Josh Olson

Josh Olson

Josh Olson  was the only student in his second grade class to see The House That Dripped Blood.  Many years later, he wrote and directed the no-budget horror film, Infested, a brutal assault on The Big Chill, with zombies. He went on to write the screenplay for A History of Violence and was nominated for the WGA, BAFTA and Academy Awards for Best Screenplay. He kept losing to Larry McMurtry, but that’s okay.  He co-wrote the teleplay for the Masters of Science Fiction episode, The Discarded, with Harlan Ellison, and is currently writing a sophisticated thriller, Tabloid, for Mick Jagger.

 

Commentaries by Josh Olson

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The Hills Have Eyes

1977
Vanguard
Wes Craven’s version of Lawrence of Arabia? Ok, maybe not, but this...
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Slap Shot

1977
Universal
In the great tradition of hockey comedies–wait, is there a tradition of hockey comedies?...
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Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

1957
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Contemporary critics claim Rock Hunter as the apex of Tashlin’s filmmaking...
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The Cowboys

1972
Warner Bros.
The always-idiosyncratic Bruce Dern achieves a new level of screen villainy as the stringy-haired...
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The Day the Earth Caught Fire

1962
Universal
Global warming in 1961! Is it a newspaper picture, or...
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Purple Rain

1984
Warner Bros.
With his 1984 film debut, the multi-talented Minnesotan proved that all you really need...
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Limbo

1999
Sony Pictures Releasing
Director/writer John Sayles continued on his fiercely independent path with this critically acclaimed but audience-dividing...
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Duel

1983
Universal
In 1963 writer Richard Matheson had a terrifying freeway run-in with a murderous trucker who...
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The Long Goodbye

1973
United Artists
Vilmos Zsigmond won the National Society of Film Critics’ award for best cinematography...
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The Apple

1980
Cannon Film
Still playing midnight shows at theaters across the country after 35 years, this astounding...
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Masters of the Universe

1987
Cannon Group
TV cartoon characters Skeletor, He-Man, Beast Man and Evil-lyn spring to live...
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Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

1973
MGM
Sam Peckinpah’s elegiac farewell to the western genre evokes the death...
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Thunder Road

1958
United Artists
Robert Mitchum stars (and sings!) as an Appalachian moonshiner out to bamboozle the Feds....
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Prime Cut

1972
National General Pictures
Director Michael Ritchie’s lurid crime tale finds hot buttons to push you didn’t know...
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That Man from Rio

1965
Lopert Pictures Corporation
Director Philippe De Broca (King of Hearts) directed this spy spoof at...
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Written on the Wind

1956
Universal
The most operatic of Weimar emigre Douglas Sirk’s flamboyant imitations of life,...
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The Life & Times of Judge Roy Bean

1972
National General Pictures
This late career John Huston comedy-western seems to...
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The Brood

1979
New World
This one states the theme for much of Cronenberg’s output in the eighties: what’s...
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The Exorcist III

1990
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
William Peter Blatty, author and screenwriter of The Exorcist, takes the director’s chair in this second sequel to William Friedkin’s 1973 smash. This time Blatty ties...
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Hard Times

1975
Columbia
Bare-knuckle boxing in 1933 New Orleans with a buff Charles Bronson in the ring and James Coburn as his sleazy (what else?) promoter. Writer Walter Hill’s...
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Southern Comfort

1981
20th Century-Fox Film Corporation
Walter Hill’s 1981 thriller finds a National Guard unit trapped in a bloody cat-and-mouse...
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McCabe and Mrs. Miller

1971
Warner Bros.
Filmed under the unlikely title The Presbyterian Church Wager, this opium-fueled anti-western...
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Black Christmas

1974
Warner Bros.
“If this movie doesn’t make your skin crawl…it’s on too tight!” Bob Clark’s Canadian...
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The Counselor

2013
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Courtesy of a script by Cormac McCarthy, Ridley Scott’s 2013 thriller veers wildly between...
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The Conqueror Worm/Witchfinder General

1968
AIP
Although it stirred little notice on its US release in 1968, the...
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The Howling

1981
AVCO Embassy
1981 turned out to be the Year of the Werewolf, enticing horror fans with...
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The Last Big Thing

