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The 10 Most Anticipated Movies For The Rest of 2019

There are only four months left of 2019, yet things look very good when it comes to film releases. As every year, it seems like the cold season is the time when most of the year’s best movies are getting released, just in time for the award season to begin, and there are so many promising films getting released in the following months that it makes us feel like children waiting for our presents on Christmas Eve.

On this list, we selected our 10 most anticipated films for the rest of 2019, but we feel like there might be many other films worth your attention in these next few months. Some honorable mentions such as A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A Hidden Life, Gemini Man, The Goldfinch, Little Women, Frozen II or 1917 didn’t make it in the top 10, but you should keep your eyes on them as well.

Let us know in the comments what are your most anticipated movies for the rest of this year.

 

1. It: Chapter 2 (September 6)

The sequel to the 2017 horror blockbuster “It” is coming this September and we can’t wait to see it.

“It: Chapter 2” will also be based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel, but this time it will focus on the adult timeline, which was omitted in the first film. The movie will take place 27 years after the events of the first one when the now-adults members of The Losers Club reunite to fight It once again.

Among the actors chosen to play the grown-up Losers are James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough, Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh and Bill Hader as Richie Tozier. Bill Skarsgård is also set to return as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, one of It’s many faces who terrorized the Losers Club in the first film.

While we have no worries about the cast – all of the adult actors look perfect for their parts – we hope that this second installment will be scarier than the first one. Although we really enjoyed the first film, truth be told, “It” was a great coming of age story, but not so much a scary film. Judging by the trailers, it seems like the second “It” movie will do King’s novel justice and be a fully-fledged horror movie.

 

2. Downton Abbey (September 13 in the UK, September 20 in the USA)

It’s been nearly four years since “Downton Abbey” closed its gates after a five-year run on ITV, but fans are still longing for a continuation to Julian Fellowes’ period drama. When the news of a “Downton Abbey” film broke out back in 2018’s summer, they couldn’t be happier.

Despite the declining quality in its final seasons, when it became too much of a soap opera, “Downton Abbey” was at its best a superb series which really captured the post-Edwardian life of the British aristocracy and benefited from a stellar cast which included among others Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, and Penelope Wilton.

Most of the original cast including Smith in her first on-screen role since 2015’s “The Lady in the Van” are set to return for this 2019 feature film continuation of the series. Along with them come new cast members such as Imelda Staunton and Geraldine James.

As for the plot, the film will take place one year and a half after its finale and will see the Crawley family preparing for a royal visit by King George V and Queen Mary. We really hope that this will turn out to be a new “Gosford Park” or even better.

 

3. Ad Astra (September 20)

Directed by James Gray (“The Lost City of Z”), “Ad Astra” stars Brad Pitt as Roy McBride, an astronaut who travels to outer space in search of his lost father, Dr Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), who went missing on a mission to Neptune which involved some otherworldly technology. During his journey, McBride discovers some secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.

During an interview, Gray said that he intended “Ad Astra” to feature “the most realistic depiction of space travel that’s been put in a movie”. Based on the trailers we’ve seen so far, the film’s visuals and story look pretty promising and gave us the vibes of a mix between “Interstellar” and “Gravity”. We love epic sci-fi thrillers so we couldn’t be more excited about this one.

 

4. The Irishman (September 27 at the New York Film Festival / late 2019 Netflix release)

What happens when you take a director like Martin Scorsese, you add a cast consisting of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Harvey Keitel and you even manage to get Joe Pesci out of retirement? Well, you probably get the most anticipated film of 2019.

“The Irishman” is based on Charles Brandt’s book “I Heard You Paint Houses” and will have its world premiere at the New York Film Festival, followed by a Netflix release sometime in late 2019. The film will follow the real-life story of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a labor union official with mob connections who claimed to be involved in the killing of labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).

While we have been pretty disappointed with Robert De Niro’s late-career role choices, we’ve never seen a bad De Niro – Scorsese collaboration so chances are that “The Irishman” will mark De Niro’s return to form. Add to that we’ll get to see Joe Pesci once again on screen – what a shame it took so long – and what remains to be done is only hope that “The Irishman” won’t fail to reach its full potential.

 

5. Joker (October 4)

While nobody asked for another movie featuring Batman’s archenemy after the disappointment that “Suicide Squad” was, when Todd Philipps’ upcoming Joker standalone film had its trailer released, everyone’s expectations were raised.

“Joker” will feature an original story and will star Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a clown for hire and failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime and becomes the Clown Prince of Crime in Gotham City. The film’s cast will also include Robert De Niro as Murray Franklin, a talk show host who contributes to Arthur’s downfall. The Wayne family and Alfred Pennyworth are also set to appear in the film, but only as background characters. This is not a “Batman” film so don’t expect to see anything more than a young Bruce Wayne, unaware of the fate of his parents.

We all know that Joaquin Phoenix is a fantastic actor and there is little doubt that his take on the Joker will let us down. We’ll just have to wait and see if the film’s story will be up to par with Phoenix’s acting chops.

10 Great Recent Films You’ve Probably Never Seen

As wonderful as it would be, there isn’t really any way to possibly keep up with every new release. So many are hard to access, or slip under the radar, or seem uninteresting, and so many films get skipped over by accident or simply forgotten about.

Of course, recommendations can always help to catch up again and see what we may have missed, so, here are ten brilliant, recently released films that you may have unfortunately missed! Hopefully, this can help you fill up your watchlists with some things to catch up on, or give you the final necessary push into seeing something you’ve unintentionally dismissed.

 

1. Like Cattle Towards Glow (Zac Farley & Dennis Cooper, 2015)

Starting off with one of the most unknown films on the list is Zac Farley and Dennis Cooper’s collaborative 2015 film, Like Cattle Towards Glow. This film is a series of five vignettes centred on young, gay men, most of which are focused on strange ways of expression with darkly comic tones.

With staggeringly good performances when taking into consideration the kinds of things that these actors (well, non-actors) are being asked to do, a totally fascinating script for each story and a certain audaciousness that makes it so admirable for a first effort (for both directors), it’s so shocking to see such a terrific film, especially considering that it is coming from a collaboration between a visual artist (Farley) and a writer (Cooper). Their follow up film, Permanent Green Light (which is sadly still largely unavailable, and very difficult to find, though MUBI did recently show it for a short while) is also receiving a great deal of acclaim.

It’s very explicit, emotionally demanding and challenging, but also really quite wonderful. It is, at times, a strikingly beautiful film, one that feels so accepting and so human despite the fact that it gets really quite discomforting at times. This one is more than worth viewing if you can manage to stumble across it, even if you aren’t exactly enamoured with each and every vignette. John Waters is also a fan… which is quite unsurprising given some of the content, come to think of it.

 

2. Your Face (Tsai Ming-Liang, 2018)

Tsai Ming-Liang has been making some of the most adventurous arthouse outings for some years now (Rebels of the Neon God is almost thirty years old!), and Your Face is no exception, even if it is a startling departure from the vast majority of his other work.

Whilst many of Tsai’s films hone in on uncomfortable situations and deadpan characters placed within them, Your Face is instead a documentary, bringing Tsai’s distinguishing slow cinema techniques to the talking-head style of documentary filmmaking, which makes for some captivating moments. With static shots that simply focus on the faces of each person involved for five minutes or so, many of whom don’t even speak, it becomes a conspicuously delicate film, focusing on these people in such an unbelievably tender fashion.

One interviewee in particular becomes so evidently comfortable that he even manages to fall asleep on camera, with Tsai capturing the moment with the same delicacy as every other. By morphing his usually quite abrasive style of deadpan humour merged with slow cinema and tragic narratives/themes into something so beautifully humanitarian, Tsai stunned most everyone who actually did see this film, many of whom were long time fans, but thankfully he absolutely hits the nail on the head here and crafts such an unexpectedly heartwarming documentary, one that deserves to be seen by so, so many more than it has been.

 

3. The Forgotten Colours of Dreams (Johnny Clyde, 2018)

A no-budget feature length debut shot on VHS (no, really!), subsequently released to a small cult following (one that is gradually growing, but one that also certainly could use a push) following Death as she visits a group of people, then conversing about their pains, their philosophies, etc. It’s a mesmerisingly tender film, as sad as some of it is, and the filter over the lens making the entire film appear as though the audience is spying through a keyhole or a spy hole adds a certain discomfort in their own voyeurism.

The colours are gorgeous, with the entire film having an odd, hazy feeling to it that really makes it feel fantastical – otherworldly and involving due to its beauty. It’s a ridiculously impressive film, especially for a debut, with such style and bravery in its form and in its subject. Few of the very best directors of all time have tackled death in such a unique and touching way, and so, a part of the film’s strong involvement power is in this amazement from the quality of the direction.

Clyde’s other films up to this point are also so undeservedly slept on – Noctiflora, a 2017 short film, is one of the greatest short films of the decade, inspired by Peter Tscherkassky among others, and Floralis, his 2019 fantasy film which puts some of the best fantasy films to shame with its wonderful expression and jaw-dropping visuals.

Clyde is an up-and-comer is ever there was one, and it is difficult not to be frantically excited about what should be coming next from him. He is emerging as one of the greatest directors of recent memory just at the beginning of the 2020’s, and there is so much anticipation from his cult following surrounding what may come next.

 

4. The Green Fog (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson & Galen Johnson, 2017)

Taking footage from Vertigo, along with around a hundred other films, and much like a popular hip-hop album, it takes the pieces and inspirations it needs and makes work out of essentially sampling them, stitching them together into an entirely new film that works as a personal interpretation of Hitchcock’s seminal masterpiece.

It has hyperactive editing, a bizarre merging of limitless different styles and an overarching admiration for the most extreme visual storytelling in cinema, what more could you really want? It helps that Maddin’s interpretation of the events of Vertigo are so interesting, though I won’t spoil that for the sake of preserving the oddball surprises in this and furthermore for those who haven’t yet seen Vertigo.

Of course, coming from Guy Maddin, the mixing of all of these films and TV shows isn’t exactly seamless and the editing allows for Maddin’s creative genius to continue to shine through, in case anyone was concerned about him losing his voice and his vision by using pre-existing content.

It constantly jolts with energy, leaps and bounds from wildly different influences and becomes fascinating when it comes to spotting these different influences, as the context surrounding those then falls in and mixes with the already bursting background that Vertigo has.

It’s a strange film, working with a style that few have tried and even fewer have actually gotten right, but it is completely absorbing and deals all of its cards beautifully – it’s just a shame it’s so difficult to find and see… here’s hoping it’ll become more easily accessible, and it can manage to somehow garner all of the necessary rights to have a proper public release, or at the very least a release that this kind of a film deserves. This one fell under the radar to a painful degree, and really deserves a lot more recognition.

 

5. Pendular (Julia Murat, 2017)

Shown on MUBI in early 2019, Julia Murat’s Pendular is a stunning film about the relationship between two artists. Bringing to mind the illustrious work of the brilliant Claire Denis, with a piercing intimacy and beautifully expressive visual style – one that is very much grounded in reality, but exaggerated in such a way that really brings out the underlying beauty of the world in such a wonderful way – Murat’s Pendular is just incredible.

Though it is admittedly explicit in its portrayal of sex, which may put some off (though hopefully not, it isn’t a film to miss!), the portrayal of these two artists stuck in some kind of relationship-based limbo is fascinating, and the fact that Murat’s camera never seems to even think about turning away from what it is showing, which includes the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly (though not too often… it’s mostly just the bad) makes this so impressive.

It’s such a confident film, one that never seems to shy away from the vision that it has. Even featuring a gorgeous dance sequence set to Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, which fits much more than one would expect, this one is a clear cut winner, and one that really needs to be discovered by a bigger group of film fans. It is genuinely depressing how little of a splash this one made, and now is the time to hunt this one down and give it a watch.

10 Great Movies That Are Felt Rather Than Understood

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Film is, traditionally, a medium for storytelling. When watching a film, one usually expects to be able to comprehend the narrative and message of the film (if there is one) on a purely mental level. There are many films, however, that breach far beyond conventional narrative structure or logic.

Some films don’t have a definitive interpretation. Some films work better on a metaphysical level rather than an intellectual level. Some films make sense emotionally, but not logically. This list explores such films that are better felt and experienced rather than fully understood.

 

1. Eraserhead (1977)

eraserhead

Being one of the first and most important American cult classics, Eraserhead is an unfathomable 1977 debut from the iconic director David Lynch. To call the film surreal is a gross understatement.

The film has no arc or logical narrative in the traditional sense – it instead dwells in the mental hellscape and paternal dread of its anxious and bed-headed protagonist Henry, brilliantly portrayed by John Nance. Eraserhead creates an environment of industrial drones and decay. Phallic creatures hide in the dark. A little woman sings in the radiator. A pimply, wailing frog takes place as Henry’s newborn child. It’s a film that revels in the deconstruction of the human body and sex drive.

Admittedly, Eraserhead is, on paper, little more than a hodgepodge of nonsensical repulsive imagery and body-horror surrealism. But in the hands of such a capable artist like Lynch, the film perfectly captures the angst of adulthood, parenthood, and lust in a crumbling, oppressive urban landscape.

The film doesn’t work on an intellectual level; there’s no use breaking down or analyzing the plot. The dread and vision of Eraserhead is felt in a deep, subliminal sense, and it sticks with the viewer long after the credits roll. Eraserhead is both a landmark in cult cinema and one of the greatest (and strangest) directorial debuts of all time.

 

2. Angel’s Egg (1985)

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Directed by Mamoru Oshii of Ghost in the Shell (1995) fame, Angel’s Egg is an often forgotten but essential masterpiece of abstract cinema and animation.

