Hot Fuzz (2007)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is a spoof of action films, that is also better than most action films. I liked Shaun of the Dead, but enjoyed this (and The World’s End) much more. Those three films make up the Edgar Wright / Simon Pegg “Cornetto Trilogy”, and I think Hot Fuzz is my personal favorite. What is not to love about a relentless pace with legitimately funny lines sprinkled throughout. As usual with these guys, there are lots of subtle references throughout the film. The best is the desk sergeant reading a copy of Iain Banks’ excellent novel Complicity. Edgar Wright’s recent Last Night in Soho wasn’t bad, but I like his action work best. I’m very much looking forward to his upcoming version of The Running Man. Oh and if you somehow missed the Wright / Pegg / Frost series Spaced, get on it. That remains one of the very best English comedy series ever made.

Available on Blu-ray from Universal.

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Black Dynamite (2009) 

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Here we have the second-best Black Action Hero parody next to I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (and it’s an extremely close second). This was my favorite comedy to come out in 2009, and just as funny on a recent second viewing. Star Michael Jai White is best known for action films, but really shows his comedy and acting talent here (he even co-wrote the screenplay). I just wish he’d get offered better roles. Black Dynamite was spun off into an animated series that I personally couldn’t get into, but give it a try if you like the film.

Available on Blu-ray from Sony Pictures.

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Riders of Justice (2020)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer 

This is a surprisingly good, big-budget, action comedy from Denmark. I actually laughed out loud a few times, AND things got pretty gory on occasion. The violence is more extreme than I would have expected from a Scandinavian blockbuster. I love Mads Mikkelsen, but he’s not always in good films. Luckily this turned out to be a perfect choice for him, and a very entertaining movie too.

Blu-ray available on Magnolia.

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Sightseers (2012)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer 

ANOTHER Ben Wheatley movie?!?? Yes, this is a great one though. A couple go on holiday and wackiness ensues. By wackiness I mean murder. It’s a dark comedy that is truly funny, and one of Wheatley’s very best films. The female lead just happens to be Alice Lowe who played Madeleine Wool in Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place (she’s been in a ton of other great stuff too). You might also recognize her boyfriend Chris, played by Steve Oram, from The World’s End, Kill List, and The Mighty Boosh. I can’t recommend this film strongly enough. It gets an Anomalous Cinema 10 out of 10.

Available on Import Blu-ray from Studio Canal.

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Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place (2004)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | opening credits 

I have never posted about a series before, but this one is just too good to not share. Dark Place might be my all-time favorite comedy series. It’s essentially an ‘80s horror parody co-starring The IT Crowd’s Matt Berry and Richard Ayoade. Watch first few minutes. If you enjoy the opening theme song / credits montage, you’ll love this one-season series.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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First Love (2019)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer 

I believe this is the most recent Takashi Miike movie that is currently streaming in the USA. It has a unique look, no fake grain but all the detail. I’d call it video crafted with care. The sets look amazing. The production designer is a genius. Every interior scene looks almost like an art installation. As you’d expect, there are some very entertaining action sequences amid the strange comedy / drama too. First Love also features one particularly freaky knob turn. In the end I was very happy to have watched this weird, but modest movie. Miike keeps being Miike, and I love it.

Available on Blu-ray from Well Go.

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The Hospital (1971)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Crazy. Awkward. Stupid at times. Lots of “overacting.” Totally inappropriate by modern standards. At least two full-blown George C. Scott yelling rants. A very ‘70s sexual assault that is somehow also consensual. Oh, and it’s a comedy! In the end, a challenging, but quite amusing example of Anomalous Cinema. I also enjoyed seeing Diana Rigg (The Avengers, Theater of Blood, etc.) and Richard Dysart (who we all know best from The Thing).

Blu-ray available from Twilight Time.

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The Video Dead (1987)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I am a bit biased about this film, as my first experience was in at a revival screening just a few years ago. Seeing a previously missed, good older movie, on celluloid is one of favorite things in life. That means that I like this silly horror movie a little more than I should. I found it to be very amusing from start to finish. I laughed out loud multiple times, and not at unintentionally funny scenes. The Video Dead also has some effective makeup FX and low-budget set pieces. Give it a try, but keep your expectations low.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory (bundled with Terror Vision – which is also a lot of fun).

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The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

I was not the least bit interested in this movie when it originally came out. Then last year I listened to a podcast where the writer Jon Ronson was interviewed, and this book / screenplay were mentioned. Ronson is a super smart and amusing guy, so I figured the movie would actually be worth watching after all. I got around to watching it the other day and found Goats very entertaining. It does suffer from some moments of big-budget movie cheese, but I wasn’t too bothered. The story is based on fact, but the movie is all whacky comedy, so I’d recommend watching it with a couple of drinks or whatever you’re into.

Available on Blu-ray from Starz / Anchor Bay.

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The Beach Bum (2019)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

I wish Hulu was showing an HD version of Julien Donkey-Boy, but this will do in the meantime. Harmony Korine sells enough paintings to never have to make a film again. That means he made this his way, and couldn’t care less what we think. I respect that. This movie is dumb, but I laughed a lot. Harmony was smart enough to hire a kick ass cinematographer, so while I was laughing I was marveling at the saturated colors and composition. Yep. I liked The Beach Bum.

Available on Blu-ray from Universal.

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