Jumping on the List Bandwagon: 10 Films You’ll Probably Never See

I have always resisted making an end-of-the-year top-ten list of “best movies” as so many critics and bloggers do. There are just way too many of them, and they tend to include the same Hollywood movies and high-profile independent films. However, there are some notable exceptions, including the lists generated by my coworkers at Facets Multi-Media, who are so knowledgeable about small-scale indie films, unusual foreign films, and obscure exploitation movies that their lists are truly fun to peruse.

This year, I decided to throw my hat—or, list—into the ring but with a twist. Long noting how many splendid films do not have the same distribution and exhibition opportunities as Hollywood blockbusters or studio-supported independents, I decided to pull together a list of titles most movie-goers—even movie-lovers—will probably never see. Some of these are low-budget independents distributed by small companies that exhibit on the art-house circuit; others are foreign films that played only in cinematheques like Facets; some are Hollywood films that were overlooked because they lacked enough marketing support to create a buzz. I am lucky to live in one of three major markets for film distribution, meaning many movies regularly play in Chicago that will never play in medium-size or small markets. Chicago has a variety of alternative venues devoted to indie, foreign, and classics, including Facets, where our intrepid programmer, Charles Coleman, works hard to find meaningful films despite small budgets and no staff. Major distributors and exhibition chains that service smaller markets won’t take a chance on an independent or foreign film unless it generates buzz by winning awards. Therefore, most movie-goers won’t get the opportunity to see these movies on the big screen, and without media attention, these titles will likely go unrented on DVD.

I don’t claim that all of these films are among the ten best of the year, though if I were to do a top-ten list, a couple of them would definitely make the cut. Instead, each of these films offers something that movie lovers would appreciate, whether it is a unique style, consummate craftsmanship, high-quality performances, or a narrative too complex for Hollywood.  Some of these films will be available on DVD; others never will. Here’s hoping that you find a way to see them.

"TRUCKER" IS MY FAVORITE FILM OF THIS YEAR.

1. TRUCKER. When the Independent Spirit Awards were announced, I anxiously checked the list of nominees for any mention of this film. I was sure that Michelle Monaghan would be nominated for Best Female Lead. Not only is Trucker a true independent film, written and directed by James Mottern who struggled to secure the financing for this film himself, but Monaghan is amazing in the title role as long-haul trucker Diane Ford who regularly drives an 18-wheeler cross-country. Her life is permanently disrupted when her ex-husband becomes terminally ill with colon cancer, and she has to take care of their son. The film paints a realistic portrait of working class life that is neither condescending nor demeaning. More importantly, it illustrates the challenges for contemporary women who are torn between their need for independence and the strain that motherhood puts on those needs. Hollywood seldom offers roles to actresses that are not variations on standard archetypes, and most of the time, they are rendered so superficially that they are mere stereotypes. Actresses fare better in indie films, which was why I was convinced Monaghan was a sure bet as a nominee for Best Female Lead and that Trucker was headed for multiple nominations. I was not only disappointed to find that my favorite film of the year was snubbed, but I was angered that films such as 500 Days of Summer and The Last Station were nominated for several awards. These films were distributed by major studios like Sony and Fox and benefitted from huge marketing campaigns that attracted media attention and wide distribution. These films are hardly independent in the same sense as Trucker, and I don’t find these awards to be representative of any “independent spirit.” Trucker is the film I most recommend to those who solicit my opinion because it offers a voice to working class women, who are rarely depicted fairly on film.

RED WEST AND SOULEYMANE SY SAVANE IN "GOODBYE SOLO"

2.  GOODBYE SOLO. Goodbye Solo was well received in Chicago, and it ran for several weeks at the city’s Landmark Century Cinema, a high-profile showcase for independent films. If it did not play in your town, you will certainly be able to rent it. Goodbye Solo takes place in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and tells the story of a taxi driver from Senegal named Solo who is studying to be a flight attendant. One of his fares, an old man named William, pays him $1000 in advance to take him to a nearby national park the following week. Specifically, William wants Solo to drive him to a cliff called Blowing Rock. When Solo jokes, “What are you going to do, jump off?,” William’s lack of response suggests that this is indeed the old man’s intention. Souleymane Sy Savane, who was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award as Best Male Lead, costars as the genuinely charming Solo, and the film offers a nice sense of place and tells an interesting story of two people who are outsiders for different reasons. My main interest in the film is the movie’s other star, Red West, who had spent 20 years as Elvis Presley’s bodyguard and companion before becoming a terrific character actor. West trained as an actor with Jeff Corey, who taught a version of method acting. Through improvisational exercises, Corey taught students to tap into their imaginations, memories, and subconscious in order to relate to their character. Knowing what I know about West and Elvis, I am certain his powerful performance as the melancholy William is weighted with his memories of a past life filled with adventures, mistakes, and regret.

