Revenge of the Ninja (1983)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer 

An art dealer (who just happens to be a ninja) gets mixed up in a crime ring. Naturally things go bad and he is forced to kick every ass. Revenge… arguably launched the ninja craze in America. This was a favorite film back when I was way too young to watch it. The childish appeal is bizarre. By adult standards this is as stupid as can be. However if you like violent, fast-paced martial arts films, this one delivers the goods big time. The last act is a ninja action extravaganza. It’s pretty spectacular. Stupid, but spectacular. I am slightly embarrassed to say that I maintain that Revenge of the Ninja is a five star film.

Blu-ray available on Kino Lorber.

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The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

A young sailor joins a yacht cruise, and ends up involved in a murder plot. This is a near perfect slice of film noir that only exists because of a desperate situation. Orson Welles needed $55,000 to stage a production with his Mercury Theater. He agreed to make the movie if one of the producers would pay him the needed funds in two days. It all worked out, and we have this excellent work of cinema as a result. This is one if my favorites of the ‘40s, and should not be missed.

Available on Blu-ray from Mill Creek.

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Memories of Murder (2003)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer 

Here’s a dark, beautiful, high quality murder thriller directed by Bong Joon Ho. I have avoided recommending it so far as I thought all the excitement over Parasite would have lead you to watch it already. What? You haven’t seen Memories of Murder yet? Well get on it. 

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion Collection.

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Chappie (2015)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

I missed this movie when it first came out. I figure a few of you did too. It’s not as good as Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, but I found this very entertaining. Thankfully Chappie has that same level of high quality CG. Yes, it is a bit cheesy at times. Let that slide and you get lots of R rated action to make up for it. I have to admit that Ninja and Yo-Landi are good in this too. Shockingly good.

BONUS: Check out Blomkamp’s Oats Studio videos on YouTube. There are a lot of great short films available for free.

Available on Blu-ray from Sony Pictures.

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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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Small Town Crime (2017)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a solid crime thriller with some good, at times extremely graphic, bursts of action. The cinematography looks great as well. Saturated colors and deep shadows are featured. It’s nice to see Robert Forster (Jackie Brown, Walking the Edge, Alligator, etc) given lots of screen time. Small Town Crime is an enjoyable dark film, with a lot packed into 90 minutes.

Available on Blu-ray from Lionsgate.

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The Sisters Brothers (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer 

It seems impossible, but this film successfully blends a violent western with a bit of dark comedy. It all looks beautiful as well. The Sisters Brothers is deliberately paced between shootouts, and runs on the long side, but I was never bored. Recommended weirdness.

Available on Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox.

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Night in Paradise (2020)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Here’s a very good South Korean dramatic crime thriller. The cinematography is beautiful, and the performances are all strong. There are a few good shootout scenes too. They are only hampered by unrealistic gun action, which is a very common problem in movies. If you’ve never fired a gun, you won’t notice. The barely-kicking guns were easy for me to ignore because this really is an enjoyable, dark movie. The only other blemish is that the film on the slow side. However the climax is well worth the wait. I wish Netflix would invest in more movies like this. That streaming service has a real crap hoarding problem.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Croupier (1998)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

I like Clive Owen, and this is a pretty damned good drama with him as the lead. It’s got many twists and turns, a little skin, and some brawling too. Not a bad way to spend 90 minutes, compared to the vast universe of crap that is Netflix these days.

Available on Blu-ray from Henstooth.

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Dredd (2012)

Streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer 

In a bleak future, Judge Dredd is a brutal super-cop who teams up with a trainee to take on a drug gang. I learned a major lesson with this one. I was so staunchly against big budget Hollywood movies at the time that I didn’t even contemplate seeing it in the theater. Huge mistake. Not only is it absolutely amazing, it was in 3D. Not the static, pointless, 3D either. We’re talking the lovingly crafted kind. Now I pay much closer attention, and don’t automatically dismiss any movie in a genre of interest before doing my research. 

I’m kind of depressed now. What were we talking about? 

Oh yes… Dredd

It’s one of the very best action movies made in the last 20 years. There was talk of making it into a TV series. Didn’t happen. There was also a petition to make a sequel. Nope. Well, at least we have Dredd. It’s a thing of pitch black beauty.

Available on Blu-ray through Lionsgate.

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