5th Part of the Cinematic gems that inspire me the most. We're continuing from where we left off in PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, and PART 4!
IMPORTANT NOTE #1
Of course, "The Movie Is In The Eye Of The Beholder". One movie fan's heaven can be another's hell, or vice versa. These are just my thoughts and reflecting my own taste. I hope this list serves you well and you find some of the movies I mentioned here worthy of bookmarking to watch them later. Please never hesitate to share your own thoughts about ANY MOVIE in the comments' area. You're always welcome to do that whether the movies listed here are your type or not. It's all about exchanging our opinions!
IMPORTANT NOTE #2
DEAR MOVIE INDUSTRY, what is the purpose of a "MOVIE TRAILER" that contains many SPOILERS? To ruin our precious movie-moments?
As you might be guessing, there are many movie trailers that mostly include "Spoilers". So, instead of using movie trailers in this post, I just used images to protect you from any kind of spoilers (For those who haven't watched them yet... In most of the time there will be NO SPOILERS here. I may talk about the storyline but NOT to the extent of a spoiler. I NEVER DO THAT). I don't know why are "they" including spoilers in movie trailers but it seems that it's almost a tradition now (ABSURD, right? - Unbelievable).
And may the 5th in the series be with you!
"THE PRESTIGE" (2006)
(Directed By Christopher Nolan)
"Any sufficiently advanced technology
is indistinguishable from magic."
[Source] - Isn't ETYMOLOGY great? I am an Etymology geek. It's amazing!
A hardcore Nikola Tesla (the link leads to the most satisfying documentary I have ever watched about him) fan here. Tesla's extremely farsighted inventions have made my fall for him.
I have been a fan of Rock Music for the most of my life (and still I am), and the band named TESLA was one of my favorite rock bands. Then I wondered about the meaning of the band's name (asking questions is always the first step in the path of learning: why, who, when, how, what). There was no internet back then, but I remember myself reading about him as much as I can. Then the "World Wide Web" came, and Nikola Tesla's name was one of the first search phrases I have ever typed into Altavista's search box! I was reading about him like there was no tomorrow! The righteous inclusion of Nikola Tesla to the movie thanks to the director Christopher Nolan and David Bowie (what a charisma he has) enhances my admiration for "The Prestige" even more. And when it comes to the director's equitable attitude towards Edison-Tesla debate, it was even more satisfying!
- "I thought they might work for the government."
- "Worse. They work for Thomas Edison"
2006 was a rich year for magic; If I am not mistaken, we've seen 3 movies involving magic ("illusion", to be more precise) in the same year..: "The Illusionist" (a great movie which I would also suggest watching), "Scoop", and "The Prestige".
Adapted from the Christopher Priest novel, "The Prestige" is based around the struggle between two skillful stage magicians (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale). This is the absolute war of two powerful egos fueled by endless obsession, and when egos collide in such a magnitude, both sides suffer heavy casualties.
Who will win? Alfred Borden(Christian Bale)? Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman)? OR, can there be a winner (other than the lucky observer)? Michael Caine is a joy to watch as always and Rebecca Hall shines even more than enough for her part. I must add, Scarlett Johansson should be banned from acting. A Non-CGI Andy Serkis (Gollum / Kong / Caesar) comes as a great bonus!
Magic? That's what Christopher Nolan does!
"I apologize for leaving without saying goodbye, but I seem to have outstayed my welcome in Colorado. The truly extraordinary is not permitted in science and industry. Perhaps you'll find more luck in your field, where people are happy to be mystified."
(Directed By Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson)
Don't let your eyes deceive you!
There is more to "SPRING" than the screenshot above.
This is DEFINITELY NOT that kind of a romance movie!
Not even close!
I wish I could give you spoilers!
Hmmmm. It seems I am too excited again, I can't help it. Because that kind of excitement happens only when I see a true gem (especially when I expect them the least). I caught off guard, and certainly pleased with it. I was never heard about the directors either but I can say that they will be on my radar hence forth.
[Tweet Source] - Guillermeo Del Toro, one of my favorite directors, praises the movie "SPRING"!
It's good to see that Mr. Del Toro agrees with me ;)
Guillermo Del Toro's Tweet about "Spring" tells the whole story. "Movie is in the eye of the beholder" for sure, but Del Toro is not just anyone. He's the genius behind "The Devil's Backbone" and "Pan's Labyrinth", so he knows what he is talking about. It's so sad to see that gems like SPRING still remain unheard and even underrated while todays cinema mostly lacks the originality that movies like "SPRING" generously offer. If you're reading my movie reviews, you already know that I am a fan of powerful "subtext", and "Spring" has it too!
Remember what I've just said about the movie above?
"This is DEFINITELY NOT that kind of a romance movie!".
