Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler...Former teacher... Scientist... Published author... Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published September 30th 2019
Forgotten, but that should be rectified
So many films are released each and every year. For example, in 2018 in the USA more than 850 films were released. 850! With that degree of accumulated filmic detritus, it is obvious that many of these are going to fade into the realms of the memories of just a few devotees.
Some of the films that are remembered make us wonder why they are remembered because they are so truly awful. Some of the films that are forgotten are deservedly consigned to that part of the archives, that hidden corner where they belong. Some are remembered but under-rated by the public. But some are apparently dumped from the collective remembrances of the watching public and I really do not understand why that should be the case.
And without further ado, here are five films that seem to me to be forgotten by the majority, and yet do not deserve such an ignominious fate. (The order is the order I watched them while writing this. Nothing more, nothing less.)
Written and Directed by Quentin Dupieux The film opens with a man dressed as a police officer coming out of the trunk of a car and telling you that things make no sense. Good. Because this film makes that. It is about a sentient tyre (called "Robert" in the credits) with psychokinesis, who makes the heads of people who annoy him blow up. Simple, huh? Well, not quite. Because interspersed throughout is a crowd of people who are the audience, watching this unfold. And then they are killed, so the film can end, but one survives, so it must go on. There are lots of nice exploding heads, and it is strangely funny, as in laugh out loud funny, at times. But there are still some nice horror tropes thrown in. And stay for the credits where different camera angles show the opening monologue. This is an odd film in every way, but so worth your time for only 80 minutes of goodness.
Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009)
Written by Jamie Matheson; Directed by Gareth Carrivick With Chris O'Dowd and Anna Faris amongst very few others, this is a science fiction comedy with intersecting time lines and back and forth jumps and heroism and not heroism and all manner of weirdness. But it is a film you have to pay attention to. If you look at your phone or your laptop for even half a second, you're bound to miss something important that means something in ten minutes' time won't make sense. It is one of the most amazingly well-written films I have seen, both funny and yet with some really good sci-fi elements. Basically, Anna Faris has come back from the future to fix time leaks, then some-one sees everyone dead (including himself) in the bar, but it's not the bar… and it gets more confusing after that. They keep going back and forth and messing with the time continuity and meeting and seeing themselves until it all gets, as they say, "very complicated" during the credits… But, first and foremost, and I will say it again: the writing is just incredible.
The Man From Earth (2007)
Written by Jerome Bixby; Directed by Richard Schenkman This is a film that will NOT appeal to everyone. There is no big climactic battle scene, no fights, no car chases. It is a film based almost purely on dialogue and acting… but with an absolutely fascinating idea at its core. A man is being reluctantly thrown a going away party. He is someone who has not aged in the ten years these people have known him. But over the course of the party, the truth of his situation comes out, and he makes some startling claims that leave his friends either disbelieving or in awe of him. There are religious insights, there is deep philosophy, there are stories, there is a complete revelation that I will not go into because it is the major spoiler of the film. This is an intellectual film, and from about 10 minutes in, we are on the ride… Again, just brilliantly well-written. But also just incredibly well-acted. And I mean the acting is superb. All the action takes place in and around a cabin. I mean, all the action. One set. Eight actors (plus a couple of extras). And a script to die for.
Written by Brian Nelson (screenplay) & M. Night Shyamalan (story); Directed by John Erick Dowdle A little horror film. A suicide. People trapped in an elevator. People dying in the elevator every time the lights go out. Security camera footage. And one of the people in the elevator is in the thrall of the Devil. And then, final repentance. It is an intense film, very intense, and the viewer has no idea what is going on until the end. The story is really well-written (again) but it is the claustrophobic nature of the main scenes that really makes this film creepy. Yes, there is gore and blood, but the terror is quite cerebral, building up with the unknown as the body count rises. Intense.
The Man With The Iron Fists (2012)
Written by RZA (story & screenplay), Eli Roth (screenplay); Directed by RZA A martial arts film, featuring hip hop artist RZA, but also with Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, and David Bautista. At least, these three being in the film were the reason I bought it on DVD as soon as it was released. A mixture of the modern Chinese martial arts films with the cables and rig systems, CGI effects and a weird story about plots against governments. But it is a roller-coaster ride of fun. More than anything else, it looks like all those involved in making it had fun. RZA plays the title role, a blacksmith whose hands are cut off by the Big Bad and replaced, with Crowe's help, by the titular iron fists. There are some amazing fight scenes, and the plot actually does make some sort of sense. It is shot in golds and yellows and oranges, which gives it a fascinatingly unique look. And, really, it is a fine example of the modern martial arts movie.
So, five films released not that long ago that are superbly written and/or downright weird, filled with action and/or fabulous acting, and yet which seem to have fallen from the public consciousness. I would recommend seeking them out if these genres are those you are interested in. Even if they're not… why not give them a go anyway?