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10 Great Recent Movies On Netflix You May Have Missed

The way a film ages has fundamentally changed over the last ten years. No longer does a film’s initial theatrical run and first round of DVD sales determine its longevity, as the advantageous nature of streaming services allow for more rapid critical reevaluations. Certainly, cult films exist for a reason, as they are supported by small, niche fanbases, but now it’s more often that an underrated film is introduced to a more mainstream audience through a streaming provider like Netflix.

Netflix is without a doubt the most dominant entertainment platform in the world right now, and over the past decade, many great films have lived second lives on the surface. Some of these films were considered moderately successful when they were first released, with some even gaining Oscar nominations, but they’ve grown in their estimations as more viewers have discovered them. Here are ten great recent dramas on Netflix you may have missed.

 

10. Don’t Think Twice

The world of comedy isn’t always funny, and Don’t Think Twice is often cited as one of the most accurate depictions of what it’s like to live within the comic world. The film follows six friends who run an improv comedy troupe called The Commune, and while they deliver spirited performances, each member lives a different life off stage where they wrestle with their unfulfillment and work everyday jobs. The structure of the group is forever altered when one of its star members, Jack (Keegan Michael-Key) lands an audition for Weekend Live, a Saturday Night Live inspired sketch show, which causes his friends to spiral into self-doubt.

Written and directed by Mike Birbiglia, who also co-stars in the film, it raises a lot of questions as to what the obligations are as friends and co-workers; Jack’s friends watch as he’s consumed by the attention and begins to leave them behind, and Keegan Michael-Key gives a finely tuned performance as an energetic performer who finally lands his dream and is forced to keep apologizing for it. The entire ensemble feels like a real comedy troupe, as the actual comedic actors bring their own comedic authenticity to their roles as struggling actors; in particular, Community’s Gillian Jacobs is terrific as Samantha, a love interest to Jack who struggles to contain her own ambitions.

 

9. Blue Ruin

This decade has seen many emerging genre filmmakers such as S. Craig Zahler or Alex Garland carve out their own niche audiences, and when talking about young visionaries, it would be impossible to not mention Jeremy Saulnier. All four of Saulnier’s films are streaming on Netflix, and while film fans should definitely check out Murder Party, Hold the Dark, and particularly the shocking modern horror classic Green Room, it’s impossible not to recommend Saulnier’s second film Blue Ruin. The stripped down vengeance thriller became a sensation after Saulnier funded the film through Kickstarter and took it all the way to the Cannes Film Festival.

What makes Blue Ruin so brilliant is that it is the exact opposite of most revenge films; the main character Dwight Evans, played brilliantly by Macon Blair, isn’t a killer or even someone with malicious intentions, and seeing this normal guy go through the motions of searching for his parents’ killers is simply thrilling. The action sequences are creative because they question how an actual everyman might act in these scenarios, and the film eventually goes in a more philosophical direction once it explores how acts of violence can bind families together.

 

8. A Most Violent Year

A Most Violent Year

Although it had the makings of an awards favorite, A Most Violent Year was routinely ignored by critical bodies after its debut in 2014. It’s not an easy film by any stretch of the imagination; this is a film that explores the gradual decline of a city through the eyes of a married couple that grow apart, and its subtle approach to the hard boiled crime drama may leave some wishing for something more exciting or obvious. Those who are in for a rich character drama are in luck, as the film boasts two great performances from Oscar Isaac as Abel Morales, a struggling oil businessman in 1981 New York, and Jessica Chastain as his wife Anna.

Filmmaker J.C. Chandor is among the most interesting rising talents in the industry today, as he is someone who has interesting spins on time-old genres, including the financial thriller Margin Call, the survival epic All is Lost, and the surprisingly subversive military heist film Triple Frontier. With A Most Violent Year, Chandor makes the most of his environments, and alongside cinematographer Bradford Young, he crafts a haunting and atmospheric human drama.

 

7. Other People

Similar to Don’t Think Twice, Other People is a great film about the not so funny reality of being part of the comedy world. It was an autobiographical story of sorts for writer/director Chris Kelly, who casts Jesse Plemons as a fictionalized version of himself and Molly Shannon as his mother, who is dying of cancer. Plemons is a struggling comedy writer who clashes with his homophobic father (Bradley Whitford) when he returns to his hometown in order to care for his mother.

Other People easily subverts the expectations of normal cancer dramedies; it lets the audience know right off the bat how the story will end, and uses the structure to explore the tender mother and son relationship as they prepare for eventuality. Plemons is a young actor who has been making a lot of great decisions and working with many great filmmakers, and it’s exciting to see him in a leading role of this caliber; Shannon has been a familiar face for years, and this is perhaps her best work to date as the embodiment of pure joy and love. It’s a profoundly moving film that is made all the more authentic by Kelly’s real experiences.

 

6. Mississippi Grind

Mississippi Grind fills the void that has been missing in modern films of a great gambling movie. Inspired by classic movie star vehicles like The Hustler, The Cincinnati Kid, and in particular California Split, it’s a film that hits all the right notes when it comes to crafting an old-fashioned two-hander. There’s not anything particularly shocking about the film’s story or characters, but it’s nice to see this type of classical filmmaking reintroduced in the modern era, and Half Nelson filmmakers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden do a great job at making the human drama element feel real.

The film follows the relationship between two men who can’t seem to catch a break; Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is a serial gambler who has destroyed his home life as a result, and Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) is a relentless charmer that is looking to forge a new path. The two actors have fantastic chemistry; while Mendelsohn is given the meatier role and is able to make Gerry’s hustler nature both tragic and funny, Reynolds also delivers one of his best performances and utilizes his inherent star power.