1998
Stratosphere Entertainment
In spite of terrific reviews this small indie directed by Dan Zukovic...
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The Lineup

1958
Columbia
Warner Anderson, star of the long-running early fifties TV show The Lineup, repeated his...
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Battle Royale

2011
Anchor Bay Films
In this controversial career-capping Japanese thriller from director Kinji Fukasaku, middle-school children are rounded up...
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The Royal Tenenbaums

2001
Buena Vista Pictures
Wes Anderson’s absurdist family comedy features a jam-packed cast full of eccentrics that...
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Thief

1981
United Artists
In Thief, James Caan is an expert jewel thief who disdains using nitroglycerin to crack...
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Drive

2011
FilmDistrict
Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn received the Cannes Film Festival’s Best Director award for his...
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Wicked Woman

1953
United Artists
The memories of movie fans are papered with the work of the remarkably prolific...
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Act of Violence

1948
MGM
Moviegoers seeking easy answers should steer clear of Fred Zinneman’s hardboiled thriller from...
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Earthquake

1974
Universal
A-listers Mark Robson, Jennings Lang and Mario Puzo (!) steal a leaf (and more) from...
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An American Hippie in Israel

1972
Box Office Spectaculars
Practically begging to be a cult film, this 1972 Israeli comedy...
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52 Pickup

1986
Cannon Film Distributors
This was a bright spot in a fallow period for director John Frankenheimer after...
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One False Move

1992
IRS Media
Three low lifes off a bunch of people in LA to score cocaine....
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Manhunter

1986
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Before THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS there was Michael Mann’s stylish Dino de Laurentiis-sponsored Hannibal...
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Jaws

1975
Universal
After warning us that everything there is to say about Steven Spielberg’s seminal summer blockbuster...
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The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

1989
Columbia
Cinematically, notorious 18th century liar Munchausen’s tall tales date back to...
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Withnail and I

1987
Cineplex-Odeon Films
The first film in director Bruce Robinson’s (so far) four-film canon is virtually...
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The Dish

2001
Warner Bros.
Australia’s top grossing film of 2000 was this Rob Sitch-directed, Bill Forsyth-influenced semi-fictionalized dramedy...
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Barfly

1987
The Cannon Group
Mickey Rourke’s booze-soaked lead role in poet Charles Bukowski’s semi-autobiographical bar-crawling memoir was first offered to Sean Penn,...
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Invasion of the Bee Girls

1973
Centaur
No, really–not B-Girls, but BEE Girls! BZZZZZZ! “They’ll love the very...
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Sitting Target

1972
MGM
Director Douglas Hickox (Theatre of Blood) worked his way up from assistant director to...
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Straight Time

1978
Warner Bros.
Quartet, Dustin Hoffman’s well-received 2012 directing debut, wasn’t his first time behind the camera....
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Viva Knievel

1977
Warner Bros.
Having been portrayed by George Hamilton in a 1971 biopic, motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel...
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A Face in the Crowd

1957
Warner Bros.
Elia Kazan’s lacerating portrait of a down home demagogue has never...
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Miller’s Crossing

1990
20th Century Fox
The Coen Bros.’ stylized hybrid of ’30s prohibition gangster sagas and ’40s noir films...
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Blood Simple

1985
Circle Films
Dashiell Hammett’s classic thriller Red Harvest provided the title for Joel and Ethan Coen’s...
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The Stepfather

1987
New Century Vista Film Company
Character actor Terry O’Quinn makes the most of his greatest role in Joseph Ruben’s...
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The Buddy Holly Story

1978
Columbia
Oscar-nominated Gary Busey lost 32 pounds to play doomed rocker Holly, who weighed...
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Mad Max

1980
American International Pictures
Medical doctor George Miller teamed with amateur filmmaker Byron Kennedy to make this action-packed...
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Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

1978
Universal
Vaudeville lives again in this notoriously square concoction from music...
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The Conversation

1974
Paramount
Sandwiched in between his two Godfather triumphs, Francis Coppola’s tense thriller is a quietly...
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Bad Boy Bubby

