The Gladiator (1986)


At some point in the production process of this Abel Ferrara movie, the decision was made to switch it from a theatrical release to a made-for-TV special. Whilst the details are sketchy, it appears to be how the wind got knocked out of the collective sails of all those involved, as what has moments of pure, befuddlingly creative genius manages to become drab and low-energy. Given that it’s a car-centric cross between Jaws and Death Wish, that’s quite the accomplishment.
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Wedding Bells for the Otaku (2017)


Because it’s always good to go outside of your normal world, for this trip into obscuria we’re having a watch of a Japanese romantic comedy-drama. Based on the 2015 comic series “BL Mangaka Desukedo Kekkon Shitemo Iidesuka” by Haruki Fujimoto, who is also credited at writing the screenplay, Wedding Bells For The Otaku is an hour-long made-for-TV special. Directed by Toshimitsu Chimura, who probably got the job due to working on other nerdy TV series, it’s the kind of show that Japanophiles will probably wax lyrically about for many moons. Well, I’m not writing for them and any of their apologist behaviour, so my advice is that if you ever find this in a bargain-bin you should leave it there. Unless you know a J-Drama obsessive you can up-sell it to.
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Dark Night Of The Scarecrow (1981)


The “fun” of watching older movies is waiting for the inevitability of what we would consider a car-crash-approach to dealing with sensitive issues. For Dark Night Of The Scarecrow it’s intellectual development disability, a subject that has been variously considered a magical power, something that removes all quality of life, and sign of outright evil at various points in cinema. That a 1981 made-for-tv movie can handle this topic with accuracy and dignity is impressive, and that it’s within the confines of a horror flick, is an outright miracle. It’s also worth noting that whilst this Frank De Felitta outing isn’t exactly the intellectual gore-fest slasher it tries to be, it’s actually quite a good film in its own right.
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