FILMS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED TO SEE 3
It is once again time for us here at THE LIST to perform our public service. Not because we want to… because it’s court ordered. Damn my need to streak when I’m drunk. And double damn my need to drink on a daily basis. But I digress…
To perform this much needed service, I have once again called in some heavy hitters to help me. Here’s who we have on tap:
And, of course, ME… your friendly neighborhood Kaiderman.
Here’s the idea behind this post:
There are several movies out there that don’t necessarily get the same recognition or promotion as others. Films that at times can be quite good. Films that are currently collecting dust in the “Favorites” aisle at your local video store. We here at THE LIST have taken it upon ourselves to bring these films to the forefront and present you, the movie going public, a list of FILMS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED TO SEE. Here they are:
FANDANGO GROOVERS MOVIE BLOG:
Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo who went on to make 28 Weeks later, Intacto is an original and intriguing drama/fantasy/thriller. Based on the premise that luck can be transferred like any other commodity. A group of gamblers take each other on in games of chance. The luckiest of them all is Samuel Berg (Max von Sydow), a concentration camp survivor who now runs a casino. Federico (Eusebio Poncela) works for Berg, a simple touch from him steals a person’s luck. When the men have a falling out Berg takes Federico’s power setting in motion a chain of events that include the only survivor of a plane crash (Leonardo Sbaraglia) who is on the run and the policewoman chasing him (Mónica López) as well as an interesting twist on Russian Roulette. A beautifully shot and perfectly paced movie that offers an original concept that has been copied by Hollywood and Bollywood but never equalled.
GINGER SNAPS (2000).
Werewolves have never really taken off in movies the way vampires have. Recent franchises Underworld and Twilight have featured both creatures but the vamps always get top billing. Once in a while there is a great werewolf movie. Unfortunately in the case of Ginger Snaps not many people saw it. Sisters Ginger and Brigitte Fitzgerald (Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins) are social outcasts with morbid fascinations. After being attacked by a strange creature, Ginger starts going through physical changes. The movie works on several levels: using lycanthropy as a metaphor for menstruation and puberty is pure genius, giving the movie its greatest plaudits and denouncers; the pithy humour is as dark as the cinematography and perfectly balance the teen themes of alienation, despair and transformation; finally, and in some ways the most important, it’s a great horror movie. Utilising prosthetics and make-up, rather than CGI, Ginger Snaps has a real old-fashioned feel to it from a time when monsters looked and moved like real creatures. This gives the movie a gritty, earthy and visceral feel.
BUFFALO SOLDIERS (2001).
A cutting satire set on a US military base in the time leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The movie was made in 2001 and premiered on 09 September that year, following the terrorist attacks two days later the general release was delayed by two years. Specialist Ray Elwood (Joaquin Phoenix) is a chancer. He is only in the army to avoid prison and is always on the lookout for an angle to make a fast buck. As base clerk he isn’t short of opportunities for black market deals. This is helped by the base commander, Colonel Berman (Ed Harris) being oblivious to what is going on. Things take a change for the worse when a new First Sergeant, Robert E. Lee (Scott Glenn) arrives, but there is a silver lining in the shape of Lee‘s daughter Robyn (Anna Paquin). Given world events in the time since the movie was made, it isn’t as relevant as it was at the time. This doesn’t stop it from being well made, well acted and at times painfully funny.
Somewhere in a futuristic world, a strict regime has eliminated war by suppressing humanities’ emotions. Individual indulgences such as books, art and music are strictly forbidden and having possession of or showing any sense of human feeling is a crime punishable by death. Cleric John Preston (Bale) is a top ranking government agent responsible for destroying those who resist the rules. He is the star of their mission, but when he misses a dose of Prozium, a mind-altering drug that hinders emotion, Preston, who has been trained to enforce the strict laws of the new regime, suddenly becomes the only person capable of overthrowing it.
The conception of eXistenZ is admittedly not entirely an original thought, and shadows some of writer/director Cronenberg’s previous work, but it’s execution is incredible and undeniably entertaining. It has total relevance to our techno/ADHD influenced world and the changes gaming and violence has in our personal entertainment. This is one I had forgotten about over the years. It probably got lost in the sensationalized special effects dynasty of The Matrix and it’s other bumbling followings, but it is a remarkable movie worth a view. For hard-core gamers or big Science Fiction junkies this is a little piece of cinematic heaven made just for you.
RUNNING SCARED (2006).
Paul Walker and kick ass movies don’t usually go together, but in 2006 I was ultimately shocked by “Running Scared”, which turned out to be one of the most tense, and exciting films I had seen in years. Written and directed by Wayne Kramer, he combines incredible writing, and a shocking and gritty world that shows exactly how twisted, sick, and dangerous the world is through the eyes of a child (Cameron Bright). Kramer gets the best performances his cast can give (and showed Walker has a little more than good looks to offer), along with introducing me to the incredible Vera Farmiga. Throughout the film you continually think things can’t possibly get worse, but they do. Brilliant movie.
SPIDER BABY OR THE MADDEST STORY EVER TOLD (1968).
