Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters (2019)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is an excellent doc on the man behind so much amazing creature / FX design and stop motion animation, including the OG Star Wars trilogy, RoboCop 1 and 2, Starship Troopers, Jurassic Park and much more. I had no clue the depth of his career until seeing this film. It also covers a bit of his recently released movie Mad God (recommended – currently streaming on AMC+ and Shudder).

Bonus: Many short films mentioned in the doc, including the fantastic Prehistoric Beast, plus tons of behind the scenes videos, are on Phil Tippett’s YouTube channel.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Girl in the Picture (2022)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

A young woman is murdered, her son is kidnapped, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg in this very disturbing crime documentary. It’s based on two books by Matt Birkbeck, A Beautiful Child and Finding Sharon. I’ve heard that they are arguably superior to this film, so if you’re a true crime buff you may just want to read those instead. Girl in the Picture is a well constructed doc, and the overall look of the movie is very good. You get your usual bits of true crime reenactment, but they’re not too bothersome here. WARNING – things just keep getting more and more dark as it moves along, so if you’re on the sensitive side stay away.

Not available on Blu-ray.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema, please consider supporting this site by donating any amount (even $1.00 is appreciated) via Venmo @vergeoflight / Cash App $vergeoflight / or Paypal at this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

The Z Channel was an early pay cable network that was very much like the current Criterion Channel (but began years before Criterion was even releasing laser discs). The story of it’s rise and fall, plus the channel’s influence is fascinating. You also get the tragic story of programming chief Jerry Harvey. I first saw this back when the movie was originally shown on the IFC cable channel. I never would have thought this doc would get remastered and made available again, but I’m glad it was. The filmmakers managed to get so many great interview subjects it’s amazing. The segments with Tarantino are particularly interesting. I didn’t understand the depth and range of his cinema obsession before seeing this movie. If you love independent and arthouse cinema, this documentary is essential viewing. I recall chasing down titles I hadn’t seen for years after.

Not available on Blu-ray.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema, please consider supporting this site by donating any amount (even $1.00 is appreciated) via Venmo @vergeoflight / Cash App $vergeoflight / or Paypal at 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 supporting this site by donating any amount (even $1.00 is appreciated) via Venmo @vergeoflight / Cash App $vergeoflight / or Paypal at this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time (2021)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is a very good documentary on one of the 20th Century’s most important and iconoclastic writers. It also deals with the struggle that Robert B. Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm) had in making the film over the course of decades. He co-directed this with Don Argott, the man that brought us Last Days Here and Art of the Steal (all of his films are worth seeing). There was a ton of stories and footage to fit in here, so the movie feels a tiny bit long. However it’s all very well edited together, and absolutely worth your time. If you’re a fan of Vonnegut’s work, you will be delighted. I have been for many years, and I learned a lot.

Not available on Blu-ray.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema, please consider supporting this site by donating any amount (even $1.00 is appreciated) via Venmo @vergeoflight / Cash App $vergeoflight / or Paypal at this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.

Not Quite Hollywood (2008)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

What we have here is a flat-out blast of a documentary about Australian exploitation cinema. It works as a primer on all the excellent weird films that came from the continent, and as an incredibly entertaining experience on it’s own. I was inspired to track down a ton of movies after my first viewing. This is essential Anomalous viewing.

Available on Import Blu-Ray.

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Tickled (2016)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

David Farrier (host of the very good Netflix series Dark Tourist) investigates online endurance tickling competitions, and things take a creepy turn. I avoided watching this for ages because… tickling? Don’t make my mistake, check Tickled out. It’s quite a ride. There is also a follow-up short film called The Tickle King available on YouTube here (don’t even peek at this until you’ve watched the full movie – spoiler city).

Not available on Blu-ray.

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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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McQueen (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

Nearly ten years ago my partner Suzie dragged me to see Alexander McQueen’s exhibition at The Met in New York. I was not psyched to wait in line for something I wasn’t particularly interested in. Once we got into the show, my feelings quickly changed. I loved what I was seeing, especially the dark influences like Jack the Ripper and Joel-Peter Witkin. I walked out of museum an official Alexander McQueen fan. Suzie and I watched this documentary as soon as it cane out and absolutely loved it. This is obviously a must-see for fashion enthusiasts, and I would recommend this film to anyone interested in art as well. Before I saw that exhibition I didn’t understand the two worlds had such compelling areas of crossover.

Available on Blu-ray from Lion’s Gate.

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Minding the Gap (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

I was a TERRIBLE skater for three years in the ’80s before I gave it up. I still love to watch skateboarding videos old and new. This is a very deep documentary that just so happens to feature skater kids. Three friends navigate troubled families and becoming adults. It’s very well done and engaging throughout. Highly recommended viewing.

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion.

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.