Smart Films

These films don't expect the viewers to have the attention span of gnats or the IQs of 12 year olds. Left out are films like Inception which relied heavily on CGI to give the illusion of depth, but left in are films like "I, Robot" in which CGI and overly fast editing (combined with the painful departure from the original work) obscured surprisingly deep commentary.
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1.
Twilight (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A retired detective accepts a simple task, unaware that it will tear open old, forgotten, but deadly wounds. (94 mins.)
Director: Robert Benton
“ In this neo-noir there are no vampires unless you count the ranks of hollywood leeches. Although, all of the main actors give killer performances it is Margo Martindale's turn as a would be blackmailer that brought tears to my eyes. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
2.
Brick (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A teenage loner pushes his way into the underworld of a high school crime ring to investigate the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. (110 mins.)
Director: Rian Johnson
“ Clever neo-noir in which high school characters are re-envisioned as characters in a noir film. The dialogue is hard to follow as it is written in a blend of colloquial high-school slang and classic colloquialisms from noir film. It hasn't seemed to hold up with repeated viewings. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
3.
Lone Star (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
When the skeleton of his murdered predecessor is found, Sheriff Sam Deeds unearths many other long-buried secrets in his Texas border town. (135 mins.)
Director: John Sayles
“ Social commentary, political infighting, murder mystery, and the most romantic love scene ever put to film combine to make this one of my favorite films of all time. Also, every performance in this film is stunning. How did they do it? ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
4.
Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A case of mistaken identity lands Slevin into the middle of a war being plotted by two of the city's most rival crime bosses: The Rabbi and The Boss. Slevin is under constant surveillance by relentless Detective Brikowski as well as the infamous assassin Goodkat and finds himself having to hatch his own ingenious plot to get them before they get him. (110 mins.)
Director: Paul McGuigan
“ Yet another neo-noir. In a film like this one you have to accept certain conventions; and in this one we have to accept mobsters that couldn't possibly thrive in the real world as well as the worst wallpaper committed to film. But wow, this film was a surprise, and fun to watch a minimum of two times. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
5.
Franklyn (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A portrait of the broken lives of four people (a vigilante detective, a worried parent, an awkward man looking for love and a suicidal artist) as they all struggle to cope in their religiously-dystopian city. (98 mins.)
Director: Gerald McMorrow
“ I hesitate on adding this film, because it verges on simple confusion. I prefer a film that provides enough insight to allow the viewer to have some understanding of it on the first go. This is a theme driven film. I came to it because of the stunning visuals which consume approximately 1/3 of the film. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
6.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods. (95 mins.)
Director: Drew Goddard
“ This title is clever simply because it messes with genre conventions of the horror film in an amusing way. However, that being said I still don't understand how a unicorn is a creature of nightmare. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
7.
House (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A troubled writer moves into a haunted house after inheriting it from his aunt. (93 mins.)
Director: Steve Miner
“ The first intentional horror, comedy, drama. In fact, it was a little before its time and didn't seem to gain a following for decades. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
8.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The next great psycho horror slasher has given a documentary crew exclusive access to his life as he... (92 mins.)
“ Another intriguing tweak on the horror genre, if you like that sort of thing. This one starts funny, but tension builds in a surprising way, and the finale is as juicy as apples can be. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
9.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids. (89 mins.)
Director: Eli Craig
“ A tale of teenagers on a camping trip savaged by rednecks...told from the POV of the hapless rednecks Tucker and Dale who just want to fix up their new vacation home. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
10.
Silverado (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A misfit bunch of friends come together to right the injustices which exist in a small town. (133 mins.)
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
“ Smart can be fun, and this film is both. A western that defies expectations. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
11.
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A Missouri farmer joins a Confederate guerrilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family. (135 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
“ I wouldn't call this film fun, but it tweaked my expectations of the civil war and the lives of the people in it. Plus, it is all set against what I would call the classic Clint Eastwood style fantasy world. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
12.
Southland Tales (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
During a three day heat wave just before a huge 4th of July celebration, an action star stricken with amnesia meets up with a porn star who is developing her own reality TV project, and a policeman who holds the key to a vast conspiracy. (145 mins.)
Director: Richard Kelly
“ There's a lot of hate for this film, but I enjoyed watching actors forced out of their comfort zone. This is a heavily thematic film. The themes are introduced by Dwane Johnson's explanation of his screen play, but we're never overtly told that these themes apply to the film. It is frustrating, but interesting at the same time. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
13.
Moon (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
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. (97 mins.)
Director: Duncan Jones
“ Wow. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
14.
The Guard (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring. (96 mins.)
“ Fantastic character study wrapped up in drug smuggling and corruption. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
15.
The Other Guys (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Two mismatched New York City detectives seize an opportunity to step up like the city's top cops whom they idolize -- only things don't quite go as planned. (107 mins.)
Director: Adam McKay
“ I think this might be the funniest film I've ever seen. ” - jmcv-395-238609
 
16.
The Lookout (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Chris is 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. (99 mins.)
Director: Scott Frank
 
17.
In Bruges (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be. (107 mins.)
Director: Martin McDonagh
 
18.
Harry Brown (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An elderly ex-serviceman and widower looks to avenge his best friend's murder by doling out his own form of justice. (103 mins.)
Director: Daniel Barber
 
19.
The Reflecting Skin (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young boy tries to cope with rural life circa 1950s and his fantasies become a way to interpret events... (96 mins.)
Director: Philip Ridley
 
20.
Donnie Darko (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident. (113 mins.)
Director: Richard Kelly
 
21.
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal. (113 mins.)
 
22.
Pi (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A paranoid mathematician searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature. (84 mins.)
 
23.
Frailty (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A man 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." (100 mins.)
Director: Bill Paxton
 
24.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest. (149 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
25.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor. (103 mins.)
Director: Shane Black
 
26.
Thank You for Smoking (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Satirical comedy follows the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son. (92 mins.)
Director: Jason Reitman
 
27.
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An IRS auditor suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death. (113 mins.)
Director: Marc Forster
 
28.
Megamind (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The supervillain Megamind finally defeats his nemesis, the superhero Metro Man. But without a hero, he loses all purpose and must find new meaning to his life. (95 mins.)
Director: Tom McGrath
 
29.
L.A. Confidential (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen - one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice. (138 mins.)
Director: Curtis Hanson
 
30.
12 Angry Men (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence. (96 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet