Dial M for Miscellaneousby AukeBriek | created - 24 Aug 2012 | updated - 16 May 2015 | Public
This is a list of films that do not fit either on my top-list or on my list with overrated, disappointing or bad films. It is mostly intended for diary purposes, to write something about films I am lukewarm about, or films that are ok but not exactly good.
In no particular order.
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- Movies or TV
- IMDb Rating
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1. Topio stin omichli (1988)
TV-MA | 127 min | Drama
Two children journey the long road to Germany to find the man they believe to be their father.
This is by no means a bad film. But I expected quite a bit more from this, considering the fact that Angelopoulos is often compared to the likes of Tarkovsky. Landscape in the mist is obviously inspired by Tarkovsky, but although Angelopoulos knows one or two things about image composition he's not very gifted at creating believable drama. There were rare moments at which the film was touching, but it mostly left me cold and a bit bored. When adults in the real world see snow falling while they look out of the window, they don't start screaming their heads of en mass and yelling "snow! snow!" while running outside leaving everything important behind. Children do that, adults don't. The film is full of such unbelievable behavior and sloppy story-telling. A shame really, given all the potential the film had. But still, certain images are quite iconic and will linger in you mind longer, even though they seem to lack the meaning the director obviously thought they had.
2. Otets i syn (2003)
Unrated | 97 min | Drama
A father and his son live together in a roof-top apartment. They have lived alone for years in their own private world, full of memories and daily rites. Sometimes they seem like brothers. ... See full summary »
Votes: 2,153 | Gross: $0.04M
I was completely blown away by Sokurov's transcendent Mat i syn (mother and son). So what better choice than to watch Otets i syn (father and son), right? Well, to be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed. No it's not a bad film, but it just hit the wrong notes for me. The most important reason for this lies in the fact that the intimate relation between the father and the son felt homo-erotic at times, which - by implication - felt incestuous as well. This for me destroyed the atmosphere of the film beyond repair. Sure, it had some beautiful (though never spectacular) shots and it also had its better almost poetic moments, but the story didn't feel interesting enough either. I don't want to overreact here, because there were lots of positive things to counter those negative aspects, but they were just not potent enough.
3. Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
Not Rated | 103 min | Drama, Romance, War
During the German occupation noble, bourgeois and worker's partisan groups lived in peace with another. On the first day of freedom they start to fight each other. In these fights is weaved a most tender love story.
Its more style than substance, but the style is pretty unique.
4. Shimotsuma monogatari (2004)
102 min | Comedy
Momoko, a strange and seemingly emotionless girl obsessed with 18th century France, befriends a Yanki biker and the two experience the ups and downs of their unusual lives in a rural Japanese town.
This is some crazy, cool, shallow and colorful Japanese *beep* with a rococo touch. Could have been more over-the-top though; it felt a bit held-back.
5. Russkiy kovcheg (2002)
Not Rated | 99 min | Drama, Fantasy, History
A 19th century French aristocrat, notorious for his scathing memoirs about life in Russia, travels through the Russian State Hermitage Museum and encounters historical figures from the last 200+ years.
Votes: 16,031 | Gross: $0.04M
A film that seems to drift along elegantly, yet insignificantly for the most part, wandering aimlessly along beautiful paintings and sculptures with costumed people from different time periods walking around them, with two people having strange, unintelligible conversations that are melancholic and full of yearning but ultimately lead to nowhere. Yet in the end the film does make its point, very gently though: it longs for the glory, the artistic purity, the costumes, the music and the ballrooms of an older pre-communist Russia that is all but lost.
6. Häxan (1922)
Not Rated | 91 min | Documentary, Fantasy, Horror
Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe.
Given my very high expectations I must say that I was a bit disappointed, because the film's inability to decide whether it is a documentary or a film makes it a bit boring at times. Nonetheless it is technically very impressive and innovate, and a historically relevant cinematic achievement.
7. Exotica (1994)
R | 103 min | Drama
A man whose daughter recently died becomes obsessed with a dancer in the night club Exotica.
Votes: 15,721 | Gross: $4.18M
This film has good images and a Lynchian atmosphere, but its story is a bit muddled.
8. Caligula (1979)
Unrated | 156 min | Drama, History
Details the graphic and shocking, yet undeniably tragic story of Rome's most infamous Caesar, Gaius Germanicus Caligula.
Votes: 29,622 | Gross: $23.44M
Can't say that its a good film strictly speaking, but I admire the balls of the director... now please don't take that statement out of context! ;)
9. Altered States (1980)
R | 102 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A Harvard scientist conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing him to regress genetically.
Votes: 26,733 | Gross: $19.85M
Cool but not quite realistic.
10. De zee die denkt (2000)
100 min | Adventure, Biography, Comedy
Incredible optical illusions in a story in a story in a story helps the surprised viewer finally to find out that he has been watching himself all along.
This is one of the more interesting films to come from my native country of Holland. Its about a Buddhist guy trying to get rid of his own ego but is struggling with the fact that every conscious attempt to get rid of his ego will always fail, because its always an attempt of that very same ego trying to get rid of itself, which therefore always already presupposes the very same thing it wants to get rid of in the first place. This attempt to deconstruct his own ego is symbolized in the film by breaking through visual illusions, and the fourth wall. It is an original film, although I agree with his girlfriend that the thing he needed to let go was not his own ego but his own Buddhist dogma, the very idea that he needed to let go of something at all.
