Japan, 2001, 108 min, Dir. Rintaro
Near the start of Metropolis (the pretty anime version of Metropolis, not the old German version of Metropolis), a junk robot is assigned to work on a case with a private detective and his nephew. The robot, who can speak and emote, tells them that his name is just random numbers and letters: 803-D-RP-DM-497-3-C. Impossible to remember. The humans don't like this—how will they develop a relationship with him if they don't give him a proper name? They decide on "Pero," which the robot resists, because robots aren't allowed to have human names. It infringes on human rights. I laughed when I heard this and thought of Alexa and Siri. Clearly, we've catapulted over these concerns.
The anime, written by Katsuhiro Ôtomo (Akira) and based on the manga from Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy), is a gorgeous film about class struggles and the misuse of artificial intelligence. The detective and his nephew dig deeper into the subterranean zones of their metropolis, unearthing robotic secrets and befriending a godlike robot named Tima. The storyline is semi-snoozy but the visuals are tremendous. The final scene is one of the most epic in anime history. Still, throughout the whole thing, I kept thinking about how robots weren't supposed to be given human names. If only our robots were programmed to worry about these things. CHASE BURNS
USA, 1995, 102 min, Dir. Scott Kalvert
It should also be noted that Basketball Diaries was involved in some controversy after the 1997 Heath High School shooting and 1999 Columbine High School massacre because of a dream sequence where Jim is dressed in a black trench coat, shooting up his classroom. It is rather eerie. The film was one of several entertainment products that were the target of a multi-million dollar lawsuit brought about by the families of school-shooting victims in 1999, alleging that they were to blame for the school shooting. The case was dropped a few years later. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Hong Kong, 1983, 89 min, Dir. David Lai
I thought I was renting a body horror movie. But nope, what I grabbed turned out to be an erotic crime drama—it's a unique genre—with a plot that's loosely based around a Japanese actress and singer (played by Emi Shindô) who arrives in Hong Kong for a singing contest. She's immediately entwined in a convoluted and horny plot involving many suiters, most notably her ex-lover Mr. Charlie (played by Michael Wai-Man Chan, who was quite hot and also a crime boss in real life). The plot doesn't really matter, because the movie is mostly devoted to tits-forward sex scenes. No more than ten minutes ever go by without someone getting laid.
At one point, the characters all go to a disco, roofie each other for fun, rollerskate, and then have a small orgy inside a gym. It's very glam. Softer than softcore, the sex is best described as clowning. The script for these sex scenes goes something like this: two naked people push up against each other, they pant feverishly, then they just rock back and forth like kids on a rocking horse. High camp. When they're fucking in the gym, one man literally bench presses while a girl hops up and down on him. That's the sex—a type of flashy sex where people basically do jazz hands while moaning. It's incredible. I don't think I'll ever get this type of clowning out of my head. CHASE BURNS
Iran, 1997, 95 min, Dir. Jafar Panahi