The film follows a mysterious young girl with long, flowing hair as she wanders around a gothic, decaying landscape, cradling a large egg in her arms. The few lines of dialogue in the film are few and far between, shared between the girl and an older boy she meets, who carries a cross-shaped weapon on his back.

Visually, Angel’s Egg is stunning – the hand-drawn animation creates an entirely unique and haunting atmosphere. Like the other films on this list, Angel’s Egg succeeds on an emotional sense rather than an intellectual one. Oshii utilizes biblical imagery and themes in the film to reflect his own betrayal of the Christian faith. In this way, Angel’s Egg is a deeply personal and somber film. There’s a sense of loss throughout the film; the loss of identity, of innocence, of purpose – perhaps feelings Oshii experienced in his rejection of faith.

The film’s two characters wander aimlessly and silently in a beautiful and eerie landscape, seeped in an eternal night. Angel’s Egg reflects the eternal wandering; the eternal search for satisfaction, until the journey has gone on so long one forgets what they were even looking for in the first place. It’s a quietly soul-crushing and gorgeous work of art.

 

3. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

Uncle Boonmee is the 2010 international breakthrough from multi-medium Thai artist and director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, more commonly referred to in the West by the name of “Joe.” Based on a 1983 novel by Phra Sripariyattiweti, the film was the first Asian Palme d’Or winner at Cannes since 1997, and the first Thai film to ever receive the honor.

The film’s plot is secondary, and to attempt to understand the film in a linear sense is nearly impossible in one sitting and besides the point. Uncle Boonmee, like most of Weerasethakul’s work, explores the ideas of memory and reincarnation – the ways in which all living things are alive, reborn, and continue to live in a spiritual sense.

Rather than guiding us along a definitive narrative, the film creates a space – a space of overwhelming peace and tranquility, and a space to reflect on our own being in the universe. It’s a pseudo-fantasy world simultaneously steeped in the reverie of Thai folklore and the realities of a tumultuous modern existence. It’s both a deeply personal film and an entirely universal one.

Uncle Boonmee dwells in the limbo between the edge of life and the beginning of death, like witnessing a fading dream. It’s a landmark of contemporary cinema and a necessary viewing for anyone interested in avant-garde narrative cinema.

 

4. Gozu (2003)

Gozu

Gozu is not for the faint of heart. Directed by the prolific Japanese cult maverick Takashi Miike, the film makes good fun diving into all of the most taboo psychosexual crevices of the human mind, and then some. It’s a nasty and bizarre film, entirely beyond rationality and comprehension, but brilliant in execution.

Unlike many of the films on this list, Gozu has a more linear approach to plot. That being said, things still get very strange very quickly. The film opens on a member of the yakuza named Ozaki, played by frequent Miike collaborator Show Aikawa.

Ozaki is unhinged mentally, as made clear by his spontaneous murder of a pedestrian chihuahua under suspicion it was a literal enemy threat to the yakuza syndicate. The yakuza boss, viewing Ozaki as a threat, orders his subordinate Minami to get rid of Ozaki – that is, to kill him. Just when Minami thinks he completed the job, however, he finds Ozaki’s body has completely disappeared. Insanity ensues.

Miike relishes in messing with the viewer. The last shot of this film is literally a man laughing maniacally at the camera, breaking the fourth wall and mocking the audience. If Hitchcock enjoys “playing the audience like a piano,” Miike has us on little puppet strings. It may be impossible to connect the dots and create a definitive meaning out of the film, but that’s beside the point.

Gozu doesn’t make sense on an intellectual level – it assaults its audience with an entourage of hysterical discomfort and debauchery. The question isn’t whether or not one objectively understands Gozu, it’s whether or not one is willing to enjoy the sick, twisted ride. In this way, everyone may find their own meaning in Gozu, similar to much of Miike’s other transgressive works.

It’s a subjective experience that forces the viewer to plug their own experiences and subconscious emotions into the film, rather than a film attempting to force its own moral agenda and meaning upon the viewer. Gozu is not a comfortable or comprehensible experience, but it is a necessary one, and one of Miike’s greatest films to date.

 

5. Taste of Cherry (1977)

Taste of Cherry (1997)

Directed by the prolific Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami, Taste of Cherry is a quiet and simple yet powerful testament to life and finding one’s personal meaning.

The plot of the film, unlike others on this list, is incredibly straightforward. A middle-aged man drives around Tehran looking for someone to complete a job for him, in exchange for a large sum of money. What this job is remains a mystery for the first act; detailing any more of the narrative would detract from the film.

Even though Taste of Cherry is rather easy to comprehend, its simplicity allows room for multiple interpretations. Taste of Cherry succeeds because it is not an objective or mental exercise, but an emotional one. It’s not a film that should be understood on mere intellectual terms, but rather a film that allows meditation, processing, and reflection.

Taste of Cherry even breaks the fourth wall and reminds its audience that what they are watching is nothing more than a film, further presenting its central question: why do you wake up every morning? It’s not a film with answers, but a film that opens room for discussion around an age-old dilemma.

10 Secret Horror Films Disguised As Other Genres

best Tilda Swinton movies

The following synopsis previews a bloodcurdling terrorfest.

A zany scientist desires god-tier power, so he invents a shrink ray that reduces his children and their friends to the size of thumbtacks. The result: otherwise humdrum household items become death traps and once harmless insects change into apex predators who stalk the kids through an inescapable labyrinth.

On the flip side, according to Disney, that summary describes a beloved family feature starring bespectacled brainiac archetype, Rick Moranis. Though this picture provides the first entry on our list of 10 secret horror films disguised as other genres, it marks only one frightmare masquerading as something less insidious. Wait until you see what sinister happenings lurk in other movies you thought you knew.

 

1. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (1989)

A ribbon of constant peril runs through Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and that lingering dread keeps the teenage protagonists standing mere inches from their demise. Disney slapped a family friendly label on the movie, a designation many audiences accept despite the string of traumatizing near-death experiences unfolding before their eyes.

In fact, with a flag planted in 80’s-era exploitation cinema traditions, the film’s danger happens in the most phantasmagoric scenarios imaginable. To get concrete, one child almost gets eaten, but before that occurs, he tumbles into a wading pool-sized bowl of Cheerios.

The puzzle starts falling into place once the production history comes to light. Stuart Gordon, who created the exploitation classics Re-Animator and From Beyond, sat in the director’s chair before debilitating stress and corporate micromanaging jettisoned him from the project.

Did Gordon’s mind give us that mutant bumble bee, the insect with a poised stinger perfect for skewering a teenager? As well, let us not forget the scorpion, whose gargantuan size and vengeful demeanor scurries straight out of the Book of Revelations.

These spooky hellbeasts hold murderous intentions for the children, making the film a creature feature without the gore and swear words of an R-rated picture. And even when the monsterly threats resolve, a remote-controlled lawnmower comes barreling toward our adolescent victims with the promise of pulverizing them to bloody chunks. Other than that, the script gives us near suffocation inside a trash bag, almost drowning in a lawn sprinkler, and the lingering question of what happens when the adults find a miniscule corpse smashed against the soles of their shoes.

 

2. Being John Malkovich

Dressed up as a quirky black comedy, Being John Malkovich thrives on its refreshing inventiveness, but in reality, it exhibits all the trappings of a possession film. Despite the unapologetic originality, the narrative mirrors The Exorcist. Questions of autonomy and threats of human sacrifice run throughout, and though the script leaves out soupy, green vomit and genital mutilation via crucifix, the story still hinges on one entity controlling another. After all, what happens when the host vessel loses their grip on the cerebral steering wheel forever?

Not a slew of screenwriters bear a household name, but Charlie Kaufman provides an exception. When you blend the philosophical whimsy that drives his storytelling with director Spike Jonze’s knack for exploring isolation vis-à-vis social ineptitude, a horror designation seems far-fetched.

At least, it seems that way at first, until one realizes how their film places bodily governance as a central crisis. 12-year-old Regan MacNeil of The Exorcist fame undergoes almost identical circumstances. The same goes for Chris Washington, the protagonist from the 2017 possession picture Get Out, who spends most of the story evading infiltration.

Once Being John Malkovich’s third act begins, the story becomes a rat race wherein aging cult members battle an obsessive, oblivious puppeteer for the right to colonize a human being. Call it absurdist, introspective, or satirical, but no adjective changes the sadistic psychology that motivates these twisted characters. A film wherein satisfaction stems from the plight of others, Jonze/Kaufman’s first effort nestles snugly inside the horror camp.

 

3. A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange

Long touted as the poster child for arthouse cinema that posits tough moral questions, A Clockwork Orange managed to transcend any single classification. Technophobia elements suggest science fiction while the film’s critique of the justice system pushes it toward crime drama territory.

Regardless, Kubrick aimed to sink his claws in from the get-go, injecting audiences with a paralyzing fear that persists long after homicidal hoodlum Alex DeLarge smirks at the audience in the final scene. No doubt Kubrick accomplished his goal in a powerful way. After all, the film sketches a portrait of a killer so cavalier about his actions that he sings show tunes while committing atrocious violence.

All that leads to a big hairy question. What one trait creates a cinematic killer? Jason Vorhees, the Xenomorph, Hannibal Lecter, the Babadok, Michael Myers⁠—not one of these ghouls wield the power to change. Neither does Alex DeLarge. His unalterable default setting dictates that he wakes up, sips tea and munches toast, and commits acts of extreme heinousness. Therein lies the chief reason the film oozes horror tropes more than any other category: the big baddie not only refuses to change, but remains unable to do so.

Anthony Burgess, who penned the novel on which Stanley Kubrick based his film, imagined a character capable of altering his behavior. “He grows bored with violence and recognizes that human energy is better expended on creation than destruction,” the author writes in the novel’s introduction.

“Senseless violence is a prerogative of youth, which has much energy but little talent for the constructive.” In this regard, the film meets the criteria necessary to constitute its horror film status. The novel, which showcases even more ghastly events, functions outside that category.

 

4. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

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That ferry boat/tunnel scene saddles most everyone with an irreversible case of the heebie-jeebies. For good reason, too, as it includes a millipede scurrying its hundred-plus spindly legs across the indented space between a person’s nose and upper lip.

All the while, a rainbow of strobelights pulse and dance across the demented candy man’s face. This unfolds as Wonka recites a poem that suggests murder features on the day’s to-do list, and thus the children and parents sit aboard the vessel, wondering what sadistic traps await them.

Many cite that bone-chillingly spooktacular scene as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’s lone horror moment, but the picture’s genre elements run deeper than one terror-packed snapshot. Really, the movie serves as a psychological and survival horror feature about a sanctimonious business owner who tortures children as punishment for violating tenets of a self-designed moral code. In other words, remove the playful somersaulting, ditch the top hat ensemble, and you get left with Jigsaw’s more menacing predecessor.

To keep its designation as a children’s cautionary tale, director Mel Stuart throws in a couple of musical numbers, but Oompa Loompa dance sequences fail to deflect the events that make us shiver and panic. In fact, the nonchalance those scenes promote makes the film all that much scarier. Assuming the kids survived Wonka’s orchestrated death traps, Mike, Violet, Veruca, and Augustus almost definitely live with the albatross of extreme PTSD.

 

5. We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Like Mr. Kubrick before her, Lynne Ramsay created a shatteringly hopeless film, a story that leaves no trace of a silver lining and ensures that we leave without learning any kind of lesson. The worst part? We Need to Talk About Kevin reflects the real world, showing us what exists instead of dealing with what-if hypotheticals.

We watch as the titular Kevin transitions from fussy infant to a school shooter who uses a bow and arrow—a more primitive weapon compared to today’s all too common assault rifles—to savor the experience of ending his classmates’ lives. Those kept alive only remain breathing so the dastardly Kevin feels satisfied that someone bears witness to his deeds. Simply put, he wants to taste the terror he inflicts.

Subject matter so candid, so raw, and so tragically relevant creates the risk of exploiting the crushing reality of school violence, but Ramsay’s picture functions far outside those cheap maneuvers. Her main objective remains stark: the director tells the unrelenting truth.

Working under a commitment to uber-realism, We Need to Talk About Kevin compares to the slow burn killing spree seen in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, one of the most terrifying forays into the perverse landscape of the psychopathic mind. But where that film illuminates a speculative situation, Ramsay’s work pulls the curtain back on the horror that we see on the news and forget in an effort to keep sane.

She accomplishes such a feat via storytelling that rejects exposition. Ramsay’s movie opens with the camera inching toward a gauzy curtain. What lies beyond the billowing drapes? Do we want to know? Before we find out, we hear sharp, howling wind, then a faint ticking rhythm adds another layer to the soundscape. The gentle hiss of that lawn sprinkler, a classic image of privileged suburbia, becomes a death-knell. And this description tackles only the first few minutes.

Wearing the mask of a family drama, the film checks even the most sophisticated horror boxes. The scariest stories reflect that which happens in actual life, and the systematic massacre of schoolchildren provides a sadly perfect example.

No matter how horrific, Kevin’s crimes against his family and schoolmates come from a place of strategy and patience. His meticulous plan happens on a schedule, calculated every step of the way. Since horror films mean to frighten us, this one accomplishes its mission flawlessly.

The 10 Best Rutger Hauer Movies You Should Not Miss

Rutger Hauer was arguably the best-known Dutch actor around the world. It’s for a reason that in 1999, he was named the Best Dutch Actor of the Century by the Dutch public. Early in his career, Hauer started to collaborate with Paul Verhoeven and established himself as a major name in the Netherlands, but he wanted to make more films. That’s why he went abroad, as he loved being a film actor and wanted to keep doing it.

