MORE FILMS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED TO SEE
Headlines tomorrow will read: FILM BLOGGERS UNITE TO PERFORM MUCH NEEDED PUBLIC SERVICE.
That’s right, boys and girls, I have a special treat for you this week. And I don’t mean the “razor in the apple” kind. It’s time once again to perform a much needed public service. That being to present you with some films that deserve to be seen but may have managed to fly under the radar of the general movie going audience. As you can imagine, this is no small undertaking. So, I’ve called in reinforcements…
Some of my favorite movie bloggers will be joining me this week to present some of their favorite gems that can be found at your local video store. Among them: Ross Mcg & Ross McD of Ross v Ross, Aiden from Cut The Crap Movie Reviews, Paul from Paragraph Film Reviews, M. Carter from M. Carter @ the Movies, Castor Troy from Anomalous Material. I have included links to each of their sites at the end of their sections. You can also find them through my Blogroll on the right side of my Home Page. Please, take the time to check out their sites as they all have their own unique voices and are all a ton of fun.
We will each be presenting 3 Films for your consideration. Ross & Ross will be working together… that’s just how they roll! Hopefully, the collective thousands of hours we’ve spent watching Movies, both good and bad, will provide some real treats for you.
So, now, I present you with this week’s list: MORE FILMS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED TO SEE.
Aiden (from Cut The Crap Movie Reviews):
SURVIVE STYLE 5+.
It’s not on Netflix, it’s definitely not at Blockbuster and even though I’m not the type to hop on eBay and start a bidding war on a movie I’ve never heard of at the suggestion of someone I don’t know, just trust me on this one. I’ve never seen anything like Survive Style 5+. You’ve never seen anything like it either and that’s why it’s on the list. In a nutshell, it’s about five different people struggling to make sense out of the five different circumstances their lives have been thrown into, but that little sentence doesn’t really do it justice. Might not be for everyone, but it’s like a bizarro mix between Quentin Tarantino and Chan Wook-Park at a rave party, and if that sounds as appealing to you as it does to me, then do yourself a favor and seek it out.
This one’s for all you budding screenwriters and directors out there. Can’t remember the last time I laughed so freakin’ hard at a documentary, nor have I felt so inspired to get off my ass and get on the road to accomplishing my dreams. The movie’s about one guy with a mean mullet from the backwoods of Milwaukee with a drive to hit the big time like you wouldn’t believe who has to finish making a C-grade horror movie called Coven in order to finance the movie that’s gonna make him a household name. Goes to show that some of the best documentaries out there are about the simplest of subjects starring the people we see in our everyday lives. Phenomenal movie.
THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS.
Doesn’t matter if you’ve never played Donkey Kong, doesn’t matter if you hate video games, doesn’t matter if you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll risk my “reputation” on the line and straight up guarantee you’ll find something to love with this one. The King of Kong is a documentary about a High School science teacher who up and decides to take on the world champion of Donkey Kong after getting laid off from his job. An unlikely subject if there ever was one, but what a fascinating and enjoyable trip into this crazy underworld of competitive old school gaming that I didn’t even know existed. It’s as epic as Rocky and it’ll have you cheering, smiling and laughing twice as hard, too.
You can find more of Aiden’s work at: http://ctcmr.com
M. Carter (from M. Carter @ the Movies):
THE OPPOSITE OF SEX.
(1998, dir. by Don Roos; starring Christina Ricci, Martin Donovan, Lisa Kudrow, Ivan Sergei)
Christina Ricci is a marvel of an actress. No matter how dark or odd the part, she’ll take it, and “The Opposite of Sex” should make us very thankful for that. This is the funniest black comedy you’ve never seen, the story — narrated by Ricci, who plays 16-year-old Dede Truitt — of how Dede, tired of her nowhereville hometown and “loser bitch” mom, moves in with her rich half-brother Bill (Martin Donovan) and proceeds to steal his lover Matt (Ivan Sergei), who unceremoniously knocks her up. Kudrow, divine as a character actress, also stars as Bill’s bitter old maid of a best friend, Lucia, who’s onto Dede’s act from minute one. This is a crack ensemble cast, but Ricci leads the way with her acerbic observations and unapologetically self-serving behavior. Bravo for that.
