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I love music, books, movies, blah, blah, blah! I love people, learning new things, and always progressing to be a better person.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Movies That Didn't Hit Big In The Box Office...But You Really Should See!

You see trailers for them, you plan weekends around them, some of you have gotten laid because of them. They are to us now what the gladiators were to the Romans in 264 BC...pure entertainment.

But every so often between the onslaught and hype of mega-budget blockbusters and sparkly Vampire garbage fluff some really great films slip right under our noses.

So here is my list, in no particular order, of movies that weren't very successful commercially but were just plain-old fun!

Neil Hiatt's List Of Ten Awesome Movies Not Many People Saw But You Should See

Kick-Ass is the story of a high school kid who decides he is going to become a super hero, not because of vengeance, not because he has superpowers, but because he is bored. He buys a suit and just heads out swinging.
This movie...was AWESOME! (Note: Not for anyone with delicate sensibilities.) The Hyper-Violent, fast-paced, pop atmosphere of this film sends up the comic book movie genre with a giant foot ready to Kick Ass! I know it doesn't look like much but if you go in with an open mind and just to be entertained, you most definitely will be. A great cast, caustic quick-wit writing, and some action-scene slaughter all at the hands of an 11-year-old girl makes this one of my favorite movies of 2010. It's a shame that no one really is giving it a chance in the theaters because it really deserves a great run. I am hoping word of mouth or at least a high DVD rental will boost this one up more.

2. The Lookout

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the story of Chris Pratt, a once-promising high school athlete whose life is turned upside down following a tragic accident. As he tries to maintain a normal life, he takes a job as a janitor at a bank, where he ultimately finds himself caught up in a planned heist.
This movie is fan-freaking-tastic! A razor-sharp thriller with top-notch performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, Isla Fisher, and Matthew Goode. I don't know how this one missed its day in the sun, but you definitely shouldn't wait another day to see it.

3. Primer

What do you get when an engineer decides to make a movie? A smart, visually strong time travel movie is what you freaking get! Primer stars, was written, directed, and produced by Shane Carruth. A former engineer and mathematician, Shane decided that he wanted to make a movie about time travel using REAL MATH. And here is the kicker...he doesn't dumb it down for the audience, so bring your quantum physics books with you and an abacus, because shit is going to get real! I will admit the acting is a little bland in some areas, but considering he made this movie himself with a handful of friends, I am cutting the guy an ass-load of slack, especially because the visual aspects are insane for a first-time director. Make sure you PAY ATTENTION through this one or you will get lost!

4. The Escapist

A dark prison escape movie from the UK, The Escapist is a character-driven treat! Damien Lewis (Life, Band of Brothers), Brian Cox (X2, The Ring, Super Troopers) and Joseph Fiennes (Flash Forward) star in this raw and edgy film. The ending is a little cliché but with the knockout performances from Brian Cox and the downright evil portrayal Damien Lewis gives, you won't even care.

5. Brick

Taking cues from such film-noir classics as The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and The Lady from Shanghai, director Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom) delivers a Neo-Noir masterpiece.
Brick has the workings of a pulp-crime detective story but localized within a modern Southern California high school. The dialogue is straight-up 1940s slang and delivers a quick-witted punch. With expressionistic lighting aspects and the movie's grainy filter, it pays off visually and in a big way. This is another PAY ATTENTION movie, so shut up and watch!

6. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

A lot of you probably have never even heard of this movie and let me tell you that is a TRAVESTY! Kiss Kiss Bang Bang takes film-noir, dark comedy, and witty banter, blends it together, and then shoves it right up your ass! The movie stars a pre-Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. as Harry, a petty thief who during a botched Christmas robbery accidentally winds up in a movie audition. He is then given a screen test in Los Angeles and detective lessons from a gay detective played by Val Kilmer (Tombstone). Murder, hilarity, and severed fingers ensue as everything goes from bad to bad-ass! This movie had about a week in the theaters and then disappeared to the back shelf at Block-Buster Video. It's a shame it never got the promotion it so readily deserves because every moment in this film is F...U...N...FUN! I can understand why no one really paid attention to it though--I mean, come on, look at that trailer...it's awful! But if you can look past the terrible trailer and go see this incredible movie I promise you won't be disappointed.

