Forgotten Gems

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Bitter Victory (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A commander receives a citation for an attack on Rommel's headquarters, which is actually undeserved as the commander is unfit for his job. On top of that, unbeknownst to him, his wife is having an affair with one of his officers. (102 mins.)
Director: Nicholas Ray
“ “The cinema is Nicholas Ray,” Godard said about Ray’s CinemaScope French/American co-production, a rare treat: a military thriller involving war and covert ops, but focusing not on combat or conspiracies, but on the agitated envy two Allied officers who are situated on a commando raid together. ” - jzappa
Blue Collar (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Three workers, Zeke (Richard Pryor), Jerry (Harvey Keitel) and Smokey (Yaphet Kotto), are working... (114 mins.)
Director: Paul Schrader
“ There aren’t exactly copious amounts of the DVD copy of this one. Paul Schrader's known best for his work collaborating as screenwriter on many of Scorsese's most poignant films. If you watch Blue Collar expecting a Scorsese-style film, depending on your reading of Scorsese's work---and a wide array of certain men respond deeply to it---you'll be charmed in somewhat the same way. It took a lot of balls to make Blue Collar. It could've backpedaled in its last half hour, but it doesn’t. ” - jzappa
Boiling Point (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Two disquieted junior baseball players seek revenge on the local yakuza for attacking their coach. (96 mins.)
Director: Takeshi Kitano
“ While this hard-boiled merger of coming-of-age story and gangland vengeance tale is considered by a lot of American online reviewers as one of Beat Takeshi’s feebler endeavors, it’s unequivocally a vital gateway in his maturity as a filmmaker. ” - jzappa
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A cynical Buffalo Bill hires Sitting Bull to exploit him and add his credibility to the distorted view of history presented in his Wild West Show. (123 mins.)
Director: Robert Altman
“ As with MASH and The Long Goodbye, Altman turns an American traditional myth of do-gooding on its head, in this case the belief that dignified white men fighting cruel savages won the West. However, releasing this one when the country was celebrating its bicentennial made things awkward. As a result, the film was badly received at the time. ” - jzappa
Charley Varrick (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A man, his wife, and their friend, stage a bloody bank robbery, unaware they are stealing money from the Mob. (111 mins.)
Director: Don Siegel
“ Available on a bare-bones full-screen DVD copy, this Don Siegel actioner makes an appealing contrast to the Dirty Harry machine he created at roughly the same time. Walter Matthau’s shrewd, crafty protagonist uses his unrefined presence to put his opponents off guard, as opposed to threatening them, all the while keeping steps ahead of them. ” - jzappa
The Chaser (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A cash-strapped pimp and former police detective draws upon the skills of his old job to track down his missing stable of prostitutes. (125 mins.)
Director: Hong-jin Na
“ When I see a film like this, it evokes to me what we're overlooking. So many mainstream movies are just snake oil. Even if you're essentially exhausted with this action and serial killer stuff, the film is marked by the grimy pace of its foot chases, and the efficiency of its craft as it modifies its tone naturally between delirious tension and procedural excitement, not to mention the unfortunate real-world outcome of at least one character. An American remake is in development, but before we’re force-fed the inevitably compromised interpretation, see this original in its unsullied purity. ” - jzappa
A Child Is Waiting (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Psychologist Dr. Matthew Clark is the head of the Crawthorne State Training Institute, one of the first... (102 mins.)
Director: John Cassavetes
“ Independent filmmaking pioneer John Cassavetes is accessible to today’s generation thanks by and large to Criterion, but there are still works of his that fell by the wayside completely, like this Judy Garland vehicle. Cassavetes wanted to make a film about the hidden, twisted beauty of a mentally handicapped child, that adults have less tolerance, patience, and basic wisdom that retarded children can have. Producer Stanley Kramer had other, more cautious, less daring thoughts. In his re-editing, he fashioned from Cassavetes's cut a film about the loneliness and pitiful existence of mentally handicapped people, and that the only place for them is in an institution. ” - jzappa
The Cobweb (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
At an exclusive psychiatric clinic, the doctors and staff are about as crazy as the patients. The clinic head... (134 mins.)
