ACTION and ADVENTURE
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1973). For eFilmCritic, Bruce McKay writes of this one, the third in the series: "While the gore and spurting blood is admittedly quite cheesy, the action is excellent and nearly non-stop. Itto whirls the Katana and Naginata as nimbly as a marching band baton girl. Watch the way he counters, slashes, and thrusts, before twirling the sword about and effortlessly re-sheathing it. Frequent use of the rewind and slow-mo buttons is guaranteed - the dude's moves are just that good." [Rent]
Lady Snowblood (1973) [Rent] and Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance (1974) [Rent]. Quentin Tarantino fans will recognize these two titles right off. Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu's final showdown in the snow is, of course, a direct tribute to the imagery of these two tales of revenge, gory cult favorites in which Meiko Kaji takes on the role of the lone samurai warrior traditionally played by men. Of the first, Mark Pollard writes in Kung Fu Cinema: "What makes this film so intriguing beyond its shock value or relevance to Kill Bill is its amplified reflection of an era's anxiety matched with an intimate view of the film's moral on violence as perpetually cyclical. Then again, such weighty thoughts on the subject can also be overlooked in favor of simply appreciating an artful and deliciously sadistic swordplay film. It's really amazing to see just how much 'cool' Lady Snowblood exudes."
One Armed Swordsman Vs. 9 Killers (1983). Jimmy Wang Yu was the top martial arts star throughout Southeast Asia in the 60s before Bruce Lee came along and shook up the industry. Jackie Chan then helped revive his career in the 80s. [Rent]
Dragon Lord (1982). After Drunken Master (1978) and The Young Master (1980), both hits in Hong Kong, Jackie Chan tried to break into Hollywood. No go. He'd try again about ten years later with about the same results; it wasn't until the third lucky try that he finally broke through with Rumble in the Bronx. At any rate, after his first failed attempt, he went back to Hong Kong where he pretty much had free reign. The original rough cut of Dragon Lord was over five hours; fortunately, he cut it down to 90 minutes, but what a 90 minutes. At DVDAnswers, Warwick Gaetjens calls it "a wonderful combination of comedy, drama, romance, narrowly missed spears in the butt, some entertaining martial arts and finally a brilliant Tae Kwon Do vs Kung Fu finale." [Rent]
Deadly Kung Fu Lady. Gamblers and loan sharks, mob bosses and assassins. [Rent]
A Fistful of Yen [Rent] and For a Few More Yen They Kill [Rent]. The titles pretty much speak for themselves.
Samurai Cop (1989). Frankly, this is a candidate for a "so bad it's good" movie night. [Rent]
Re-releases of two by Lucio Fulci: House of Clocks (1989) [Rent] and Demonia (1990) [Rent]. The first is a suspenseful tale made for Italian television. Of the second and another not yet out on DVD, Il fantasma di Sodoma (1988), Patricia MacCormack writes in Senses of Cinema that they "are interesting interpretations from the standard Italian genres of nunsploitation and Nazi fetishism alongside teens-in-peril. The films are headily impressive, the air almost tactile, the atmosphere acrid and voluminous. These films make flesh of phantasms and offer ghosts which are vague in a visceral rather than ethereal manner."
Tomie: Rebirth (2001). Third in the series of Japanese horror films (the first and second; a fourth would follow). Here's a helpful comment on this one from an IMDb user: "Not the right choice if you're looking for a gory splatterflick. Almost no blood at all. But if you're a friend of films like The Ring, Uzumaki or Parasite Eve, this one could be the right choice." [Rent]
Dead Eyes of London / The Ghost (1961 / 1963). The first is a mystery made in Germany based on a story by Edgar Wallace and features Klaus Kinski; the second is an Italian gothic with Barbara Steele. [Rent]
Vampire Vixens From Venus (1995). "Thirteen dead bodies. Twenty-four breasts. Multiple face goo. Scalpel face-stabbing. Gratuitous Charlie Callas. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for the gorgeous J.J. North, as the blonde party alien, for saying 'This planet stinks!'... Two stars. Joe Bob says check it out." [Rent]
Blood of the Zombie: The Dead One (1961). IMDb user: "One classic moment occurs when the husband and wife discover a victim of the rampaging zombie. The husband grimly says 'She's dead.' And the wife responds with 'But can't we help her?' ... [W]orth seeing? Yes! You just might find yourself having fun in spite of yourself." [Rent]
Cemetery High (1988). A smirky spoof. [Rent]
Invitation (2004). With Bill Vincent, who had bit parts in The Evil Dead and Army of Darkness. [Rent]
Nine Lives (2002). With Paris Hilton. "It goes from bad to hilariously terrible," giggles Slasherpool. [Rent]
Van Helsing - The London Assignment (2004). A 30-minute animated prequel to the summer blockbuster, both starring Hugh Jackman. [Rent]
Bruce Brown. He basically grew up surfing. As a teenager in the early 50s, he boarded a steamer aimed at Hawaii, caught the bug in earnest, returned to California as a lifeguard and started capturing his passion on film.
He got Bud Shank to record original jazz soundtracks, and eventually, he had a major hit with The Endless Summer in 1966. But there were many before that one, and they're coming out on DVD: Slippery When Wet (1958) [Rent], Surf Crazy (1959) [Rent], Barefoot Adventure (1960) [Rent], Surfing Hollow Days (1961) [Rent], Surfin' Shorts (1962) [Rent] and Waterlogged (1962) [Rent].
