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01-04-2007, 11:48 PM
Every now and again I get into this phase where I revisit films...Holidays are usually a great time to do so, but anytime is good. In doing so, I typically come across a few gems in my collection that I re-realize are truly terrific films for some reason or another. Let's call this ....REDISCOVERY.

Here are just a few of the films that I have always loved, but feel are worth more recognition....

REAL GENIUS (1985) Directed by Martha Coolidge this film unfortunately has been hacked to pieces on TV by taking the scope image and doing Pan&Scan to ...VILMOS ZSIGMOND's photography. Not only is this film shot by one of the greatest cinematographers of all time, but is also one of the few comedies from the 1980's to be shot in scope. The DVD finally restores that! This film is far more brilliant than most people realize with some great moments and montages such as the shots of the lecture room with the tape recordings taping the lecture. Also, the opening title sequence with the song "You Took Advantage of Me" being played whilst the evolution of weaponry is being shown. This movie is a classic example of the Reagan Era and the fact that "when you're smart people need you" or ...take advantage of you to make nuclear weapons and are used on other countries. Just a great film!!!

WOLFEN (1981) a movie that seems to be about killer wolves and most people mistake this for some lame version of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF or THE HOWLING. However, this film takes the horror genre for an interesting twist and brings in some environmental issues as well. Not too often do we get a horror film that integrates some sensibilities like this, plus the special effects are quite impressive for it's generation. Worthy of rediscovery and the DVD is pretty good, although a 5.1 mix would have been nice.

STATE OF GRACE (1990) Directed by Phil Joanou and is by far his greatest film, now he is doing rubbish like GRIDIRON GANG. This film was completely overshadowed during it's initial 1990 release because of all the other gangster-related films of that year including THE GODFATHER III, GOODFELLAS, MILLERS CROSSING, HOFFA, THE KRAYS, THE GRIFTERS, to name a few. Talk about a great year!!! This film is brilliant though in just about all aspects with great acting (Ed Harris, Sean Penn, Gary Oldman, Robin Wright, and John Turturro are the real highlights!!!). Also, great camerawork and music especially during the gunfight climax. The DVD from MGM is light on extras, but can be picked up cheap!

YEAR OF THE DRAGON (1985) is just a great film that has been hard to find until the more recent DVD issue of this Michael Cimino thriller/drama starring Mickey Rourke is one of his greatest roles before Bruce Willis took over his spotlight. This film hits all the great marks and is worth seeing more than once to fully appreciate the way it works.

TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. (1985) It would seem that 1985 was a great year for cinema and with this William Friedkin thriller staring William Peterson it's easy to see why. Willem Dafoe puts in a classic performance and this film will shock the crap out of anyone who is not expecting a few moments in the film. The DVD from MGM has a few extras as well including a commentary track that is worth the price of the disc and then some!!!

THE NAKED KISS (1964) This Samuel Fuller film is just incredible!!! I remember the first time I saw the film I had no idea what a Pulp Film really was and then after seeing this I wanted to see more and more. This is just a great film with twists and turns that come from nowhere. Part drama, part thriller, with lots of pulp moments and with Sam Fuller at the reigns...anything is possible.

LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945) Dang!!! If you have not see this film...SEE IT NOW! Just an incredible film that puts the drama in meloDRAMA. These films are so complex and alot of that goes over peoples heads. This is certainly a film worth seeing a few times just to catch all the nuances and the layered storylines and brilliant performances! The DVD from Fox has plenty of extras and is INCREDIBLY restored!!!!! A must!

THE MISSION (1986) Roland Joffe's brilliant film starring three of the greatest actors to grace the silver screen....Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, and Robert DeNiro. All are great and the score by Ennio Morricone is a character in it's own right. Sweeping music coexists with brilliant cinematography in an enriching tale with power and magnitude. A film that never rests or gives up.

THE LONG GOODBYE (1973) Robert Altman's finest moment in this masterpiece that has long been forgotten by many. This film is brilliant in all aspects and takes awhile to adjust to it's pace and direction, but it's been hard to find in widescreen form, the MGM DVD finally puts the film back together in a decenly restored version with the scope image looking good using the 'flash' effect that Vilmos Zsigmond invented for this film to give the picture quality a unique hazy appearance.

ACROSS 110TH STREET (1972) Yaphet Kotto and Anthony Quinn star in this superb Blaxploitation film that is superby directed and introduces us to the underworld of crooked cops and crazed bad guys. The energy and execution of this film is the true highlight and the memorable soundtrack, which was given some new life with the use of the title song at the beginning of Tarantino's JACKIE BROWN.

Hopefully if you have not seen any of these films that you're interest level has grown a bit and for those that already are familiar with these gems maybe you're in agreement and can feel free to add some of your own personal thoughts, reactions, etc.

Peace everyone!

01-05-2007, 04:47 AM
This is the kind of list I live for. It's detailed, and chock full of films I've not seen, or not seen fully. I truly appreciate your taking the time to do this. I guess I have to really think about Netflix...

Da Worfster

01-05-2007, 07:51 AM
THE MISSION (1986) Roland Joffe's brilliant film starring three of the greatest actors to grace the silver screen....Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, and Robert DeNiro. All are great and the score by Ennio Morricone is a character in it's own right. Sweeping music coexists with brilliant cinematography in an enriching tale with power and magnitude. A film that never rests or gives up.
Peace everyone!

I can't believe that with these three great actos and an Ennio Morricone soundtrack that I've never even heard of this film! Thanks for the heads up...

Cheers to ya

01-05-2007, 09:24 AM
This is the kind of list I live for. It's detailed, and chock full of films I've not seen, or not seen fully. I truly appreciate your taking the time to do this. I guess I have to really think about Netflix...

Da Worfster

Ditto.. Excellent post PS!! I've already got Netflix, so these are going on it!


01-05-2007, 11:48 AM
Hope all of you enjoy watching these films as much as I did and as much as I still do. It's amazing how DVD can give new assessibility to films and enable us to enjoy them the way that they should, hopefully the new HD formats will even take that a step further. In the meantime enjoy the flicks because it doesn't look like the box office has much to offer us these days!

01-05-2007, 12:27 PM
I decided to post yet another 10 FILMS WORTH REDISCOVERY so get Netflix and enjoy!

THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND -1983 Sam Peckinpah film starring Rutger Hauer, John Hurt, Dennis Hopper, and Craig T. Nelson, this film is ahead of it's Big Brother time. Odd, yet interesting the film manages to have elements of thriller, suspense, and a great action scene using a crossbow...probably the best since FOR YOUR EYES ONLY.

HEAVEN'S GATE -1980 the film panned round the world, or at least that's what they will tell you. Actually this film was very critically acclaimed outside the US and for great reason. This is a brilliant sweeping epic of a film directed by Michael Cimino and just because it did not have the same impact as his earlier film THE DEER HUNTER, people were disappointed, yet I argue that this film is in fact a more complete film and is less flawed than THE DEER HUNTER. The music by David Mansfied alone is worth picking up the soundtrack available on RYKO disc. Oh and then there's the memorable cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond that really captures the look and feel of the turn of the century. If you want a true 3 1/2 hour experience than check this out!!

NARROW MARGIN (1990) Gene Hackman stars in this underrated thriller that never holds any punches. Beautifully acted with great lines and clever twists Hackman displays here why he is one of the best in the business. The film is directed by Peter Hymans and is easily his greatest accomplishment. 1 Eye Witness, 2 professional killers, 1 Train, Gene Hackman, all this adds up to 90 minutes of pure acceleration.

LAURA -1944 Film Noir that most have probably seen at some point in time, but Fox has issued this film to DVD in restored glory and is a film that can be seen and seen again. Incredible performances and after seeing a film of this genius you wonder where all the money is spent on films today. Sad.

THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE 2000, I decided to throw this documentary in simply because it's probably the best one I have yet to discovery about the horror genre. Interviews with John Landis, Tobe Hooper, David Cronenberg, Wes Craven, and John Carpeneter are the real highlights, plus some great insights into the psyche of horror and a MUST for horror fanatics.

THE PARALLAX VIEW This 1974 political thriller from Alan J. Pakula stars Warren Beatty in one of his greatest roles. It's amazing that we don't get very many conspiracy films anymore, let alone ones that are this superb in all aspects.

DON'T LOOK NOW -1973 off-beat film from Nicolas Roeg who is often hard to follow due to the complex narrative elements, but this film has something about it that is just memorable. Actors Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie really help bring this film to life as their daughter is mysteriously drowned and they are trying to pick up the pieces of their life, yet some demonic force is also introduced. Bizzare.

THE LIMEY -1999 starring the great Terrence Stamp in one of my favorite performances and this little gem didn't get much exposure at the time or since it's release, but this is just a classic form film that has aged well even in the 7 years since it's release. Steve Soderbergh needs to go back to making these movies!

SECONDS -1966 John Frankeheimer thriller starring Rock Hudson in a film that will make you quiver in your skin. Awesome black and white photography and the DVD from Paramount is a must have with excellent extras and a well restored image. The title of the film doesn't just refer to a unit of time either....once you see the film you'll never think of the word the same again.

THE 1964 WORLDS FAIR - I decided to list another documentary only because it's hard to imagine that many people have seen this, yet it's brilliant. You might ask why in the world would I want to learn about the Worlds Fair, but this documentary goes much deeper with exploration into the nostalghis nature of the 1900's and the advancement of society, technology, etc. There is something unique about watching old home movies and this captures that same raw beauty that is felt watching those films as you feel a sense of setiment. Not a documentary for everyone, but worth seeing at least once.

Dusty Chalk
01-05-2007, 01:21 PM
I'm not sure I can think of 10 that are worth seeing once, much less revisiting.

Cherry 2000 -- fun post-apocalyptic road movie with a strong female lead played by Melanie Griffith -- I like movies where it's not embarassing to be the woman.

