15 Visually Stunning Films That Deserve To Be Seen By Everyone (Part 2)

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visually-stunning-films

Who doesn’t like a good visually stunning film? Last month, we made a list of 15 lesser-known visually stunning films, and it was warmly welcomed by Taste of Cinema readers.

Unfortunately, we had to drop a number of great films when compiling the list, so we decided to make it a running series on the site. Without further ado, these are 15 more visually stunning films that deserve to be seen by everyone.

 

1. The Fall (2006, Tarsem Singh)

the-fall

Indian-American director Tarsem Singh’s film “The Fall” gained a cult following due to its otherworldly visuals. The film was mostly self-financed by the director in order to realize his vision, and it was shot in 20 countries, including India, Indonesia (Bali), Italy, France, Spain, Namibia, China (PRC), and numerous others.

With a background in MVS and TV commercials, Singh made a film that could be somewhat called a wallpaper film, which means every frame of the film is worthy of a wallpaper. Just watching the opening scene alone will make your jaw drop.

 

2. Three Times (2005, Hou Hsiao-Hsien)

three times

“Three Times” is not only one of Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s most beautiful films, but is also one of the most visually stunning films in the history of Asian cinema. It consisted of three romantic stories about the same couple through almost a century’s time.

Each segment has its own unique visual approach. The first one is mostly slow-mo scenes while two slow-tempo songs play in the background; the second one is a silent period piece; and the third is a modern tale with some interesting lighting techniques. Roger Ebert loved the film and said that it’s “all photographed with such visual beauty that watching the movie is like holding your breath so the butterfly won’t stir.”

 

3. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985, Paul Schrader)

Mishima A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

American screenwriter / director Paul Schrader is famous for writing the screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece “Taxi Driver”, but his films as a director were often overlooked, although “American Gigolo” and “Cat People” both became cult classics.

Then there is this forgotten gem called ”Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters”, a gorgeous biopic about famous Nobel-winning Japanese author Yukio Mishima, who is famous for his ritual suicide by seppuku after a failed coup d’état attempt.

The film interweaves episodes of his life with fictionalized segments of his novels; the set design and cinematography of the latter part is absolutely stunning, making one mistake it for a late Suzuki or Oshima film. A bonus point is Philip Glass’s iconic score.

 

4. Orpheus (1950, Jean Cocteau)

Jean Cocteau Orpheus

French avant-garde filmmaker Jean Cocteau was famous for his exquisite adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” and experimental wonder “The Blood of a Poet”.

This film, ”Orpheus”, is the second film in his Orphic trilogy and the most beautiful one. It was based on the tragic love story of legendary musician and poet Orpheus from the ancient Greek myth. The scene where Orpheus has to go through a mirror to the underworld is pure magic.

 

5. Europa (1991, Lars von Trier)

europa_lars_von_trier

As the leading figure of the innovative Dogme 95 movement and one of the most talked-about filmmakers nowadays, Danish auteur Lars von Trier is famous for making experimental and controversial films. Though his Dogme 95 films look raw due to the rules of the movement, his early film “Europa” is an absolute visually-stunning knockout.

It’s a black and white film with the perfect blend of color in key scenes, and von Trier’s uses of superimpose and background projection in some scenes are unforgettable. The voice-over from Max von Sydow has this hypnotic quality that brilliantly convey the nightmarish feeling of the film.

 

6. Woman in the Dunes (1964, Hiroshi Tashigahara)

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Hiroshi Teshigahara and Kōbō Abe are among some of the greatest director-writer teams in cinema history. Their most outstanding collaborations include their existential trilogy with “Woman in the Dunes” as the central chapter and the most famous one.

The cinematography of the sand looks incredible; it’s so crystal that you can almost feel the sand grains. If you are unfamiliar with the Japanese New Wave, this could be your introduction.

 

7. My Own Private Idaho (1991, Gus van Sant)

my-own-private-idaho

Gus van Sant’s iconic indie film ”My Own Private Idaho” was mostly remembered for its star River Phoenix’s incredible performance, but the cinematography by John J. Campbell and Eric Alan Edwards deserve the same level of praise here.

Anyone who has seen the film cannot forget the time-lapse scenes, the clouds, the fish jumping out of the water, and the long and winding road. Eric Edwards shot these scenes on his own, and van Sant originally had the screen go black when Mike passed out. He later decided to use Edwards’ footage as a way of showing “an altered sense of time” from Mike’s perspective.

