Shanghai Gesture

If you ever want to see a scene that perfectly captures a heady air of decadence and mania without going all over the top and Caligula on you, look no further than the scene in Josef von Sternberg’s The Shanghai Gesture that introduces us to the opulent gambling parlor operated by the enigmatic Mother Gin…

Noble War

Somewhere amid Noble War’s colorful visual chaos is the story of the war between Hanuman and his army of monkeys versus the scoundrel demon Thosaganth, but Sompote Sands is way more interested in giant monsters kicking stuff over than he is in advancing the causes of religion.

Think Fast, Mr. Moto

“Mr. Moto is a very difficult fellow to kill.” — Mr. Moto 1937’s Think Fast, Mr. Moto, starring Hungarian actor Peter Lorre as a witty, karate-chopping Japanese man of mystery, introduces us to the budget films version of Charlie Chan. It seems that the specific nature of Mr. Moto changes as the series progresses, and…

I Come In Peace

In at least one scene we see a Christmas tree and some garland, and I think someone mentions Christmas at some point. In my book, that qualifies this as a cherished holiday movie, like Gremlins and Die Hard

Scorpions & Miniskirts

If you can roll with the first five minutes of Scorpions and Miniskirts, a movie that shows utter contempt for bothering to explain anything at all or connecting one series of actions to the next, then you are probably going to be able to walk away from the viewing experience with a mild sense of…

The Dragon Lives Again

World, you spoil us. No matter how much we’ve seen — and we have seen a lot — you always have something else waiting in the wings to delight and make jaws hang slack. Martial arts films are especially fecund soil for stories that operate in the far margins of loony concepts, made all the…