Colossus and the Amazon Queen

People unfamiliar with genre films sometimes have this weird idea that the movies all carry themselves with an air of complete seriousness, that a particular type of film can’t possibly be aware of its own cliches and pitfalls until some smarmy mainstream director steps in and makes a spoof. That spy movies, even James Bond,…

The Conqueror

Genghis Khan is certainly one of the great figures in the history of the world. When you say “Mongolia,” he’s the first person of whom you’re likely to think. He conquered China, swept westward, and eventually had a chain of shopping mall formal wear rental stores named after him. Were it not for Genghis Khan’s…

Centurion

Neil Marshall has basically been making the same movie his entire career, tweaking the formula here and there, refining the process, but ultimately still turning in survival horror about a group of well-trained individuals who find themselves facing overwhelming odds behind enemy lines. Dog Soldiers saw British special forces troops besieged by werewolves in a…

Cultural Gutter: Gothic Galactic

My latest article for The Cultural Gutter is now up. In keeping with the season, it’s science fiction with the heart of a horror film. Gothic Galactic takes a look at Mario Bava’s brief forays into the cosmos

Amazons vs. Supermen

This can’t be right, I thought. This sounds awesome, but I distinctly remember the movie being so incredibly boring that I almost gave up on finishing it. But then the fog cleared, and I remembered that part of what makes Amazons vs. Supermen such a colossal disappointment is that, in summary, it sounds like so much fun. But it isn’t.

Arabian Adventure

I was left celebrating the merits of the film while all those around me who had seen it more recently made with the ominous proclamations of, ‘You’re going to be disappointed with that one, chief.’ Impossible! I mean — seriously: magic carpet dog fights!

King Kong

Had I known several years ago that I could be watching films that combined wrestling, men in togas throwing boulders, giant suitmation monsters, and Kumkum dancing frenetically to catchy Bollywood music, I probably never would have seen Mother India or Sholay in the first place.

Dharam-Veer

In addition to the thrill of watching its spectacular musical numbers and beautiful stars, there is the singular thrill that comes from seeing combinations of color and fabric that will likely never be repeated in human history.

Asoka

Big battles, small conflicts. Terrifying wars, charming flirtation. It’s all told with a sweeping sense of romance and adventure. And at the center of events that changed the world, there is a simple tale of doomed love. Like all epics, Asoka has it’s flaws, but I would still place it without hesitation among the very best epics ever made, and among the very best Bollywood films I’ve ever seen.