The 30 siest Horror Movies of All Time

sies-horror-movies

Horror films have always tiptoed around or bludgeoned straight on through modes of stimulation and fright. Wish-fulfillment s and violence make for fascinating bedfellows and always have, and this list will please both genre fans and those looking for a chilling provocation.

Many of the films listed here are polarizing, which should come as a shock to no one. Horror by its very nature is exploitative, and combine this with ideas of eroticism and suality and you’ll have the pious and the uptight squirming in their seats while the repressed and the churlish similarly agonize and gnash.

Rather than delve into the sual politics at play here this list instead takes pains to detail genre films that see eroticism and s in ways that are titillating and, on occasion sublime.

There’s a few here that are flat-out trash––those can still be fun––and others that are camp, and others too that are thoughtful, artistic, and even, I would argue, grandiose. And a few that are just gross. Enjoy!

 

30. Nekromantik (1987)

Nekromantik (1988)

On the surface there’s little to recommend about this shocker aside from gratuitous cruelty and, as the title suggests, necrophilia, but what else would one expect from West Berlin exploitation legend Jörg Buttgereit (Horror Heaven)?

The film focusses on one Rob Schmadtke (Daktari Lorenz), an employee for Joe’s Cleaning Agency where he cleans up corpses from road accidents and that sort of thing, and this is all catnip for Rob, who loves defiling corpses. Sound transgressive enough?

Wait, there’s more (including a ménage à trois with a corpse and a steel pipe), but, amidst all the nastiness and taboo smashing Buttgereit actually injects a lot of satire on bourgeois mores––Rob stops defiling corpses long enough for a short-lived warm-blooded romance with Betty (Beatrice Manowski)––and even features a whip-smart slasher parody via an extended film-within-a-film sequence.

This one’s for diehards and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else, but the extreme masochism, dysfunction and themes of social isolation and despair combine with a strange eroticism that will appeal to a select and skewered few.

 

29. From Dusk till Dawn (1996)

from dusk till dawn movie

While a somewhat inconsistent viewing experience overall, the patchiness is owed perhaps for the genre-jumping experimenting of screenwriter Quentin Tarantino––who regrettably also co-stars––and overzealous director Robert Rodriguez in this amalgam crime/action/horror/comedy which, despite its many flaws, is still an enjoyable B-movie and something of a midnight cult hit.

The fugitive and murderous Gecko brothers, Seth (George Clooney) and Richie (Tarantino), are on the run from the Feds––something about robbing banks and slaughtering innocents and taking hostages––when they find themselves in Mexico, at a tasteless peeler bar called the Titty Twister.

At this bar, spoiler alert, the denizens who dwell within are vampires, but truly the only one of them that matters is star stripper Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek). She steals the show with the best scene in the film––also the spiciest––and the splatter and platitudes that follow are hit-and-miss with the game cast falling just shy of staring right into the camera and winking. It’s not a movie for everyone but it might be for you.

 

28. Vampyres (1974)

Vampyres

The British censors were fittingly outraged by Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska as the eponymous bloodsuckers in José Ramón Larra’s sordid lesbian vampire tale.

The early 70s enjoyed a brief and bitey trend in sploitation of this ilk (see Jess Franco’s sumptuous Vampyros Lesbos further on down this list) and this wonderfully atmospheric fright flick, overrun with dreamlike visuals and shocking violence spread amongst gratuitous nudity and Gothic scenes of seduction –– Murray Brown’s ill-fated plaything peasant victim isn’t easy to forget –– makes for the quintessential vogue vampiric lesbian liaison.

 

27. Neon Demon (2016)

most disappointing movies 2016

Polarizing auteur du jour Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Drive) offers up his obeisance of giallo cinema with Neon Demon. Detailing with satire, savagery, and arthouse horror bending of the knee, Refn tells the sordid and seductive tale of sixteen-year-old wannabe model Jesse (Elle Fanning) and her terrifying odyssey into the Los Angeles fashion industry, where bloodlust, libido, carnal cravings and cannibalism all combat for the whip hand.

