THE DAYS ARE NUMBERED – Elio Petri (Petri is quite underrated in general)
TWENTYNINE PALMS – Bruno Dumont
THE MOLLY MAGUIRES – Martin Ritt
Ah yes, I’m glad someone mentioned Synecdoche – I forgot to throw in my consistent, obligatory yet necessary, mention of that film. It definitely fits the bill.
I just thought of a few. How about Fassbinder’s World On A Wire? Very inventive science fiction film that I believe looks like it was made for a fairly low budget and came before such films as The Matrix and Blade Runner, two of which I love by the way. Fassbinder’s film had only been shown I believe on German television only a few times in the 70’s and a few theaters in Germany I think and then was only shown theatrically maybe twice since then. I managed to see it last year at the Jacob Burns Film Center and I decided to buy it from the recent Barnes and Noble Criterion sale. It’s a very interesting how you can make a thought provoking film without spending too much money and make a convincingly told science fiction film. And how about Melville’s Army Of Shadows? It’s a shame that film really didn’t get much notice while Melville was alive and how the public had to wait a few decades to see what I consider to be one of the best of his films that I have seen so far. Excellent suspense and a great ending.
Hmmm, here’s some very underrated (or “underrecognized”) films:
Natural Born Killers-Stone (1994) [Directors Cut]
Inland Empire-Lynch (2006)
Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?-Yong-kyun (1989)
Dr. Akagi-Imamura (1998)
Secret Ceremony-Losey (1968)
Landscape in the Mist-Angeloupoulos (1988)
The Color of Paradise-Majidi (1998)
Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte-Aldrich (1965)
Mr. Arkadin-Welles (1955)
The Lady from Shanghai-Welles (1948)
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?-Aldrich (1962)
The Traveling Players-Angelopoulos (1975)
Underground-Kusturica (1995) …despite winning Palme d’Or…
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover-Greenaway (1989)
City of Lost Children-Jeunet (1995)
Dead Man-Jarmusch (1995)
Eternity and a Day-Angelopoulos (1998) …despite winning Palme d’Or (all Angelopoulos’ best films are vastly underrated/underrecognized – hopefully not for much longer)
King of New York-Ferrara (1990)
I think William Friedkin’s Sorcerer is underrated. It’s not as great a film as Wages of Fear, but I still think It’s a great film. It’s incredibly suspenseful and beautiful to look at. The scene with the truck crossing the bridge in the storm is amazing and I think the ending is actually better than Wages of Fear.
I was thinking earlier today and just came up with several more titles, the real importance and quality of which is often, as I believe, undervalued. Here are only some of those I have come up with recently:
Shadows and Husbands, the two well-done films by John Cassavetes that I much admire. Another film would be Taking Off, the earlie picture by Milos Forman after his migration to the States. Also, the French film Le Jouet (The Toy), directed by Francis Veber and starring Pierre Richard. It is an amazing story of a journalist becoming another toy of a spolied son of a rich man. Also, a lot of satire is involved in regards to the collision between working and upper classes. 99 Francs was another French film that is a techno-surrealist, absurdist story of a known advertising copywriter in the world sinking in commerce.
I was also surprised that Steve McQueen’s Shame did not receive much recognition for its well-develivered lead performances and excellent directorial work. It might correlate with the setting of Roger Dodger, another fine, yet often neglected, film, as well as with its placing of sex as the main ‘McGuffin’. Nonetheless, Shame expands in its exploration of the main characters’ essence and spends considerable time at especially observing the protagonist’s dissonance with his inner self. As for films directly dealing with sex, I would also note Secretary with James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal, which takes a new angle at the connection of self-damage and sadism with sexual drive and even feeling of love. In addition, Bertolucci’s The Dreamers appeared to me as a baeutiful picture about the love triangle between three adolescents on the even of the revolution’s inception. Finally, Almodavar’s most recent film, The Skin I Live In, was another great film that I thought deserved more praise. It is probably one of the best soap opera films I have seen in the recent years. Its ending twist certainly left me shocked for a moment.
I am also disappointed that Aronofsky’s The Fountain actually received a very mixed response from critics and audience. In comparison to his later films, The Wrestler and Black Swan, The Fountain definitely stands out in my eyes as a far more captivating film. It might be appear as highly ambiguous and even overabstract, but one cannot ignore its truly beautiful way of telling love story. What Titanic was for the greater majority back in 1997, The Fountain is for me now. I might slightly exaggerate, but it is an uncanny film and hopefully it will receive its long waited acclaim some day again.
Arizona Dream was also a pretty pleasing movie experience to me. Depp and Dunaway are on their top tehre, but the film is far more than just a proof of the leading cast’s talents. It is extremely enigmatic for what it contains. I like many links and themes it draws, both spiritual and social. I think Depp’s character was even weirder than his role as Edward Scissorhands, which is always a good point in my book.
Furthermore, I have to admit that Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket was a far betetr film unveiling the horror of Vietnam War than anything I saw in Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Interesting to note that while FMJ is considered, in my opinion, underrated, Coppola’s picture is the complete opposite. I admire FMJ from its very first moment till the credits roll. Some may say the film drags in the middle, but that was not in my case. I could not believe Kubrick carried the whole production in the United Kingdom and even had decoration pieces, such as tropical trees and plants, transported to Britain.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is not just a revival film for Robert Downey Jr., but a fascinating merge of noir, comedy and romance in one kettle with a deliberately cheesy title. I enjoyed the whole ride and was fully sold on Shane Black as a godo director.
I just recently re-watched The Weather Man and it did grow on my eyes. I realized that most critics and audience were disappointed just for the sake that it was not what they expected it to be. This film does not attempt to be a caomedy or a satire, as some anticipated. It is an authentically sad drama about the life of a man who fails to understand what is wrong with him and why his family fell apart, but he came to see that only now. It is a film about a period in almost everybody’s life. It might appear boring on the surface, but beneath it seeks for the resolution of many problems we all might face when we are over 35.
Unfortunately, Spike Jonze’s adaptation Where the Wild Things Are was rather skeptically welcolmed when initially released. It has divided opinions of many and received mostly mixed reactions. I personally consider it a good film that deserves to be given another chance, given its stunning visual style and a story spanning further than its original source. It might be the best film to show to your children, but it does strike its viewers for its great depth in the psychological issues that a child experiences when growing up with one parent. It is certainly a great story about what it takes to maintain the compliance to be one family. In regards to other films involving children, I thought most simply ignored Jumani and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. While the former was one of my favorites as a kid (and still remains as a gate to nostalghia), the latter was overlooked during the period of Harry Potter films. I actually preferred Silberling’s film to Harry Potter’s saga. I wonder why it was so scantly appreciated back in 2004.
In addition, I am surprised not many still talk about the biopic Lenny starring Dustin Hoffman. I personally believe it was a better film than Raging Bull and, although not as thrilling as DeNiro’s astonishing performance, Hoffman’s acting was highly remarkable, probably one of his finest ever.
Requiem for a dream-intimate, stylized, and morden, aronsfky masterpiece doesn’t get a lot of recognition because of it’s ultra real portrayal of it’s subject matter and it’s tone.
Jack And Jill(I know this is a controversal pick, but just hear me out)-I saw this film on tv. There is some flaws with this picture, and it was mauled by critics. But for me Slander delivers one of his finest performances as Jill. You truly think your watching a real woman on the screen, not a man playing a woman.
Inception-Nolan’s finest, that is enjoyable on a re-watch. Superior to the dark knight. The cinematography is warm and intimate, and the score is moving.
Battle Royale-Few people realize how heartbreaking this picture is. It’s a genre film, but I was near tears at the ending.