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Author Topic: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed  (Read 96982 times)

Offline Dave Cullen

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Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« on: February 28, 2006, 11:56:10 AM »
This thread is not necessarily for the Greatest films of all-time--but for wonderful films that got lost along the way--hardly heard of or known today.

Roger Ebert has his Overlooked Film Festival, so I thought we should start a virtual one of our own.

We can't actually show the films, but we can share some of our favorites that never got enough attention. (You can decide what constitutes "enough.")

I can't decide whether I'm more eager to add or draw from this thread. I'm always excited about spreading the word on some of my long lost faves, but I'm also on the hunt to see some missed gems. I finally decided I can start a netflix account, so I'm going to be especially hungry for ideas.

---

For each film, please include (or include as much as possible):

- the year of release (approx if you don't know)
- your take on it -- why you like it so much, or what we might get out of it
- the director and stars
- a link would be great (such as rotten tomatoes or metacritic)
- if you could paste in the synopsis from some site, that would also be great.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2006, 03:45:04 PM by Dave Cullen »

Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: DC's Overlooked Film Festival
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2006, 12:01:55 PM »
I will start things off with one I think a lot of people here will like, but not so many will have heard of:

Apartment Zero, 1989.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/apartment_zero/

RT rating 88% (but only 8 reviews).

A weird and deliciously creepy suspense film with extremely strong gay undertones. Overtones?

Starring Hart Bochner (at his hottest), Colin Firth, Liz Smith.

Directed by Martin Donovan

Winner Best Picture and Best Director at the Seattle International Film Festival, 1989.

The not-entirely-clear synopsis from RT (I think the inability to synopsize this very unusual film was a big part of its problem getting the love):

The proprietor of a Buenos Aires revival-house cinema meets an American "free spirit;" and before long, he has agreed to let the stranger board in his flat, which is decorated with pictures of movie stars.

Although the theater owner obsequiously vies for the American's affections, he becomes aware that unexplained murders have been taking place in the city, and that his lodger may not be exactly what he seems.

As their relationship develops, both men attempt to discover who the other one is, and what he is striving to attain.

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films the world missed out on
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2006, 04:26:16 PM »
 http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/wonder_boys/


Off hand WONDER BOYS comes to mind. 

2000 film starring Michael Douglas, Robert Downey Jr, Tobey McGuire, Katie Holmes and Frances McDormand.

I love this film; it was released and received great to very good reviews, but for some reason never found a big audience.  The thing I like about the film is it's quirkiness in it's characters and situations.  It is very matter of fact in it's approach while never going overboard.  The characters are all very smart and they use their intelligence to move the story along very entertainingly.  Micheal Douglas probably has never been so good in a film; while Tobey McGuire and Katie Holmes are very effective in early roles for them.  Curtis Hanson directs with a subtle eye and the film ends up being a smart entertainment. 

PLOTLINE: An English Professor tries to deal with his wife leaving him, the arrival of his editor who has been waiting for his book for seven years, and the various problems that his friends and associates involve him in.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2006, 04:48:07 PM by BADBRAD »

Offline sinne

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2006, 01:16:13 PM »
I keep mentioning this film on various threads so more people will see it - "Hedwig and the Angry Inch".  I've seen it over 30 times and it's fantastic.  It was an off-Broadway play in 1998 and then made into a film in 2001.  It is a "cult" film now but it should be getting much wider recognition.  It won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival (as well as audience awards at festivals all over the world) but it should be much more popular than it is.  Rolling Stone named it "one of the Top 10 Rock Musicals of all time!"

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hedwig_and_the_angry_inch/

http://www.finelinefeatures.com/sites/hedwig/

To me it has a similar theme to BBM - about the search for your other half. The story of Hedwig is based on Aristopanes speech in Plato's Republic, "In the beginning, we were whole; we combined in us both the male and the female." (until the god Zuess split us all in two)  Hedwig performs a song called "The Origin of Love" based on this and also has a monologue, where she says, "It is clear I must find my other half.  But is it a he or a she?  What does this person look like?  Identical to me?  Or somehow complementary"  Does my other half have what I don't?  Did he get the looks, the luck, the love?  Were we really separted forcibly or did he just run off with the good stuff?  Or did I?  Will this person embarrass me?  And what about sex?  Is that how we put ourselves back together again?  Or can two people actually become one again?" 

