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  • Rio Rita

    Rio Rita

    ★★★½

    I cannot say what madness it is that inspires a person, after watching all 28 Universal Abbott and Costello movies, to go back and look for the ones they did for other studios. But here we are with their earliest for MGM, who saw the piles of money Universal was minting on the boys and wanted a piece, by sending them down to Texas to fight...Nazis. I hate Texas Nazis. It looks more lavish than their Universal films, with a…

  • ESPY

    ESPY

    ★★★★½

    When Jun Fukuda makes a Godzilla picture, he populates them with bourbon drinking apemen, Oscar Wildean Atlanteans, and amusement park designing cockroaches. When he makes spy pictures, the leads are super cool dudes and stunningly gorgeous babes. ESPY mixes his ultra cool spies with his batshit insane sci-fi, and presto another fantastic Fukuda jam. Why this hasn't been released in the states with a feature packed blu-ray I will never understand. It's James Bond meets Scanners, and his telepathic, telekinetic,…

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  • Swords of Blood

    Swords of Blood

    ★★★★

    A French Robin Hood by way of the Three Musketeers, this is a fun swashbuckling action-comedy that doesn't forget the tragic flaws underneath our hero's bravado. It was while in Brazil promoting Cartouche that the director and star thought, hey let's make a movie down here, and the classic That Man From Rio was born. Jean-Paul Belmondo is charming and physically agile as Cartouche, doing plenty of horse stunts that feel unimpressive in the age of computer assisted action, but…

  • The Seven Vows

    The Seven Vows

    ★★★½

    The Japanese sword-and-sandal epic I never knew I needed. It takes place vaguely in Tibet, where a mongol-style horse lord is forcing slaves to build pyramids and giant egyptian-looking statues are carved into the mountains. The heroes wear Austrian hats and defend their castle town, known for its black narcissus flowers - a plant not indigenous to any of the countries suggested so far. Meanwhile another contingent is in far away Japan, where even Mt. Fuji is a painted backdrop…