• The Specialists

    The Specialists

    ★★★

    The Years of Lead

    "If you value your lives, you're going to have to buy them back."

    Sergio Corbucci originally wrote The Specialists as a star vehicle for Lee Van Cleef before he and Cleef had a falling out and the project was reworked as a Franco–Italian co-production for French singer Johnny Hallyday, and it shows. Hallyday is fine as a lead, but The Specialists is desperately missing a Franco Nero, a Tomás Milián, Klaus Kinski, a Jean-Louis Trintignant, heck…

  • Navajo Joe

    Navajo Joe

    ★★★

    The Years of Lead

    The "Navajo" Joe of Navajo Joe is played by the Euro-American Burt Reynolds, his "squaw" love interest Estella is played by the Italian Nicoletta Machiavelli, and the "half-breed" villain Mervyn "Vee" Duncan is played by the Spanish Aldo Sambrell, all of which is a bit of a problem. It's not a problem if you're looking for fun performances — Reynolds is charming as the reluctant hero, Machiavelli is sultry as his female counterpart, and Sambrell sneers…

  • Castle of Blood

    Castle of Blood

    ★★★

    The Years of Lead

    "Your blood means our life!"

    Skeptical/agnostic journalist meets Edgar Allen Poe at a bar and argues with him about the reality of his stories, says he doesn't believe in the afterlife, when you die you die and that's it, so a bystander confronts him, "Oh yeah, dude? If you're so brave I bet you can't stay the night in this spooky castle! Then we'll see whether or not you believe in the undead, loser!" Turns out…

  • The New Barbarians

    The New Barbarians

    ★★★★

    The Years of Lead

    "There's no more soul, there's no more hope, there's only one faith, one ecstasy: DEATH!"

    Budget Mad Max ripoff from Enzo G. Castellari, so there's a sadistic gay death cult driving around in weaponized go karts that look like BattleBots made of papier-mâché and aluminum foil, and they're spearing people in the dick and lopping their heads off with comically oversized buzz saws, and they're saying shit like books started the apocalypse and the world raped…

  • Constantine

    Constantine

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    "It's only in the face of horror that you truly find your nobler selves," Gabriel says, as if he's attempting to plainly speak the theme of the movie, as he promises to deliver even more horrors unto Constantine with which to test him and supposedly help him truly find his nobler self. But is Gabriel right? He's promptly de-winged and disempowered by God, so even within the logic of the film he's far from an unquestioned authority on the…

  • Django

    Django

    ★★★★★

    The Years of Lead

    The first thing we see in Django, other than the title character dragging his coffin through the mud, is Maria, a runaway prostitute, being assaulted by Mexican soldiers only to be then "rescued" by Major Jackson and his racist ex-Confederate soldiers, who proceed to prepare a cross on which to crucify and burn her. "Burning's a lot better than getting beaten to death!" one soldier offers optimistically, as if they're doing Maria a favor.

    This no-win…

  • Dredd

    Dredd

    ★★★★

    Dredd has the same problem as most Punisher stuff, it wants to have its cake and critique it too, so while I see the structural parallel between the violence of the Ma-Ma Clan and the violence of the Judges, the fact that the film opens and closes with someone being slo-mo'd and dropped from the top of the Peach Trees building to their brutal, gruesome deaths, while I see the structural contrast between Anderson's human empathy and Dredd's faceless antipathy,…

  • Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler

    ★★★★★

    The exploitative psychosis of entrepreneurship meets the parasitic voyeurism of news media production.

    My Most-Watched Movies
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  • Assault on Precinct 13

    Assault on Precinct 13

    ★★★★★

    America at war with itself. Police officers massacre civilians in a poverty-stricken ghetto; juvenile gangsters slaughter an innocent child who just wanted a different flavor of ice cream; and at the center of it all, an act of pure altruism, a crew of misfits who come together and sacrifice themselves to protect a man they don’t even know, strangers defending a stranger. As in The Thing, trust is a hard thing to come by these days, but if we can…

  • The Long Goodbye

    The Long Goodbye

    ★★★★★

    "It's this place that's sick, not the people in it," and Doctor Verringer "is the epitome of what's wrong with this world" because he sells people false cures for diseases they don't have, he capitalizes on the misery and suffering of people who aren't sick, people whose symptoms are caused by the place they live.

    The reason this place (Los Angeles; America) is sick to begin with is that wannabe-saviors (Verringer; the American Dream) sell people the fantasy of easy…

  • Run, Man, Run

    Run, Man, Run

    ★★★

    The Years of Lead

    "A righteous cause is not enough."

    Run, Man, Run is both the third part of Sergio Sollima's Zapata trilogy and a direct sequel to the first part of that trilogy, picking up the character of Cuchillo immediately following the events of The Big Gundown, which puts it in a unique position relative to other Zapata westerns. Where most Zapatas depict the path to politicization, whether that means literally joining the revolution or simply experiencing some other…

  • Face to Face

    Face to Face

    ★★★★

    The Years of Lead

    "There's only one right in this world, the kind you make for yourself if you're big enough and strong enough."

    Face to Face opens with history professor Brad Fletcher (Gian Maria Volonté) retiring from his position at a school in Boston in order to move to Texas and recover from his tuberculosis, but before he goes, he gives his students one last history lesson. Anyone and everyone can study history, he says, with or without a…