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  • Hard Times

    Hard Times

    ★★★★

    A more crowd-pleasing, pulpy version of FAT CITY (stylistically), this is an entertaining AF little piece of 70's noir cinema that director Walter Hill would later revisit (thematically) with schlock late-90's flair in his criminally underappreciated Wesley Snipes/Ving Rhames vehicle, UNDISPUTED.

    Bronson pays his usual poor man's Clint Eastwood character (which is funny, because Eastwood is usually supposed to be the poor man's version of himself), a man of few words and fewer facial expressions, yet still, somehow, expressive in…

  • Blood Quantum

    Blood Quantum

    ★★★½

    It's just enough of a new setting and approach for a zombie movie to make the first 3/4's of this film glide by effortlessly, and remain engrossing. The final quarter depends too much on cinemtatic horror tricks to make all the tragedy happen that it wants to have happen. Characters are snuck up upon because the CAMERA can't see certain things but the CHARACTER is standing in a wide open space that should be impossible to get to without being…

  • Robowar

    Robowar

    ★★

    I personally enjoy my Reb Brown in a CAGE or TWO. Reb's perfectly bland facial expressions only come to life when he's attacking/wrestling with another large person. Tell him an entire room full of children just got slaughtered? He looks passively into your eyes and asks "How did that make you feel?" like the ultimate psycho-therapist. But grab him by the neck and pin him up against a wall? And he'll contort his face into an epic wail to make…

  • The Watermelon Woman

    The Watermelon Woman

    ★★★½

    Watched with Edithwharton's The Collab this week of Juneteenth (soon to be a major American paid holiday, mark my words!).

    I thought The Watermelon Woman would be an LGBTQ update on the classic The Watermelon Man movie, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it's its own thing entirely. A mockumentary but without a mean bone in its body, so there's not really much "mocking" done here, but rather a charming level of light satire that nevertheless manages moments of…

  • Josie and the Pussycats

    Josie and the Pussycats

    ★★★

    I wasn't sure what to expect from JOSIE, especially after it was selected by THE COLLAB as the movie to watch this week under a "Better than expected" theme. But I definitely didn't expect THEY LIVE meets SHE'S ALL THAT with some original music thrown in. There's a lot to enjoy in that mix, though the movie is only mildly successful in executing it.

    Ostensibly a send-up of "branding" in the music industry, I give the filmmakers props for tackling…

  • To Catch a Thief

    To Catch a Thief

    ★★★½

    PART 1 of 4: IMPOSSIBLE WOMAN

    PART 2 of 4: CHALLENGE OF THE LADY NINJA

    PART 3 of 4: LIFE OF NINJA

    PART 4 of 4: TO CATCH A THIEF (this review)

    The last in this loose quartet of Ninja movies by Choreographer/Director Tommy Lee and Producer/Director Lee Tso Nam, this is one of the least fantastical but still oddest ducks of the bunch.

    Best known in the West under it's Godfrey Ho/cut-and-paste title NINJA THUNDERBOLT, apparently one of the…

  • U.S. Seals II: The Ultimate Force

    U.S. Seals II: The Ultimate Force

    ★★★★

    Produced by Avi and Danny Lerner (you can see how they went on to make the TRANSPORTER, HAS FALLEN, and EXPENDABLES series) and directed by Isaac Florentine, the man credited with popularizing HK style action in American DTV features, you can see an early example of why he's granted this honor in U.S. SEALS II, a movie that should have been as throwaway as the first U.S. Seals (and the third, yes, there's a first and a third), yet stands…

  • Deadly Life of a Ninja

    Deadly Life of a Ninja

    ★★★★

    PART 1 of 4: IMPOSSIBLE WOMAN

    PART 2 of 4: CHALLENGE OF THE LADY NINJA

    PART 3 of 4: LIFE OF NINJA (this review)

    PART 4 of 4: TO CATCH A THIEF

    The third in a loose quartet of Ninja movies by Choreographer/Director Tommy Lee and Producer/Director Lee Tso Nam, and all of them starring Elsa Yeung, Yasuaki Kurata, Wong Tao (in movies #1 and 4), and Chen Kuan-Tai (in movies #2 and 3).

    This one is a best-of-both-worlds mash-up…

  • Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare

    Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare

    Fuck this movie. Just NO.

    It ruined an admittedly clever third act twist with the WORST scripting and directing and cinematography and editing and scoring and soundtracking and acting I've just about ever seen (and heard).

    Another member of THE COLLAB, Daniel, has a core-deep antipathy toward Hardcore Punk Music. I think I must have the same for Haircore Rock Music. Fuck this "Hair Core Logo" bullshit.

    Every shot in this movie is AT LEAST 5 seconds too fucking long.…

  • Challenge of the Lady Ninja

    Challenge of the Lady Ninja

    ★★★

    PART 1 of 4: IMPOSSIBLE WOMAN

    PART 2 of 4: CHALLENGE OF THE LADY NINJA (this review)

    PART 3 of 4: LIFE OF NINJA

    PART 4 of 4: TO CATCH A THIEF

    The second in a loose quartet of Ninja movies by Choreographer/Director Tommy Lee and Producer/Director Lee Tso Nam, and all of them starring Elsa Yeung, Yasuaki Kurata, Wong Tao (in movies #1 and 4), and Chen Kuan-Tai (in movies #2 and 3).

    While the first movie, "Impossible Woman",…

  • Impossible Woman

    Impossible Woman

    ★★★½

    PART 1 of 4: IMPOSSIBLE WOMAN (this review)

    PART 2 of 4: CHALLENGE OF THE LADY NINJA

    PART 3 of 4: LIFE OF NINJA

    PART 4 of 4: TO CATCH A THIEF

    The first of a loose quartet of Ninja movies by Choreographer/Director Tommy Lee and Producer/Director Lee Tso Nam, and all of them starring Elsa Yeung, Yasuaki Kurata, Wong Tao (in movies #1 and 4), and Chen Kuan-Tai (in movies #2 and 3).

    The Chinese title more accurately translates…

  • Warm Nights on a Slow Moving Train

    Warm Nights on a Slow Moving Train

    ★★★½

    I'm gonna keep this brief as I don't have much to add to what my COLLAB COMPATRIOTS have already stated. Though I think I admired what this movie TRIED to be more than most of them did.

    WARM NIGHTS is a very...WRITERLY movie. But not in a good way. It mistakes quoting poetry and the bible for deep meaning, and it defines all of its characters solely by their material situations. Our leading lady is a teacher at a convent,…