Crusher Joe

Here’s a good example of why you need to take care in how you make snap judgments about things (as in, judgments made quickly and potentially without all the facts, not judgments where it’s judged to be appropriate to wag your head and yell, “Oh snap”). Before sitting down to watch it for this review,…

Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro

Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki, early in his career, takes the lewd, brash character of Lupin III and transforms him into a slightly more honorable gentleman thief for this breathtaking adventure. People who are not familiar with the character of Lupin the Third are still likely to have heard of and perhaps even seen this…

Odin: Photon Space Sailer Starlight

Let me start off by saying that I love Odin. Absolutely love it. All those people in the world who call it one of the worst animated films of all time? Liars. Every one of them. Dirty, rotten, filthy liars. Let me further preface that admission by freely admitting that I have no illusions as…

Lupin III: Mystery of Mamo

Created by Japanese artist Monkey Punch (surprisingly, not his real name) in the 1960s, Lupin the Third was a mixture of James Bond, Matt Helm, Cary Grant from To Catch a Thief, and whatever guy you can think of who grabs boobs a lot. Bill Clinton, I guess. Lupin the Third was meant to be…

From Donald to Dean: Matt Helm’s Oddball Adventure

When author Donald Hamilton created the character of Matt Helm, he made him a bitter, edgy assassin full of regret. So how did he get turned into a campy boozer armed with endless boob jokes? “I was taking a martini across the room…” If that line, the first sentence in the first Matt Helm novel…

Japan Destroys the World

When the only country in the world that has had atomic bombs dropped on it puts a mushroom cloud in one of its movies, it tends to have more resonance than when, say, the Italians do it. When the Italians set off an atomic bomb, it almost always heralds the arrival of post-apocalyptic, dune buggy-driving…

Terror Beneath The Sea

Terror Beneath The Sea is a movie with a lot of charm. There are the wondrous conventions of Sixties science fiction: bold colors and sleek design, underwater cities built in miniature, torpedo battles, a safety-striped submarine, and even a Nehru-suited mad man. But Sonny Chiba is the most charming thing in Terror Beneath The Sea….

Last Tycoon

At first — and even second — glance, Last Tycoon is a movie that seems custom-made for me and based entirely on some of my favorite obsessions: Shanghai during the 20s and 30s, old-time fashion, Jazz Age decadence, shidaiqu (that unique Shanghai brand of jazz that combined American swing with traditional Chinese music), a title…

Bloody Tie

Bloody Tie sports all the polish and big budget precision typical of Korean action films but combines it with a frenetic, almost anarchic approach that makes the entire thing feel like it’s totally bonkers. The closest comparison is Nowhere to Hide, but you’d have to mix it up with Goodfellas and Battles Without and Humanity.

Arahan

The script should be giving us something more to root for in Sang-hwan other than “he’s the Chosen One,” but he never really gets much character redemption. He’s a lunkheaded, inconsiderate buffoon when we meet him, and he remains as such throughout the movie. I was wishing he would just get shuffled to the background.

The Berlin File

Let me begin this article by commenting on how happy I am that this movie did something with an empty handgun other than the “bang bang click click look at gun throw away.” I mean, why would you do that? First of all, guns cost money, and you can always reload it later if you…

Snow Devils

The snow devils appear when the Gamma One team stumbles across some space yetis in a cave. Rod and his crew are taken prisoner by the yetis, who seem primitive despite their cave being decorated nicely. It turns out the decor is courtesy of the head space yeti, who dresses like a terrible superhero and politely explains the entire nefarious plan.