The 10 Most Beautiful Movies of All Time

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Beauty, it has been said so many times before, is in the eye of the beholder. This has never been more true than when it comes to the subjective tastes of cinephiles. The following list of Ten Beautiful Films is an attempt to bring together a group of movies from various ages, tastes and cultures that, in one way or another, fill the definition of ‘Beautiful’.

From a simple and classic definition of beautiful, in terms of pure, clean visual aesthetics, from films such as Baraka, through to the haunting stark beauty of Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, not everyone will agree on the label beautiful for every film. This is to be expected. Instead we hope to provide a cross-section of films that will speak to the majority of interpretations of what beauty can be considered specifically to be in cinema, and why.

 

10. In the Mood For Love (Cinematographer: Christopher Doyle)

In The Mood For Love

Second Wave Hong Kong Auteur Kar-Wai Wong had already established his unique visual aesthetic with films such as As Tears Go By (1988), Days of Being Wild (1990), Ashes of Time (1994), Chungking Express (1994), Fallen Angels (1995) and Happy Together (1997)—and won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival before taking a thirteen year hiatus from filmmaking. Wong had received dozens of prestigious nominations and awards too and was listed among Asia’s top directors. And that was all before he returned to the director’s chair for In the Mood for Love (2000).

In keeping with Wong’s established aesthetics, In the Mood for Love is a highly stylized and emotionally resonant little independent film set in 1960’s Hong Kong. Whilst difficult to describe, this beautiful little story, set in Hong Kong apartment building during the 1960’s, is about a man and a woman who move into neighboring rooms on the same day.

After weeks of passing each other in cramped hallways, like ships in the night, they eventually form a bond when they realize that their respective husband and wife are cheating on them. While essentially a very simple narrative, In the Mood for Love is laced with highly nuanced acting, production design, music and cinematography that elevate it to the status of a masterpiece.

Full of vibrant patterns, colors and geometry that emerge tastefully and contextually within the film, In the Mood for Love produces a rich sense of place and time. Like visual alchemy, its motifs merge, synthesize and dissolve into one another with painstaking execution and finesse.

Similarly the cinematography by Australian, Christopher Doyle, produces a subtle and entrancing effect that allows one to almost forget the camera is even there, on the one hand, while conversely, its presence is used sparingly to emphasize the emotional state of the characters with movement, stillness, depth of field and a quiet, almost voyeuristic approach.

This film is beautiful not just because of its stunning production design, costumes, cinematography, music and other elements, but because as a whole it comes together as far more than the sum of its cinematic elements.

 

9. The Fall (Cinematographer: Colin Watkinson)

the-fall

The Fall is a beautiful film no matter which way you look at it. Slated as an Action / Comedy / Drama on IMDB, and set in a hospital during the early 20th century, this is the touching story of a little girls friendship with a stunt man, both of whom are the victims of a fall. Her’s from a tree picking fruit as a child laborer, while his is from a bridge in the opening sequence, doing what amounts to a suicidal stunt for an early black and white “flicker”, as he calls them.

While the film is set in Hollywood in the early days of cinema, a great portion of the film itself occurs as a vibrant and colorful vision. It is a spectacle portraying an elaborate story of love, revenge and betrayal, which Roy narrates to Alexandria in order to get her to obtain enough morphine for him to kill himself and propelling the central emotional arc of the story.

This hyper-real alternate world is the product of the young girl’s imagination as she re-interprets Roy’s words, taking aspects of the real world story, such as Doctors, nurses, patients and other people; as well as sets and costume-elements—with themselves becoming the lead roles in the inner-story world.

Produced in 2006 and directed by Tarsem Singh, (You may know Tarsem from such films as The Cell, Immortals and Mirror Mirror—as well as the legendary, multi-award winning R.E.M. Music video, Losing My Religion), The Fall is a stunning visual masterpiece that draws from a variety of cultural backgrounds and pays homage to numerous other works. Sometimes in obvious and slightly irritating ways.

Take for example the two scenes lifted directly from Baraka and reproduced in a completely out of context and culturally inappropriate stylization of indigenous sacred dances. This is forgivable, perhaps, because the film is so very charming and its actors’ performances so very touching.

Perhaps also because it is almost impossible to assume Tarsem meant any ill will by his almost shot by shot plagiarism. In any case, he manages to do it with incredible beauty, powerful production design, epic cinematography and such stylistic intent that one can only forgive him. In the end, it is the story of the little girl, Alexandria that is most beautiful and it is her performance that will be remembered beyond even the enormous cinematic scope of the images.

 

8. The Seventh Seal (Cinematographer: Gunnar Fischer)

The Seventh Seal film

Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 classic, The Seventh Seal is considered one of the greatest films of all time. From its stark surreal beauty to its iconic plot, the imagery of The Seventh Seal is monumental, original and at times terrifying. Despite the film’s dated effects, this black and white vision, a story of a penitent medieval knight seeking redemption in a morbid game of chess has been consistently copied, parodied and analyzed since its inception.

As an adaptation of Bergman’s own play, entitled Wood Painting, which had previously been staged and directed by the man who plays Death in the screen version; film critic Aleksander Kwiatkowski called the film “a universal, timeless allegory.” The plot is straight forward: Swedish Knight, Antonius Block and his squire, Jons, return from the crusades to find their homeland in the grip of the Black Death.

In the opening scene of the film, Antonius is confronted by Death himself, whom he challenges to a game of chess in order to forestall his imminent demise. Accepting his proposition, the game then continues over the course of the narrative as Block and his squire pick up a small band of actors and other hangers-on who Bergman expertly uses to illuminate specific aspects of the human condition.

The Seventh Seal is beautiful for its originality, its stark cinematography, its deep blacks and awesome contrast and for the crisp perfection of its philosophical ideas. It asks the question, does God exist? It answers that question with uncertainty but reminds us that death, however, is unequivocal.

 

7. Apocalypse Now (Cinematographer: Vittorio Storaro)

Apocalypse Now

Fraught with controversy, Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Josoph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness was, by all accounts, a nightmare to film from woe to go. From Charlie Sheen’s heart attack on location in the Philippines, to Marlon Brando’s complete lack of professionalism on and off set, through to the rampant drug use of crew and cast members and the harsh shooting conditions of the jungle—Apocalypse Now suffered massive budget and schedule overruns that forced the New Hollywood director to throw enormous sums of his own money at the project just to keep it afloat.

While ostensibly about an assassin heading deep into hostile territory to evaluate and kill a rogue general, the story’s visual fabric and stunning soundtrack runs deeply parallel with the zeitgeist of the late 1970’s depicting the Vietnam war as a series of brutal atrocities, painting most of the American forces involved as cavalier, psychotic thrill seekers or victims of rampant nationalism and propaganda. One will never forget Colonel Kilgore’s melodramatic but thematically revealing monologue on the beach. The second most famous line of the film, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

The film itself wades deep into some of the darkest human territory ever committed to celluloid and depicts senseless graphic violence with a naturalistic aesthetic that is disturbing and disarmingly beautiful at times. The scenes of napalm exploding over and through large tracts of jungle, filmed without supervision in the Philippines, are both environmentally irresponsible but undeniably powerful images that invoke the question: does this filmmaking travesty justify its means?

 

6. The Tree of Life (Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki)

Acclaimed director Terrence Malick’s (The Thin Red Line, Days of Heaven, Badlands) two hour and twenty minute long coming of age story about two brothers growing up in 1950’s Texas and their difficult family relationships has only a cursory connection with what mystics and qabalists of the Jewish mystery schools would consider The Tree of Life.

It is instead a slow, meandering psuedo-art film realized with subtle, subjective cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, The Revenant, Birdman) and spare, period production design from Jack Fisk (The Revenant, There Will be Blood and David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive) lending it a sense of mood, personal drama and a kind of nostalgic self-importance.

Despite having very little to do with anybody’s rendition of The Tree Of Life (as a religious or philosophical construct at least), Malick manages to deliver a genuinely sublime experience that includes deep forays into the characters’ imaginations and their formative experiences. These include flashbacks as well as some epic sequences of cosmic and prehistoric events that give texture to the existential treatment of the narrative in a way that superficially appears to deliver meaning. Make no mistake, this is an illusion.

The plot is an insipid, invitation to stay well within your safety zone and the film does nothing truly experimental that has not been done before, better and more meaningfully in a short film or an actual art film. This is Hollywood congratulating itself while reinforcing the white, middle class, mainstream status quo.

Touted as a drama / fantasy, this fairly mundane popular art film is actually pretty low key. Purportedly biographical, the film is not especially clever, not especially insightful and not especially interesting either. It is however undeniably beautiful and well shot. Using its restrained, slow and somewhat naturalistic style, it tries to illicit feelings of childhood and convey a kind of innocence and honesty that has ‘Oscar bait’ written all over it.

Apparently it worked as intended and in 2011 it scooped the Palme d’or at Cannes and then went on to be nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography. The movie, The Tree of Life is beautiful for no other reason than it’s really pretty and inoffensive.

All 6 Spider-Man Movies Ranked From Worst To Best

Another year, another Spider-Man. The past 15 years have given us three different visions of the web-slinging hero and 6 movies of varying quality. While some have captured the spirit of what makes a great superhero movie, others have fallen remarkably flat.

 

6. Spider-Man 3

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No one has ever walked out of a superhero movie and said “It was good, but you know what it really needed to be great? A jazz dance scene.” Unfortunately, no one told Sam Raimi, who decided that a cheesy, baffling dance scene was exactly what his third Spider-Man installment needed. Spider-Man 3 is a long, overstuffed film that abandoned any attempt to craft a well-rounded villain in favor of giving the audience a host of bad guys and subplots that are half-baked and difficult to follow.