Naked City. The half-hour crime drama centering on two New York City detectives (played by John McIntire and James Franciscus) premiered on ABC back in the fall of 1958. The series was loosely based on Jules Dassin's 1948 film The Naked City, which in turn, drew inspiration from a book of photos, also called Naked City and published in 1945, by the justifiably legendary photojournalist Weegee. The series was shot on location, highly unusual for the time, and it wore McIntire out. So he asked the writers for an appropriate exit. And got one. A hit man forces his car off the road, he slams into a gas truck and goes up in flames. A lead character! Offed! Horace McMahon became Franciscus's new partner. The guest stars in these two collections, Portrait of a Painter [Rent] and Spectre of the Roses Gang [Rent], both from the 1962 season: William Shatner, Jon Voight, Walter Matthau, Jack Klugman, James Coburn, Robert Duvall, Carroll O'Connor and Herschel Bernardi.
Have Gun Will Travel. The Complete First Season (1957 - 1958). Writing for the Museum of Broadcast Communications, Peter Orlick notes that this was " the first truly adult TV western - a story centered on a cultured gunfighter who had named himself Paladin after the legendary officers of Charlemagne's medieval court. A gourmet and connoisseur of fine wine, fine women, and Ming Dynasty artifacts, Paladin would quote Keats, Shelley, and Shakespeare with the same self-assurance that he brought to the subjugation of frontier evildoers." Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent], 4 [Rent], 5 [Rent] and 6 [Rent].
The Jetsons. The Complete First Season (1962). Why doesn't the world look like this yet? Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent] and 4 [Rent].
Jonny Quest. The Complete First Season (1964). Who knew we'd grow nostalgic for that Hanna-Barbera look some day? Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent], 3 [Rent] and 4 [Rent].
Best of the Uncle Floyd Show (1974). Very low budget, very innovative, very regional show out of New Jersey. Ostensibly for kids, but as one IMDb user remembers, that would be kids of all ages: "Always on at parties, or turned to in basements and bedrooms late at night while we were sneaking weed and beers. It was a ridiculous, serial comedy show with a zany cast of characters, led by Uncle Floyd Vivino - a really good pianist." Adds another: "Anyone who liked Soupy Sales or Mad Magazine will be at home." [Rent]
Two's Company. Complete Series 1 (1975 - 1976). A British comedy centered on the culture clash between an American writer and her English butler. [Rent]
Initial D: Battle 5: Duct Tape Death Match (1998). The Fast and the Furious meets Speed Racer in one of GCers' favorite series. Says akeleven: "A reluctant hero is combined with heart pounding soundtrack (the original 'untricked' version - too cool to be replaced!). The story is suspenseful (every race combines talent and circumstances to make the outcome unpredictable) and great animation shows how cars really move.... The characters are real young adults with the usual issues (not doomed street punks ala 50's stereotypes) but in one place they can shine with skill and practice!" [Rent]
Kaleido Star. Vol. 1: Welcome to the Kaleido Stage (2004). From director Junichi Sato comes a new anime series set in San Francisco. [Rent]
Y's Legacy. The search is on for the books that could rid the world of evil. Discs 1 [Rent], 2 [Rent] and 3 [Rent].
Legend of the Dragon Kings: Blue Dragon (1991). The final chapter. Ratings for earlier chapters have been hovering up around 8. [Rent]
Slayers: Premium. Tanaquil calls the original series "extremely silly and a lot of fun." Here, the original bunch teams up with Lina Inverse and Gourry Gabriev. [Rent]
Figure 17: Vol. 5: Forever Close (2003). From hamano's excellent review of the first volume: "This is an exceptionally well done children's show from the perspective of smart pre-teen girls and their SF geek Dads.... I'd like to direct your eyes to the lovely art of the series.... most of the backgrounds are rendered in watercolor, and the house and interior designs are very nicely done. The beautiful mountains and meadows of Hokkaido are just superbly drawn!" [Rent]
The Big O II: Vol. 3: Enemy Attacks (2003). "Since this is the second half of a cliffhanger, the pace has picked up considerably," notes dh22 of the first volume of this series. [Rent]
Sugar: A Little Snow Fairy: Special (2004). A flashback episode that apparently stands alone outside the series. [Rent]
Angelic Layer: Vol. 6: Inherit the Layer (2003). "Battle dolls duel but their owners show good sportsmanship and perserverance in the end," writes HOngchua of this series. [Rent]
Birdy the Mighty: Vol. 2: Final Force (1998). Akemi's Anime World: "[P]lenty of great action, just enough convoluted plot to tie it together, and some of those anime characters that you just can't help but love." [Rent]
Dragon Drive: Vol. 1: Amazing Transformation (2002). Gaming tie-in. [Rent]
Saiyuki: Vol. 10: Trouble in Paradise (2000). "The thing I like best about this series is the way the guys interact with each other," says Fangs. [Rent]
Samurai Deeper Kyo: Vol. 6: A Shift in Time. [Rent]
Detatoko Princess (1997). A parody of fantasy anime. [Rent]
Dragon Ball GT: Generations (1996). [Rent]
Invader Zim: Vol. 1: Doom, Doom, Doom (2001). The "Doom" refers to the planet Earth, naturally. Discs 1 [Rent] and 2 [Rent].
FOR THE KIDS
Shrek 3-D (2001). The original remastered in 3-D. [Rent]
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