It’s not exactly Ozploitation, but director Rolf de Heer’s outrageous “experiment” (his words)...
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Quadrophenia

1979
World Northal
Franc Roddam’s acclaimed directorial debut is an edgy update of the working class kitchen-sink “angry...
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Go Tell the Spartans

1978
Avco Embassy
In 1964 America’s role in Vietnam was still “advisory”, and this bracing,...
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The Outlaw Josey Wales

1976
Warner Bros.
This troubled production was considered by Clint Eastwood  to be  one of...
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High Plains Drifter

1973
Universal
Every so often a TFH Guru comes along and requests to redo a...
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Fuzz

1972
United Artists
Brian De Palma was set to direct this cop caper but ankled (as they say...
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Mandingo

1975
Paramount
In recent years Richard Fleischer’s critically derided adaptation of‚ Kye Onstott’s ‚ steamy novel has...
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The Baby

1973
Scotia International
Further proof the 1970s were (was?) the wildest decade in film history.‚ “Special needs”...
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Cross of Iron

1977
AVCO Embassy Pictures
Compromised by a dwindling budget and production Euro-chaos, Peckinpah was not completely satisfied...
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Bedazzled

1967
20th Century Fox
The New Yorker called Stanley Donen’s Python-esque take on the Faust story “the intellectual’s Hellzapoppin'”.‚...
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The Longest Yard

1974
Paramount
Along with Roger Corman, Robert Aldrich seems to be the director most represented...
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Invasion of the Body Snatchers ’78

1978
United Artists
Generally considered at least the equal or maybe (!) the...
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3 On A Match

1932
Warner Bros.
The largely forgotten Ann Dvorak sizzles in this snappy 63 minute‚ pre-code...
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The Man Who Would Be King

1975
Allied Artists
A long-cherished project of director John Huston, this memorable Rudyard...
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Apocalypse Now

1979
United Artists
One of the most troubled productions ever, and one of the most acclaimed. Although...
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Cutter’s Way

1981
United Artists
Caught in a studio‚ regime change, Ivan Passer’s offbeat filmization of Newton Thornberg’s novel...
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Brute Force

1947
Universal
The great supporting cast alone (Sam Levene, Jeff Corey,Jay C. Flippen, Sir Lancelot and...
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Double Indemnity

1944
Paramount
James M. Cain’s‚ 1935 Liberty Magazine novella was based on the celebrated 1927 Ruth...
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Kiss Me Deadly

1955
United Artists
Producer Victor Saville made movies out of three hardboiled Mike Hammer novels by...
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The Hot Rock

1972
20th Century Fox
First of five comic Donald E. Westlake adaptations featuring the character of Dortmunder,...
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Blue Collar

1978
Universal
Paul Schrader’s post-Taxi Driver rust belt auto worker directorial debut was shot in Kalamazoo,...
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The African Queen

1951
United Artists
C.S. Forester’s novel was originally bought by Columbia for Charles Laughton and Elsa...
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Frenzy

1972
Universal
Hitchcock’s first London-based production since Stage Fright is also one of his most surprisingly modern....
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Emperor of the North Pole

1973
20th Century Fox
The ghost of Jack London hovers over Robert Aldrich’s gutsy evocation...
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The Late Show

1977
Warner Bros.
Art Carney is a cantankerous over-the-hill gumshoe in Robert Benton’s sadly obscure comedy...
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Blacula

1972
AIP
AIP’s vampiric contribution to the prevailing blaxploitation avalanche of the 1970s benefits from the casting...
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Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

1965
Eve Productions
Busty broads on motorcycles pummel every guy they encounter in an‚ indelible...
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Over the Edge

1979
Orion
Although it didn’t make much of a‚ boxoffice dent when new, TFH guru...
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The King of Comedy

1983
20th Century Fox
Ok, it’s not really such a comedy, unless you‚ consider the comedy...
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The Friends of Eddie Coyle

1973
Paramount
A late career triumph for sleepy-eyed noir favorite Robert Mitchum, who...
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The Wanderers

1979
Orion Pictures Corporation
Is there a more‚ overlooked coming of age movie than this‚ little-seen Bronx-set drama...
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Dirty Harry