NPR film critic Bob Mondello fitfully dubbed Spider-Man 3 “As The Web Turns,” in reference to how the movie felt more like a soap opera than a superhero flick. Having already happily paired up Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) in Spider-Man 2, Raimi felt the need to throw a wrench in their relationship and spends way too much screen time trying to patch it together again, time that should have been spent giving depth to his villains. Spider-Man 3 is a perfect example of what happens where too many ideas are forced into one film, the result is confusing, underdeveloped, and unfocused.

 

5. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Like Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffers from trying to cram too much plot into one film. We’ve got the main villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), a dying Harry Osborn (Dean DeHaan) on his way to becoming the Green Goblin, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) trying once again to salvage his relationship with his love interest, a tragic death, the introduction of yet another villain (Paul Giamatti)…the list goes on.

Jamie Foxx is a solid performer and Paul Giamatti is one of the greatest actors of our time, and while they are both giving it their all here, the film gets too wrapped up in trying to introduce all its other subplots to give either actor their proper due.

A good superhero movie shouldn’t have to rely on more than one villain to keep the audience interested. One thought-out villain with a clear motive and strong backstory should be more than enough. If a director feels as though their primary villain isn’t enough to carry the main conflict in the film, the answer shouldn’t be to add more bad guys, it should be to go back to the script and look for ways to strengthen that original character. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 both went for quantity over quality and created bloated endings to their directors’ takes on the franchise.

 

4. The Amazing Spider-Man

10 years after Tobey Maguire swung into theaters as the first live-action Spider-Man in decades, Sony decided to try their hand at the franchise with 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man. The film was received fairly well due, in part, to its strong casting of Andrew Garfield as the lead and Emma Stone as his love interest, Gwen Stacey. Both actors were beginning their meteoric rise and their strong on-screen chemistry was clear through their well-written banter.

Garfield had a swagger and angst to him that seemed to breathe new life into the character, despite the fact that the basic plot – Peter Parker gets bit by a spider, becomes Spider-Man, Uncle Ben dies, villains appear, Spider-Man fights them – remained largely the same as the films before it. Stone’s Gwen Stacey was also a sharper, more rounded character than Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane, who spent the first movie as little more than a lusted- after love interest.

The Amazing Spider-Man also kept its script tight, focusing on only one villain (Rhys Ifans) to leave room for Peter’s backstory to develop, which included a mysterious take on the history of his parents, which the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films never addressed. People had their doubts about this film, which many considered to be a woefully premature remake, but it was able to hold up its own by adding enough unique touches and making Peter Parker just a bit more badass.

 

3. Spider-Man

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While both Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man do a decent job showing us Spidey’s backstory, Spider-Man earns its higher rating on this list by overcoming decades worth of obstacles and blazing the way for many superhero movies to come. 2002’s Spider-Man was the first film to surpass $100 million on its opening weekend, and it managed to do so despite being passed through the hands of countless screenwriters and directors over the years.

Spider-Man was the first modern superhero summer blockbuster film, a genre which now includes the likes of Iron Man, The Avengers, Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy, and many other beloved movies. Along with all this, it was an entertaining, well-written, well-cast film, that focused on developing the personality of Peter Parker and his complicated relationship to one of his most infamous villains, the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), without trying to overload the audience with too many characters.

Tobey Maguire does an excellent job of making us root for his traditionally nerdy Peter Parker and deftly portrays not only the adolescent excitement of obtaining superpowers but also the guilt of inadvertently causing Uncle Ben’s death, one of the most important hallmarks of the character. It was a great reintroduction to a character who had not seen a live-action portrayal since the 70’s, and an important introduction to audiences of a new breed of superhero films.

 

2. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man Homecoming (2017)

The latest incarnation of Spider-Man has a lot going for it – a highly likable Peter Parker (Tom Holland), a strong villain played by an Academy Award nominated actor (Michael Keaton), and the support of an already-established widely popular franchise. Spider-Man: Homecoming sets itself apart from other Spider-Man movies from the very beginning by skipping over the parts of the backstory that everyone already knows and no one needs to see again – the lab visit, the spider bite, Uncle Ben’s death – all of these things have already occurred before the story starts.

It also differentiates itself by being thoroughly 2017, Peter’s bully isn’t a burly jock but rather a rich DJ (Tony Revolori), who uses snarky words instead of his fists to humiliate our hero. It also gives us a modern take on Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), who for the first time does not come off as a purely tragic, put-upon character but a young, witty caregiver.

Most importantly, Spider-Man: Homecoming never lets you forget that Peter Parker is still a teenager who has a lot of growing up to do. This not only makes it more enjoyable to watch as he gets stronger and gains more control over his powers, but it also heightens the anticipation for upcoming films where we will get to watch him go from Spider-Kid to Spider-Man.

 

1. Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man, Batman, Iron Man, what these heroes all have in common is despite their powers, money, or equipment they are still inherently human, and the most interesting stories about them are the ones that are able to highlight that humanity without taking away from the action. Spider-Man 2 has it all, a remarkably well-acted villain with depth, clear motives and a heartbreaking backstory, paired with a compelling subplot that features Peter Parker coming to terms with the limitations of trying to be a hero and have a fulfilling life, and it does this without wallowing in introspection.

Sam Raimi really found his Spider-Man vision with this film, which is clear in the way he films the one-on-one fights between Peter and his former mentor Doc Ock (a fantastic Alfred Molina). The fight scenes feel expertly choreographed – personal, more intimate than the traditional fight scenes where a hero takes on scores of bad guys or a villain that has been turned into something truly inhuman.

This is also a rare example of how a film can have two villains without them overwhelming each other. James Franco delivers a great performance as Harry Osborn, who is slowly descending into insanity following the death of his father. He’s strange for sure, but not so outlandish that he takes away attention from the importance of Doc Ock’s story.

Spider-Man 2 raises the question: what do you do when your responsibilities to the public as a superhero make it impossible to live up to your responsibilities as a human being? Peter Parker does not have Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark’s money, he needs to hold a job, pay rent, keep Aunt May from getting evicted, and rescue any New Yorker who may be in peril. He’s stressed, he’s tired, his problems are real and relatable, and it makes it all the more exciting to watch him succeed.

10 Great Movies From The 21st Century That Raise Profound Questions

Basic Hollywood films tend to not leave anything left to chance. Settling scores and tying up any loose ends to not leave anyone confused or alienated. In the 2007 film “I am Legend” the studio, following audience test feedback, felt the ending was too challenging and made the team change it to the “heroic sacrifice” cliche.

The original/alternate ending to “I am Legend” raised interesting questions through its message: “Was Neville the monster the whole time?” “Will the monsters become a new species of humans?” and so on. These kinds of quandaries can make a film leave a strong impact on the viewer, which in turn makes for an overall better experience.

Not all films that ask questions need to have a philosophical or twist-like conclusion. Sometimes an entire film is asking a question from the beginning. Or in some cases a movie may be literally asking a question by leaving a vague, open-ended conclusion for the audience to figure out; one of the most famous being “Inception’s” ending when Cobb leaves his totem spinning (note: that the totem spin is a red herring as what really matters is Cobb seeing his children again, regardless if it is still a dream or reality).

The 21st century is filled with movies raising questions, so here are 10 great films from this century that ask questions. Article contains spoilers.

 

1. Birth (dir. Jonathan Glazer)

Birth (2004)

A woman named Anna (Nicole Kidman) loses her husband to an unspecified illness. Ten years later when she is engaged to her boyfriend a strange, surreptitious ten year old boy, thinking/claiming to be the reincarnation of her dead husband, appears. His assertions of being Sean (Anna’s dead husband) upsets her at first, but the boy begins giving intimate and detailed answers only she and her husband could have known, such as about their s life. As a result, Anna begins to believe the boy’s stories and this relationship begins to create complications with her family and circle of friends.

However, there was one thing the boy did not consider, and that is Sean kept a secret from Anna: an affair with a family friend. This friend confronts the boy and this moment forces the kid to come to terms that he really is not the reincarnated husband of Anna by saying the real Sean would have come to her first, as the real Sean was cheating on Anna. How the boy knew so much about Anna & Sean were because of unopened love letters he found in a local park. Thus leaving Anna to marry her boyfriend and the boy to apologize over his behavior.

The somewhat dry and flat ending does not provide any spiritual possibilities or assume that any divine forces influenced the boy. “Birth’s” question is not about the plausibility of reincarnation itself, but what kind of effects could such a possibility have if it existed or if we were aware of it? Some people who have lost a loved one tend to believe that the spirit or ghost of that deceased person is haunting them, this is usually a subconscious coping mechanism. Here, Anna’s willingness to accept the boy’s story shows how much she was emotionally scarred by the loss of Sean. In essence, “Birth” is about grief, not reincarnation.

 

2. Caché (dir. Michael Haneke)

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This slow burning thriller does not give easy answers, and the questions the film raises are not easy to answer on a first viewing. “Caché” follows a bourgeoisie, suburban family being harassed by a man from Georges’ past: he is sending uncut recordings of their home for reasons unknown. Eventually the harasser’s postage begin to feature small allusions to whom the culprit may be, and Georges suspects that an Algerian refugee from the Paris massacre of 1961 is responsible.

So, following a clue left by one of the tapes, Georges confronts the man known as Majid, but he denies any responsibility. However, when Georges thinks that Majid kidnapped his son, he gets the police to arrest him. The police release Majid because their son Pierrot comes home after admitting he spent the night at a friend’s house without permission. After this incident, Majid invites Georges back to his apartment where Majid kills himself in front of him as if he had been waiting to do so for years.