11. Plastic Bag (2009)
18 min | Short, Drama
A plastic bag, thrown out in the trash, attempts to find his way back to his owner and along the way discovers the world.
It might look a bit derivative of American Beauty, but its doing its own thing. Its not brilliant or anything, but its a nice short.
12. Dodes'ka-den (1970)
Not Rated | 140 min | Drama
Various tales in the lives of Tokyo slum dwellers, including a mentally deficient young man obsessed with driving his own commuter trolley.
A more or less failed, yet touching story about people living around a pile of waste.
13. Quills (2000)
R | 124 min | Biography, Drama
In a Napoleonic era insane asylum, an inmate, the irrepressible Marquis De Sade, fights a battle of wills against a tyrannically prudish doctor.
Votes: 47,349 | Gross: $7.06M
In contrast to Pasolini's Salo, Marquis De Sade plays a sympathetic role in this film as a man far ahead of his time, liberating us from sexual taboos who was restrained by religious morons unable to appreciate his art with an open mind. In fact it is Marquis De Sade romaniticized for Hollywood. This depiction of him is based on a lie: to say that Marquis De Sade was actually a pretty nasty guy would be an understatement. Now I won't say that De Sade deserved what was coming to him, but if you have seen Salo and know that it was actually not nearly as brutal as the book, and that De Sade actually condoned a libertine attitude of 'letting the beast out', you will have lost your sympathy for him and for this film as well. Still it is not a bad film. In fact, it is a fine example of good Hollywood entertainment, but compared to Salo it is laughably insignificant. Yet, despite all this, the film still does raise an important question. If Marquis De Sade was indeed despicable, then why are we still occupying ourselves with him? Why do we continue to read and appreciate his work? Why do many consider it be a form of art? It appears that the preoccupation with this man reveals something important about the human condition: the darkest side of the human consciousness should not be swept under the rug, but should be understood and explored. Although this film's teddy-bear version of Marquis De Sade does not help a lot in that regard, the necessity of both rejecting his work for its moral depravity, which goes way beyond the mere 'naughtiness' this film makes it out to be, and of appreciating it for its relevance to our understanding of the human condition, does represent an important conundrum to be pondered over, and in that sense the film's contrast to Salo helps to keep this reflection from becoming one-sided.
14. Louisiana Story (1948)
Approved | 78 min | Adventure, Drama
The idyllic life of a young Cajun boy and his pet raccoon is disrupted when the tranquility of the bayou is broken by an oil well drilling near his home.
A nice film about a Cajun boy, living as an organic part of nature. This concerns both nature as idyllic, and nature as frightening. The technology of an oil-drilling installation both interrupts idyllic nature, while taming its frightening aspects.
15. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
R | 139 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.
Votes: 151,908 | Gross: $81.30M
Constantly rooting for the villain is a very private matter of anxiety.
16. Braveheart (1995)
R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History
When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, Sir William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.
Votes: 828,482 | Gross: $75.60M
Braveheart is very cheesy and highly overrated. The story, the romance, the acting, especially that of Mel Gibson, are all pretty bad. Yet there are also good things. The costumes, the landscapes, the Scottish atmosphere, the epic scale and the rough action are still worth mentioning.
17. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
R | 118 min | Drama, Fantasy, War
In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.
Votes: 526,994 | Gross: $37.63M
It is creative and imaginative, although hardly a masterpiece.
18. Als je begrijpt wat ik bedoel (1983)
84 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy
Bumble the Bear (Olivier Bommel) finds an egg that, it turns out, has a cute little dragon in it. However, this dinosaur grows huge every time it is upset. As this causes a lot of problems, Ollie Bommel has to face a difficult dilemma.
Pure nostalgia: as a child I always watched this on new years' morning.
19. House of Usher (1960)
Not Rated | 79 min | Drama, Horror
Upon entering his fiancée's family mansion, a man discovers a savage family curse and fears that his future brother-in-law has entombed his bride-to-be prematurely.
A decent horror/drama with good acting.
20. The Firm (1993)
R | 154 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A young lawyer joins a prestigious law firm only to discover that it has a sinister dark side.
Votes: 97,665 | Gross: $158.35M
A respectable film version of the Grisham book.
21. Jackie Brown (1997)
R | 154 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A middle-aged woman finds herself in the middle of a huge conflict that will either make her a profit or cost her life.
Votes: 263,561 | Gross: $39.67M
Not one of Tarrantino's best, but entertaining nonetheless.
22. Gladiator (2000)
R | 155 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
When a Roman General is betrayed, and his family murdered by an emperor's corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.
Votes: 1,110,171 | Gross: $187.71M
overrated but entertaining.
23. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
G | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
In order to power the city, monsters have to scare children so that they scream. However, the children are toxic to the monsters, and after a child gets through, 2 monsters realize things may not be what they think.
Votes: 671,433 | Gross: $289.92M
Even the lesser films by Pixar are entertaining.
24. From Hell (2001)
R | 122 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
In Victorian Era London, a troubled clairvoyant police detective investigates the murders by Jack The Ripper.
Votes: 133,769 | Gross: $31.60M
The story of Jack the ripper with a polished atmosphere.
25. The Last House on the Left (1972)
R | 84 min | Horror, Thriller
Two teenage girls head to a rock concert for one's birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, they are kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of psychotic convicts.
Votes: 27,661 | Gross: $3.10M
I am unable to tell whether it is a a dumb exploitation movie or a smart social commentary on exploitation movies. Could it perhaps be that it is both at the same time?
