People often complain about the selection of movies on Netflix- we pick out some undiscovered gems.
Most films on the lower rungs of Netflix occupy that position for a single reason: they’re downright terrible. The acting is at best laughable and at worst cringe-worthy, whilst the script seems to be the product of baboons who possess a slightly above average intelligence. Elsewhere, the special effects are seemingly artefacts from design software that became obsolete once Windows 98 was released and the goofs and continuity errors come thick and fast. But amongst the schlock, the horribly ill-conceived box office flops and throwaway Chuck Norris vehicles are a selection of films hardly deserving of their placement amongst the vast expanse of Hollywood detritus. We’ve all sifted through the lower echelons of the vast Netflix database, ambivalently scrolling past Beverly Hills Ninja and Death Wish 4 and laughing at the hilarity of shoe-string budget horror C-movies such as Return Of The Killer Tomatoes and Strippers Vs Werewolves. Hiding amongst the most forgettable and artistically hollow filmic endeavours are some criminally overlooked works of cinematic art. Here is a selection of filmic diamonds who have unfairly found themselves confined to the Netflix motion picture ghetto:
Rebellion (2011), Director: Matheiu Kossovitz
Continue reading: The Most Undiscovered Movies On Netflix
There's a lovely simplicity to this quietly unnerving story about two brothers who have never had a break in life. And while it is relentlessly grim, it's also elegantly well-made, held together by another revelatory performance from Emile Hirsch as a talented guy whose path has been dictated to him by forces outside his control.
The title refers to the way two brothers have lived since their mother died: in a sleazy motel just off the strip in Reno. Frank (Hirsch) has had to be the responsible one, moving from job to job to support his chaotic, disabled older brother Jerry Lee (Stephen Dorff). And now that Jerry Lee has been involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident, Frank is trying to find a way to get out of town. He turns to his old car-dealer mentor (Kris Kristofferson) for advice and considers getting in touch with his ex Annie (Dakota Fanning), even though their relationship ended very badly. But first he hits the casinos to raise some cash with his pals (Joshua Leonard and Noah Harpster).
Sibling filmmakers Alan and Gabe Polsky give the movie a darkly introspective tone, taking us into Frank's thoughts through evocative flashbacks to the brothers' struggles as teens (played by Andrew Lee and Garrett Backstrom). And as Frank tells Jerry Lee stories to help him cope with life, these tales fill the screen in gorgeous sketch-style animation that matches Jerry Lee's artistic skills. All of this gives the film a quietly moving tone that finds spiky humour and emotional resonance when we least expect it.
Continue reading: The Motel Life Review
Much more involving than the usual hitman thriller, this film takes a deliberately personal approach to its characters that makes it unusually involving. Of course, since it's a film about mafia assassins, none of the characters are hugely likeable. But we're able to identify with them because the cast and crew help us see their souls. And of course, this kind of character brings out the best in Michael Shannon.
He plays Richie, who in the early 1960s has settled down with his new wife Deborah (Ryder) in New Jersey. She thinks his job involves dubbing Disney cartoons, but his projects are actually part of an illicit mob-run porn network. And when local boss Roy (Liotta) asks Richie to work as his henchman, Richie proves to be surprisingly adept at murder. This is mainly because he's so good at compartmentalising his life: keeping his family and work completely separate. But when things with Roy start turning sour, and Richie turns to a rival killer (Evans) for more work, Richie's two worlds begin to collide.
Based on a true story, the film is chilling in its matter-of-fact depiction of a family man who ruthlessly bumps off anyone who falls afoul of the mob. And as the clashes in Richie's life begin to escalate into something personal, the film cranks up the tension to unbearable levels. Shannon is mesmerising in the role, letting us see cracks in Richie's dispassionate surface as he's required to kill friends and colleagues (including Franco in a memorable cameo). So when his wife and daughters are threatened, he's like a tamed wild animal pushed into the corner. We know what he's capable of doing to protect them.
Continue reading: The Iceman Review
Richard Kuklinski is a contract killer who has murdered over 100 men for a variety of criminals. He's very good at his job and rarely leaves any traces behind, though his ethics extend at least to a refusal to kill a woman or a child - even if they are key witnesses to a terrible crime. Whilst earning enough as a hitman to live a more than comfortable life, he is a family man with daughters and a beautiful wife who he truly dotes upon. They have no idea about his questionable career and he intends to keep it that way, but with constant reminders that he's not the loving family man he tries so hard to be and ever more dubious jobs being put upon him, he is set to lose everything .
'The Iceman' is the true story of the real Richard Kuklinski who was arrested in 1986 after his prolific work as a hitman for several major crime rings. It has been adapted by Ariel Vromen ('Danika', 'Simple Lies'), who co-wrote the screenplay with Morgan Land ('Simple Lies'), with the story being taken from Anthony Bruno's book 'The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer' and the Jim Thebaut documentary 'The Iceman Tapes: Conversations with a Killer'. It is set to hit cinemas on June 7th 2013.