Georges, feeling guilty, tells his wife that when he was a boy Majid was a servant for the family, and one day Georges tricked Majid into cutting off the head of the family’s rooster. Georges snitches on the Algerian servant to his parents and he is sent away to an orphanage. Clearly this moment had unintended consequences, and the fact that we see the dramatic difference in the quality of living that Georges has in contrast to what Majid has, Majid’s actions could be retribution for making him stay impoverished because by going to the orphanage Majid lost any possibility in being high class.

The questions this film raises are more of why than who. What was the motivation for Georges’ actions as a child? Georges’ parents blindly believed their son, even though Majid most likely tried defending himself, so does this imply that Georges’ parents were prejudice? Is Majid’s servantile relationship to Georges’ family a form of new colonialism? “Caché” is a dense film that needs multiple viewings to get a hold of, this passage does not even mention Majid’s son who may very likely be the man behind the tapes and letters.

 

3. Certified Copy (dir. Abbas Kiarostami)

certified-copy

This movie is a study in transparency, originality and communication. At first it is seemingly dry and philosophical, Miller, an English writer, claims that art reproductions themselves are just as original as the art it is reproducing. Even the original copy is just an imitation of another form. A nameless woman played by Juliette Binoche is interested in the writer’s work and leaves her number with Miller’s translator so she can get his signature.

They meetup later and through the dialogue certain subtle changes occur between the two. Eventually they begin to argue and bicker as if they were a married couple. These moments blur the line between reality and fiction, whether these are delusions from Binoche’s character or Miller. The fact that she is nameless could mean she exists within Miller’s mind? Seems like a stretch, but the film resembles Rossellini’s “Voyage in Italy” to an extent.

Since the film’s primary question is so on the nose, that means it is up to the audience to apply its meaning throughout the context of “Certified Copy.”

 

4. A Serious Man (dir. Joel & Ethan Coen)

Quite possibly the Coen Brother’s most cryptic and surreal film to date. The strange, Yiddish folktale prologue may parallel what happens to Larry Gopnik in the present. Gopnik is a physics professor awaiting to receive his tenure to insure his job security, but everything seems to thwart Larry’s chances at achieving his goals.

Larry’s primary character traits and personality are submissive and passive. He is atypical of what a provider is supposed to be and this hardly changes as the film progresses. The Coen’s seem to have a fascination with society’s ideals for the man of the house. With the worst possible luck, Larry represents all innocent who have been pushed around, he is probably what would be considered the ultimate “beta-male” by online trolls. He embodies the question if it is possible to be complacent and successful?

Another question is whether or not it is worth to remain faithful even though one is facing the greatest hurdles in his or her life, but if that person powers through their struggle then good may come. Just like with Larry when he is finally awarded tenure and lets a failing student pass.

 

5. Li’l Quinquin (dir. Bruno Dumont)

This epic police procedural is rather tame in terms of violence and sual aggression for a Dumont feature. Though this works in the film’s favor as to not overshadow the film’s comedic elements that are full of deadpan and surreal occurrences.

In a small, French coastal town there has been a series of dead bodies being discovered inside of deceased cows. The police infer that these corpses were stuffed backwards into the cows’ rectums, however further investigation leads to the possibility the cows were suffering from mad cow disease and ate parts of murdered people. Throughout the investigation, the film’s title character is seen interacting with the detective and other inhabitants.

Without losing his ability to peer into the human condition, even when facing a comedy, Dumont wants us to question the validity of the police and why such a simple case could be turned into a logistical nightmare.

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10 Horror Movies Still To Come In 2017

horror movies 2017

It’s not all superhero movies and animated films this year, and not every movie released has to have a kid-friendly rating. In 2016, horror proved to be one of the most resilient genres with The Conjuring 2 and Don’t Breathe making millions while tentpole movies like Independence Day: Resurgence went down in flames at the box office.

In the first three months of 2017, Split and Get Out opened to stellar business (and ecstatic reviews) while Ghost In The Shell and The Great Wall proved to be critical and commercial disappoints, which hopefully points the way forward for the genre for the rest of the year and beyond.

In the coming months, expect to see the return of franchise favourites, rebooted classics and a handful of original movies that deserve your attention. Will they go on to become the year’s biggest genre hits? That’s up to you.

 

10. Open Water 3: Cage Dive

Open Water 3 Cage Dive

Most likely gunning for the audience that went to see The Shallows, this Australian feature tells a similar story with a broader cast of characters.

The plot couldn’t be simpler: a group of young friends decide to make an audition tape for an extreme reality TV, and in order to get themselves noticed they come with the most daring stunt imaginable – taking a cage dive into shark infested waters. Does it all go horribly wrong? Well, this is a “found footage” movie.

Made for peanuts and starring nobody you’ve ever heard of, Cage Dive still managed to land a distribution deal from Lionsgate, who intend to give the film a limited release in August.

 

9. Sharknado 5: Global Swarming

Like Nicolas Cage’s inebriated writer in Leaving Las Vegas, the Sharknado franchise hit rock bottom years ago and kept on going. Now it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable.

That said, there’s still a surprising amount of dumb fun to be wrung out of this series. Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens was a lot like eating a 134 pound burger with bacon, mayo and extra cheese – great while it lasted, but you felt guilty and nauseous afterwards.

Due in August, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming looks set to continue the trend of celebrity cameos, movie references and wilful absurdity as the sharknado goes global, tearing through locations such as Australia, Bulgaria and the UK. Ian Zierling, Tara Reid and Cassie Scerbo all return to do battle with the digital creatures, but how will director Anthony C Ferrante up the ante this time round? Watch this space.

 

8. Amityville: The Awakening

Directed by Franck Khalfoun, Amityville: The Awakening was supposedly shot in 2014 for release in early 2015, a date that was moved to early 2016 to accommodate reshoots. When the release date of April 1 2016 was scrubbed, supposedly after an unfavourable reaction from a test audience, more reshoots were ordered and the film was set for release on 30 June 2017, which also fell through.

It’s not good when a movie is retooled and recut so many times, especially when it’s the 14th film to carry the Amityville moniker. Along with several title changes (from Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes to Amityville: The Reawakening to the above), a prolonged post-production period is a sure sign that a movie is going to blow.

The anticipation isn’t that the film will confound its critics but that it will be a franchise terminating megabomb that must be seen to be believed. After Rings, anything is possible.

 

7. Flatliners

Don’t let the title fool you into believing that this is a straight remake of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 movie about a group of medical students who experiment with near death experiences. Kiefer Sutherland reprises his role from the original (which also featured Kevin Bacon and Julia Roberts), discovering that another bunch of medical students have picked up where he left off.

The new faces include Nina Dobrev, Ellen Page and Diego Luna while the director is Niels Arden Oplev, who brought us Dead Man Down (2013) and the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009), so hopefully the film has a harder edge than the glossy original.

The PG-13 rated The Lazarus Effect (2015) covered similar ground, so the bar isn’t set particularly high but Sony must have faith in the film – they’re opening it in between Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Blade Runner 2049.

 

6. Annabelle: Creation

“Nothing can prepare you for the next chapter in The Conjuring universe!” claims the trailer, which is a bit rich considering that this is a sequel to a spin-off dubbed “Rosemary’s Barbie” by one critic.

Annabelle: Creation is produced by James Wan, and the pictures he produces but doesn’t direct (Insidious: Chapter 3, Lights Out etc) certainly aren’t going to win any prizes for their skull cracking originality. They are profitable, though (the first Annabelle took $256 million worldwide on a $6.5 million budget) so Wan and his creative team have taken an “if it ain’t broke” attitude to this latest instalment.

The script is by Gary Dauberman (who also penned the original), while the director is David F Sandberg (Lights Out), so if you like your horror safe and generic you know where to go.

The 25 Best Cult Movies of The 21st Century (So Far)

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Cult film is alive and well in the new century, which has so far seen a wealth of memorable midnight movies, eccentric oddities, sleeper stoner comedies, and other “out there” genre films.

Part of the attraction with movies designated with cult status is that they are so very different and much more provocative than mainstream populist fare. The cult film experience differs from conventional cinema by appealing to unique sensibilities, be it the counterculture, genre films, or niche audiences that joyfully indulge in taboo content and proscribed subject matter that deliriously upends convention with razor-sharp satire, exploitation, and/or legitimate ideological dangers or controversial content.

The following list looks at films from the 21st century that foster unhealthy obsession, stylish strangeness, and offer feelings of connection for the bravest or most eccentric viewers amongst us. Enjoy!

 

25. Slither (2006)

slither

This homage to oozing, splatter-infused B-movies is a surprisingly breezy, high body count comedy-horror from writer-director James Gunn (in his directorial debut). Genre fans instantly jumped on board this picture, which was bestowed by Rue Morgue with 2006’s coveted “Best Feature Film of the Year,” and if zombie-themed, extraterrestrial parasites running amok amongst hayseeds in small town America is your cup of tea, than Slither is the finest cup of Rooibos you’ve swilled in a long time.

Out in the sticks of South Carolina, in the small hamlet of Wheelsy, evil is on the loose, sent from outer space via a meteorite that has crash landed and immediately taken control of local car dealer, Grant (Michael Rooker). As Grant goes through various disgusting phases of transformation and mutilates more than his share of livestock and unfortunate humans, local lawman Sheriff Bill PArdy (Nathan Fillion) is hot on his heels. To say much more would ruin the fun, suffice it to say Slither is tongue-in-cheek fun for the joyfully demented film fan.

Keep an eye out for a cameo for Troma Films legend Lloyd Kaufman as the town drunk (there’s also a brief snippet of the Kaufman cult classic The Toxic Avenger tossed in there, too), and if that sounds appealing, you’ll eat up Slither with relish. Bon appétit!

