Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Cinephile: (n) person with a passionate interest in cinema

I am now on day nine of a continuous headache. That can't be normal. Anyway, seeing the head is not working so well, here's a post that doesn't require too much brainpower. More one-line movie reviews!

Below are some movies that I think are worth watching that many people I know haven't seen or even heard of. Because I studied film, I am supposed to like all the "classics" like Pulp Fiction, Blue Velvet, The Godfather and Requiem for a Dream. I don't like any of those films. That doesn't mean I can't appreciate what they stand for, all they achieved and so on. It just means that given the choice between one of those flicks and the ones below, I'd pick the non-classics any day.

Cellular This movie never made it to the big screen in Suoth Africa, despite being a great skop, skiet en donder (Afrikaans for kick, shoot and beat up[rude]) flick that consists mainly of great car chases, hold-ups and kidnapping scenes.

Les Triplettes de Belleville This crazy French animation doesn't use many words so subtitles won't be necessary as you are taken on a mad adventure by a squint granny and her fat dog to rescue her cyclist grandson from gangsters in Belleville (which looks suspiciously like New York City).

Memento (This movie has (rightfully) gained an audience in recent years and is now more widely available, so see it if you get the chnace) A remarkable mind-job of a film that showcases the power of editing and Christopher Nolan's talent as a director (I'm betting it was this film that put him i line to direct the latest Batman movies), Memento stars the impressive Guy Pearce as a man suffering from short-term memory loss who uses notes and tattoos to remind himself of the facts in his quest to find his wife's murderer.

Danny Deckchair This loopy Australian film about a man (the awesome Rhys Ifans) who flies away when he ties too many balloons to his deckchair is a great feel-good movie that will lift your mood and make you giggle.

And here are some slightly better known movies that I would make everyone watch if I could, because they are fabulous:

Gattaca Set in the not-too-distant future, this stylish movie explores the idea of prejudice against "imperfect" people who haven't been genetically engineered with beautiful performances by Ethan Hawke, Jude Law and Uma Thurman.

Twelve Monkeys Mind-bending quirky sci-fi movie starring Bruce Willis (and Brad Pitt at his best playing a total nutjob) that actually addresses time travel properly, unlike most other attempts.

LA Confidential The great cast (Kevin Spacey, Russel Crowe, Guy Pearce, Danny DeVito, Kim Basinger and James Cromwell) made this smart script work and the tale of love, murder and betrayal set in 1950s Los Angeles is a pleasure to watch.

The Usual Suspects With Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne and a truly clever plot, this movie about a gang formed in a police line-up couldn't go wrong.

Snatch The ultimate Guy Ritchie movie (better than Lock, Stock; Rock 'n Rolla or any of his other movies), this film is the perfct mix of action, humour, lunacy and amazing editing skills.

Contact I have a penchant for sci-fi movies that aren't full of aliens and really make you think, like this beautifully made Jodie Foster / Matthew McConaughey flick.

Short Circuit Sweet 1980s movie about a robot that is electrocuted and develops a mind (and personality) of its own... "Number 5 is alive!"

Casablanca (This is a classic and yet many of my friends won't watch it because it's in black and white. Silly!) Dramatic and enduring love tale set in Morocco that has inspired scenes in movies ranging from Star Wars to When Harry Met Sally (Google it if you don't believe me).

Waking Ned Hilarious movie about two old men who convince their entire town to play along with an outrageous plan when a friend dies holding the winning lottery ticket.

The Station Agent Sweet and simple movie following three new and very different friends (one of whom is a dwarf) as they get to know each other and walk the local train tracks.

And, just for kicks, has anyone seen this movie? Because it did my head in and I would love to swap notes:

eXistenZ Bizarre (!!!) movie starring Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh as two gamers who hop from game world to game world followed by a shaggy dog and a gun made out of chicken bones.

Your thoughts?


Cam said...

Like you list there Tam...altho Casablanca is a push :)

Did you not enjoy Shawshank Redemtion?

Tamara said...

Thanks, Cam. Of course I did. But I thought most people would've seen it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all your choices except for Cellular, what a weak movie because the logic was so flawed, I can't point out the faults right now as I watched it a few years ago, but I clearly remember while I watched that it had some moments where I was like "that couldn't happen because..."
But Jason Statham is awesome, his better films are Transporter and Transporter 2, love those.

I think this is a relatively unknown film: Swordsman II, it's a kung fu film but even if you dont like kung fu films, the story is awesome, I cry everytime I watch it.

Another kick-ass film is Equilibrium, starring Christian Bale, it's sci-fi, excellent-excellent, really under-rated and I have no idea why it isnt a huge hit like the Matrix.

po said...

I am so lucky that my BFG spends hours researching movies and compiling awesome DVD lists for us, and he has impeccable taste, ie he likes the same things as me.

I loved Memento, it confused the hell out of me but I loved it. I loved the Bellville movie, it was so unique and French. Gattaca is awesome, 12 monkeys is legendary, Bradd Pitt and Bruce both acted so well, Usual suspects is awesome, I watched Short circuit numerous times as a kid but I remember it really upset me, specially the part with "disassemble, dissasemble". Wah!

I think you have impeccable taste too :)

tattytiara said...

I've seen Existenz, more than once even. I used to be a huge Cronenburg fan, and I've always really enjoyed Jennifer Jason Leigh's performances.

phillygirl said...

I *loved* memento, saw it when it first was out on big screen even! Also love loads off your list and have seen Existenz (forget my thoughts on it because it was pre-blog ;) ). Have you see Adaptation and how about Kiss Kiss Bang Bang?

Tamara said...

Anon: That's so funny. I thought the Transporter movies were far-fetched and lame, but I loved Cellular. Different strokes, hey? And although I enjoyed Equilibrium, I don't think it's a very well-made or original movie. I actually picked it as a case study when I studied film and it's essentially a bad rehash of George Orwell's 1984 mixed with some Matrix-type stunts. But I did enjoy it, nevertheless. I'll keep an eye out for Swordsman II, although I'm not a martial arts movie fan at all. I hated Crouchign Tiger Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers and all the other supposedly excellent ones.

Po: You're lucky! TSC will watch anything. Last night he got 2012 out on DVD. What a waste of time!

tattytiara: At last! Someone else who has seen it! It was one of those movies that I respected a lot, but wasn't sure if I liked.

Philly: Another one! Where did you even find eXistenZ? I've been lookign for it since we saw it in varsity so I can show TSC how weird it is. I have seen Adaptation and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I hated the former and adored the latter (I put it down to the fact that Nicholas Cage drives me mad but I love John Cusack. Except in 2012).

Momcat said...

If I was on day 9 of a headache I would be ready to be committed to an institution. I can't stand headaches! I also enjoy Jason Statham movies and his are among the few movies that I will rewatch.

Anonymous said...

I've seen a couple of those, 12 Monkeys is by far one of the best movies ever. :) Thanks for the reccomendations!

pserean said...

firstly... id book an appointment at the headache clinic....
(if its something you suffer regularly from...)

secondly... i caught the station agent on tv the other night. i loved it!
i read the review yrs ago and always wanted to watch it, so was quite excited when it was screened... as opposed to the usual chuck norris horrors:)

i watched existenz a years ago...bugger. it was an enthralling watch..but afterwards, i ended up scratching my head quite a bit:P
not to mention the only part i remember properly was when the girl told jude law that having an open back wound was on the same safety scale as your nose and mouth... and i couldnt help going through all the protective mechanisms of both cavities...
strange film.