Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Streaming on Netflix and Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is Sergio Leone’s flawed, but still amazing, final film. Once Upon a Time in America is a wide-ranging epic about a prohibition-era Jewish gangster in New York City. I will spare you all the gory details about what went wrong in the cutting and release (you can read all about it over here). I saw this in whatever the hell version was on DVD around 2005 and loved it. Yes, this film is slow. However it tops Goodfellas in the level of violence and scope. To keep it simple, if you are a fan gangster movies and TV series, you need to see this. The amazing cast is reason enough. Just go in knowing it’s a long slow ride with some seriously bloody sections. Maybe even break it up into two or more viewings for maximum enjoyment (that’s my plan for a re-watch soon).

The domestic Blu-ray is currently Out of Print.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.

Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art (2020)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a documentary about $80 million in forged abstract expressionist art that was sold through a major NY art dealer. If you have little to no interest in art, then this will bore the hell out of you. I found it to be very well made, and engaging throughout. It is mostly one-on-one interviews, peppered with some high quality documentary photos and appropriate video / film footage. Oh yeah and there’s that one element that you’ll see in 99% of contemporary documentaries… the animation. There seems to be a rule that there MUST be at least one section featuring animation in every doc. It’s as if there’s a big scary enforcer that shows up in the editing process and says “I ain’t seen no cartoons in dis here picture yet” while showing the director his bloodstained baseball bat. I get why documentary makers feel it’s necessary, but it’s become a cliche. If you just have to do it, please do something really interesting like the animation in Gimmie Danger. Sorry, I had to get that out. Where was I? Ok, here’s why Made You Look is worth your time: you get to learn about rich and powerful people becoming victims of their own stupidity and greed. Enjoy the schadenfreude my friends.

Not Available on Blu-ray.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

The first installment of a two part series on the career of criminal Jaques Mesrine (the second is Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One). This is the French answer to Scarface (1983), but based on true events, and much larger in scope. Other than the usual fake looking gun action, this movie is a total blast. Vincent Cassel is perfect, as usual. If you’d like to see him do something more fun / dumb I recommend you also check out his film Dobermann (looks like it’s available on YouTube if you sign in).

Available on Blu-ray from Music Box.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thanks!

Three Days of the Condor (1975)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This was one of the few good movies that was regularly shown on broadcast TV in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. I only had six channels to choose from until I was 18. That means that I have seen Three Days… many times. I am not sick of it yet. The only real flaw is that there’s a crazy violent scene towards the beginning, followed by a mostly slow paced thriller style for the remainder. This movie has brains though. I’ve always been impressed by the little details that our hero Turner (Robert Redford) picks up on, and survives because of. All the other main actors are great in this too. You’ll see many familiar faces. If you’re in the mood for a well-made thriller, this is a very good choice.

Blu-ray available from Paramount.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.

The Warriors (1979)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer 

You’ve seen this one right? I mean, if you like action films at all you MUST have. I suppose it’s possible this falls into that weird generation gap, so just in case… The Warriors are a New York City street gang. They get framed for murder. Every other gang is out to kill them. They have to cross a lot of enemy territory to get home. It’s a lot of fun to watch. Yep, this movie has aged a bit. However, it’s always been made of cheese, so that’s really ok. As you’d expect, some bits are pretty damned offensive by the standards of today. However, The Warriors remains a KICK ASS movie. This was directed by Walter Hill who made several solid action flicks. My favorites are: Southern Comfort, Extreme Prejudice, and Last Man Standing. If you like The Warriors, you might enjoy the book too. It’s WAY different than the film adaptation, but well worth reading.

P.S. The trailer linked above is a personal favorite. You may recognize the music. That is because it’s a bit of Tangerine Dream’s awesome score for Sorcerer (another must-see movie).

Blu-ray available from Paramount.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.

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.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.

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.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. Thanks!

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.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. Thank you.

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.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.

River’s Edge (1986)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer 

Metalhead teens are in turmoil as one of their group has killed his girlfriend (very loosely based on a true case). This film has a particularly important place in my heart. However if you’re not sympathetic to outsider metal kids, or at least a big fan of ‘80s drama, or Dennis Hopper, you may want to skip it. Back when I first saw this on a VHS tape rented from the local grocery store, I had already been one of those jean jacket wearing thrash nerds for a while. That and my natural love of dark subject matter quickly made me fall in love with River’s Edge. The soundtrack LP is killer, mostly thanks to early Slayer, but it also features the best song by Hallows Eve, and a fantastically not-metal Wipers song that you can barely hear in the film. I wish someone would have thought to include some of the amazing and hilarious dialogue on the album. If you like this one, check out director Tim Hunter’s previous film Over the Edge. It’s not quite as dark, but has a similar troubled kid angle, and it was mostly filmed in the suburban Colorado city I grew up in. Hunter went on to direct episodes of Breaking Bad and Mad Men (and a ton of other forgettable stuff). All the performances here are perfect, but Crispin Glover steals the show. If you’re a fan of his you already saw this years ago. Also I must admit that the locations used probably planted the seed for me moving to the West Coast. There’s a few houses in my neighborhood in Portland that could pass for ones in the film. A few years ago I went to a River’s Edge screening and Q and A with Daniel Roebuck who played killer teen John / Samson. He told a ton of great stories, shared a slideshow of his own on-set photos, and more. He mentioned that he and other cast members spent a lot of time with co-star Hopper, mostly asking for stories about the filming of Apocalypse Now. When the audience question round came up I asked him for details. The one tidbit I hadn’t ever heard before was that Martin Sheen’s brother was a stand-in on Apocalypse when he had a heart attack. There are probably a couple of moments of the final film where you’re seeing Joe Estevez as Captain Willard. Anyway dude, River’s Edge rules, and is also the only fictional time capsule of what American metal kids were like back then. You might want to look up the short doc Heavy Metal Parking Lot for a more realistic (and hilarious) picture. We weren’t all THAT stupid… but yeah, it’s a mostly accurate representation.

Bonus: Vice did an Oral History of River’s Edge a while back. Don’t read until you’ve seen the film. 

The Kino Lorber Blu-ray is out of print. More info here.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.