26. The Devil's Advocate (1997)
R | 144 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
An exceptionally adept Florida lawyer is offered a job to work in New York City for a high-end law firm with a high-end boss - the biggest opportunity of his career to date.
Votes: 284,865 | Gross: $60.98M
I like Pacino playing the devil.
27. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
R | 91 min | Horror
Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.
Votes: 169,825 | Gross: $25.50M
Freddy Kruger is a bit silly to be honest, but the film is very inventive, dreamlike and at times even scary.
28. Zvenigora (1928)
109 min | Drama, Fantasy
Zvenigora stars Nikolai Nademsky (Earth), as the grandfather of Timoshka (Semyon Svashenko), whom he alerts to secret treasure buried in the mountains and the boy spends the rest of his ... See full synopsis »
A totally weird, dreamlike film that is just as wildly eccentric as Dovzhenko's haircut. It is mostly unintelligible storywise - and therefore also a bit boring - yet this might have been partially due to my own sleepiness while whatching it as well as my own lack of knowlegde about Ukranian history. But cinematographically there are some really good sequences, that are way ahead of their time and unbelievable daring.
29. Akira (1988)
R | 124 min | Animation, Action, Drama
A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath that only two teenagers and a group of psychics can stop.
Votes: 122,661 | Gross: $0.55M
30. Rango (2011)
PG | 107 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.
Votes: 202,570 | Gross: $123.48M
31. Mourir auprès de toi (2011)
6 min | Animation, Short, Comedy
Short love story with several literature referentes.
A story about a girl who wants to give (a) head to a skeleton.
32. Mariya (1975 TV Short)
40 min | Short
A two part story of a collective farm worker named Maria which chronicles her life at the time of the initial filming and then returns to her story 9 years later.
Director: Aleksandr Sokurov
A beautiful view into rural life in all seasons. It will probably recede into oblivion much sooner than it deserves for lack of weight.
33. Paprika (2006)
R | 90 min | Animation, Adventure, Crime
When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients' dreams is stolen, all Hell breaks loose. Only a young female therapist, Paprika, can stop it.
Votes: 54,075 | Gross: $0.88M
Nolan's Inception was greatly inspired by this anime-film called Paprika or perhaps you could even say it was loosely based on it and if so, he did quite a good job of improving it. Inception had a much more solid plot and the characters were much better worked out, even though I think it could still have been better in that regard. But that's not to say that Paprika is a bad film. Only the first forty minutes aren't particularly good, because it really doesn't manage to hold your interest sufficiently enough until that time and you don't really care much about the characters, but then it slowly builds up more exuberant dream-worlds and, while never brilliant (perhaps because the animation lacks ultimate refinement), becomes a fascinating and highly creative motion-picture after all, although it never fully recovers from its flawed beginnings.
34. Dakota Skye (2008)
R | 89 min | Drama, Romance
For as long as she could remember, Dakota Skye has been cursed with a super power. She has the ability to see the truth in any lie she hears. From small, harmless white lies, to the more ... See full summary »
In my review of Norwegian Wood I stated my preference for Asian performances over American performances when it comes to romantic scenes. That being said, American romances aren't necessarily bad. Dakota Skye, for instance, is quite good. It's not that the performances are very good (it's a relatively cheap production and the actors really aren't that good) but they are working on a refreshing script (not necessarily always "good", but always interesting) and the script holds everything together well enough to be likable. Because it's a low-key production, it lacks any sense of epic-ness we usually find in big Hollywood productions, which is refreshing because epic stories often have much too constructed scripts, trying to show off instead of just letting things happen. This film is "only medium cute", but most certainly a welcome change.
35. Noriko no shokutaku (2005)
159 min | Drama, Horror
A teenager called Noriko Shimabara runs away from her family in Tokoyama, to meet Kumiko, the leader of an Internet BBS, Haikyo.com. She becomes involved with Kumiko's "family circle", ... See full summary »
The sequel to the absurdly nihilistic exploitation film "suicide circle" is quite a different beast. It doesn't go more over the top - how could it? - but takes a more subtle approach instead, by being about disintegrating family bonds and by toning down the more corny elements of the "suicide circle" plot, leaving us with a film that is better than the first one, though perhaps not as intense or memorable. Still, you shouldn't watch this with your entire family.
36. Chûgoku no chôjin (1998)
118 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
A salaryman and yakuza are each sent by their bosses to a remote Chinese village but discover more then they expected.
Starts off as a comedy or parody about the Chinese seen through the eyes of the Japanese, but soon turns into a more subtle drama with a positive vibe, and a more positive assessment of the Chinese, which is interesting, though not exactly captivating.
37. Moon (2009)
R | 97 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.
Votes: 290,131 | Gross: $5.01M
Decent contemporary sci-fi.
38. Hannibal (2001)
R | 131 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
Living in exile, Hannibal Lecter tries to reconnect with now disgraced F.B.I. Agent Clarice Starling, and finds himself a target for revenge from a powerful victim.
Votes: 225,132 | Gross: $165.09M
Not nearly as good as Silence of the Lambs, but its atmospheric quality makes it a lot better than the crap it is often taken for.
39. Smáfuglar (2008)
15 min | Short
2 Birds takes place during one bright summer night and follows a group of young teenagers on a journey from innocence to adulthood. The main character is a timid boy who has a typical ... See full summary »
It is not very well-paced, but the cinematography and the atmosphere are good.
