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Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years 
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Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years


Last edited by Blinde on Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:57 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:58 pm
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Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
Kunzie, I'm gonna step into your shoes for a sec and say:

Gattaca and V for Vendetta? Are you serious?

Gattaca was predictable and cliched, and it is also hard for the average audience to relate to the "genetically inferior" protagonist when he's played by *Ethan Hawke*, one of the best-looking men in Hollywood. The best moment of that film for me was the moment when Gore Vidal's character was exposed and he put that goofy smile onto his face.

V for Vendetta: Granted, I'm an Alan Moore purist, but there is a reason for it- he writes profoundly intelligent fiction that explores the human condition. When you put one of his works into the hands of the overrated Wachowski brothers for adaptation, you have to expect a certain level of whorish dumbing-down to take place. However, the crowning moment comes when:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
The mob, in an attempt to display their individuality in support of V, do so by *ALL dressing up in the same clothing and mask*. This is on top of having Stephen Fry's TV host character openly mocking the dictator of the totalitarian government who control everything and then talking to his agent about "paying a fine" as penance before he is forcibly made to disappear later. Who the fuck was the genius who wrote that shit, seriously?!


Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:09 pm
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Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Kunzie, I'm gonna step into your shoes for a sec and say:

Gattaca and V for Vendetta? Are you serious?

Gattaca was predictable and cliched, and it is also hard for the average audience to relate to the "genetically inferior" protagonist when he's played by *Ethan Hawke*, one of the best-looking men in Hollywood. The best moment of that film for me was the moment when Gore Vidal's character was exposed and he put that goofy smile onto his face.

V for Vendetta: Granted, I'm an Alan Moore purist, but there is a reason for it- he writes profoundly intelligent fiction that explores the human condition. When you put one of his works into the hands of the overrated Wachowski brothers for adaptation, you have to expect a certain level of whorish dumbing-down to take place. However, the crowning moment comes when:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
The mob, in an attempt to display their individuality in support of V, do so by *ALL dressing up in the same clothing and mask*. This is on top of having Stephen Fry's TV host character openly mocking the dictator of the totalitarian government who control everything and then talking to his agent about "paying a fine" as penance before he is forcibly made to disappear later. Who the fuck was the genius who wrote that shit, seriously?!


I think the point about Stephen Fry's character is that he thought he was insulated from the regime, only to find that in such situations nobody is. Additionally, though everyone puts on the mask and clothing, they all take theirs off at the end, and we find (very movingly, I might add) that the dead are there among them. They were all part of it, as Natalie Portman says. The masks and V were just mechanisms, and now that the Parliament is destroyed they take off their garb.

As for Gattaca, we've argued about it before, but I have absolutely no compunction about calling it great. I don't find the film predictable, in fact. In most serious movies about the individual against a future super-state (e.g. Soylent Green, 1984) the individual loses. And at the last second it appears that this will happen to Ethan Hawke as well, which he accepts with a wry smile of acceptance (remember that I was as good as any, and better than most) before discovering that he has had an ally all along who he never paid any attention to. As for Ethan Hawke's looks--he's a scrawny kind of guy, I could easily buy him as genetically inferior. Not a problem for me, and seems like a nitpick to me

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Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:33 pm
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Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
JamesKunz wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Kunzie, I'm gonna step into your shoes for a sec and say:

Gattaca and V for Vendetta? Are you serious?

Gattaca was predictable and cliched, and it is also hard for the average audience to relate to the "genetically inferior" protagonist when he's played by *Ethan Hawke*, one of the best-looking men in Hollywood. The best moment of that film for me was the moment when Gore Vidal's character was exposed and he put that goofy smile onto his face.

V for Vendetta: Granted, I'm an Alan Moore purist, but there is a reason for it- he writes profoundly intelligent fiction that explores the human condition. When you put one of his works into the hands of the overrated Wachowski brothers for adaptation, you have to expect a certain level of whorish dumbing-down to take place. However, the crowning moment comes when:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
The mob, in an attempt to display their individuality in support of V, do so by *ALL dressing up in the same clothing and mask*. This is on top of having Stephen Fry's TV host character openly mocking the dictator of the totalitarian government who control everything and then talking to his agent about "paying a fine" as penance before he is forcibly made to disappear later. Who the fuck was the genius who wrote that shit, seriously?!


