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:

Andy from Fandango Groovers Movie Blogthe hardest working blogger on the net.

Heather from Movie Mobstersan OFG: Original Female Gangster.

Terri from Goregirl’s Dungeonmy one stop shop for all things horror.

Darren from the m0vie blogmy fellow Fanboy!

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:

INTACTO (2001).

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.

You can find more of Andy‘s work by clicking here.

MOVIE MOBSTERS:

EQUILIBRIUM (2002).

Equilibrium.jpg Equilibrium image by daxhalo

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.

eXistenZ (1999).

 

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.

You can find more of Heather‘s work by clicking here.

You can also find her on FACEBOOK & TWITTER.

GORGIRL’S DUNGEON:

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 (1981).

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.

You can find more of Terri‘s work by clicking here.

the m0vie blog:

INTERMISSION (2003).
Because I’m Irish, I figure it’s an excuse to recommend an Irish film. It’s just a foreign film without subtitles! No, Irish cinema is a weird thing – a really weird thing. We produced a spate of fantastic films in the nineties centred around the working class Dublin presented by Roddy Doyle, one of our… I can’t really call him a national treasure, but films like The Snapper and The Van were a welcome change from the ridiculous cliché storm of nonsense like Dancing at Lughasa, Darby O’Gill and the Little People and various other similar hackneyed portrayals of Ireland from our own film makers and from international film makers. For better or worse, those films from Doyle’s work captured a new and more realistic Dublin on Ireland. I won’t compare them to the gritty urban dramas that emerged in British cinemas during the seventies, simply because us Irish have a distinct narrative voice when it comes to film: we love the funny. Everything’s hilarious and nothing is sacred. Perhaps because if we didn’t laugh at our situation, we’d become a bunch of depressive alcoholics. And that’s a whole different national stereotype.
Sure, there are overtures of Tarantino in the crime aspect of the story, but who but the Irish would imagine to put brown sauce in tea?
 
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE WEIRD (2008).
It’s a Chinese Western. An Eastern Western, if you will. Kung-fu and gunplay make interesting bedfellows, but they work surprisingly well. What is even more surprising is the simple fact that this movie matches Leone’s attitude almost perfectly, though maybe that shouldn’t be such a shock – the spaghetti westerns represented America frontiers as captured through the lens of European film makers (many of the cast and crew couldn’t even speak English).
 
This film is a perfect love story to the western, but also one which underscore the key themes of the work. The sense of nihilism and pointless violence isn’t unique to one geographic location – a western isn’t a locale, but a frame of mind, if you’ll allow me a philosophical interlude. Here we have the story of three individuals searching for treasure, and the journey they each take. Worth a look for the ending alone, which picks apart the tropes that Leone himself was fond of. However, given the deconstruction Leone offered of the standard John Wayne western, I really don’t think he’d mind being deconstructed himself.
 
INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002).
Okay. The Departed is a better film than this Chinese film which inspired it, but they are entirely different animals. Scorsese was constructing a Scorsese film, an examination of identity amid an ever-changing frame of western, but this film is very much more of a Michael Mann film, if it resembles any conventional mainstream director. It’s a story about the system, and how it’s broken. About sharp suits and dark under bellies. Not to mention that Hong Kong looks beautiful – that’s not a knock against Boston, but this particular film has a better sense of place.
 
I loved The Departed better than most, so this is not a cheap shot nor a “the original is better”. In fact, I think The Departed was one of the best films of the last decade and is, all-in, a better film than the original. However, the original is well worth a look. I think it still holds up.

You can find more of Darren‘s work by clicking here.

THE LIST:

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 (2004).

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.

You can find more of my work by clicking here.

That’s it for now, Film Lovers.

Feel free to comment below. I never edit any of the comments. Remember, this was meant to be an interactive site, as much as I love the sound of my own voice.

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Check back Wednesday for my special birthday post. Have a great week and remember… Heather will not be ignored!!!

31 Responses to “FILMS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED TO SEE 3”

  1. Terri… Spider Baby? are you sure about this, youre not confusing this with a dream you had or anything? – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AB7IDw3PNI
    Heather… do all your favourite movies come with a picture of someone holding a gun?
    some good choices as ever, lots i havent heard of, which is the whole point of this post. looking forward to #4
    Fandango, your reputation for waffling about movies remains Intacto

  2. I’ve heard of Primer. My self esteem is just too low to try and watch it.

    eXistenZ, Ginger Snaps, Intermission, and Dark City are all kind of awesome, so, I agree. Great set of lists.

  3. NOTE: Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning is on SyFy today (not as good as Fandango’s pick but thought that was funny)
    Primer is on IFC On-Demand

  4. Dark City is amazing – it’s a cult classic. I think Roger Ebert described it as one of the best films of the nineties.

  5. Some great choices! Ginger Snaps, Intacto, Sexy Beast, The Good The Bad and The Weird…brilliant choices!!!

    I’ve never seen Equilibium but I’m a fan of Bale; very easy on the eyes, but also a damn fine actor! Will definitely be adding that to the “to see” list! Looking forward to checking out Intermission and Primer too!

  6. Well done Darren on getting an Irish film there, love Intermission too. It’s one of the best independent films to come out of Ireland to date.
    Also love Buffalo Soldiers and Equilibrium in particular. I’ve seen the latter about 3 times now. Wasn’t as keen on Existenz, but it wasn’t bad.
    Must check out the others. Great list:)

  7. Liked how you included Intermission! A great film that all can enjoy.

  8. Intermission is one that I’ve always wanted to see, and aside from my own suggestions, I haven’t seen most of these but am adding plenty to my list. This was an awesome post idea Kai!

