Anvil! The Story of Anvil. This music biopic follows the trials and travails of the classic metal band, Anvil. Poised to explode into worldwide metal stardom in the early 1980's, Anvil never made the leap, eventually fading into obscurity. Now in their fifties, the two original members wager everything in an attempt to find a record company for their new - very good - album. It's funny, occasionally sad, and filled with great metal. What else do you need?
House. This Japanese hallucinogenic-happy-horror-hellish-howler was made in 1977, but don't think that dates it (well, okay, it does, but not in a bad way). It follows a group of schoolgirls through a visit to the bizarre house of the bizarre aunt. Not just gory and really creepy, it's trippy and funny, and just plain weird. I really, really liked it.
Tokyo Gore Police. Not really family fare, TGP is fun, massively gory, and well-done. Following the exploits of a female cop who goes up against "Engineers", criminals whose wounds turn to bizarre weapons, it's a darkly humorous splatterfest that'll satisfy any gorehound's need for blood and guts (and pretty ladies...the main character is a cutie-pie).
Enter the Void. Directed by the amazing Gaspar Noe, (he of the brutal and groundbreaking film Irreversible), Enter the Void is a hallucinogenic trip put to celluloid. Noe's unconventional camera techniques give the entire thing a gritty, realistic POV feel...from the point of view of someone who has just taken DMT and then been killed. Not your average POV movie. Like Noe's other works, it's not for the faint of heart.
I saw this epic over the weekend, and I can honestly say that it's the best two hour nap I've had in a long time. To give it it's due, the girl in it is real pretty (both girls, I mean), and however doofwaddy Tom Cruise is in real life, he is undoubtedly a very good actor. Also, the special effects are, you know, like "Wow!" Still, the pace is tectonically slow, and the plot is so twisted and underdeveloped that it hurts your brain (my brain, at least) to follow.
Rosemary's Baby. Though definitely dated by the wardrobe and sets, this suspenseful movie still packs a punch. Near the end of the film there occurs one of the most surreal moments ever recorded as Hope Summers, who played Clara Edwards on The Andy Griffith Show, raises her hand and shouts "Hail Satan!" with all the gusto of a demon incarnate. Wicked!
Das Experiment. The movie is based on the infamous "Stanford Prison Experiment" conducted in 1971. A makeshift prison is set up in a research lab, complete with cells, bars and surveillance cameras. For two weeks 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards. Soon quarrels arise and the wardens employ ever more drastic sanctions to confirm their authority. Stars Moritz Bleibtreu who played the part of "Manni" in Run Lola Run. Great movie.
The Princess and the Warrior. Yet another German language movie starring the incomparable Franka Potente, this one co-stars the super cool Benno Fürmann. The movie has no graphic sex or violence or unending foul-language, just a great story with great actors.
Run Lola Run. A fantastic German language movie starring the gorgeous Franka Potente. Fast-paced and with three alternate endings, it'll keep you tapping your feet to the techno soundtrack and biting your nails in suspense.
One of my all-time favorite movies. Based on Joseph Conrad's dense novel, "Heart of Darkness", AN is chock full of great acting, powerful visuals, incredible music, and iconic movie moments. Plus, it stars one of my favorite actors of all time, the great Robert Duvall. I know FF Coppola directed it, but the helicopter scene overscored with Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" just screams Stanley Kubrick.
Grave of the Fireflies. I've never been a fan of Japanimation - or whatever it's called - but this movie transcends that label and then some. Set in Japan during the brutality and deprivation of WWII, it is one of the most touching, and ultimately saddest, movies I've ever seen.
Visitor Q. This short film by demented master Takashi Miike, is, in my opinion, the most disturbing among his very disturbing body of work. It explores almost every taboo you can think of - and some you can't - with relish and unblinking clarity. However, if you approach it with the understanding that, in the end, it's nothing more than a story, then it's an enjoyable, if strange, movie experience.
I Spit on Your Grave. With few redeeming qualities - moral or cinematic - this movie is, or was, a boon to every 13 year old kid who managed to rent an uncut version from the bored teenage loser at the local video store. With gratuitous nudity and violence (the entire movie is gratuitous nudity and violence), it purports to be a disturbing tale of rape and revenge. Actually, it's a poorly acted, low-budget boob and blood fest that is too stupid to be serious. As a 13 year old dork, I loved…
The Shining. I mean, come on, is there really anyone who hasn't seen, and loved, this movie? It's flawless, cast especially. In fact, Scatman Crothers WAS who I pictured as Dick Hallorann when I read the book. Forgetting Jack Nicholson's iconic performance as the increasingly insane Jack Torrance, Shelley Duvall, and especially the young Danny Lloyd, steal the show. When Danny tells Wendy, "Danny's not here, Mrs. Torrance," and then proceeds to croak "Redrum!" I almost lost it.
Forget the remake, this is the original 1978 John Carpenter movie. One of the creepiest horror flicks ever made simply because it forgoes much of the explicit gore common to its contemporaries. The unstoppable, patient approach of the expressionless Michael Myers is tension building almost beyond endurance. Add the deceptively simple, atonal score, great directing and great acting, and you've got a classic horror flick. Check out John Carpenter's The Thing, too.