I think the point about Stephen Fry's character is that he thought he was insulated from the regime, only to find that in such situations nobody is. Additionally, though everyone puts on the mask and clothing, they all take theirs off at the end, and we find (very movingly, I might add) that the dead are there among them. They were all part of it, as Natalie Portman says. The masks and V were just mechanisms, and now that the Parliament is destroyed they take off their garb.

More than Snyder, the Wachowski Bros missed the point of the work by Moore- V systematically dismantled the system of government put in place by the fascist party (Norsefire) in order to create anarchy. The idea of creating anarchy was to remind the people that they had a voice in determining who governed them rather than leaving it to the hands of despots (the scene with him giving a talk to the people on TV was utterly brilliant). Once anarchy was there, the next step was then for the people to retake the reins of power and set up a return to a more democratic system of government (which he left to Evy at the end). One of the key characteristics of anarchy is emphasis on the *individual*- hopefully, this makes it a bit clearer how retarded it is to have a group of people demonstrating their individuality by dressing the exact same way.

As for Fry's character- keep in mind that no such character existed in the original comic. He was written in as part of the change to Evy's character (making her an employee of the TV network rather than an orphan who was forced to work in a factory and resorted to prostitution as a result). As with many characters who are added in by meddling executives or stupid screenplay writers, he is almost completely dissonant with the theme of the film. They live in a fucking totalitarian society controlled by a government ruled by a dictator- the fact that Fry's character is so cheerful pissed me off. There is no such thing as a "star" in such a world who isn't under the control of the government- how many instances can you think of in Nazi Germany where a media star mocked or otherwise defied the ruling power and lived? The only way I could have bought the scene where he mocked the dictator was if it was shown that he didn't want to live anymore, much like the character of Robert in the original comic, who was driven to despair after being told that his mother was going to be brutally killed by "...a couple of good South Ken' boys with iron bars.". It's pure fucking horseshit, and I can see why Moore disowned Hollywood (though he had already done so before V was made).

JamesKunz wrote:
As for Gattaca, we've argued about it before, but I have absolutely no compunction about calling it great. I don't find the film predictable, in fact. In most serious movies about the individual against a future super-state (e.g. Soylent Green, 1984) the individual loses. And at the last second it appears that this will happen to Ethan Hawke as well, which he accepts with a wry smile of acceptance (remember that I was as good as any, and better than most) before discovering that he has had an ally all along who he never paid any attention to. As for Ethan Hawke's looks--he's a scrawny kind of guy, I could easily buy him as genetically inferior. Not a problem for me, and seems like a nitpick to me

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Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:35 pm
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Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
The Square? Are you serious? That movie was so unbelievably bad! It's so badly acted, scripted and directed that by the end of the movie I was laughing. Had they added the Griswolds, it would have been MUCH better.

Animal Kingdom was a movie that really went nowhere. Characters talked and talked, but they didn't say much and didn't do much either.

My additions: Atonement, Black Book, The War Zone (how can anyone leave THIS off?), Once Were Warriors, Fear, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Net, True Lies, Tommy Boy, Speed, Twister, Ladybugs, Heavyweights, The First Grader (my best film of 2011), The Rock, Spirited Away, The Peacemaker, Brotherhood of the Wolf (my favorite movie), Copycat, Girlfight, Match Point

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:13 am
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Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Gattaca was predictable and cliched, and it is also hard for the average audience to relate to the "genetically inferior" protagonist when he's played by *Ethan Hawke*, one of the best-looking men in Hollywood. The best moment of that film for me was the moment when Gore Vidal's character was exposed and he put that goofy smile onto his face.


As a gay man, I have to say that Ethan Hawke is no where near the top of the "good looking" heap. Alright, maybe my tastes are different from most other people who are attracted to men, but this is the first time I've ever heard anybody mention Ethan Hawke as good looking. Not to mention, there are plenty of good looking people out there who never had their genes tampered with. Plus, Ethan Hawke, unless he's the result of some vast alien government conspiracy, probably got his good looks without genetic engineering.

-Jeremy


Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:11 am
Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
I'd also like to throw Face/Off into the ring, it's my all time favorite action film, jaw-dropping action scenes(especially the prison escape and the boat chase at the end) dynamic acting from Travolta and Cage, who do some of they're best acting and totally disappear into their roles. I've heard complaints about the film's premise being too ridiculous to accept(like JB said in his review), i'm sure back in the day the concept of trading faces seemed highly unlikely, but now with all the advancements in the field of medical science, it actually dosen't sound all that unrealistic. Woo does some of his best directing here, his previous American efforts Hard Target and Broken Arrow, while entertaining didn't really feel very much like Woo films, this one has his name written all over it. I've also heard complaints about the film being overlong, which i can understand, though I personally found the story so immensely gripping that I wasn't even bored for a microsecond, if you're a fan of action films, you're ding yourself a real disservice by not seeing this film!