Cutthroat Island -- it's a pirate movie with amazingly realist fight scenes (in many of the scenes, the ships are almost full scale), but no CGI special effects, so don't expect Pirates of the Caribbean.

Broken Arrow -- overshadowed by Face/Off, it is still arms and legs above most other action movies

True Romance -- really excellent ensemble performance, and a highlight from director Tony Scott's career

Metropolis -- you have no idea how many ideas you've seen in contemporary film were reused from this one -- make sure to get the 124 minute Restored Authorized Edition.

Bye Bye Birdie -- Ann Margaret. Dancing. Singing. Bright "70's" colors. Paul Lynde.

Legend -- Ridley Scott goes off to la-la land (fantasy), Tim Curry in delicious form, gorgeous set pieces.

Blade Runner -- recently remastered. Alright, I'm a Ridley Scott fanboy.

Koyaanisqatsi -- mesmerizing.

01-07-2007, 08:56 AM
I would have to agree on some of those titles, mostly KOYANISQATSI, although most people are not really 'into' those types of experimental/non-narrative films, but still brilliant and also worth seeing the two other films in the trilogy: POWAAQATSI, NAQOYQATSI. Also recommended along those terms would be Ron Frickes (cinematographer on the QATSI films) directed BARAKA.

BLADE RUNNER is an obvious film along with METROPOLIS to revisit, my intention with this post was to pick films that have been overlooked or perhaps forgotten to some degree that are valuable to revisit. Thanks for your suggestions!

s dog
01-07-2007, 06:47 PM
Surviving The Game
Escape From New York
Jesus Christ Superstar

Watched them over the holidays

Dusty Chalk
01-08-2007, 12:58 PM
BLADE RUNNER is an obvious film along with METROPOLIS to revisit, my intention with this post was to pick films that have been overlooked or perhaps forgotten to some degree that are valuable to revisit. Fair enough.

01-16-2007, 09:35 PM
I just recently re-watched COP LAND and realized that it's a better film than I originally remember. Certainly not a terrific film, but great performances by Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Stallone, and Harvey Keitel. If nothing else the film takes an interesting look at crime and internal crime, which in turn reminded me of a more recent film that I thoroughly enjoyed DARK BLUE, which has since been under the radar of many folks.

01-25-2007, 03:08 PM
10 more generally overlooked movies that I keep coming back to:

Zero Effect- 21st century spin on Sherlock Holmes. Bill Pullman as Holmes, Ben Stiller as Watson.

High Sierra- Bogart. "We done need no skeekin' badges."

Living in Oblivion- Behind the scenes comedy on how to make a bad indie film. Steve Buscemi.

The Big Picture- Utterly forgotten Christopher Guest comedy about a young director dealing with the Hollywood industry. Kevin Bacon. The perfect Martin Short role.

Kellys Heroes- early 70s WWII farce about stealing hidden Nazi gold with amazing cast: Telly Savalas, Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles, Carrol O'Connor and a bunch of other guys you'll recognize.

The Man Who Wasn't There- The Coen Brothers forgotten film. Film noir tribute, loveletter. A very young Scarlette Johansen lolita character. Great movie.

Band of Brothers- HBO WWII miniseries about a squad in the 101st Airborne from D-Day to VE day. The most compelling and moving war film ever made. Similar in tone to Saving Private Ryan, but without the cliched sentimentality.

To Have and Have Not- Lauren Bacall's first role. The interplay with her and Bogart is real, much of it ad libbed. They were married right after it was made. Walter Brennan as the drunk buddy. Kicks the over-rated "Casablanca"s ass for panache and fun.

Best in Show- Or as we call it at my house; "The dogshow movie." I think I've seen it 20 times and it still makes me laugh out loud.

A Fish Called Wanda- Again, seen it a zillion times and it makes me laugh every time. Cleese is brilliant. Best thing Kevin Klein ever did.

10 already?

01-30-2007, 06:51 PM
THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE is my favorite Coen Bros. film and is in my opinion their greatest accomplishment and with due reason. Sure they have put together some very memorable films over the years, BLOOD SIMPLE, RAISING ARIZONA, MILLERS CROSSING, FARGO, etc etc. However, it is in THE MAN WHO WASN"T THERE that they show their real gifts as a writer/director team and the film is relentless throughout. It's a obvious Film-Noir sendup, but done Coen style, which is great since they don't feel compelled to just make a all out homage piece, but rather give it their own little identity. This is also the first film that made me respect the acting abilities of Billy Bob Thorton. He hardly speaks any lines, which is intentional and his gestures and movements are so pitch perfect. The soundtrack is also aching and vital to the nature of the film and Roger Deakings Cinematography is top notch as always. I actually had considered putting this film into my list, but didn't want to put too many movies that are fairly recent.

Also, BEST IN SHOW is definitely a funny film, of course it's from the whole Christopher Guest gang and while not nearly as brilliant as THIS IS SPINAL TAP, it's still one of my favorites and I enjoyed it a little bit better than A MIGHTY WIND.