I don't want to give too much away about the plot.  I think it's better to see it not knowing a lot beforehand.  It's an amazing film.  I will see it many, MANY more times.  Whenever I hear it's playing at a midnight show I go.  Take a chance if you haven't seen it!



 
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Offline Forever_Failure

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films the world missed out on
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2006, 08:37:49 PM »
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/wonder_boys/


Off hand WONDER BOYS comes to mind. 

2000 film starring Michael Douglas, Robert Downey Jr, Tobey McGuire, Katie Holmes and Frances McDormand.


I just love that film! I've watched it at least 3 times but only on TV. I went to see it with my brother at the cinema but that day they changed it and showed "Bedazzled" or something like that instead, only for that day... It got the funniest title in Spanish though, something like "A crazy weekend" (Fin de semana de locos). I really don't know what some translators have in mind when they translate the movie titles.  :-\

Offline joe-broke

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2006, 11:08:03 PM »
I keep mentioning this film on various threads so more people will see it - "Hedwig and the Angry Inch".  

Yes! 'Hedwig' is a must see! I was living in Athens, Georgia when it was released, just so happens that was also where director/star John Cameron Mitchell was living at the time, so the movie got a lot of promotion just from word of mouth in the Atlanta/Athens area. I thought it was going to be the next 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'. Highly recommended!

I would also recommend, and I mentioned this somewhere else on here, Ang Lee's first "gay" movie 'The Wedding Banquet'.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2006, 03:38:03 PM by Dave Cullen »
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Offline Griff

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2006, 11:57:13 PM »
Two foreign films comes to mind:  Victor Erice's "The Spirit of the Beehive" (El espiritu de la colmena) and Hector Babenco's "Pixote."  Both films, one Spanish and the other Brazilian, feature young protagonists whose faces will forever be etched in your memories. 

As for American films, Terence Malick's "Badlands" seems to be a good candidate for "most overlooked."  And, though not sure it fits in the overlooked category, but David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" is definitely a film that just gets better and better after each viewing.

Offline markason

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2006, 03:49:52 AM »
Luchino Visconti's first film, "Ossessione" ("Obsession") is a masterpiece that very few people have had the chance to see. There are several very good reasons for its long life hidden away in obscurity, yet now that it has been recorded on DVD it may finally attain the audience and the accolades it has always deserved. First, the movie was filmed in Italy in 1943, when Visconti was inspired to create an Italian adaptation of James M. Cain's story "The Postman Always Rings Twice". This cinematic treatment of the story actually predated the famous Hollywood version starring John Garfield and Lana Turner (1946) by three years. Unfortunately, Visconti's budget was too limited to afford legal purchase of the film rights from the writer, and so for several decades the movie was prohibited from being shown outside of Italy because the author's estate exercised claims of copyright infringement. In addition to this, the movie was rarely allowed to be screened inside Italy since Mussolini and the Catholic church both banned it from being shown in movie houses, because of its "immoral" themes. Not only did the film tell the original Postman tale of adultery and murder in fine detail, but director Visconti also inserted a gay subplot of his own invention which, of course, was scandalous (and amazing) for the early '40s. Even by today's more "progressive" standards, the film can still be considered quite advanced in its outlook, for, though the gay storyline is very subtle, it is presented in a completely positive, unstereotyped light. Moreover, the gay character is the most ethical protagonist in the affair, who remains free from the retribution that awaits the other players. I try to mention this film every time I have the chance because, like Brokeback Mountain, so many of its scenes are exquisitely rendered gems of cinematic art and, are worthy of loving scrutiny. Brokeback fans will be especially intrigued to find parallels to Ennis and Jack in the roles of "Gino" and "Spagnolo" in Ossessione. Gino is a handsome itinerant handyman, schooled in poverty, whose earthy magnetism appeals to almost everyone he encounters, while Spagnolo ("The Spaniard") is a mercurial street magician whose keenness and generosity of spirit never falter. Like Jack Twist, Spagnolo attempts to convince Gino that they could live a life of freedom together and, like Ennis del Mar, Gino is either unable or unwilling to hear this tender, unexpected encouragement. Such prescience in a movie made over 60 years ago! Film lovers needn't have any concerns about this early, European adaptation of Postman being at all inferior to its American successors. It brims with authentically observed nuances of Italian life and is conceived with such naturalness throughout that it is actually credited with inaugurating the "Verismo" or 'Neo-realist" style of film making. In fact, I believe it is the best movie version of Postman available. I can also add that admirers of the male form will be generously rewarded by Visconti's camera, which lingers in appreciation over every aspect of actor Massimo Girotti's virile frame. My advice: see this movie...!