Also I personally didn't care for Animal Kingdom myself, I wanted to like it, but I just didn't care about the main character one bit, which made it difficult to get involved in the film.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:22 am
Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
Quote:
The Square (2008)

Plus there's one moment at the end that made me literally yell out "Oh fuck!", so brilliantly was it done.


I watched this last night and had the same reaction. Literally a jaw-dropping moment, and a brilliant end to a great little modern noir.

As for all the others, I'm completely with you on Gattaca, The Truman Show, Gone Baby Gone, The Fall, and Adaptation. I actually haven't seen several of them, but The Last Seduction, Show Me Love (along with Lilya-4-Ever), and To Live have been bumped up to the top of my Netflix queue.

I'm with Unke regarding The Descent, in that I find the first two-thirds to be masterful and the final third to be slightly underwhelming. Still a very solid horror film though, and it would probably make my top 5 in the genre for the last decade. Personally, I'd nominate The Orphanage as the truly great, under-appreciated horror film of the past 10 years.

I went through my DVD collection and picked out 10 more that I consider worthy of this thread (in no particular order):

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Standout performances from Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer highlight this satirical and fantastically entertaining takeoff on film noir. The plot is necessarily convoluted, but the real reason to watch is the whip-smart script and the great chemistry between the leads. And good Lord, Michelle Monaghan is stunning in this film.

Big Fish (2003)

Some view this one as too sentimental. I'm not one of them. In fact, I'd put this right at the top of the list of my favorite Tim Burton films, just beating out Ed Wood (another great overlooked gem), Sleepy Hollow, and Sweeney Todd. I've always found Burton to be a style-over-substance director, a filmmaker who cares more about crafting dark, Gothic worlds than anything related to story and character. Big Fish is the exception, combining just the right amounts of whimsy and heart.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Where does this stand for everyone in the Coens' filmography? For me, it's definitely top-tier, and probably my personal favorite out of all their works. Three awesome central performances, some amazing cinematography, a great soundtrack, and a countless number of classic moments. It's also my dad's favorite film of all time, so I've watched it dozens of times over the years, and yet it never gets old.

A Very Long Engagement (2004)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet will probably always be known best for Amelie, and while I'm a fan of that film, his follow-up might just be his best work. For the most part, Jeunet keeps his quirky, eccentric qualities in control to deliver an emotional and captivating blend of mystery and WWI drama. Whenever I watch the film, I'm always struck by Jeunet's use of non-linear storytelling; as we follow Audrey Tautou's quest to find her lost lover, we are gradually given little pieces of information until the puzzle has finally been solved. In my mind, a masterpiece.

Catch Me In You Can (2002)

This film gets somewhat lost when talking about Spielberg's admittedly terrific last decade. While Minority Report, Munich, A.I., and even War Of The Worlds might have more fierce defenders, I've always felt that this 2002 film could stand tall with the rest of them. The jazzy John Williams score signals a lighthearted romp, but the film also has some scenes of tremendous power that still give me chills after several viewings. And Leonardo Dicaprio still hasn't given a better performance.

Sunshine (2007)

The criticisms for Danny Boyle's science fiction film are always the same. Mainly, the film is incredibly tense and atmospheric before it flies off the rails in its final third. While I admit that the 20 minutes where a severely-sunburned Mark Strong terrorizes the main cast is not up to the same level as what comes before it, for me it still doesn't knock the film from legitimately "great" status. Plus, it has one of the most stirring and satisfying endings I've ever seen in science fiction film.

Matchstick Men (2003)

Ridley Scott's name has become somewhat synonymous with "big" films in the last decade. Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom Of Heaven, Robin Hood, etc. In the middle of all those was a film that kind of came and went with little fanfare. It was a charming, twisty caper film, with a strong central performance from Nicholas Cage, and a couple of nice supporting roles for Alison Lohman and Sam Rockwell. It showed that Ridley Scott was just as capable of making small-scale films as epic event pictures. And for me, it was his best film of the last decade.

