King Cohen: Hell Up In Harlem (1973) & Special Effects (1984)

I love that feeling when you just click with a director’s work. You see a film or two and then find yourself obsessed with tracking down all of their flicks (preferably on pristine Blu-rays chockablock full of features) and putting them in your eyeballs. I’ve had that with Larry Cohen, but it took a bit longer to reach full-on “gotta watch them all” mode. It turns out that Original Gangstas (his last feature) was the first one I saw back in 2009. A few years later, I checked out The Stuff and really liked it, but it was Q that hooked me! Since then, I’ve been slowly keeping an eye out for his films from the various boutique Blu-ray companies. Recently, I was able to pick up two from Olive Films through a DeepDiscount sale which were both rad in their own ways.

Continue reading King Cohen: Hell Up In Harlem (1973) & Special Effects (1984)

My New Favorite Thing: Italian Action Films

1990-bronx-warriors-ridersIt all started at a New Year’s Day party this year. We packed up the kids and headed down, with everyone having a great time. There, on the wall I saw the poster to a film I’d heard about, but never fully watched: 1990: The Bronx Warriors. Soon after, I started looking around on Amazon Prime and found that both that film and its sequel Escape From The Bronx were on there along with The New Barbarians.

I added all three and watching the first one lead me down a tour of Italian cinema from the 70s and 80s that has encompassed sci-fi, action, adventure, crime, mafia and the awesomely bizarre. Even with the less than easy to follow plots, bad dubbing and frameworks that feel very similar to more famous American films, I love how these writers, directors, actors and everyone else just went for it. The key here is that, even though the springboards feel familiar, the dives are completely different making for a group of films awesomely enjoyable in their own ways. Continue reading My New Favorite Thing: Italian Action Films

Quick Movie Review: Original Gangstas (1996)

You know what two names will get me to watch any movie at any time? Richard Roundtree (that’s Shaft, duh) and Pam Grier. So much awesomeness deserves loyalty dammit and as a result, when I stumbled upon a movie on NetBox called Original Gangstas, starring the two of them, Fred Williamson (who plays the captain in the Starsky & Hutch movie) and Jim Brown (who played Byron, the big dude in Mars Attacks!) I was sold. Adding the fact that it’s about older dudes coming back to their neighborhood to take the streets back from the members of the gang that they started back when they were kids had me turning that bad boy on right away. Ever since I saw Deathwish 4 with a geriatric Charles Bronson mowing down teenage gangbangers with a freaking machine gun (Jesse Ventura-in-Predator), I’ve wanted to see punk kids get what’s coming to them. Have I mentioned that, for some reason, my grade school thought it would be a good idea to show us several videos on gang violence. In fourth grade. I also happened to live across the street from a park, which people told me was where gangs hung out. Needless to say, I had trouble sleeping for fear of being mowed down in a drive by. I lived on a dead end street. Thanks school! Anyway, the gang members in this flick make it easy to hate them as they beat up an old guy and kill some kids. Jerks. So yeah, it’s a little bit slow at times, but the end firefight between old folks (this is where Roundtree really comes in, it’s mostly the Williamson/Brown/Grier show) and the young kids is pretty awesome. Worth the price of admission for sure.