His career had been inconsistent; you could see him in major Hollywood productions or some Europudding, direct-to video features but then again he enjoyed having a variety of roles and he always brought an unexpected quality to them. His strikingly charismatic appearance always made an impression, regardless if the role was big or small.

There was still a huge admiration for him among filmmakers, which is obvious from the tributes pouring from Guillermo del Toro, Edgar Wright, and many more. Maybe he was still going to get a chance to play yet another iconic role. But he still managed to leave a unique career behind, a career full of interesting roles and projects.

Hauer was made a knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion in 2013. He also founded Starfish Association, a non-profit organization aimed at raising help and awareness of HIV/AIDS, focusing especially on support to children and pregnant women.

One of Hauer’s last wishes was that Starfish should continue its charity activity.  Most recently appearing in films like “Valerian” and “The Sisters Brothers,” Hauer also has some posthumous releases upcoming. His fans will miss his presence in movies, and here’s a tribute with 10 of his many great roles.

 

10. Ladyhawke (1985)

“When I worked on ‘Ladyhawke’ it was my first time ever in Italy. I drove the big truck around to Cortina d’Ampezzo, L’Aquila – close to Rome, and to the castle close to Vicenza. It was very exciting. Had a lot of funny adventures.”

Playing a Robin Hood figure in the TV series “Floris” (1969), set in the Middle Ages, made him a star in his homeland. So it was always obvious that he was well-suited in period films. Hollywood kept trying to cast him as a villain, but Hauer convinced Richard Donner to give him the part of Navarre; the character has been hunted by the Bishop’s men for two years, ever since he escaped with the Lady Isabeau, who the Bishop has lusted after.

It’s a bit of an odd film with pacing problems, but still a charming story. Hauer’s performance is so wonderful that it makes everything work better than it could with many other actors. He’s mysterious, menacing, but also kind and noble. It’s such a nuanced performance, but it contains some of the elements that made Hauer such a distinctive figure in cinema.

His handsome appearance also fits the character and the setting perfectly. The action scenes – in which it looks like Hauer didn’t use a stunt double for most of them – are fun to watch, even if they’re not overly ambitious.

It’s also a showcase to his “movie star” charisma. When you watch the film, you’ll keep thinking how wonderful it would be if he could get more starring roles. Hauer may have been a character actor for most of his career, but his work here shows that he had everything to be a convincing Hollywood leading man.

 

9. Blind Fury (1989)

“I’m quite proud of it because the combination of not being able to look & do swordplay at the same time is an achievement not many can do. I like that film. The music. But how difficult things are that I do is not my favourite whine. It was physically my fittest part.”

A loosely-based, modernized remake of “Zatoichi Challenged,” the 17th film in the Japanese Zatoichi film series, “Blind Fury” provided a challenging role for the actor, and it’s also fun to watch. Hauer plays a blind, sword-wielding Vietnam War veteran who finds himself in trouble. Not only does he sell the blindness, but he expertly brings such wit to his role that it is wildly entertaining to watch.

It was a different kind of role for him; he displayed his comedic side here and even though the film serves as another testament to his convincing action hero persona, the material also gave Hauer a chance to show some of his sensitive side. His natural charm also helped. Hauer went through intense sword training, and learnt how to walk and move like a blind man, with the help of a real blind judoka Lynn Manning, which again showed how much he was dedicated to his craft.

This may not be a “great movie,” but it’s still fun, silly light entertainment that is highly elevated by Hauer’s performance. The movie may come off as dated for some, but if you take it as it is, it’s still fun.

 

8. Turkish Delight (1973)

Turkish Delight (1973)

“When it had a moment of release in the States, they called it pornographic. This film, it ran in Europe in a ton of cinemas for a year, outrunning ‘Cabaret’ and ‘Last Tango In Paris.’ It was incredible, and what was so amazing about it was that it was subtitled in English. You know, it was in its own language, and I don’t think that ever happened, before or after.”

Those who usually associate Verhoeven with films like “RoboCop” and “Starship Troopers” can especially be surprised by his early works like this one. The most successful film in Dutch history at the time, “Turkish Delight” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and in 1999 it received a special Golden Calf Award for Best Dutch Film of the Century.

The film is about a stormy, erotic, and star-crossed romance between a gifted sculptor and a young woman who picks him up while he is hitchhiking. They soon marry, but she eventually tires of him and abandons him for another man, sending the sculptor into depression. Hauer’s captivatingly impulsive performance also served as a breakout work for him as a movie actor.

It’s a movie that feels mostly episodic, but Hauer manages to create an interesting psychological profile throughout the film. The film still can be off-putting for some; it can be ugly and uncomfortable sometimes, but it also shows what kind of a risk-taker actor Hauer had always been.

 

7. Soldier of Orange (1977)

Soldier of Orange (1977)

“I was born in the middle of the war. And I think for that reason I have deep roots in pasificism. Violence frightens me. I once owned a gun but the thought of using it so appalled me that I threw it away. I am very strong but the only thing I could kill is a fly.”

At the 1999 Netherlands Film Festival, “Turkish Delight” was voted as the Best Dutch film of the century. And what film came in second? Yet another Verhoeven-Hauer collaboration.  The most expensive Dutch film at its time, the plot of the film follows Dutch students joining the resistance movement against the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.

This is quite an epic story dealing with the fates of six university friends, but the focus is mostly on Hauer’s character and as you can imagine, he’s excellent as ever. Hauer has made films in different languages and here in this film you witness him go from speaking Dutch, to English, to French, to German, and back to Dutch again, and he manages to be quite compelling in all of them.

“Turkish Delight” was a success, but it was this movie that brought Hauer and Verhoeven their tickets to Hollywood. And deservedly so. Hauer again brings some vividly amazing energy to his part, making him both mysterious and attention-grabbing.

It still remains as a great movie and one of the best films to see World War II from the Dutch perspective; the movie should be seen by anyone who wants to know why and how Hauer become an international star. It should also be noted that Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema later became a father figure to Hauer after they met during filming.

 

6. Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

“Jason felt that I shouldn’t play it for jokes; that I should be deadly serious and try and deal with the simplicity of his [the Hobo’s] own mind, his sense of pride and honour and purpose. My task was to be deadly serious, because Dave [Brunt] is also very serious about this stuff: you can’t fool around with honour and pride, and sensibility.”

An absolute badass role. Hauer always had some sort of cult following and a notable fan base. So it only made sense to cast him in films like “Sin City,” as it also made sense to cast him in “Hobo with a Shotgun.”

Based on a faux-trailer of the same title featured in the Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez film “Grindhouse,” the movie is a crazy wild ride and a gory homage to low-budget exploitation thrillers, which was sure to please fans of its kind ever since the trailer came out.

The story is basically simple: a homeless vigilante blows away bad guys. Hobo could be just a cheap joke, but Hauer adds lots of new dimensions to the character. He’s so fully dedicated to the part that he never winks at the audience and rightfully so.

Portraying his character with such raw emotion, he’s well-aware of the campy tone of the movie and the nature of his role and he knows how to work out his character. He basically nails it. Hauer had some great late-period roles, but none of them were more open to gain a cult following more than “Hobo with a Shotgun.” He also gives his character a kind of a soft side that makes him easy to like. Many of the lines are self-consciously funny and he delivers them in the best way possible.

10 Great Movies That Show a Different Side To a Director

As directors advance in their careers, they can sometimes get self indulgent or repetitive with their films. However, for some, they go down a different path. They try a new genre, a completely different style. While others continue to evolve, some just create a one-off and go back to their ways. Regardless, here are 10 films that show a different side to a director.

 

1. The Straight Story (1999) – David Lynch

The Straight Story

David Lynch doing a straight narrative for Disney sounds like a joke. Well, it certainly wasn’t and Lynch has declared it his most experimental film due to the narrative, pacing, and well, straight story.

The film deals with Richard Farnsworth making a long journey across the Midwest on a tractor to make amends with his estranged brother, Lynch regular Harry Dean Stanton, who just suffered a stroke. As the film plays out, you would never know Lynch directed the film save for some stark dialogue, slight abstraction of scenes, and the ridiculousness of the plot (that is actually based on a true story).

With Lynch essentially going straight, the film allows for its characters to breathe, develop, and slowly reveal who they truly are. It leads to a beautiful conversation and acting piece between Stanton and Farnsworth. So many emotions and memories come to fruition that it might be the most sensitive scene in Lynch’s filmography.

After the film, Lynch would make “Mulholland Drive.” Maybe it was this Disney-produced film that made Lynch want to not only go back to his roots, but expand in ways he didn’t think was capable after playing it straight for a film. And what a lovely film it is.

 

2. The Favourite (2018) – Yorgos Lanthimos

The first film by Yorgos Lanthimos that he did not write was by far his most accessible. Going back to the early 1700s to explore the trio of relationships between Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne, Emma Stone’s Abigail Hill, and Rachel Weisz’s Duchess Sarah in a period pitch-black comedy of manners.

You may wonder how the Greek Weird Wave director who transitioned to English language films with “The Lobster” would fare without his own material. He soared because he is the true auteur behind this film due to all levels of the film’s production. Lanthimos never abandons his true roots because he focuses on female characters who struggle to adapt to their world, absurdity to the point of not making sense, and off-kilter framing of his characters. Then why is this such a departure?

He manages to create a social and political comedy of manners based off of actual events. He never strays away from the historical details, costumes, or timely events in the film. It’s his first non-contemporary film and certainly the one furthest from his Greek films.

Lanthimos continues to create films that are universally his, but manages to do so differently with the subject matter and always pushes it a bit further. And here, he certainly did so, with arousing results.

 

3. Thelma (2017) – Joachim Trier

Thelma

A film that merges many influences and works slightly off of themes explored in his first three films, Joachim Trier makes a supernatural thriller infused with many layered themes. Some can view the film as a cross between Ingmar Bergman and Brian De Palma, and they’re not far off.

From the opening scene that sets forth the film, we know we’re never going to be settled or comfortable about what’s to happen and most importantly, the choices these characters will make. However, with the lustful desire that Eili Harboe’s Thelma has for another young woman at her university, going against the will of her parents, we are entranced.

Trier still keeps his themes of young men and women trying to tackle their own consciousness and purpose in life, but he strips away from his montage-like mini stories filled with voice over and really lets the film settle over you. He shows he can work within many genres ranging from supernatural, thriller, horror, religious, or mystery. Sure, his films were wide-ranged, but were grounded in reality and performance.

With this film, Trier breaks away from his previous trio of films by literally going darker in every sense, which makes it all the more exciting to see what he does next.

 

4. Pirates (1986) – Roman Polanski

Pirates movie

No tragedy or controversy can slow Polanski down, and after a seven-year hiatus after his film “Tess,” dedicated to his late wife nonetheless, he wanted to do something for fun.

After numerous trips to Disneyland and watching films that reminded him of childhood, he wanted to make a film that all can enjoy. So, he made a film about pirates with Walter Matthau at the helm. In the history books, the film is not well received. However, according to its star, he felt the real atmosphere and characters on the set. And that’s what Polanski wanted to do – make an enjoyable film. And by getting away from the psychological terror and bloodshed, he did a complete 180.

It wasn’t long before Polanski returned to his roots and gathered further acclaim, but with this 1986 film, we see a different side of him to show that even a man with a horrible childhood, escaping the Ghetto in Warsaw, that he could still make an entertaining film for children and even adults, despite a personal history and filmography that proved otherwise.

 

5. Days of Wine and Roses (1962) – Blake Edwards

Forget the Pink Panther films or light romantic comedies or the very British elite films. Blake Edwards took a different turn right after “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with this dark, psychological film about the effects of alcohol between a married couple.

As the film opens with Jack Lemmon, the heavy-on-the-bottle husband and his innocent, naive sober wife Lee Remick, we don’t expect to see where things will go from here. As the film unfolds in stark a black-and-white theatrical setting, we start to see a reversal of choices and moods between Lemmon and Remick. Both actors here are truly exceptional, with Lemmon even stating that it was his personal favorite film from his filmography.

Maybe Edwards saw the Clay couple as an inner persona of himself, going from light-minded films to more heavy films. Perhaps he was experimenting and trying for his own reversal of choices and moods for his films.

Regardless of his other successful comedies, this film established Edwards as a director that mattered in Hollywood. He wasn’t a director to hire for comedies or abide to the Hollywood model; he could tell a brutally honest story of a couple in a deep, somber state, unlike anything he ever did.

10 Great Movies To Watch If You Like Dario Argento

The Neon Demon

“Suspiria” is undoubtedly one of the great cult horror classics, responsible for giving even more popularity to the genre and influencing a large number of filmmakers. Its director, Dario Argento, is considered along with Mario Bava, Sergio Martino, and Lucio Fulci as one of the forerunners of giallo, the name used to designate this style of Italian horror film, which abused aestheticization like no other genre had ever done before, utilizing a mix of B-movie with exaggerated aesthetics exploring the sensuality, cruelty, and faith of his characters. With the recent release of remake of “Suspiria,” directed by Luca Guagdanino, many people unfamiliar with Argento’s work began to show some interest in his films.

The following list contains some films that might interest those people who were attracted to the particular aesthetic atmosphere of the Argento classics. In order to avoid further obviousness in the list, films by giallo’s other directors have not been included, and the preference was to focus on films that have elements common to those seen in Argento’s films: films that work with a particular stylization of horror; glaring color palettes; taking advantage of religious and psychoanalytic content; exploring sensuality and soundtrack as a narrative engine; and, of course, presenting strong and memorable female protagonists placed in extreme danger and psychologically confusing situations.