7. Frailty

Actor Bill Paxton (Apollo 13, Titanic, Aliens, Twister & Big Love) directs this white-knuckle religious thriller.
The movie is about a man who confesses to an FBI agent his family's story of how his religious fanatic father's visions lead to a series of murders to destroy supposed "demons."
I have to say, I never really liked Matthew McConaughey, but in this movie he shines as a tormented (mostly shirted) son retelling the story of his murderous Zealot of a father. Bill Paxton directs with a light homage to the Hitchcock style of filmmaking by using subjective shots, low-key lighting, and getting the audience involved with the characters. The movie was in the theaters for a short while with little to no response fiscally, but I have to say, I loved every single frame of this film.

8. Kung-Pow: Enter the Fist

An absolute insane movie. Steve Oedekerk (Writer of Bruce Almighty and Nothing to Lose) digitally implants himself into an old Kung-Fu movie and re-dubs all of the dialogue himself. A screwball comedy to the 10th degree. You really have to go in with an open mind, but if you just sit back and let yourself be entertained, you will be.

9. Sunshine

Directed by Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) Sunshine is a science fiction thriller about a team of astronauts 50 years in the future who are sent to re-ignite the dying sun. There is something about a director like Boyle who can make the most visually stunning imagery scare the living shit out of you. Even though it boasts a fairly young cast, I never once stopped believing in the characters and their mission.

10. Bubba Ho-Tep

There just isn't a complete "Awesome Movies List" without Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Burn Notice). Bubba Ho-Tep is about an aging Elvis and a black man who believes the CIA has transplanted JFK's brian into his body, fighting for the souls of their fellow residents as they battle an ancient Egyptian Mummy. Yup...That is the premise of this movie...and it is FREAKING AWESOME! A low-budget, B-style horror comedy that pretty much anyone can love. Please check this out.

So there it is, my list of movies that rock but didn't get the right push for the box office results. But in my opinion...f#^k the box office results bull. These movies were awesome, and you should check them out. And if you have a movie that you feel deserves to be on the list, don't hesitate to post a comment and a link to the trailer.

Thank you,

Neil Hiatt

P.S. - For anyone who complains about how most of the movies on the list are rated R...here is something to calm your o-so-delicate sensibilities.


General Mills said...

First off I don't know why but top 10 lists get me totally turned on, I just love em' Good list I have seen The Lookout (which I own on DVD) and Sunshine I have seen. Kick Ass looks awesome, probably not a movie to see with the wife though. I'm going to have to watch some of these, I've heard good things about Primer, Brick, and Kung-Pow.

I would add a few of my own. Not exacty sure how they did in the Domestic box office, but seems like no one has seen them:
Hard Boiled & The Killer -John Woo Hong Kong Action movies that are amazing, must see for action fans.
The Proposition - Ausie western that is pretty sweet.
Mongol- movie about Genkis Khan, but raw and real.
In Bruges - I couldn't stand Collin Farrell until this dark comedy came out.
Be Kind Rewind- totally funny.
The Fountain- strange, but somehow quite good.
UHF - Weird Al's movie, freakin' hilarious.
The Hurt Locker - I heard this was only made around 15 million in theaters, for an awesome movie as The Hurt Locker is it's stunning.

Neil Hiatt said...

In Bruge, The Killer, The Fountain, Be Kind Rewind, The Hurt Locker, and UHF all rocked! I Haven't seen the proposition or Mongol but need too. Some other fun movies are The Brothers Bloom, Whatever Works, and Carriers.

General Mills said...

Brothers Bloom was pretty good, the first hour was amazing and I thought it dropped a little after that. You still have to see Hard Boiled if you haven't, it's the most ridiculous action movie ever made, yet so freakin' awesome. I'm too cheap to rent these movies so I just reserved a few at the library to watch. I trust in your taste in films.

General Mills said...

I just watched Frailty and really liked it. Great thriller, and I was hoping it would end just as it did. I really didn't think it would because usually every movie like this ends as the crazy religious nutbag ends up being the bad guy. Paxton did a decent job, I can't help think of Paxton as the guy on Aliens who says, "Were going to die man...were going to die!" Or something like that, his whining has gotten him far.

I also saw Brick, I liked it, I just couldn't get over the fact that they were not talking and acting like teenagers, but like over the hill, out of luck detectives. I think after a 2nd viewing I would like the movie more.

Neil Hiatt said...

Yeah, the ending of Frailty really takes a great turn and I really didn't like Paxton until I saw that movie, he was always a whiner like in Aliens and Apollo 13 but he hit it out of the park with that one.

I should have warned you about Brick, the dialogue can be distracting but if you put yourself into a noir state of mind like watching the maltese falcon it really makes for a fun flick.

By the way I watched Hard Boiled last night and I gotta say I have never seen so many people die in slow motion in my life! John Woo can really set up an action scene that's for damn sure!