A Twelve Year Night (2018)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a very good historical drama about the struggles of a group of political prisoners in Uruguay. It is just as grim as the name indicates. I have to give credit to Netflix for making a lesser known piece of history available to a wide audience. A Twelve Year Night features solid acting performances and some excellent sound design and soundtrack work. Highly recommended.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

LA 92 (2017)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

“The most destructive civil disturbance in American history” and this documentary makes that excruciatingly clear. I didn’t watch this for a while because I got it confused with Let It Fall (another very good documentary on this subject). What makes LA 92 exceptional is that the filmmakers just let archival footage and audio tell the story. There is no narration, and thankfully no obnoxious animation. Yes, this is a disturbing experience. It is also perfectly made and essential viewing.

Not available on Blu-ray.

Neruda (2016)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a bio-drama about poet Pablo Neruda‘s escape from arrest by the Chilean fascist government. I didn’t know what to expect, but the skillful performances and elegant cinematography really made it an enjoyable experience. Pablo Neruda seems like he was a pain in the ass redeemed by artistic genius. It comes as no surprise that he was friends with Picasso.

Not available on Blu-ray.

Starsky and Hutch – Pilot (1975)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | no trailer available

If you are not interested in ‘70s TV cop shows you will want to skip this recommendation. I don’t normally talk about television series here, but the feature-length pilot of the this gritty old cop drama was too irresistible. Please note the following important features: Dirty old LA, Richard Lynch as an uncredited hitman, a scene in a porno movie theatre, an appearance by a young Gordon Jump from WKRP, music by Lalo Schrifin (Mission Impossible, Enter the Dragon, Dirty Harry) and Hutch / David Soul’s sweet-ass leather jacket. I was impressed by the quality of the film-making too. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that it was helmed by Barry Shear, who also directed Across 110th Street.

I used to watch this show as a kid and had never seen this pilot. Obviously it was a lot of fun for me. I think anyone not into ‘70s TV crime shows would think it was just an old police action movie with all the blood and nudity cut out. I understand but I still can’t believe this was broadcast to every home from coast to coast. Starsky and Hutch seems to have begun with the idea that they would push the limit of what network censors would tolerate as much as possible. It really was a different world back then. Note: this is listed as “Episode 0” on Amazon Prime, and on the tablet app it’s under “bonus” at the bottom of season one.

Not available on Blu-ray.

The Guilty (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

A police officer is assigned to work the emergency call center and gets involved in a crime in progress. It’s not a spoiler to tell you that the film never leaves that one location, but damn if things don’t stay intense for the duration. The Gulity is not the first single-set film ever made but it still makes for one of the most original thrillers I’ve seen in recent years.

Available on Blu-ray from Magnolia.

Eye in the Labyrinth (1972)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer (not the original trailer)

This one barely squeaks by my usual standards for this website. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent giallo with a good twist at the end. However I’m recommending it ONLY for those of you that have seen all the other well-regarded giallo films. I’ve watched pretty much every decent film in the subgenre that I could get my hands on so this was a pleasant surprise. I did have some playback issues on Amazon Prime, stuttering and compression marks, but it cleared up eventually after pausing and restarting. Check out Eye in the Labyrinth if you think you’ve seen em all.

A Blu-ray was released by Code Red but it is currently out of print. They’re selling on eBay for $$$.