The Raid 2 (2014)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

The Raid: Redemption (2011) is a very good film. If you’re a hardcore action / martial arts fan you know that already. However, for the rest of you, I say skip it and watch this superior sequel. The Raid 2 has got a convoluted plot, but you’ll too be too distracted by the non-stop ass kicking to care. This is probably the pinnacle of crazy post-Ong-Bak action films. If you enjoy this, make sure to check out creator Gareth Evans’ excellent TV series Gangs of London.

Available on Blu-ray from Sony.

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The Silence of Others (2018)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is an outstanding documentary on the victims of Franco’s regime in Spain (1939 – 1975). I knew next to nothing about the horrors that went on during this period, so this was a real eye opener. Yes this movie is depressing. However it is very well made, and contains a ton of important human stories. It’s crucial to learn about the dark aspects of history that are hidden. Still to this day many people in Spain do not want this period brought up at all, including those in power. Do the victims a small favor and learn about what happened.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Under the Shadow (2016)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

You may have noticed I am not a fan of PG-13 movies. Well, this is an exception. Under the Shadow is a very creepy horror film set in ‘80s Iran during that country’s war with Iraq. Your city being bombed regularly is bad enough, but throw an evil spirit into the mix and you have serious trouble. Sounds like some full-blown Anomalous Cinema right? This is a unique film that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope to see more quality dark horror movies come out of Islamic countries in the near future.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Athena (2022)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a solid action / drama with beautiful camera work and an artsy, almost documentary feel. Centered around a low-income housing block, it’s cops vs activists vs gangs vs well-meaning Muslims. They’re all interconnected and it’s a crazy spectacle from start to finish. There has been criticism that Athena is all style and little substance, and it does have a few flaws. However I was thoroughly entertained and thought that the various plot lines were worked out by the end of the film. Yeah, the director could have made a powerful social critique, but he just ended up making a damn good, fast-paced, great looking film.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Girl in the Picture (2022)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

A young woman is murdered, her son is kidnapped, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg in this very disturbing crime documentary. It’s based on two books by Matt Birkbeck, A Beautiful Child and Finding Sharon. I’ve heard that they are arguably superior to this film, so if you’re a true crime buff you may just want to read those instead. Girl in the Picture is a well constructed doc, and the overall look of the movie is very good. You get your usual bits of true crime reenactment, but they’re not too bothersome here. WARNING – things just keep getting more and more dark as it moves along, so if you’re on the sensitive side stay away.

Not available on Blu-ray.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema, please consider supporting this site by donating any amount (even $1.00 is appreciated) via Venmo @vergeoflight / Cash App $vergeoflight / or Paypal at this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.

Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art (2020)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a documentary about $80 million in forged abstract expressionist art that was sold through a major NY art dealer. If you have little to no interest in art, then this will bore the hell out of you. I found it to be very well made, and engaging throughout. It is mostly one-on-one interviews, peppered with some high quality documentary photos and appropriate video / film footage. Oh yeah and there’s that one element that you’ll see in 99% of contemporary documentaries… the animation. There seems to be a rule that there MUST be at least one section featuring animation in every doc. It’s as if there’s a big scary enforcer that shows up in the editing process and says “I ain’t seen no cartoons in dis here picture yet” while showing the director his bloodstained baseball bat. I get why documentary makers feel it’s necessary, but it’s become a cliche. If you just have to do it, please do something really interesting like the animation in Gimmie Danger. Sorry, I had to get that out. Where was I? Ok, here’s why Made You Look is worth your time: you get to learn about rich and powerful people becoming victims of their own stupidity and greed. Enjoy the schadenfreude my friends.

Not Available on Blu-ray.

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It Follows (2014)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Have you seen the one about the sexually transmitted poltergeist? Most horror devotees were all over It Follows when it first came out. Deservedly so, as it’s a damn good film. I only give it bad marks for the John Carpenter rip off soundtrack. The filmmakers either should have hired the man himself, or tweaked the music just enough to sound original. Really it’s a minor complaint. If you have missed this one up to now, watch it before Netflix swaps it out for some more of the garbage horror they tend to favor.

Available on Blu-ray from Radius.

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The Siege of Jadotville (2016)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Here’s a solid, history-based war movie. I had never heard of this battle, so this was all news to me. The film features good performances, a fast-pace, and it gets pretty graphic here and there too. This is the first time I realized that Jamie Dornan was a skilled actor. I despised anything to do with Fifty Shades of Grey, but he is truly talented in spite of being involved in a garbage franchise. I recommend checking out Anthopoid and My Dinner With Herve as well. The Siege of Jadotville is not going to move you like say, The Thin Red Line, but if you want some entertaining battle action, it’s a good pick.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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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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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.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. A Paypal account is not required. Thank you.