 

10. The Butcher (1970) – Claude Chabrol

Le Boucher

“The Butcher” is set in a small rural town in the interior of France, where we accompany the protagonist Helene. She is a teacher at a kindergarten who meets the butcher Paul at a wedding. As they begin to get closer and closer, murders of young women start to occur, and no one has clues about the killer. Helene eventually finds one of the bodies of a murdered woman and, next to the body, sees a lighter like the one she had previously given to Paul. From then on, Helene has to fight doubt and fear about whether or not Paul is the killer.

Claude Chabrol is known for being one of the greatest filmmakers to best create suspense, and “The Butcher” is one of the best examples of that quality. It may not be as frantic and explosive a movie as Argento’s; in fact, it had a relatively slow pace in its first act, as well as some bold aesthetics. However, it resembles Argento’s films in their mastery of creating moments of tension.

As Helene finds the lighter at the crime scene, the character’s fear and uncertainty take over, and the scenes from then on are increasingly distressing. The theme of a female character with a strong personality who is in trouble is another similarity that can be pointed out, and also the soundtrack used to punctuate the suspense scenes.

 

9. Diabolique (1955) – Henri-Georges Clouzot

Diabolique

Nicole and Christina are, respectively, the lover and the wife of the same man, Michel. Not only are they both aware of the situation, but they are also close friends, despite differences in their personalities: Nicole has a strong personality, is confident and self-assured, while Christina is sensitive, fragile and insecure. Both are submissive to the oppressive figure of Michel, who mistreats them in various ways.

After a series of countless humiliations and assaults, the two decide to put an end to Michel’s abuses, plotting a meticulous plan to end Michel’s life and break free from the cruelties of the man. Despite Christina’s difficulty in following up on the endeavor, their plan seems to work, until Michel’s body mysteriously disappears.

Perhaps the greatest strength of this Clouzot movie is the mastery with which the director and screenwriter directs the plot, altering at least three times the central aim of the characters, with unusual little twists that keep the story interesting. The relationship between Nicole and Christina is another excellent factor in the film: at various times, Christina’s hesitations against Nicole’s firm stance will generate conflict and further contribute to the suspense.

 

8. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964) – José Mojica Marins

It’s not just the long title that resembles Argento’s movies. Written, directed and starring José Mojica Marins, the most important name of Brazilian horror cinema, “At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul” tells the story of Zé do Caixão, a gravedigger in a small country town; he is feared by its inhabitants to be an occult sadist, and is seen by some as a macabre wizard. He aims to produce a perfect son to continue his lineage, but his wife cannot have children. He ends up raping another woman to try to conceive with her, and from then on she promises to commit suicide to return from the dead and bring the soul of  Zé do Caixão to hell.

Directed on a very low budget, Marins’ film explores the elements of Catholicism and the occult very well, but most notable is the film’s ability to impact its strongest scenes, as well as its moments of self-reference and dark humor. Zé do Caixão is an anti-hero who closely resembles some of the villains in Argento movies, not only for the typical stylized characterization, but especially for the cruelty with which he treats his victims.

 

7. Amer (2009) – Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani

Written and directed by the French duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, “Amer” is a true tribute to the giallo classics. Everything about it seems to refer to the great films of Argento, Bava and Fulci: the soundtrack, the experimentalism of the editing, the abuse of the use of glaring color filters and palettes, the constant suspense, the dreamlike elements and the hallucinations. The film chronicles three moments in the life of protagonist Ana, a young woman constantly plagued by strange visions.

The point where “Amer” focuses most objectively is precisely on its erotic content: all the tools of cinematic language and codes of horror and giallo are used to metaphorize and try to represent in an unusual way Ana’s visions and delirious moments, always making allusions to the character’s sexual discoveries and fantasies. Despite the criticism it received in its release year, “Amer” remains an interesting option, especially for giallo fans, as it proposes a contemporary and differentiated approach to the genre.

 

6. A Quiet Place in the Country (1968) – Elio Petri

A Quiet Place in the Country (1968)

Elio Petri is best known for his political films, but in “A Quiet Place in the Country,” he shows his versatility in working with a very different record than he is used to, creating a psychedelic thriller that comes very close to the aesthetics employed in the big giallo movies.

Leonardo Ferri is a painter in crisis who decides to spend a season away from the city to try to regain his inspiration and come back to his painting. But his already troubled mind starts to grow affected by something mysterious in the place, and his delusions and hallucinations become more and more frequent, until they are almost out of control.

The soundtrack composed by master Ennio Morricone is unsettling and helps accentuate Ferri’s tone of madness and disturbance. The montage is often frantic and disconnected in an attempt to represent the protagonist’s mental state. The costumes, the colors and the exploration of sexual elements – other striking features of giallo – also appear strongly here, but it is interesting to note the metaphysical imprint that Petri manages to give to these elements, making the film a dreamlike reflection on the hardships of artistic creation.

8 Great Robert Pattinson Movies To Watch Before “The Batman”

About two months ago, Robert Pattinson was announced as the new Batman in Matt Reeves’ upcoming film and reactions were mixed.

While we can understand why some people don’t think he is a good choice to play the Caped Crusader – maybe they don’t consider his appearance right for the character – we don’t understand those who still associate Pattinson with his “Twilight” vampire days and underestimate his acting chops. But we are here to contradict them and its enough for them to watch some of the films on this list to change their minds.

Pattinson is a great actor and in the last decade he has proven his acting skills time after time, after starring in more than half a dozen of great movies. Of course, most of the movies on this list were not even close as popular as the “Twilight” saga, but infinitely better.

Here are 8 great movies starring Robert Pattinson which you could watch until “The Batman” comes to the big screen.

 

1. Good Time (2017)

One of 2017’s biggest surprises, “Good Time” is surely a classing in the making. Robert Pattinson gives one of his best performances so far as Connie Nikas, a character that has been compared by many to Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle from “Taxi Driver.” Connie and Nick, his mentally challenged brother, try to rob a New York City bank, but things don’t go according to plan when Nick gets caught and taken into custody by the police.

Pattinson’s character tries to rescue his brother, but his mission turns out to be way harder than initially thought when a series of unexpected events happen.

The action takes place during one night and this translates into an alert, entertaining movie which will keep you on the edge of your seat for its entire 99 minutes of running time. With the Safdie brothers’ fantastic direction, a memorable score from Oneohtrix Point Never (it didn’t win the Cannes Soundtrack Award for nothing) and a career-defining performance from Pattinson, this film is indeed a good time.

 

2. High Life (2018)

Claire Denis’ ambitious science-fiction film features Pattinson as Monte, a troubled man who has been sentenced with a death trip to space.

When he was young, Pattinson’s character has been sentenced to prison after killing one of his friends over a dog. In the present day, along with a bunch of other prisoners, he has been sent on a deadly space mission whose purpose is to find a black hole and extract and alternate form of energy from it.

On the ship with them there is also Dr. Dibs (Juliette Binoche), an older woman who we later find is also guilty of some very nasty deeds and who has another mission of her own: she is obsessed with artificial insemination experiments and demands the males on-board to donate their semen.

The ship is also equipped with an unusual room called “The Fuckbox” where crew members go to masturbate and which is the setting of a very erotic scene featuring Binoche. As you might have already noticed, Claire Denis has merged together some oddly interesting ideas for this film. Surprisingly, they work together very well and the result is a dreamlike movie which differentiates itself from every other sci-fi you’ve seen before.

“High Life” is a strange movie and its non-linear, somewhat confusing narrative and slow-burn atmosphere might not appeal to everyone. However, one thing is sure: Pattinson gives a magnificent performance as the complex protagonist and proves himself as one of the best actors of his generation.

 

3. The Lost City of Z (2016)

The Lost City of Z

Based on David Grann’s non-fiction novel of the same name, “The Lost City of Z” recounts the true story of the British explorer Col. Percy Fawcett (played by “Sons of Anarchy” star Charlie Hunnam)., who in the early 20th century disappeared along with his son while exploring the Amazon Jungle in search of a lost ancient city.

Robert Pattinson plays Corporal Henry Costin, who accompanied Fawcett in his first explorations. Despite his small on-screen time, Pattinson steals the show every time he shows up in a scene. His character, who is a bearded, straight-faced and very rational man, looks and acts so different to what we were used to from his Edward Cullen days that some might not even recognize Pattinson at first glance.

 

4. The Lighthouse (2019)

“The Lighthouse” has its premiere at this years Cannes Film Festival and, judging by its stellar reviews so far, we just can’t wait for it to get a wide release (in the USA, the film will hit the cinema screens on October 18).

“The Lighthouse” is directed by Robert Eggers, whose debut film “The Witch” (2015) was also a critical success and one of the best horror films of the decade, so the expectations are high for his new movie. “The Lighthouse” was shot on black and white 35mm film and in Academy aspect ratio (which is nearly a square), just like films used to be shot in its early days by pioneers such as Fritz Lang and G.W. Pabst. We hadn’t had the chance to watch “The Lighthouse” yet, but based on the trailers and the critics’ reactions, the cinematography is something special and it really has the looks of a film which comes from long-ago.

As for the story, we know that it will revolve around two lighthouse keepers from the 1890s (played by Robert Pattinson and William Dafoe) who live alone on a remote island and start to lose their sanity as they are facing their worst nightmares.

The good thing is that critics praised the film not only for its visuals but also for the fantastic performances given by Pattinson and Dafoe, who are the film’s sole protagonists. “There are moments where Pattinson is so transformative it’s jarring. You simply never thought he had it in him.” said Gregory Ellwood of Collider. This film will surely be one of the year’s must-sees.

10 Underrated Woody Allen Movies You May Have Never Seen

It’s hard to imagine Woody Allen as a whole package without diving deep into all of his works in film. His body of work can only be viewed as a whole, not separated from each other and not separated from him.

The story his films tell as a whole, and the story they tell separate of each other is actually the many aspects of Allens personal and professional life, all coming to a great BANG into whenever he decides to write and direct a film. In this list there is an attempt to clearly write out this aspect of his work, that both his personal stances and the films that he imagines are all part of one big idea – Woody Allen-ism.

 

1. Sleeper

Woody Allen was caught up right in the aftermath of the cultural change of the 1960s turbulent period of social change and political reform. For Woody this can both be seen in his personal philosophy and his moviemaking.

Here we are going to focus on his specific style, starting off with one of the earlier works that really capture Woody in all his spectacular zing. Sleeper is a perfect Allen tale, combined with inspiration from H.G. Welles from whom the story originates, as well as diving into the futuristic musings of the generation that was obsessed with the near and far future.

A simple set-up in which Allen, or in this case Myles (the character he is playing) is frozen in time to find himself in a police state where is an odd one out. Allen brilliantly parodies many aspects of the “spirit of the age”, providing an out of the ordinary humor to reference the new culture spreading from the youth movement as well as the political tendencies of the world which overwhelms him and his contemporaries. A light and refreshing watch for any Allen fan. Movies like this give a fresh twist on New Hollywood.

 

2. Interiors

Interiors

While already making a name for himself in the comedy genre, more notably the romantic comedy, Allen has never been one to shy from a more serious movie magic. Interiors in a way paves the path towards a more confident Allen in the drama genre.

The rules the film sets are very common for Allen in the rest of his career, it echoes the themes and topics he has personal struggles with, the film reel runs simultaneously with the blood in the veins of Allen as he paints an image of a contemporary and realistic society where family relations come to a thundering crash.

Along with the breakthrough Allen is making in the genre with his exquisite touch, the film is famous for the gathering of accolade nominations, most notably Diane Keaton. She comes off in the film riding on the success of the previously critically acclaimed Annie Hall. While made in the shadow of the much more popular sounding Annie Hall, Interiors also has a lot to offer for an audience looking to enjoy Keaton again having a great performance in a more serious role, as well as Allen trying out a few new tricks.

 

3. Love and Death

love-and-death

An ode to classical and great literature is often found in the movies of the second part of the 20th century. Looking over the “Woody Allen Golden Age” of the 1970s we encounter a very odd and unconventional film in the ones we have been following so far from his career. Love and Death is a perfect Allen-esque film where he can excel in his poetic, philosophical and mock capabilities.

The more Allen evolves as a filmmaker and auteur who is capable to achieve greatness in the realm of parody, the more we see the influence of both his intellectual capacities, his melancholy and nihilism as well as pop-culture and traditional culture references that allude a lot to Allens own personal heroes in the commentary he gives in this movie.

The title is very reminiscent of the Freudian maxim that Eros and Thanatos (Love and Death) are the driving force of society. In this film Allen turns all these great concepts of psychology, art and storytelling into one enjoyable art-house piece of sheer parody.

 

4. Husbands and Wives

Husbands-and-Wives

It seems that the leitmotif of the romantic comedy genre in Allens films gives us a insight into his “favorite” subject which simultaneously seems to be his biggest struggle – marriage. In no other work perhaps is this more blatantly stated than in the movie which title can stand alone as a testimony to this theme that Allen is so keen on vivisecting and exploring. The two marriages that stir up the plot for this film function as a sort of a mirror to each other, as well as the film mirroring Allens reality of his own marriages and struggles in life.

Allen injects himself into the film that as we are watching, and as with most of his work we are totally sucked into a play on both fiction and reality as Allen real life always seems to coincide with the creative genius put forth to blur the lines between Woody Allen the person and Woody Allen the director, writer, actor, who is simultaneously playing all of these roles and conducting a great experiment firstly on himself.

