5 FILMS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEED TO SEE
For those of you who come here for my usual wit and charm (sadly, I feel there are very few of you), I have to apologize as this week I am forced to put humor on hold to perform a public service (though I’m sure some will inevitably seep through). 🙂
You see, if there’s one thing I take pride in being, it’s a movie aficionado… or as my wife and friends call me: Film Geek. I follow the film industry very closely, as I hope to parlay this whole blogging thing into a career as a screenwriter someday. Hopefully, before the nails hit the coffin. I typically know about films before they even get the greenlight and I see everything I can, be it in theaters or on DVD. This week alone, thanks to the Hollywood Video Diamond Pass upgrade I was given, I’m on pace to see 21 movies. That’s if I make it to Avatar on Sunday… God, and my dear wife, willing. However, there are weeks when I’ve seen everything that’s out there to see and I am forced to wander up and down the “Favorites” aisle of my local video retailer, the place movies go to die, in the hopes of finding a gem… a diamond in the rough, if you will. Sadly, these are far and few between. However, every now and then, I stumble across something that slipped past my radar. Chances are, if I haven’t heard of it, the average movie going public hasn’t either. Thus, I perform this, my public service, and present you with this week’s list: 5 FILMS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEED TO SEE.
Here they are, in order of awesomeness:
5. DEAD MAN’S SHOES.
Starring, and co-written by, Paddy Consadine. He’s one of those “you’d probably know him if you saw him” actors best known in the states for supporting roles in films like Cinderella Man, Hot Fuzz and The Bourne Ultimatum. This film tells the story of a disaffected soldier who returns home to seek revenge on the group of thugs that brutalized his younger brother. The story for this one seems a little rushed towards the end and the ending was, for me, a bit predictable but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. See it for, if nothing else, the scenes where he stalks his prey in an antique gas mask. Good stuff!
Written and directed by Nicolas Refn. This Danish film tells the story of a small time drug pusher that sets up a deal with drugs he hasn’t yet paid for. Drugs he is forced to get rid of when the cops raid the deal. The story unfolds from there as the pusher tries to get the money he owes to a bigger fish in his small underworld pond. This film is great as it shows a more realistic look at life on the other, often glamorized, side of the law. Pusher is actually a trilogy that I would recommend you see, with parts 2 & 3 offering independent character studies of minor characters from the first film. Still, I’d start with the first one and go from there. Why should you? Well, Refn just made his first english speaking film, Charles Bronson (not about the actor), and it looks promising. See Pusher now and you can say, “I knew him when…”
3. ILS (U.S. TITLE: THEM).
Finally… HORROR! Ils isn’t a breakthrough premise. It’s about a couple, away for the weekend at their secluded château, who are pestered by scary people outside in the dark of night. I actually thought that The Strangers was a remake of this French film but the director of The Strangers claims he has never seen Ils. Still, in every way that The Strangers disappoints, Ils does not. What’s also great about this little horror film is that it’s for people who like horror and people who don’t as, instead of blasting you with blood and disturbing images or backwoods monsters, it relies on what horror was founded on… Suspense! What’s most disturbing? The final shot and title card just before the credits roll.
2. LOS CRONOCRÍMENES (U.S. TITLE: TIMECRIMES).
I actually don’t want to tell you too much about this film so you can enjoy it like I did. I’ll just say this: This Spanish language thriller involves time travel and trying to manipulate events to reach a desired outcome. Cryptic enough? Anyone who’s seen Back To The Future knows the problems that can cause. Only this isn’t the world of Marty McFly. It’s a much darker place. And this film is well worth the watch!
DEAR GOD, I LOVE OLDBOY! I discovered it very much by accident on a boring Tuesday morning at my local video store. Two hours later, it became one of my all time favorite films. The premise is simple enough: Without explanation, a man (Oh Dae-Su) is kidnapped and imprisoned in a room, with no human contact, for fifteen years. One day, he is released and given money, a cell phone and five days to figure out why, and get his revenge, or else face an even worse fate. This film is actually the second in Chan-Wook Park’s revenge trilogy. I would HIGHLY recommend seeing all three (the first being Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance and the last being Lady Vengeance) but since they are 3 separate tales of revenge, and not one ongoing storyline, I would start with Oldboy as it really is the best of the three. Why is now a good time to check this out? Well, after years “on the shelf” (as they say in the biz) Steven Spielberg and Will Smith just announced that they will release an American remake in late 2010. This worries me a bit as they both have somewhat popcorn and apple pie personalities and Oldboy is a dark film. However, Spielberg is a great director and if he can do what Scorcese did when he turned Infernal Affairs into The Departed, we could be in for a treat. Still, show some respect and start with the original.
UPDATE (02-25-10): As of today’s date, OLDBOY has been removed from Spielberg and Smith’s IMDB pages. It apparently has been shelved again. Too bad!
As a parent, I feel compelled to warn you that these are not family films. In fact a few of them are easily hard R’s. So watch at your discretion. And if anyone takes my advice, please post a comment below and back me up, will ya?