It's not, yet it's still a UNIQUE love story at its core where true love only comes with the most extreme sacrifice! I invite you all to the ruins of the ancient city, Pompeii!
"I don't want to die and I don't want to watch anyone die."
"HELL OR HIGH WATER" (2016)
(Directed By David Mackenzie)
The age of Sergio Leone style "Western" is over?
Don't forget to add "economic abuse", "discrimination" and "class conflict" to the mix.
I would say, "Hell Or High Water"!
And once again we are facing the absolute proof of the nonsense of the Oscars (Academy Awards) - Not even a single award to this masterpiece that reflects the true atmosphere of the Albuquerque!
"No Country For Old Men"?
Wrong! Jeff Bridges has a lot to say!
And Ben Foster (remember the charismatic gunslinger from the remake of "3:10 To Yuma"?), a much more mature Chris Pine (there is no doubt that he has become a good actor), and the voice of the "native blood", Gil Birmingham! I would suggest keeping a weather ear on the thoughtful conversation between characters which tells much about class separation, economy, banks' abuse of power and social problems.
This movie has epic dialogue, you can't miss it! And that dialogue between Marcus Hamilton (J. Bridges) and Alberto Parker (G. Birmingham) in which they argue about the destiny of the land, native americans, and the hegemony of banks is simply amazing (you'll easily notice which one I'm talking about when you watch the movie) - They look like an old couple, they needle each other continuously and yet even Hamilton's racist arguments (very disturbing, actually; "racism" is not a matter to joke about) don't trigger a fight between the two, thanks to their long-standing partnership in Texas Ranger Division.
"Hell Or High Water" is not one of these mindless action films with a couple of shotguns or rifles (and a machine gun, I must add), it puts drama to its center but when there is action, it's well staged, "believable" and it's there to add to the dramatic plot. David Mackenzie's style (the director) is evocative of Michael Mann ("The Last Of The Mohicans", "Heat", "The Insider", "Collateral"; one of my favorite directors), he truly cares about his characters which in turn makes the observers care about these characters' destinies. I should add that Taylor Sheridan (the writer; he's also the director of another great drama, Wind River) obviously has his own share in character development. You can be sure that you'll care about these characters too: The two brothers who try to save their ranch from foreclosure, and the two Texas Rangers who try to catch them before they rob another bank.
- "I am a Comanche. Do you know what it means? It means 'Enemy to everyone'."
- "Do you know what that makes me? A Comanche!"
(Directed By Andy Muschietti)
"A Mother's Love is Forever"
What a beautiful, dark story to look at!
As you know, my heart has a soft spot for Guillermo Del Toro, and if I see his name among the producers of a movie, then it means I'll be watching that movie as soon as I can. Andy Muschietti (director) had first taken the attention of Del Toro with his short movie "Mamá" (2008, 2:35 minutes) in which a girl tells her sister that their "Mamá" has returned to them. Del Toro says he was very impressed by the work of Muschietti, and in the video below he states that "the short" was also introducing one of the scariest scenes he has ever seen.
VIDEO: NO SPOILERS HERE! - "Mamá", the short movie (this is a short movie completely on its own, so please don't worry, there aren't any spoilers here) - You can watch it with Guillermo Del Toro's introduction where he explains what makes this short "special", and why.
It's an unsolved mystery for me to see that there is an undeniable prejudice towards "horror" movies; I don't know why but even some of the most veteran cinephiles seem to not take the "horror" movies seriously. But, as we see in "Mama", a horror movie don't have to be confined to some ignorant stereotypes where a psychopath chases a bunch of morons with an axe in his hands. A horror movie can be deep, emotional and "clever" whether it still benefits from the age old clichés (after all, clichés are not forbidden, and they work!).
Movie begins with the terrible events of 2007 - 2008 Financial Crisis where masses have lost all their savings (if they were lucky enough to have some savings), and not only that, according to one report, the crisis was also the main reason behind increased suicide rates. I couldn't think of a better way to start a horror movie!
The twin brother of Lucas, Jeffrey Desange (both played by the Jaime Lannister of "Game Of Thrones", Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) loses all his fortune due to financial crisis. Without being able to cope with the excessive stress, Jeffrey, the father of two (Victoria and Lilly), does gruesome things, involving murder. No one hears about the two sisters for 5 years. But Lucas finds them in a hut in the middle of nothing, thanks to his diligence and persistence...
But, how these kids have survived so long?
This is just the beginning and that's all that I can tell you without giving any spoilers.
"Daddy! There's a woman outside... She's not touching the floor!"
"BRASSED OFF" (1996)
(Directed By Mark Herman)
[Photo Source] - Ewan McGregor, Tara Fitzgerald and Pete Postlethwaite. Always a pleasure to watch Postlethwaite acting.
