On the Count of Three (2021)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

Two friends are fed up with the world, enter into a suicide pact, and whacky hijinks ensue. Jerrod Carmichael directs and stars in this entertaining buddy / black comedy. His co-star is the excellent Christopher Abbot (Possessor, Catch-22). This movie is fast paced and as dark as can be, while remaining legitimately funny throughout. You have to be a bit of a creepy weirdo to appreciate On the Count of Three, but that’s what makes it Anomalous.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

Back when this one came out in theaters I was thirteen years old. During the summer my mother would give me $1.50 to go see a movie at the second-run theater at the mall (and to get me out of her hair). I sat through MANY crappy PG and PG-13 films, but this one made me very happy. It’s got martial arts action, monsters, comedy, crazy special effects, lovely ladies, and Kurt Russell hamming up a storm. I revisit it every few years and yep, it’s cheezy as hell, but still a lot of fun. If you haven’t experienced this oddball John Carpenter creation, maybe check it out with the help of your favorite psychoactive substance. Hell, depending on the age of your kids, Big Trouble… just might be fun for the whole family.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory.

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Reign of Fire (2002)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

Some executives got together and agreed to green light a $60 million movie that is The Road Warrior + DRAGONS. Yep. As weird as that sounds, it’s pretty damned good. It’s not even rated R, and it’s still an entertaining flick. The CG even holds up 20 years on. Reign of Fire does have some cheesy moments, but all the fast-paced action makes that worth enduring. Oh, and I’m pretty sure that Matthew McConaughey’s look is inspired by Steve Von Till from the band Neurosis

Available on Blu-ray from Touchstone.

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Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Streaming on Netflix and Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is Sergio Leone’s flawed, but still amazing, final film. Once Upon a Time in America is a wide-ranging epic about a prohibition-era Jewish gangster in New York City. I will spare you all the gory details about what went wrong in the cutting and release (you can read all about it over here). I saw this in whatever the hell version was on DVD around 2005 and loved it. Yes, this film is slow. However it tops Goodfellas in the level of violence and scope. To keep it simple, if you are a fan gangster movies and TV series, you need to see this. The amazing cast is reason enough. Just go in knowing it’s a long slow ride with some seriously bloody sections. Maybe even break it up into two or more viewings for maximum enjoyment (that’s my plan for a re-watch soon).

The domestic Blu-ray is currently Out of Print.

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Benedetta (2021)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

If you would’ve told me back in my cult VHS tape trading days that Paul Verhoeven was going to make a Nunspoitation film in 2021, I would never have believed you. The first movie I saw in the genre was Joe D’Amato’s Images in a Convent. Benedetta is definitely better than that film, but it’s not nearly as good as Flavia the Heretic. My suggestion is to keep your expectations low, and indulge in your go-to psychoactive substance while you watch. Under those conditions, you will likely enjoy this sleazy big budget ride. Well, perhaps enjoy isn’t the right word. Let’s say you might agree with me that Verhoeven is still a crazy bastard, and still making admirably challenging films.

Coming soon on Blu-ray from IFC Films.

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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.

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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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In the Earth (2021)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer 

This is a divisive film. From what I can gather, fans may have found this a little too experimental, and critics a little too much like Ben Wheatley’s previous A Field in England. That said, if you want a straight-forward, fast paced horror film, or a totally new Wheatley masterpiece, skip this one. I loved this movie. I will admit that I am a bit biased to what’s on offer here. You already know I’m a fan of the director, as I’ve recommended almost every film he ever made. More than that, I am a sucker for dark psychedelic visuals, and a fan of experimental music (which is prominent in the second half of the film). Ben Wheatley does it again, but not for everyone.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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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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Bloody Sunday (2002)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

On January 30, 1972 British troops opened fire on a civil rights protest in Ireland. This is a well-made dramatization of the events. From what I have read, it is historically accurate, minus a few minor errors. Bloody Sunday is just as grim and violent as you would imagine, but important viewing for everyone.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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