A suitably amorous and atmospheric score from Cliff Martinez helps the alternately sensual and eerie film unfold with the right amount of hallucinatory expression to this beauty-obsessed tale of exploitation. Call it pretentious and call it indulgent if you wish, Neon Demon is also pretty, unflinchingly gruesome, and purposely provocative. Oh yeah, and it has Keanu Reeves.

 

26. Ilsa, the Wicked Warden (1977)

ilsa-the-wicked-warden-1977

As far as camp classics go, the Naziploitation trend didn’t exactly pull it’s punches when it came to gore, rape, sadism, and OTT violence, and Isla, the Wicked Warden –– the third in the Isla franchise –– is a guilty pleasure for the video nasties crowd. Something of an icon, former Las Vegas showgirl and pin-up centerfold, Dyanne Thorne is best known as Ilsa and her frequent pairings with director Jess Franco reaped many raunchy and ribald rewards.

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The plot of this particular outing involves Ilsa as the notorious warden of a mental institution for young women where sual humiliation is par for the course, as is the manufacturing of pornography. But Ilsa may have gnawed off more than she can chew with new inmate Abbie (Tania Busselier), who has revenge in mind.

Admittedly a trashy schlock fest, the tongue-in-cheek fourberie and Franco’s grindhouse goofiness make this something of a cult sensation, and one that’s best viewed in a party setting.

 

25. Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Jennifer's Body

A mostly meh horror flick with some surprisingly funny asides thanks to screenwriter Diablo Cody, Jennifer’s Body deserves your come-hither diligence primarily if you happen to have a lusty avarice for its sy symbol star, Megan Fox. Also on the marquee is Amanda Seyfried––though here she’s mostly playing the straightlaced and stuffy nerdy BFF.

Fox is Jennifer, a desirable high-school debutante who gets possessed by a demon and decides that the male population of her small town environs are her quarry.

Despite all the nubile bods and innuendo, Jennifer’s Body is primarily geared towards a youth audience with a fixation on lame/limp alt-rock (think Silversun Pickups and Hole) the film still works as a guilty pleasure for some. A similar film that almost made this list but will at least get a mention here is Ginger Snaps (2000), a werewolf variation with Katharine Isabelle as the menacing babe.

 

24. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

Director Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies) really hit his stride with this playfully effed up horror thriller about a “good girl” turned promiscuous partier named Mandy Lane (Amber Heard).

Teen anxieties are often mishandled in the slasher genre, and that’s to to be expected, but here Levine gives a little more props to his youthful protagonists, and Heard hints at some potentially solid acting chops, beyond being a substantiated s object (thank goodness!).

A mingling of Terrence Malick-like poetic visuals and grindhouse gore and dimension mete out rather well in this teen slasher film that is also elevated by a delightful payoff and considerable intelligence.

 

23. Piranha 3D (2010)

Piranha 2010

Essentially a gimmicky threequel of a Jaws spoof, Alexandre Aja’s ensemble horror comedy is ideal for late night party viewing and if you lower your expectations and maybe roll a doobie just before watching, you’ll have a deliriously decent and schlock-filled shindig. A campy pageant of gore, nudity, foul language, and meta––or wannabe meta––moments, Piranha 3D is a cheeky and biting bon mot of exploitation cinema.

Set during spring break and featuring a surprisingly quirky miscellaneous cast (Richard Dreyfuss, Ving Rhames, and Elisabeth Shue amongst them), there’s a pretty much unending buffet of tender, fetishized flesh where the promiscuous are punished by killer fish. If horny horror junk food is your bag, look no further, you’ll find all your empty calories right here.

 

22. Planet Terror (2007)

Planet Terror movie

What? Another Robert Rodriguez film on this list? Well, while his oeuvre is inconsistent, his penchant for blending eroticism and hysterical horror is spot on.

Planet Terror is deliberately kitschy zombie horror film (first released as part of a double feature with Tarantino’s Death Proof under the title Grindhouse) that delights in every aspect of the exploitation cinema Rodriguez grew up on. Lucky for us, the red-blooded viewer, this includes the deliberately titillating, empowered-yet-objectified, super hot and super tough megababe trope, here portrayed with aplomb by Rose McGowan.

Why, even the title credit sequence is risqué and racy as Cherry Darling (McGowan) go-go dances in hot pants in sensual slo-mo and stunning, suggestive prowess. And later, most memorably, Cherry Darling will have a machine gun prosthetic leg that she puts to good and provocative use.