 

24. Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

With a title like “Hobo with a Shotgun” you’d better expect a crass, off-color, gloriously off-kilter, and utterly over-the-top exploitation experience, because that’s exactly what you get. This deranged black comedy/horror-thriller doesn’t just leave good taste at the door, it gouges out its eyes and defiles it’s still kicking corpse as director Jason Eisener and writer John Davies go hardcore, with shotguns ablazin’. Inspired by the mean-spirited trailer of the same name featured in the Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez omnibus film Grindhouse (2007), and the South by Southwest Grindhouse contest that coincided with it, this is a gory spectacle for exploitation fans.

Rutger Hauer is the eponymous homeless avenger who takes on the Drake (Brian Downey), a sadistic crime boss––sadistic being an understatement––and his cruel sons (Nick Bateman and Robb Wells), who rule over Hope Town with an iron fist.

The antithesis of cinematic subtlety, this gloriously gruesome homage to low-budget horror is actually pretty damn enjoyable if you can get past the deliberately vile content (mistreated hookers, horrible pimps, a pedophile dressed as Santa), blood-splattered gore, colorful dialogue, and guiltily enjoy the revenge-fuelled awfulness of it all.

 

23. Ichi the Killer (2001)

Ichi The Killer (2001)

The incredibly prolific and forever controversial Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike is perhaps best known for his brilliant and terrifying genre mashup from 1999, Audition, but his one film that really divides and delights audiences has got to be his incredibly violent and relentlessly nasty adaptation of the Hideo Yamamoto manga series, Ichi the Killer.

Surely some of the acclaim (and outcry) for this ferocious revenge film is owed to screenwriter Sakichi Sato, but truly it’s Miike’s distinct cinematic sensibilities (or lack thereof, for the film’s detractors) that make this such an unflinching and unforgettable film freakout.

The film focuses on feuding yakuza gangs as the bloodthirsty Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano) commences a string of nasty reprisals after his boss is seemingly taken out by the mysterious assassin Ichi (‘One’), played with menace by the mighty Nao Ômori. Manipulated into massacring rival yakuza members, the film morphs into a dizzying nightmare that is at once absurd and serious, and the very pinnacle of cult Asian cinema.

 

22. Hot Rod (2007)

Hot Rod

“Um, I was gonna ask you who you think would win in a fight between… a grilled cheese sandwich and a taco?”

Unceremoniously ignored on its cinematic release, the hilarious Hot Rod, co-written, directed by, and starring California comedy trio The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone), has steadily amassed a devoted army of adoring, forgiving, and fiercely loyal fans (and the same can be said for their side-splitting musical parody Popstar from 2016, included in the Honorable Mentions section following this list).

Rod Kimball (Samberg), the titular “Hot Rod,” is an amicable, accident-prone, wannabe stunt man who, more than anything, just wants to gain the respect of his stepfather, Frank (Ian McShane). After Frank is suddenly stricken seriously ill and in urgent need of a costly heart transplant, Rod devises a half-baked and utterly outrageous stunt––to use his unreliable Tomos moped to jump fifteen school buses––in order to raise the funds for the operation and up his status as a legitimate stunt man.

Aided by a motley crew consisting of his half-brother Kevin (Taccone), his trusted childhood chums Rico (Danny McBride), and Dave (Bill Hader) and his unattainable crush Denise (Isla Fisher), all sorts of hilarity and hijinks ensue, including a hilarious riot sequence set to John Farnham’s unintentionally hilarious 1986 power ballad “You’re the Voice.”

If you haven’t seen Hot Rod, you’re missing one of the best American comedies of the 2000s, so don’t get left in the dust. Cool beans? Cool beans.

 

21. Brick (2005)

Writer/director Rian Johnson made his energetic debut with the pastiche-heavy teen-centric thriller, Brick. Equal parts The Big Sleep and The Breakfast Club, Johnson’s film moves the Raymond Chandleresque narrative from the sun-soaked streets of crime-addled Los Angeles to the modern California suburbs and, more specifically, into the high school halls.

Truthfully, it isn’t just the Chandler milieu that Johnson dips his toes into here, the whole gritty gumshoe genre gets revisited and reworked—Dashiell Hammett is given a lot of love, too—and the results are glorious.

In the Philip Marlowe/Sam Spade mold, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays “detective” Brandon Frye, a high school student snooping around after the mysterious death of his ex-girlfriend.

One of Johnson’s biggest coups lays in his transferral of high school stereotypes into the hard-boiled detective world of dames, thugs, and stoolies, the end result is a shadowy, surreal visage of the suburban landscape, one eerily absent of adults, overrun with rhythmic, gutter poetry (his dialogue bristles with nuance and style in the two-fisted tradition) and hard-edged aplomb.

 

20. The Descent (2005)

the descent

Some real serious shit goes down in The Descent. That wasn’t even just an excuse for a bad pun. Uneasily dactylic and startling from the get-go, writer/director Neil Marshall weaves the lives of six friends together in an increasingly tight-knit underground cave system through the Appalachian Mountains. For Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) and Juno (Natalie Mendoza), their bittersweet past surfaces as the women discover, most grotesquely, that they are not alone in the crumbling, unmapped, dripping, awful, nasty-ass caves.

This is what happens when a thoroughly solid drama also happens to be a horror: stirring character development, palpable tension submerging into madness, unforgettably frightening creatures, and it’s just so awesome that it’s an all-woman cast. Even while bloodily contending with predatory subhuman mutants these dames get catty retribution on each other––so no, not even stabbing gruesome monsters in the face together will smooth things over regarding that time someone maybe slept with someone’s hubby.

 

19. Attack the Block (2011)

Attack the Block (2011)

A near perfect distillation of horror, humor, science fiction and class polemic, writer/director Joe Cornish’s feature length debut, Attack the Block, is a monster movie with bite.

Set in the inner city of South London, the film artfully and carefully follows a teen gang caught up in an alien invasion. Now, as the at risk youths find themselves defending their besieged residential block from extraterrestrial forces Cornish captures the zeitgeist of contemporary England, a country in the midst of urban renewal and retrograde, where, apart from the alien invaders, alienation thrives in the stark and stalwart disconnect between age, class, and race.

The creatures themselves have a unique and distinct look; razor-sharp teeth that glow amidst jet black fur in a posture and stance close to a dog but also with a gorilla’s gait and size. They’re original and unforgettable creations that, combined with a breakout performance from John Boyega as teenage hoodlum Moses, Attack the Block is a modern cult classic and an astonishing directorial debut to boot.

 

18. Pineapple Express (2008)

Pineapple Express (2008)

One of the best stoner comedies ever made, and a quotable cache of smart and droll dialogue all works to elevate director David Gordon Green’s Pineapple Express into a sportive trifecta of action, comedy, and intoxication.

Starting with the ambitious and joyfully inebriated script from Evan Goldberg and star Seth Rogen, the film unfolds as process server and unapologetic stoner Dale Denton (Rogen) takes delight in the titular marijuana strain Pineapple Express, happily supplied by his dealer, Saul (James Franco, hilarious). While on a thankless assignment shortly after leaving Saul’s with a supply of Pineapple Express, Dale witnesses a murder involving a badass drug lord (Gary Cole), and a corrupt cop (Rosie Perez), that soon has the inept duo of Dale and Saul on the run.

Danny McBride all but steals the show as Saul’s unreliable drug supplier, Red, and funny performances from the likes of Ed Begley Jr., Craig Robinson, and Joe Lo Truglio, amongst others, populate this incredibly stylish, and endlessly exciting genre mashup. At times extremely violent, Pineapple Express is a foul-mouthed laugh riot that you don’t need to be baked to enjoy, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

“Man, f Jeff Goldblum!”

All 5 Edgar Wright Movies Ranked From Worst To Best

Edgar Wright is one of the best directors working today. He is the Millenial answer to Quentin Tarantino, a pop culture saturated savant that is able to craft wholly unique narratives out of 100’s of other building blocks. Edgar is so unique and fresh a voice that we had to import him over from the UK. And the fact that his work hasn’t connected in a broad audience way until recently hasn’t stopped him from trucking along, his talent so obvious to anyone who meets him that he was always gonna be working.

What’s even more amazing is that he has yet to make a bad movie, seemingly getting better every time he makes a film. Even if the story itself isn’t as fresh as his others, his filmmaking just gets more on point as he gets older. One just has to look at his latest movie, “Baby Driver”, to see that. Is it as original as his debut? No, it is definitely more indebted to his influences that his other movies. But all of the technical aspects have just been executed to perfection, making audiences just dizzy with excitement.

And it’s nice to know that even with massive setback/disappointment of leaving “Ant-Man”, he was able to bounce back with an excellent genre exercise that shows him at peak performance. In honor of his newest cinematic victory, it seems to be a perfect time to take a look back at his career of media savvy mastery.

 

5. The World’s End

The World’s End (2013)

It’s not that this is a bad movie. It’s just that it has one of the most unearned third acts in recent memory. The entire the run time, the movie is setting up how Simon Pegg’s character is an absolute mess, a trainwreck in wait. He’s a drug addicted mad man who sows nothing but trouble wherever he goes.

The whole movie is about this, falling in line with Wrights thematic interests of having to grow up without having to forget your past. But then the movie decides to end with Pegg’s junkie being the only savior in the world that can stop the Aliens from taking over. In his attempt to end the movie in a way not too dissimilar from “Star Trek”, with the hero talking the aliens out of their plans, the movie sabotages it’s own themes.

