by far. It’s just hard to not picture him menacing George instead of Famke Jansen. Two major plusses for this film are that it’s extremely gory, and there’s a ton of Barker’s awesome art and design on display. The CG is a little dated, but it didn’t bother me all that much. The version on Prime is the director’s cut, and the restoration looks quite good too.

Blu-ray available from Shout Factory.

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The Occupant (2020)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer (English – WATCH THE MOVIE IN SPANISH W/ SUBS)

Netflix delivers another entertaining Spanish thriller. The whole thing is improbable to the extreme, so forget about suspending your disbelief. It doesn’t matter because The Occupant looks great, the performances are spot on, and it has some wonderfully twisted moments. A word of warning though, some people HATED this movie. I’d say watch without expectations. Let the movie do it’s thing. If you generally appreciate the films I recommend on Anomalous Cinema, there’s a good chance you’ll like this as much as I did. Not feeling a little adventurous? Pick something else.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Planet of the Vampires (1965)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

If you can’t get past the primitive look and FX of Star Trek: The Original Series, read no further. You will not appreciate Planet of the Vampires. I grew up watching TOS and still love it, so this movie was very enjoyable. If you’ve seen any of Mario Bava’s early, fog and color drenched work, imagine it as a feature-length Star Trek episode. That with way more experimental electronic music, far better uniforms, and a proto-Alien (1979) feel. Except wait a second… Bava made this BEFORE Star Trek ever aired. Yes this movie is cheesy, but I love it, warts and all. I also have a feeling that blood on the crew’s insignias might have a deeper meaning. That or Mario just thought it looked cool.

Blu-ray available from Lorber Films.

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‘71 (2014)

Streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

The Troubles are the setting of this very original action / drama. The balance of those genres is well handled, and everything is beautifully filmed. The film’s tension is enhanced by a powerful, bass-heavy, John Carpenter-meets-Godspeed soundtrack. This is pretty dark stuff, but well worth your time.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Maps to the Stars (2014)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is one of the least-typical films by David Cronenberg, but it’s a solid one for sure. Maps to the Stars is an entertaining dark comedy / satire of Hollywood that spins off in an unpredictable direction. I admire the originality here, and Mia Wasikowska is excellent. The only blemish is the use of some unnecessary CG. That is unfortunate but forgivable. Maybe you won’t even notice.

Blu-ray available from Universal.

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Peeping Tom (1960)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

The following was my first Patreon post, and will be in the upcoming Anomalous Cinema book. I was so happy to see that this film is streaming in 1080p HD, I just had to share it here too. Enjoy.

Mark is a sad, but somehow lovable, serial killer with a unique murder technique. You might not think that would be the plot of one of the very best films ever made, but it is.

The first time I saw this was on a terrible VHS tape. The colors were washed out and the movie was cropped from it’s original aspect ratio. I liked the story but wasn’t impressed. A couple of years later I got to see a restored 35 mm print, and the difference was unbelievable. The saturated colors alone made such a huge impression. Seeing it properly presented made it one of my all time favorite films.

I really want to avoid talking about specific format releases on Anomalous Cinema, but I will ignore that for this one movie. The reason is the Criterion Collection DVD. I bought a copy shortly after seeing the film print, and it’s really an amazing release. The extras include a long documentary on Leo Marks, who wrote the screenplay. What a revelation that was. Marks is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever learned about. We’re talking William S. Burroughs level interesting. I was so fascinated by Leo Marks I read his book “Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker’s War, 1941-1945” even though it has nothing to do with Peeping Tom or movies in general.

My experience with this one has been a gradual revelation. Peeping Tom remains a film that I’ve watched over and over, which is very rare for me.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Minding the Gap (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

I was a TERRIBLE skater for three years in the ’80s before I gave it up. I still love to watch skateboarding videos old and new. This is a very deep documentary that just so happens to feature skater kids. Three friends navigate troubled families and becoming adults. It’s very well done and engaging throughout. Highly recommended viewing.

Not available on Blu-ray.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. You can also show your appreciation via Buy Me a Coffee or Liberapay. Thanks!