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The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch (Blu-ray)

"I just met my mother and father for the first time! How happy I am! God, if this happiness is all a dream, please don't ever let me wake up!"


"Dream", perhaps, isn't quite the right word for it.

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The Megumi Children's Home is all that ten-year-old Sayuri (Yachie Matsui) has ever known, but that's soon to change. As it turns out, Sayuri's birth family has been searching for her for years, following a mixup at the hospital where she was born. But nearly as soon as Sayuri is reunited with her kind and doting father, he's rushed off to the other end of the world to further his research. Sayuri is left alone – or so she thinks – with her ailing mother (Yûko Hamada), whose mind has yet to fully recover from the trauma of a car accident some time ago.

Palatial though the Nanjo family home is, it's hardly the most inviting place. The basement is filled with all manner of snakes and venomous arachnids – the subjects of her father's research – as well as a seemingly endless supply of acid. The caretaker quickly disregards Sayuri's cries of snakes tumbling from her bedroom ceiling. A tray of food left by her mother at an altar vanishes in the near-blink of an eye, despite no one appearing to have entered or exited the room. And Sayuri soon learns that she has a sister, Tamami (Mayumi Takahashi), whose presence is another secret kept hidden from her newfound father.

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Sayuri is thrilled to learn of her sister, but Tamami doesn't have the least bit of interest in their mother's attention being divided. She swiftly sets out to make Sayuri's life unendurable, to the point of literally keeping her under lock and key in the attic. Sayuri can't turn to the adults around her for...[read the entire Blu-ray review of The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch]



Sailor Suit and Machine Gun (Blu-ray)

The king is dead. Long live the...errr...

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The Medaka crime family – what little is left of them, anyway – is hardly the type to discriminate by age or gender. None of their membership thinks twice about the line of succession having passed to teenaged girl Izumi Hoshi (Hiroko Yakushimaru), and they're champing at the bit to follow her every command. If Izumi were to decide that leading a gang of yakuza isn't for her, every last one of them is prepared to honor her wishes. But Izumi can't stomach the idea of these near-total strangers embarking on a blaze-of-glory suicide mission if she doesn't step up to the plate, so say hello to the Medaka Family's fourth chairman!

On one hand, yes, Sailor Suit & Machine Gun fulfills the promise of its title:

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...but it's not the film you're likely expecting it to be. To say that it's a tongue-in-cheek riff on the yakuza film doesn't describe more than the first couple of reels. Those waiting for smirking, blood-spattered mayhem as a teenage girl takes the reins of a crime family will almost certainly find their patience tested. Sailor Suit & Machine Gun can't succinctly be described in a sentence or two, and that elusiveness is at the core of its brilliance.

Sailor Suit & Machine Gun better resembles a coming-of-age story than a gonzo exploitation flick. A newly-orphaned child forced into an effectively parental role, Izumi is tasked not only with keeping her newfound family together but keeping them alive. She must take on the responsibilities that come with leadership, introducing herself to rival crime families – immeasurably more powerful factions that snidely dismiss Izumi and view this as an opportunity to snuff out what remains of the Medaka...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Sailor Suit and Machine Gun]



Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (Ultra HD Blu-ray)

Maniac Cop 2 is about as perfect as a sequel can get, cramming together everything that director Bill Lustig and screenwriter Larry Cohen had ever dreamt of watching in a B-movie but had never actually seen before. It's just about wall-to-wall action with some of the most ambitious and gloriously insane stuntwork ever committed to film, benefitting further from a sharply written script, accomplished direction, and a hell of a cast.

Blu-ray
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Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence is...um, not. This near-total misfire once had a premise that read more like Bride of Maniac Cop, although just about all of that was lost somewhere along the way. Katie Sullivan (Gretchen Becker) is a good cop who bends the rules just enough to survive the mean streets of New York. When a couple of if-it-bleeds-it-leads cameramen selectively edit footage of a hostage situation gone wrong, they paint the now-comatose Sullivan as a cold-blooded murderer.

The press have crowned Sullivan the new maniac cop, which I guess makes her a perfect match for the recently re-resurrected Matt Cordell (Robert Z'Dar). His murderous crush has the lumbering zombie slaughtering damn near everyone in the hospital where Maniac Kate lies at the brink of death, crossing paths once again with Detective Sean McKinney (Robert Davi) as he tries to clear Sullivan's undeservedly tarnished name.

Blu-ray
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Somewhere in the neighborhood of nothing about the movie works. A far cry from the manic, breakneck pace of part two, Maniac Cop 3 is plodding, turgid, and unsure of where it's headed. Its dialogue creaks and groans, mired in exposition and devoid of any real wit or flair. Somewhere around half the movie is unapologetic filler, and plot points...[read the entire Ultra HD Blu-ray review of Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence]



More reviews...

Stuff I've Watched Recently

  • 11/24: Merrily We Go to Hell (Blu-ray)
  • 11/23: The Sparks Brothers (Blu-ray)
  • 11/22: Raiders of the Lost Ark (Uhd)
  • 11/22: The Snake Girl and the Silver Haired Witch (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 11/22: The Snake Girl and the Silver Haired Witch (Blu-ray)
  • 11/22: The Hills Have Eyes (1977) (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 11/18: Sailor Suit and Machine Gun (Blu-ray)
  • 11/17: Thor: Ragnarok (Uhd)
  • 11/16: The Hills Have Eyes (1977) (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 11/15: Maniac Cop 3: Badge Of Silence (Uhd; Commentary)
  • 11/14: Maniac Cop 3: Badge Of Silence (Uhd)
  • 11/11: Maniac Cop 2 (Uhd)
  • 11/9: The Seventh Seal (Uhd)
  • 11/9: The Hills Have Eyes (1977) (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 11/9: Night Has a Thousand Eyes (Blu-ray; Commentary)
More of my boring video log...
 
Movies I've Acquired Recently

  • 11/26: Ticks (Uhd)
  • 11/26: Scanner Cop 1 & 2 (Uhd)
  • 11/26: Trauma (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: New York Ninja (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Creature (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: The Last Matinee (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Censor (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Luca (Uhd)
  • 11/26: Soul (Uhd)
  • 11/26: Raya and the Last Dragon (Uhd)
  • 11/25: Josie and the Pussycats (Blu-ray)
  • 11/24: Merrily We Go to Hell (Blu-ray)
  • 11/24: La strada (Blu-ray)
  • 11/24: High Sierra (Blu-ray)
  • 11/24: The Incredible Shrinking Man (Blu-ray)
More stuff I've bought or been sent to review...


 
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