This 1968 horror-comedy directed by Jack Hill is low on budget but high on imagination. It tells the story of the Merrye family and a rare and horrible disease that affects its members. The Merrye’s suffer from a degenerative disease that causes them to regress while they are still in their childhood years. While the child-like Merrye adults happily live and play in the families crumbling mansion under the charge of Bruno their caretaker some distant relatives plan to take it all away. But “the children” concoct a plan of their own. The film wallows in a nasty playfulness where you root for the killers every inch of the way and cheer for their victim’s deaths. Spider Baby has a body count but has very little blood or gore and still manages to pack a punch with some truly disturbing moments scattered among the campy fun. Clearly Sid Haig, Beverly Washburn and Jill Banner had a lot of fun with their roles as the child-like adults, particularly Haig who is like a puppy pouncing and bounding about. Lon Chaney Jr gives one of his best performances as the charming caretaker bound by his duty and compassion. There are so many delightfully quirky and unusual scenes I couldn’t possibly note them all. I’m not sure I would say Spider Baby is the Maddest Story Ever Told, but I would definitely put it on the shortlist. Spider Baby is hilarious, occasionally repulsive, eerie, well-acted, campy fun! An absolute must see for anyone who has even the slightest interest in cult cinema!
LITTLE OTIK (2000).
Love it or hate it, it is unlikely you will see anything quite like Little Otik. This is one fractured little fairytale that is more Brothers Grimm than Disney. Little Otik is a live action feature with stop motion animation sequences scattered throughout. A couple are unable to have children and the wife is grief-stricken and depressed 24 hours a day. As a lark, to cheer his wife up, hubby carves an uprooted tree into a baby. The wife gives the tree stump baby so much love and affection that she literally wills the thing to life. An ugly, crying gnarly tree stump baby with an insatiable hunger that gets bigger by the day! It becomes increasingly difficult to find enough food to feed the monstrosity and with not enough to eat the stump begins devouring people. The visuals in this film are amazing! It is one bizarre image after another from a fish monger scooping up babies from a tank and wrapping them in newspaper to the hideously fascinating stop motion images of Little Otik himself, the film is a downright assault on the senses! The performances are excellent and the unique story is delightfully demented and at times even disturbing. Little Otik is just one of many films from Jan Svankmajer, so if you enjoy this one as much as me you’ll have a whole world of awesomeness open up to you.
Possession is a little known gem from the 80’s, and in my opinion is one of the best horror films to come out of the decade. At its core it is a love story, or more accurately an anti-love story full of sexual tension. The film starts as a sort of melodrama of exposed emotions. Sam Neill’s portrayal of Mark is utterly distraught and his behaviour is borderline schizophrenic. This is easily one of Neill’s best performances. The sultry Isabelle Adjani vigorously exorcises her demons as we watch and is truly captivating. After returning from a mysterious assignment Mark is greeted by wife Anna with the news she wants to leave him for another man. The other man in question is spiritual guru Heinrich. But both men suspect Anna may also have another lover. It is this third lover that provides Possession its horror. A wrought and twisted soap opera becomes an allegorical supernatural tale after a private detective follows Anna and discovers the true origins of “the third man”. Zulawski’s direction is brilliant and although he clearly has much to say amongst the films many layers it is Anna’s monster lover that is the films biggest pay-off. The special effects from Carlo Rambaldi are very impressive and the music provided by Andrzej Korzynski is perfect. It is relatively light on the blood and gore but what you get will stay with you long after the credits roll. Possession is a wonderfully moody, well-acted, intense horror film that oozes atmosphere from every pore.
the m0vie blog:
SEXY BEAST (2000).
One of the best movies you’ve never heard of. Sexy Beast is a Gangster pic featuring Ray Winstone (who’s always great) as a retired safe cracker who’s pulled back in to perform one last job for reasons I can’t give away without ruining the film. I’ll admit, the story is nothing new. What makes this film worth every second is the stellar performance of Sir Ben Kingsley as gangster Don Logan. How Kingsley didn’t win the Oscar for this film is beyond me (he lost to Jim Broadbent for Iris) because Logan might just be one of the baddest gangsters ever portrayed on the big screen. And that is exactly why it’s worth your time!
DARK CITY (1998).
Dark City is one of my all time favorite Sci-Fi movies. For a long time I thought it actually had inspired The Matrix, to a certain extent, but apparently they came out the same year. While the stories are very different, they share a lot of themes… and while The Matrix is more mainstream, Dark City is the more edgy, dark Sci-Fi Noir I love most. Like an Outer Limits episode turned into a full length film. I won’t say too much about it but I will leave you with the film’s tag line: They built the city to see what makes us tick. Last night one of us went off.
Primer just kept missing my last 2 posts of Films You Didn’t Know You Needed To See. I thought too many people knew about it but apparently I was wrong. Again, when I do these posts, I don’t like to give too much away about these films. So, I’ll just say this… Primer is a story that involves time travel and what can go wrong when people do it. What’s insane about this film is that it was shot for $7,000 (which primarily paid for film stock) and was shot in the director’s (Shane Carruth) parent’s house. The film is an easy watch at under 80 minutes, though I will say this… the dialogue is very heavy. There’s a lot of tech jargon thrown around in the first half hour. Just realize, you don’t have to understand everything the characters are saying to follow the film. I believe a lot of it is just thrown in there to make the characters ability to create a time travel device believable.
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That’s it for now, Film Lovers.
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Check back Wednesday for my special birthday post. Have a great week and remember… Heather will not be ignored!!!