The 10 Most Underrated Sci-Fi Films of The 2010s

It goes without saying that the 2010s have been an extraordinary decade for science fiction films. Not only have studios invested in bold, original stories from veteran auteurs and rising talents, but there’s also been a great variety to the stories that are told, as many of these science fiction films have intersected with other genres. This is the decade that saw the release of such future sci-fi classics as Blade Runner 2049, Under the Skin, Arrival, Ex Machina, Ad Astra, and The Martian among others.

However, despite the advances in sci-fi storytelling that were made over the last decade, there are some films that remain underrated. Some of these films were complete box office bombs, and while others were successful, they are not given the respect or talked about in the way that they deserve. Here are the top ten most underrated science fiction films of the 2010s.

 

10. High Life

Claire Denis is an uncompromising filmmaker, and Hgh Life is the type of film that is sure to spark strong reactions from viewers; some consider it to be pretentious, while others view it as a masterpiece. It’s a space film that is uniformly bleak, and the dire depiction of what remains of humanity makes for a tough sit. It’s also a film that is incredibly blunt, and even haunting, with its provocative sexuality.

Yet despite this rough exterior, there’s so much to appreciate about High Life; it’s an intricate web of a story revolving around the complex moral decisions made by the astronaut Monte (Robert Pattinson), who balances being one of humanity’s soul survivors and the father of a young daughter. Denis excels at showing the methodical cycles of Monte’s life, particularly as he becomes desensitized to the vastness of space. For any cinephile, High Life is definitely a conversation starter.

 

9. The Rover

Another bleak and bold science fiction thriller starring Robert Pattinson is The Rover, a stripped down post-apocalyptic western that follows Pattinson’s character Reynolds, a simple minded criminal who is unexpectedly paired with the veteran Eric (Guy Pearce) as they search for Eric’s car. While there are obvious parallels to be drawn with the Mad Max franchise, The Rover excels due to the great chemistry between the two leads and their interesting relationship; Eric has lost his wife and is driven only by vengeance, and Eric has been abandoned by his brother (Scoot McNairy) and anyone that would provide for him.

Filmmaker David Michod has emerged as one of the decade’s most underrated directors with films like The King and War Machine, and once again he shows a great ability to mix macabre productions with rich emotional storytelling. Michod never feels the need to explain how this apocalypse started, and the details of Eric’s life are only gradually told to the audience; Michod places a trust in his audience to see the world through the perspective of his characters.

 

8. Colossal

Colossal

This decade has seen many studios unsuccessfully try to capitalize on classic movie monsters, with both the proposed Dark Universe from Universal and Legendary’s Monsterverse producing a string of critical failures that didn’t appease critics or fans. Ironically, one of the decade’s best monster movies was a small, independent comedy that focuses on how the alcoholic writer Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is inadvertently related to a giant Kaiju attack in Seoul.

There is obvious illusions to classic monster movies, but Colossal is confident enough in its own vision that it becomes something totally original; the rules of how the characters are involved in the monster attacks are simple and effective, but the film is really about the trauma Gloria has faced and how she is able to move on. Jason Sudekis also gives the best performance of his career as Oscar, Gloria’s childhood friend who hides an abusive streak under his “nice guy” facade.

 

7. 10 Cloverfield Lane

The Cloverfield franchise is among the most unusual of any current Hollywood series; the films have all been produced with creative marketing strategies, and the releases of both 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox were revealed as surprises. In the case of The Cloverfield Paradox, the mystery box didn’t pay off, but that wasn’t the case for 10 Cloverfield Lane, which is a terrific confined location thriller that holds up regardless of its connection to the greater Cloverfield universe.

The Academy Awards are notoriously biased against science fiction films, but it is a shame that John Goodman didn’t receive his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his incredible performance as the reclusive Howard; seeing the psychological games that Howard plays and the levels of denial he is in gives Goodman great material to work with. While the ending may still be controversial in how it forces ties to the first film, it doesn’t take away from the unnerving thrills that preceded it.

 

6. Okja

Okja is a film that is bound to be critically rediscovered; the film was an early release from Netflix, and the anti-streaming stigma dominated the conversation surrounding the film, particularly during its premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The phenomenon of Parasite is also likely to inspire some film fans to check out some of Bong Joon-ho’s earlier work, as he is now renowned as one of the best filmmakers of his generation, and one of the few filmmakers whose name is a genre itself.

Okja is a merciless takedown of capitalism and the food industry, filled with acidic performances by Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal as larger than life villains. The wackiness is never attempting to be subtle, but Bong balances the satire with a genuinely sweet and affectionate relationship between the young girl Mija and her superpig Okja. The world building and action sequences are as exceptional as one would expect from Bong, but it’s this warped fairy tale at the center that gives the story its humanity.

All 20 Best International Film Oscar Winners of The 21st Century Ranked

While the Academy Awards have always been favorable towards English language films, it has also honored some of cinema’s most iconic international films since the Academy first created a separate category for foreign language films in 1956. Filmmakers including the likes of Almodovar, De Sica, and Kurasowa have all received the Academy Award for Best International Film during their careers.

Since the 21st century began, films from all around the globe have been honored with the Oscar for Best International Film. Many of these films have gained much notoriety following their Oscar wins, garnering critical and commercial success that they may not have received had they not been Oscar winners. Here is a list of Best International Film winners of the 21st century, ranking from worst to best.