Allen is doing this film from a more mature, yet more chaotic vision in his life, artistically he has reached a new level of experimentation, while personally he is drowning in his own struggles, a perfect fit for a new milestone in his career.

 

5. Melinda and Melinda

Melinda and Melinda

Allen often dives into the “meta-narrative” in his films, so that we know and are aware that the author himself is commenting on his own work, perhaps mostly what Allen likes to do is make us think how his films have a natural flow while being lly very disjointed at the same time. It’s really and inside look into a tormented artistic mind, that through a variety of stories comes to life and is manifested into the big screen.

Melinda and Melinda follows an interesting, yet not so captivating at first parallel story structure, where we get to see the aftermath of a very old debate, if life in more comic or tragic, the potential the setting has offers and invites for a more interesting outcome, the poor delivery in the film is perhaps being felt in the not so though-out writing process, that as typically of Allen borrows from his previous masterpieces.

Commenting on his own style and work sometimes is a key theme for Allen, but it seems he is better at executing artistic genius when he just explores his own subconscious more than his profession. A film worth watching to offer a more broader perspective on the work of Woody Allen.

10 Famous Movies That Insult Our Intelligence

Prometheus

It is now a widely known phenomenon that Hollywood only cares about its business. Yes, once a while, we got a film that is unique in its own way, maintaining the boundary created by the Hollywood system and creating creative chances alike, but they are truly rare.

The welcome escape is independent studios which are now lashing out good films in a continuous way, but not everyone is a fan of these studios. The mainstream industry also has a certain responsibility to create intelligent and socially important films, but with changing times Hollywood didn’t change but transmogrified itself in dull franchise outings.

The films listed here are not definite bad films, there are some decent and good films mentioned, but the effect of careless in the film’s treatment is clear. Hollywood has taken us for granted, now outright insult our intellect, knowing that the sheets will follow. Without further ado, here are ten films that insult our intelligence.

 

1. American Hustle

american hustle Christian Bale

A Gimmick doesn’t make a film, and impersonations certainly don’t. Director David O. Russell tried so hard to make a Scorsese film, he forgot that apart from atmospheric, a film also needed a minimum thematic cohesion to work out. He also showed short-sightedness in casting the films lead players – Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence being the highlights in a miscast film. Cooper delivers a hugely monotonous one-dimensional act throughout the film and Jennifer Lawrence is misused in a sidelined story.

This is a black comedy caper film, but the uninteresting plot and uninspired writing can’t project itself to be so. Maintaining the rule of genre films, the twist comes in the climax but again presents itself as a forced necessity. Just because it is a con film, it is not acceptable that any random stupid twist should be thrown to entertain and surprise the audience, especially when there was not even a single cleverly lurked around suggestion skewed on.

Audiences are not dumb that will eat anything which is fed to them in the name of entertainment. It is high time that the filmmakers start to take note that the viewers also possesses intelligence and a brain.

 

2. The Life of David Gale

The Life Of David Gale (2003)

In this case, the film and the behind the camera story are equally tragic. Alan Parker was a celebrated filmmaker with masterpieces like “ Pink Floyd: The Wall” and “Mississippi Burning” in his filmography, and no one believes that he will end his career with a miss like “The Life of David Gale”.

Intended to make an anti-capital punishment film, Parker wrongly made a version whose message becomes pro-capitalist at best. This is ridiculous to think that a person will frame himself to stir up the judicial system. Even if the viewer suspends their disbelief for the sake of story progression, the character motivation is not strongly portrayed in the film.

A film of a different genre, but in “JFK” the motivation of Jim Garrison was prominent, that he cant relief himself if he can’t investigate the truth behind the JFK assassination. The viewer has no reason, prior the shocking event, to disbelief the words of Gale; this is a simple case of bad filmmaking and an improper building where the twist comes suddenly in the hope of dumbfounding the audience. The issue is strong, but it needs a strong film too to start conversations in the marketplace. Also, Kate Winslet is wasted in the film.

 

3. Prometheus

Prometheus (2012)

Visually and thematically, “Prometheus” is a strong contender in the filmography of Ridley Scott, a man forever confused with the world’s inception. He also tried to tie the film’s events with the “Alien” series, making a spiritual prequel. But trying to play the god game, he forgot to bind the film’s logical loose ends, just like his “engineers”. It is unlikely to meet scientists stupider than the one Ridley portrayed in this film.

Who takes off the helmet in an alien planet where dangerous microscopic orgasms can live, even if the air is breathable? The dumb scientists continue to explore the planet, even in the events of an upcoming storm, and doesn’t manage to create a rule of permissible territory or diameter. Witnessing the first alien, a biologist pokes at the creatures face observing more.

This is a matter of common intelligence, and Ridley wants us to believe that this biologist didn’t have any. The decision of Weyland corporation to keep this tour a secret is also astonishing to believe. News of such magnitude is a huge share booster for a company, and ignorant sci-fi wants us to believe that corporate bosses only operate for an ideal and curiosity.

 

4. Titanic

titanic ending

To this day, everyone laughs about the ludicrous physics that James Cameron wanted us to believe in, and at the same time, enjoys watching the film. This is a perfect “So bad it is good” film, except the budget and the spectacle. It is time-wasting to discuss whether the piece of wood had enough space to hold both Rose and Jack or not; It had enough.

A tearjerker can take such offensive and unimaginable routes to build to a suitable climax, it is excused, but what about the other amusing foolishnesses? When the ship is sinking, the violin players are playing in full volume to tame the riches in their final moment.

Life doesn’t work like that Mr. Cameron, it is your imagination. It is time to die, and death doesn’t know the rules of social strata. It is mass hysteria, not a romantic goodbye as portrayed in the film. In the final moments, when Rose is hanging on the woods, she still has the pairs of pumps of her feet intact. Because it is blasphemy to lose the pumps, it will lower her status. Not only technical mastery, but crisp logic is also needed to make a film, Mr. Cameron.

 

5. The Core

“The Core” feels best when taken for lightly, knowing that it is gonna be a pseudoscience disaster B-movie, but considering how many dull films are out there, sometimes we need more from the films. The filmmakers had taken the viewers for granted, that inserting unscientific and borderline absurd theories wouldn’t be nitpicked by the audience and it feels surreal in the age of “Interstellar” where Kip Thorne worked as scientific consultant taking huge production amounts of money.

The films cast have a small but decent time to solve the rotating earth problem, starting the magnetic field to save the planet from doomsday like starting the engine of a dead motor. From the days of primary education, we are reminded by our teachers that the magnetic field is protecting us from massive solar radiation and it is common sense, that if the magnetic field stops working, we will be exposed to the devastating effects within a minute.

But the filmmakers were so adamant to make it a laugh riot that they excused such simple logic and also introduced a small EMP device that can be the solution to the earth’s problem. One should not have to look beyond the car’s roof to anticipate massive stupidity; when the golden gate is collapsing, the roof of the cars remain intact. Even if all this scientific accuracy is excused for entertainment, the acting is disastrous and the major players have no cohesive character arc.

The 10 Most Intelligent Horror Films of The 21st Century

That a horror film can be considered intelligent is a fact taken for granted today; but it hasn’t always been so. The horror genre has a bit of a spotty history when it comes to receiving respect and the requisite funding needed to earn that esteem. In the early days of cinema, horror films tended to be kept out of the celebratory spotlight and relegated to the corner of the public stage normally reserved for various sideshows. While careening from sensationalism to extravagance to camp to outright silliness, Scare fare has persistently sought equal footing in the cinematic market.

With the passing years has come increased acclaim for the horror films that strive to “get it right,” and many of these now rank among the most elite movies. The 21st century has carried on that trend, and produced a number of classic entries into the horror canon. Here are ten of the smartest and most elegant efforts of the current century’s first twenty years.

 

10. A Dark Song (2016) – Liam Gavin

A Dark Song (2016)

In a genre overflowing with oversimplified and dumbed down magic, A Dark Song stands out from the crowd. A quintessential example of a thinking person’s horror film, it spells out its magic in the best possible way – not by watering it down, but rather by presenting it in as much thorough detail as a movie script can contain. In fact, it’s one of the most accurate presentations of ritual magic ever put on screen.

A grieving mother hires an occultist to help her contact the ghost of her dead son, and the two move to an isolated house to begin a months-long magic ritual. At the end of the rigorous rite, the occultist promises, the mother will gain her wish. The magical process turns out to be difficult and exhausting, and after several months tempers start to flare and isolation takes its toll. The magic will get results, but can the pair stick with the program carefully enough to get the results they want? Either way, A Dark Song builds to an unforgettable climax that’s worth the wait.

 

9. The Village (2004) – M. Night Shyamalan

Though scores of self-styled horror critics dismissed The Village for failing to live up to their own preconceived notions of what it should be, many serious students of cinema recognized that it contains more than meets the eye.

Those willing to approach the film on its own substantial merits will find a remarkably astute analysis of the psychology of fear and the mechanisms of cult control. Couple these intelligent themes with an engaging storyline, and the result is one of the smartest recent films in the horror genre.

The setting is a quiet village in the woods where residents live a simple rural existence. All seems idyllic, but we soon learn that the woods surrounding the village are home to terrifying creatures which the villagers live in constant fear of.

The locals have formed a truce with the creatures based on humans staying out of the woods, but when one of their own becomes dangerously sick the villagers have to find medicine somewhere. The situation leads to a confrontation with the creatures which challenges the worldview of all who live in the village.

 

8. The VVitch (2015) – Robert Eggers

The Witch

The Witch has a decidedly retro horror feel while still managing to succeed as a modern classic. Refusing to compromise its own voice, it’s a film that escapes easy categorization and description. What’s certain is that The Witch is understated and elegant while remaining genuinely unsettling. Through its choice of language, which is minimalistic and eloquent, the movie immediately pulls the viewer into its own universe, where anything is possible.

In 17th century New England, a local family decides to leave their insular church congregation and start a new life outside the community. The church elders declare that evil and trouble will certainly follow the family, and when things start to go wrong, appearances agree.

When a tragedy befalls the secluded family, suspicions flare among the family members, and even accusations of witchcraft start to fly. Has the family in fact been cursed, or has isolation loosened their grip on reality? Waiting to discover the answer is a cinematic pleasure in The Witch.

 

7. The Wailing (2016) – Na Hong-jin

When a Japanese man comes to live in a South Korean town, he keeps to himself and lives a quiet life. But, coinciding with his arrival, a strange sickness breaks out in the village, and the stranger comes under immediate suspicion. A police investigator tackles the case with an open mind, but is quickly deluged with wild stories about the mysterious newcomer. As the body count increases, paranoia and fear threaten the sanity and the lives of all involved.

This South Korean film delivers its terror with a double-edged sword: not only does it depict genuinely frightening physical events, it also dives into the dangerous psychological realms of paranoia and suspicion. Delving into themes of Eastern mythology, The Wailing shows itself to be a supremely literate movie while still unleashing plenty of frights upon those who dare to undertake a viewing.

 

6. The Devil’s Backbone (2001) – Guillermo del Toro

Horror master Guillermo del Toro helped to build his considerable reputation with this chilling classic. As always, del Toro’s horror film is both stylish and terrifying, with neither quality being diminished by the presence of the other. And while its message, partly relating to the events of the Spanish Civil War, is undeniably intelligent, The Devil’s Backbone never sacrifices the importance of the narrative at hand.

The Devil’s Backbone presents a young orphan boy named Carlos who is sent to the Santa Lucia School for training and care. The tenants of the school are a mixture of kindness, apathy, and hostility, but Carlos soon realizes that his new home houses dangerous secrets. The ghost of another boy stalks the halls, and may hold answers to the mysteries of the school.

10 Terrible Movies That Blew Awesome Concepts

What starts as a great idea can lose its way as others begin to add to the story. Films have many elements that can affect the overall experience, and a film is only as strong as its weakest link. Rewrites, bad acting, interference from producers or studio executives, or just a bad suggestion can derail the promise of a concept. These films started as interesting concepts that had promise but they weren’t able to live up to their initial promise.

 

10. The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur

What if the asteroid that caused the mass extinction of the dinosaurs missed? And what sounded like a cool concept that could have resulted in any number of interesting stories ended up as a cliché boy and his dog story. Except the twist is that the boy is a dinosaur named Arlo and the dog is a human boy named Spot.

The story focuses on how Arlo is the runt of the litter in his family of farming dinosaurs, but his mom and dad love him even though he has a habit of messing up. Arlo becomes lost after getting caught in a storm and he finds Spot and together they embark on the adventure of a life time, and not only do they find their home but they each discovered themselves and a friend along the way.

The film was in development for years and they eventually had to retool the entire film and even replace all the voice actors except for Frances McDormand, who plays the mother. The end result comes across as rushed and empty. And what’s even worse is the fact that this is a film by Pixar, a studio known for its scripts that are creative, sharp, and insightful when it comes to explaining the human experience in a way that entertains and allows the philosophical side of audience’s brain to run wild.

The concept is very simple but it’s a compelling question because it draws on the imagination we had as children. A time when most went through a dinosaur obsessed period, so when we are given this what if question an assortment of answers pop into the brain and I doubt many pictured a world where dinosaurs, simply become anthropomorphic.

 

9. Click

A man (Adam Sandler) is shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond and he finds a section at the back of the store, marked Beyond. A crazy inventor (Christopher Walken) is found in the Beyond and he presents Sandler with a device that could help solve all of his problems, a universal remote that can control the universe. The universe essentially becomes a home entertainment system that you can pause, rewind, fast forward, mute, etc.

Like a concept from an episode of “The Twilight Zone” the downside of a great thing begins to show as the man starts to see that his life is beginning to lose the small things in life that make it great and he is losing the family that he once had.