(1996, dir. by Alexander Payne; starring Laura Dern, Swoosie Kurtz, Mary Kay Place, Kelly Preston, Kurtwood Smith)
I’ll get this out of the way: “Citizen Ruth” is not a nice movie about nice people. The protagonist is Ruth (Laura Dern), a poor, selfish, dim-witted glue-huffer and deadbeat mom who’s pregnant with baby no. 5. Arrested again, the judge offers her a deal: have an abortion and she won’t do time. When this hits local papers, the real characters come out of the woodwork, and the people who try to help her are anything but saintly. The pro-lifers (Place, Smith) are sanctimonious and callous, while the pro-choicers (Kurtz, Preston) come off like moony bleeding hearts. And so “Citizen Ruth,” with its cringe-worthy humor and refusal to take sides, stands as the best film made yet about the pro-life/pro-choice debate.
THE STATION AGENT.
(2003, dir. by Thomas McCarthy; starring Peter Dinklage, Bobby Cannavale, Patricia Clarkson)
Some people will tell you that “The Station Agent” is “boring” because “nothing ever happens.” They’re only half right. Thomas McCarthy’s delicately drawn film explores the lives of three lonely people in middle-of-nowhere New Jersey — Finbar (Dinklage), a dwarf who’s learned to be wary of people; chatterbox Joe (Cannavale); and Olivia (Clarkson), a divorcee mourning her dead son — with little or no fanfare. But fanfare’s not what McCarthy’s after; he aims to show us the beauty that underlies the small moments, the almost imperceptible connections human beings find in every day life, and show us he does. “The Station Agent” requires a little patience and time, and before you know it the film has snuck up and stolen your heart.
You can find more of M.’s work at: http://mcarteratthemovies.wordpress.com
Ross McG & Ross McD (from Ross v Ross):
STREET FIGHTER 2: THE ANIMATED MOVIE.
Ross McD: Anyone who has seen Mario Brothers, Tomb Raider, anything by Uwe Boll or indeed the live action Street Fighter doesn’t need me to tell them video game movies are seldom very good. But this Manga offering is an absolute gem. Featuring all 16 characters as far as Super Street Fighter II, it contains some blistering fight sequences (Chun Li V Vega is a real highlight), great dialogue, gorgeous animation and an absolutely pumping soundtrack. The voice acting is spot on, and every character gets at least one scrap in. Makes you want to Hadoken people for days afterward.
Ross McG: Back when my age was still a single digit, I would return home from school and immediately do one thing: watch Alligator. Homework, football, wondering what girls are made of… all that had to wait as I settled in to watch a giant mutated sewer beast work its way through some human flesh. By age ten I’d probably seen Alligator between 20 and 30 times. I haven’t seen it since. I don’t need to. I still retain the enthrallment at the consequences of flushing a pet down a toilet. Alligator was great because it didn’t matter how benign the character (a bullied kid gets gobbled up after being forced to walk a swimming pool plank) – chances were you might get eaten.
Clip of kid being eaten in Alligator: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD9-gWYvi6U
SHE’s THE MAN.
Ross McD: If somebody told me to watch this film, I would find it very hard to hide the look of disdain on my face. But ten minutes into an accidental viewing I realized I had stumbled across a real diamond in the rough of cookie cutter college teen rubbish, thanks in no small part to a superb comic performance by one Amanda Bynes. In a nutshell, Amanda’s female soccer team is cut, so she pretends to be her brother so she can play, ending up rooming with a delectable Channing Tatum. Cue having to pretend she doesn’t fancy him, remembering a kick in the nuts should hurt, and picking out which girls she’d tap. Very obviously based on Shakespeare. Seriously!