It’s a stunning miscalculation from a man usually on point with this stuff, especially when the first 2/3rds are great. Filled to the brim with gut busting comedy, immaculate action scenes, and a sense of well earned pathos/sadness, the movie really feels of a piece with the Cornetto and Blood trilogy that Wright conceived. But man, that ending.

 

4. Hot Fuzz

The placement of this movie is where the ranking starts to get pretty arbitrary. For this is a damn near perfect movie. Wright’s sophomore effort doesn’t fall prey to a slump, even if it may be a minute dip in quality from his debut. The only things really working against it is that it is a little long in the tooth. Some judicious editing could have trimmed the movie down just a tad to make it sing. But otherwise, it’s a crackerjack of a movie, another loving spoof of a genre he loves that manages to play as a worthy entry in the genre it’s spoofing.

In a nice little inversion from their debut, Pegg is playing a man too uptight and responsible to have a full life. He’s a big of an asshole, a stickler for the rules that makes him unappealing to just about everyone he meets. So much so that he’s transferred to a small village because he’s embarrassing every other cop in the city. But through the narrative at play, one of a sinister killer haunting the idyllic town he is now charged with protecting, Pegg has to allow himself to break the rules a bit if he wants to save the day. His growth comes from the act of “dumbing down”, allowing himself to be more like Nick Frost’s character in many ways.

What’s the point of living as the best if nobody cares about you? Funny as all hell and featuring the first movie that shows Wright is masterful director of action, “Hot Fuzz” is a movie that just rewards multiple viewings. It’s also the kind of movie that is someone doesn’t like it, you know that they’re deficient on a serious character level.

 

3. Baby Driver

This movie is pure, uncut Edgar Wright. On his prior movies, he always had collaborators. There’s the Cornetto and Blood trilogy that he crafted with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as equal voices. “Scott Pilgrim vs The World” was a movie he adapted that had to keep Bryan Lee O’Malley’s voice within the adaptation. But here, there’s no one else. Wright wrote it on his own and directed it, a dream he had 20 some odd years ago come to life with all the experience he has accrued thrust onto screen to create the most loving homage to Walter Hill ever.

What we get is a movie that is what would happen if “The Driver smashed right into “La La Land” as helmed by a candy coated director. This is everything “Drive” wants us to think it is, instead of the empty pastiche that does nothing original at all. And unlike “La La Land” or “Drive”, this movie is an absolute treat in the thrills it promises. The car chases and musical work is pitch perfect, working in absolute harmony to craft another unique musical.

In the goal of honoring Walter Hill, Wright is playing in archetypes. These are not “real” people. These are the people we see in every crime film ever. There’s a reason they all have nicknames that reek of cliche. But they come to life thanks to the actors Wright has wrangled together, but also the smart thematic work done within.

Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm are not set up like this initially, but they end up becoming father figure types for Baby. They are the dark flipsides of each other, with their external attitudes withholding their true selves. Jamie Foxx is nothing but pure id, the wild card character in all of these heists movies brought to self aware light. He is chaos incarnate and he is terrifying to behold. Lily James is the perfect girl, a movie cliche that is there to make Baby whole. Ansel Elgort is perfect in the role as a young man on the verge of a massive life choice, either going full bore into his criminal lifestyle or making a clean break of it.

There’s a blandness to him as he is not yet fully formed, simply existing as nothing but a tool of Spacey. It’s a similar way that Hill used Ryan O’Neal in his crime classic, making the blandness a key feature of the narrative. Wright has studied “The Driver” and movies of its ilk to completely understand them so he can play right into the cliches right up to the point where he makes detours to make it all his own.

There’s also an interesting thematic game going on with the romance subplot, as it almost plays like a white boy dream, getting the perfect girl who is for your every whim. But by tackling the dynamic set up between Baby and his father figures, Spacey/Hamm, we get Baby’s ultimate arc. Especially Hamm, who is set up to be the absolute darkside of Baby, a one time getaway driver who is a thrill seeker that had to graduate to coke fueled rampages with detours into heists to get his rocks off. Baby is not too far removed from him, using his music in tandem with his driving to get thrills.

By adding Lily James, he is even closer to Hamm by having his own woman that is simply just a role to play and not an actual couple. It’s all interesting stuff and helps elevate this above other crime films. The movie is visually lush, thrilling in it’s real world stunts, and hyper intelligent in it’s film love, this is a movie to behold. Coming off the tragedy of the “Ant-Man” debacle, this is a great sign to see that he will bounce back and has endless reserves of talent.

 

2. Scott Pilgrim vs The World

This more was a revelation back in 2010. It still is to this day, but the actual release of it was something else. We all knew that Wright was a real talent and knew how to make a movie, but the sheer display of technical precision and artistry was shocking to behold. Making two pretty small scale British comedies didn’t prepare anyone for this.

Adapting the then in progress Bryan Lee O’Malley comic series, Wright found a project that was a big leap for him while still managing to feel right in line with his thematic interests. A pop culture fiend himself, jumping into a story that itself was drunk on pop culture was a no brainer. More specifically, it was drunk on video gaming culture. And in it’s own way, it managed to tackle the Men’s Rights Activists mindset that has dominated gaming culture before gamergate broke out into the mainstream consciousness.

For Scott Pilgrim, as played so wonderfully by Michael Cera, is a doof. After a long term relationship ends with a strong willed woman, he immediately jumps into a relationship with a high school girl that bends to his will. There’s nothing malicious in this on his end. Not that it makes it ok, just that he subconsciously holds the belief that a woman shouldn’t challenge him because of the pain he suffered at his last relationship. Everyone around him knows it’s bad and a sign of his desperation to never suffer a hardship again.

But when Ramona Flowers, a magnetic Mary Elizabeth Winstead, comes into his life, he has to deal with his nonsense. No more simple minded and childish notions of easy living. No more notions of a woman doing everything for him. And especially, no more thinking that a woman can’t have a life outside of you. For Scott has to fight all of Ramona’s evil exes as a way for him to grow, to move past his neurotic tendencies and become a grown ass adult.

The final ex is nothing but a perfectly dark reflection of Scott, a wannabe cool guy who has perfected a way of controlling a woman to be nothing more than arm candy for him. Can Scott overcome his issues with Ramona having led a life before him before it’s too late?

What makes this interesting in the context of Wright’s career is that he essentially made a musical that isn’t really a musical, the same idea he brought to the table with “Baby Driver”. But whereas “Baby Driver” is a musical with car chases instead of dance numbers, “Scott Pilgrim” is a musical with fist fights instead of dance numbers. So highly elaborate and reality bending that they can’t be anything but over the top emotional representations of the actual battles going on. It’s the perfect way to tackle the story at hand and it allows Wright to deliver some awe inspiring action sequences that truly deliver some wonderfully video game inspired fights.

All of this wrapped up in one of the best looking movie ever made. It’s hard to even describe the sumptuous treat that Wright and cinematographer Bill Pope give to the audience. Visuals ripped right out of video games but given a truly cinematic coat of paint to deliver something truly original, so original that it essentially gave O’Malley the desire to rerelease his books in color. This may not be the number one movie on this list, but there may be no more complete a representation of Wright and his sensibilities.

 

1. Shaun of The Dead

shaun-of-the-dead-run

Rarely is the debut film of a long working director their best movie. But in this case, Wright is the exception that proves the rule. Because it gave us the perfect summation of who he is as a director and the path he would be following the rest of his career. A movie that is indebted to the movies it is “satirizing” without ever devolving into insults. Every movie he would make would be a loving critique of its inspirations. So here, we get his love letter to George Romero’s legendary zombie trilogy (RIP George).

Throughout, he takes the piss out of the conventions that Romero has set forth, but he doesn’t stray from them. Shambling zombies out for brains that can only be put down by a brain shot. And while he may take the piss out of the genre, he delivers scenes worthy of the best of the genre, never landing on one side of the horror/comedy spectrum. So not only do we get his ability to pay homage to the past while forging a unique path in the present, but we also get to see him go for the themes he would follow the rest of his career (so far).

Shaun is a slacker who has finally pushed his long suffering girlfriend to the edge, causing her to break up with him. When the zombie outbreak occurs, Shaun has to grow up quick to save the woman he loves. But he is gonna have to lose the things that have been holding him back. In the grand tradition of Romero utilizing zombies to represent something more than hordes of undead, Wright is using them to represent the crushing weight of responsibility. Shaun has to overcome the crushing sight of neverending responsibility if he’s gonna have a future with Liz. But what truly sets this movie apart from his other ones? It’s easily the funniest movie, while never sacrificing the stakes of the thematic heart of the story.

The movie is nonstop funny, a gut buster even in the midst of real dramatic loss. It’s majestic balancing act, one that he hasn’t been able to completely master since. “Hot Fuzz” was a little too self indulgent with it’s run time. “Scott Pilgrim” was a little too ironic and frantic. “Baby Driver” was more focused on dramatics and thrills than humor. And “The World’s End” was too misguided in it’s narrative, throwing off the balance in the thematic side. Shaun is just pitch perfect on every level. While Wright has made some truly great movies since, nothing has yet to top the simple ingenuity of his lightning in a bottle debut.

Author Bio: Tom Lorenzo is Long Island, NY’s most preeminent pop culture fanatic. If it’s a western or a horror movie, he wants to see it. No argument is too minuscule or flawed for him to go full force with.

8 Reasons Why “Get Out” Is The Best Horror Movie in Years

Academic and film historian Leo Braudy once wrote, “Genre films essentially ask the audience, “Do you still want to believe this?” Popularity is the audience answering, “Yes.” Change in genre occurs when the audience says, “That’s too infantile a form of what we believe. Show us something more complicated”.

