So here we go again. Another month, another load of recommendations for you. These ones aren’t quite as obscure as the last lot so it might be a case of re-discovery rather than an introduction but in any event these are 5 movies I definitely think you should check out (again, if applicable).
Things to do in Denver, When You’re Dead (1995)
I remember seeing this movie when my parents rented it in about ’96 and being totally fascinated by it. Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead (From now on shortened to ‘Denver) tells the story of Jimmy “The Saint” (Andy Garcia) and a group of criminals who all face imminent execution following a botched job for a notorious crime boss, played by Christopher Walken. Jimmy must make the most of his remaining days and try to save his friends and loved ones before the hit comes down on him.
“Reservoir Dogs ripoff? Or so the critics said at the time, but this movie is far better than that. Just a good modern-gangster-yarn with well drawn characters and a unusual plot. Yet wether by design or accident it works tremendously well. Helped by a fine cast. I cant think of a single weak performance, no matter how small the role.” – IMDB User, psib0rg
This simple concept turns out to make a massively entertaining movie and clearly draws inspiration from Tarantino who was seeing his introduction to the big time around ’92 – ’95 with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Although not as polished and defined as Tarantino’s work, ‘Denver still makes for a great piece of crime drama. Watch out for Steve Buscemi as one of the most bad ass hit men you’ll ever see.
Falling Down (1993)
Oh boy, is this a movie we can all relate to! What happens when modern life just gets too much? When a man is pushed past breaking point there’s no end to the shit-storm that ensues. Falling Down follows William Foster (Michael Douglass) who has just had enough. Down trodden at work and home, he finally snaps when the morning commute turns to 100 degree gridlock. He proceeds to tear a path through Los Angeles in order to get to his daughter on her birthday, in spite of his wife’s restraining order. Between the two sits Detective Pendergast (Robert Duvall) on his last day as a cop before retirement.
Strong story? Maybe not so much. Bloody entertaining? You bet your sweet ass! As Foster moves from one aggravating situation to another collecting a bigger and bigger arsenal of weaponry you’ll either think he’s a hero or an ass hole. Either way, you’ll enjoy the ride!
Once Were Warriors (1994)
There are few films as powerful as this one. Its message is just so poignant. Once Were Warriors follows the Heke family, descended from Maori warriors the family is on the verge of being torn apart by a drunk, violent father, Jake (Temuera Morrison) and the pressure of living as outcasts in one of the poorest parts of New Zealand. Rena, Jake’s wife, must find the strength to break the cycle and get herself and her children away before it’s too late. The only way she can do that is by getting away from Jake and reconciling with her family who disapproved of their relationship.
Engaging, powerful and disturbing, Once Were Warriors sucks you in like almost no other movie can. Touching character development is interspersed with violent scenes that are almost too difficult to watch and a back story of youth delinquency that still rings true 15 years and thousands of miles later.
Event Horizon (1997)
Sci-fi horror is a tough thing to get right, it seems. Over the years there have been what seems like hundreds of failures to each success. One of these successes is Event Horizon, the tale of the first faster-than-light space flight and its terrifying consequences. 7 years after the ship disappeared it suddenly returns in orbit around Neptune. A military team is sent out to investigate and get some answers. The team is accompanied by the ship’s designer Dr Weir (Sam Neill). What the team discover is darker and more terrifying than any of them could have imagined. They are soon found in a fight for their very souls as the Event Horizon tries to claim a new crew.
The best thing about this movie, for me, is the plot. It’s such an interesting concept that has been ripped off since but never bettered. The suspense is killer, the scares are scary and the cast works just nicely. The special effects are a little dated but nothing a good does of suspension of disbelief can’t handle. So go on; liberate tutame ex infernis.
Silent Hill (2006)
If there’s one genre that’s seen less success than sci-fi horror it has to be video game adaptations. Street Fighter = Shite, Mortal Kombat = Shite, Super Mario Bros = Let’s just not go there. Ever. Silent Hill breaks this stereotype with style! The story follows Rose, a mother taking her daughter, Sharon to the small town of Silent Hill in order to bring her face to face with her nightmares and sleepwalking episodes. She is soon separated from her daughter and thrown into a terrifying alternative reality brought about by tragic events in the town many years ago. In order to save her daughter, Rose must unravel the mystery of Silent Hill and face the evil that lives there.
It’s really refreshing to see a video game adaptation done so well. It remains very true to the source material yet different enough to feel original. The worst thing about it is Sean Bean‘s tragic American accent which is just laughable (stick to doing O2 adverts, sunshine). The movie nails ‘creepy’ down to a tee and the gore effects are top notch. Go on, indulge the inner video game nerd.
There you go, some more cinematic loveliness to treat your senses too. I’ll be back later in the month with five more class acts. As always I invite you to make use of the comments thread and let me know what you think about my recommendations. Tata for now, my pretties.