Galaxy Quest (1999)

There haven't been many comedies in the last 13 years that have been as well-executed and consistently hilarious as this one. A sharp satire of geek culture and science fiction tropes, the film also featured an absolutely amazing cast, with Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, and especially Sam Rockwell delivering big time laughs. It's a film that works on several different levels, for both science fiction fans and people unfamiliar with any of its references. Never give up, never surrender.

Road To Perdition (2002)

Sam Mendes' best film, and one of the best-looking films of the last decade. Fortunately, this gangster film has more to it than just amazing style. It keeps the action relatively low-key to focus on two relationships between father and son, one that strengthens and one that fractures. While in college, I wrote a lengthy paper praising this terrific work, and I wish I could find it again to share.

Contact (1997)

Very rarely do you get movies like this anymore: a blockbuster entertainment with a strong thematic through-line, a Hollywood event film that actually has a brain behind its budget. During the late '80s and through the '90s, Robert Zemeckis was rivaling Spielberg with his blending of strong themes, emotional depth, and amazing technical spectacle. He's certainly made some quality films in his 30+ year career, but Contact might still be his very best work. This is going to sound pretentious, but it had a profound impact on me when I first saw it, and it still does to this day.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:38 am
Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
Moon rocks. (giggle)

After careful consideration and input, I will have to remove a few from my list. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and City of God are acknowledged classics and are certainly not unsung. The Lives of Others as well, after all, it won an Oscar, so you could hardly call it unsung.

As replacements, I would add Frailty, Living in Oblivion and... Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. T&DvsE was so unsung, it couldn't get a distributor for two years.

Definitely love the additions of Once Were Warriors, Galaxy Quest, and Catch Me if you Can. Great films. I also almost put Big Fish, on the list.

I'll throw my hat into the V for Vendetta and Gattaca = good crowd.

Alan Moore, while a genius, is also a dick. I take everything he says (not writes) with a whole bucket of salt.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:47 am
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Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
moviemkr7 wrote:
The Square? Are you serious? That movie was so unbelievably bad! It's so badly acted, scripted and directed that by the end of the movie I was laughing. Had they added the Griswolds, it would have been MUCH better.

Animal Kingdom was a movie that really went nowhere. Characters talked and talked, but they didn't say much and didn't do much either.

My additions: Atonement, Black Book, The War Zone (how can anyone leave THIS off?), Once Were Warriors, Fear, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Net, True Lies, Tommy Boy, Speed, Twister, Ladybugs, Heavyweights, The First Grader (my best film of 2011), The Rock, Spirited Away, The Peacemaker, Brotherhood of the Wolf (my favorite movie), Copycat, Girlfight, Match Point


I considered Match Point on my short list, and I love your Once Were Warriors addition. However, the fact that you're going to disparage The Square while trumpeting FEAR (of all fucking things), Ladybugs, and The Net makes me feel that you can't really be taken seriously.

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:42 am
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Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
Blonde Almond wrote:
Quote:
The Square (2008)

Plus there's one moment at the end that made me literally yell out "Oh fuck!", so brilliantly was it done.


I watched this last night and had the same reaction. Literally a jaw-dropping moment, and a brilliant end to a great little modern noir.

As for all the others, I'm completely with you on Gattaca, The Truman Show, Gone Baby Gone, The Fall, and Adaptation. I actually haven't seen several of them, but The Last Seduction, Show Me Love (along with Lilya-4-Ever), and To Live have been bumped up to the top of my Netflix queue.

I'm with Unke regarding The Descent, in that I find the first two-thirds to be masterful and the final third to be slightly underwhelming. Still a very solid horror film though, and it would probably make my top 5 in the genre for the last decade. Personally, I'd nominate The Orphanage as the truly great, under-appreciated horror film of the past 10 years.

I went through my DVD collection and picked out 10 more that I consider worthy of this thread (in no particular order):



Glad I wasn't the only one blown away by the Square. I like a lot of the movies you trumpet, but most of them just fall short for me. For instance, O Brother Where Art Thou is terrific, and absolutely features those classic moments of which you speak, but I've watched it 20-some times and I'm STILL not sure it adds up to a satisfying whole. So just shy. Ditto Road to Perdition, which I also own and adore. And I'm in the cliched majority I'm afraid with Sunshine, which undermined science fiction with religion due to a battle between screenwriter Garland and director Boyle over how the third act should transpire. It sure has its moments though.