1971
Warner Bros.
The odd conglomeration of names involved in the inception of what became Clint Eastwood’s...
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The Killers

1964
Universal
Universal’s made-for-tv remake of the Hemingway-inspired 1946 original was deemed too violent for telecast...
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Sorcerer

1977
Paramount
This‚ elaborate second remake of the French classic Wages of Fear (following Violent Road, a...
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Ace in the Hole

1951
Paramount
Audiences in 1951 rejected Billy Wilder’s acerbic, jet-black satire, based on a...
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Welcome Home, Brother Charles

1975
Crown International Pictures
A bitter ex-con employs a most, er, unusual weapon to knock off...
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Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

1974
United Artists
After Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid was mutilated...
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A Boy and His Dog

1975
LQ/JAF
Harlan Ellison’s Nebula-winning post-WW IV sci-fi novella is transferred to the...
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Blow Out

1981
Filmways Pictures
Brian DePalma’s intriguing amalgam of Blow Up, The Conversation and The Parallax View casts...
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Alien

1979
20th Century Fox
The monster in Ridley Scott’s influential sci fi classic was played by a 7’2 Nigerian...
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Freebie and the Bean

1974
Warner Bros.
Richard Rush’s buddy/cop action comedy made hardly a ripple in its theatrical...
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The Hired Hand

1971
Universal
Peter Fonda’s directorial debut is a leisurely, naturalistic western offset by ace cinematographer...
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Batman ’66

1966
20th Century Fox
Although the wacky tv show was a national craze, this 1966 feature version didn’t...
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It’s Alive

1974
Warner Bros.
Although not a hit when released in 1974, the 1977 reissue with the tagline...
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Shogun Assassin

1980
New World Pictures
Blood-spattered amalgam of two different samurai entries in the 6-part “Lone Wolf/Baby Cart” series,...
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Doc Savage: Man of Bronze

1975
Warner Bros.
The tentpole that wasn’t. A late-career stumble for producer George Pal,...
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Race with the Devil

1975
20th Century Fox
Enraged devil-worshippers give chase to a winnebago full of infidels who witnessed...
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Kentucky Fried Movie

1977
United Film Distribution
Before Broken Lizard and the Farrelly Brothers there was/were The Zuckers (plus Abraham)...
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Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans

2009
First Look Pictures
Werner Herzog’s weird non-sequel to Abel Ferrera’s Bad...
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The Indian Runner

1991
MGM
In his behind the camera debut, actor Sean Penn wrote and directed this...
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Speed Racer

2008
Warner Bros.
The Wachowskis’ $120 million big studio live-action version of Tatsuo Yoshida’s 52-episode anime series...
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Where the Sidewalk Ends

1950
20th Century Fox
Quintessential forties leading man Dana Andrews excels in perhaps his finest performance...
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VCI Entertainment Collection
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Boss Nigger

1975
Dimension Pictures
Popular 70’s star Fred “The Hammer” Williamson teamed up again with director Jack Arnold...
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Galaxy of Terror

1981
New World
One of the more popular of the later New World Pictures, this gory...
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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

1974
United Artists
There was a remake of Joe Sargent and Peter...
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The Wild Bunch

1969
Warner Brothers/Seven Arts
Sam Peckinpah’s blood-flecked classic was a boxoffice disaster in its Vietnam-era day, but...
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Ms 45

1981
Rochelle Films
Director Abel Ferrara followed up his debut film, The Driller Killer, with this mini-budget...
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The Three Musketeers

1974
20th Century Fox
Boisterous, rollicking, side-splitting– adjectives that are usually promo hype– but applied to Richard...
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Winter Kills

1979
AVCO Embassy
Paranoia reigns supreme in William Richert’s blackly comic conspiracy theory extravaganza which connects patriarchs,...
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Charley Varrick

1973
Universal
This taut, underrated Don Siegel thriller stars Walter Matthau in one his greatest roles...
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Straw Dogs

1971
Cinerama Releasing Corporation
Sam Peckinpah, banished from Warner Bros. after the commercial failures of The Wild Bunch...
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Hair

1979
United Artists
It took the Age of Aquarius at least a decade to make it to the...
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