Planet Terror is a guilty pleasure there’s no point feeling guilty about, and if she wasn’t already, McGowan will soon after warrant a lot of room in your fantasy file. A sequel with Cherry Darling’s continued exploits was never forthcoming, and for this we must ask Rodriguez––a man who’s no stranger to other strenuous sequels––why the hell not? Put Cherry on top!

 

21. High Tension (2003)

High Tension

Maïwenn Le Besco and Cécile de France are subject to all manner of perverse nastiness and outright exploitation in Alexandre Aja’s breakthrough horror film and linchpin of the New French Extremity movement, High Tension.

A nasty, uncompromising film, Aja takes pains to present a shockingly vivid and highly stylized Grand Guignol-like flight of frenzied fancy full to burst with violence and sual perversion.

Certainly not for all tastes, this go-for-broke assault on the senses hinges on a twist ending that might be too much for some viewers and the relentless nature of the film, very close to self-flagellation for non-genre fans, will be much too much to swallow for the typical viewer.

But High Tension shrewdly upends convention, destroying tropes with alacrity, messing with lesbian college girlfriend curiosity conceits and home invasion hysteria with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the junk. Look out.

10 Great Movies Where The Protagonist Never Speak

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In history of film uncountable characters have delivered great speeches and legendary lines that sometime have even become part of our everyday language. You have been made offers that you could not refuse and asked if you were talking to Robert De Niro, not to mention all the times you have used a famous cinematic line to approach the guy or the girl of your dreams.

However, sometimes “There is more to love than words” states A.K. in the film Filth And Wisdom (by Madonna, yes Madonna, 2008) and promptly his friend reminds him that “you needed words to tell me that”.

So you could either stay here and argue around this endless paradox and probably end up screaming on each-others faces that you can’t handle the truth and eating your livers with some fava beans and a nice chianti or, focus on the main task of this article, namely listing the ten film protagonists who don’t need words to make you love them or, in some cases, hate them. Hasta la vista, babies.

 

1. Dumbo (Dumbo, 1942)

Dumbo (1941)

Beside being the shortest Disney Classic (63 mins credits included) Dumbo is also the only one whose protagonists doesn’t speak at all. The entire film eloquence lies in the hands of Dumbo’s best friend Timothy Q. Mouse who speaks enough for both. Not a usual children story filled with songs and happy endings, but rather a first encounter with a world that doesn’t forgive you for being different or better, special.

Dumbo is an unhappy and unlucky elephant whose only fault is owning big ears which prevent him from being useful to the circus where He was born. As a cherry on this sadness cake’s top, his mother gets locked up for nothing but trying to protect him. It will be the encounter with a joyful and optimistic mouse that will teach Dumbo how to make of his biggest flows his biggest strength.

A timeless classic that mixes greatfuly dark atmospheres with psychedelic pink elephants dance and the tender Dumbo, who won’t need a word to get to your heart. At the same time you will have plenty of words from hateful and cruel elephants rather than cheeky crows (allegedly voiced by white men who were told to sing and speak like they were black).

 

2. Sergey (The Tribe, 2014)

the-tribe-seven

The tribe is on another level of anxiety with neither words nor music, just ambient sounds to increase tension and realism. The film also renews the audience’s role which is not just the observer of the story but also the only one who can hear what happens around the characters who are all deaf and mute.

Sergey (Gregoriy Fesenko) is an Ukrainian boy who enters a boarding school. No matter that is a school for deaf people, like every respectable boarding school it has got bullies gangs and unofficial rules to follow for everyone who doesn’t want to find himself with the face in the mud.

Sergey joins a gang called the tribe (“they said the name of the film!!” quote Peter Griffin) and he happens to be quite good with what they deal in, like prostitution and robberies. But when He falls in love with Anna (Yana Novikova) one of the two girls He is supposed to pimp, Segey will learn the saying “you don’t c**p where you eat”.

An intriguing story recounted without a word, in a splendid atmosphere made of sounds and sensations and realism like just great movies can do. Ripping off, finally, the veil of compassion and pity that is unfortunately so common when films deal with disabled characters.