“ Look at that. Not even a poster image. What's the world coming to? ” - jzappa
Daniel (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
The fictionalized story of Daniel, the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed as Soviet spies in the 1950s. (130 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ Critics who fault Lumet for highlighting the characters’ impressions and mindset more than their believed historical or political accuracy were ignorant of the fact that, even in our reductively and loudly politicized times, storytelling is not the same as politics or history. Lumet does not overlook social texture in Daniel, one of his many powerful dramas, an opus of foremost artistic distinction and An absolute humanistic triumph. ” - jzappa
Dark Days (2000 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City. (82 mins.)
Director: Marc Singer
“ A movie nobody seems to have seen about people who nobody seems to notice. ” - jzappa
Le Dernier Combat (The Last Battle) (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
In the post-apocalyptic future, only a few humans are left. No one is able to speak; the film contains no dialogue... (92 mins.)
Director: Luc Besson
“ One of the few times I see a Luc Besson film that isn’t shallow or half-baked, it’s one of the few that only but a few seem to have seen. The most noticed element of the film is its silence; no one speaks. I don’t think Besson, despite what is evident in most of his later work, meant it as any kind of cool gimmick. Indeed, I think what makes this atmospheric post-apocalyptic sci-fi film, shot in black and white, so clever and so effective is the fact that with no other way of communicating, everyone has to read each other based on intuition and conveying of emotion, no matter how slight. ” - jzappa
Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A housewife with an abusive husband has an affair with a writer. (95 mins.)
Director: Frank Perry
“ The film heroes who involve me most aren't saints, or even rebels. They're everyday people who are accosted by wrong done to them and face their predicament: Frank Perry's film is about a stunningly tolerant young woman who has by some means gotten herself married to the most arrogant imbecile in Manhattan. Frank Perry and his screenwriter wife's provocative, offbeat film is keen to jiggle around with its concept of personality, actually to see those ideas as a deception in their own right, in its beautifully dramatic performances, and in its steadfastness to its visual restraint. ” - jzappa
$ (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A bank security expert plots with a call girl to rob three safety deposit boxes containing $1.5 million in cash belonging to three very different criminals from a high-tech security bank in Hamburg, Germany. (121 mins.)
Director: Richard Brooks
“ Released on DVD only a few years ago, this star-driven Quincy Jones-scored caper picture never stops, never lingers, just keeps the action moving, which includes a long and spectacular, and long, climactic chase. ” - jzappa
The Eel (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A businessman kills his adulterous wife and is sent to prison. After the release, he opens a barbershop and meets new people, talking almost to no one except an eel he befriended while in prison. (117 mins.)
Director: Shôhei Imamura
“ It's difficult to find movies that actually redirect your thinking and stimulate you and make you suffer in that great, fulfilling way. So, I will leave you to take my word for it. What is amazing about what The Eel does is how it really enlightens the audience when it comes to the judgment and expectations of characters. The Eel probes meticulously and sneakily the strange progression of a person. ” - jzappa
The Embalmer (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Peppino is an aging taxidermist constantly ridiculed for being short and somewhat creepy. He meets Valerio... (101 mins.)