I do agree with you, however, that KKBB and Galaxy Quest are quite genius and have been sadly passed by.

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:47 am
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Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
Blonde Almond wrote:
I went through my DVD collection and picked out 10 more that I consider worthy of this thread (in no particular order):

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Catch Me In You Can (2002)
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Contact (1997)


Yes, yes, yes, YES, yes. Great call especially on Galaxy Quest. One of those movies that you hear about, see a trailer, and think "oh God--is this something we really need?" Then you see the movie and think "YES! Why didn't we have a Tim Allen Star Trek parody sooner?"

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang somehow reminds me of one to add to the list: In Bruges (2008). I will defend Colin Farrell for life for his performance in this. One of the best comic performances of the decade. Just a blistering screenplay--it's one of the great miracles that this thing was nominated for the Original Screenplay Oscar. I'll quote the reaction that made me see it in the first place: "This is two full hours of that same audacity [as Shoot 'Em Up] delivered entirely in deadpan, and with no bits that make you roll your eyes. There is every kind of laughter imaginable to be gleaned here. Physical comedy. Pantomime. Colin Farrell looking sheepish. Belgian slurs. I was doubled over gasping for air much of the time, and I was not alone. It's a fucking gem. Go go go go go."


Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:33 am
Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
In Bruges is just awesome (which is why I put it on my list ;) ).

I wanted to put Paperhouse on there, but it's too old.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:27 am
Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
JamesKunz wrote:
moviemkr7 wrote:
The Square? Are you serious? That movie was so unbelievably bad! It's so badly acted, scripted and directed that by the end of the movie I was laughing. Had they added the Griswolds, it would have been MUCH better.

Animal Kingdom was a movie that really went nowhere. Characters talked and talked, but they didn't say much and didn't do much either.

My additions: Atonement, Black Book, The War Zone (how can anyone leave THIS off?), Once Were Warriors, Fear, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Net, True Lies, Tommy Boy, Speed, Twister, Ladybugs, Heavyweights, The First Grader (my best film of 2011), The Rock, Spirited Away, The Peacemaker, Brotherhood of the Wolf (my favorite movie), Copycat, Girlfight, Match Point


I considered Match Point on my short list, and I love your Once Were Warriors addition. However, the fact that you're going to disparage The Square while trumpeting FEAR (of all fucking things), Ladybugs, and The Net makes me feel that you can't really be taken seriously.


Yeah, no kidding. And seriously, The Rock, Twister and fucking Heavyweights over Animal Kingdom? Are you fucking shitting me!!!!???? To be fair, I do agree with several of the films listed here especially Copycat (which, IMHO, deserves a spot alongside Se7en and Silence of the Lambs as one of the best serial killer flicks of the 90's), Spirited Away, True Lies, Black Book, Once Were Warriors and The War Zone. Speed was also excellent but I would hardly call that film unsung. Now I can understand how some people might not be into Animal Kingdom - after all, it does move at its own pace and requires a certain amount of patience and attention from the audience - but I wouldn't say that it goes nowhere nor would I ever think of placing a piece of juvenilia like Heavyweights over it! :roll: :roll:


Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:06 am
Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
oafolay wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
moviemkr7 wrote:
The Square? Are you serious? That movie was so unbelievably bad! It's so badly acted, scripted and directed that by the end of the movie I was laughing. Had they added the Griswolds, it would have been MUCH better.

Animal Kingdom was a movie that really went nowhere. Characters talked and talked, but they didn't say much and didn't do much either.

My additions: Atonement, Black Book, The War Zone (how can anyone leave THIS off?), Once Were Warriors, Fear, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Net, True Lies, Tommy Boy, Speed, Twister, Ladybugs, Heavyweights, The First Grader (my best film of 2011), The Rock, Spirited Away, The Peacemaker, Brotherhood of the Wolf (my favorite movie), Copycat, Girlfight, Match Point


I considered Match Point on my short list, and I love your Once Were Warriors addition. However, the fact that you're going to disparage The Square while trumpeting FEAR (of all fucking things), Ladybugs, and The Net makes me feel that you can't really be taken seriously.