 

3. Robert (Rubber, 2010)

Rubber (2010)

Dumbo can’t speak cause He is an elephant (although is Disney), Sergey is deaf-mute and Robert is a tire. Yes. A tire. Like a car tire. A celebration of the best nonsense by Quentin Dupieux A.K.A. Mr. Oizo that brings a tire to life in a bloody rampage, for no reason. Some message or hidden meaning, maybe, but most probably just cool cinema.

Robert is an abandoned tire, left alone in the desert where He realizes not only that He can wander around by himself, but also that He possesses telekinetic powers. Robert can literally make inanimate things and living beings explode. Why? The real question is Why not? On the wave of the latter query He starts rolling around the desert killing people, triggering a hilarious manhunt, ops I beg you pardon, tirehunt and chasing a charming woman that finds on his path.

A blood stained race through the desert to follow which you need to enjoy nonsense and unreasonable but after all, do a filmmaker really need a reason to tell us a story? Can’t it be just the uncontrollable, instinct that leads him or her to, in this case, animate a tire and just let it go and spread death and destruction without asking why?

 

4. The Creature (Frankenstein, 1931)

Frankenstein (1931)

If some films’ lines have entered our everyday language, the whole story of Doctor Frankenstein and his creature have become integral part of the collective imagination.

For those who don’t know (lucky you cause everybody would like to astound like someone who hears this story for the first time) Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in 1816 a.k.a. Year without a summer a.k.a. eighteen hundred and froze to death, after having a dreadful nightmare at the age of 19.

She and some friends were closed in a hotel in Geneva and decided to write a ghost story each, Mary came out with Frankenstein and John W. Polidori with the Vampire which eventually launched the vampires myth in literature. After a first attempt in a short film in 1910, the silent but resilient creature invades the silver screen in 1931 thanks to James Whale.

Doctor Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is a young doctor who wants to defeat death and create immortality, daring god like a modern Prometheus. He works day and night to bring back a dead body from the mortal sleep until He succedes. The creature (masterful Boris Karloff) though gets soon out of the doctor’s control and so do the peasants with their torches, pitchfork and good old fashion revolt.

The creature doesn’t speak. It doesn’t really live. It just walks, meets the world once again, touches, scares and embodies the fear for the unknown, the uprising technology which paradoxically brought him in front of an audience on silver screen.

 

5. Christine (Christine, 1983)

Christine-1983

John Carpenter reads Stephen King, that should be enough for an entire plot. Christine is a red, seductive as evil car who kills everybody stands on her path. Why? Why ask? Because she is evil and bloodthirsty. Christie doesn’t speak because, apart from the fact that she is a car, she just doesn’t need it. She has got her lights, her radio and her rumble that is synonimum of fear and fury.

Arnie (Keith Gordon) is a good old fashion loser, with thick glasses, apprehensive parents and the popular friend Dennis (John Stockwell) who stands up for him against the school gang, led by Buddy (William Ostrander) who would never pass for an high school student, but hey maybe He was held back for like five years.

Back to Arnie, when He buys Christine she is old and neglected but with a little elbow grease the boy manages to bring her back to the old splendor and evil. They literally fall in love with each-other, but Christine is a protective lover and everybody who will try to stand between Arnie and her will taste the car’s wrath.

Maybe not the best crafted Oscar winning film, but definitely a cult to watch on a Halloween night with your friends while eating pizza and pointing out continuously that the bullies leader is too old and his hairstyle ridiculous, come on!

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15 Great Rock Songs Famously Inspired by Movies

rock-songs-inspired-by-movies

Writers, actors, directors are all inspired by a myriad of different sources, but movies influence culture as well. All fifteen of these songs originated or were inspired by a film. Some are more direct than others in revealing their influence, while others drew upon the style or state of mind a certain film.

 

15. “Valley of the Dolls” by Marina and the Diamonds (Inspired by Valley of the Dolls)

Valley-of-the-Dolls

Hollywood’s adaptation of the Jacqueline Susanne novel about movie starlets, backstage drama, and drug abuse remains a camp classic. Beneath the self aware artificiality of the dialogue and the acting lies a nascent feminist message on the treatment of women in show business, which may account for the hostile reaction the film received from male critics. Valley of the Dolls reveals a business using women for their looks only to cast them aside when someone younger comes along.