 

20. Departures (2008)

Departures

The winner of Best International Film at the eighty-first Academy awards was the Japanese film Departures, directed by Yōjirō Takita. After failing to find a career as a successful cellist, a young man returns to his hometown where he is able to find a job working for a traditional Japanese mortician. Coming from Japan where there are culturally-specific connotations surrounding death, Departures explores its protagonist’s journey as he connects with his new career. Often stepping over the line of too conventional and too sentimental, Departures was a bit of an off-beat winner of the Academy Award for Best International Film.

 

19. In a Better World (2010)

In a Better World

Another female filmmaker who has won the Oscar for Best International Film during the 21st century is Susanne Bier, whose film In a Better World won the award for Denmark in 2010. The film is an intense modern day thriller that cuts between a doctor working in a Sudanese refugee camp and his adolescent son’s life back in Denmark as the two navigate their own senses of justice and righteousness. The ideas and themes presented in this film are provocative, leaning towards decisions and developments that are too disturbing, leaving this film at the bottom of the list.

 

18. The Barbarian Invasions (2003)

The Barbarian Invasions (2003)

The Barbarian Invasions won the Academy Award for Best International Film in 2003, where it was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Directed by Denys Arcand, this was Canada’s first winner for Best International Film. A sequel to an earlier Arcand film, The Barbarian Invasions focuses on middle-aged Sébastien who returns home to Montreal after learning that his father is dying from cancer. A film that taps into post-millennial changes in the world and aging characters in contemplation of life, The Barbarian Invasions is a bit of a misanthropic film that could be loved or hated by viewers.

 

17. Tsotsi (2005)

Tsotsi (2005)

The only film on this list from the African continent, Tsotsi directed by Gavin Hood won the Best International Film Oscar in 2005. Taking place in a South African slum, the film’s protagonist Tsotsi is a young criminal who is led on a journey of righteousness after being left with a baby to care for following a crime gone wrong. Platforming many African languages and presenting perspectives typically uncommon in western cultures, Tsotsi is deserving of its Best International Film win.

 

16. The Sea Inside (2004)

the sea inside

Alejandro Amenåbar’s The Sea Inside won the Oscar for Best International Film for Spain at the 2004 ceremony. The Sea Inside is based on the true story of Ramón Sampedro, a quadriplegic who fought European legal systems for nearly three decades for the right to an assisted suicide. Starring Javier Bardem in a role far away from his typical suave appearance, The Sea Inside is a sorrowful story that manages to evoke the sense of lightheartedness or comedy that is ever present in real life. A heavy topic that is carried by strong performances make The Sea Inside a befitting winner of Best International Film.

 

15. Nowhere in Africa (2002)

Nowhere in Africa

The first German recipient of the Oscar for Best International film in the past twenty years is 2002’s winner Nowhere in Africa. Female Filmmaker Caroline Link directed the film, based on a memoir by a German-Jewish woman whose family moved to Kenya before World War II to escape persecution. A graceful and romantic movie, Nowhere in Africa works to capture the experience of its central family as they grapple with geographical and emotional transitions.

 

14. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)

An Argentinian film won the Oscar for Best International Film in 2009 with Juan José Campanella’s The Secret in Their Eyes. Based on a novel (whose author co-wrote the film’s script) about the investigation of a brutal murder during the 1970’s, the film also addresses the instability within Argentina during the times. The Secret in Their Eyes is surprising and entrancing, with a mysterious story unlike any other winner on this list.

 

13. The Counterfeiters (2007)

The Counterfeiters

Austrian film The Counterfeiters directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky won Best International Film at the 80th Academy Awards ceremony. Another winner on this list that deals with themes of the Holocaust, The Counterfeiters is based on the real experiences of a Jewish counterfeiter who survived the Holocaust by forging Nazi documents and currencies. This film finds itself in the thirteenth position on this list because of its conventional story arc, cinematography, and use of flashback that has been seen in other Holocaust films.

 

12. The Great Beauty (2013)

The Great Beauty won the Oscar for Best International Film in 2013. Directed by Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino, The Great Beauty harkens back to classic Italian films such as 8 ½ in the way the film centers on an aging man facing the moral dilemmas of life. Profound connections to the modern human experience and amazing cinematography elevate The Great Beauty to a must-see Oscar winner.

 

11. A Fantastic Woman (2017)

A Fantastic Woman

Chile received its first win in the Best International Film category at the Oscars in 2017 with A Fantastic Woman. Directed by Sebastián Lelio, the film focuses on a transgender woman in Santiago as she faces the aftermath of her boyfriend’s sudden death. Starring a real transgender actress and confronting issues faced by the transgender community in Chile and worldwide, A Fantastic Woman has become a far-reaching LGBTQ film. A Fantastic Woman serves as an important film of representation in the history of the Academy Awards.

The 10 Best Horror Movies Produced By Blumhouse

Blumhouse Studios has become synonymous with horror movies and, for over a decade, James Blum’s production company has given us some of the most successful modern horror films.

Made on small-budgets and becoming box-office hits, the Blumhouse horror films have proved that you don’t need much money in order to make a top-grossing movie. Of course, that doesn’t always mean that the film is going to be any good, and there are plenty of stinkers in Blumhouse’s catalogue, yet this time we are going to focus on the better films that the famous studio has put out throughout the years,

If you’re a horror fan, you’ve surely seen all of the films on this list, yet for those ones newer to the genre, this set of ten films is a great place to start.

Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any of your favorite Blumhouse horror films.

 

10. Insidious

insidious-1

“Insidious” stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne as a married couple who have recently moved into a new house along with their three children. After an incident in the attic, one of their sons falls into an inexplicable coma. Concurrently, the family starts to experience paranormal activity that seems to be linked to their comatose son and hire a couple of ghost hunters to investigate the strange occurrences.

James Wan’s precursor of “The Conjuring” is far from a flawless film, yet it showcases enough of Wan’s talent to be worth a watch if you’re a fan of horror. There are some editing choices that made us scratch our heads, Patrick Wilson’s character is annoying, to say the least, and the scares are not always that great, but the film never ceases to be captivating and, despite its shortcomings, contains enough tense, really well-directed scenes to keep it afloat.

 

9. The Visit

The Visit (2015)

At the time of its release, M. Night Shyamalan’s film about two siblings who visit their grandparents and get creeped out by their increasingly disturbing behavior was thought to be a return to form of the famous director.

Of course, after the disasters that “The Happening”, “The Last Airbender” or “After Earth” proved to be, critics were more indulgent with this better-than-average found-footage horror film, yet the truth is that for most of the time “The Visit” is a really fun horror flick. While the film doesn’t come close to Shyamalan’s early works, it has plenty of creepy moments, effective scares and a clever enough twist to keep you entertained for its 94 running length and, if you haven’t seen it yet, we recommend you to give it a shot.

 

8. Sinister

“Sinister” stars Ethan Hawke as Ellison Oswalt, a true-crime writer who moves into a small town in order to write a new book about a girl who disappeared after the murder of her family. Unbeknownst to Oswalt’s wife and two kids is that the house he just moved them in is the exact murder place. Then, when Oswalt discovers a box filled with film reels in the house’s attic, things get creepy. The film reels depict various murders committed by an unseen person and feature a mysterious masked figure called “Mr. Boogie”. Soon, Oswalt and his family find themselves living inside a nightmare.

“Sinister” is one of the best-acted horror films of the decade and its simple yet ingenious and twisty plot might take you by surprise. While it isn’t as scary as it could have been, it is still a very atmospheric film and has some memorable and equally disturbing moments (the footage on those film reels is really something). If you are a fan of Stephen King-like stories, you should definitely check it out.

 

7. Cam

“Cam” is a pretty decent entry in the series of thriller/horror movies that revolve around modern technology. The film follows Alice (Madeline Brewer), a webcam girl who discovers that her account has been stolen by an exact replica of herself. Perplexed, Alice tries to regain control of her online identity and to find out who is behind the mysterious happening.

“Cam” works out like an extended episode of “Black Mirror” and is much better than you would expect from its premise. Its tight and suspenseful plot, creepy atmosphere and its impressive lead performance make it one of the best modern techno-horrors we’ve seen.

 

6. Ouija: The Origin Of Evil

ouija-origin-of-evil

2014’s “Ouija” was a disaster and no one thought that a prequel was a good idea. That until Mike Flanagan came along as a director and gave us one of the most surprisingly good follow-ups to a bad movie.

“Ouija: The Origin Of Evil” takes place in 1967 Los Angeles and follows a young widow who, accompanied by her two daughters, scams people by pretending to be able to communicate with the dead. However, after incorporating an Ouija board into her fake medium readings, she contacts a spirit that possesses one of her daughters.

With a filmography consisting of titles such as “The Haunting Of Hill House”, “Oculus” or the recent “Doctor Sleep”, Mike Flanagan has proved himself to be one of the better horror directors working nowadays, so there is no wonder “Ouija: The Origin Of Evil” turned out good. The film is meticulously crafted, boasts some fantastic performances (child actors included), and – most important for a horror film – is genuinely immersive and scary while never feeling flashy, clichéd or over-reliant on jumpscares.

The 10 Best Horror Movies Produced By Blumhouse

Blumhouse Studios has become synonymous with horror movies and, for over a decade, James Blum’s production company has given us some of the most successful modern horror films.

Made on small-budgets and becoming box-office hits, the Blumhouse horror films have proved that you don’t need much money in order to make a top-grossing movie. Of course, that doesn’t always mean that the film is going to be any good, and there are plenty of stinkers in Blumhouse’s catalogue, yet this time we are going to focus on the better films that the famous studio has put out throughout the years,

If you’re a horror fan, you’ve surely seen all of the films on this list, yet for those ones newer to the genre, this set of ten films is a great place to start.

Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any of your favorite Blumhouse horror films.

 

10. Insidious

insidious-1

“Insidious” stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne as a married couple who have recently moved into a new house along with their three children. After an incident in the attic, one of their sons falls into an inexplicable coma. Concurrently, the family starts to experience paranormal activity that seems to be linked to their comatose son and hire a couple of ghost hunters to investigate the strange occurrences.

James Wan’s precursor of “The Conjuring” is far from a flawless film, yet it showcases enough of Wan’s talent to be worth a watch if you’re a fan of horror. There are some editing choices that made us scratch our heads, Patrick Wilson’s character is annoying, to say the least, and the scares are not always that great, but the film never ceases to be captivating and, despite its shortcomings, contains enough tense, really well-directed scenes to keep it afloat.

 

9. The Visit

The Visit (2015)

At the time of its release, M. Night Shyamalan’s film about two siblings who visit their grandparents and get creeped out by their increasingly disturbing behavior was thought to be a return to form of the famous director.