DVD COVER DESIGN BY MY TALENTED FRIEND MAGGIE SMALL

3. PRIVATE CENTURY. This series of unusual documentaries from the Czech Republic was released by Facets this year on DVD. I worked on the series, chapterizing each episode, designing the menus, and writing the booklet that was included with each DVD. It was my favorite project of the year. Private Century is an eight-episode series consisting entirely of home-movie footage from the 1920s through the 1960s. Czech documentary filmmaker Jan Sikl collected the home movies, selected the footage for the series, and then edited it down into eight 52-minute episodes. Each episode follows the private events of one extended family through the years, and in doing so, chronicles the Czech Republic in the 20th century. All of the episodes are fascinating stories of people caught up in the ebb and flow of history in different ways. The episodes are organized in a very loose chronology beginning with the era between the World Wars and ending with the 1960s, though one episode references the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The films really stress the idea that history is not cold hard facts and dates as set forth in dusty tomes in the library; it is the triumphs and tragedies of flesh-and-blood people forced to survive political turmoil they could not escape.

4 and 5. THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE and THE INFORMANT.  Steven Soderbergh is one of my favorite directors, because he so easily moves back and forth between provocative independents and well-crafted Hollywood studio fare. Soderbergh understands the strengths of both types of films, which is evident in his two releases this year. As an independent, the freedom from studio interference allows him to experiment with film form and techniques as he did in The Girlfriend Experience. The title refers to the spin a high-price call girl named Chelsea puts on her profession. For an evening, she offers the “girlfriend experience” to her clients, which consists of the trappings of being in a relationship —dinner, a movie, conversation about work and problems, and then sex. It’s seems like the perfect solution for men who want the benefits of the trappings but lack the emotional depth and responsibility to put in the work for the real thing. In our consumer-based culture, even relationships have become a commodity, especially for men who use work and success as excuses to avoid emotional commitment. The nonlinear narrative consists of five days in Chelsea’s life, but the days are not presented chronologically; her fragmented life—in which she attempts to compartmentalize her clients and her personal life—is reflected in the film’s narrative structure. Chelsea is played by real-life porn star Sasha Grey, an interesting but nonetheless minor detail that dominated the discussion of the film by the critics, who, let’s face it, are largely male.  It was interesting to me how male reviewers spent thousands of words on porn-star Grey but few expanded on the film’s criticisms of modern relationships and social institutions.  (Not to be confused with Ileana Pietrobruno’s Girlfriend Experience.)

MATT DAMON AS "THE INFORMANT"

Soderbergh’s Hollywood film, The Informant, starred Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, a real-life executive who worked for ADM, a major corporation responsible for the development of lysine. ADM was involved in illegal price-fixing, and the FBI enlisted Whitacre as an informant, who in Soderbergh’s film is not as dumb as he looks—or maybe he is actually dumber. Despite the fact that Whitacre is the protagonist, the story really unfolds from the perspective of the FBI agents, who do not fully understand  their informant until the end. It’s an extremely interesting take on a main character whose true nature remains elusive till the conclusion. Typically, viewers understand the personality, strengths, and weaknesses of the protagonist from the beginning, and with each turn in the plot, we expect the character to react a certain way. This does not hold true in The Informant. Matt Damon plays against his star image in the title role as Whitacre. Working with the images of major stars as part of the fabric of the narrative is an advantage to Hollywood films that Soderbergh truly understands.

"RED CLIFF"---I LOVE HEROES ON WHITE HORSES

6.  RED CLIFF. Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo was the darling of Hollywood in the late 1990s when he directed the action thrillers Broken Arrow, Face/Off, and Mission Impossible II, but after the box office disappointment of The Windtalkers, a war drama about the Navajo code breakers of WWII, Woo lost his cache with the studios. The Chinese-born Woo returned to his native country to make Red Cliff, an ambitious, massively scaled historical epic that was conceived, financed, and produced in China. Red Cliff tells the story of the Battle of Red Cliffs in 208 AD between the Han Empire and the kingdoms to the West and South, a subject Hollywood producers showed little interest in. But, Woo was welcomed by mainland China and given the financial support necessary to make his dream project, which was intended to drive Chinese cinema in a more commercial direction. Woo took what he learned in Hollywood about scale, action choreography, special effects, and craftsmanship to create a mythic interpretation of this historical event, which is akin to the Trojan War for Westerners. In China, audiences flocked to the two-part, five-hour film in record numbers, making Red Cliff the biggest box office success in that country’s history.  Unfortunately, American movie-goers will not see this version on the big screen. It seems we have two less-than-perfect choices: (1) We can view a heavily edited 148-minute version in the theater, though the big screen is the best way to enjoy the visual effects; or, (2) we can eventually see the full-length version on DVD, which is the only way to see the director’s version.