Director: Matteo Garrone
“ It may sound absurd that a balding old midget could seduce an apparently heterosexual young Apollo out of the arms of an insatiable woman, but this incredibly unsettling and implacable experience takes place largely in Italian beach towns, but in a gray season, against chilled, steeled skies. The sea is nonetheless far away and dejected, and Garrone's images bleed the life out of some scenes. The music is a sobbing, deeply haunting jazz abstraction. Like Matteo Garrone’s gangland epic Gomorrah, The Embalmer is not for everybody, or even most, but for those who like to be deeply affected in mood and those who find it compelling to watch a character maneuver to get what they want, don’t let this one get away from you. ” - jzappa
Equus (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A psychiatrist attempts to uncover a troubled stable boy's disturbing obsession with horses. (137 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ Equus is a strange and challenging psychodrama that employs strange visual occurrences such as the pentimento effect and a boy who subjects himself to the relative experience of a domesticated horse. There is an extended full-frontal nude scene with two seventeen-year-olds. The crime at the heart of the story is blinding of six horses with a metal spike by one of the seventeen-year-olds, yes, the one who harnesses and whips himself to undergo what a human does to a horse. It is acted with sublime gravity by Richard Burton, Joan Plowright and Peter Firth. And Sidney Lumet tells this highly unusual and intensely deep story with his unerring directorial philosophy of concision, necessity and character fidelity. ” - jzappa
Eye of God (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
We see two stories told over four time lines, which wind down to a devastating ground zero collision... (84 mins.)
“ Like many great indie films that nobody sees, this debut by Delmar from O Brother Where Art Thou? (who also wrote the original play) won some awards but hardly got any butts in any seats. As usual, it’s the audience’s loss. ” - jzappa
Face to Face (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A sensitive exploration of the tragic irony of the psychiatrist suffering with mental illness. Dr. Jenny... (114 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
“ At the beginning of Annie Hall, Woody Allen refuses to see Face to Face after arriving one minute late for it. His loss, and yours too, because you haven’t seen it, because the geniuses behind American DVD distribution don’t seem to think it a priority to release the Golden Globe winner for Best Foreign Language Film---not to mention one of the most astonishing performances by an actress anyone has ever seen---until later this year. Where are you, Criterion? ” - jzappa
The Front Page (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
As a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his top reporter from retiring, an escaped death row convict shows up at the office trying to convey his innocence. (105 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ After years of producing his own films, despite his relatable disdain for remakes, Billy Wilder, a newspaperman in his fresher days, was only too ecstatic to surrender producing tasks and focus on screenwriting and directing when offered a new adaptation of the 20th century’s classic newspaper story. And some of the most delectable screen presences of its own era. ” - jzappa
The Gambler (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Axel Freed is a literature professor. He has the gambling vice. When he has lost all his money, he borrows from his girlfriend, then his mother and finally some bad guys that chase him. Despite all of this he cannot stop gambling. (111 mins.)
Director: Karel Reisz
“ This James Toback-scripted drama, shot at a time when star James Caan was fighting his own addiction, starts as a study of a compulsive gambler’s personality, expands into the story of the world he‘s plunged himself into, and then pays off as a thriller. We become so very held by Caan’s troubles and threats that they seem like our own. ” - jzappa
Gas, Food Lodging (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
In the boring desert of New Mexico, a single mother raises her two teenage daughters, Shade and Trudi... (101 mins.)
Director: Allison Anders
“ Everyone was too busy ogling how impressive it was that Rodriguez could make a home movie for 7 large and that Tarantino could salvage old school tropes to notice this pure human story about a waitress trying to find romance while raising two daughters in a trailer-park, by a filmmaker who spent her teens hitchhiking across the country, bringing about a succession of experiences that would result in jail and homes, encounters that gave her natural, unprocessed inspiration for her cinematic renderings of everyday people, not the least of which is this moving 1992 debut. ” - jzappa
The Group (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
It's 1933, and eight young women are friends and members of the upper- class group at a private girl's school... (150 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ A thinking person’s Sex and the City, this one treated some divisive themes for its time, for example the association of free love with progressive social revolution, and depicting it as a forerunner of a new anti-fascistic, anti-oppressive awareness and critique of marriage as a form of social bondage, not to mention contraception, abortion, lesbianism and mental illness. And owing to the late, great Sidney Lumet's subtle use of technical skills, The Group---possibly his biggest, least characteristic and least considered film---is a skillfully paced and giftedly acted adaptation of Mary McCarthy's novel charting the kismet of eight Vassar graduates, class of '33, up to the start of WWII. ” - jzappa
Hangmen Also Die! (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
After the Nazi administrator of Czechoslovakia is shot, his assassin tries to elude the Gestapo and struggles with his impulse to give himself up as hostages are executed. (134 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
“ One of the most intense WWII films about the resistance, this collaboration of three prominent refugees from Nazi Germany---visionary filmmaker Fritz Lang, influential playwright Bertolt Brecht and Oscar-nominated film composer Hanns Eisler---is an example of the influence this generation of German exiles had in American culture. ” - jzappa
Heist (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A career jewel thief finds himself at tense odds with his longtime partner, a crime boss who sends his nephew to keep watch. (109 mins.)