Ross McG: Ross McD and I don’t agree on movies very often. But every once in a while, when the planets align and 17 butterflies flutter their wings somewhere, a comet bursts into the Earth’s atmosphere. One of those comets just happens to have a moustachioed Amanda Bynes, a face-painted Channing Tatum and former footballer Vinnie Jones struggling to play someone connected to football. You probably haven’t seen She’s The Man – I myself hadn’t until a few weeks ago – but it is one of those instances when Ross McD is right about a movie. Dumb but fun, She’s The Man is up there with such cross-dressing soccer films as… uh… yeah, well, it’s just really good, okay?
You can find more of the Ross’s work at: http://rossvross.com
Paul (from Paragraph Films):
JCVD (A.K.A. Jean-Claude Van Damme).
I bet you can’t believe that Van Damme’s STILL churning out generic action flicks 25 years into his career, and although JCVD looks like any other Van Damme / Seagal flick, it is the absolute opposite – smart, self-aware, stylish, engaging and relatively action-free. The biggest surprise however is Van Damme’s sensational, no-holds barred, brutally honest and criminally overlooked performance that should have scooped all industry awards. This outstanding role climaxes with an improvised +6 minute, single-take monologue about the ‘lowlights’ of his life that few acclaimed or respected actors could even consider taking on. This is Van Damme’s equivalent of ‘The Wrestler’ or ‘Being John Malkovich’. Seeing it with no preconceptions absolutely blew me away and left me thinking about how unfortunate his career’s been, especially since he’s fallen straight back into typecasting. Hollywood, take note!
Claim to fame: shortest time between premier screening and the bargain bin.
A BITTERSWEET LIFE.
Get someone to mention the best Korean film they’ve seen and very few will cite this – despite being one of the finest examples of acting, direction and action combining to make an outstanding film. It follows a solitary badass as one mistake throws his humble life into gangster bedlam. The direction here is nothing short of phenomenal as every single shot reveals another detail about one of the characters. The main actor (Lee Byung-hun) is fantastic and the supporting cast also pull their weight. The theme’s aren’t dissimilar to Oldboy, which immediately draws a comparison but the main difference is that ‘A Bitterweet Life’ is far simpler, minimal and rawer. If you dig Oldboy, or any epic gangster movies, give this a change, as it’s a masterpiece.
Claim to fame: Most innovative use of a mobile phone battery.
This is what happens when the concepts ‘Art’ and ‘Cinematography’ bonk each other around the most photogenic corners of our planet… yes, I meant bonk! Self-financed for artistic freedom, The Fall was shot in dozens of outstanding locations in over 20 countries, which made this four-year labour of love well worth the wait. The colours, style, imagery, costumes, locations and ‘Mise-en-scène’ absolutely dominate the simple storyline but who cares!? (Apparently) it uses no CGI, making this a world tour you can take from your armchair.There are three timelines – present, fantasy past, and a fictional movie – neatly tied together and all played by the same characters: all of whom are great, particularly the chemistry between young starlet Catinca Untaru and Lee Pace. Be sure to watch this on the biggest TV you can find, in HD if possible. This is the greatest-looking movie ever made.
Claim to fame: Most jet-lagged and dedicated cast in history.
You can find more of Paul’s work at: http://paragraphfilms.wordpress.com
Castor Troy (from Anomalous Material):
THE THIN RED LINE (1998).
The “other” WWII movie of 1998, the Thin Red Line is a Terrence Malick film that is completely different from Saving Private Ryan because it is more than anything a poetic and philosophical study of war and its consequences on the men who fight it. This movie is probably the most anti-war movie ever made. The men are not fighting for a noble cause, they are only fighting for survival. Being a Terrence Malick film, philosophical images and contemplative shots of the landscape are punctuated by very brief moments of intense action instead of the other way around. Also nominated for Best Picture, this movie features breathtaking cinematography, outstanding performances from the likes of Jim Caviezel and Nick Nolte and a great soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. There is no easy answers to the questions this movie rise up and The Thin Red Line is the kind of movie that you either love or hate.