Yeah, no kidding. And seriously, The Rock, Twister and fucking Heavyweights over Animal Kingdom? Are you fucking shitting me!!!!???? To be fair, I do agree with several of the films listed here especially Copycat (which, IMHO, deserves a spot alongside Se7en and Silence of the Lambs as one of the best serial killer flicks of the 90's), Spirited Away, True Lies, Black Book, Once Were Warriors and The War Zone. Speed was also excellent but I would hardly call that film unsung. Now I can understand how some people might not be into Animal Kingdom - after all, it does move at its own pace and requires a certain amount of patience and attention from the audience - but I wouldn't say that it goes nowhere nor would I ever think of placing a piece of juvenilia like Heavyweights over it! :roll: :roll:
Yeah, that's a pretty odd list there, I mean I like Heavyweights, The Rock, Twister and Ladybugs, but they're nowhere near being top 20 materia. I do agree with Copycat though, I like it MUCH better then the massively overrated Se7en.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:04 pm
Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
Blonde Almond wrote:
Quote:
The Square (2008)

Plus there's one moment at the end that made me literally yell out "Oh fuck!", so brilliantly was it done.


I watched this last night and had the same reaction. Literally a jaw-dropping moment, and a brilliant end to a great little modern noir.

As for all the others, I'm completely with you on Gattaca, The Truman Show, Gone Baby Gone, The Fall, and Adaptation. I actually haven't seen several of them, but The Last Seduction, Show Me Love (along with Lilya-4-Ever), and To Live have been bumped up to the top of my Netflix queue.

I'm with Unke regarding The Descent, in that I find the first two-thirds to be masterful and the final third to be slightly underwhelming. Still a very solid horror film though, and it would probably make my top 5 in the genre for the last decade. Personally, I'd nominate The Orphanage as the truly great, under-appreciated horror film of the past 10 years.

I went through my DVD collection and picked out 10 more that I consider worthy of this thread (in no particular order):

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Standout performances from Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer highlight this satirical and fantastically entertaining takeoff on film noir. The plot is necessarily convoluted, but the real reason to watch is the whip-smart script and the great chemistry between the leads. And good Lord, Michelle Monaghan is stunning in this film.

Big Fish (2003)

Some view this one as too sentimental. I'm not one of them. In fact, I'd put this right at the top of the list of my favorite Tim Burton films, just beating out Ed Wood (another great overlooked gem), Sleepy Hollow, and Sweeney Todd. I've always found Burton to be a style-over-substance director, a filmmaker who cares more about crafting dark, Gothic worlds than anything related to story and character. Big Fish is the exception, combining just the right amounts of whimsy and heart.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Where does this stand for everyone in the Coens' filmography? For me, it's definitely top-tier, and probably my personal favorite out of all their works. Three awesome central performances, some amazing cinematography, a great soundtrack, and a countless number of classic moments. It's also my dad's favorite film of all time, so I've watched it dozens of times over the years, and yet it never gets old.

A Very Long Engagement (2004)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet will probably always be known best for Amelie, and while I'm a fan of that film, his follow-up might just be his best work. For the most part, Jeunet keeps his quirky, eccentric qualities in control to deliver an emotional and captivating blend of mystery and WWI drama. Whenever I watch the film, I'm always struck by Jeunet's use of non-linear storytelling; as we follow Audrey Tautou's quest to find her lost lover, we are gradually given little pieces of information until the puzzle has finally been solved. In my mind, a masterpiece.

Catch Me In You Can (2002)

This film gets somewhat lost when talking about Spielberg's admittedly terrific last decade. While Minority Report, Munich, A.I., and even War Of The Worlds might have more fierce defenders, I've always felt that this 2002 film could stand tall with the rest of them. The jazzy John Williams score signals a lighthearted romp, but the film also has some scenes of tremendous power that still give me chills after several viewings. And Leonardo Dicaprio still hasn't given a better performance.

Sunshine (2007)

The criticisms for Danny Boyle's science fiction film are always the same. Mainly, the film is incredibly tense and atmospheric before it flies off the rails in its final third. While I admit that the 20 minutes where a severely-sunburned Mark Strong terrorizes the main cast is not up to the same level as what comes before it, for me it still doesn't knock the film from legitimately "great" status. Plus, it has one of the most stirring and satisfying endings I've ever seen in science fiction film.

Matchstick Men (2003)

Ridley Scott's name has become somewhat synonymous with "big" films in the last decade. Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom Of Heaven, Robin Hood, etc. In the middle of all those was a film that kind of came and went with little fanfare. It was a charming, twisty caper film, with a strong central performance from Nicholas Cage, and a couple of nice supporting roles for Alison Lohman and Sam Rockwell. It showed that Ridley Scott was just as capable of making small-scale films as epic event pictures. And for me, it was his best film of the last decade.

