By Michelle Maslanka • Producer
Spring is in the air! The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and in the spirit of all things new and fresh, we put together a list of lesser-known films, or "hidden gems" if you will. From foreign films to dark comedies, these recommendations are sure to revive your movie queue!
Craig recommends: House of Flying Daggers (2004)
"The Wuxia (martial arts fantasy) genre was introduced to popular culture via Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; but few of us seemed to take note of any subsequent entries. House of Flying Daggers, released four years later, is a true spectacle to behold. The adequately Shakespearean plot is bolstered by an aesthetic command of color that few films have been capable of mastering: any number of shots from the film are worthy of being framed and hung on a wall. Add to this a slew of fantastically choreographed, and immensely creative, fight sequences and you have a tale of romance and adventure worthy of repeated viewings."
Michelle recommends: Remembrance (2011)
"A heart-wrenching, but beautiful love story that blossoms in the unlikely backdrop of a Nazi concentration camp. I don't often watch foreign films, but this one drew me in, from the gripping storyline to the captivating performances. One of the most intriguing elements of this movie, to me, is that it is based on a true story, which made the viewing experience that much more incredible."
Hunter recommends: In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
"This movie will warp your mind. It is a twisted tail of a descent into madness that uses the literary themes of H.P. Lovecraft to create terrifying fictional world. An insurance investigator (Sam Neill) is paid to deliver the final copy of a manuscript, written by a Stephen King-like author, only to realize that the pages he holds are starting to come to life and he is the main character. This movie did not have the mainstream success of some of John Carpenter’s other films, but it remains a fan favorite and a cult classic."
Brian recommends: The Matador (2005)
"Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear meet in Mexico City on business. Although that setup alone is enough for a great joke, the real story unfolds when Brosnan reveals himself to be an international assassin. This unlikely friendship unfolds when Kinnear finds himself on the cusp of a deal that could make or break his career, and his new found friend offers his 'skills' to help eliminate the competition. Brosnan's effectiveness, though, is challenged when he starts suffering from panic attacks brought on by the immorality of his profession.
I love this movie because it brings a realism to James Bond in the form of a dark comedy. The tone of this movie reminds of another great hitman film, Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), and I have a feeling that has everything to do with my draw to this one."
Jeff recommends: Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)
"It's an uncomfortably funny and unique take on what happens in the place people go after committing suicide. Don't let the subject fool you, it's a great black comedy with some familiar faces, not to mention Tom Waits is in it."
Corey recommends: Boy (2010)
"Set in 1984, a boy facing down the challenges of school while also looking after his impressionable younger brother is obsessed with Michael Jackson and the hope of one day reconnecting with his dad. He finally gets his chance when his father returns for a bag of money he's buried years prior. Comedy ensues, peppered in with a little heartbreak, but ultimately leaving you with a grin on your face. From the same quirky mind that brought you What We Do In the Shadows, Waititi's lesser-known Boy is a must see."
Note: All movie images are courtesy of IMDB.