40. Dame Factory Inc. (2011 Video)
8 min | Short, Fantasy
A factory generates food and beverage products for a meal. This factory is Dame Factory, which is a production facility but also a striking commentary on the commoditization of the female body.
A satirical social commentary on the mass-production of females.
41. Kagemusha (1980)
PG | 162 min | Drama, History, War
A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place.
Qua narrative this is a failed experiment and intended only as a preparation for Ran. Yet the colors are breathtaking! Wow!
42. Dead Man (1995)
R | 121 min | Drama, Fantasy, Western
On the run after murdering a man, accountant William Blake encounters a strange North American man named Nobody who prepares him for his journey into the spiritual world.
Votes: 79,015 | Gross: $1.04M
An unlikely mix between the style of Bela Tarr and Quentin Tarantino. It tries to escape the instrumental rationality of Hollywood films by embracing an irrationality that was paradoxically spawned by that very same rationality. The characters are empty and ridiculous (why is the guy called William Blake?) and the scenes take too long with nothing to fill it up. The Indian is unbelievable, stereotyped and empty (his name is "nothing"), envisioned by what appears to be an ethnocentric and eccentric westerner. It seems that there isn't anything positive to say about it at all. It seems to be a total failure. And yet this hardly seems to matter at all, because the film brings us in a state beyond the opposition of narrow concepts such as failure or success: it places you in a vice grip of nihilism, coldness, lethargy. It even transcends death, because death has become the most insignificant thing imaginable. After watching this film you won't be able to lift a leg. What's the point anyway?
43. Go, Go, Second Time Virgin (1969)
65 min | Drama
After being raped in an unknown rooftop, nineteen year-old girl Poppo meets a mysterious boy, and both share their sexual traumas and fears, with fatal consequences.
Its a totally crazy, arty and immoral exploitation film. Its despicable on many levels, yet the cinematography is very remarkable.
44. Orlando (1992)
PG-13 | 94 min | Biography, Drama, Fantasy
Young nobleman Orlando is commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to stay forever young. Miraculously, he does just that. The film follows him as he moves through several centuries of British ... See full summary »
Votes: 11,215 | Gross: $5.29M
The costumes and the cinematography are very elegant, yet I didn't care that much for the story.
45. Meet Joe Black (1998)
PG-13 | 178 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Death, who takes the form of a young man, asks a media mogul to act as a guide to teach him about life on Earth, and in the process, he falls in love with his guide's daughter.
Votes: 184,202 | Gross: $44.62M
A bit too sentimental but still intelligent.
46. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
R | 120 min | Drama, Romance
A Mumbai teen reflects on his upbringing in the slums when he is accused of cheating on the Indian Version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"
Votes: 703,893 | Gross: $141.32M
It is entertaining and sad, but also a bit unbelievable.
47. The Experiment (2001)
R | 120 min | Drama, Thriller
For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.
Votes: 84,136 | Gross: $0.14M
A disturbing insight in the human psyche.
48. The Dead Zone (1983)
R | 103 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic ability.
Votes: 50,382 | Gross: $20.77M
A good film with a Stephen King story.
49. The House of Small Cubes (2008)
12 min | Animation, Short, Drama
To save his house from rising flood waters, an old man uses bricks to build it higher, then he relives events from his past while searching for his dropped pipe.
Very stylish and beautiful.
50. 46-okunen no koi (2006)
Unrated | 85 min | Drama, Fantasy
A visually stylish tale of two male prisoners bonded by emotion, love and murder.
Ok visuals, but the plot couldn't hold my interest and all those quasi-naked male bodies looked a bit raunchy to me.
51. All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001)
146 min | Crime, Drama, Music
The problematic lives of teenager students for whom the singer Lily Chou-Chou's dreamy music is the only way to escape an alienating, violent and insensitive society.
Votes: 6,819 | Gross: $0.02M
All About Lilly Chou Chou is ok, but not good. It's overlong and the more interesting story-lines only start in the second hour. The visuals are a bit underwhelming compared to the trailer, but some of them were pretty good nonetheless. I also couldn't relate to the characters enough to be totally wowed, but again this gets a bit better as the film progresses.
52. La Notte (1961)
Not Rated | 122 min | Drama
A day in the life of an unfaithful married couple and their steadily deteriorating relationship.
Votes: 13,561 | Gross: $0.04M
Again, Antonioni made a mostly boring film with a good ending. But this time he can't get away with it: it took 1,5 hours before the film became a little bit more interesting and the good scene lasted only 10 minutes and it wasn't even spectacularly good (ok,... maybe only for two seconds): it's just not enough. And the boring rest of the film was about a bunch decadent Italians going to their decadent parties: after La Dolce Vita (which was much more iconic by the way) I guess I've just seen enough of that to be bothered with it anymore. Still, there are a few redeeming factors that count for the whole film: it is always very well shot, highly stylized, never cheesy (many directors should wish to die just to achieve this level of non-cheesiness for two seconds), always worthy and always in control. But again, that's just not enough.
53. Essential Killing (2010)
R | 83 min | Thriller, War
An Afghan POW attempts his escape.
A cool but flawed action film.
Things I liked:
- Gallo's silence
- Animalistic violence
- Struggle for survival
- Relative lack of pre-established political judgement, which is positive when compared to the boring one-dimensional political statement I expected.
Things I didn't liked:
- Certain stupid and predictable plot-elements: Ok... now that tree is gonna fall on him! And... presto!