  9. […] Go check out The List’s post Films You Didn’t Know You Needed To See. My blurbs are too long but I stand by my choices! I really need to learn how to […]

  10. Whoa. I saw two, but I guess my not seeing them validates the name of the post. Yeah, The Departed trumps Infernal Affairs, but it’s still good and Sexy Beast is something worthy watching though I can’t profess much love for it.
    And why argue between Kingsley (good) and Broadbent (just as good) that Oscar should have gone to Ethan Hawke…

  11. Holy Shit, so many awesome choices:

    Intacto: Brilliant film, also worth checking out 13 (Tzameti) if you like your gambling flicks

    Good Bad Weird: Small boob but it’s Korean :p Awesome film though, definitely worth scoping out at the cinema!

    Infernal Affairs: much better than the Departed Darren & EE!!! Although Scorsese did well by cramming the trilogy into one (long) film you can’t rival the epicness of the originals!?

    Primer: Best Sci-Fi / Time Travel movie I’ve seen to date. Had to watch it about 4 times to make sure I wasn’t stupid.

    Great feature Kai, and always digs up some new movies for my ‘to see’ list. Another bunch of ace contributions too.

  12. Some really interesting films, most of them I haven’t seen. Equilibrium is a fun one but I did not like Running Scared (Paul Walker…). The most intriguing one I want to see is Buffalo Soldiers.

    • I f-ing love Running Scared. I was so happy to see it on Heather’s list because I saw it and loved it and it seemed like no one had 2 words to say about it.

  13. Wow great call Heater, Equilibrium has some of the best non Matrix action and is a movie more people really need to see. And Running Scared?? Talk about a great but really effed up movie. Really liked it but was really uncomfortable watching it…

    And Kai, as much as I love Primer, I hate it because it makes me feel dumb:P Instead of “why can’t we write like normal people”, I feel like saying “why can’t I understand this like normal people”:) Lastly, people have told me to check out Sexy Beast for years, and now, thanks to you, I will!

    • Sexy Beast has always been one I’ve wanted to see, and thanks Marc. Equilibrium and Running Scared are both have to sees for any movie goer!

  14. The REAL Buffalo Soldiers were heroes, who made it possible for YOU to seat down at that computer and write what you write, and transmit out. It’s a shame that a movie would make a mockery of these heroes.

    However, keep bringing out the Buffalo Soldiers so the true history can be told:

    Read the novel, Rescue at Pine Ridge, “RaPR”, where Buffalo Bill Cody meets a Buffalo Soldier. A great story of black military history…the first generation of Buffalo Soldiers.

    How do you keep a people down? ‘Never’ let them ‘know’ their history.

    The 7th Cavalry got their butts in a sling again after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn’t for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry.

    Read the novel, “Rescue at Pine Ridge”, 5 stars Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the youtube trailer commercial…and visit the website http://www.rescueatpineridge.com

    I hope you’ll enjoy the novel. I wrote it from my mini-series movie of the same title, “RaPR” to keep my story alive. Hollywood has had a lot of strikes and doesn’t like telling our stories…its been “his-story” of history all along…until now. The movie so far has attached, Bill Duke directing, Hill Harper, Glynn Turman and a host of other major actors in which we are in talks with…see imdb.com at; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0925633/

    When you get a chance, also please visit our Alpha Wolf Production website at; http://www.alphawolfprods.com and see our other productions, like Stagecoach Mary, the first Black Woman to deliver mail for Wells Fargo in Montana, in the 1890’s, “spread the word”.

    Peace.

  15. Kai! Way to pick three awesome effing movies, man. Been meaning to watch Primer again but keep pushing it back. Enough of that noise, I’m watching it tomorrow. Need to see Dark City again, too. But Sexy Beast, dude…holy shit. Best use of the word “NO!” in any movie EVER! That Ben Kingsley, one of the best out there. Well played, good sir.

  16. mcarteratthemovies Says:

    “Buffalo Soliders” = YES YES YES YES YES! The sad thing about this one is that it came on the heels of 9/11, and so they were reluctant to release it (don’t ask me why; it has NOTHING to do with terrorism). It’s such a great dark comedy with a kick-ass performance by Joaquin Phoenix, totally believable and likable/hateable as a smooth-talkin’, street-smart “guy who can get you things.” It’s quite different from the book, but it’s so good I can’t fault it for that.

    I’d have to add that in the vein of dark, twisted comedies, “The Opposite of Sex” is a doozy.

    Darren’s right-on with “Infernal Affairs” — so few people knew (or cared) that “The Departed” was inspired by this one. Both movies stand alone as great gangster flicks.

  17. Excellent suggestions ladies and gents. Thank you! I feel a movie must see marathon for this weekend.

  18. […] to watch it again ever since for fear my brain still wasn’t up to snuff, but after reading Kai’s recent write-up of it as one more movie I didn’t know I needed to see, I finally sat my ass down, chugged some […]

  19. […] Name: The ListPost: Films You Didn’t Know You Needed To See 3Submitted by: Fandango Groovers Movie […]

  20. sarahnsh Says:

    I came across Dark City by accident, they played it on the T.V. one night and I just recently caught it another night too replaying. It’s definitely quite trippy, and I can see how you could relate it to the Matrix, because they do have similarities between them, especially with the world set-up and how it seems to break and bend rules at times. Had me thinking at the end of the movie, which is always a good thing to have happen after seeing something, right?

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