This quote can accurately be attributed to the many different popular genres that have defined cinema since its earliest days. No genre form has remained the same since its inception. All have evolved at some point to stay relevant as society evolves and adapts to the world around it. Some genres, however, like the Western, Swashbuckler, Teen flick and Space Opera, are examples that have fluctuated in popularity. They have come and gone and sometimes even come back as nostalgic or burlesque pieces before disappearing again, unable to show their audiences something more complicated.

One genre, however, has withstood the test of time, able to avoid audience indifference: horror.

Since its beginning, horror has been a staple of the film industry. From German Expressionism to Gothic Monsters, from Slasher to Splatter, the horror genre has managed to survive for over a century, adapting to audience’s tastes, sensibilities and interests. While the genre was still enjoying relative financial success at the box office, it was at risk of growing stale. Ideas were being recycled, style was emphasised over content and the genre was frequently the subject of satirical adaptations where it was derided rather than praised.

So what comes next? The answer could best be described as metaphorical horror. These films take typical horror iconography and apply it in a way that reflects real life anxieties and fears. It Follows was about youth and suality, The Babadook about mental illness and grief and now Get Out is about race relations.

But while It Follows and The Babadook were boutique pieces of cinema, not truly appreciated by a wider audience until long after its release, Get Out’s popularity has been well established. Currently holding a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and earning over $250 million at the box office (with only a $4.5 million budget), Get Out’s success is obvious.

But how did a small horror flick with no star power, a limited budget, a first time director and a politically charged story about race manage to find such a wide and diverse audience.

 

8. Horror? Comedy? Satire?

During a social gathering at the Armitage family home, Chris is introduced to numerous family friends and members of the community as Rose’s new boyfriend. The guests do not seem at all fazed by the relationship, even making inappropriate remarks regarding apparent athleticism and even sual prowess. All brought up casually in an effort to categorise Chris as a black man. Perhaps this scene best represents any effort to categorise Get Out’s genre.

While just a horror film on the surface, Jordan Peele has layered the film in a cocktail mixture of horror, terror, comedy, satire and references to both film and the real world. It is impossible to define the film. Mixing genres is hard and, in the wrong hands, can be a total failure. Yet Peele manages to defy expectations as a first time director and not only compliments each genre in the film, but weave them together. Tension plays a huge part in Get Out but Peele elicits terror in a completely new way: through cringe.

Watching the numerous faux pas committed by the Armitage family and their guests towards Chris is enough to make anyone feel uncomfortable. We laugh at the inappropriate comments but at the same time they feed our sense of dread, one compounded by the bizarre behaviour exhibited by Georgina, Walter and Logan. This heightens Chris’ senses of isolation, reinforcing the audience’s own sense of dread.

Audiences are subconsciously trained to recognise genre, meaning that we immediately make assumptions and create expectations over what we are about to watch. Get Out pulls the metaphorical rug out from underneath us as multiple genres collide creating a collage of terrifying yet hilarious tropes, leading to a whole unique viewing experience. Audiences constantly talk about wanting to see something new. Get Out delivers.

 

7. Debut Horror Feature for a Comedian

Perhaps what is most shocking about Get Out’s success is the voice behind it. Producer Jason Blum is a popular name in the horror genre. His production company, Blumhouse Productions, has been responsible for several contemporary horror classics including Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge and Split. The name Jordan Peele, however, is not a name commonly associated with the genre.

Peele’s career as a comedian, best known as one half of Key & Peele, makes it bizarre that his debut feature film would be a horror film. Yet, in retrospect, Peele is the perfect choice for a horror film that examines the complex nature of racism.

It would have been too easy to set the film in the rural Deep South. Images of dilapidated farms and murderous hillbillies mixed with the historical stain of racial discrimination are a familiar concept. Yet, Peele is not interested in going after the Alt-Right, he wants to go after something different.

On the surface, the Armitage’s seem like a normal family yet their attempts to relate to Chris as a black man frequently fall flat, creating an awkward situation for both Chris and the audience. Think Meet the Parents meets Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. The tact needed to convey this mixture of awkward humour and isolating unease takes skill, especially by using humour to build tension.

 

6. Tension and Suspense over Blood

Throughout the 2000’s, the horror genre was dominated by the Splatter sub-genre, most commonly known as torture porn. Audiences seemed to engage with films that pushed the limits of good taste, presenting scenarios involving excessive violence, blood and human degradation. The most popular were films like Saw, Hostel and The Devil’s Rejects before the sub-genre reached its illogical conclusion with films like The Human Centipede and A Serbian Film, emotionally empty pseudo-snuff films. By this point, the sub-genre had run out of fresh ideas. Something needed to change.

Perhaps this is why audiences are beginning to embrace original horror films that focus more on tension and suspense as opposed to over the top violence. While Get Out does contain violence, it is violence that compliments the tension that Peele spent two hours establishing. By the time the blood flows at the end, the stakes have already been well established. The audience knows what is at risk for Chris.

Get Out is the perfect representation of a mixture between terror and horror. The difference between the two is terror is a sense of impending dread while horror is the emotional response after the fact. Basically, terror is the build-up and horror is the aftermath. For years, the genre has relied primarily on horror, using blood, gore and lazy jump scares. Get Out proves that the best horror is built on the back of intelligent and hard working terror based filmmaking.

 

5. Character and Performances

One criticism of the horror genre in recent years has been poor characterisation. In the Slasher sub-genre, various character tropes and clichés emerged and characters were no longer complex individuals. Rather, they were tropes such as the jock, the nerd and the Final Girl. These tropes were soon mocked in satires such as Scream and Scary Movie. With the Splatter sub-genre, these tropes were removed entirely, turning characters into cannon fodder for the filmmakers.

Just like It Follows and The Babadook, Get Out pays particular attention to its characters. Their fears are multilayered. The teenagers of It Follows may fear ‘It’ but they also fear intimacy and their own suality. Amelia and Samuel may fear the Babadook, but they also fear the depression and grief that lingers in their minds. Get Out is not just about the racism experienced first hand, but how it impacts the psyche of individuals.

This type of depth could not have been achieved without strong performances. Apart from his appearances in several British TV shows including Skins, Psychoville and Black Mirror, most audiences would only recognise Daniel Kaluuya from his supporting role in Sicario. However, Get Out proves that Kaluuya is a talent to behold.

The perfect blend of charm and quiet rage. His forced smile in the face of casual racism and amusement at Rose’s open outrage at the intolerance she is now only witnessing for the first time shows a life time of restraint on display. This type of subtle outrage could have easily been mishandled. The wrong actor/director team could have ended up presenting a moment of moral grandstanding that comes across as preachy. Instead, Peele puts his faith in Kaluuya’s subtle performance, presenting questions to the audience that may not necessarily be answered.

All 12 M. Night Shyamalan Movies Ranked From Worst To Best

Born on August 6, 1970, Indian-American filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan was born in India before his family moved to Pennsylvania, where he’s spent most of his life and makes most of his films.

Influenced by the likes of Steven Spielberg, a young Shyamalan apparently made 45 home movies after his father gave him a Super 8 camera. Expected by his father to follow in the family practice of medicine, he chose to follow his passion with the encouragement of his mother.

Adopting the name ‘Night’ sometime in college, it wasn’t until 1999 that the filmmaker made his mark on the world with the critically-acclaimed and box office smash “The Sixth Sense”. Although not his first feature, the film introduced the core themes in Shyamalan’s movies – issues of faith, characters dealing with tragic pasts, contemporary supernatural elements, and of course, those notoriously polarizing surprise endings.

Quite interestingly, after “The Sixth Sense”, his career started a slow but sure decline in quality, where each subsequent film was a little less loved than what came before, until the career lows “The Last Airbender” and “After Earth”. However, just when everyone had written him off, Shyamalan proved that there’s still more for him to offer with career resurgence “The Visit” and particularly “Split”.

Watching his career has been interesting; if anything, you learn what made him a sensation and what made him fall from grace and made him climb back up again.

 

12. After Earth (2013)

after_earth_trailer

Where does one begin with this one? The bad acting? The so-so special effects? The uninspired directing? Or the ludicrous script? Either way, wherever you look, it’s all bad!

The plot is basically the true life story of how Jaden Smith feels about following in his father’s footsteps with a post-apocalyptic science fiction action backdrop added to make it interesting. Only it’s not.

It’s safe to say that “After Earth” is not only one of Will Smith’s worst films but also one of his worst performances. His biggest strength as an actor has always been his charisma and without that his acting becomes… well, it becomes “After Earth”. And nepotism aside, Jaden Smith seems to get worse at acting the older he gets. He was adorable in “The Pursuit of Happyness”, serviceable in the remake of “The Karate Kid”, and in this he’s, well… you know where this is going. To make matters worse, Will Smith is the supporting character and not the sidekick type.

Vanity projects never seem to work out well for actors (just ask John Travolta), and teaming up with Shyamalan made a terrible idea into a terrible film. No matter how good or bad his films are or who he casts in them, Shyamalan’s films have always felt his own, but in this one, he’s an afterthought as it’s all about the Smiths.

Shyamalan seems to be going through the motions, which you could never say about the director even on his worst films (or could you?). But “After Earth” seems to be on cruise control. It’s hard to sit through the whole thing without your attention wandering and at least Travolta’s “Battlefield Earth” was so bad it’s good – this is just so bad it’s bad.

 

11. The Last Airbender (2010)

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How does a film regarded as one of the worst of all time beat “After Earth” on the ranking? Well, “The Last Airbender” is terrible, no doubt about it, but unlike “After Earth”, there are some good things about it. The score by James Newton Howard, some of the special effects, the acting is not all bad, and there are moments of a much better film somewhere in there. But the negative aspects far outweigh everything else that it’s hard to notice the good.