Galaxy Quest (1999)

There haven't been many comedies in the last 13 years that have been as well-executed and consistently hilarious as this one. A sharp satire of geek culture and science fiction tropes, the film also featured an absolutely amazing cast, with Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, and especially Sam Rockwell delivering big time laughs. It's a film that works on several different levels, for both science fiction fans and people unfamiliar with any of its references. Never give up, never surrender.

Road To Perdition (2002)

Sam Mendes' best film, and one of the best-looking films of the last decade. Fortunately, this gangster film has more to it than just amazing style. It keeps the action relatively low-key to focus on two relationships between father and son, one that strengthens and one that fractures. While in college, I wrote a lengthy paper praising this terrific work, and I wish I could find it again to share.

Contact (1997)

Very rarely do you get movies like this anymore: a blockbuster entertainment with a strong thematic through-line, a Hollywood event film that actually has a brain behind its budget. During the late '80s and through the '90s, Robert Zemeckis was rivaling Spielberg with his blending of strong themes, emotional depth, and amazing technical spectacle. He's certainly made some quality films in his 30+ year career, but Contact might still be his very best work. This is going to sound pretentious, but it had a profound impact on me when I first saw it, and it still does to this day.


Blond Almond, I find your list to be so similiar to my own "wow" list of movies that really popped for me that I've now added "Sunshine" and "The Square" to my pick-up-tonight reminders. I'll be off to the "S" section of my local library in a couple hours.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:52 pm
Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
Awf Hand wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
Quote:
The Square (2008)

Plus there's one moment at the end that made me literally yell out "Oh fuck!", so brilliantly was it done.


I watched this last night and had the same reaction. Literally a jaw-dropping moment, and a brilliant end to a great little modern noir.

As for all the others, I'm completely with you on Gattaca, The Truman Show, Gone Baby Gone, The Fall, and Adaptation. I actually haven't seen several of them, but The Last Seduction, Show Me Love (along with Lilya-4-Ever), and To Live have been bumped up to the top of my Netflix queue.

I'm with Unke regarding The Descent, in that I find the first two-thirds to be masterful and the final third to be slightly underwhelming. Still a very solid horror film though, and it would probably make my top 5 in the genre for the last decade. Personally, I'd nominate The Orphanage as the truly great, under-appreciated horror film of the past 10 years.

I went through my DVD collection and picked out 10 more that I consider worthy of this thread (in no particular order):

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Standout performances from Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer highlight this satirical and fantastically entertaining takeoff on film noir. The plot is necessarily convoluted, but the real reason to watch is the whip-smart script and the great chemistry between the leads. And good Lord, Michelle Monaghan is stunning in this film.

Big Fish (2003)

Some view this one as too sentimental. I'm not one of them. In fact, I'd put this right at the top of the list of my favorite Tim Burton films, just beating out Ed Wood (another great overlooked gem), Sleepy Hollow, and Sweeney Todd. I've always found Burton to be a style-over-substance director, a filmmaker who cares more about crafting dark, Gothic worlds than anything related to story and character. Big Fish is the exception, combining just the right amounts of whimsy and heart.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Where does this stand for everyone in the Coens' filmography? For me, it's definitely top-tier, and probably my personal favorite out of all their works. Three awesome central performances, some amazing cinematography, a great soundtrack, and a countless number of classic moments. It's also my dad's favorite film of all time, so I've watched it dozens of times over the years, and yet it never gets old.

A Very Long Engagement (2004)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet will probably always be known best for Amelie, and while I'm a fan of that film, his follow-up might just be his best work. For the most part, Jeunet keeps his quirky, eccentric qualities in control to deliver an emotional and captivating blend of mystery and WWI drama. Whenever I watch the film, I'm always struck by Jeunet's use of non-linear storytelling; as we follow Audrey Tautou's quest to find her lost lover, we are gradually given little pieces of information until the puzzle has finally been solved. In my mind, a masterpiece.

Catch Me In You Can (2002)

This film gets somewhat lost when talking about Spielberg's admittedly terrific last decade. While Minority Report, Munich, A.I., and even War Of The Worlds might have more fierce defenders, I've always felt that this 2002 film could stand tall with the rest of them. The jazzy John Williams score signals a lighthearted romp, but the film also has some scenes of tremendous power that still give me chills after several viewings. And Leonardo Dicaprio still hasn't given a better performance.


