Holy Hell (2016)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

The story of an an 80’s New Age cult where the dark truth about their leader gradually reveals itself. This isn’t Jonestown level crazy, but it’s pretty damned compelling. Psychedelic VHS footage abounds! The film takes a while to get to the nitty gritty, but it’s worth the investment of time. I recommend you mute the godawful song at the end.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

The Photographer of Mauthausen (2018)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This movie revolves around World War 2 Spanish prisoners in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Here’s another history-based drama that tells an interesting story I was totally unfamiliar with. The lead actor is Mario Casas from The Invisible Guest, who does a fine job. As you will imagine, this film is very dark. It is also, at times, brutally graphic. There are moments that feel a bit cheesy, but overall it’s an effective movie that I fully recommend.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

A Twelve Year Night (2018)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a very good historical drama about the struggles of a group of political prisoners in Uruguay. It is just as grim as the name indicates. I have to give credit to Netflix for making a lesser known piece of history available to a wide audience. A Twelve Year Night features solid acting performances and some excellent sound design and soundtrack work. Highly recommended.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

Five Elements Ninjas (1982)

Main image – my photo of a hand-painted Ghanaian poster for “Five Elements Ninjas.”

Streaming on Amazon Prime and Netflix | imdb | trailer

Now THIS is a Saturday Night movie! Five Elements Ninjas is one of my top five favorite martial arts films of all time. The Shaw Brothers serve up a heaping helping of non-stop, insane, bloody ninja action. The film is often ridiculous, and utterly improbable, but it all works together beautifully somehow. Enjoy with your favorite psychoactive for maximum impact.

Available on Blu-ray from Tokyo Shock.

LA 92 (2017)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

“The most destructive civil disturbance in American history” and this documentary makes that excruciatingly clear. I didn’t watch this for a while because I got it confused with Let It Fall (another very good documentary on this subject). What makes LA 92 exceptional is that the filmmakers just let archival footage and audio tell the story. There is no narration, and thankfully no obnoxious animation. Yes, this is a disturbing experience. It is also perfectly made and essential viewing.

Not available on Blu-ray.

Neruda (2016)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a bio-drama about poet Pablo Neruda‘s escape from arrest by the Chilean fascist government. I didn’t know what to expect, but the skillful performances and elegant cinematography really made it an enjoyable experience. Pablo Neruda seems like he was a pain in the ass redeemed by artistic genius. It comes as no surprise that he was friends with Picasso.

Not available on Blu-ray.