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  • Grizzly Man

    Grizzly Man 2005

    ★★★★ Watched 19 May, 2015

    Werner Herzog draws together video footage shot over years and interviews with friends and family to tell the story of Timothy Treadwell, a self-described advocate for the grizzly bears of ALaska, spending every summer living among them, and getting dangerously - some would say insanely - close to them. He was eventually killed and eaten by one, though, as Herzog notes, it wasn't one of the bears he had spent years bonding with.

    Treadwell is an interesting, complex person, but…

  • Blood and Black Lace

    Blood and Black Lace 1964

    ★★★½ Watched 01 May, 2015

    Mario Bava's seminal murder mystery recently received a 2K restoration from the UK's Arrow Films and the results are glorious. Rarely has Bava's color sense been more ravishingly apparent than in the service of this low-budget horror story, which proved so very influential.

    Blood and Black Lace is the obvious progenitor of the giallo movement, stylish and gory thrillers which had their heyday in the early 70s. It's all here: mysterious masked killer with black leather gloves, beautiful victims, sadistic…

  • The Wolverine

    The Wolverine 2013

    ★★★ Watched 22 Mar, 2015

    As the X-Men movie franchise staggered, Fox served up another movie featuring surefire box office character Wolverine (whom Hugh Jackson has, admittedly, made even more interesting than the comics counterpart). It's certainly better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but that's a low bar to hurdle.

    Logan suffers PTSD after the events of the franchise-strangling The Last Stand, and is dragged back to the real world from his wilderness self-exile - to Japan, in fact, where he winds up protecting the granddaughter…

  • It Happened One Night

    It Happened One Night 1934

    ★★★½ Watched 16 Mar, 2015

    The first movie to win Oscars for the five major categories (Best Picture, Best Actor and Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay). Considered a classic of the romcom, and the creator of the screwball comedy.

    It's amazing then, that both its stars hated it.

    Columbia was considered to be a poverty row studio at the time, and major studios like MGM and Warner would gladly lend them misbehaving actors to take them down a notch or two. Gable reportedly showed the…

  • The Twelve Chairs

    The Twelve Chairs 1970

    ★★★½ Watched 18 Feb, 2015

    Mel Brooks' follow-up to The Producers isn't quite as farcical or outlandish, nor as blunt as Blazing Saddles and the movies to come. The result is a strange creature, half Russian buddy film, half caper film. Ron Moody and Frank Langella are perfect in their roles as a fallen nobleman and an incredibly handsome young con artist, in search of the family jewels that were sewn into one of the titular chairs before the Revolution. Dom DeLuise seems to be…

  • My Best Fiend

    My Best Fiend 1999

    ★★★★ Watched 29 Jan, 2015

    Werner Herzog's ode to his fractious, sometimes violent, relationship with bellicose actor Klaus Kinski is framed primarily as a long personal remembrance. As Herzog revisits some of the shooting locations of the six films they made together, he visits with extras and co-stars, getting their takes on Kinski. To no one's surprise, a man capable of towering rages was also capable of warmth and charm, and this is likely the closest to a sympathetic analysis of his strengths and weaknesses we'll see. Clips from those six movies and Les Blank's Burden of Dreams provide resonance, and a reminder of just how good those movies are.

  • Redline

    Redline 2009

    ★★★★ Watched 25 Jan, 2015

    If you took Wacky Races and Speed Racer, combined them with video games like Wipeout XL and Rock 'n' Roll Racing, and then threw in some totally insane anime tropes, you might come close to the experience of Redline.

    Set in a futuristic world where the deliriously fast Redline race is run every five years on a different planet with a deadly environment, this movie is largely concerned with rockabilly dragster Sweet JP, his heavily customized Trans Am, and his…

  • Legend Of The Bat

    Legend Of The Bat 1978

    ★★½ Watched 21 Dec, 2014

    Not one of Chor Yuen's better Ku Long movies; the setup is too disjointed for too long, as if Yuen was in a hurry to get to the central plot, which gets pretty epic (and even more involved). Some nice fights, and Ti Lung, as usual, is great.

  • Godzilla vs. Hedorah

    Godzilla vs. Hedorah 1971

    ★★★ Watched 18 Jun, 2014

    The only old school Godzilla flick I had never seen, though I'd heard for years it was also the weirdest.

    It is, indeed, also the weirdest.

  • High and Low

    High and Low 1963

    ★★★★★ Watched 26 May, 2014 1

    Most of the Kurosawa films I've watched and enjoyed were his period pieces; I've slowly begun working through his movies set in contemporary time, with the latest being this engrossing police procedural based on an Ed McBain 87th Precinct novel, King's Ransom. Perhaps it really helped that I enjoy that series.

    Successful businessman Kingo Gondo (Toshiro Mifune) is faced with a dilemma: an attempt to kidnap his son instead netted the son of his chauffeur. The kidnapper demands 30 million…

  • Invasion of Astro-Monster

    Invasion of Astro-Monster 1965

    ★★★★ Rewatched 25 May, 2014

    My favorite of the old-school Godzilla sequels. A little silly, but not overly so. The computer-controlled people of Planet X ask Earth to borrow Godzilla and Rodan to chase off "Monster Zero" - King Ghidorah - who has been raiding their planet. It is, of course, a complicated plan to take over the Earth and steal its water, using Godzilla, Rodan and Ghidorah as weapons of mass destruction.

    Why a superior race needs to use such subterfuges is a good…

  • Winter Light

    Winter Light 1963

    ★★★★ Watched 24 May, 2014

    Ingmar Bergman and company deliver a spare, stripped-down movie experience as austere and bleak as its subject matter. In the course of a single afternoon, a pastor losing his faith finds himself beset by a shrinking congregation (only five to take communion) suicidal parishioner consumed by his fear of nuclear war and his former mistress pressuring him for marriage.

    The usual Bergman tropes are there, not least of which is a central character so obsessed with his search for a…