- Cheesy flashbacks
- Lack of refinement and intelligence
54. 964 Pinocchio (1991)
97 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
Pinocchio 964, lobotomised cyborg sex slave, is thrown out onto the street by his owners because of his inability to maintain an erection. He is befriended by a criminally insane, ... See full summary »
One of Onderhond's favorites. How to rate a film like this? Impossible! I may have said that before, but this time I really mean it.
Let's split this review up into three sections:
---------------------------- section 1.
My initial reaction was this (let me put it in Dutch, to preserve the authenticity): "Wat een afgrijselijke KUTfilm! Gadverdamme! Bah! Bah! Bah! Wat een immoreel en goor gedrocht van een film! Wie bedenkt zoiets!? Te ziek voor woorden!". My idea was to give it a 1 out of 10. ----------------------------
---------------------------- section 2.
20 minutes or so before the end, the "running scene" kicks in, and while the film doesn't all of sudden becomes tasteful, moral or conveniently 'good', there is still a significant change: after a minute or two of this "running scene" I saw a more over-top surrealism emerging and, more significantly, I saw an inventive use of editing coming up, as in Pudovkin-style ultra-rapid fire cutting, but then much much faster, creating not so much stroboscopic, but almost hypnotic effects, a feeling you'd probably get from headbanging uncontrollably to a techno song (I haven't actually tested this by the way, so I don't know if you should try this at home). The point is that I wouldn't give the "running scene" a 1 out of 10, but probably a 6 or even a 7 out of 10, not for subtlety, but for sheer inventiveness. ----------------------------
---------------------------- section 3.
This surrealism of the "running scene" continued right up to the end, and so did my rating, concerning the final 20 minutes.
Moreover, those final 20 minutes also became a lens through which the previous parts didn't seem as bad as they did before any more, not all of a sudden good, but at the very least significantly less bad. It was almost like a Zen-experience of being Jenseits von Gut und Böse for a few fleeting moments, a feeling of being washed-out, a total lack of judging or caring about all the awfulness I saw before. I can't say it was cathargic, more like lethargic or being numbed-down, like our lobotomized 'clown'. It wasn't exactly a positive experience. But it wasn't entirely negative either. There you have it. This is where the review stops. I don't know what else to say, let alone how to wrap it all up into a coherent review. ----------------------------
55. The Funeral (1996)
R | 99 min | Crime, Drama
In the 30's, in New York, the coffin of the leftist gangster Johnny Tempio is brought to the house of his older brother Ray for the wake of family and friends. Ray is a cold gangster that ... See full summary »
Votes: 7,389 | Gross: $1.23M
This is a pretty ok film. Although Gallo isn't entirely his usual great self (the Italian accent is a little off and he doesn't seem really inspired), he still is a great presence and Christopher Walken gives an outstanding performance, standing in the spotlights, as he well deserves. The script is only a little bit above mediocre though, and except for the last scene, never really wows you. But all in all not a bad film at all.
56. Rabbits (2002)
43 min | Short, Drama, Fantasy
In a nameless city deluged by continuous rain, three rabbits live with a fearful mystery.
Onderhond rated this weird Lynch film (is that a pleonasm?) 5 out of 5. I saw this one a few years ago and remembered that I didn't like it, but I was curious enough to see if watching a bit of Godard and the passing of time might have influenced my thoughts on this film, though I was doubtful it could have been a great change. But alas, my thoughts remained more or less the same. Sure, you can outline the similarities between this and Week End. But Week End is still bound by certain standards of quality it seeks to deconstruct, and paradoxically this 'compromise' or 'weakness' (if you can call it that) makes it much better than Lynch's much more radical attempt to deconstruct intelligible plot movies, by throwing in complete randomness in the conversations. This kind of randomness is something Week End could only hint at to still be appreciable as film, especially as a great film. Rabbits is just way too random to hold your interest. It's a failure, that lasts thrice as long as it should. Still, it's not a complete failure. I could also see it as an interesting parody on modern American families and on regular, meaningless everydayness hidden beneath the veneer of pseudo-meaningfulness: but that only worked in concept. I also liked the scare at the end of the film, where you are thoroughly unsettled by the fact that you have moved to another room, although that scare lasts only a few seconds. But mostly it's just a failure. I would give it a 5 also, but this time not out of 5, but out of 10.
57. Big Man Japan (2007)
PG-13 | 113 min | Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
An eccentric man living alone in a decrepit house in Tokyo periodically transforms into a 100-foot tall giant in order to defend Japan against similarly sized monsters.
Votes: 2,919 | Gross: $0.04M
From the maker of Shinboru. I'ts pretty fuc|<ing weird and funny again, but it's also quite a step down from Shinboru, because the pacing is a little strange and not all the jokes work as well as the next one. Big man Japan basically thrives on bad-looking CGI, and the director knowing precisely how bad it looks exploits that fact to the limit, by creating extremely weird and funny situations with it. It's like a parody on bad CGI, as in the Spiderman sequels. At the same time the film pokes fun at the attempts to create serious stories behind those bad effects, by filming realistic documentary style commentary on those weird situations. It is also this documentary style that requires a slower pacing, which is is functional, but at the same time diminishes the impact of the really funny scenes and the impact of the film as a whole. But all in all it's still a pretty funny film.
58. Yôkai daisensô (2005)
PG-13 | 124 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
A young boy is chosen as the defender of good and must team up with Japan's ancient spirits and creatures of lore to destroy the forces of evil.
Like the neverending story by way of Star Wars (think the weird aliens), but then a lot weirder thanks to Takashi Miike. It's pretty cool, but it would have been more effective if it were faster-paced.
