Sunday, August 14, 2005

An Interjected Hidden Gem Alert (August 2005)

Someone at work let me know that they had surfed through this website and though they had never heard of a particular thing I had reviewed, they were still interested in seeing it, based on the merit of said glowing review.

I couldn't put my mind around it. What was this thing, this movie about an epic battle between good and evil? All of a sudden I realized how good Broken Saints was. It also made me realize that perhaps instead of letting you know what movies are fantastic and grandiose, maybe I should tout the little Hidden Gems that have sat out there in the last several month of my viewing and reviewing extravaganza.

These may not be the best of the bunch, but if you haven't heard of them, you really should check them out. These are spectacular and should not be missed, and though advertising hasn't been big budget, the appeal of these films is sky high in my books.

As I did with the top five best and worst recap, I'll do the same with some of my favorite Hidden Gems, and feel free to peruse the rest of the site for the actual review of these movies.

Here's a list of my top five little known films / series that should not be missed be any fan in chronological order:

The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004) - 86% (Brilliant)
Originally Reviewed February 20, 2005

I mean what happened with this one? Did it not play in theatres? Did you hear a single thing about this? I'm a huge movie freak and when I saw this playing at my little local independent Bytowne Theater I knew right away that I had to see it. I was shocked and amazed at how good this was. Two Words: Sean Penn (though avoid The Interpreter). It had a definite Taxi Driver air to it, but less artsy and more real. I recommend this to anyone who likes human drama stories or tragic film. Everything about it is deep and meaningful. You will have grown a little after seeing this. This film is a sure-fire teacher of valuable lessons. This historical backstory is something to remember.

Broken Saints (2001) - 86% (Absolutely Terrific)
Originally Reviewed February 27, 2005

This is as obscure as you will ever find on this list. It never showed in theaters, never aired on TV (save for a 5 minute teaser on CBC's short film show Zed TV), yet over a million people have seen this. It's a 12 hour flash-animated mini-series about four people, all from different points on earth, who seemed touched (or cursed) by a higher power. They follow their instincts to the steps of a Multinational corporate tower. Absolutely mind-blowing. Read my original review, I rave about it. But how do you get your hands on this? Don't fret, you can watch it free online, just do a search. Consequently, if you have Rogers on Demand, just go to the CBC Free Zone and surf around, it's there. If you really trust me, you can also just outright buy the whole series too, on their official website. You won't regret this meditative and poetic epic, this truly human tale, not to mention that it's also an amazing social commentary and on the forefront of artistic technological advancement.

The Merchant of Venice (2004) - 82% (Great Work)
Originally Reviewed March 5, 2005

Not that I saw the modern day corporate version of Hamlet, but I hated it. The whole idea made me shrink away from retellings of Shakespeare. Then I see this advertised at my local independent Bytowne theater. Yes, it's not all that obscure but Shakespeare doesn't tend to stay in theaters too long, just enough for the smart guys to spend their money and be replaced with some Hillary Duff bullshit. All this to say, I'm betting you didn't hear of this, and if you did, I'm sure you didn't see it. So let me tell you that this big-budget retelling in the original era with these big name actors is an instant classic. If you like Shakespeare at all, this is awesome. Remember Romeo and Juliet? Titus? Right! They're good, you know it, but there's something to be said about telling the story the way it was told in the era it was actually happening in at the time. I was glad when I found out it wasn't an updated piece, like Richard III, which I really didn't like. A great time.

Man On Fire (2004) - 86% (Terrifically Amazing, Searing Hot!)
Originally Reviewed May 5, 2005

It's movies like these that I have this website for. There's people out there who like movies a lot, who like not-so-mainstream, intelligent yet entertaining film, but they really don't have the desire or the time to sift through the hours necessary to find the dusty brilliant magic among the well deserved back of the shelf garbage. Well let me impart my modicum of wisdom and let me say that though you probably heard of this you didn't really think much of it. Perhaps you haven't even heard much about it. Maybe you don't know anyone who's seen it, or much less owns it.
It's a twist and turn of a ride and when you've figured it out and expect it to be predictable and go one way, it transforms itself into another sort of adventure. Lord, does it ever not pull any punches. It's a touch of darkness, a touch of salvation and I was surprised to find moments of High Art comparable to The Pillow Book.

Kung Fu Hustle (2004) - 86% (Kicks Your Ass from Downtown to The Slums!)
Originally Reviewed June 25, 2005

Absolutely surprising. Makes me want to see the other movie directed by this guy, Shaolin Soccer, though that's for children. This one? Definitely not for kids. It's violent and frankly I think the great wondrous display that is this film would be lost on the little minds of our youth. This movie is so original and innovative and full of human twists and turns. I like that there's a few heart-felt losses throughout the movie, instead of all piled up at the end. The special effects push the limits of art and if you like the visual spectacle (and who doesn't?) you'll like this almost as much as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, though the premise is a lot more comic in this, but in a really great way.

Now I mean it. I wouldn't have spent all this time on this just to show you pictures! Go see one of these, preferably all!