03 November 2010

The Best Movies You May Have Never Seen

I'm kicking off my new blog by reposting my list of "The Best Films You May Have Never Seen Or Heard Of But That You Must Queue As Soon As Possible!" It's kind of long so I'm going to break it up into a couple posts. I'm sure some of these you will have seen and possibly already love, but I hope a few are also new to you. What would you add?

The A-I Edition
(in no particular order)

“After Life” (1998)- Awesome Japanese film about the way station to the afterlife where the dead must cull through their memories and find their defining moment. Well shot and acted, it was not as depressing as it sounds. If you've seen the Robin Williams movie "Final Cut", this is its more uplifting, dramatic, and better cousin.

“Agnes of God” (1985)- Meg Tilly shines as a nun who may or may not have murdered her baby and Jane Fonda is great as the psychologist sent to investigate. It’s a very calm, faded movie. Look for the dynamic Anne Bancroft as mother superior.

“Bell, Book, and Candle” (1958)- I don’t want any letters on how this is not obscure. A recent poll of my friends would disagree with you. The best movie staring Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak, and Jack Lemmon. It’s about a witch who bespells her upstairs neighbor to fall in love with her. You’ll want a Siamese named Pyewacket so badly afterward!

“Cold Comfort Farm” (1995)- Kate Beckensale before you had any idea she existed. My Dad conned me into watching it saying it was a horror movie. (“I saw something nasty in the woodshed"). I was bummed to find out it wasn’t but still loved the movie about a posh girl from London going to live with her downtrodden family in the country.

“Croupier” (1998)- Featuring a young Clive Owen as a gambler and wanna be writer down on his luck, this is for all the wierdos who aren't fans of his. He is magnificent. I would also suggest checking out all of his BBC work like the series "Chancer" and "Second Sight". Alex Kingston (of “er” fame) also appears.

“Dog Soldiers” (2002)- This one also made my list of the greatest horror movies. All you need to know: Kevin McKidd, Scotland, werewolves, awesome!!!

Eddie Izzard ("Dressed to Kill")- A comic genius, “active transvestite” Eddie Izzard makes smart comedy for everyday people. I have seen all of his stand up, so I suggest you begin with his HBO special “Dressed to Kill”. He covers History with everything from Stonehenge to Hitler, sometimes en Francais! If you get the chance to see him live, do it. It is transcendent.

"The Edge of Love" (2008)- Really lovely movie about Dylan Thomas starring Keira Knightly (I know, I can’t believe I recommend this one as well) and Sienna Miller (truly a gifted and talented actor). The film centers around the love quadrangle between Thomas, his wife, his first love, and her new husband during WWII. Beautifully shot. PS- Keira does all her own singing and it’s magnificent.

"Equilibrium" (2002)- Christian Bale and Taye Diggs star in this Brave New World/Catch-22 homage to a world without emotion, and heavily monitored by the government. Awesome fight scenes (what’s up samurai swords) and twists you will not see coming. A must for Sci-Fi nerds like myself. [new note: I included this movie for similar reason's that I included "Bell, Book, and Candle". People don't seem to remember having seen this movie and when they do, they realize they only saw parts on TV or at a friends house. It really is worth viewing all in one sitting!]

"eXistenZ" (1999)- Have I mentioned yet that David Cronenberg is a genius? No? Well he is. Take this brilliant film starring Jennifer Jason Leigh (most gifted and underused actress in Hollywood. PS- did you see her on “Weeds”? Awesome) and Jude Law. Leigh is a game designer who has come up with the latest in virtual reality. The lines between real and fantasy blur (as they are wont to do in these types of movies) but the end will keep you guessing. Great dialog as well. One of my FAVORITE movies of all time!!

"The Fall" (2006)- Remember “Pushing Daisies”? That quirky little show on Fox and it’s dreamy star Lee Pace? Get your fix with this stunning film by Tarsem. What’s the movie about? Um…. I’m going to say storytelling, not really sure. However, this movie is one of the most beautifully shot and composed films I’ve ever seen. Colour just POPS out at you and you are lost in this fantasy world. The real reason this movie makes my list are the special features. I love them (special features that is). The film took forever to make, falling in and out of financing, in and out of actor availability, but the dedication of the filmmaker, the cast (Lee Pace the 1st choice and long time advocate for the movie), and everyone involved is really inspiring.

"Ginger Snaps" (2000)- Werewolves? Check. Adolescent teen angst? Check. Honest portraits of young women and sisterhood? You betcha. This movie is hilarious and awesome. Sometimes it’s best not to trust a movie by it’s cover. I thought this looked dumb until my father made me watch it. Thank you thank you thank you! Two sequels follow (one better than the other), but two “hips” for Canada! [new note: Another of my best horror movies. Check your local listings.]

"Hard Eight" (1996)- Before Paul Thomas Anderson made Magnolia and Boogie Nights and became every movie critics wet dream, he made this. It stars John C. Reilly (the first time I remember really seeing him in a film) as a sad sack indebted to card shark Philip Baker Hall (genius. Seriously, put his movies on your Netflix). Gwenyth Paltrow also stars as a hooker who attracts Reilly’s attention but can barely take care of herself. This is not a happy fun movie. It is a bottle of wine, dark room movie. That being said, it is one of the best first films I’ve ever seen.

"Heavy" (1995)- I missed this one originally and I'm not sure how. I say a lot of movies are my favorite, but this one may very well be my favorite (English-language movie). James Mangold ("Girl, Interrupted", "Identity", "Walk the Line") wrote and directed this first feature about a troubled young man (Pruitt Taylor Vince) copeing with the death of his mother (Shelley Winters) and his unrequited love for the waitress (Liv Tyler) who works at their bar. The trailer plays before a few other movies I watch with some frequency and it brings me to tears everytime. The trailer! I love the soft, poetic nature of this movie and the performances are career making. A must!

"The Hunger" (1983)- The infamous Susan Sarandon/Catherine Denueve lesbian movie. Oh, and David Bowie’s in it as well. One of my favorite Vampire movies of all time.

"Immortal Beloved" (1994)- I love Beethoven. Seriously capital Love him and this movie is part of the reason. How could I not love a movie based on (inspired by may be a better way of putting it) his life and many loves starring Gary Oldman (divine)!

"Innocent Blood" (1992)- John Landis used to make brilliantly funny horror movies. This one stars French beauty Anne Parillaud (of Le Femme Nikita fame) as a vampire being stalked by Anthony LaPaglia (poor dear, I can only think of “So I Married an Axe Murderer” whenever I see him). Anne is hungry for Italian and angers the mob. Hilarious w/great FX. [new note: Another best horror movie list honoree! I need to watch more movies. Oh, wait...]

Have you noticed the number of horror/sci-fi movies that begin with E, F, G, H, and I? Weird.


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