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by Michael Barrett

13 May 2015


Massacre Gun is a widescreen, black and white, Japanese gangster movie from the era when Nikkatsu Studios was turning out dozens of such titles in the sleek “international” style they called “borderless action”.

The story is as formulaic as possible: Two brothers are members of a yakuza gang, while their youngest brother is an aspiring boxer sponsored by the boss. In the opening sequence, the oldest brother (the ubiquitous and distinctive Joe Shishido of the surgically-altered chipmunk cheeks) is ordered to kill his lover because she’s really the boss’ girlfriend. He does so, and this causes the youngest brother (Jirô Okazaki) to diss the boss (Takashi Kanda), who has the boy’s hands crushed. In other words, it’s an escalating series of vengeful ping-pong moves that can only end with lots of corpses. The “massacre gun” turns out to be a high-powered rifle used in the final shoot-out on a bridge under construction.

by Christopher Forsley

7 May 2015


When discovering movies like Blindman (1971), I am overcome with equal parts hope and despair. The fact that such an insane story found serious financing and that so many talented people were a part of it gives me hope in the possibilities of cinema, but it also makes me despair at the reality of cinema. Blindman is an exception to the rule. The rule is that movies with this level of creativity and fearlessness are forced to subsist on meager talent and limited budgets. Blindman is one of a kind; it is the peerless freak of spaghetti westerns. As such, I feel it is my responsibility to protect and promote it.

by Evan Sawdey

6 May 2015


“I hope Satan eats your asshole.”
“Catch my hands right now turn on your fucking location you neck beard bitch.”
“You ugly ass big bird looking bitch, stop ruining everything you touch.”

This is just a very small sampling of tweets that were directed at Joss Whedon over the past few days since the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the year’s most anticipated Hollywood film next to Star Wars Episode VII. For a man who has created numerous TV shows centered around strong female characters, it was a bit of a shock when, on 5 May 2015, Whedon abruptly shut down his popular and humorous Twitter account following the heated backlash he received over the treatment of the Avengers’ main female protagonist, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).

by Bill Gibron

5 May 2015


In case you haven’t noticed, the summer movie season is upon us. In fact, many would argue that, with its stranglehold on the box office over the last four weeks, Furious 7 began what traditionally occurred between May and August of every year. Of course, when money talks, no one connected to the studio system walks; they run to the nearest script doctor and demand their piece of the plentiful pot.

This makes the months between spring and fall a free for all of repeats, remakes, sequels, serializations, copycats, and crap. The times both before and after those periods are dumping grounds, places for pictures that don’t have an easy selling point, an obvious (or appreciative) demographic, or enjoy a contractual obligation regarding a release, and/or any old write-off sitting up on the shelf.

by Michael Barrett

4 May 2015


Island of Lemurs: Madagascar was made for IMAX and 3D, so watching it flat on a regular TV is like watching a regular movie on your laptop. Yet it’s still eye-poppingly beautiful even in a less impressive format.

The 40-minute nature documentary profiles several species of the odd and diverse primates known as lemurs, who are found only on the large island of Madagascar after going extinct in the rest of Africa somewhere around 60 million years ago. Although narrator Morgan Freeman, Dr. Patricia Wright, and other primatologists discuss how cute and adorable the furry critters are, nobody points out that they’re also strange and spooky, so let it be said here.

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Counterbalance: The Avalanches' 'Since I Left You'

// Sound Affects

"Get a drink, have a good time now. Welcome to paradise, and read all about the 305th most acclaimed album of all time. An Australian plunderphonics pioneer is this week’s Counterbalance.

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