Based on the classic Nickelodeon animated series, the story follows an ongoing war between the nations of Air, Water, Earth and Fire, (mostly Fire). An Avatar named Aang (The Last Airbender) discovers he has the ability to control all four elements and possibly bring peace and harmony to their world.

The first problem is the script, which tries to condense the massive storyline into 100 minutes, which makes the whole thing hard to follow. The pacing is all over the place, the dialogue is hilariously bad, the characters are underwritten, and the child actors are atrocious. You wonder if Shyamalan has even seen an episode of the series because he carries none of the spirit in his adaptation.

Considering the way his career was going back then, it’s shocking that he was given the budget and green light to make the film. What “The Last Airbender” and “After Earth” ultimately proved is that Shyamalan is bad at making big budget films and is far better off making small intimate films based on his own stories and sensibilities.

 

10. Praying With Anger (1992)

Praying With Anger (1992)

Written, directed, produced and starring a 22-year-old Shyamalan, this spiritual drama is one hard-to-find film and for good reason. The semi-autobiographical film is far from anything Shyamalan is known for, relying more on dramatic clichés, stereotypical characters, and one hell of a predictable storyline.

After the death of his father, a young American-born Indian travels to India for the first time as part of a college exchange program to learn about his heritage. Upon arrival, he experiences a clash between Western and Indian cultures.

While the director has cast himself in a few small roles throughout his movies, watching him lead the whole thing isn’t half as tolerable. The script is all over the place and fails to maintain consistency with its characters or dialogue (which is really bad in some spots) and the whole thing feels mostly condescending.

There are some interesting bits on Indian culture and traditions, and brief moments where you see the talented filmmaker that Shyamalan would become. Perhaps he was too young to do a story like this justice because with a story so personal you’d expect something deep and heartfelt, but you’re left mostly bored and cringing. Even die-hard Shyamalan fans aren’t missing anything here.

 

9. Wide Awake (1998)

Wide Awake (1998)

Shyamalan’s second directorial effort and first wide release continues in the vein of “Praying With Anger” but more American and more family friendly.

Concerning the story of a 10-year-old boy who seeks answers about God, life and death after his beloved grandfather dies, it’s nothing but a typical family comedy from the 90s with nothing that sets it apart from other similar releases of that era.

Released three years after the fact, the film is probably Shyamalan’s most invisible film in his filmography, but it doesn’t come anywhere near his best work nor does it touch his worst work. It feels like a made-for-TV film and although it has its moments, it’s nothing worth getting excited about.

There’s no surprise ending or anything else the director’s known for. While it’s not terrible, it’s not memorable either other than Rosie O’Donnell playing a baseball nun (or is it football? Something involving a ball) and a teenage Julia Stiles making one of her earliest appearances. It is interesting that he’d undergo a complete makeover with “The Sixth Sense” a year later. Going from this safe family film to an adult supernatural thriller is an interesting leap.

 

8. The Lady in the Water (2006)

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Tolkien wrote a bedtime story for his children that eventually became the classic novel “The Hobbit”. Shyamalan did the same and it eventually became “The Lady in the Water”.

Paul Giamatti plays an apartment complex superintendent who discovers a water nymph called Story in their off-limits swimming pool, who is being prevented from returning to her watery kingdom by a wolf-like creature. Pretty soon most of the apartment tenants band together to help Story get back home.

Inspired by bedtime fairy tales, the film never reaches the magic and wonder that fairy tales possess to suspend belief, and this probably has to do with the dull world building. Aside from the plot not making a lick of sense, the sort of interesting character stereotypes remain exactly that, which is a shame because if there were more dimensions to them they’d be uniquely interesting. They’re supposed to be quirky tenants who are likely to occupy an apartment building, but they end up feeling bland.

Throughout his career, Shyamalan has somehow managed to cast some of the best actors around in his films and this one’s no different. Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright and Bob Balaban are all wasted in this.

What’s most remembered, however, is Shyamalan basically writing himself into the story as a visionary writer, which not-so-subtly feels like commentary on the way the filmmaker feels about criticism towards his work. It’s the biggest part he’s played in his films (aside from “Praying With Anger”) and yes, self indulgent it is.

“Lady in the Water” is not worst film you likely to see. In fact, it’s not terrible, but what it is is boring and dull.

 

7. The Happening (2008)

The Happening


There’s an inherent silliness about Shyamalan’s supernatural thriller that gives it a sort of charm, and the fun road adventure may make “The Happening” the director’s most underrated film.

Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel play a couple with marital issues who try to outrun an unexplainable natural disaster with some close friends. There are some creepily over-the-top scenes of people driven to kill themselves and Mother Nature plays an eerily omnipresent role. What may have pissed people off is the Shyamalan ending where everything just ends, like he had no idea how to conclude the story but to leave Easter eggs showing that this is just the beginning.

Wahlberg is hilariously miscast in one of his worst performances and seems to have no idea what Shyamalan is trying to do with the film or what to make of all of it. There’s absolutely zero chemistry between him and Deschanel, who somehow got less criticism than Wahlberg for her terrible and annoying performance.

Frank Collison, however, seems to having a good time and running with the madness, resulting in the most memorable character. Aside from Betty Buckley, but that’s for entirely different reasons.

“The Happening” does nothing new and isn’t scary for a single second. But something about a group of characters trying to outrun an invisible killer throughout the countryside is an enjoyable lark. If it’s viewed as a B-grade, Hitchcock, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” homage, the film works quite well and is Shyamalan’s most fun and funniest film to date, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons.

The 10 Most Unnecessary Movie Remakes of The 2010s

Ah, remakes. It’s a common mistake that remakes are something of a modern thing in Hollywood, but the truth is that they’ve been around for a very long time. Crazy as it may seem, some cinematic classics are actually remakes. Scarface, Ocean’s Eleven and The Departed, for example, are all remakes.

So, what did those remakes get right that most get wrong? Well, they actually had a reason to exist. Scarface and Ocean’s Eleven both saw potential in previous films that hadn’t fully reached it, and decided to try something different and create something better. The Departed is a remake of a foreign film, which is a great way of getting different stories seen by an audience who otherwise may never have watched them because they don’t watch subtitled movies.

There is no doubt that ‘remake culture’ has become far worse in recent years, however. With many major studios turning their attention towards recognisable brands in an effort to cash in, a large portion of mainstream movies these days are either remakes, reboots, re-imaginings, prequels, sequels, or some other kind of franchise production.

The difference now is that unlike before, studios don’t care if the remake actually has a point or not. They just go ahead and do it anyway, usually with disastrous results.

Remakes only make sense if they are doing something different than the original film, improving upon it, or creating an English-language version. Unless it falls under one of those three categories, it has little reason to exist. That definitely applies to all of the films on the below list.

Just to be clear, this list focuses strictly on films that can only be described as remakes. To avoid confusion, it doesn’t include movies that could be described as reboots or re-imaginings, such as the new Ghostbusters movie or the Amazing Spider-Man films. The movies listed are simply remakes of original properties, both in production and story.

 

10. Clash of the Titans (2010)

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The original Clash of the Titans is a classic. There are minor elements in it that don’t necessarily hold up very well, but for the most part the effects are impressive and the film still looks pretty solid. It’s a film that was clearly very well-made for the time, and a lot of effort had been put in to create something special.

The remake was the exact opposite. It was a sloppily put-together, cynical marketing scheme designed for the sole purpose of capitalising on a well-known title, with added 3D for some extra cash. Everything about the film feels lazy on every level, and it doesn’t help that they couldn’t even stay true to the source material, making several changes to the story itself.

It also has a terrible lead performance from Mr. Charisma himself Sam Worthington, who is not capable of helming his own movie, no matter how hard Hollywood tries. The CGI is terrible, and the 3D is some of the worst in history, making this film more likely to date before the original does.

The original still looks great, and the remake does not. The original is enjoyable, and the remake is not. The original feels like an actual piece of filmmaking, and the remake feels like a cynical cash-grab. If you want to watch Clash of the Titans in the future, you will undoubtedly pick out the original, making this remake wholly unnecessary.

 

9. Carrie (2013)

The genre that is most often butchered by ‘remake culture’ is horror. Horror movies have been recycled so many times over the years and in so many ways, that audiences actually don’t even know where to begin anymore. In 2013, we were treated to a remake of Carrie, the 1976 horror classic.

The story of Carrie is based on a novel by Stephen King. The man is the master of horror. He can truly write chilling and disturbing stories, which is something that the original was able to portray. The sual elements of the original have been totally dumbed down in the remake, which is clearly trying to fit in with modern culture, at the expense of what made the original so special. The reason for this film’s failure can be bottled down to the fact that it lost sight of why the first film worked so well in the first place.

It also has no visual flair, either. Brian DePalma is a stylish director, so it comes as no surprise that the original had so much iconic imagery. The remake, being a cynical studio-designed production, has none of that. You can’t feel a creative touch anywhere in the new version.

Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore really do try in this, but they have absolutely nothing interesting to work with. The edginess that the original film had is totally lost in the remake, and the film lacks anything that stands on its own. As with Clash of the Titans, if you’re going to watch Carrie, you’re not going to watch this one, so what’s the point?

 

8. The Magnificent Seven (2016)

The Magnificent Seven

Unlike the previous movies on this list, The Magnificent Seven remake isn’t a particularly atrocious film, but that doesn’t make it any more necessary.

The original Magnificent Seven is actually the perfect example of a remake that made sense at the time. It was technically a remake of Seven Samurai, but it took the basic idea and did something fresh with it, making it feel unique. The same can’t be said for the 2016 film.