AGNES VARDA STAGES HERSELF AMONG RECREATIONS OF CLIPS AND IMAGES FROM HER FILMS.

7. THE BEACHES OF AGNES. Agnes Varda, the only female member of the French New Wave and wife of filmmaker Jacques Demy, directed this autobiographical documentary. Her wartime childhood, social activism, and career as a photographer and New Wave filmmaker are all covered, but the film is more than a documentary with interviews and voice-overs—as befitting a cinematic giant who was once a member of cinema’s most well-known movement.  Mirrors and circus performers populate her beaches; she walks backwards to suggest going back in time; she takes a boat trip to serve as a metaphor for her career evolution. As much a meditation on the nature of memory as it is an autobiography, The Beaches of Agnes is as fresh and innovative as her Cleo from 9 to 5 was in 1962.

8. SOUND OF THE SEA.  I have been really slow to warm up to the computer-generated, Pixar-style animated movies in which the characters look way too much like the spin-off toys that marketers want your kids to hound you to buy. The visual styles and stories of these movies are so literal that they are devoid of artistry or imagination. And, just when someone is about to persuade me that I am hopelessly old school, and that I should embrace the warm-hearted messages of Up and Wall-E, something comes along like Disney’s A Christmas Carol, a perfectly hideous concoction directed by Robert Zemeckis using motion-capture animation—the low end of computer animation. I am sure Walt Disney’s original animators—the famous “Nine Old Men”—are rolling in their graves. In motion capture, the characters look like they are in a state of purgatory between human likeness and animation. Someone needs to inform Zemeckis that this soulless animation style is downright creepy. I caught about five minutes of his Polar Express on television over the weekend, and the motion-capture version of Tom Hanks with its lifeless features and dead eyes gave me nightmares that night. Such films remind me to stand my ground in support of 2-D animation based on the graphic properties of illustration and painting. Sound of the Sea was produced in 2007, but it was released in America this year as part of the Festival of New Spanish Cinema, which played at Facets in November. Not only is the film an example of 2-D animation, it is rendered in the style of paintings in the richest, most vibrant colors since Disney’s Fantasia. Graphic novelist Miguelanxo Prado wrote and directed Sound of the Sea based on his own oil paintings, drawings, and acrylics. The story chronicles a painter who takes a dreamlike underwater journey after his fishing boat capsizes during a storm. The visual style is evocative, lyrical, painterly, and imaginative—everything that the major studios have drained from American animation.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju0S0YrLvjI&NR=1]

9. LOOK. Look was written and directed by Adam Rifkin, who works mostly as a scriptwriter on such commercial Hollywood fare as Underdog and Mousehunt. The gimmick of this film is about as far from Underdog as you can get. The entire film is shot from the perspective of surveillance or security cameras and focuses on several diverse characters in a handful of loosely intertwined stories. The point is to illustrate our complete lack of privacy in contemporary life. I recommend Look because of its distinct visual style, which was based on the conceit that all footage came from security cameras, and because of the way the scenes unfold in extended long takes, giving the film a peculiar but mesmerizing rhythm. However, the characters are truly unsympathetic and sometimes downright ugly. It is difficult to put up with them for the duration of the movie. Also, one story thread is particularly immature and offensive. Two oversexed teenage girls intentionally plot to seduce a teacher in order to get him fired. Not only is the depiction of these girls like something out of a porn film, the idea that underage girls are to blame for teachers’ indiscretions is distasteful. If you are able to rent this film, beware of the weaknesses.

JULIUS SHULMAN'S MOST RECOGNIZED PHOTO

10. VISUAL ACOUSTICS.  Julius Shulman, who was alive when this documentary was made but died this past summer, was considered by many to be the world’s greatest architectural photographer. He was devoted to capturing the work of Southern California’s modernist movement, including the houses of Richard Neutra, John Lautner, and Pierre Koenig. I knew nothing of Shulman and this movement in architecture, but this documentary informed me of both in an entertaining and informative style. I was particularly interested in Shulman’s influence on film directors and cinematographers, and in one section Dante Spinotti, who works a great deal with director Michael Mann, tries to recreate on film the look and atmosphere of Shulman’s most famous photograph.  My favorite moment comes when Shulman talks of his disgust with the postmodernist movement in art and architecture. He went into semi-retirement rather than be forced to photograph architecture he found meaningless and superficial. I don’t know enough about architecture to care either way about postmodernism, but I can certainly  relate to Shulman’s passionate convictions about what constitutes worthy art. (See Sound of the Sea above!).

0 Response Jumping on the List Bandwagon: 10 Films You’ll Probably Never See
Posted By debbe : December 14, 2009 1:38 pm

wow. again wow. i want to see all these movies now. some ihad heard of, some I hadnt… but they all sound great and i think your list is fabulous… i have been reading the year end “best of” lists and you are so right… the same movies are showing up and really why? some of them might deserve it…. but most not. i see again – poverty porn for the second year in a row- precious! return to old disney “up” .

it will be interesting to see what ten movies get nominated… in the new crazy oscar ten…. will any of them deserve it?

Posted By debbe : December 14, 2009 1:38 pm

wow. again wow. i want to see all these movies now. some ihad heard of, some I hadnt… but they all sound great and i think your list is fabulous… i have been reading the year end “best of” lists and you are so right… the same movies are showing up and really why? some of them might deserve it…. but most not. i see again – poverty porn for the second year in a row- precious! return to old disney “up” .

it will be interesting to see what ten movies get nominated… in the new crazy oscar ten…. will any of them deserve it?

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : December 14, 2009 2:12 pm

I was at a friend’s place recently and he had an Academy screener of Trucker just lying there and he admitted he hadn’t watched it yet and I was so tempted to steal it. But I didn’t. Kicking myself now.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : December 14, 2009 2:12 pm

I was at a friend’s place recently and he had an Academy screener of Trucker just lying there and he admitted he hadn’t watched it yet and I was so tempted to steal it. But I didn’t. Kicking myself now.

Posted By michaelgsmith : December 14, 2009 2:29 pm

Amazingly, the only film on your list I’ve seen is the wonderful Beaches of Agnes. So you’ve given me a lot more ammo for the old netflix queue; I’m especially keen to see Trucker and Private Century.

There is a lot of food for thought in your comments though. As a fan of WALL-E and Up, I have to say I find nothing inherently wrong with 3D digital animation and that it’s the service that it’s put to that matters. I don’t care for Zemeckis’ experiments either but I’m sure some other director could do wonders with it – maybe in a horror movie that emphasizes the “soul deadening” quality you mention. In the end it’s all about the storytelling.

Posted By michaelgsmith : December 14, 2009 2:29 pm

Amazingly, the only film on your list I’ve seen is the wonderful Beaches of Agnes. So you’ve given me a lot more ammo for the old netflix queue; I’m especially keen to see Trucker and Private Century.

There is a lot of food for thought in your comments though. As a fan of WALL-E and Up, I have to say I find nothing inherently wrong with 3D digital animation and that it’s the service that it’s put to that matters. I don’t care for Zemeckis’ experiments either but I’m sure some other director could do wonders with it – maybe in a horror movie that emphasizes the “soul deadening” quality you mention. In the end it’s all about the storytelling.

Posted By MaryAnne : December 14, 2009 4:43 pm

Sad to say, the only one of these films I’ve seen yet is Goodbye Solo. I agree with you completely about Red West’s remarkable and emotionally wrenching performance.

Posted By MaryAnne : December 14, 2009 4:43 pm

Sad to say, the only one of these films I’ve seen yet is Goodbye Solo. I agree with you completely about Red West’s remarkable and emotionally wrenching performance.

Posted By Lisa Wright : December 14, 2009 11:37 pm

GREAT list! I already had Trucker and Visual Acoustics on my wish list of movies to see, but now, I need to add more, and find the time to watch everything! I also had Departures on my list… have you seen it? Just curious what you thought?
As for the animation, I’m a mom who’s in total agreement with you. Most kid’s animated movies are total crap. I really enjoyed the book, The Polar Express and when I saw what Zemeckis did to it… it’s completely robbed of the tone and message and I agree that the characters are soulless. Super-creepy. While my almost 8 year old REALLY wants to see Disney’s Christmas Carol, I’m opting instead to take him to see a live human stage version at the Goodman theatre. I feel pretty confident the production won’t be rated PG-13, either! Yeesh!