Director: David Mamet
“ Heist is the brand of caper film that came before special effects supplanted sharpness, structure and dialogue. This relentlessly quotable little thriller is comprised of natural ingredients, not manufactured goods. With both the heist at the beginning and in the middle, major stakes are raised, because in spite of its practically record-setting amount of plot twists, it’s about its characters. ” - jzappa
The Hill (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In a North African military prison during World War II, five new prisoners struggle to survive in the face of brutal punishment and sadistic guards. (123 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ You can always feel confident that you're caught up on your knowledge of Sidney Lumet’s work only to stumble upon yet another buried treasure with his name on it. Take a look at this film for a minute. It is set entirely within the punishing confines of a British army prison in sweltering North Africa in WWII. There is not a woman in sight. There is no music. There is only the constant brutalizing, disheartening, intimidating and debilitating sequence of trials one particular group of prisoners of war are forced to undergo. No one I know, not the least of which me, could take a day of it. Lumet surpasses himself in unrelenting tension. Dramatic suspense, indeed, is his forte. ” - jzappa
Inlaws & Outlaws (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
With remarkable honesty, good humor, great music and real heart, Inlaws & Outlaws weaves together true stories of couples and singles, gay and straight, to embrace what we all have in common: we love. (100 mins.)
Director: Drew Emery
“ Seldom has there been an absolute staging of true love. It presents insight into a range of affairs and viewpoints, some new and others quite traditional. The composite of oral history presents a basic outlook and understanding of relationships involving every and anyone. This barefaced observation of life is hilarious, heartbreaking and cerebral all the same. It may, perhaps, even have the ability to revolutionize and mend our culture. The world could learn so much from these subjects. Inlaws & Outlaws is an experience we all need to make the endeavor to share with friends, screen in different communities all over the country, promote and re-release. ” - jzappa
Jerry and Tom (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Tom and Jerry are two hit men, they work by day at a third-rate second-hand car dealership. Tom is a veteran and Jerry is a novice in their business... (107 mins.)
Director: Saul Rubinek
“ You’ve seen House of Games, Fargo, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Snatch, Pulp Fiction. But Jerry & Tom somehow slipped by you? ” - jzappa
Johnny Got His Gun (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A World War I soldier, rendered blind, deaf, limbless, and mute by a horrific artillery shell attack, finds a unique way of communicating with his doctors. (111 mins.)
Director: Dalton Trumbo
“ Where else are you going to experience a story that authentically imparts the loneliest possible consciousness, one where the subject can’t even be sure whether or not he’s alive? Even telling day from night is a mystery for him to solve. Representing Trumbo’s own awe at his character is Donald Sutherland as Jesus, who counsels Bottoms in a celestial milieu more akin to how Trumbo might’ve truly wanted to portray the same fantasy in A Guy Named Joe over thirty years before. ” - jzappa
Kids Return (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Dropping out of high school, two friends at first find success, one as a up-and-coming boxer and one as a low level gangster. Yet, their life decisions still find a way of catching up on them. (107 mins.)