The cast are okay, as you’d expect from them, but the character-building is not up-to-par. The bond between the characters was a key part of the original, and that same magic is absent here. It just doesn’t work as well.

The film looks decent enough, the action scenes are acceptable, and the performances are competent, but ultimately the film ends up being nothing more than just okay. So, although it might not be the worst remake ever made, was it needed? You’d still watch the original when presented with a choice, so why bother?

 

7. Robocop (2014)

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Does anyone even remember this movie happened?

This is the main problem. It’s only been a few years, and this film has already been rendered pointless. When you think of Robocop, you think of the 1987 film, not this one.

This is another example of a remake that failed because it lost sight of why the original worked in the first place. For one thing, the violence is lacking here. A common theme these days is studios dumbing movies down to make them more family friendly, because that means they can get a lower age certificate and sell more tickets. The sad thing is that the violence in the original Robocop was such an integral part of it.

The original was edgy and proud. It was set in a really grim vision of Detroit, and used plenty of graphic violence, but the remake actually looks quite clean and… well, Hollywood-ized. The gore is all but gone, and the uniqueness of the original has evolved into a stereotypical, throwaway action blockbuster. That’s one of the main reasons that this version went unnoticed.

The film also focused far more on the guy in the suit as opposed to Robocop himself. Audiences were given a lot of time with the man and his family, as opposed to what they’d actually paid for.

Everything that made the original interesting was lost in this remake, a cliché-ridden summer blockbuster that could’ve literally been called anything else.

Part of the charm of Robocop was built around its eighties setting. There was no need for a remake in 2014.

 

6. Point Break (2015)

The original Point Break is cheesy and ridiculous, but that’s exactly why people love it. It’s a bonafide nineties action movie, and its proud of it. These days, people still put it on and enjoy it. It’s a fun thrill-ride and it’s never boring.

In 2015, audiences were given a remake that (yet again) failed to recognise why people loved the original so much. The new film took itself far too seriously, forgetting to have any fun whatsoever, with actors who were seriously lacking in charisma.

The characters in this film weren’t just surfers, either. They were now adrenaline junkies who did pretty much every stunt you could imagine, for no other reason than to create some cool images for the trailers. This isn’t what Point Break was about. The title literally refers to a surfing term.

Ultimately, this film’s main downfall was how seriously it took itself. It became incredibly boring to watch and it dragged. A remake of a film like Point Break should be anything but dull, and this is exactly why it failed.

The 10 Most Surprisingly Good Movies of 2017 (So Far)

Movie critics love to talk about big disappointments, and it makes perfect sense. If you’re waiting months for a movie to come out only to be let down, you’re gonna wanna hop on the keyboard and talk about it. Pleasant surprises aren’t talked about nearly as much. More often than not, these movies get a brief comment about how they’re better than they looked and that’s the end of it. This time around, we’re going to recognize the year’s most surprisingly good movies.

2017 hasn’t been free of disappointments, but it has had a surprising amount of movie that turned out better than expected. With Rotten Tomatoes consistently on the rise, journalists are racing to get in their tomatometer predictions. The movies listed below are ones that wound up earning a much better critical response than expected. We’ve gotten the disappointments out of the way. Now it’s time to recognize the movies that defied expectations.

 

10. Before I Fall

Another weekend, another YA adaptation. Before I Fall appeared to be a sappy Groundhog Day for young adults, and most people weren’t really buying into it. It didn’t help that it looked like a heavy handed after school special instead of a heartfelt young adult romance movie with a twist. Young adult movies are more than capable of being excellent movies. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and The Spectacular now were both excellent movies. Sadly, Before I Fall didn’t look like it could be that type of movie.

Truthfully, Before I Fall isn’t nearly as good as either of those movies. In its defense, the two films listed above were phenomenal. Before I Fall instead will have to settle for being surprisingly good. The time loop story feels surprisingly fresh with the more childlike tone, Zoey Deutch is excellent as usual, and there’s a surprising amount of mystery packed into the brief runtime. The writing never measures up to comparable movies, but pretty much everything else deserves a thumbs up.

It’s a relief that Before I Fall was a success because The Space Between Us was an unmitigated disaster. It would be a huge bummer to sit through two young adult misfires. Sure, it’s going to be hard to remember by the end of the year, but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. After all, there have been a lot of great movies coming along in 2017. Before I Fall isn’t necessarily great, but it’s very watchable from start to finish.

 

9. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Dreamworks Animation has been pretty hit-or-miss lately. Kung Fu Panda 3 was delightful, but Boss Baby and Home were mediocre at best. When Dreamworks decided to take on the gleefully childish Captain Underpants series, responses were mixed. The studio has never been known for cranking out mature motion pictures, but this adaptation seemed bound to be more of a babysitter than a watchable movie for adults. People weren’t expecting much from a movie with a giant robot toilet.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is childish. There’s no way the movie could have avoided that. The whole point of the book series to get into the minds of two silly kids. However, the humor is just smart enough to appeal to adults as well. There’s obviously potty humor throughout, but there’s also just the right amount of clever humor to balance things out. It helps that the terrific voice cast brings life to the cast of wild characters.

The latest effort from Dreamworks is still a far cry from Pixar or Studio Ghibli in terms of emotional maturity and depth, but Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is still a ton of fun. It’s stupid, it’s inessential, and it’s obnoxious. Somehow though, it’s a great way to spend an hour and a half. It’s not top tier Dreamworks, but it’s an improvement over their more mediocre outings.

 

8. Megan Leavey

Kate Mara just hasn’t had the best luck lately. While her sister keeps popping up in critically acclaimed dramas, Kate has had the unfortunate privilege of starring in Fantastic Four, Captive, Man Down, and Transcendence. She’s popped up in a few solid movies, but her ability to lead a movie has been questionable. Megan Leavey, her latest flick, looked like it had potential. A war movie about a woman and her dog appeared to be a concept that’s equal parts adorable and heartbreaking. However, movies like Megan Leavey also risk being manipulative melodrama, so it was hard to get your hopes up too much.

Megan Leavey never feels manipulative or overly melodramatic. It’s simply a well-told drama about a very special relationship between a soldier and her dog. More importantly, it gives us Kate Mara’s greatest performance to date. Mara never seemed like a bad actress, but her ability to pick good roles has brought her down in the past. It’s no wonder that people weren’t instantly willing to give Megan Leavey a pass. Kate Mara is the strongest aspect of the movie, but it’s not the only highlight. The film has a tight script, likable supporting characters, and plenty of jaw dropping moments.

It’s not quite Oscar calibre, but it’s a great military drama nonetheless. If Mara can keep dishing out movies like this, we may finally get to see what she’s truly capable of as an actress. It’s easy to see that she’s an immensely talented performer, but her movies have been holding her back. Let’s see what the future holds.

 

7. Split

The Visit was a minor improvement over the usual Shyamalan dreck, but it didn’t necessarily redeem him as a filmmaker. After all, the dude put us through movies like The Happening and The Last Airbender. It would take a lot more than a minor success to gain the approval of the millions of people he disappointed during the past decade. Luckily, audiences got their wish when Split was released. The latest Shyamalan creation, about a man with split personalities, is one of the best reviewed movies in his filmography. After sitting through it, you’ll be able to see why.

Most of the success is tied to McAvoy’s revelatory performance. If you want to see an actor show off his range, give Split a look. McAvoy embodies each of the split personalities in a way that few actors could do. He’ll creep you out, he’ll make you laugh, and he’ll leave you excited for more. Meanwhile, Shyamalan’s script is a bit messy, but it’s still more cohesive than any of his recent projects. It stumbles into familiar territory toward the final third, but it’s easily forgivable thanks to all the other positive qualities.

The final “twist” leaves the door open for future movies, so the characters from Split will definitely be making a return in the future. It’s weird to be excited about a Shyamalan sequel, but it’s starting to look like anything is possible at this point. By now, the movie has unfortunately been overshadowed by more noteworthy horror movies, but it’s still a blast from start to finish. This is a movie that’s easy to recommend regardless of how you may feel about the director.

 

6. Sleight

WWE Studios isn’t exactly known for its critical or commercial slam dunks. It’s hard to trust the studio that gave us The Marine 5: Battleground and Jingle All the Way 2. Sleight, their latest production, didn’t appear to be a winner either at first glance. It’s coming from an unknown director, the premise is silly, and the tone appeared to be all over the place. Somehow, despite everything working against the movie, Sleight is actually a solid drama with an enormously talented cast and a hell of a lot of heart.

The movie has two unfortunate downfalls. The slow pacing is sure to drive people away, especially if they’re expecting what was shown in the trailers. The trailers painted the movie as an action packed crime movie. In reality, it’s much closer to a family drama. Second, the story about an underdog trying to support his or her family has been done to death. Despite the street magician twist, Sleight can’t help feeling cliché in spots. Those two issues prevent Sleight from being a future cult classic.

However, it’s still a much better movie than it has any right to be. Jacob Latimore and Seychelle Gabriel put their hearts and souls into their performances. When the plot falls behind, there’s always the two leads to keep things interesting. It also helps that the movie really does have a big heart. Its tendency to rely on hamfisted clichés is unfortunate, but the film always manages to feel genuine. When so many movies feel like after school specials, it’s great to come across a movie that feels positively real.

The low budget and lack of advertising unfortunately dooms Sleight’s chance of mainstream success, but that doesn’t mean it’s undeserving of attention. It’s definitely a frustrating movie to sit through because it’s so close to being extraordinary. Luckily, it has enough going for it to deserve ninety minutes of your time. This is clearly the work of an amateur filmmaker, but it’s also the work of a very passionate filmmaker. That should be enough to satisfy most viewers.