Of course, after the disasters that “The Happening”, “The Last Airbender” or “After Earth” proved to be, critics were more indulgent with this better-than-average found-footage horror film, yet the truth is that for most of the time “The Visit” is a really fun horror flick. While the film doesn’t come close to Shyamalan’s early works, it has plenty of creepy moments, effective scares and a clever enough twist to keep you entertained for its 94 running length and, if you haven’t seen it yet, we recommend you to give it a shot.

 

8. Sinister

“Sinister” stars Ethan Hawke as Ellison Oswalt, a true-crime writer who moves into a small town in order to write a new book about a girl who disappeared after the murder of her family. Unbeknownst to Oswalt’s wife and two kids is that the house he just moved them in is the exact murder place. Then, when Oswalt discovers a box filled with film reels in the house’s attic, things get creepy. The film reels depict various murders committed by an unseen person and feature a mysterious masked figure called “Mr. Boogie”. Soon, Oswalt and his family find themselves living inside a nightmare.

“Sinister” is one of the best-acted horror films of the decade and its simple yet ingenious and twisty plot might take you by surprise. While it isn’t as scary as it could have been, it is still a very atmospheric film and has some memorable and equally disturbing moments (the footage on those film reels is really something). If you are a fan of Stephen King-like stories, you should definitely check it out.

 

7. Cam

“Cam” is a pretty decent entry in the series of thriller/horror movies that revolve around modern technology. The film follows Alice (Madeline Brewer), a webcam girl who discovers that her account has been stolen by an exact replica of herself. Perplexed, Alice tries to regain control of her online identity and to find out who is behind the mysterious happening.

“Cam” works out like an extended episode of “Black Mirror” and is much better than you would expect from its premise. Its tight and suspenseful plot, creepy atmosphere and its impressive lead performance make it one of the best modern techno-horrors we’ve seen.

 

6. Ouija: The Origin Of Evil

ouija-origin-of-evil

2014’s “Ouija” was a disaster and no one thought that a prequel was a good idea. That until Mike Flanagan came along as a director and gave us one of the most surprisingly good follow-ups to a bad movie.

“Ouija: The Origin Of Evil” takes place in 1967 Los Angeles and follows a young widow who, accompanied by her two daughters, scams people by pretending to be able to communicate with the dead. However, after incorporating an Ouija board into her fake medium readings, she contacts a spirit that possesses one of her daughters.

With a filmography consisting of titles such as “The Haunting Of Hill House”, “Oculus” or the recent “Doctor Sleep”, Mike Flanagan has proved himself to be one of the better horror directors working nowadays, so there is no wonder “Ouija: The Origin Of Evil” turned out good. The film is meticulously crafted, boasts some fantastic performances (child actors included), and – most important for a horror film – is genuinely immersive and scary while never feeling flashy, clichéd or over-reliant on jumpscares.

10 Great Movies To Watch If You Liked “Parasite”

Snowpiercer

When Bong Joon Ho descended from the airplane to step onto his home country’s soil, he wore no mask, while all that surrounded him did. A news reporter kneeled to him, holding a microphone to illuminate his voice. Paparazzi crowded around him, but respectfully kept their distance. There was a fear within them, a fear of God that kept them from touching the master director.

He wore no mask, and thanked everyone for the warm welcome, empathized with the reporter’s pain of having to kneel underneath him while holding a microphone. Bong Joon Ho was not afraid of the coronavirus. He created the ultimate Parasite.

He left South Korea a simple man trying to make his way in the universe. He returned a God.

But Bong Joon Ho had quite a bit of help along his path to Godhood. He studied from the masters, maestros across a myriad of genres, ethnicities, nationalities, and talents.

Here are 10 movies that influenced Bong Joon Ho that you should watch if you loved Parasite.

 

10. Snowpiercer

Another Bong Joon joint, “Snowpiercer” is a sci-fi epic that follows a world overtaken by global warming and failed attempts to stop climate change. The last survivors board The Snowpiercer, a train that perpetually travels around the world. As the train choo choo choos, a new class system sneaks its way aboard, causing conflict and mutiny; transforming The Snowpiercer from a merry (but slightly bleak) Thomas the Tank Engine into an evil Diesel!

Chris Evans stars as the perfect revolutionary, and the kinetic fight scenes rival that of Parasite’s climax!

Coupled with the fact that Bong Joon-Ho lied to Harvey Weinstein in order for certain scenes to be included in the final cut of the film, Snowpiercer might not be Bong Joon-Ho’s greatest, but it’s him at his most entertaining and exhilarating! (As well as one of the best sci-fi action/dystopian combinations to come out in recent years.)

 

9. The Servant

The Servant

This is another movie Bong Joon Ho cited as one of “Parasite’s” direct influences. While he didn’t seem to have much to say about it (all he said was “The Servant” by Joseph Losey was another”) You can definitely see where he stole from.

“The Servant” serves its audience a chilling, psychological/pyschosexual, yet elegant tale of upper class man Tony, who hires the prim and proper Barrett as a servant. Barrett’s serviude rues up some unpleasant emotions in the house, causing tensions to escalate between Tony and his wife. And when Barrett’s sister comes to live in the household, well, having seen Parasite, you can probably guess what happens.

Depravity ensues, lies are told, drama crafts suspense, and all while The Servant tries to become master of the house. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? You can definitely see the seeds for characters Gook Moon-Gwang (The Housekeeper) and her husband Park Myung-hoon being sown in this film.

With beautiful, black and white cinematography and perfect, haunting shadows, “The Servant” is underrated masterwork by an unsung auteur. If you like Bong Joon-Ho, this is a must see.