This film feels like it was written as a sci-fi drama that unfortunately found its way onto Adam Sandler’s desk who decided to make it into a comedy that has to resort to cheap laughs as Sandler acts as though he is making up his lines as he goes. The film benefits mainly from the supporting cast who help to show the possibilities that could have been. Julie Kavner and Henry Winkler deliver sensitive performances that show the heart at the centre of the script.

As aging parents they represent the time that he is losing as he is trying to speed through the mundane aspects of his life. Through watching them he sees that time with his family is not mundane but little moments that are fleeting. His parents took pleasure in raising a family, which is something he is not doing with his own family.

The film touches on the possibilities and the consequences of controlling the world around you, but it always goes back to lame jokes and a tepid performance by a guy who should only make films that were meant to be comedies.

“Click” has the elements of a great sci-fi; a fantastical object to drive the story forward, a twilight zone twist so that the tale becomes a cautionary one, and a mysterious character who resides in the beyond and is hinted at to being more than just an inventor.

 

8. Bird Box

People are going crazy and killing themselves and others. There are monsters that are causing these reaction, but no one can see them. If you look you will die. “Bird Box” boasted a great cast and a director, Susanne Bier, who proved her merits as a director with the films “In a Better World” and “After the Wedding.”

What sounded like a promising film and one that produced some memorable intense scenes as the survivors started a life where they couldn’t view the world outside the house. The film failed to create fully fleshed out characters and instead relied on flat characters who felt like they were created by following a checklist of interesting characters; the old rich republican white guy, the bitchy white woman who is closed off emotionally, the fat girl with a good personality, and the bleeding heart liberal who opens his door to others.

The films redeems itself from the endless eye rolling with the scenes on the river as the Sandra Bullock character embarks on a journey as an attempt to save the boy and girl for whom she is the sole guardian and parent of. The river scenes show the potential of the concept and how it would have been better served if it focused essentially on one character instead of adding a bunch of supporting characters who were mainly there to add to the body count.

The problem with most concepts is how they end and this film is a great example of how a concept was taking but failed because the writer didn’t know what to do with it. The grand conclusion to the film is that blind people created a utopic refuge in the middle of nowhere.

Because the blind are immune so in this new world they can strive. And now that they have Bullock has saved the children and delivered them to a place where they can have a life she will finally name them. And cue the beautiful sunlight in the garden and she can now open her eyes. The heavy handedness takes away from a concept would have worked better as a more straightforward thriller.

 

7. What Dreams May Come

what-dreams-may-come-robin-williams

A man who has recently lost his son and daughter has now died in a car crash and he is in the afterlife. The world before him is a beautiful oil painting that can delve into. After exploring a beautiful afterlife that he is guided through by his son and daughter (who have chosen new appearances) he discovers that his wife who is now alone in the mortal world has committed suicide. He will embark on a journey to hell to save the soul of his wife.

The art direction and Oscar winning visual effects are the saving features of a film that suffered from a longer screen time (1 hour, 54 minutes) then it required. Tvisuals are beautiful but the filmmakers rely too heavily on the spectacle instead of the mental toll that these events would have on the characters or their driving force for their actions. Love is a compelling reason to do things, but is a crutch for character behaviour.

Robin Williams stars fresh off of his Oscar win for “Good Will Hunting” and he does a fine job, but he lacks the gravitas to allow his character to be a convincing driving force in the world that he has found himself in. The film draws on depictions of the afterlife found in renaissance paintings and the book “Dante’s Inferno” and these sources of inspiration would be better if the filmmakers committed more to a story that explores the affects that this existence would have on the recently departed.

There are 3 worlds depicted, the mortal world, Heaven, and Hell, but the contrast found in all 3 are not explored fully outside of great work by art directors, but these realities are more than just visuals. The ambitious work on the visuals elevated this film into becoming memorable, but it detracts from the story and serves merely as a crutch.

 

6. The Monuments Men

Hitler has amassed a vast treasure in valuable artwork by way of thievery and murder. Now the American army must train art historians to go into Europe to save the art and culture of a people who have suffered greatly under the oppressive arm of Nazi Germany. And it’s based on a true story.

George Clooney wrote , directed, produced, and starred in this film and surrounded himself with some of the greatest character actors working today; John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, and Jean Dujardin. These actors don’t get the screen time they deserve and if it wasn’t for the attachment the audience has towards the actors they wouldn’t care when the characters die on screen.

The film has many great characters and subplots, but they are never fully developed in favour of giving more screen time to Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett, and although they both do a decent job their storyline falls flat.

The concept is great but the biggest reason it is a terrible film is because the concept would have been better served if it was made as a mini-series where the story and characters could receive the screen time that they deserved to fully flesh out the characters and their individual adventures as they spread out over Europe on separate missions.

10 Great World Cinema Classics You May Have Never Seen

Delving into the plethora of great films from around the world can sometimes be a daunting experience. With so many countries having produced so many incredible films over the last hundred years or so, it is difficult for any film fan to seek out and watch the so-called ‘classics’ they are yet to see. With that in mind, here is 10 great world cinema classics you’ve probably never seen, but definitely should.

 

10. The Big City (India, Satyajit Ray, 1963)

The Big City

Most known for his breathtaking “Apu Trilogy”, filmmaker Satyajit Ray is perhaps the most well-known name in Indian cinema. Which is why it’s so surprising that one of his best films, “The Big City” is hardly ever mentioned among film debates. Based on the short story “Abataranika”, written by Narendranath Mitra, this 1963 Bengali masterpiece stars Madhabi Mukherjee as Arati, who unsettles her orthodox family by getting a job as a saleswoman.

Evident in his entire filmography, Satyajit Ray was concerned with the role of women in this new, independent and developing India. Once Arati departs from her house and starts pacing the claustrophobic streets of Calcutta, Ray switches to handheld filming, an unstable experience for any viewer, emphasising this step into a larger world for Arati, one which is uncompromising and unhinged.

From this moment onwards, “The Big City” transforms into a perfect early-feminism film, respectful to all of its characters in a tender yet realistic way. It’s truly a testament to Ray’s work and how beautifully he can capture seemingly mundane events and stories.

 

9. Black Girl (France/Senegal, Ousmane Sembène, 1966)

Directed and written by Ousmane Sembène, “Black Girl” stars Mbissine Thérèse Diop as Diouna, a Senegalese woman who moves from Dakar in Senegal to Antibes in France to work for a wealthy, white French family. “Black Girl” was one of the pioneering films to address the larger issues of post-colonial identity within Europe and Africa.

In terms of its symbolistic take on racism, especially with the African mask that Diouana gives to her employers, “Black Girl” could be seen as a precursor to films such as Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and TV shows like FX’s “Atlanta”. It truly is a testament to how ahead of its time this French-Senegalese piece of work is, that a film made in 1966 can be so bold in its storytelling. What’s even more impressive, is that this hour-long masterpiece was Sembène’s first feature-length film.

With a spellbinding performance from Mbissine Thérèse Diop, “Black Girl” is a truly heart-breaking tale of racial and female identity.

 

8. Le Trou (France, Jacques Becker, 1960)

“Le Trou”, also known as “The Hole” is an utterly gripping adaptation of José Giovanni’s 1957 novel “The Break”. Helmed by Jacques Becker, who was formally an assistant to legendary director Jean Renoir, this French crime thriller is constantly being regarded as the greatest prison escape film ever made yet is mostly unknown among most movie goers. It focuses on a young French man who is forced to move to a different prison cell while awaiting his trial. Upon meeting his four new inmates, they feel compelled to include him in their scheme to escape the prison.

What makes “Le Trou” different from most prison escape films, is the almost meditative tone throughout. Becker will craft gorgeous long takes of pure silence, just focussing on the characters digging or hammering or thinking.

Cinematographer Ghislain Cloquet captures these determined French men much like a typical film-noir cinematographer would capture a gritty detective. Through the worn out eyes of each inmate, we are able to glimpse into the past that got them there in the first place, and it is harrowing yet beautiful at the same time.

Even more impressive is the fact that the cast of “Le Trou” is for the most part, made up of non-actors, emphasising the anonymity of each prisoner. “Le Trou” is one of the most enthralling and stressful prison films of all time, and it’s a shame that many people haven’t seen it, including the director Jacques Becker, who passed away just weeks after principal photography had ended.

 

7. Pastoral: To Die in the Country (Japan, Shūji Terayama, 1974)

Pastoral To Die in the Country

“Pastoral: To Die in the Country”, also known as “Pastoral Hide and Seek” is an avant-garde, experimental piece of work by Japanese poet, director, dramatist, writer and photographer Shūji Terayama. This mostly unknown third-entry in the director’s filmography is his most personal and surreal effort, a somewhat autobiographical take on his own childhood.

Many will bask in Terayama’s use of symbolism to create ghastly yet alluring images, yet mid-way through this Japanese psychedelic masterpiece, the shift changes as we discover we are watching remnants of an incomplete film of a director attempting to catch the essence of his own childhood. Confused? So is everyone.

The more Terayama uses this film to delve into his own subconscious and search for answers that will quench his own curiosity, the more dreamlike it becomes. The use of colour must be mentioned. Gorgeous reds sweep across the screen, representing love and passion, yet also danger and warning, two sides of the same coin that is this sometimes-bonkers film.

What makes the experience even eerier is the use of white make-up, covering the actor’s bodies and creating a dream-like, almost supernatural experience. Ghosts of the past, dancing within one man’s own conscious. A war against your own inner-demons, disguised as a fantasy body horror for the ages. Haunting.

 

6. Touki Bouki (Senegal, Djibril Diop Mambéty, 1973)

Touki Bouki

Before, Senegal gained its independence, filmmakers could only produce films that were accepted by the colonisers, amounting to a sleuth of unrealistic, pandering portraits of Africa. However, in 1960, after Senegal gained its independence, and 13 years later, with no formal training, and only $30,000 (obtained in part by the Senegalese government), writer and director Djibril Diop Mambéty made “Touki Bouki”, also known as “Journey of the Hyena”.

One of the pioneering achievements of African cinema, “Touki Bouki” tells the story of a charismatic vaquero and a bored university student, who plan to escape their tedious rural lives by travelling to Paris on a skull-mounted motorcycle in search of adventure and money.

It’s the combination of compelling performances from the condensed cast, especially Magaye Niang, and the avant-garde filmmaking clearly inspired by the French New Wave (particularly Godard). Georges Bracher’s cinematography is surprisingly stunning considering the budget, capturing the vast landscapes of Senegal.

The lingering want for a better life is what fuels this romantic-drama, and the experimental use of camera work, sudden moments of pure fantasy and disbelief and the dazzling use of music is what makes “Touki Bouki” one of the most important African films ever made.

The 10 Most Rewatchable Sci-fi Films of The 21st Century

In the 2000s, great visual effects caused damage to stories, and plenty of screenplays with no intellectual depth have threatened sci-fi cinema. But there are still excellent sci-fi films that have important words to say about the past, future, and existence of humanity. And we live in a time when all of this has to be said.

Films like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Solaris,” “Brazil,” “Metropolis” and “Blade Runner” still affect us today. The exquisite visual effects that feed the story, the futuristic vision, and the stunning atmospheres deeply impressed the audiences.

There were great directors who followed and made unique and attractive science fiction films. Here are the most re-watchable sci-fi films of the 21st century.

 

10. Looper (2012)

Looper

“Looper” is a markedly inventive sci-fi written and directed by Rian Johnson, which is his best work since “Brick.”

In 2077, the mafia uses illegal time travel and sends what they want to eliminate to the past, killing them by the “loopers.” One of the best expert loopers to kill victims from the future is Joe. And his new victim, somehow, is himself, who is coming from 30 years later. Unable to kill his victim, Joe must solve this dilemma or he will be killed.

This gritty sci-fi offers a breathless adventure with its intelligent screenplay and impressive editing. When those combine with great acting by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, it becomes entertaining from start to finish.

Whilst emphasizing the time travel as a motif, it demonstrates the consequences of the choices we make in life, changing our future and our past.

“Looper” is a new approach to mind-bending genre material and a great stop for those who have recently had trouble finding quality science fiction movies.

 

9. Snowpiercer (2013)

Bong Joon-Ho, who recently won the Palme d’Or, is one of the best directors of our era. His immersive and conspicuous work “Snowpiercer,” which is based on the French comic book “Trans Le Transperceneige,” might be a great choice in getting to know his diverse cinema.

In 2031, an experiment to stop global warming went wrong and the world returned to the ice age. The few people that survived this disaster had to live on a train called Snowpiercer. However, the people on the train are divided into two sections as we often see in real life. The permanently oppressed rear wagon people begin to plan a riot.

Bong drags us away; he skillfully decides where to stop and where to breathe. “Snowpiercer” is a harsh sociological, political, and economic criticism of society and system, with its story that completely destroys the living conditions of hierarchy.

This challenging dystopia also features a dream cast with Chris Evans, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, and Octavia Spencer.

It is a technically flawless single location film that requires thinking, and is a refreshing parody of the global agenda.

 

8. Annihilation (2018)

The quality of Netflix films has been an argumentative subject, but this thought-provoking story might be one of the best examples for those who think they make “good” films as well. It’s written and directed by Alex Garland, based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer.

Lena’s (Natalie Portman) husband went to work and she didn’t hear from him for a long time, so she is caught between joy and anxiety after her husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) suddenly returns home. After a couple of meetings with each other, Kane suddenly begins to experience a crisis. Kane’s crisis leads Lena to witness a secret mission of the state.