59. An Optical Poem (1938)
6 min | Animation, Short, Music
A dance of shapes. A title card tells us this is an experiment in conveying the mental images of music in a visual form. Liszt's "Second Hungarian Rhapsody" is the music. The shapes, all ... See full summary »
Director: Oskar Fischinger
Lacks the immersive quality of Umfeld, but does have a perfect synchronization of sound and music. Too bad that it's only a bunch of colored dots: the entities are way too discrete to fall in love with. And the tame classical music doesn't help a lot either.
60. Symphonie diaganale (1924)
7 min | Animation, Short, Music
A tilted figure, consisting largely of right angles at the beginning, grows by accretion, with the addition of short straight lines and curves which sprout from the existing design. The ... See full summary »
Director: Viking Eggeling
It may be groundbreaking but it's also too minimalistic and boring.
61. Lichtspiel Opus 1. (1921)
13 min | Animation, Short
Against a dark background, several bright, curved or rounded shapes pulse towards the center of the screen, one at a time. They are followed by many other shapes, some irregular, some ... See full summary »
Director: Walter Ruttmann
It may be groundbreaking but it's also too discrete and tame.
62. Rhythmus 21 (1923)
3 min | Animation, Short
Black and white rectangular images fade in and out of the screen. Their movement make them sometimes look like they're panning from side to side. Their movement also make the black and ... See full summary »
Director: Hans Richter
Too boring: 3 minutes felt more like 10. And it's not even as groundbreaking as it claims.
63. Primer (2004)
PG-13 | 77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention.
Votes: 83,664 | Gross: $0.42M
This film is full of unintelligible geekbable and the plot is completely illogical, bordering on being random. Sounds like a very bad film doesn't it? Well... no! It's actually a pretty good film. Although the geekbable and the lack of transparancy in the story starts off a bit frustrating, it slowly becomes clear that this is not a shortcoming of the film: it is actually the "thing" that this film does. What is remarkable is that even though the story doesn't make a whole lot of sense it absolutely feels like it makes sense at all times. It feels like an incredibly smart and detailed story with thousands of twists and details that can only be fully understood by people with IQ 150+. In fact it is pulling your leg: you're constantly trying to figuring it out, feeling totally stupid, while you'd do better by letting go of your attempts to solve this unsolvable puzzle and just soak up the flow of the film, to ride on the surface of things and soak up the much more informative psychological undercurrent just below that surface. That way it is actually a positive experience that is pretty refreshing and daring for an American production.
64. Night Music (1986)
1 min | Short
An experimental short film of flashing images made by Stan Brakhage.
Director: Stan Brakhage
pretty short but pretty cool.
65. The Garden of Earthly Delights (1981)
3 min | Short
A collage of two-dimensional images of vegetation, each appearing only for a moment, sometimes as a single image, more often with other bits of stem, leaf, bud, or petal. Often we see only ... See full summary »
Director: Stan Brakhage
Smells like dead leaves, half-rotten grass, and muddy sand, binding us to the earth.
66. Mothlight (1963)
4 min | Short
A "found foliage" film composed of insects, leaves, and other detritus sandwiched between two strips of perforated tape.
Director: Stan Brakhage
Like a moth flying against a light-bulb, but then more abstract.
67. Persian Series #1 (1999)
2 min | Short
An experimental short film from the Persian series made by Stan Brakhage.
Director: Stan Brakhage
Sometimes cool but also uneven.
68. Persian Series #2 (1999)
2 min | Short
An experimental short film from the Persian series made by Stan Brakhage.
Director: Stan Brakhage
Kind of flowing.
69. Persian Series #3 (1999)
2 min | Short
An experimental short film from the Persian series made by Stan Brakhage.
Director: Stan Brakhage
Cool but the yellows are ugly.
A bit too fragmentary.
More coherent: pretty cool.
Persian writing seems to have influenced the abstract shapes.
78. Black Ice (1994)
3 min | Short
A lateral descent through the midnight blues and blacks of ice and the refracted colors from absorbed oils.
Director: Stan Brakhage
One of the better Brakhage's: the blues will make you feel cold.
The blues contrast nicely with the reds.
80. Crack Glass Eulogy (1992)
6 min | Short
An experimental short film by Stan Brakhage which captures various flashing lights, colors, and images.
Director: Stan Brakhage
One of his most atmospheric films. Music is cool too and fits the atmosphere perfectly.
81. Lovesong (2001)
11 min | Short
An experimental short film of flashing images made by Stan Brakhage.
Director: Stan Brakhage
Ok, but 4 minutes too long.
82. Zebraman (2004)
115 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi
A down-and-out school teacher receives the calling to become the real life personification of an old television superhero, Zebraman.
Execution: cool (beginning), very boring (middle part), cool (ending).
With The Dark Knight, Nolan made a silly thing (a man in a bat suit) into a serious film and succeeded at making a good film. With Batman and Robin, Schumacher mad a silly thing into a ridiculous film, and succeeded at making a very bad film. There is also another possibility: to make a silly thing (Zebraman!) into a silly film, and succeed at being a hilarious parody. That last part is only partially true, because the huge middle part is so boring, that I almost lost faith in the entire film, only to be rescued by the funny ending, which was long and satisfying enough. Still, the potential was much greater than the execution.
83. Showgirls (1995)
NC-17 | 128 min | Drama
Nomi, a young drifter, arrives in Las Vegas to become a dancer and soon sets about clawing and pushing her way to become the top of the Vegas showgirls.
