The New One-Armed Swordsman (1971)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

The original One-Armed Swordsman was played by Wang Yu. This total reboot stars David Chiang, and it’s a blast. Here the Shaw Brothers go for more straight-forward action, not Five Elements Ninjas-type insanity. Don’t let that discourage you, this is a very entertaining martial arts film. Even the dramatic scenes kept my attention. Recommended, fast-paced action that is not for the whole family (what with the arm chopping and all).

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Zodiac (2007)

Streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Robert Graysmith’s 1986 book version of Zodiac is a serious page turner. It’s one of the best I’ve true crime publications I’ve ever read. This adaptation isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damned solid. I love the dark atmosphere, which David Fincher wisely ported over to Mindhunter. If somehow you missed this one, check it out.

Blu-ray available from Paramount.

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Pit Stop (1969)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Why the hell would anyone want to watch a ’60s car racing movie? I asked myself that same question and then realized it was directed by Jack Hill. He’s the man behind several excellent fast-paced action / exploitation movies including Coffy and Switchblade Sisters. This one isn’t nearly as violent, but damn it grips your attention just as well. You also get to see a young Ellen Burstyn from The Exorcist, and of course, Sid Haig (who didn’t know how to drive when they started production). I thoroughly enjoyed Pit Stop, so give it a chance.

FYI – there are two versions up on Amazon Prime. The better quality one begins with the Film Rise logo.

Blu-ray available from Scorpion Releasing.

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Volver (2006)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

Here’s a damn good Pedro Almodóvar comedy/drama that I really didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Sometimes humor does not translate via subtitles, but it all works here. The film is pretty wholesome but has some dark moments as well. Now Hulu just needs to get their hands on Matador.

Available on Blu-ray from Sony Pictures.

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Ganja & Hess (1973)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Dr. Hess Green is stabbed three times by a mystical dagger and becomes a different kind of vampire. Different is an understatement with this experimental dream of a movie. Director Bill Gunn was tasked with delivering his version of Blackula. Instead he made an art film in the guise of horror. Despite an award at the Cannes Film Festival, the original cut was butchered down to a more commercial version, and faded into cinema history. Thankfully MoMA and Kino Lorber were able to restore the original version. They didn’t do the drastic restoration job that we’re used to these days either. The film probably looks similar to when it was first shown, warts and all. That was a wise choice, as polishing Ganja & Hess would have taken away from all the elements that make it special.

This movie will not be to everyone’s taste. It challenges your attention span at times, and then challenges your sense of decency. That’s why I love it. Additionally you get to see Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead) in his very best screen performance. That should be reason enough to see this, but the script is great, and the music is excellent as well. Watch with patience and you might just appreciate it as much as I do.

Blu-ray available from Kino Classics.

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Heaven’s Gate (1980)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Ok, so this movie was one of the epic flops in cinema history. The nutshell version is that the estimated budget was 44 million and the cumulative gross worldwide revenue was less than 3.5 million. Ouch. However, Heaven’s Gate is a damn good film! It’s also bloated, over-complicated, bizarre, and excruciatingly slow at times. I can imagine seeing it in the theater was quite a trial. Watch this in a few chunks, and you’ll appreciate what Michael Cimino was trying to do. Some of the scenes in this movie are just jaw droppingly insane on multiple levels. It’s honestly a must-see work of Anomalous Cinema. I’m just very happy that the director got to see it appreciated during his lifetime.

Blu-ray available from Criterion.

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Babel (2006)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

I try to avoid talking about Oscar winners here, but this felt the most Anomalous among my Netflix choices. I hadn’t watched the film since it initially came out, so I turned it on assuming I would just zoom through to refresh my memory. That plan did not work out as I was sucked in as if I’d never seen it before. This is a good example of what can be done with a drama in the right hands. It does run a little long, but that feels justified in the end. Babel is a beautiful, thought-provoking film with excellent music. I personally like Iñárritu’s Birdman a bit more than this, but it’s among his very best work.

Available on Blu-ray from Paramount.

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Savage Streets (1984)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Linda Blair (The Exorcist) is all grown up, and out for revenge. This movie is one-half total cheese, one-half brutal exploitation, and 100% not for sensitive viewers. Sounds perfect for Friday night, right? Savage Streets is best enjoyed with your favorite mind-altering substance.

Bonus: This movie got some really well-made poster art thanks to Linda Blair’s involvement (and revealing outfit). You can see them over at Wrong Side of the Art.

Blu-ray available from Code Red.

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Hold the Dark (2018)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

I think this one got overlooked or underrated by a lot of people as it is a bit long and deliberately slow. This is not in-your-face horror or blockbuster action. The crafted look and pace lean more towards an art film. If you can get yourself into the right frame of mind you will see that Hold the Dark is an almost flawless movie. Director Jeremy Saulnier has made three excellent films in a row (plus work on True Detective), and I’m looking forward to his next one, Rebel Ridge.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Hotel Mumbai (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is a surprisingly well-constructed dramatization of the 2008 terror attacks. It does not pull any punches, so be prepared for a lot of graphic violence. The bloodshed is balanced with mostly-believable human stories. Hotel Mumbai manages to shine some light on a story that I didn’t know nearly enough about before watching.

Available on Blu-ray from Universal.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider supporting the site over on Patreon. You’ll get exclusive content every week, and help in the creation of a book version very similar to what you see here. You can also show your appreciation via Buy Me a Coffee or Liberapay. Thanks!