A border, called the “Shimmer,” which has been growing day by day, has changed all of the nature around it, and Kane as well, who went on a voyage to the border. Lena decides to take part in expeditions to explore what happened to her husband.

Instead of saying big words about the course of humanity, this film emphasizes the course of the adventures of the characters and the eeriness of the unknown. It leads the audience to be drawn into the new world in the “Shimmer.”

This uncanny journey of characters gives the audience a satisfying cruise while saluting the mind of horror master John Carpenter’s “The Thing.” Although it resembles Tarkovsky’s “Stalker” in its story and plot, it is different at some points. Whilst “Stalker” offers science-religion-art notions to debate with great dialogue, in “Annihilation,” different forms of life engage, unite, and conflict.

 

7. Donnie Darko (2001)

donnie-darko

In “Donnie Darko,” which was filmed in just 28 days, it’s really hard to figure out what the hell is going on. This is an enigmatic film that has been controversial since the day it was released, and numerous theories about it still arise today. Director Richard Kelly vanished after the film and has made terrible movies since, but “Donnie Darko” is absolutely amazing.

On a night in 1988, a young man named Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is pulled out of his room by a human-rabbit creature and is dragged into a secret. The creature told the young boy that in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds, the world will end.

Donnie cannot get over the shock of the event, and under the weight of this great secret, he ends his entire social life and follows this mysterious rabbit.

The breathtaking calmness and questions lead the audience into uncomfortable moments filled with pure tension. Jake Gyllenhaal’s fabulous performance helps to create an eerie, calm atmosphere.

This daring masterpiece has the power to leave different traces in all periods of life. With the perfect uncanny aura that breaks perceptions, “Donnie Darko” is undoubtedly one of the most original examples of the science-fiction-thriller genre.

 

6. Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men 2006

Alfonso Cuaron’s modern classic is one of the most shocking and memorable examples of dystopian cinema in recent years. It’s a harsh criticism of today’s ideology and a great reason to love cinema.

This time we face a very different story from aliens, natural disasters and wars: infertility. In the world of 2027, the last child born was born in 2009 and was killed at the age of 18 as a result of a terrible incident. Women who have not had children for 18 years have become infertile in a way that we cannot learn why.

On the one hand, while the world faces the extinction of humanity, third world countries are breaking through poverty, and the developed countries are being dragged into civil war and have to deal with refugees. In this mess, an apolitical man named Theo (Clive Owen) miraculously tries to save Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey), who is pregnant.

Long shots are a powerful factor in the sense of reality. Emmanuel Lubezki and Cuaron created a perfect landscape using shades of gray to support the chaotic environment. Magnificent performances from Owen, Michael Caine and Julianne Moore perfectly contribute to the reality of the film.

“Children of Men” is a bold and multi-layered film that mercilessly strikes at the heart of fascist politics, and is quite thought-provoking with its political and religious expansions.

10 Great Movies To Watch If You Liked “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Unspooling over a handful of days in February and August of 1969, Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the director’s love letter to Tinseltown, albeit one inked with a poison pen. Atypical of QT, his latest is a giddy grab bag of pop culture references and playful allusions to Hollywood’s past and potential futures.

While there are dozens of movies specifically referenced in the film (and you’ll find a few of them on this list), there are also several that we’ve included that involve either people who are in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, or that are thematically similar, or share the same locales while exploring complementary conceits and perceptions. While not a definitive listing, it’s a great starting point and there’s bound to be a few surprises for casual Tarantino fans and serious cineastes as well. Enjoy!

 

10. The Nice Guys (2016)

The Nice Guys

Set in Los Angeles circa 1977, Shane Black’s neo-noir private eye comedy isn’t just a valentine to the La La Land that used to be, like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Nice Guys is an edgy and artful buddy picture at heart. True, the Nice Guys takes place almost a decade after Tarantino’s film, but it does detail another turning point for the film industry, at that odd time when porn films were peaking and as close to mainstream as they ever were.

Black’s The Nice Guys is as fast-paced as it is funny, with great performances from Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, and Angourie Rice, upon whom a fair bit of ink has been spilled hailing her turn as Gosling’s streetsmart daughter. This is most certainly true, but also making a memorable appearance is Margaret Qualley, who also makes a meal of her scenes as a spaced-out hippie in Tarantino’s OUATIH.

So, while Black’s noir-ish riff on LA is an elegiac and nostalgic confection, it shares enough of that grit, grim humor, comedic rapport, and quick wit that it will appeal to fans of both films for many of the same reasons. Recommended.

 

9. The Wrecking Crew (1968)

The Wrecking Crew

The fourth and final film in the spy-fi Matt Helm film series, each featuring “the King of Cool” Dean Martin, director Phil Karlson’s The Wrecking Crew isn’t exactly cubic zirconia comedy, it’s pretty light weight stuff. That said, this particular swinging-spy comedy franchise does have some easy-going attributes that make it a great artifact of the late 60s.

The main draw to The Wrecking Crew is Sharon Tate’s charismatic performance as the bumbling Danish guide and possible top secret British agent Freya Carlson (fun fact: Freya Carson was the inspiration for “Felicity Shagwell” in 1999’s Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me).

Freya, when not taking some silly pratfalls, does manage to kick some butt (action scenes in the film were choreographed by Bruce Lee, and this is illustrated briefly in a sequence in OUATIH), and while Martin mostly calls in his performance, this film also earns extra cool points for giving Chuck Norris his first ever screen role.

This is the film featured in a couple of scenes in OUATIH when Sharon (Margot Robbie) takes it in as a matinee, having a sweet exchange with a ticket-seller and then a little later, sharing the audience’s laughter and mirth. It’s one of the most euphoric, dreamlike sequences of OUATIH, watching as Robbie’s Sharon watches the real Tate on screen. It’s subtle but effective, and helps to illustrate that Sharon Tate was a real person, full of life and light, and not just a fatality of a hideous crime.

 

8. The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Big Lebowski

“I’m the Dude, so that’s what you call me. You know, that or, His Dudeness, or Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing,” explains the titular unemployed layabout, in the Coen Brothers’ most idiosyncratic and outright enjoyable shaggy-dog misadventure.

As the Dude in question, Jeff Bridges will be forever identified as the personable pothead, who’s Raymond Chandler-inspired exploration to nowhere (The Big Lebowski rubric is a reference to his 1939 novel “The Big Sleep”) has spawned one of the most fervid fanbases around, and it’s easy to see why.

Sure, on the surface there may not be a lot of obvious interconnections between The Big Lebowski and Tarantino’s OUATIH, but both films share a whimsical narration that unfolds in Los Angeles, where the audience spends a lot of time just hanging out with a wide assortment of people; some close to fame, others on the periphery, and all fascinating to varying degrees.

The eccentric characters that the Dude encounters –– the brilliantly inspired cast includes Steve Buscemi, Flea, John Goodman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, John Turturro, and many more –– in vignette fashion across L.A. and environs, pay careful homage to film noir conventions, along with the witty repartee, dangerous dealings, and unconventional, almost stream of logic maneuverings, making for a verifiable comedic masterwork.

 

7. The Great Escape (1963)

Great Escape

The classic jailbreak film from John Sturges, adapted from Paul Brickhill’s 1950 novel wherein he recounts first-hand his true life story of a daring mass escape from Stalag Luft III, a POW camp in Poland during World War II. This thrilling, fact-based account of Allied soldiers escaping their Nazi captors via tunnelling out of their prison is a thrilling cinema classic.

In Tarantino’s OUATIH we are treated to a sequence in which DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton discusses that he was once shortlisted for the lead role in The Great Escape and we even get a glimpse of what The Great Escape might have looked like with Dalton in Steve McQueen’s breakthrough star turn. Additionally, a scene from OUATIH that unfolds at the Playboy Mansion has a cameo by Damian Lewis as McQueen, who plays the part rather spectacularly.

Leading the big deal cast of The Great Escape is of course McQueen as American Captain Virgil Hills and Richard Attenborough as British Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett, with other luminaries such as Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Donald, James Garner, David McCallum, Donald Pleasence, and William Russell in this often parodied, spoofed, and highly influential tale of alliance, survival, and tragedy.

 

6. Short Cuts (1993)

Short Cuts

Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, like Tarantino’s OUATIH is a magnificent LA-based ensemble piece, and both films artfully communicate a sense of time and place over a finite but fascinating period.

Short Cuts weaves together a batch of Raymond Carver’s trademark spare and disturbing short stories into an unordinary quagmire of disparate, desperate characters in a precarious and incensing fashion. Bookended between two disasters; aerial spraying during a medfly outbreak and an unsettling earthquake, the film’s impressive cast — some twenty-two principals, including Anne Archer, Bruce Davison, Robert Downey Jr., Jennifer Jason Leigh, Andie MacDowell, Matthew Modine, Julianne Moore, Chris Penn, Tim Robbins, Madeleine Stowe, Lili Taylor, Lily Tomlin, Fred Ward, and Tom Waits — under Altman’s twinking, assured direction, never falter.

As with Altman’s and Tarantino’s best work, Short Cuts and OUATIH touch upon many moral issues but do very little moralising. This mixture of sentiment and cynicism, heartbreak and hysterics careens fearlessly into self-reflexive thoroughfares, taking the viewer into the darkest avenues that humanity lurks and leans in.

Short Cuts is an emblematic example of 1990s cinema, and it may be Altman’s greatest work, awash with restless, allusive imagery, insights, and intensity. Short Cuts is a long ride, and an extraordinary wandering of unforgettable art and impact.

10 Awesome 2019 Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen

Avengers: Endgame has made $2.8 billion at the box office this year. Aladdin and The Lion King have both made over $1 billion. This is starting to become pretty normal for big budget blockbusters. As much as people want to talk about the rise of streaming, people are still going to the theaters to see these enormous motion pictures, and who can blame them? Nobody wants to be the person who can’t contribute to the big, spoiler-filled Toy Story 4 discussion.

At the same time, there are plenty of movies out there that don’t make that kind of money. There are movies like the ones listed below that can’t find a mainstream audience in spite of critical acclaim. That’s where this list comes into play.

Below are ten excellent ones that unfortunately slipped under the radar. Even though these flicks didn’t rake in cash on top of cash, they deserve to be talked about just as much as the heavy-hitters. While they’re not the most obscure releasesd, they did fail to find a sizeable audience. Hopefully this list helps bring some exposure to the films that were unfairly slept on throughout the year.

 

1. The Biggest Little Farm

Technically, as far as documentaries go, this is probably more popular than the competition. It made a healthy $4 million at the box office, which makes it the third highest grossing documentary of the year so far. That being said, it’s still a documentary, and we all know that $4 million would be considered chump change if it were a traditional narrative film. Because of this, it seems fitting to include it in a list of movies that may have been missed.

On the surface, The Biggest Little Farm sounds pretty niche. Not everybody is going to be excited about going into a farming documentary. This isn’t about crime, celebrities, politics or any of the other topics that draws in viewers. It’s about a couple who decides to create a sustainable farm in California.

One would assume that a topic like this would only interest a certain group of people, but director John Chester actually manages to tell a story with a pretty universal message. We all go through trials and tribulations, and we often want to give up. Chester simply wants to remind us that anyone can achieve his or her dream.

More importantly, he tells a story that remains interesting despite the fact that this story appears to have limited appeal. The Biggest Little Farm never feels like a story for farmers. It feels like a story aimed at regular human beings who wish to hear about something inspirational. This kind of universal appeal makes it a must-watch documentary that shouldn’t be forgotten by the end of the year.

 

2. Giant Little Ones

Keith Behrman’s exploration of teen sexuality feels vital in a time where people are reevaluating the predominantly black-and-white way we view so many things. It wants us to be aware that certain concepts are not always as simple as they seem. In this particular instance, the primary focus is on the sexual orientations of others.

Giant Little Ones recognizes sexuality as a spectrum. As the cliché goes, the heart wants what it wants. Because of this, the Giant Little Ones can’t be considered a “coming out” movie. The protagonist experiments with his sexuality, but he never comes to any kind of revelation regarding whether he’s gay, straight, or something in between. He doesn’t feel like he needs to, and that allows this film to set itself apart from the competition.

Although we’re not necessarily flooded with queer cinema, we are still at risk of overexposure. This kind of topic should be discussed, but there are only so many ways to tell a story like this. Behrman’s second feature wisely tows the line. It tackles familiar topics, but it does so in a way that allows it to flourish.

 

3. The Last Black Man in San Francisco

A brief summary of The Last Black Man in San Francisco doesn’t do it justice. In fact, it kind of does the opposite. Based on the plot alone, it sounds like a generic drama about friendship, but honestly, it’s so much more than that. The Last Black Man in San Francisco is as compelling as it is quirky.

Seriously, that quirkiness goes a long way because the premise could have devolved into melodrama. First-time director Joe Talbot knows better though. He presents a gleefully weird movie that tells its story with a sharp sense of humor and a dash of style. While the plot is melodramatic in nature, Talbot refuses to let it play out in a way that feels overly sentimental. There are heartfelt moments, but they never feel genuine rather than forced.

The amount of talent in front of the camera is just as laudable as the talent behind the camera. Jimmy Falls gives one of the best performances of 2019. Hell, his work is just as award-worthy as many of the Oscar nominees from past years. His acting talent is made even more noticeable through his chemistry with Jonathan Majors, who plays his best friend. The two make a remarkable pair, and thank goodness, because the friendship motif needs this kind of acting duo.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco will probably be forgotten by the time awards season comes around, but it shouldn’t. This is one of those rare movies that only come along a few times a year. It’s something that surprises nearly every viewer because it does so much more than anyone would expect. Let’s just be real: it’s a masterpiece.

