I’ve been watching 300-1,000 movies a year for roughly the last 10-12 years. And lately I find myself walking around the vidstore where I work, totally at a loss as to what to take home tonight.
I’ve recently caught up on my midcentury Japanese–Mizoguchi to Kurosawa to Suzuki (Suzuki RAWKS!), I’ve completed the “oeuvres” of Sam Fuller, John Ford, Sam Peckinpay, Fritz Lang, Ingmar Bergman–even Michael Bay!–etc. etc. etc. I’ve combed the “classics” section for any movie that falls into the intersection of the two sets (movies I haven’t seen) and (movies I want to see). I’ve watched everything remotely intriguing on the New Releases wall. (Offside RAWKS!) I’ve watched all the recent Korean revenge porn. I’ve watched way too many documentaries (Okie Noodling RAWKS!)
I’ve watched all of any of the TV series that interest me (Foyle’s War RAWKS!).
I’ve seen this year’s favorites twice (Children of Men, Hot Fuzz, Idiocracy).
Recently I’ve been catching up on second-tier things I’ve never had a burning urge to see, but was vaguely curious about (The Marine’s tagline should be Shit Blows the Fuck Up!) I even watched *AVP *and Chronicles of Riddick recently. (Neither rawked.)
So please, tell me movies that you think might have been overlooked: movies with a bad reputation–or no reputation–or that look bad–but might actually be good. Movies that might have slipped past me.
Tonight, I think I’m gonna have to take home Gigli. I hope that it is an enlightening experience; I’m already pretty cynical about that kind of monolithic critical consensus, as a fan of both *Showgirls *and The Last Action Hero.
I’m also taking home some silent-era Soviet propaganda films, because, hey, why not?
Last year’s documentary American Hardcore lit up the screen for me. It wasn’t terribly well made as a film, but if you grew up (as I did) listening to Minor Threat under the covers at night so your folks wouldn’t hear, it’s a must-see.
And if you can find it, try to check out Titicut Follies. And if you do, e-mail me and let me know where you got hold of it.
I just enjoyed a free stint in Blockbuster Online during a month with no classes, and made sure to only rent things I have never seen before:
Deadwood Season 1 (amazing, fantastic, awesome HBO Western series – I got hooked and need to see the rest.)
Children of Men (very powerful, but you saw it already.)
Hot Fuzz (surprisingly, I didn’t find it that funny or memorable.)
Boondock Saints (not very original as an action/crime movie, but good for fans of Tarantino and Guy Ritchie.)
The Vanishing (creepy and unsettling Dutch suspense film. Unforgettable ending. I hear the American remake sucked, though.)
Prince of Darkness (not very good, but catch up on other John Carpenter movies: The Thing, They Live, and In the Mouth of Madness.)
District B13 (amazing French action movie highlighting parkour.)
The Fisher King (I didn’t like it, but love other Terry Gilliam movies: Brazil, 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.)
Breakin’ (super-cheesy and fun '80s dance movie. I hear there is a sequel… )
The Bourne Supremacy (I thought it was boring.)
Casino Royale (the new one with Daniel Craig – surprisingly boring.)
The Machinist (chilling, nightmarish Christian Bale movie. Very good.)
Session 9 (truly scary, creepy horror from the same director of The Machinist.)
Versus (Yakuza fighting zombies in the middle of a forest. What’s not to love?)
Lucas Moodyson (Sweden): Lilja 4 ever, Fucking Åmål, A hole in my heart
Michael Haneke (Austria): Funny games, Benny’s video, The Piano Teacher and many more.
Ulrich Seidl (Austria): Hundestage, Animal Love
All of the above are relatively new (1990-present), as far as older films go:
One of my favorites: Hans-Jürgen Syberberg (Germany): Hitler - A Film from Germany - Very long, but definitely worth it.
Mallarmé (IIRC) (France): Children of Paradise
Alain Resnais (France): Last Year in Marienbad, Hiroshima mon Amour
And a whole lot more (Tarkovsky, Dreyer, Herzog, Angulobulos etc.)
Oh - and if you can find it: von Stroheim’s Greed in the remastered, restored version.
You saw Chronicles of Riddick, but have you seen its predecessor, Pitch Black? It’s a better movie. Equilibrium is a pretty good dsytopian sci-fi thriller.
I recently saw a small independent film called Primer that had an interesting take on time-travel.
I can’t imagine that I have seen anything that you haven’t–the most obscure film I have seen recently and can recommend is The Reduced Shakespeare Company–but I was wondering if you have see the blog My Year of Flops on The Onion. Nathan Rabin decided to spend a year seeing and reviewing 2 flops a week. I like reading reviews of terrible films, and I thought it might amuse or inspire you.
“Gigli is essentially three terrible films crashing into each other and toppling over like defective bumper cars at a cut-rate carnival. It’s a post-Tarantino crime comedy filled with hyper-stylized dialogue, gratuitous profanity, and flashy monologues. It’s a romantic comedy about a mismatched couple that falls for each other while jointly facing a series of obstacles, and it’s a hopelessly maudlin would-be heart-warmer about a noble disabled man whose desire to fondle giant fake boobies brings out the best in his makeshift family”
How much Ming-liang Tsai have you seen? Goodbye Dragon Inn was one of my very favorite movies in its year. Very, very slow, but not ponderous at all: rather, it’s as delicate as gossamer. There’s a shot toward the end, where the lights come up in a mostly empty auditorium, that’s as beautiful and moving as anything I’ve seen in many years. I suspect you’d get into it.
African cinema doesn’t get much attention. I dont know much about it, but I really enjoyed Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Hyènes – it’s about a rich woman who returns to her Senegalese village, offering them a fortune if they kill the man who impregnated and abandoned her when she was 16.
I also liked Ousmane Sembene’s Guelwaar – I think his more recent film (ah, thanks Wikipedia, Moolaadé) got great reviews and some prize or other at Cannes, but I haven’t seen it. I’m pretty sure Netflix has all of these, so they’re on DVD.
Does the USA have any kind of local cinema scene, analgous to music? It sure seems like it doesn’t.