Votes: 54,414 | Gross: $20.30M
On IMDB this scores a 4.3. It's supposed to be an abominable film. As such I think it is massively underrated! I'd actually give it a small 7 (or maybe just a 6). Some of the acting and a large part of the script are indeed pretty insufficient, but there are so many redeeming qualities that this film gets a more than sufficient mark in my book: 1. The film is important and liberating because it exposes the hypocritical sexual morals of American society: it's specifically tailored to fly in the face of all the taboos you've ever heard off (o.k., I'll admit that the rape scene wasn't necessary). On the one hand the American youth is overly protected from exposure to sexual content, but go to Vegas, watch an American porn movie and you'll get to see what's really going on. Showgirls shows us everything they didn't want you to see and more. That's a healthy outlet for all those potentially dangerous undercurrents and frustrations bred by the repression of nature's most powerful force! 2. It's fun, entertaining and never boring. 3. Even the main protagonist turned out to be a cold money-grabbing bitch. Luckily, There are no moral lessons about how the good people are supposed to be wholly good and the bad people wholly bad. Everyone's an *beep* or a bitch in a world where money and fame is all that counts. (A shame though that the older woman forgave Nomi for pushing her down the stairs: that way Nomi got off the hook too easily making us forget she did a terrible thing, although it would have been worse if they taught her a moral lesson at the end, so I guess I can live with that weakness.) 4. It clearly wears the signature of a total maniac who couldn't care less about what everyone else thinks. This is how I like my Paul Verhoeven! 5. This must be where tits go when they die! (all right, so they look a little fake, so what ;) )
84. Inside (2007)
R | 82 min | Horror
Four months after the death of her husband, a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.
Could have been absolutely brilliant if it was more subtle. Actually, some of the plot elements are pretty ridiculous: what's up with the zombie at the end?? Totally unnecessary! Now it is still pretty cool (for the most part), doing fully justice to the label "new French extremity", but a shame that it didn't fully cash out it's potential. 7/10.
85. Naked Lunch (1991)
R | 115 min | Drama
After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally kills his wife, and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.
Votes: 40,038 | Gross: $2.54M
Extremely weird in terms of content, fairly familiar in terms of atmosphere. I appreciate the idea behind it, though I'd rather have a film that is innovative in terms of atmosphere as well. 7/10.
86. Mr. Nobody (2009)
R | 141 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance
A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.
Votes: 179,924 | Gross: $0.00M
The temporal paradoxes are cool, but the love stories are a bit soapy.
87. Ben X (2007)
Not Rated | 93 min | Drama, Thriller
As an alternative to getting bullied at school, an autistic teenager retreats into the world of online role-playing games.
Votes: 17,227 | Gross: $0.00M
An insightful view into the mind of an autistic teenager, being bullied by his classmates. The story is well told and the cinematography is also a bit darker than the standard Hollywood treatment, although it doesn't exactly chart new territory either.
88. Panda! Go Panda! (1972)
34 min | Animation, Short, Comedy
When her grandmother goes away on a trip, 7-year-old Mimiko stays at home by herself in her small, friendly village, unafraid of burglars. When she arrives back home from the train station ... See full summary »
It's cute and all, but the story is too thin. It's too childish to be fully appreciable for an adult and it's also way too happy, in the sense that it almost requires pot-smoking to connect with it.
89. Anemic Cinema (1926)
7 min | Short
A spiral design spins dizzily. It's replaced by a spinning disk. These two continue in perfect alternation until the end: a spiral design, a disk. Each disk is labelled and can be read as ... See full summary »
Director: Marcel Duchamp
Watching a few spirals turn round is quite soothing: it makes considerably more sense than watching a urinal, although it doesn't make a whole lot of sense on its own.
90. Sånger från andra våningen (2000)
Not Rated | 98 min | Comedy, Drama
Where are we humans going? A film poem inspired by the Peruvian poet César Vallejo. We meet people in the city. People trying to communicate, searching compassion and get the connection of small and large things.
Votes: 14,499 | Gross: $0.00M
Songs from the second floor is a satirical social commentary, a tragicomedy, Bunuel-style, but then dryer, bleaker and darker. The tragedy is the deplorable state of our lives; the comedy is that, after so much stupidity, we're still not dead. The film paints an informative caricature where mankind is at a loss, has made an island for himself in which communication is almost absent, but where absurdities and atrocities are normalized. Mankind needs a compass, and looks to traditions, history and religion to find his bearings, but the irony is that these sources provide him with nothing but the ultimate stupidities. The film could have hit us with a sledgehammer if it were more carefully constructed: they could have cut fifteen minutes in the middle part and they could have made it more focused, coherent and impactful. But as it stands it is already a decent film. 7/10
91. Robo-geisha (2009)
TV-MA | 102 min | Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
After receiving robotic implants, two sisters compete as assassins.
It's actually a little bit cheap in terms of atmosphere and story and the generic drama did not really add to the thing either. But the over-the-top craziness (which admittedly works more in terms of 'quantity' than in terms of 'quality') is so utterly extreme that it becomes quite imaginative and in a way even impressive at times: this is one of the weirdest Japanese films I have seen so far and that's saying a lot. I certainly enjoyed it. Don't watch the trailer or read any descriptions: just watch the film and you'll have more WFT-moments than you'd bargain for. 7/10
92. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
R | 95 min | Fantasy, Horror
5 friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.