Director: Ariel Vromen
Continue: The Iceman Trailer
Lively characters and resonant interaction make this film enjoyably watchable even though it's impossible to believe anything that happens. The problem is that the filmmakers are trying to explore a thorny situation using a heartwarming story, which makes every step of the way feel badly contrived. And for such a hot-potato topic, the script isn't nearly as subtle as it should be. But at least the cast is likeable.
It's set in 1982 Beirut, where war is raging with Israel. In a refugee camp, Palestinian teen Fahed (El Akal) refuses to obey the rules, skipping both school and military training to run around the bombed-out city with his friends. But the violence is getting closer to home, and when his father and best pal are killed, Fahed decides to travel back to his family home in Palestine to plant his late mother's potted olive tree. To do this, he teams up with downed Israeli pilot Yoni (Dorff), springing him from capture and heading out on a dangerous road trip south.
There are several obvious plot elements that create issues along the way. Fahed improbably refuses to go anywhere without the olive tree or his football (his friends call him Zico after the Brazilian player), while Yoni is trying to get home to his pregnant wife (cue his paternal instincts). So they bond as they face violent militias, scary checkpoints and unexpected minefields - both the literal and figurative ones. But since the script is so carefully constructed, nothing is a surprise, including their growing friendship and each danger they face along the way.
Continue reading: Zaytoun Review
Demi Moore is saying to all those women who've reached half a century on this earth: go out and have a good time while you still can. And all you naysayers out there who say she shouldn't, well, shut up.
She went out for a wild one in Miami at beachside barbecue, and was joined by Lenny Kravitz and Stacy Kiebler, amongst other cool friends. Her reported toy boy - art dealer Vito Schnabel, the 26-year-old son of artist and director Julian Schnabel - was also there to roll back the years (for her anyway). She was snapped by paps at the venue grinding around in her seat, but she didn't exactly make it difficult for the photo hungry freelancers and general public, as she gamely posed for pics at the reveller's delights. "She is definitely more down to party than Vito," an eyewitness told E! News, saying the two are definitely a couple. According to that source, the two were publicly making out at the event. The party at Miami's Soho Beach House was apparently sponsored by Chanel for Art.sy, and Will Ferrell, Stephen Dorff, Russell Simmons, Pharrell Williams,Naomi Campbell, Jeremy Piven and Adriana Lima were among other faces in the crowd.
Moore has come under some stick recently for dating someone just over half her age, and, the fact that her 24 year old daughter was snuggled up in bed cuddling one of her favourite pooches, has seemed to direct a lot of abuse to her for going out and having fun. We at Contact Music say go for it, sister.
Continue reading: Demi Moore Still Knows How To Party Like It's 19...89?
The events later known as the rape of Nanking happened quickly, over just six horrific weeks at the end of 1937 and into 1938, and because the city was so cut off at the time and the war went on for eight more years, much of the story went untold for decades. It wasn't until writer Iris Chang documented the tragedy in her 1998 book The Rape of Nanking that the true scope of the horror was made apparent. It was that book that inspired Nanking, a highly effective documentary that uses interesting techniques to tell its remarkable story.
Continue reading: Nanking Review
FearDotCom is easily in the running for worst film of the year. The whole mess is a painfully dull ripoff of much better films - namely Poltergeist, Videodrome, and 8MM (okay, so that one's not much better). Full of grotesque imagery of sadistic tortures and killings and a plethora of asinine characters and pathetic attempts at acting, FearDotCom is a prime example of just how bad a bad movie can be.
Continue reading: Feardotcom Review
If John Waters' last few gentler and (slightly) more commercial movies ("Pecker," "Serial Mom," "Cry-Baby") had his fans thinking the once-warped director had lost his edge, that perhaps he was inching toward mainstream repeatability, they need not fear. It was all a ruse.
It seems Waters was only lulling the cinematic establishment into a false sense of security so he could turn around and bite them in the ass with "Cecil B. Demented," a hilarious -- and very much old-school John Waters -- anti-blockbuster romp that chews up and spits out the kind of pandering Hollywood conventions that to toothless, cookie-cutter box office hits.
Cecil B. Demented (Stephen Dorff), you see, is an independent filmmaker of the purest order. His goal: cinematic revolution by any means necessary. If that includes kidnapping one Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith), Hollywood's biggest spoiled bitch/aging bimbo star, and forcing her at gun point to play a lead in his guerilla movie about celluloid terrorists (much like himself), so be it.
Continue reading: Cecil B Demented Review
Date of birth
29th July, 1973
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