Posted By Lisa Wright : December 14, 2009 11:37 pm

GREAT list! I already had Trucker and Visual Acoustics on my wish list of movies to see, but now, I need to add more, and find the time to watch everything! I also had Departures on my list… have you seen it? Just curious what you thought?
As for the animation, I’m a mom who’s in total agreement with you. Most kid’s animated movies are total crap. I really enjoyed the book, The Polar Express and when I saw what Zemeckis did to it… it’s completely robbed of the tone and message and I agree that the characters are soulless. Super-creepy. While my almost 8 year old REALLY wants to see Disney’s Christmas Carol, I’m opting instead to take him to see a live human stage version at the Goodman theatre. I feel pretty confident the production won’t be rated PG-13, either! Yeesh!

Posted By Peter : December 15, 2009 1:29 pm

Terrific list but I’ve got to comment on one part of your review of Look. You label the story between the young girls and teacher ‘distasteful’; if the girls were conspiring to get the teacher fired than that’s what was happening. While less frequent, teachers can sometimes be the innocent parties in these situations. One might as well rail against Chinese imperialism in Red Cliff. Let the story be what it is.

Posted By Peter : December 15, 2009 1:29 pm

Terrific list but I’ve got to comment on one part of your review of Look. You label the story between the young girls and teacher ‘distasteful’; if the girls were conspiring to get the teacher fired than that’s what was happening. While less frequent, teachers can sometimes be the innocent parties in these situations. One might as well rail against Chinese imperialism in Red Cliff. Let the story be what it is.

Posted By Debbie A-H : December 15, 2009 1:32 pm

Thanks, Susan! Very interesting list. I’ll be looking for some of these on DVD.

Posted By Debbie A-H : December 15, 2009 1:32 pm

Thanks, Susan! Very interesting list. I’ll be looking for some of these on DVD.

Posted By ZZMike : December 15, 2009 1:59 pm

Again, great list. I saw Red Cliff – the short version – a few weeks ago. It’s everything you describe. I think the studio rightly believed that we aren’t really ready for a 5-hour “War & Peace” film.

One of the sites that talks about the long version had a few stills from the long version. Apparently the long version goes a lot deeper into character development.

This would make a great BBC “Masterpiece Theater” series – but on the other hand, you really have to see this in wide screen.

There are a couple of dolly shots that are amazing: one starts with a closeup of the attacking general in his boat on the river, and gradually moves up (and up) and away until you see the whole fleet stretched along the river.

Look …shot from the perspective of surveillance or security cameras and focuses on several diverse characters in a handful of loosely intertwined stories.”

There was another film, some years back, about the inhabitants of an apartment building, who we saw mainly from the viewpoint of the building’s security cameras. (I want to say Shayalaman (before he went all Hollywood), but that’s not him.) Does that ring a bell at all?

Posted By ZZMike : December 15, 2009 1:59 pm

Again, great list. I saw Red Cliff – the short version – a few weeks ago. It’s everything you describe. I think the studio rightly believed that we aren’t really ready for a 5-hour “War & Peace” film.

One of the sites that talks about the long version had a few stills from the long version. Apparently the long version goes a lot deeper into character development.

This would make a great BBC “Masterpiece Theater” series – but on the other hand, you really have to see this in wide screen.

There are a couple of dolly shots that are amazing: one starts with a closeup of the attacking general in his boat on the river, and gradually moves up (and up) and away until you see the whole fleet stretched along the river.

Look …shot from the perspective of surveillance or security cameras and focuses on several diverse characters in a handful of loosely intertwined stories.”

There was another film, some years back, about the inhabitants of an apartment building, who we saw mainly from the viewpoint of the building’s security cameras. (I want to say Shayalaman (before he went all Hollywood), but that’s not him.) Does that ring a bell at all?

Posted By WiseJamaican : December 15, 2009 2:48 pm

Thanks for pointing out these movies I need to go show searching to have my own copies to watch.

Posted By WiseJamaican : December 15, 2009 2:48 pm

Thanks for pointing out these movies I need to go show searching to have my own copies to watch.

Posted By suzidoll : December 15, 2009 3:07 pm

ZZMike: Could you be thinking of the thriller SLIVER, with Billy Baldwin and Sharon Stone? Or, is that too far back?

Posted By suzidoll : December 15, 2009 3:07 pm

ZZMike: Could you be thinking of the thriller SLIVER, with Billy Baldwin and Sharon Stone? Or, is that too far back?

Posted By My Social Relevance : December 15, 2009 3:10 pm

I haven’t seen any of those films but i’ve been wanting to see a couple of them.