Sunshine (2007)

The criticisms for Danny Boyle's science fiction film are always the same. Mainly, the film is incredibly tense and atmospheric before it flies off the rails in its final third. While I admit that the 20 minutes where a severely-sunburned Mark Strong terrorizes the main cast is not up to the same level as what comes before it, for me it still doesn't knock the film from legitimately "great" status. Plus, it has one of the most stirring and satisfying endings I've ever seen in science fiction film.

Matchstick Men (2003)

Ridley Scott's name has become somewhat synonymous with "big" films in the last decade. Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom Of Heaven, Robin Hood, etc. In the middle of all those was a film that kind of came and went with little fanfare. It was a charming, twisty caper film, with a strong central performance from Nicholas Cage, and a couple of nice supporting roles for Alison Lohman and Sam Rockwell. It showed that Ridley Scott was just as capable of making small-scale films as epic event pictures. And for me, it was his best film of the last decade.

Galaxy Quest (1999)

There haven't been many comedies in the last 13 years that have been as well-executed and consistently hilarious as this one. A sharp satire of geek culture and science fiction tropes, the film also featured an absolutely amazing cast, with Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, and especially Sam Rockwell delivering big time laughs. It's a film that works on several different levels, for both science fiction fans and people unfamiliar with any of its references. Never give up, never surrender.

Road To Perdition (2002)

Sam Mendes' best film, and one of the best-looking films of the last decade. Fortunately, this gangster film has more to it than just amazing style. It keeps the action relatively low-key to focus on two relationships between father and son, one that strengthens and one that fractures. While in college, I wrote a lengthy paper praising this terrific work, and I wish I could find it again to share.

Contact (1997)

Very rarely do you get movies like this anymore: a blockbuster entertainment with a strong thematic through-line, a Hollywood event film that actually has a brain behind its budget. During the late '80s and through the '90s, Robert Zemeckis was rivaling Spielberg with his blending of strong themes, emotional depth, and amazing technical spectacle. He's certainly made some quality films in his 30+ year career, but Contact might still be his very best work. This is going to sound pretentious, but it had a profound impact on me when I first saw it, and it still does to this day.


Blond Almond, I find your list to be so similar to my own "wow" list of movies that really popped for me that I've now added "Sunshine" and "The Square" to my pick-up-tonight reminders. I'll be off to the "S" section of my local library in a couple hours.


Yeah, I need to check out The Square as well since I am a fan of noir and also since it features Joel Edgerton who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors (he was also in the aforementioned Animal Kingdom and more recently, Warrior). Now speaking of Spielberg, I would add Munich as I don't feel, contrary to Blonde Almond's assertion, that it has received that much praise. It was mostly critically acclaimed (and it did finish atop James' end-of-the-year Top 10 in 2005) but it seems to have as many detractors and it did boosters. Personally, I found it to be a consistently engrossing effort that uses the 1972 Munich terrorist attacks and its immediate aftermath as the backdrop for a superior espionage thriller, one that keeps the adrenaline moving and the knuckles white but also makes a few telling points about how the lines can very easily be blurred between terrorism and counter-terrorism to where it can be impossible to distinguish one from the other. It's very thought-provoking but it never feels preachy or forced and, in a nice departure from the norm for Spielberg, this one is refreshingly free of the sentimental manipulation that has been evident in even his best efforts (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan); at one point, in fact, there is a line that seems to be included specifically as a jab towards this tendency for sentiment in his films. And the final scene is effective in how it links the events of the 1970's that were portrayed in the movie to the current struggles we face post-9/11.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:03 pm
Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
You guys have pretty much listed everything that came to my mind. What about May? It hasn't been a good two decades for horror but it's is just a flat out creepy, modern day Carrie.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:29 pm
Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
The Good Shepherd


Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:51 pm
Post Re: Twenty Unsung Great Movies of the Past Twenty Years
Ciacco wrote:
The Good Shepherd


Boy, I hated that movie. Nearly three hours of muddle. Now, I love a good cerebral, intelligent, politically-based film. Syriana was fantastic as was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Three Days of the Condor, etc., but The Good Shephard was beyond boring, confused, overly pretentious, and completely non-engaging. I want those three hours back!


Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:58 am
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