 

8. This Man Must Die

“This Man Must Die” or “The Beast Must Die” depending on your country of origin is a tense psychological thrill ride that’s a perfect mix of thriller and personal drama. Charles Thenier’s little son is killed by a hit and run driver. The police investigation is useless, and Charles decides to be his own police force by cultivating a romance with the killer’s sister in law, Helene. He discovers the son in law to be an absolutely despicable person, but his feelings for Helene are genuine. Should he kill Paul, the man who slaughtered his son? How should he do it? And what of his love for Helene?

“This Man Must Die” is an epitaph about revenge and its nature. It boasts beautiful dialogue, actors and actresses, and it’s fun to see how it influenced one of “Parasite’s” themes of compassion. Because the Kim family does not show mercy to Park’s secret underground dwellers, tragedy strikes.

 

7. Us

Jordan Peele did a fantastic job with “Get Out”, and crafted a film just as intense with “Us”.

Another 2019 film that deals with the poor vs the rich, “Us” tells the story of the U.S! Or at least a story of class and the American Dream. It follows Adelaide Wilson and her family returning to Adelaide’s beachy childhood home. Because of past trauma, Adelaide has a hunch that something terrible will occur, and it does when 4 mysterious, masked doppelgangers invade the house, forcing the Wilsons to fight for survival.

“Us” is perhaps the thematic American equivalent of “Parasite”, (But don’t get me wrong, “Parasite” is superior) both dealing with themes of class, national dreams, and accomplishing that with fantastic home invasion action scenes!

 

6. La Ceremonie

According to Bong Joon-Ho, the films of French cinema maestro Claude Chabrol also were a huge influence on Parasite, as well as the true crime case that inspired the film “La Ceremonie”. One of the greatest crime movies of all time, “La ceremonie” tells the story of a young, charming, (but also a bit clueless) woman named Sophie Bonhomme, who is hired as a housemaid in an isolated mansion belonging to the Lelievre family.

The family is made up of four members, complete with a son who is interested in the arts (except this time around he’s a cute teenager!) Sophie meets Jeanne, (played by Isabelle Huppert in one of the best performances of her career) as a postmistress who inspires bad feelings towards the Lelievres, and this results in some criminal consequences.

The rest of the film shouldn’t be revealed in this article. “La Ceremonie” is something that deserves to only be experienced on screen. It’s a beautiful blur with questions of murder, manipulation, and friendship, a film so powerful it displays an important fact beyond the film’s own murdering matters. It reminds us that cinema is a ceremony that must be performed with the utmost ritualistic, religious, reverence. Every time this writer watches it, he wishes he could be one with this film. He wishes that he could marry Jeanne, with her beautiful dominance. He wishes the ceremony would murder him.

The 10 Best Documentary Movies of 2019

Now that the Academy Awards excitement has settled down, it is time for another look at some of last year’s greatest films. This time, we are going to look at ten of 2019’s best documentaries. Often overlooked, these documentary films made for some of the most rewarding watches we’ve had last year.

The number of documentary films released every year is huge and this is without taking into consideration the miniseries, so narrowing this list down to 10 titles wasn’t an easy task. We are sure we’ve missed a few of your favorites from last year, so please spread the word about them in the comments section.

 

10. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

You’ve all heard about “The Irishman”, but how many of you knew that there was actually a second Scorsese film released last year?

This experimental documentary/concert film blends fictional and non-fictional materials and, through 16mm old footage and interviews with Dylan, prominent figures of the tour, and some fictional characters, captures the troubled spirit of America in 1975 and the intimate “Rolling Thunder Revue” concert tour that Dylan performed during the fall of that year. Ingenious, enthralling, and a joy to the ears, this is the 2019 Scorsese film people should be talking about.

 

9. One Child Nation

Winner of the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Festival, this American documentary directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang covers the damaging effects of China’s one-child policy that lasted for over 30 years, from 1979 to 2015, when it was replaced by the two-child policy.

Harrowing and deeply personal, “One Child Nation” unearths many truths about China’s long-lasting policy. It is one of the most devastating documentaries of 2019, an eye-opening film of great importance that should receive much more attention.

 

8. Horror Noire: A History Of Black Horror

Directed by Xavier Burgin and adapted from the book of the same name by Robin R. Means Coleman, this Shudder original documentary that tells the untold history of Black Americans in horror movies is one of the most enlightening and entertaining films of 2019.

From the 1915 silent film “Birth of A Nation” to Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” (2017), the film analyzes the way that black people were portrayed in horror films throughout the years and how the genre utilized, caricatured, exploited, sidelined, and in the end, embraced them. Featuring insightful conversations with actors, directors, writers, and critics, “Horror Noire: A History Of Black Horror” is both enjoyable and very informative. If you are a fan of horror films – or film history in general – this is a must-see.

 

7. Amazing Grace

Sydney Pollack’s previously unreleased documentary/concert film captures Aretha Franklin’s two recording sessions of her 1972 live album “Amazing Grace”.

Shelved for nearly half a century due to difficulties syncing the audio tracks with the footage, Pollack’s film was finally released by producer Alan Eliott after many postponements caused by Aretha Franklin’s unwillingness to screen the footage. After Franklin passed away in 2018, Eliott came to an agreement with her estate and the film eventually hit the screens to universal acclaim.

“Amazing Grace” is among the most powerful concert documentaries we’ve ever seen. It is a transcending experience that feels like traveling back in time. The raw, unembellished footage perfectly captures Franklin’s overwhelming intensity, pure emotion, and enormous talent as she performs one of the most glorious musical moments of all time.