Ossessione is occasionally shown on Turner Classic Movies (it's possible that NetFlix carries it, too) and it is also available from Amazon.com here:


The Internet Movie Data Base has more information on Ossessione here:


Finally, a few captures from the film:

Gino (actor Massimo Girotti) the handyman drifter, whose appearance on the scene sets the story's plot into motion.



Gino and Spagnolo (actor Elio Marcuzzo) prepare to share a bed for a night in a sparse rented room.




Gino and Spagnolo in their final encounter.



Gino and Giovanna (actress Clara Calamai) contemplate the consequences of their adulterous affair.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2006, 07:54:00 PM by markason »

Offline Boris

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2006, 09:34:25 AM »
"Amores Perros", a mexican movie about love, death, dogs and betrayal. Horrendously dark masterpiece by Alejandro González Ińárritu.
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Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2006, 03:35:03 PM »
Badlands is a classic. Nice choice. And Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen both look like they're 14.

(I would agree that Blue Velvet was great, but not so overlooked. Didn't it come in first place on some big list of the films of that decade? I'm also puzzled why that pic always gets named, when I thought he totally outdid himself with Wild At Heart. Tied as my all-time favorite. I've never seen a film match that exhuberance for life. But I don't think it qualifies for overlooked either.)

Wonder Boys, I did not get what all the excitement was about. I can't even remember why I disliked it: seemed very forgettable to me, and I don't think I ever bought in. It's fuzzy, so I can't say a whole lot.

BTB, "Amores Perros" translates as Love's A Bitch, right? Pun intended. Always makes me smile. Need to add that to my netflix queue.

Thanks for the stills from Obession.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2006, 03:40:57 PM by Dave Cullen »

Offline brokebacktom

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2006, 07:41:00 PM »
I agree with David Apartment Zero was great!

Another I thuoght was great was DOWN FALL; 2004. (German) Plot: the last days of Hitler. It was wonderful.

Tom

Offline Boris

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2006, 11:08:47 AM »
"Down Fall" is a great movie, there is something surreal and horrible in its depiction of the Hitler's last days, no melodrama, no demonization, nothing we have used to see. And still you come out felling terrified. The German actress playing Magda Goebbels, Corinna Harfouch is mesmerizing.

Another movie I would like to recommend is "Memento" by Christopher Nolan starring Guy Pearce and Carrie Anne Moss (how hot is that). It is unusual thriller that you have to watch without flinching because its narrative and structure is so challenging.
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Offline Eniese

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2006, 04:06:30 PM »

Memento is awsome!

Wonderboys was a movie I liked but it didn´t stick to my mind.

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Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2006, 09:32:45 PM »
Memento was great. And yeah, you had to watch every minute.

And Guy Pierce was hot. Does he only do one film every three years?

---

I just saw an add on this thread for a Hal Hartley site. How odd. Did someone mention him without me noticing?

Trust is one of my all-time faves. Link at his site here:

http://www.possiblefilms.com/movies/trust/

I also loved his prior film, "The Unbelievable Truth."

Amazing first two films. But then he stumbled with "Simple Men," and everything seemed to get bad reviews after that except maybe Henry Fool, so I quit going. Did I miss any gems in there?

Go see Trust. I used it in my class teaching creative writing to undergrads. Wonderful. Martin Donovan carries a live grenade with himself everywhere, just in case. Just in case what? Just in case.

hehehe.

Offline twtplanner

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Re: Overlooked Films--Great films (most of) the world missed
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2006, 04:35:24 PM »
...Another movie I would like to recommend is "Memento" by Christopher Nolan starring Guy Pearce and Carrie Anne Moss (how hot is that). It is unusual thriller that you have to watch without flinching because its narrative and structure is so challenging.

Boris, I liked it but it didn't give me the wow factor.  It's very good....just didn't have the same enthusiasm.

terry
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