Is there a moment where I don't believe he's the conductor of the local brass band? No. He's that good!
You may remember Pete Postlethwaite (R.I.P.) from the movies "In The Name of The Father" (as "the father", Giuseppe) and "The Usual Suspects" (who can forget Keyser Söze's lawyer, Kobayashi?)... What an extraordinary talent to lose so soon! While Postlethwaite's performance alone is more than enough to watch "Brassed Off" (I mean it), the movie still offers a great story with a serious discourse on solidarity, working-class struggle, and "labour" whether it's represented in a musical rehearsal or in a coal mine.
"The miners, united, will never be defeated!"
The coal mine workers of Grimley town are about to lose their jobs due to planned closure of the mine which has a vital importance for the habitants (Margaret Thatcher’s notorious mine closure program), meaning that they can't regard the colliery brass band as one of their priorities anymore. On the other hand when Gloria(Fitzgerald), a talented flugelhorn player, asks Danny(Postlethwaite) if she could join the band and amazes all the folks with her incredible performance of "Concierto de Aranjuez", they seem energized and "motivated" thanks to her talent and beauty, yet Danny still struggles to keep his band together for the National Finals in Royal Albert Hall. When Gloria and Andy (Ewan McGregor) fell for each other, things get complicated even further because Gloria has a secret of her own.
You'll feel the magic when Pete Postlethwaite enters the scene, and thankfully it happens a lot. Just wait for the final speech where Postlethwaite gives a lesson on acting.
I wish we could have more of these movies, but "gold" has never been easy to mine.
This movie has a soul!
- "Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, hey ladies?"
- "Aye, but we can do without the drugs and rock 'n' roll!"
- "I love the band - we all do - but there's other things in life, you know, that's more important."
- "Not in mine there isn't."
(Directed By Andrzej Zulawski)
[Photo Source] - Isabelle Adjani in "POSSESSION". And maybe the most memorable female performance in cinema history (You have your own nominee? Please never hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments section). She has won the prize for "Best Actress" at both Cannes Film Festival and The César Awards for her role in the movie.
Adjani's performance is... Superhuman!
And this also might be Sam Neil's best performance ever along with John Carpenter's "In The Mouth Of Madness" - "Possession" is a cult-cinema classic by all means. Once you open the door, no matter how disturbed you're by this masterpiece, or overloaded by its rich subtext, you won't be able to leave there before seeing all the rooms of it!
Who may like it?
Generally I don't ask questions like that (was that even a question?) because it's obvious that everyone has a different taste. I like this movie a lot, but you may hate it, and vice versa. But anyway, I think movies like "Possession" deserve a parenthesis: This is not a movie for everyone. I would say, for example, if you enjoyed Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist", there is a higher chance that you may also enjoy the atmosphere of "Possession". Andrzej Zulawski creates a similar playground (as much "similar" as it can get, for sure), in his case the Eastern European way, and tells a Lovecraftian story! If you enjoy Eastern European Cinema, especially the Polish Directors like Wojciech Has, Andrzej Munk, and Andrzej Wajda, then this is the absolute jackpot for you (but still in an EXTREMELY UNIQUE way) - And I don't even mention that if you're a student in "Cinema Studies" (but we all are, aren't we?) then this movie is a MUST WATCH if you haven't watched it in the class yet.
Speaking of Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist"; I am almost 100% sure that Charlotte Gainsbourg has watched this movie and learned a lot from Isabelle Adjani!
It's not uncommon for Andrzej Zulawski to bring "gender relations" to the center of his movies and support these stories with rich symbolism, and even surrealism... - Mark (Sam Neill) returns to home after a long "business" trip, only to find that his wife, Anna (Isabelle Adjani) wants a divorce. Mark becomes obsessed over his wife while Anna's behaviour gets even more bizarre (and believe me, the word "bizarre" is an extreme understatement). The question the viewer should ask is, is "OBSESSION" actually any different from "POSSESSION"?
[Etymological Source #1 - Etymological Source #2] - At this point you already know that I am an "Etymology" fan, but, isn't it really interesting? Etymology is magic! I knew the OBSESSION and the POSSESSION were all the same..: "TROUBLE"! :)
[Tweet Source] - Roger Ebert (R.I.P.) praises "Possession" in his tweet.
Eastern European Cinema loves details and this horror masterpiece is not an exception. "POSSESSION" is a big puzzle and it demands sensible care. When there is a possession, there exists the possessed and the possessor; and thanks to Andrzej Zulawski they are both unforgettable (you'll love it or hate it, but you won't forget it).
Note: I would suggest watching the documentary about the movie from this link, which also features the director himself.
- "No one is good or bad, but if you want, I'm the bad one. And if I knew he existed in this world, I would have never had Bob with you!"
- "If you had only seen what I saw!"
"THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR" (1999)
(Directed By Josef Rusnak)
[Photo Source] - My opinion? "The Thirteenth Floor" deserves your precious time.
An extremely underrated Sci-Fi gem...
"The Matrix" with more layers, and less action.
Please don't get me wrong, this is already a gem on its own!
I like this movie very much, but I wish it wasn't released in the same year as "The Matrix", its timing was a big misfortune to the success of the movie, I think. "The Matrix" was offering stunning action scenes which was already "attractive" enough for masses (not that Matrix wasn't offering a very good story, it was quite the opposite actually). It's so unfortunate for movies like "The Thirteenth Floor" which try to offer something different, because when viewers (especially teenagers) see something they weren't used to, they often leave the movie theater in the first half (if they were ever there at all in the first place) without giving the movie a full chance. If you enjoyed movies like "Dark City" and "eXistenZ", I'm sure that you'll enjoy this movie.
But I must warn you: Adapted from Daniel Galouye's "Simulacron-3" (SPOILER WARNING! don't click on that link if you haven't watched the movie yet), "The Thirteenth Floor" is one of those movies that demand FULL FOCUS (caps-lock mode on!) of its viewer. When I first saw the production company's name in the end-credits, I was almost 100% sure that the movie in question was an adaptation, because (I must admit that) I'm NOT a fan of Roland Emmerich movies which never promise a good story (Roland Emmerich is one of the founders of the company, "Centropolis Entertainment". When I see Roland Emmerich's name, it's never a good sign for the quality! "Special Effects"? Maybe "yes". "STORY"? Definitely a big "NO"!)
Imagine a movie like "The Matrix" with more layers, less action, and a powerful story! Now, is that an offer you would like to refuse? It's a great Sci-Fi (and why not, Philosophy) film that keeps your attention alive even after the end scene, because it's impossible to not think about the concept! I think both "The Matrix" and "The Thierteenth Floor" are great movies, but, what if I say that I prefer "The Thirteenth Floor" over "The Matrix"?
You may remember Armin Mueller-Stahl from the movies "Shine" (he played David Helfgott's father; and what a "father" he was, if you know what I mean) and "Eastern Promises" (he was a high-rank mafia elite); you won't see him in this movie much, but whenever you see him you feel his (obvious) talent and charisma immediately! He plays Hannon Fuller, the boss of a software enterprise who works on a groundbreaking "virtual reality" program, but gets killed by an unknown attacker. The cloud of suspicion surrounds "the second man" of the company, Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko).
"Ignorance is bliss. For the first time in my life, I agree"
"Of course, we've improved on this model since then, now the players can beat the shit out of, and try to drown one another."
"THE MIST" (2007)
(Directed By Frank Darabont)
What happens when Stephen King and Frank Darabont, the Director of "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile", come together?
It's, "THE MIST"! An offer you can't refuse!
[Photo Source #1, Photo Source #2, Photo Source #3] - Frank Darabont is already a legendary director!
It seems that Stephen King loves to work with Frank Darabont (the director, and also the CREATOR of the TV Series "The Walking Dead"), after all, it's not that hard to see that..: "The Woman In The Room", "Nightshift Collection", "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile" were all Stephen King stories!
And as always, "THE MIST" is more than a horror story!
But again, you must look after your stomach (if you can), because this won't be an easy watch. This is an "R" rated movie, meaning that in some scenes you may clench your teeth and fist, even if you're among the most veteran of horror movie watchers. The world of "The Mist" has no mercy (pure gore), and thanks to King's and Darabont's character work, these bloody scenes easily become even more unbearable than they are.
[Photo Source] - They look so scared, because THE MIST has brought the worst!
"The Mist" has brought the worst, but still, the subtext of the movie makes you think: Are humans more dangerous than "The Mist" (and what lies within it?)
The answer is already obvious, and "we" should never underestimate what regular people are capable of doing under stress, especially when the "death" is so close! They all look civilized and helpful on the surface, but, what lies beneath? This movie is full with familiar faces but Mrs. Carmody (the talented Marcia Gay Harden) is definitely the person who should be given the award of "one of the most irritating movie characters of all time" - Watch Mrs. Carmody, her behaviour and attitude closely throughout the movie. When you see her, what do you feel? "Anger"? "Hate"? Maybe the movie tries to give us all a lesson.
Would TV Shows like "Stranger Things" even exist without the existence of a book like "The Mist"? Or, would we have "Lost" without "The Quiet Earth"? Not that I complain, but I don't think so. The connection is crystal clear, I'm sure you'll easily see it when you watch the movie (or read the book).
And, that soundtrack we have at the final scene... I can't tell you enough of the effect it creates when combined with the great cinematography of the movie! I can't think of a better choice than Dead Can Dance!