 

6. 63 Up

“63 Up” is the ninth installment in a documentary series that started with “Seven Up!” back in 1964, and that for over five decades, once every seven years, has documented the lives of a group of British people as they went from childhood to adulthood and now old age.

One of the most unique and fascinating documentary series/social experiments ever made, the “Up” series asks important questions about life, personality, and how much people change over the years. This ninth entry in the series, where the protagonists are all in their 60s and have all started to experience loss and grieving, is both sad, funny, and altogether one of the best entries in the series.

While we encourage you to watch each one of the “Up” films, “63 Up” also works great as a standalone film, as it includes lots of archival footage from the previous entries in the series and it offers an insightful overview of the whole experiment.

10 Recently Restored Movie Classics Ripe For Rediscovery

All cinema is current.

It’s not just modern releases or the films scooping Oscars and BAFTAs that are part of our ongoing cinematic imagination; it’s also those films that we discover from the past. Seen for the first time, they can seem as surprising, challenging, and that dread word, relevant, as anything at the local multiplex, because while old hat to many, they are new to us. They inspire fresh ways of looking and perceiving, and offer an alternative perspective on the present, perhaps even a challenge to it.

Last year, Orson Welles’ film, The Other Side Of The Wind, was finally completed by a team of editors, and therefore entered the cinema landscape as a new film, though wholly of the 1970s, the fact that it had never seen light before, except in clips, meant it was as new an artefact to filmgoers as the latest Marvel blockbuster. As such, its blunt sexual politics, jagged editing and bold film-within-a-film structure seemed of a piece with two time zones at once, a large part of its fascination deriving from the way its hybrid composition confronted the mores of both eras simultaneously.

The following list is not just made up of titles discovered by one individual only, but like The Other Side Of The Wind, ones re-encountered by the whole cinephile community at the same time. Whether through a restored print shown at festivals or a wide blu-ray release after many years, these films have enjoyed a new lease of life in the 2010s, forcing critics and fans to revise their assumptions and reassess the canon.

 

1. Ganja and Hess (Bill Gunn, 1973)

As diversity became the watchword of the decade, and the myth took hold in the popular media that challenging films from non-white filmmakers had been in scarce supply until now, this forgotten vampire flick of the 1970s came back to haunt us. At least it was meant to be a vampire film; the producer asked actor-director Gunn to cash in on the blaxpoitation craze of the ’70s by creating a bloodsucking counterpart to Shaft et al. But Gunn was more ambitious and used vampirism as a mere pretext to explore more contemporary issues such as addiction, feminism, and the African-American’s relationship with the home continent.

As such, Ganja and Hess became a fascinating mix of horror tropes, black comic satire and mature reflection, as it told the story of a professor returning from Africa under the influence of a spell which gives him a craving for blood. What is most striking to the modern viewer is how the film’s outsider status in the ’70s gave it the leeway to be more raw and confrontational than most films made in the mainstream by black filmmakers today.

 

2. Invention For Destruction (Karel Zeman, 1958)

While it’s exciting to rediscover forgotten films, it’s even more exciting to rediscover a forgotten artist, and to see all their works slowly resurface. Karel Zeman’s animation is beloved in the Czech Republic, but fell out of view in the west until recently, when enterprising Blu-Ray publishers, like Second Run in the UK, started to release restorations on disc. This Jules Verne-esque adventure, about pirates stealing the plans for a super missile, and his fantastic adaptation of The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (1961) are the cream of the crop.

The debt owed to Zeman by Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam and other animators is clear to see, the characters and backgrounds like the illustrations from a Victorian gentleman’s magazine come to life. Humour rubs shoulders with romance and high fantasy, as live-action actors interact seamlessly with a world of giant squid, wooden submarines, and evil lairs on volcanic islands.

 

3. Underground (Anthony Asquith, 1928)

Unlike Zeman, Asquith wasn’t so much rediscovered this decade, he’d long been registered in the annals of British cinemas as the maker of slightly stuffy middle-class dramas as entirely reassessed. Because there was a young Asquith, a relentlessly playful and experimental silent filmmaker, whose work had been completely hidden for almost 80 years.

The BFI restored three of his earliest films, Underground, Shooting Stars (also 1928), and A Cottage On Dartmoor (1929), and all three turned out to be minor masterpieces, in thrall to the possibilities of the medium and exploiting them with freedom and zest. Underground, a girl-and-two-boys story set in and around the London Tube, and which ends in tragedy, is arguably the finest of the three, but all display a remarkable mastery of camera, location and editing.

 

4. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (Walerian Borowczyk, 1981)

Other rediscoveries allowed us fresh perspectives not only on their directors, but on well-known, apparently exhausted tales. Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde is reputedly the most filmed story of all time, but Borowczyk’s free adaptation still manages to be a revelation, with its genuinely disturbing prologue showing the pursuit and beating of a child, its haunting modernist score, its leering, hysterical sex scenes and yet at the same time its streak of unexpected feminism, as the focus turns more on Jekyll’s intended and her own assumption of sensual wickedness.

Borowczyk was the true heir of Bunuel, a church- and censor-baiting satirist, with a glorious (now perhaps frowned upon) eye for the erotic. But even a nodding acquaintance with his work does not prepare the viewer for the unsettling, surreal atmosphere of a film that has been called both polymorphously perverse and interestingly offensive.

