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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most seasoned horror nerds have seen this already. However if you’re 21 right now, you were only around 9 when it was released. Also good spooky movie choices on Hulu are few and far between. If you happened to have missed this one, get on it. Let the Right One In is a very artistic and emotional vampire movie of the highest order. The film is deliberately paced, so watch with some patience.
Most people missed that the director behind One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest made a very good historical drama revolving around “the father of modern art” Francisco Goya. It stars Stellan Skarsgård, Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem, and Randy “Cannibal Father Knows Best” Quaid. As I often say, it isn’t perfect. However Goya’s Ghosts is a solid choice if you’re looking for a movie off the beaten path.