Maps to the Stars (2014)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is one of the least-typical films by David Cronenberg, but it’s a solid one for sure. Maps to the Stars is an entertaining dark comedy / satire of Hollywood that spins off in an unpredictable direction. I admire the originality here, and Mia Wasikowska is excellent. The only blemish is the use of some unnecessary CG. That is unfortunate but forgivable. Maybe you won’t even notice.

Blu-ray available from Universal.

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Nightcrawler (2014)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

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.

Blu-ray available from Universal.

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The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

I am not a snob about remakes. I just approach them with a ton of caution (I refused to see Suspiria based on reviews). Sometimes remakes are amazing, like The Thing or The Hills Have Eyes. This one is a damn good “reimagining” of the original 1974 film. I love that movie, but this Pelham is enough of it’s own story to complement the original. When director Tony Scott (RIP) was good, he was better than most big-budget directors, and this is among his better films. Give this a shot when you’re in the mood for a fast-paced action thriller.

Blu-ray available from Sony Pictures.

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Session 9 (2001)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a solid, deliberately paced, creepy horror movie with an excellent soundtrack. The location is the star of the show though. That is the very real, very ominous, Danvers State Hospital (sadly it was demolished in 2006). The film was written for the location, and the crew did very little additional set dressing. It all works quite well. Session 9 is one to watch in the dark with popcorn. I’d add adult beverages into the mix too, but that’s me. You be you.

Blu-ray available from Shout Factory.

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Sad Hill Unearthed (2017)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

You will need to see The Good, the Bad and the Ugly before you watch this, as fans restore the set from the climax of the film. Thankfully Netflix has Leone’s masterpiece streaming right now as well. I had my doubts that this would be interesting, especially since it opens with Metallica in concert. I’m a die hard fan of the Cliff Burton years and not into much of their output since, some of which is downright shameful. The band is included because they have used the featured scene as their live opening video for a long time. I saw the tour they first used it, and yes, it was very effective. James Hetfield actually does say some very thoughtful things in this movie too. Anyhow, I had forgotten how big and beautifully designed the Sad Hill set was, and this documentary goes into a lot of detail about it. None of it is dull, and by the end, it all gets surprisingly emotional. They also talk about the making of the movie in general, so if you’re a fan this is a must-see. I was psyched to see Sergio Salvati interviewed in this as well. He’s why the classic Lucio Fulci movies look so good. My only real complaint is that the filmmakers animated almost all of the still photographs. I despise that technique. Leave photos alone people! Ahem… In spite of a couple of blemishes, this is a damn good documentary.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Orgazmo (1997)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

No, not the Umberto Lenzi movie! I saw this in the theater back when it came out, and loved it instantly. Orgazmo may be my favorite comedy of the ’90s. Get ready to for everyone to get way bummed out when Ron Jeremy shows up (the things we didn’t know back in 1997), but otherwise… good times. Intoxicants recommended.

Blu-ray available from Universal.

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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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The Platform (2019)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

I almost didn’t recommend this one as it was on the Netflix Top 10 when it was first released, and has received a lot of press. However, The Platform deserves that attention AND is very much Anomalous Cinema. This movie skillfully blends horror and sci-fi, into a borderline-art film. Now let’s hope this leads to Netflix releasing more even more daring and intelligent weirdo features.

FYI – I recommend if you watch ANY foreign content made after 1990 on Netflix you do so in it’s original language with subtitles. Netflix’s English dubbing is absolutely horrible 99% of the time.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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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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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.

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!