Recent Reviews

The Hills Have Eyes (1977; Limited Edition) (Ultra HD Blu-ray)

Quick note: This review includes Ultra HD screenshots, but generating SDR images from an HDR source is inherently problematic. Take the UHD screenshots – especially when it comes to brightness – with more than a couple grains of salt.

The lucky ones died first...

 Blu-ray      Ultra HD Blu-ray (120 nits)

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Despite being hundreds of miles from anything resembling civilization, the Carter family is undeterred by the ominous warnings they'd just heard from the old man (John Steadman) at that ramshackle filling station. In much the same way that, say, their German Shepherd killing some blue-haired biddie's poodle down in Miami was nothing that couldn't be solved with a checkbook, they have nothing to fear here either. They have a camper for shelter. They have food. They have guns. They have a pair of dogs that could rip out the throat of any potential attacker. Forget the crazy old loon, forget the Air Force and whatever bombing range is supposedly out here, forget that the mine the family has just been gifted hasn't borne any silver in decades, forget...well, everything. This is their world.

Or so they think. It's not even that the Carters are insufferable, overentitled, rich pricks. They're ordinary, middle-class, and generally likeable folks, but society has trained them – us – to think that they – we – are the center of the universe. We go where we want. We take what we want. Everything and everyone exists in some way to serve us. Bad things don't happen to people like the Carters.

 Blu-ray      Ultra HD Blu-ray (120 nits)

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But this vast expanse of desolation...? It's long since ceased to be the Carters' world. It belongs to them: the hulking Papa Jupiter [read the entire Ultra HD Blu-ray review of The Hills Have Eyes (1977; Limited Edition)]

The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch (Blu-ray)

"I just met my mother and father for the first time! How happy I am! God, if this happiness is all a dream, please don't ever let me wake up!"

"Dream", perhaps, isn't quite the right word for it.

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The Megumi Children's Home is all that ten-year-old Sayuri (Yachie Matsui) has ever known, but that's soon to change. As it turns out, Sayuri's birth family has been searching for her for years, following a mixup at the hospital where she was born. But nearly as soon as Sayuri is reunited with her kind and doting father, he's rushed off to the other end of the world to further his research. Sayuri is left alone – or so she thinks – with her ailing mother (Yûko Hamada), whose mind has yet to fully recover from the trauma of a car accident some time ago.

Palatial though the Nanjo family home is, it's hardly the most inviting place. The basement is filled with all manner of snakes and venomous arachnids – the subjects of her father's research – as well as a seemingly endless supply of acid. The caretaker quickly disregards Sayuri's cries of snakes tumbling from her bedroom ceiling. A tray of food left by her mother at an altar vanishes in the near-blink of an eye, despite no one appearing to have entered or exited the room. And Sayuri soon learns that she has a sister, Tamami (Mayumi Takahashi), whose presence is another secret kept hidden from her newfound father.

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Sayuri is thrilled to learn of her sister, but Tamami doesn't have the least bit of interest in their mother's attention being divided. She swiftly sets out to make Sayuri's life unendurable, to the point of literally keeping her under lock and key in the attic. Sayuri can't turn to the adults around her for...[read the entire Blu-ray review of The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch]

Sailor Suit and Machine Gun (Blu-ray)

The king is dead. Long live the...errr...

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The Medaka crime family – what little is left of them, anyway – is hardly the type to discriminate by age or gender. None of their membership thinks twice about the line of succession having passed to teenaged girl Izumi Hoshi (Hiroko Yakushimaru), and they're champing at the bit to follow her every command. If Izumi were to decide that leading a gang of yakuza isn't for her, every last one of them is prepared to honor her wishes. But Izumi can't stomach the idea of these near-total strangers embarking on a blaze-of-glory suicide mission if she doesn't step up to the plate, so say hello to the Medaka Family's fourth chairman!

On one hand, yes, Sailor Suit & Machine Gun fulfills the promise of its title:

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...but it's not the film you're likely expecting it to be. To say that it's a tongue-in-cheek riff on the yakuza film doesn't describe more than the first couple of reels. Those waiting for smirking, blood-spattered mayhem as a teenage girl takes the reins of a crime family will almost certainly find their patience tested. Sailor Suit & Machine Gun can't succinctly be described in a sentence or two, and that elusiveness is at the core of its brilliance.

Sailor Suit & Machine Gun better resembles a coming-of-age story than a gonzo exploitation flick. A newly-orphaned child forced into an effectively parental role, Izumi is tasked not only with keeping her newfound family together but keeping them alive. She must take on the responsibilities that come with leadership, introducing herself to rival crime families – immeasurably more powerful factions that snidely dismiss Izumi and view this as an opportunity to snuff out what remains of the Medaka...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Sailor Suit and Machine Gun]

More reviews...

Stuff I've Watched Recently

  • 12/1: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Uhd)
  • 11/29: Rifftrax: The Magic Christmas Tree (Television)
  • 11/29: The Hills Have Eyes (Limited Edition) (Uhd)
  • 11/28: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Uhd)
  • 11/27: Uncut Gems (Uhd)
  • 11/24: Merrily We Go to Hell (Blu-ray)
  • 11/23: The Sparks Brothers (Blu-ray)
  • 11/22: Raiders of the Lost Ark (Uhd)
  • 11/22: The Snake Girl and the Silver Haired Witch (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 11/22: The Snake Girl and the Silver Haired Witch (Blu-ray)
  • 11/22: The Hills Have Eyes (1977) (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 11/18: Sailor Suit and Machine Gun (Blu-ray)
  • 11/17: Thor: Ragnarok (Uhd)
  • 11/16: The Hills Have Eyes (1977) (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 11/15: Maniac Cop 3: Badge Of Silence (Uhd; Commentary)
More of my boring video log...
Movies I've Acquired Recently

  • 12/1: Battle Royale (Uhd)
  • 11/26: Ticks (Uhd)
  • 11/26: Scanner Cop 1 & 2 (Uhd)
  • 11/26: Trauma (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: New York Ninja (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Creature (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: The Last Matinee (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Censor (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Luca (Uhd)
  • 11/26: Soul (Uhd)
  • 11/26: Raya and the Last Dragon (Uhd)
  • 11/25: Josie and the Pussycats (Blu-ray)
  • 11/24: Merrily We Go to Hell (Blu-ray)
  • 11/24: La strada (Blu-ray)
  • 11/24: High Sierra (Blu-ray)
More stuff I've bought or been sent to review...

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