The Forgotten Battle (2020)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

The first Dutch Netflix feature is a very good, fact-based, WW2 drama. It is beautifully shot, and a lot of care was taken on the sound design. This has been compared to Dunkirk, but I honestly enjoyed The Forgotten Battle more. Here we are not spared from the ugly details of war. The drama felt more real to me as well.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Riders of Justice (2020)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer 

This is a surprisingly good, big-budget, action comedy from Denmark. I actually laughed out loud a few times, AND things got pretty gory on occasion. The violence is more extreme than I would have expected from a Scandinavian blockbuster. I love Mads Mikkelsen, but he’s not always in good films. Luckily this turned out to be a perfect choice for him, and a very entertaining movie too.

Blu-ray available on Magnolia.

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The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Here we have an excellent biopic on the artist Louis Wain. You may be familiar with his fanciful to psychotic feline creations. Do you love cats? Are you ready to cry? Well then this movie is for you. It may seem cutsie at first glance, but things get weird and dark later on. I really enjoyed it in spite of my heartstrings being ripped out of my body.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Mars at Sunrise (2014)

Streaming on Netflix (also available for free on YouTube) | imdb | trailer

This is a challenging, darkly surrealistic, feature based on the experiences of Palestinian artist Hani Zurob. Critics did not really care for it, but I thought it was quite good. Mars at Sunrise is not unlike a full-length video art piece. It’s jarring and confusing, but beautiful. I will admit that I have an unusually high tolerance for more free-form, artistic expression that doesn’t concern itself with narrative. This film is only 75 minutes long, so just check it out if I haven’t scared you off already.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Salvador (1986)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is a fact-based film dealing with the Salvadoran Civil War, which was still happening at the time of production. It’s aged a bit, sometimes feeling like an episode of Miami Vice, but this is still an excellent movie. It even got a couple of Academy Award nominations. I normally avoid recommending Oscar-related films, but I figured this piece of history is not well known among younger people. Oliver Stone leans heavily in favor of the leftist FMLN rebels, but you can read the facts, and make up your own mind if you feel the need. James Woods is good here. Luckily this is the Woods we love from Videodrome, not the mess of a human being he became later.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Exorcist III (1990)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

The original Exorcist remains one of the greatest horror movies ever made. Sadly part II, The Heretic, was awful. However this film is surprisingly good. Part III was written and directed by the original Exorcist author (based on his book “Legion”), and is as dark as can be. George C. Scott is great here. He has a monologue about “what he believes,” which is unhinged genius. Fun fact: there was no actual exorcism in the original book or script, so they tacked one on. Luckily, it all works.

Available on Blu-ray from Scream Factory.

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Memories of Murder (2003)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer 

Here’s a dark, beautiful, high quality murder thriller directed by Bong Joon Ho. I have avoided recommending it so far as I thought all the excitement over Parasite would have lead you to watch it already. What? You haven’t seen Memories of Murder yet? Well get on it. 

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion Collection.

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Mosul (Drama – 2019)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is an excellent action drama, based on the true story of the Iraqi SWAT team (check out the documentary of the same name / subject). It’s gritty and violent for sure, but the characters and performances make Mosul rise above a cheesy action flick. Netflix has delivered a fast paced movie of very high quality. I wish they’d try harder to repeat that.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Night in Paradise (2020)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Here’s a very good South Korean dramatic crime thriller. The cinematography is beautiful, and the performances are all strong. There are a few good shootout scenes too. They are only hampered by unrealistic gun action, which is a very common problem in movies. If you’ve never fired a gun, you won’t notice. The barely-kicking guns were easy for me to ignore because this really is an enjoyable, dark movie. The only other blemish is that the film on the slow side. However the climax is well worth the wait. I wish Netflix would invest in more movies like this. That streaming service has a real crap hoarding problem.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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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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