PITCH BLACK (2007).
Directed by David Twohy, Pitch Black is the science-fiction movie that launched Vin Diesel’s career. In the 26th century, a transport-ship crashes on a far-away planet. The survivors initially think the the planet is deserted but soon enough, they learn that deadly bat-like creatures live in underground caves and come to the surface when it’s dark. Realizing that the planet is soon to be plunged in darkness by a lengthy solar eclipse, the survivors hurry back to their crashed ship but it’s too late. One of the passengers, a criminal named Riddick, reveals that his eyes have underwent surgery and are capable of night vision. The group reluctantly has to trust the mercurial man with their lives. It’s a shame that this movie had terrible sequels, they should have left it as is. In all, this is one of those sci-fi movies that transport you to a new and scary world where one has to survive against mysterious and remorseless creatures. The cinematography really set the mood for the movie with un-Earth-like lighting and shadows and the acting is good enough for this type of movie. One of those rare sci-fi movies that surprise and leave a mark!
MARRIED LIFE (2007).
Directed by Ira Sachs, this small comedy of manners is set in 1949. Harry Allen (Chris Cooper), an apparently successful businessman, seems to have it all: a successful career, nice house, sex-driven wife (Patricia Clarkson). Everything, except poor Harry longs for true love and that is missing. In comes Kay Nesbitt (Rachel McAdams), a young war widow with whom Harry has an affair. Things turn for the bad when Harry presents Kay to his best pal, Richard Langley (Pierce Brosnan) who immediately falls for the young widow. Much worse, Harry plans to marry Kay and decides to poison his wife because he “loves” and respects her so much and knows she would be crushed by a divorce. Highlighted by four outstanding performances, Married Life has a dark Hitchcockian twist and a great re-creation of the era that is a refreshing breath of fresh air.
You can find more of Castor’s work at: http://www.anomalousmaterial.com/movies/
Kai B. Parker (from THE LIST):
Written and Directed by Christopher Smith and starring Melissa George. I had seen one of Smith’s other films (Severance) and was really disappointed. He totally made it up to me with Triangle. I was explaining to my wife what Fangoria magazine was one day, then picked up a copy at Barnes & Noble about a week later. Inside was a feature on Triangle. I read one line that compared it to Groundhog’s Day. It’s a lot like Groundhog’s Day, only not funny. This super-natural thriller (which is also very similar to Timecrimes) plays with overlapping timelines and characters. It’ll throw you twists and turns a few times on it’s way to the end… and it’s well worth the ride!
Written and Directed by Gaspar Noe and starring, real life husband and wife, Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel. This film starts with a violent murder, then unfolds in reverse order to show what lead up to it. It’s a gut-wrenching look at one horrible day in a couple’s life. Beware… this film is executed amazingly. However, it is extremely violent and not for the faint of heart. Had to hit fast forward a few times myself. And, Mom… I know you’re reading… this one ain’t for you!
Written and directed by Neil Marshall. For those of you who don’t know Marshall, he is the director of one of my favorite horror flicks: The Descent. The jury’s still out on Marshall’s career. Recent movies such as Doomsday have left me curious. Still, Dog Soldiers is Marshall at the top of his game. The reason I praise this film is because it’s about Werewolves… the least interesting cinema monster ever invented. However, Marshall delivers an awesome take on the sub-genre and delivers some of the most terrifying WW creatures ever captured on film. BAD DOGGIES!!!
You can find more of my work at: Well, right here! 🙂
That’s it, Robots and Ro-Babes. Thanks again to all my contributors! Feel free to comment below, whether you like our picks or not. Feel free to add your own. I never edit any of the comments… unless you send me Spam. But, hell, I even let some of those through. Remember, this was meant to be an interactive site, as much as I love the sound of my own voice. You can also sign up to get this blog via e-mail at the top of the page. And, as always, if you like this site, TELL A FRIEND!
Check back next Saturday as that is when new posts go up. Have a great week. Sincerely, your friendly neighborhood Kaiderman!