Posted By My Social Relevance : December 15, 2009 3:10 pm

I haven’t seen any of those films but i’ve been wanting to see a couple of them.

Posted By ZZMike : December 15, 2009 3:54 pm

“Silver” could be it. IMDB is oddly silent about this one. No details (except for Stone and Ezsterhas). No External Reviews.

One detail I remember about it is that somewhere in the middle there’s a long sequence of video screen images, and Eszterhas (if that’s who it is) is in one of them.

The only IMDB comment contains “… confounded students of rational thought.” (about the ending).

Congratulations on coming up with an extremely obscure movie.

Visual Acoustics leads into the subject of documentaries. For me, most are awful (or uninteresting), but some are quite good. Of the few I’ve seen, one is about origami folders. That doesn’t spring to mind as the most exciting subject, but the filmmaker did a remarkable job.

“Between the Folds”
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1253565/

It’s a subject for another post, but do you know of any really good documentaries? (I think I’d include “Nanook of the North”.)

Posted By ZZMike : December 15, 2009 3:54 pm

“Silver” could be it. IMDB is oddly silent about this one. No details (except for Stone and Ezsterhas). No External Reviews.

One detail I remember about it is that somewhere in the middle there’s a long sequence of video screen images, and Eszterhas (if that’s who it is) is in one of them.

The only IMDB comment contains “… confounded students of rational thought.” (about the ending).

Congratulations on coming up with an extremely obscure movie.

Visual Acoustics leads into the subject of documentaries. For me, most are awful (or uninteresting), but some are quite good. Of the few I’ve seen, one is about origami folders. That doesn’t spring to mind as the most exciting subject, but the filmmaker did a remarkable job.

“Between the Folds”
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1253565/

It’s a subject for another post, but do you know of any really good documentaries? (I think I’d include “Nanook of the North”.)

Posted By ZZMike : December 15, 2009 3:59 pm

(Re-reading the post) 2-D vs 3-D animation: the studios seem to be taking to 3-D the way they took to color back in the Old Days.

In these early stages, it’s a reasonable (but not good) substitute for story and characters. Have you seen the previews of “Avatar”? There are some reports of people getting motion-sickness (?) during it.

Posted By ZZMike : December 15, 2009 3:59 pm

(Re-reading the post) 2-D vs 3-D animation: the studios seem to be taking to 3-D the way they took to color back in the Old Days.

In these early stages, it’s a reasonable (but not good) substitute for story and characters. Have you seen the previews of “Avatar”? There are some reports of people getting motion-sickness (?) during it.

Posted By BadWitch : December 15, 2009 4:14 pm

What a great list. Just in time for the down-hours holiday schedule. Thanks for the share and insights!

http://GoodWitchBadWitch.com

Posted By BadWitch : December 15, 2009 4:14 pm

What a great list. Just in time for the down-hours holiday schedule. Thanks for the share and insights!

http://GoodWitchBadWitch.com

Posted By dataduchess : December 15, 2009 4:22 pm

Great list – several of these were already on my list of movies to see, but now they all are. Can’t wait to see them!

Posted By dataduchess : December 15, 2009 4:22 pm

Great list – several of these were already on my list of movies to see, but now they all are. Can’t wait to see them!

Posted By Ava : December 15, 2009 6:50 pm

“it illustrates the challenges for contemporary women who are torn between their need for independence and the strain that motherhood puts on those needs.”

This resonates with me deeply.
I haven’t seen this film, but because of what you wrote, now I will.

“The title refers to the spin a high-price call girl named Chelsea puts on her profession.”
This is not a new spin. If anyone should browse escort listings, the GFE, girlfriend experience is one of the most sought after.

Cool reviews, and astute film choices. Thank you.

Posted By Ava : December 15, 2009 6:50 pm

“it illustrates the challenges for contemporary women who are torn between their need for independence and the strain that motherhood puts on those needs.”

This resonates with me deeply.
I haven’t seen this film, but because of what you wrote, now I will.

“The title refers to the spin a high-price call girl named Chelsea puts on her profession.”
This is not a new spin. If anyone should browse escort listings, the GFE, girlfriend experience is one of the most sought after.

Cool reviews, and astute film choices. Thank you.

Posted By Jess : December 15, 2009 8:12 pm

Great list. I haven’t seen any of them, but the Sound in the Sea sounds great. I love watching animated films with that roughness you don’t find often in American cinema. A great stop motion film is “In the Attic” directed by Jiri Barta. It’s creative and really makes you think about what animation styles have been like and what they will be like in the future. If only we can see these films outside of film festivals and delayed DVD productions.

