Saturday, March 31, 2007

Under the Radar

For me Netflix is great. My local video store might have 50 DVDs of The Departed and Borat, and maybe one copy of the film I really want to see (out). What follows is a list of films- many suggested by my students, who evidently have too much free time- that perhaps flew under your radar but you should see. The list has something for everyone- documentary, foreign, comedy, shoot-em ups. None were released before 2004 and the total gross box office receipts are probably less than 300's first weekend. Feel free to add your own suggestions. One soon to be released film to see is a new documentary called Sharkwater. It's in Dallas and NYC in April on DVD later. Thanks to ViceZilla for this one. You can see his story and the trailer at his site.

Finally, a not so insignificant note, eight of these films were directed (or co-directed) by women. As The Tom Tom Club sang, "Girls can do it, too."


Stranger than Fiction- A nice Will Farrell performance and for the guitar geeks out there he plays The Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric. E and A are the only chords. Easy. Shot entirely in Chicago.

Upside of Anger- Joan Allen and Kevin Costner play two depressed drinking buddies. It will make you want to have a drink or not, I am not sure.

You, Me and Everyone We Know- by Miranda July. Great and Quirky.

Friends with Money- Also great and quirky as is any film directed by Nicole Holofcener.

The Squid in the Whale-The first half of a great dysfunctional family double feature when combined with Little Miss Sunshine.

SherryBaby- Maggie Gyllenhaal is excellent as a recently paroled convict who wants to reunite with her daughter.

Documentary Film

Shut Up and Sing- The Dixie Chick's film. Great. You get to see how their new record came about and how they were really right.

My Architect- About the architect Louis Kahn who lived a double or triple life. Made by the son of his third wife.

Grizzly Man- Great music, great bears, real and scary. Music by Richard Thompson.

The Lost Boys of Sudan- Sudanese young men come to this country and have to adapt or die. Tons of memorable scenes- including when one "boy" catches a bird to give as a gift to a date.

Wordplay- Devotees of the NYT crossword must see this.

Spellbound- even better than Wordplay. About the national spelling bee.


Earth, Fire, Water- Three separate films by Deepa Mehta. Three different versions of life in Indian in the last half of the 20th century.

Oldboy-Korean thriller. Not for everyone, pretty violent but very well made.

Best of Youth- Originally a mini-series for Italian TV. Shown in two 3 hour parts in theaters here. We get a 20th century Italian History lesson.

I'm Not Scared-Also Italian about a boy who finds a man hiding in a hole.

Nobody Knows- Japanese. 14 year old Yuya Yagira one best actor at Cannes in 2005. Based on a true story it's about 4 siblings each with a different father, who have to fend for themselves in a small apartment after their mother leaves.


strunny said...

i am adding 'life is beautiful' to the foreign list..
we are just going to dublin, italy, germany, france, possibly switzerland, prague, and sweden...for fun. have you been over there since you did the film? that must've been cool.

PeterH said...

Life is beautiful is great. It was beyond my arbitrary 2004 marker or I would have included it. I want to add Dirty Pretty Things and The Station Agent to my film list.

I haven't been back to Ireland since then. I was in London in October- the picture on the blog was from that trip.

Thanks for reading.


Claire said...

Hey Peter: Got your comment on My Blog Log. Don't know much about it to be honest. I have a good friend helping me make my blog better and I am learning fast but it's still a work in progress! Keep coming back! Thanks, Claire

John said...

Peter - interesting list of movies. I'd like to see them all except one, that with the Dixie Chicks. I don't like their politics and what they've had to say about the Bush administration in times past.

I'm still gathering some of my old favorite movies on DVD, takes time doesn't it? Hope your weekend was good. Enjoyed this post!

Wonder Woman said...

I've got some movie watching to do! I used to see 2 or 3 movies a week.(Those were the good ol' days) Thanks for reminding me how fun it is to explore. ;P

Anonymous said...

great obscure film I'd suggest:

The Five Obstructions

The film is a sort of documentary dealing with Lars Von Trier challenging his friend/mentor Jorgen Leth to remake his seminal work with a series of 'obstructions' like "you must shoot in Cuba and with no shot longer than 15 frames" It's inspiring to watch him deal with the challenges and how pissed off Von Trier gets when he succeeds!