Everybody loves going to the movies, but besides the blockbusters from Marvel and the Star Wars saga, there are some real gems out there. So, here are 15 brilliant movies you haven’t seen (probably).
Wild Tales (2014)
Damián Szifron’s ‘Wild Tales‘ is probably the best anthology film of all time. Composed of six short stories about revenge, the film is one of the most surprisingly violent and shockingly hilarious you’ll ever see, which is likely why it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
So, whether you want to see a the bloodiest wedding of all time, or somebody eating rat poison, this Argentinian black comedy is a must-watch for all who haven’t seen it yet.
Starring Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, Jeff Daniels and a whole host of other A-listers, it’s strange to see a Hollywood film like this on the list.
However, after failing to break even on its initial release, ‘Pleasantville‘ has descended into cult status. Despite that, the film features a thrillingly original concept that looks at civil rights and social stigmas in 1950s America in a fascinating way, full of intelligence, intrigue and impressive humour that provides an amazing watch.
‘Duel‘ was Steven Spielberg’s first directorial feature, and is arguably his best film. Although he went on to make huge world-beating blockbusters, Duel is a wonderfully small film full of intense thrills throughout.
Following Dennis Weaver driving across America alone until he is terrorised by a faceless lorry driver, the film is so engrossing, and breathlessly exciting, thanks to the fantastic central performance, and Spielberg’s expert directing at his first attempt, and yet no one seems to have seen it.
Two Days, One Night (2014)
Marion Cotillard was rightfully nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in the understated Belgian drama: ‘Two Days, One Night‘, directed by the Dardenne Brothers.
Whilst it may prove frustrating watching for some, this film features a ‘tour de force’ central performance, and an incredible screenplay that keeps you completely engrossed in and amazed by what is, on paper, a pretty dull story, about a working-class woman trying not to get sacked from her job at a factory.
This film is a definite must-watch for anyone who’s interested in Belgian culture, European cinema, or just wants an incredible movie experience.
Now, this is, in effect, a romantic comedy, but there’s still so much more beneath the surface that makes ‘Waitress‘ a wonderful film.
Full of quirky humour, a delightful performance by Keri Russell, and beautifully colourful sets and costumes that make it all feel as fun as a children’s story book, you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face by the end of this film.
However, it also does feature a more dramatic story beneath the happy exterior that makes for fascinating and emotional viewing, so don’t think this is a weak romantic comedy, because it really isn’t.
Two For The Road (1967)
Now, if you’ve seen other posts of mine, you’ll know that I go on about Stanley Donen’s ‘Two For The Road‘ a lot, but there is a really good reason for that.
Quite simply, not enough people have seen this marvel of a film. Yes, it’s effectively an independent British romantic drama, but it features two top quality performances from Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn, as well as a groundbreaking non-linear story following a married couple’s rocky relationship over ten years.
It’s a hugely emotional and captivating watch right the way through, but it’s perfectly accessible and enjoyable for general audiences as well as film buffs, and a cinematic experience that’s really not to be missed. So I implore you: watch Two For The Road. NOW.
The African Queen (1951)
A gem of the Golden Age of Hollywood, ‘The African Queen‘ is a massively exciting adventure movie that finally won Humphrey Bogart his deserved Best Actor Oscar.
Whilst it’s hugely popular with previous generations, people nowadays just seem to shy away from The African Queen owing to its age. However, I am honestly telling you that it is probably the most action-packed movie released between 1930 and 1960, whilst also featuring a lot of good comedy, drama, romance and all other genres, making a great watch for absolutely anyone.
Adapted from a French-language Iranian graphic novel, ‘Persepolis‘ may seem like a tough watch for conventional moviegoers. However, thanks to beautiful animation and an incredible story, it’s massively captivating, no matter whether you’re a graphic novel aficionado or not.
The plot follows the true story of Marjane Satrapi, a young girl who growing up in Iran during the Iranian Revolution, and how she comes to terms with the huge political and social oppression that she faces there.
So, for any of the aforementioned reasons, you need to watch Persepolis as soon as possible, because it’s fantastic.
Under The Skin (2013)
Probably the most disturbing film on the list, Jonathan Glazer’s arthouse film ‘Under The Skin‘, starring Scarlett Johansson is a euphorically engrossing watch.
Johansson plays an alien who has taken the form of a young woman and is now preying on men across Scotland, and she puts in an incredible performance for it. Despite its loose structure and vague plot points, there is never a point where you can take your eyes of the screen in this film, and although some might find it nigh-on incomprehensible, it’s definitely worth a try if you want something that will leave you totally gobsmacked.
8 1/2 (1963)
Never has there been someone so cool as Marcello Mastroianni, and he’s never been as cool as he is in Federico Fellini’s incredible comedy-drama: ‘8 1/2‘.
Despite the plaudits for the director’s most iconic film, La Dolce Vita, it’s 8 1/2 that provides a truly original cinematic experience, featuring head-spinning cinematography, darkly ingenious humour and a fascinating main character who you can’t help but fully sympathise with, pulling you so deep into the story that it’s impossible to be bored.
Last Orders (2001)
Much like Two Days, One Night, if you want a really understated and emotional drama, then ‘Last Orders‘ is for you.
Featuring a legendary cast including Bob Hoskins, Michael Caine, David Hemmings, Ray Winstone, Helen Mirren and Tom Courtenay, the film is massively well-acted, as well as brilliantly written. All it’s about is old friends reminiscing about a mate that has just died, but it plays on the nostalgic element of the story so beautifully that you’ll unexpectedly find yourself in tears by the end of this.
‘Calvary‘, starring Brendan Gleeson, is about the story of an honest Catholic priest in a small Irish town whose life is threatened by a churchgoer, and as he seeks help, he begins to realise that his reputation in the town is much lower than expected due to allegations surrounding the church as a whole.
This is an absolutely astonishing film to watch, but it’s definitely not the faint-hearted. Full of powerful emotion and eerie and subtle terror, there’s not much that can prepare you for this experience, but it’s one of a kind, so I really suggest you give it a go.
On The Town (1949)
Moving from sheer depression to one of the most delightful films ever made, the 1949 musical ‘On The Town‘ is surprisingly massively underrated.
Directed by Stanley Donen and starring Gene Kelly, who both teamed up for the higher-praised ‘Singin’ In The Rain‘, On The Town is full of laugh-out-loud comedy, lovely romance, some of the catchiest musical numbers ever heard, and some of the most amazing dancing ever seen on screen, making it an absolute treat for anyone who watches it.
It’s probably the prime example of what a movie musical should be. Funny and full of joy and life, something that modern movie musicals will never be able to live up to.
This may be a recommendation more for younger people than anyone else, but it still stands that Rob Reiner’s coming-of-age comedy-drama ‘Flipped‘ is a masterpiece.
Following the difficult love story of a boy and a girl as they go through adolescence, this film features incredibly realistic and dramatic emotion that its quirky teen romance exterior wouldn’t normally suggest, as well as great performances and humour that make it a genuinely delightful watch, and one that’s perfect to relate to for anyone who’s ever been in love.
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter (2014)
The final entry on this list, and possibly the weirdest, is the independent Sundance comedy-drama: ‘Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter‘
It’s a film with a bizarre concept, following a depressed Japanese woman as she embarks on a quest to find the treasure hidden at the end of the fictional movie Fargo, however it’s at times an astonishing movie to watch, thanks to brilliantly subtle humour, a stunning central performance by Rinko Kikuchi, beautiful cinematography, genuine heart, and an incredible finale that makes it hugely engrossing to watch from start to finish.