Votes: 312,099 | Gross: $42.07M
On the one hand the film is quite formulaic in terms of look and feel, but on the other hand the plot is quite innovate and enjoyable. Although the plot is not utterly brilliant, it has quite a few unexpected twists and turns, although I did feel that they gave away too much of the good stuff too early. A small 7/10.
93. La ville des pirates (1983)
Not Rated | 111 min | Drama, Fantasy
A surreal odyssey in which a melancholic maidservant crosses paths with a homicidal little boy, travels to a tiny island of pirates and encounters a man with multiple personalities.
La ville des pirates is a surrealistic art-house film with touches of horror. The cinematography, especially in the beginning, is quite impressive at times. In the beginning the film makes no sense, but then unfolds a story which centers around an older woman and a little boy, which slowly becomes more interesting as it progresses. But unfortunately the film takes a detour from which it never fully recovers and wonders off into completely obscure nonsense, that doesn't satisfy enough as surrealism or horror, because the pretentious and snobistic art-house element ultimately prevails. Nonetheless, I have to admit that the cinematography alone makes this film worthwhile to look at. 7/10
94. Blow-Up (1966)
Not Rated | 111 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A mod London photographer finds something very suspicious in the shots he has taken of a mysterious beauty in a desolate park.
A nice look into the spirit of the sixties is combined with some casual fun (i.e. the naked-girls-paper-chaos scene) and some suspense and p.o.v. mystery (i.e. what really happened in the park?). Not a brilliant masterpiece and definitely not Antonioni's best but all in all a pretty ok film. 7/10
95. Hadewijch (2009)
105 min | Drama
The aspirant nun Céline vel Hadewijch is invited to leave the convent where she studies and she returns to the house of her mother in Paris. Céline meets her outcast Muslim teenage friend ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,508 | Gross: $0.00M
The film has a very promising start, introducing Celine (or: Hadewijch when she lived in a convent) as a mysterious and cute girl yearning for transcendence and inner peace (or: spiritual union with Christ). Then she goes out into the real world where she meets a Muslim boy Yassine, which is interesting too as it creates a tension between her life of spirituality and mystique and the real world. But then the plot takes a very unbelievable turn which sort of kills the magic: somehow Yassine's brother gets to convert her to a commitment to Muslim terrorism in a matter of seconds. Bleh! 6/10
96. Ballet mécanique (1924)
19 min | Short
A pulsing, kaleidoscope of images set to an energetic soundtrack. A young women swings in a garden; a woman's face smiles. The rest is spinning cylinders, pistons, gears and turbines, ... See full summary »
Wikipedia calls this a "Dadaist post-Cubist art film". I'll have to take their word for it. It is highly energetic and the frantic musical score fits the abstract flow of images quite perfectly. I don't think it means anything but it is pretty absorbing and technically quite innovative for it's time. One of the better purely abstract films I have seen so far. A high 7/10.
97. Clean, Shaven (1993)
Unrated | 79 min | Crime, Drama
After a man suffering from schizophrenia is released from a mental institution, he attempts to get his daughter back from her adoptive family.
Clean, Shaven could have been a great film. In the beginning there were impressive shots representing the subjective experience of schizophrenia, by focusing on radio wires and fidgety acts of self-mutilation. But after a while it became clear that the film didn't do a whole lot more than that: that it lacked content, inspiration and a finishing touch. And, as long as the actors didn't talk it was ok, but as soon as they started talking they kind of ruined things. Also, the ending was rather unsatisfying and felt stitched on at the last moment. Still, 6/10 for some impressive shots.
Edit: maybe I have been a bit unfair about the ending. At first I thought: where the hell did that whodunit motif come from, but come to think of it, this was necessary given that our totally unquestioned assumption of who the killer was, is at the heart of the film, even if it remained unnoticed during the rest of the film. I do have to grant that the revelation at the end was rather nifty. Yet I'm still not really convinced by the ending and I will stick with the rest of my findings and my rating.
98. Kurutta ippêji (1926)
70 min | Drama, Horror
A man takes a job at an asylum with hopes of freeing his imprisoned wife.
A Japanese silent film, lost, forgotten until they found a print and restored it partially. I could see some genuine innovation here, as they used the rapid-fire cutting to create surrealism, but apart from those effects the film is impossible to follow: there were no title cards and there was no benshi (traditional Japanese narrator) either; therefore I could not focus on or understand what was laid out before me. Therefore, I stopped watching at 36 minutes out of 56, because time went too slow for me. But even if I would have watched it to the end I would still have withheld my rating, because however brilliant this film may have been, what is left is not the film, but a mere shadow of it and therefore I can't judge it.
99. Ted (2012)
R | 106 min | Comedy, Fantasy
John Bennett, a man whose childhood wish of bringing his teddy bear to life came true, now must decide between keeping the relationship with the bear or his girlfriend, Lori.
Votes: 512,039 | Gross: $218.82M
Ted is cool. Sure, its all a bit generic, but a standard Hollywood scene becomes a little fresher when there is a talking teddy bear moving around. And he's likeable too! 7/10.
100. Dracula (1931)
Not Rated | 75 min | Fantasy, Horror
The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.
Dracula is not really a masterpiece. Although it's entertaining, well focused and somewhat iconic, it's also quite naive, even for it's time. The biggest problem is that when I see Bela Lugosi's acting I can't help but laugh because I'm constantly reminded of "pull the stringue"-acting (c.f. Burton's Ed Wood). The other acting performances aren't very good either and the story is a bit silly. 6/10.