Director: Takeshi Kitano
“ The irony is that at the time of its release it was Takeshi Kitano’s most successful film yet in Japan, which until then had been conspicuously much less keen on his films than international audiences, and now I can’t seem to meet anyone who’s seen this nor have I seen it available even at homegrown video stores. Made directly after Kitano recovered from a motorcycle wreck that left one side of his body paralyzed, it’s about two high school dropouts who try to find a direction and meaning in their lives. Some of the most beautiful music you will ever hear in a film. ” - jzappa
The Libertine (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
The story of John Wilmot, a.k.a. the Earl of Rochester, a 17th century poet who famously drank and debauched his way to an early grave, only to earn posthumous critical acclaim for his life's work. (114 mins.)
“ This completely overlooked film’s biggest stand-out is whom most audiences will completely wash away from their minds when being hypnotized by the ever-popular Johnny, and that is Samantha Morton, but Johnny Depp as usual completely becomes his character and makes it difficult to study Depp himself and natural to study John Wilmot. This is the original and essential point of acting, and Depp constantly nails it and The Libertine is no exception. For fans of Depp, a title synonymous to the entire world, who strangely let this one slip by them, it's a must. ” - jzappa
Liebestraum (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Two affairs, a generation apart. Nick, a professor of architecture in upstate New York, comes to an... (112 mins.)
Director: Mike Figgis
“ On VHS, both the R-rated theatrical version and an unrated director's cut of this unfairly underappreciated mood piece were available. However the DVD release as part of MGM's Avant-Garde Cinema series accommodates only the R-rated version. ” - jzappa
Little Murders (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Comedy about how New Yorkers are coping with pervasive urban violence, obscene phone calls, rusty water pipes, electrical blackouts, paranoia and ethnic-racial conflict during a typical summer of the 1970s. (110 mins.)
Director: Alan Arkin
“ Directed by the one and only Alan Arkin and starring the peerless Elliott Gould, it’s literally a comedy like no other. It opened to lukewarm notices, but the reason it‘s such an inimitable experience, and even now remains a state-of-the-art musing on America’s darker temper, is that it distills audiences to solitary individuals, defenseless and doubtful of how to react. ” - jzappa
Margot at the Wedding (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Margot and her son Claude decide to visit her sister Pauline after she announces that she is marrying less-than-impressive Malcolm. In short order, the storm the sisters create leaves behind a mess of thrashed relationships and exposed family secrets. (93 mins.)
Director: Noah Baumbach
“ This insightful, dryly funny, cynically heartfelt Americana-blended Bergmanesque psychodrama, which, alas, only made a little over two million worldwide, may well not be built upon writer-director Noah Baumbach's own family, but it exhibits an approach to families that aggregates his persnickety outlook on the average person. ” - jzappa
Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A museum curator falls in love with a crazy parking attendant. (114 mins.)
Director: John Cassavetes
“ In nearly every love story, there is a man and a woman, the man being confident, funny, either classically hot or attractive in his own way, whose shortcomings are charming, and the woman a wounded soul who could have any man she wants who chooses this guy because there's just something about him. These movies make everyone feel so good because the characters embody what every man and woman wants to be, not what they are. Minnie and Moskowitz, instead of indulging in any hint of fantasy in the realm of romance, depicts people who may just be more common than the attractive, confident people with so much experience playing the field. What's the story behind the love affairs of the ugly, alarmingly awkward man with no life and no job that we all run into, or the woman so crippled by insecurity that it's difficult to talk to her? Minnie and Moskowitz is an unbridled depiction of people underneath the ego that hides behind itself in nearly all other films. Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel, delivering startlingly pitiable people, are hardly likable. Moskowitz nearly drives us mad, let alone Minnie. He imposes himself so forcefully in her life, the dates are an explosion of the inner voices of ours that respond to the screamingly inept uneasiness on dates we've all been on, rejections we've all swallowed, and arguments we've all had that we know were our own faults. I admire a film like Minnie and Moskowitz because, as the trademark is with the films Cassavetes helmed himself, it identifies with us in 100% honesty. Our egos play no part in company with his characters, thus a tremendous achievement per performance by actor. ” - jzappa
A New Leaf (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Henry Graham lives the life of a playboy. When his lawyer tells him one day that his lifestyle has consumed all his funds, he needs an idea to avoid climbing down the social ladder. So he intends to marry a rich woman and - murder her. (102 mins.)