 

5. Diamonds of the Night (Jan Nemec, 1964)

diamonds-of-the-night

Elsewhere, the 2010s saw the re-emergence not just of individual artists, but of whole pockets of cinema that had lain neglected. Once again, British blu-ray label, Second Run, was at the forefront, releasing film after film from the rich back catalogue of ’60s Eastern European cinema. But the most valuable rediscovery here was of Diamonds of the Night, whose director Jan Nemec tragically died in 2016, two years before the restoration of his remarkable debut was premiered at Cannes. Lasting little over an hour, it documents the flight of two men from a train destined for a concentration camp, and their desperate attempts to survive in the surrounding forest.

Watching it is like unearthing a missing link in the history of cinema; it could be shown to any group of film students as an object lesson in the use of imagery and sound in conveying purely tactile and sensual impressions, those of fear, hunger, despair, longing. The constant flashbacks to the city and their last day of freedom are simultaneously beautiful and distressing, and the cumulative poetic effect has a power comparable to Tarkovsky and Bresson.

10 Movie Gems From The 1980s You Might Not Know

Great films come on the horizon and then get lost in time. Thankfully with all the platforms, retrospectives, and digital media options, we are able to see these films. Some were acclaimed upon release, and others were barely played in cinemas. Regardless, here are 10 hidden gems from the 1980s you might not know about.

 

1. Next of Kin (1984, Atom Egoyan)

The debut of Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan deals with duality, family discord, and social integration on a whole new level. With a stark runtime of 70 minutes, no time is wasted as we see a naive 23-year-old young man delve into his fantasy world and therapy with his arguing parents – only to run away and intrude upon an immigrant family as their long-lost adopted son, taking the lessons from his family into his surrogate family.

Sure, a lot of themes and overlapping narrative are covered, but the storytelling, originality, and most importantly the human dynamic of opposite families in 1980’s Toronto make this film stand out. We see Egoyan honing his craft of conflicted, repressed souls across a city or barren landscape and the denial or confrontation they go about in fixing it. Certainly an ambitious film for a debut, but he wastes no frames in telling his story that sticks with you for days.

 

2. The Earthling (1980, Peter Collinson)

A heartfelt film about old age and confronting your past decisions only has more of an impact after Peter Collinson died from cancer shortly after this film; whereas William Holden, in his second to last film role before his own death, plays a man dying of cancer returning to his roots.

From the opening scenes of the reunification of a family despite bitter feelings to the ultimate passage of knowledge, grace, and tough love to a 10-year-old boy, the film has no shortage of emotional moments. As Holden returns to the Outback so he can die in the woods, he is faced with the dilemma of helping the young boy get out of the woods after his parents have died. Along the way, life lessons are learned and taught in almost a dreamlike manner. The film has that ‘suicide forest’ feeling as Holden seems to confront his own inner demons.

Collinson and Holden didn’t know how the next year of their own lives would play out, but something about this film feels like an unintentional swan song. Regardless, it’s a dramatic film not to be missed for the beauty of humanity and nature.

 

3. Daughter of the Nile (1986, Hou Hsiao-hsien)

Coming out of the Taiwanese Wave in the 1980s, Hou Hsiao-hsien continued on his streak with this ennui, malaise of lost people in Taipei. Originating from the title, it interweaves with Egyptian literature that adds layers of struggling characters into the film.

From the Kentucky Fried Chicken employee Lin Hsiao-yang’s (Lin Yang) struggles of finding herself while caring for her two younger siblings, we get a portrait of a young woman trying to figure things out. In the pop music scenes under the neon-fused 1980’s lights and dance clubs, the loneliness, isolation, and overall dissatisfaction comes to the surface.

Hou manages to capture a changing Taiwan, much like his fellow naive filmmakers, without sacrificing his prowess of characters lost in the modern world. Take any scene where Yang listens to music and then intercuts with Egyptian mythology – it’s a film that lingers like a flowing river in your mind after it’s over.

 

4. Coming Out (1989, Heiner Carow)

One of the last few films to come out of East Germany, but the first that deals with gay themed individuals. The film follows a high school teacher named Philipp, who has a wife and child, who discovers his true sexuality by having sexual affairs with men in the underground cruising sex scene before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Its fragility, elegance, and sensitivity make this film standout. It’s not exploitative nor should it be labeled under a LGTBQ theme; but it’s a film about real people confronting their innermost true emotions. As Philipp learns more about himself and from others, including hearing a beautiful, heartfelt story of an elderly gentleman separated from his lover during the uprising of the Nazis, we see the true love of this film.

Sure, it was quickly disregarded and unseen for its subject matter, but the real subject is a man dealing with his own sexuality and rebirth of his true self. It’s a shame Philipp didn’t live in modern Berlin to be socially accepted, but this is how cinema can make that historical time come to life.

 

5. Cane River (1982, Horace B. Jenkins)

A truly independent film that came out north of the bayou and was never properly released, Horace B. Jenkins film explores black and Creole life in the south following a former football player returning to his hometown and his romance with a headstrong woman.

Combining a soulful musical score, real performances, and authentic on-set locations, it’s hard not to deny the energy and genuineness of the film. With a blissful romance on the horizon but with its problems of trying to leave the area to the battering amongst families, it really feels like a documentary but with a killer soundtrack, which can make up for some of the quotation book dialogue. In the end, this film is real.

Jenkins died shortly after the film was completed, which is a contributing factor to it not being widely seen. However, since time is the real test of cinema, we are fortunate to see this musical, culturally infused film on our radar today.