Posted By Jess : December 15, 2009 8:12 pm

Great list. I haven’t seen any of them, but the Sound in the Sea sounds great. I love watching animated films with that roughness you don’t find often in American cinema. A great stop motion film is “In the Attic” directed by Jiri Barta. It’s creative and really makes you think about what animation styles have been like and what they will be like in the future. If only we can see these films outside of film festivals and delayed DVD productions.

Posted By Matt : December 15, 2009 9:04 pm

You are correct, I probably will never see any of these movies.

Posted By Matt : December 15, 2009 9:04 pm

You are correct, I probably will never see any of these movies.

Posted By jbryant : December 16, 2009 4:16 am

suzi: You’ll be glad to know that Michelle Monaghan’s performance in TRUCKER just won her the Best Actress Award from the San Diego Film Critics. Okay, it’s not an Oscar, but it’s something. Haven’t seen it yet myself.

Posted By jbryant : December 16, 2009 4:16 am

suzi: You’ll be glad to know that Michelle Monaghan’s performance in TRUCKER just won her the Best Actress Award from the San Diego Film Critics. Okay, it’s not an Oscar, but it’s something. Haven’t seen it yet myself.

Posted By the faltese malcon : December 16, 2009 4:19 am

That M. Prado video is beautiful. Thank you.

Posted By the faltese malcon : December 16, 2009 4:19 am

That M. Prado video is beautiful. Thank you.

Posted By blackwatertown : December 16, 2009 4:25 am

Haven’t seen any of these. Hadn’t even heard of some of them. Thanks for the prompt.

Posted By blackwatertown : December 16, 2009 4:25 am

Haven’t seen any of these. Hadn’t even heard of some of them. Thanks for the prompt.

Posted By Wearability.us : December 16, 2009 5:22 am

Gosh darnit, I was going through the list thinking surely I must have seen at least ONE movie on it. To my utter disappointment (in myself), I hadn’t. And this from someone who used to have to watch movies like this for a living. I do plan to watch Red Cliff though – I mean, it’s John Woo after all.

Posted By Wearability.us : December 16, 2009 5:22 am

Gosh darnit, I was going through the list thinking surely I must have seen at least ONE movie on it. To my utter disappointment (in myself), I hadn’t. And this from someone who used to have to watch movies like this for a living. I do plan to watch Red Cliff though – I mean, it’s John Woo after all.

Posted By Jerry Kovar : December 16, 2009 7:21 am

Heads up. Netflix just moved TRUCKER into my queue…release date is Jan. 5. Also, another thumbs up for GOODBYE SOLO a quietly powerful film. Excellent performances.

Posted By Jerry Kovar : December 16, 2009 7:21 am

Heads up. Netflix just moved TRUCKER into my queue…release date is Jan. 5. Also, another thumbs up for GOODBYE SOLO a quietly powerful film. Excellent performances.

Posted By thelocalguide : December 16, 2009 7:22 am

that “De profundis” trailer really had a great sound.

Found the 5min first minutes of the movie: http://www.veoh.com/videos/v1695539sYcFexfj

Will look for “Trucker” now.

Posted By thelocalguide : December 16, 2009 7:22 am

that “De profundis” trailer really had a great sound.

Found the 5min first minutes of the movie: http://www.veoh.com/videos/v1695539sYcFexfj

Will look for “Trucker” now.

Posted By kingrat : December 16, 2009 3:38 pm

Thank you for your list. I’d heard of only two of these films. Trucker and Private Century sounds especially interesting.

A small point: I think you mean that John Woo lost his “cachet” with critics.

Please keep sharing your discoveries with us.

Posted By kingrat : December 16, 2009 3:38 pm

Thank you for your list. I’d heard of only two of these films. Trucker and Private Century sounds especially interesting.

A small point: I think you mean that John Woo lost his “cachet” with critics.

Please keep sharing your discoveries with us.