Director: Elaine May
“ As is occasionally the tragic case with ambitious film artists, Elaine May's intended cut of her celluloid entrance we always remain a mystery: a supposed three-hour gallows farce entailing counterfeit marriage, blackmail and murder, which heralded the well-known comedienne's directorial debut. Producer Robert Evans swiped the film from her, radically condensed it and she disowned the resultant version. I doubt it's any relief to her that, even in this existing manifestation, A New Leaf is one of cinema's top comedies, greatly tracking the blossoming love between incompatible couple Henry and Henrietta. A New Leaf is, truly, one of the funniest movies I've seen in quite a stretch. Whatever the merits of May's apparent dissatisfaction with the final cut, in its present form it's cockamamie, bittersweet and uproarious. ” - jzappa
The Offence (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A burned-out British police detective finally snaps while interrogating a suspected child molester. (112 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ Up until sometime last year, this implacably solemn police drama remained one of the few films of Sean Connery or Sidney Lumet that had yet to been released on DVD in America. MGM finally made the film available as an exclusive from No extras, but at least widescreen. Less recognized than other policiers of the 1960s and ’70s, it proliferates with impressionistic imagery, tightened to muted, rigorous meditation. And it looks ahead to the gray themes of director Sidney Lumet's later looks at judicial ambivalence. Sean Connery's pressure-cooker inspector, beleaguered with vivid images throbbing within his head, is the stencil for the heroes of Serpico, Prince of the City and Q&A. ” - jzappa
The Panic in Needle Park (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Follows the lives of heroin addicts who frequent "Needle Park" in New York City. (110 mins.)
“ The cold, unremitting film is a bleak depiction of life among a group of heroin addicts who hang out in Sherman Square in New York City, Sherman Square being the park in the title. Jerry Schatzberg, the film's director, frames the model sober, matter-of-fact ambiance of 1970s American cinema. The film is subdued, just like it's drug-injected characters, with no music at all throughout, his camera never intrudes, and his story glamorizes nothing and betrays nothing. ” - jzappa
Plenty (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A young Englishwoman spends 20 years to make whatever kind of life for herself at the expense of others around her in post-World War 2 England. (121 mins.)
Director: Fred Schepisi
“ Fred Schepisi's obscure film stars Meryl Streep and it is a performance of daring delicacy. It is hard to play an irrational, maladjusted, quasi-suicidal woman with such tenderness or grace. The performances grant one enthralling solitaire after another. Most of the pivotal instances come as different characters eclipse different scenes. ” - jzappa
Poison (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Three intercut stories about outsiders, sex and violence. In "Hero," Richie, at age 7, kills his father and flies away... (85 mins.)
Director: Todd Haynes
“ With such unusually prominent gay themes even for today not to mention for 1991, Poison’s release was very limited despite being a Sundance favorite. Nevertheless, it is one of the few cinematic renderings of Jean Genet’s work and one of the most auspicious and original feature film debuts of all time. ” - jzappa
Rampage (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Liberal district attorney decides to seek the death penalty for a man who slaughtered a family at Christmastime... (97 mins.)
“ Friedkin pushes us past abnormality to a level where the serene and disordered synchronize, established with images, accentuated by a lingering Ennio Morricone theme. We shift past good and evil into a true chasm. Friedkin proceeds with what could relatively be referred to as a police procedural. This is not a movie about murder so much as a movie about madness, as it pertains to murder in present-day American criminal courts. He plays both ends and conspires with and against both. Charles Reece’s cruelty is beyond our grasp of possible human behavior. Friedkin is shrewd and plucky in going this thorny route. In addition, he finds a thoroughly unsettling and claustrophobic effect, a tonal ambiance of ghostly uneasiness. Only this and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer have ever truly evoked the striking normalcy of psychopathic murderers between the moments when they snap. ” - jzappa
Snow Angels (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A drama that interweaves the life of a teenager, with his old baby sitter, her estranged husband, and their daughter. (107 mins.)
