Croupier (1998)

Streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime | 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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The Act of Killing (2012)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

So there’s this documentary where real-life Indonesian death squad members re-stage their crimes for the camera, including lavish song and dance numbers. No really, this exists, and is probably the most Anomalously Cinematic doc made in the last 15 years. I try to avoid Oscar nominated films here, but this is just too perfect to not share. I caught myself with my mouth hanging open several times while trying to absorb the multiple levels of crazy on display. I give The Act of Killing my strongest possible recommendation. Also check out director Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow up The Look of Silence, which is not as over-the-top, but well worth watching.

Available on Blu-ray from Drafthouse Films.

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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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The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I’ll watch Robert Mitchum in anything, but this is one of his very best roles. He plays a con artist “priest,” and man is he despicable. I would love to recommend more good classic films like this here on Anomalous Cinema, but it seems pre-‘60s movies are not often available in 1080p HD. This one is, and it looks great.

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion Collection.

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Avengement (2019)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

There are a ton of awful action movies on Netflix. This movie should have been one of them, but I loved it. It features English gangsters, almost non-stop fighting, a good story, and solid production values. You might need to turn on the subtitles as the accents and jargon are very thick for the duration. Really that’s a minor quibble, as this movie is a blast.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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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.

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Starsky and Hutch – Pilot (1975)

Streaming FREE on YouTube | 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.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Shoplifters (2018)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Do you need a palate cleanser after all my other various weird movie suggestions? This is it. Shoplifters is a nearly perfect drama, and by the end you will clearly see why I think it qualifies as Anomalous. My only problem is that it’s a bit long, so maybe don’t watch it straight through for maximum impact.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Coffy (1973)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

My girlfriend and I have an expression we use a lot – “Ten Times Pam Grier” (emphasis on ten times with pauses between the words). It works for many purposes. This comes from the time we saw a 35mm print of Coffy with a Pam Grier Q&A after. A very enthusiastic fan said the above words to Ms. Grier and followed by “I’ve seen this movie ten times,” and many kind words about the actress. Pam loved it, and I love this movie. It’s easily my favorite blaxploitation film, and you can watch a nicely restored version on Amazon Prime.

Available on Blu-ray from Olive Films.

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Hell or High Water (2016)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

This was written by Taylor Sherridan, who wrote Sicario, so I knew it’d be good. Good? Nope, it’s excellent (although his work after this got a bit uneven). While not as action-packed as his previous film, this is a tight, well-made drama with some shocking bursts of violence. It’s a shame I never hear anyone talk about this film. It is not to be missed.

Available on Blu-ray from Lion’s Gate.

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