Posted By Alison : December 27, 2009 10:38 pm

I watched it on WikiBlast . n e t for free and I LOVED it :D

Posted By Alison : December 27, 2009 10:38 pm

I watched it on WikiBlast . n e t for free and I LOVED it :D

Posted By Walter : February 19, 2010 6:01 pm

Regarding ‘the Informant!’, I’d like to submit an idea: as I was struggling to get engaged, or to maintain any suspension of disbelief, it dawned on me what Soderbergh was attempting. This film is the anti-Goodfellas. It’s based on a true story, it’s got a voice-over by the guy who turned state’s evidence, it includes period dress and period music, we see cops and bad-guys, and the bad guys don’t seem so bad, but Soderbergh turns the Goodfellas approach completely on its head: the outfits and trappings are cheesy, the voice-over isn’t somehow gangsterish or cool, it becomes obvious it’s delusional at best, and often unintentionally comical (unintentional on the narrator’s part, not the director’s); the music isn’t ‘Layla’ or Stones, it’s Marvin Hamlisch at his worst, and the cops and the scenarios aren’t threatening, it’s all filled with stand-up comics showing us how ridiculous crime can be.
I’m still not completely sold on the film, but I see it as looking-glass reflection on Scorcese and Pileggi’s approach, and as such it’s a satire as much about film as it is about ADM.
But if you haven’t seen it, give it a shot.

Posted By Walter : February 19, 2010 6:01 pm

Regarding ‘the Informant!’, I’d like to submit an idea: as I was struggling to get engaged, or to maintain any suspension of disbelief, it dawned on me what Soderbergh was attempting. This film is the anti-Goodfellas. It’s based on a true story, it’s got a voice-over by the guy who turned state’s evidence, it includes period dress and period music, we see cops and bad-guys, and the bad guys don’t seem so bad, but Soderbergh turns the Goodfellas approach completely on its head: the outfits and trappings are cheesy, the voice-over isn’t somehow gangsterish or cool, it becomes obvious it’s delusional at best, and often unintentionally comical (unintentional on the narrator’s part, not the director’s); the music isn’t ‘Layla’ or Stones, it’s Marvin Hamlisch at his worst, and the cops and the scenarios aren’t threatening, it’s all filled with stand-up comics showing us how ridiculous crime can be.
I’m still not completely sold on the film, but I see it as looking-glass reflection on Scorcese and Pileggi’s approach, and as such it’s a satire as much about film as it is about ADM.
But if you haven’t seen it, give it a shot.

Leave a Reply

Current day month ye@r *

MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more: facebook.com/tcmtv
See more: twitter.com/tcm
3-D  Action Films  Actors  Actors' Endorsements  Actresses  animal stars  Animation  Anime  Anthology Films  Art in Movies  Australian CInema  Autobiography  Avant-Garde  Aviation  Awards  B-movies  Beer in Film  Behind the Scenes  Best of the Year lists  Biography  Biopics  Blu-Ray  Books on Film  Boxing films  British Cinema  Canadian Cinema  Character Actors  Chicago Film History  Cinematography  Classic Films  College Life on Film  Comedy  Comic Book Movies  Crime  Czech Film  Dance on Film  Digital Cinema  Directors  Disaster Films  Documentary  Drama  DVD  Early Talkies  Editing  Educational Films  European Influence on American Cinema  Experimental  Exploitation  Fairy Tales on Film  Faith or Christian-based Films  Family Films  Film Composers  Film Criticism  film festivals  Film History in Florida  Film Noir  Film Scholars  Film titles  Filmmaking Techniques  Films of the 1980s  Food in Film  Foreign Film  French Film  Gangster films  Genre  Genre spoofs  HD & Blu-Ray  Holiday Movies  Hollywood history  Hollywood lifestyles  Horror  Horror Movies  Icons  independent film  Italian Film  Japanese Film  Korean Film  Literary Adaptations  Martial Arts  Melodramas  Method Acting  Mexican Cinema  Moguls  Monster Movies  Movie Books  Movie Costumes  movie flops  Movie locations  Movie lovers  Movie Reviewers  Movie settings  Movie Stars  Movies about movies  Music in Film  Musicals  Outdoor Cinema  Paranoid Thrillers  Parenting on film  Pirate movies  Polish film industry  political thrillers  Politics in Film  Pornography  Pre-Code  Producers  Race in American Film  Remakes  Revenge  Road Movies  Romance  Romantic Comedies  Satire  Scandals  Science Fiction  Screenwriters  Semi-documentaries  Serials  Short Films  Silent Film  silent films  Social Problem Film  Sports  Sports on Film  Stereotypes  Straight-to-DVD  Studio Politics  Stunts and stuntmen  Suspense thriller  Swashbucklers  TCM Classic Film Festival  TCM Underground  Television  The British in Hollywood  The Germans in Hollywood  The Hungarians in Hollywood  The Irish in Hollywood  Theaters  Thriller  Trains in movies  Underground Cinema  VOD  War film  Westerns  Women in the Film Industry  Women's Weepies