“ For a movie that only opened to two theaters on its opening weekend, Snow Angels is another film by David Gordon Green that stands somewhat isolated as a poetic trace of the seemingly doomed life force of youth with an eye for the unplanned assets and deep idiosyncrasies of location and situation. It’s also a virtually lost cache of Sam Rockwell’s inimitable talent. ” - jzappa
Sólo con tu pareja (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Yuppie and womanizer Tomas is caught in a trap when falsely diagnosed with A.I.D.S. by Silvia, a nurse who finds herself cheated by the young Casanova... (94 mins.)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
“ Solo Con Tu Pareja is a buried treasure. It's a bombastic screwball comedy by Alfonso Cuaron, who has since masterfully crafted Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children of Men with stunning individuality and creativity. It seems tasteless to make humor out of AIDS, but if it's funny, what's the problem? There isn't one then, is there? And one can't dispute that it's admirable for a film, not to mention a comedy, to break the myth that AIDS is a seclusively homosexual disease, a myth built by masculine ego, which this film parodies by its womanizing protagonist, played by an admittedly less than charming actor though it is a role that would not be far from ideal for Cary Grant. ” - jzappa
Sorcerer (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Four unfortunate men from different parts of the globe agree to risk their lives transporting gallons of nitroglycerin across dangerous South American jungle. (121 mins.)
“ What's so enrapturing about this critical and commercial failure that almost personally destroyed its director is that the needs and situations that occur, one after another, are so primal, these characters are hairpin turns between murderously divided and collaborating with implicit trust. William Friedkin exemplifies the seduction of voyeurism in the very close, detailed but utterly omniscient way we follow each unrelated character to a godforsaken place, where they know absolutely nothing of each other, but we've seen them all in their respective realms of normalcy, the shameful predicaments that got them here. ” - jzappa
Still of the Night (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A Manhattan psychiatrist probes a patient's murder and falls for the victim's mysterious mistress. (93 mins.)
Director: Robert Benton
“ It comes as an utter shock and a sensory pleasure to see a contemporary dramatic thriller as understated, remarkably acted and superbly helmed as this pristine minimalist deference to film noir and Hitchcock by writer-director Robert Benton, who reinstates his Kramer vs. Kramer star Meryl Streep, who delivers another strikingly profound performance. ” - jzappa
Stone (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
A convicted arsonist looks to manipulate a parole officer into a plan to secure his parole by placing his beautiful wife in the lawman's path. (105 mins.)
Director: John Curran
“ Stone is a fresh, different and challenging experience as each character divulges a benevolent side and a malicious one. Scene after scene is a tractor pull as the disparate clique of people, played by some of the strongest actors in the strongest performances they’ve turned in for years, strive for control and preservation instinct. And nobody’s seen it? Come on, people. Get on it. ” - jzappa
This Property Is Condemned (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A railroad official, Owen Legate comes to Dodson, Mississippi to shut down much of the town's railway (town's main income)... (110 mins.)
Director: Sydney Pollack
“ Sydney Pollack would become a maker of classic, star-studded Hollywood period dramas, thrillers, romances and comedies, but this very early Robert Redford-Natalie Wood vehicle, which is maybe a little overdone, is one of his strongest pieces because it has a beautifully tragic understanding of the trap that is set by a desperate society of people. People who love each other resort to respectively manipulating each other to the point of excruciating emotional pain and abandoning one another's penultimate wishes. It is either Tennessee Williams' original one-act or the script by Francis Coppola, Fred Coe and Edith Sommer that makes this come so powerfully alive in at least two scenes, but it's the strong acting between Reid and Wood, and the one she gives me. ” - jzappa
Threads (1984 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Documentary-style account of a nuclear holocaust and its effect on the working class city of Sheffield, England, and the eventual long-term effects of nuclear war on civilization. (112 mins.)
