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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

8 Fantastic Movies You (probably) Haven't Seen

 I'm not gonna get all holier than thou and tell you that the movies you watch are just way too mainstream. Because that's stupid. What I am going to say is if you're considering a two hour endurance test such as Bad Teacher (or anything else featuring that goblin, Cameron Diaz) get your ass over to Blockbuster and watch these instead! These are, like Aladdin, some diamonds in the rough that never really got the credit they deserved, or if they did, it was ages ago and we've all forgotten about them. On that note....

Bringing Up Baby
Oh, words can't express how much I love this movie.  It's a screwball comedy from 1938 that stars Catherine Hepburn as a disaster prone, happy-go-lucky socialite Susan, who meets and subsequently torments Cary Grant's stressed out, groom-to-be paleontologist, David.  Oh also, Susan has a leopard named Baby.  Even though it bombed at the box office, people slowly began to realize over time that it is hilarious.  Catherine Hepburn, while not famed for being a comedic actress, has amazing comic timing.  It is also the first film, aside from pornography, to ever use the word "gay" in reference to homosexuality.  It was ad-libbed by Grant, who is gay himself, and is one of the funniest scenes of the whole movie.  It's worth watching just to imagine yourself living in a time when women got to dress the way Hepburn does in this film.


The Fall

Easily one of the most visually stunning films I've ever seen.  If you're the kind of person who watches movies for the cinematography more than the storyline, this is the one for you.  Shot in over 20 different countries with beautiful costumes and surreal primary colors, it's a feast for the eyes.  It's directed by Tarsem who also did "The Cell" with Jennifer Lopez, but the plot is less meandering than The Cell.  It's set in Los Angeles in the 1920's and follows a little girl, Alexandria (played brilliantly by Catinca Untaru) who forms an unlikely friendship with an injured stuntman, Roy (played by Lee Pace), while they're both in the hospital.  Roy begins to tell Alexandria a story and we get to see it through the vivid imagination of a child.  Much of the interactions between Alexandria and Roy were unscripted and because of this, Alexandria comes across as a sweet, genuine little girl.  She absolutely makes the film.  Tarsem financed almost all of the film himself.  It was a true labor of love and that really shines through when you're watching it.





The Game of Death
Fascinating.  So Fascinating!  I'm very interested in psychology, especially the psychology of persuasion and influence.  The human mind is so much more susceptible to the control of others than people even realize.  And what has the greatest influence over the majority of people in this day and age?  Television.  The documentary is based on a version of The Milgram Experiment, which studies the willingness of subjects to obey the requests of an authority figure, even when the requests go against their own personal morals.  This documentary uses a game show setting in which contestants are asked to administer electric shocks of increasing strength every time the other contestant gets a question wrong.  The results are (pardon the pun)  shocking.  These people put so much faith in the authority figure (television, the game show host) that they feel they are not responsible for their actions.  I don't want to spoil it, but it really makes you question your own autonomy.  It's available on Netflix.


Smiley Face
Well, Anna Faris is just awesome.  That's all you need to know.  Review finished.  Ok, I'm just kidding, but it's true.  This is one of those movies where everything goes so horribly wrong that it's almost too stressful to watch.  Anna plays the lovable heroine, a hapless stoner named Jane F.  Jane is wake and baking one morning and in her quest for munchies, eats a whole plate of her roommates cookies, despite the sign saying "JANE DO NOT TOUCH".  After devouring all fifteen of them in about five minutes, she discovers that she's just eaten fifteen pot cupcakes and she is now really, really fucking high.  In her attempt to replace the cupcakes, make it to her audition, pay the power bill, return the original copy of The Communist Manifesto she accidentally stole....well she basically has the worst day ever.  
Lucky for her, she's totally fucked, so she doesn't really get what's going on.  It also features great cameos from the likes of Adam Brody, Danny Masterson and Jane Lynch, who seems to be in every movie ever made.  It's a silly, stressful stoner comedy who's talented leading lady will keep you entertained the whole way through.


The Diving Bell and The Butterfly
It's another one in french, but it's so worth a watch.  This film is based on the true story of Elle France editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffered a massive stroke at the age of 42 and ended up with a condition called "locked-in syndrome".  What that means is that he was completely lucid and awake, but all of his muscles are paralyzed except the eyes; he is trapped in his own body.  The first bit of the movie is filmed from Jean-Do's perspective, which leads to some very creative camera work, especially the scene where he watches them sew up his infected eye.  He learns to communicate by blinking as a very patient speech therapist reads out the letters of the alphabet.  It's how he eventually wrote the memoir that inspired this film.  It can be a bit slow at times but at it's core, it's an inspirational story about the triumph of the human spirit over unimaginable adversity.


District 13
parkour" as it's called in french.  In fact, it stars one of the sports founders, David Belle, as the main character Leito.  The story line is about drugs, gangs, government oppression and Leito's one man battle to end all those things.  It's somewhat interesting, but really not why you should watch it.  Watch it for the amazing chase sequences in which Belle flies through the air without any wires or CGI.  He is a real life Spiderman.  It's perfect for a night when you just want to shut your brain off (aside from reading the subtitles, but I'm pretty sure the DVD has an english voice over option) and just go "wow, dude!".


Young Frankenstein
I grew up watching this movie, so if I enjoyed it as a ten year old, I'm sure you'll enjoy it now.  Mel Brooks is a comedy legend, and Gene Wilder aces his portrayal as a descendant of the Dr. Frankenstein.  It's a hilarious parody of old school horror films, even shot in black and white which was quite uncommon in the 1970's.  Although Wilder's character, Frederick, has spent his entire career as a lecturer trying escape the shadow of his mad scientist grandfather, when he inherits the Frankenstein estate and discovers his grandfather's old lab and notes he becomes intrigued and decides to pick up where granddad left off.  It's a comedy classic, brimming with talent, that any film buff should really add to their repertoire.



I Know Who Killed Me
Before you judge me, just watch this.  It is the most awesomely awful piece of shit I have ever seen.  From a script laden with plot holes to Lohan's awkward, stunted acting to the heavy handed use of the color blue, this movie doesn't fail to disappoint in the funniest way possible.  I watched this by myself and roared with laughter the entire way through.  Lohan plays Aubrey, a promising young girl who is kidnapped and dismembered in a disgusting torture scene.  She manages to escape, but when she's found she insists she's not Aubrey, but Dakota, a tough talking, streetwise stripper with a bad past.  It gives Linds the chance to say fuck a lot and do a few gratuitous "stripping" scenes (no boobies, sorry).  It's hysterically bad.  Also, it's given me my favorite new drinking game where you drink every time something in the scene is obnoxiously blue.  Yeah, you're welcome.  

Happy viewing everybody,and if you watch any of these please leave a comment and let me know what you thought!

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