The Short Films of Izzy Lee #2 (2019)

Short films are a strange art of their own--for them to “work,” they have to be perfectly paced, give just enough exposition to drag us into their world but not so much that it bogs down our interest or drags the story, and most of all, it has to leave a taste in our mouths. Shorts are usually shown in hour and a half blocks at festivals, and when your work is bookended by pieces that may be tonally dissonant, hyper-violent or hyper-sexual, or just off-the-wall bonkers, you have to make sure the audience is going to stumble back out into the sunlight thinking about what you served up. More than most directors who work in the short form, Izzy Lee is able to meet all these challenges.

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Serial Mom (1994) - Blu-ray

In a way, the career of John Waters reflects the evolution of exploitation cinema itself. Starting out in the 1960s with black-and-white microbudget shorts that didn’t so much have narratives as they were a series of shocking, hallucinogenic set pieces, he moved on in the early 1970s to more coherent feature films that were still more shock than substance. In the latter part of the decade and early 80s, he reached a comfortable midpoint, releasing pictures that still retained a certain grindhouse quality while focusing more on conventional storytelling.

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RoboCop 2 (1990) - Blu-ray

Robocop is undeniably one of the quintessential 80s films, a cinematic classic that stands not only as a timelessly enjoyable piece of sci-fi/action but a timely critique of the culture from which it emerged. Though it was only the second American feature from Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, he’d already gotten his thumb firmly on the pulse of a nation bursting at the seams with prosperity whilst simultaneously ridden with crime, a glitzy age whose neon aesthetics hid an underbelly of dank corruption and crippling selfishness. With its’ intersection of drug lords and evil businessmen, love/hate relationship with technology, pulsing discos and intrusive commercials, Robocop got the darker aspects of the 80s, in a way that other similarly executed films were able to wrap themselves around the era’s virtues.

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Bloodrunners (2017)

Bloodrunners just might be the greatest horror comedy yet unleashed on 2017. I don’t know if that’s a point for or against the movie, but, in either case, it’s pretty damn hysterical. Set in the dying days of prohibition, Bloodrunners nominally focuses on Detective Jack Malone, a hardboiled cop in a sleepy East Coast town whose main jobs seem to be collecting protection money from speakeasies and hanging out at the local whoremansion, where he drowns his memories of World War I in an endless supply of booze and flesh.

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The Bad Seed (1956) #WiHM

The Bad Seed gets a lot of things right, the first and foremost thing being a little acknowledged age-old truism: Kids are freaking creepy. Developmental psychology tells us that before a certain age, children are essentially sociopaths: self-serving, low on empathy, driven by desire. They form packs, they have friends adults sometimes can’t see, they resolve issues with kicking, scratching, and hitting.

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