 

4. Diane

Diane

David Edelstein called Diane the “most exhilarating depressive movie I’ve ever seen.” Scott Craven said that Diane “sure is depressing, but it’s quietly compelling.” If you were to search through countless reviews, you’d likely notice a pattern. Diane is probably one of the least uplifting movies of the year, but it’s also an absorbing character study that rewards patient viewers who are willing to peel back layers to uncover timeless messages.

The titular character is played by Mary Kay Place, an actress who lets the gravitas do the talking. She plays a character with some deep dark secrets, but she’s not quick to reveal those secrets to an audience of viewers begging for answers. No, she’s content just letting the runtime slowly tick away. Had the protagonist been played by someone without this kind of talent, that slow ticking could be infuriating, but Place knows how to get the most out of each and every scene.

Obviously, Place isn’t in charge of the pacing, but her muted performance pairs well with the slow unraveling of the story. Yes, we all know there’s something going on with this woman, but we need to analyze her actions first. After all, this is more of a character study than a mystery. The script shows little interest in quickly rewarding viewers, but that’s okay because we’re given so much to dissect.

It’s actually surprising just how dense Diane is. It’s relatively short, clocking in at a mere 95 minutes. However, Kent Jones does everything to keep things fascinating. Slow pacing aside, there’s so much to see in this film. That’s exactly why it needs to be experienced.

 

5. Paddleton

Director Alex Lehmann may not be a household name yet, but he has the talent to make an extraordinary impact. Following the success of his critically acclaimed directorial debut, Lehmann and Mark Duplass once again reunite for one of the most poignant dramedies of the year. Paddleton is a tearjerker with enough heart to help it overcome any and all flaws.

Paddleton is about a terminally ill man named Michael, played by Mark Duplass, who wants to spend his final days with his best friend Andy, played by Ray Romano. He knows for a fact that these are his last days because he plans to take medication that will end his life. Before this all happens, the viewer is meant to revel in the friendship between these two people.

Paddleton consists mostly of bittersweet bromance. It’s mostly dialogue-driven, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the fact Duplass, a mumblecore mastermind, co-wrote the script. Luckily, this dialogue is consistently engaging because it’s simultaneously funny and tear-inducing. By striking a perfect balance between drama and comedy, the script never fails to engage.

The mumblecore aspects of course limit the appeal. This particular genre has been known to steer people away. Still, Paddleton remains more accessible than most similar movies. The heartbreaking story combined with the witty screenplay makes for a worthwhile experience that shouldn’t be missed.

The 10 Most Unfairly Hated Movies of The 21st Century

In our current age of technology it seems as though minority voices have gotten louder as more and more people are able to get their views out there for the world to see. These days it seems as though tribalism is dominating our public discourse in a variety of topics and people are very quick to jump to conclusions.

This list isn’t meant to be contrarian or to go against the majority opinions, but rather to embrace viewpoints probably not considered before. If anyone disagrees with my assessments feel free to, and keep in mind I’m in no way calling these masterpieces because they still have their flaws. These are the 10 Most Unfairly Hated Movies of the 21st Century.

 

10. Rubber (2010)

Rubber (2010)

Hmmm… What do I say about this one? For a movie about a killer tire it’s a lot more entertaining than it has any right to be. The film opens and a sheriff starts out by talking directly to the audience and asking a bunch of pointless questions like: “In Steven Spielberg’s E.T., why was the alien brown? No reason.” or “In the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, why don’t we see the characters go to the bathroom? No reason.” That just about sums it up right there, why is there a killer tire? No reason. No reason at all.

In essence “Rubber” is mocking the traditions of horror by satirizing the concept of such a weird idea, most horror movies are built around weird ideas when you get down to it. The level to which many viewers will examine films in detail is also something strangely mocked and satirized in here, characters are placed as ‘audience members’ to watch the film with binoculars and then comment on how scenes don’t make any sense. It’s a movie about a damn tire, I wouldn’t take this too seriously because the film itself doesn’t take it seriously either. If you’re looking for a surreal yet oddly hilarious movie, this will do it for you.

 

9. The Terminal (2004)

The Terminal

Film critic Scott Mantz from Access Hollywood often refers to this as “The Terrible”. Frequently regarded as one of Steven Spielberg’s worst movies ranked right alongside “1942”, “War of the Worlds”, and “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”.

Loosely based on true story in which Tom Hanks plays a foreign man named Viktor who flies into John F. Kennedy airport only to learn that his passport has now expired and his home country being deemed non sovereign.

With no other choice he takes what he has left and makes a small living inside the airport since he’s now deemed stateless. He makes the most of it that he can by crafting ideas to collect loose change out of machines, finding whatever food he can, and building relationships with the workers in the airport. He befriends a flight attendant named Amelia (Catherine Zeta Jones) and helps workers and travelers whenever he can.

The thing I take the most note of watching this film is the set and production, the airport they create has such authenticity and feels so large in scale that you’re shocked this isn’t a real airport. Spielberg watched a lot of French comedies to better prepare for this film, and it shows. Spielberg set out to make a film that could make you laugh and smile and I think that’s exactly what he did.

 

8. Accepted (2006)

Anyone who knows me will know comedy is not my favorite genre, I honestly prefer just about any genre over comedy. But my favorite comedy is the type that’s made to educate as well as laugh. In “Accepted” that’s literally the whole point of the film, education.

Like many out there, the kids in here are rejected by big leagues and looked down upon for not fitting the right criteria or earning the right credits to follow their dreams. The education system is massively flawed and needs serious reforming, thus Bartleby (Justin Long) gets the idea to form his own make believe college, the South Harmon Institute of Technology (S.H.I.T.).

The idea is initially to just fool his parents into believing he’s in college but after numerous kids apply and get accepted to this school something amazing happens that opens the door for possibilities for all of these kids. How about asking the students themselves “what do you want to learn?” and letting them expand upon that. Truly find their passions and build an entire course around that.

Yes the film goes into screwball material and stupid humor, but the ingenuity of breaking traditions and paving new pathways for the future is exhibited to the fullest and funniest extent. Bartleby’s closing argument in particular is a stand out moment and really serves to the heart of what they’re conveying.

 

7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

The horror genre has been very up and down in recent years, it seems like the 21st century has been polluted by remakes and un-originality. But the one that surprised me the most is “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. The original from 1974 was a grindhouse masterpiece, using exploitation and documentary style film making to create an aura that was so gritty and realistic that people still believe it was a true story.

The way a remake is proper is when it has enough elements from the source material but reinvigorates it with its own identity. And that’s exactly what this does, gone is the documentary style and in with a slick and stylized production. It looks and feels different from the original but is equally disturbing in its content, but in very different ways.

The psychotic family here is completely different from the original, the best new addition here is Sheriff Hewitt played by R. Lee Ermy, the matriarch of the family who, as implied in this film, has brought about their murderous nature to survive in the deserted and disgusting town where they live.

Even with limited screen time the actors make noticeable impressions here, more specifically Jessica Biel and Jonathan Tucker. I think if this would’ve gone by any other name it would’ve been reviewed more favorably, but at the same time it wouldn’t have made as much money. And that’s the problem.

 

6. The Lake House (2006)

“The Lake House” is a romance not fueled by logic or explanation but felt across time with emotion. Sandra Bullock plays a doctor named Kate in 2006 and Keanu Reeves plays an architect named Alex in 2004, both of whom are separated by exactly 2 years, both of whom live in a glass lake house at different points in time, and start to meet each other through sending letters in a mail box that seems to time travel back and forth. It’s a romance that has very few kisses, and for that matter doesn’t have much physical interaction, but feels just as intimate as any other romance.

The questions you might have about the mailbox are never answered but who cares, I don’t, I don’t need any explanations because I feel the desire shine through. What’s structurally most fascinating about “The Lake House” is that they both exist in the different time lines and can even find ways to interact with them, in 2004 everything is ahead of them and in 2006 Alex knows everything and Kate either knows nothing or is too late to act on it.

Alex comes from a complicated family, he’s just now trying to reconnect with his father (Christopher Plummer) after so much hard feeling in the past, in the moment he doesn’t get the re-connection he wants but Kate is able to fix that from the future.

Kate on the other hand has been caught in a drift of desolation for a long time and telling Alex about this is able to help comfort her in the past. This was the first re-pairing of Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock after “Speed” back in 1994, this probably wasn’t the film people thought they’d get with the two, but I was proud while watching it.

10 Great Recent Horror Films You’ve Probably Never Seen

There’s little question in the minds of critics and audiences alike that the horror revolution is in full swing. While the turn of the century saw many questioning the genre’s viability in film—and severely doubting if there were anymore unique horror stories left to be told—recent years have proven to be quite the spooky renaissance, as it were.

Showstoppers such as Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe, the Krasinskis’ A Quiet Place, and Andy Muschietti’s It (2017) combine strong performances with compelling stories to present, question, and critique various supposed mainstays of the human experience.

Truly, there is quite a bit of fun to be had—and quite a few frights—within the worlds of these more contemporary works of terror and others like them. And amid so many great new works of horrific art, here are 10 strong, new additions you might’ve missed over the past few years.

 

10. Honeymoon

Honeymoon

Two newlyweds’ vacationing for their honeymoon is a tale as old as time; the celebration of life, love, and happiness is a delightful consequence of saying, “I do.” But when Bea and Paul tie the knot, they aren’t exactly expecting the horrifying gift they soon receive.

Vacationing in a rustic Canada cabin, the young lovers are surrounded by forestry and virtually endless outdoor ambiance; besides each other, their only companions are the sounds of the expansive woodlands, the suspicious fluttering of enigmatic moths, and the malevolent intentions of an unseen force determined to prey on the unsuspecting couple.

Stylized with deep blacks and contrasting bursts of diluted, almost watery brightness, Honeymoon piles on suspense while keeping its greatest scares so close to the chest that when it finally tips the hand of its visceral horrors, audiences can’t help but feel at least a little cheated. Still, it is a spine-tingling story told with deftness and readily apparent artistic craft; and that, if nothing else, earns it a spot on this list.

 

9. mother!

A very original film often derided for its allegedly arcane metaphoric nature, mother! is a movie that sharply divided critics and moviegoers upon release. But how could the simple story of a woman who works to beautify her home while her husband basks in his presumed artistic abilities warrant such vehemently contradictory reactions—and such genuine horror from moviegoers?

While some claimed that the weightier themes—human tolerance for self-indulgence, the failure of mankind to recognize its boundaries, and the role of both these shortcomings in the contemporary question of climate change—provided a welcome return to the subjects that films really should be addressing, others felt that the oscillating narrative, ham-fisted analogies, and disturbingly gory third act prevented mother! from achieving its greatest heights. But on the strong wings of Jennifer Lawrence’s stirring performance, this movie nonetheless soars, effortlessly reclassifying into a category of art all its own.

 

8. Annihilation

Perhaps it is more fantasy science-fiction than horror, but Annihilation has no trouble serving up scares as it morphs from a simple information-retrieval mission into a truly terrifying reimagining of Darwinian evolutionary theory. Lena, a professor of cell biology, embarks on an expedition to locate her missing husband, who traveled into an ever-expanding iridescence engulfing the state of Maryland, an area cryptically termed “The Shimmer.”

Saddled with similar themes about the nature of humanity as those presented in mother!, Annihilation still manages to effectively forge its own literal and figurative paths to deliver a message about both the willingness to change and evolve and the fear that comes along with it—even when what is new and novel somehow manages only the subtlest of differences from that which presently exists. It is a film of strong performances and thoughtful themes, standing tall among the ranks of its dread-worthy brothers and sisters.

 

7. Ruin Me

That a quasi-satirical take on horror itself should be this effective and nuanced so long after the Scream franchise’s heyday is truly a sign of the genre’s upward mobility. At no point does Ruin Me feel like a cheap copy or set of clichéd ideas fished from a long-since-defunct recycling bin of yawn-inducing tropes. Rather, this tale of tenacious twenty-somethings who venture into the woods to partake in a slasher-themed camping trip offers up a surprisingly fresh take on blood-soaked mystery and fright-filled adventure.

But what really elevates Ruin Me is its handling of the sensitive subject matter of addiction—Alexandra’s boyfriend desperately wants her to “get better,” but only on his terms and only with himself at the helm of her alleged recovery. Everything is not what it seems as this film peels back the layers of its tortuous narrative, managing a climax that sidesteps exploitation to deliver a heartfelt, entertaining horror entry with a lot to say about how much power people should have to control our lives.

 

6. Creep 2

At first glance, fans of the original Creep may balk at this sequel’s purported foray into frightlessness; but those fearing such a startling shift can put their minds at ease—if there’s anything in which Creep 2 revels, it’s relentlessly spooky atmosphere.

The movie sees Sara, a videography student, seek out the reclusive Josef as a potential guest on “Encounters,” her YouTube passion project. Sara’s reluctance to believe Josef’s claims of serial murder, coupled with her towering belief in her own resourcefulness should the situation turn dire, leads her past the point at which most normal people would cut their losses and run for the hills.

Without spoiling Creep 2’s greatest twists and turns, it’s reasonable to say that such a shocking thriller will definitely leave audiences pinned at the edges of their seats. But perhaps even more moving is the film’s fascinating, juxtapositional commentary on the nature of human intelligence, the loneliness of intellectual novelty, and the heights to which unchecked self-confidence can ascend amid lofty expectations and the fear of failure.

Adding to the philosophical mix a more fleshed-out Josef than audiences saw in the first film and a stand-out set of special effects, Creep 2 makes its bloody mark and gives viewers plenty to love.