I’ve been wanting to feature an Indian movie for a long time, but nothing has struck me as good enough. I was going to direct you to check out Veerana: Vengeance of the Vampire / Purani Haveli: Mansion of Evilbut that Mondo Macabro disc is selling for crazy collector prices now (maybe try a torrent search). Anyhow, Tumbbad was a real pleasure to find as it’s easily the best Indian film I’ve ever seen, of any genre. It’s super dark, and there’s very little of the silly humor that plagues most Bollywood films. Most important, it is genuinely creepy. Some of the CG isn’t quite up to current standards, but don’t let that keep you away. This is an excellent film with a damn good soundtrack to boot. Oh and by the way, smoking is injurious to your health.
Jake Gyllenhaal makes very strange career choices, and I absolutely respect that. In this one he plays a creep like you wouldn’t believe. Nightcrawler is a none-more-black satire that starts slow but builds into insanity, and 100% solid Anomalous Cinema.
This is a beautifully photographed borderline-art film about teenage rebel fighters with an American hostage. It has several violent scenes, but is mostly a deliberately paced dark drama. The jungle locations are stunning, and seem so remote they’re from another planet. All the actors are excellent, but it was a pleasant surprise to see Julianne Nicholson (Law and Order / Boardwalk Empire) knock it out of the park as the hostage. This film also features a killer electronic soundtrack by Mica Levi who also did the music for Under the Skin. Monos is an almost perfect film that I strongly recommend to any patient film buff.
In the ’70s many star-studded thrillers were made (The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, etc). None of them really impressed me all that much except this one. The Cassandra Complex is a crazy pebble, that rolls into a crazy snowball, that eventually becomes an avalanche of crazy. This is NOT a five star film. It should be terrible actually, but it’s not. What you get is a very entertaining mess, with seemingly every known working actor of the time thrown in. Get ready for a fun ride on the Crazy Train.
I saw an early screening of Alexandre Aja’s High Tension at the Philadelphia film fest and really enjoyed it. I hoped that he’d become the next great horror director. That didn’t really happen. However Aja has managed to make several entertaining genre films over the years. Crawl is not as intense as his 2006 reboot of The Hills Have Eyes, but I liked it. It’s a solid, well-constructed, horror thriller with some genuinely chilling moments. Expect no more and you won’t be disappointed.
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).
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.
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.