Unstreamable is a weekly column that finds films and TV shows you can't watch on major streaming services in the United States.*
Japan, 1985, 87 min, Dirs. Koji Hashimoto, R.J. Kizer
Godzilla 1985 is one helluva frankensteined relic.
The kaiju film, released in the US in 1985, is an extremely Americanized cut of The Return of Godzilla, which came out in 1984 in Japan. By "Americanized" I mean more than just adding a hammy dub—Godzilla '85 cuts out a significant amount of the original film and replaces it with scenes and narration built for Canadian-American actor Raymond Burr. '80s audiences were familiar with Burr since he appeared in the first heavily Americanized Godzilla, Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956), which introduced Western audiences to the world's most famous gorilla-whale.
The basic plot is like any Godzilla movie: Godzilla's attacked, and now Japan and its allies need to fight over whether or not to nuke it. The Americanized cut replaces most of what makes the original film good (earnest musings about nuclear power; tensions between journalists and the state) with a lot of stern frowning from the American military. The film was not received well by critics when it came out in '85, but it's fun and its edits are funky. Raymond Burr's stoicism is deeply melodramatic, making the occasional Dr. Pepper product placement even weirder.
Some funny oddities associated with the movies: Godzilla 1985 opens with this great and short dark cartoon, Bambi vs. Godzilla, and The Return of Godzilla closes with this bonkers and campy love song to Godzilla, "Godzilla: Love Theme." CHASE BURNS
USA, 1995, 95 min, Dir. Robert Leacock
Catwalk is all about faces. Mostly, Christy Turlington's face as she jets across the world during the Spring/Summer 1994 season. Shot in a roving, guerilla-like style, director Robert Leacock gets seemingly unfettered access to the supermodel—the chaotic backstages of Versace, Valentino, and Mizrahi shows; various fittings; glamorous parties; back seats of taxis; taking off her makeup at night. Through it at all Turlington is serenely good-natured and smiley, offering moments of vulnerability (like reflecting on her dating life) while maintaining a cool distance from the camera. It's myth-making.
Other famous faces pop up throughout as the film takes several interesting detours away from Turlington. John Galliano coaches Kate Moss on how to run down the catwalk in a giant dress designed to evoke Russian aristocracy. Naomi often cruises across the screen, making comments that manage to be both innocuous and cutting. André Leon Talley declares that fashion is definitely not art. Isaac Mizrahi laments the trend of models getting their belly buttons pierced. Sharon Stone, RuPaul, Christian Slater, and the heads of other vaunted fashion houses pop up as well. Even the soundtrack is glittery, composed by thee Malcolm McLaren.
It's a vivid, candid document of some of the greatest models and designers of the '90s. Watch and get inspired. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Japan | USA, 1963, 91 min, Dirs. Ishirô Honda, Tom Montgomery
Back to kaiju. In honor of the latest Godzilla entry, Godzilla vs. Kong (2021), we might as well go back to the duo's original clash, King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963). Toho, the Japanese film company behind Godzilla, acquired the rights to feature King Kong in a Godzilla movie from its American producer, setting the stage for a double-beast wrestling match with Mt. Fuji as a backdrop.
The original Hollywood Reporter review called the film "a funny monster picture," an assessment that you'll confirm for yourself if you watch any of that original fight, embedded below. King Kong vs. Godzilla marks a change in how the franchise's effects director, Eiji Tsuburaya, created the monsters, leaning more toward comedic wiggling and wrestling-inspired human movements. It's fucking ridiculous, and although it's not my preferred version of Godzilla, it was a hit: King Kong vs. Godzilla beat previous box office highs and revamped the franchise.
A word of warning: This version uses brownface to depict the people of the fictional Faro Island, where King Kong lives. I've always assumed that the movie's brownface is part of the reason why it's unstreamable, but Universal Pictures will need to get back to me so I can confirm. CHASE BURNS
USA, 1995, 101 min, Dir. Barbet Schroeder
Unfortunately, Barbet Schroeder's Kiss of Death is not just bad; it's confusing. Adapted from the 1947 film of the same name and written by Richard Price, the various plot threads, double agent characters, and conflicting interests end up crisscrossing in ways that are hard to follow. Not even Cage doing chest pumps with a stripper or violently flying off the handle at anyone in his path was enough to save my viewing experience. To think Caruso left NYPD Blue for this! JASMYNE KEIMIG
*Unstreamable means we couldn't find it on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or any of the other 300+ streaming services available in the United States. We also couldn't find it available for rent or purchase through platforms like Prime Video or iTunes. Yes, we know you can find many things online illegally, but we don't consider user-generated videos, like unauthorized YouTube uploads, to be streamable.