Director: Mick Jackson
“ Threads aired on PBS here in America, and makes The Day After look like The Family Stone, which is why audiences preferred The Day After to Threads. When I say that Threads is one of if not the most horrific, traumatic movie you could ever see with a sociological or political subject, it's merely since it scorches a black gully across your mind that doesn't quickly settle, as it'll afflict the dark alcoves of your mind's eye. ” - jzappa
Tightrope (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Wes Block is a detective who's put on the case of a serial killer whose victims are young and pretty women... (114 mins.)
Director: Richard Tuggle
“ Tightrope features Clint Eastwood as a homicide investigator poles apart from Dirty Harry Callahan. His wife has just left him, and he lives at home with his two young daughters and various dogs. He is a fine cop, with an inimitable quirk: He likes to have sex with women while they’re handcuffed. He’s familiar to most French Quarter hookers, but his higher-ups don’t know that when they appoint him to a big assignment: A serial killer, seemingly a former cop, is offing prostitutes in the Quarter. When he crosses that threshold, all of his dormant compulsions come back. Tightrope pleases the Dirty Harry sensibility, but it’s ambitious in a different way than those movies. It’s a test for Eastwood to find out if he can change. It’s still scarce even now for a foremost male star, especially a manly action hero, to star in a straight cop thriller in which the story pivots on his capability to understand and defer to a woman. ” - jzappa
Too Late Blues (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Ghost is an idealogical musician who would rather play his blues in the park to the birds than compromise himself... (103 mins.)
Director: John Cassavetes
“ Though helmed by American independent filmmaking pioneer John Cassavetes, this is not well-recognized film. But it’s really a moving film in spite of all the expectations accompanied by an audience's perception of a music film. There are many great scenes where we simply hang out with the band and indulge in their impulsive diversions, or we react in unusual ways and must step out of our regiments and make an endeavor out of looking further. ” - jzappa
Uptight (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Black revolutionaries are betrayed by one of their own. Based on the 1935 classic, "The Informer." (104 mins.)
Director: Jules Dassin
“ Black communities celebrated this complete surprise discovery on my part as a film that said something for them. It had audacity enough to represent the rage of the ghetto. And its characters behave and think like it. It’s outstanding that a major studio like Paramount backed and distributed this film. Whenever Hollywood itself has gotten involved in the envelope-pushing independent filmmaking sensibilities, it has made it viable for other movies to reflect on the American reality. ” - jzappa
When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Marjoe Gortner plays a drug dealer whose car breaks down in a small U.S. town. In turn, the town's people... (118 mins.)
Director: Milton Katselas
“ Imagine a parallel story where Superman were just a bus boy in Nowhereville, having no idea of his capabilities, and even less so did anyone else, and you may understand the implied significance of his underdog counterpoint to an unhinged ‘Nam vet. What you have them is an obscured jewel of low-budget 1970s realist filmmaking. ” - jzappa
While the City Sleeps (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A serial killer has been killing beautiful women in New York, and the new owner of a media company offers a high ranking job to the 1st administrator who can get the earliest scoops on the case. (100 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
“ Fritz Lang's 22nd English-language film, which itself, interestingly, is a conglomeration of film noir, psychological thriller and sociopolitical drama, is a complete observation of the modern media. It applies to a media empire which merges newspapers, wire services, photography and television. All of these come under acute and generally cynical analysis in this film. The utter notion that so many different media are all amalgamated in one company scares this film's forever socially concerned director Fritz Lang, who sees the makings of fascistic tyranny here, something of which his own first-hand experience surely made him particularly wary. ” - jzappa
You Can Count on Me (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A single mother's life is thrown into turmoil after her struggling, rarely-seen younger brother returns to town. (111 mins.)
“ Here is a touching drama with its first-time director’s artistic integrity completely intact owing to protection from studio interference by producer Martin Scorsese. We all love Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo, and the film was well-received, but we American audiences are in constant need of being reminded of movies like this, what with being a truthful human drama about real people and all. ” - jzappa