Doglegs co-founder, and star of the film, Shintaro Yano (ring name “Sambo” Shintaro) strikes a fighting pose. © Alfie Goodrich
Japanese wrestling or “puroresu” is a tradition that goes back to the 1950s, and is most closely associated with a more realistic, hard-hitting “strong style” than we normally see in Western pro wrestling, which is far more choreographed. Strikes usually land for real, though the intention is still primarily to put on a show, not actually hurt one’s opponent. The style is tough on the performers, and those that thrive in the competitive landscape of “puro” are considered some of the best and most resilient wrestlers in the business. Still, the style is often hard to watch, given what we know now about concussions and other injuries that can be commonplace in puro.
You can imagine, then, how hard it is to watch a puro match, not between able-bodied athletes in peak physical condition, but with disabled wrestlers. Heath Cozens’ Doglegs, a documentary about an eponymous group of mostly disabled Japanese wrestlers, is certainly difficult to sit through, but is ultimately worthwhile for its ability to wring triumph from tragedy.
By Tyler Hodg
Some say life is stranger than fiction; The Fear of 13, a documentary by British filmmaker David Sington, is a whirlwind collection of unbelievable anecdotes told by Death Row prisoner Nick Yarris, which seem too crazy not to be true. Now available on streaming giant Netflix, the film publicizes humane perspectives of criminals, and those often unfairly tossed aside by society.
Since childhood, I’ve wanted to make movies. Last night I got to watch a documentary about a group of kids who were determined to make a shot for shot remake of Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made tells the story of this incredible attempt and the resulting admirable success.
We’re halfway through 2016 and it’s already been a pretty good year for horror. Films like Robert Eggers’ The Witch, Mike Flanagan’s Hush, and anthology horror Holidays have already given us our fix to get us through the winter, but the second half of the year has some of the horror releases I’m most excited for.
After years of waiting, between only fans wishing for it to multiple setbacks, the Warcraft movie finally crashed onto movie screens this weekend. Thus far, it has earned a lowly 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, and many reviews of the movie have not been good. I’ve never been one to take a reviewer’s word for it when it comes to movies, otherwise I would never have bothered with Pacific Rim, Starship Troopers, and many others that have found their way onto my DVD shelf. I ventured out today thanks to the kindness of a friend who also wanted to see it.
I was NOT disappointed in the least. So many times, video game movie adaptations come off hokey and things are just so completely wrong that those involved with it are almost cursed after the movie’s release (I’m looking at you, Prince of Persia).
That Gal . . . Who Was in That Thing is the companion to 2012’s male-skewed doc of a similar name. While both films focus on what it’s like to be a character actor (a.k.a. someone not typically cast in leading roles), That Guy… played chicken with being overlong and repetitive. Gal gives us the opposite, trading personal tales of woe and triumphs for larger and more unsettling subjects.
By Tim Murr
My first X-Men comic was The Uncanny X-Men #234, from September 1988. From then on I was hooked, collecting every new issue for the next eight years along with as many back issues as I could afford. The Uncanny X-Men was one of the best mainstream comics out there and this was the era when Ann Nocenti and John Romita, Jr. were doing Daredevil and Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle were doing Detective Comics, so that’s really saying something. I stuck with the X-Men until their books narratively crashed and burned and didn’t come back until Grant Morrison made it all better.
I thought I caused the 2003 blackout.
It was the end of a day at work, and just as I hit “save” on the document I was working on so I could leave for the day, everything went dark.
By Tim Murr
We’re lumbering ever closer to the launch date of Eibon Press’s Fulci Comics! Preorders begin at midnight on June 10. The legacy of the Italian godfather of gore lives on in a new ongoing series based on the 1979 classic Zombie and 1980’s City Of The Living Dead as well as an original series called Bottomfeeder.
This is one of the most unique approaches to comic publishing I’ve ever seen and there is clearly a lot of hard work and love being poured into the production. These comics will be produced in full color, distributed in sturdy sleeves (like records), and are limited to 1,000 copies, with the first 250 being accompanied by signed art plates.
And if that wasn’t juicy enough, just wait until you see all the grindhouse legends “starring” in Bottomfeeder, like Zoe Lund from Ms .45 and Joe Spinell from Maniac (for starters)!
For more background on this production, check out this interview I conducted with writer and creator Stephen Romano on the Stranger With Friction blog.
It’s Good News/Bad News time. The good news is that I am submitting a chapter to an upcoming book anthology. The bad news is that the deadline is quickly approaching and I need to finish!
This means that Popshifter will be going on a bit of a break until June. In the meantime, please enjoy the following articles that you might have missed over the last couple of weeks.
What about movies? If you’re looking for something to see this weekend that is the exact opposite of The Nice Guys, you might try Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise. Tyler Hodg enjoyed the videogame adaptation of Rachet and Clank, while Christine Makepeace was appalled by the sexism in documentary All Dolled Up.
If you want music recommendations, look no further than Popshifter! Melissa Bratcher enjoyed the self-titled debut of Big Star’s Jody Stephens with Luther Russell, a.k.a. Those Pretty Wrongs; adores by Ominivore’s reissue of two albums from The Blind Boys Of Alabama; thinks the latest album from Gregg Martinez, Soul of the Bayou, is a charmer; and is thrilled by the way On The Ropes shows that the Honeycutters keep getting better.
Tim Murr thinks Black Absinthe could be as big as AC/DC after hearing Early Signs of Denial; Tyler fondly reminisces about Sloan’s album The Double Cross on its five-year anniversary and praises Royal Tusk for adding some spice to the frequently stale genre of rock on DealBreaker; and Eric Weber describes his history of discovering Divine’s music in his review of the Cherry Red Records anthology, Shoot Your Shot.
Finally, Sachin Hingoo catches us up with what’s happening on Lucha Underground.