Welsh singer-songwriter Marina and the Diamonds song of the same title speaks to themes of the film with dreamy 60s melodies interspersed with dark lyrics, “In the valley of the dolls we sleep, got a hole inside of me, living with identities that do not belong to me.” An excellent modern take on a film worthy of reevaluation.

 

14. “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor (Inspired by High Fidelity)

high fidelity

John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity remarked how music fanatics are so into their music real life often fails to measure up. The Regina Spektor song of the same title plays off that idea, Spektor realizes the imaginary lover in the songs she listens to may never measure up in real life, “I got lost in the sounds I hear in my mind” and it breaks her heart.

The music obsessed characters in High Fidelity who speak in their own language of pop culture references must reconcile themselves with living in the real world. There’s a song for every moment and reference point, but one still has to live. Pop music can reinforce fantasy, yet can also make life more tolerable.

 

13. “Jocko Homo” by Devo (Inspired by Island of Lost Souls)

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Akron based Devo took inspiration from the pre-code classic Island of Lost Souls, the best adaptation ever made of the H.G. Wells novel The Island of Dr. Moreau. The story’s about a mad scientist conducting genetic experiments between humans and animals, creating a tormented species of hybrids. Eventually they turn on their creator as they repeat the line, “Are we not men?” Members of Devo caught the film on late night TV and saw parallels with their downtrodden hometown of Akron.

The economic malaise of 1970s Akron with closing factories and skyrocketing unemployment, the film mirrored their reality of rustbelt despair. Devo, blending performance art with anti-pop music, embraced their post-industrial identities by wearing radiation suits and forsaking their humanity by regressing to robotic behavior. The chorus repeats, “Are we not men? We are Devo! Are we not men? We are Devo!”

 

12. “Chain Saw” by The Ramones (Inspired by Texas Chainsaw Massacre)

the texas chainsaw massacre

A standout track from their debut LP, The Ramones and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are a match made in hell. The song begins with the lyric “Sitting around with nothin’ to do, sitting around thinkin only of you” until he realizes his baby got lost in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Boredom, a preoccupation of The Ramones, leads them to thoughts of destructive violence and apathy.

The DIY vibe of Tobe Hooper’s film parallels the punk ethos. The “screw the rules” feel of the film and its willingness to embrace madness shocked audiences. Shot on location at a real house in unbearable 100+ degree weather, Hooper pushed his cast and crew to the limit.

The economic and social realities created the cultural mood for punk to take off, music that embraced living in an age of diminished expectations. Leatherface and his family are terrifying jumble of joyful chaos and anarchy.

 

11. “So Long, Astoria” by The Ataris (Inspired by The Goonies)

The Goonies

As the popularity of the Netflix Series Stranger Things proved, the mystique of The Goonies survives in the pop culture collective unconscious. The unique cast of characters, rippling dialogue, and old fashioned adventure make The Goonies a Rosetta Stone of 1980s cinema.

Indiana based band The Ataris paid homage to The Goonies in “So Long, Astoria.” The nostalgic tune uses The Goonies as a metaphor for memory. Even though the narrator once saw himself as a rebel, upon reflection realizes he’s like everyone else. Imagining he was in the film “I found a map to buried treasure even if we come home empty handed we still have our stories” he comes to terms with getting older.

The lyric pays tribute to the enduring mythos of The Goonies, a movie about a specific time and place with great friends, corporate sharks, and valiant efforts to keep the band together against all odds. Their only defense: wit, cunning, and unbreakable spirit. So cheer up and go watch The Goonies, is this a nuclear Saturday or something?

 

10. “Walcott” by The Vampire Weekend (Inspired by The Lost Boys)

The Lost Boys (1987)

Indie Rock band Vampire Weekend got their name from a viewing of The Lost Boys. Like The Goonies, the Lost Boys brought a hip MTV sensibility to the mainstream horror film.

Koenig watched The Lost Boys one night and decided to make his own version set in New England. The song imagines a young man who escaped a town infested with vampires and tires to convince a neighboring city to get ready, a vampire weekend if you will. Lyrics like “Evil Feasts on human lives, the Holy Roman Empire Roots for you tonight” recall the mythos of Dracula. A cool song that led to many more cool songs.

 

9. “Spectre” by Radiohead (Spectre)

Spectre

Although the producers of the most James Bond film Spectre rejected the Radiohead theme “Spectre” in favor of Sam Smith’s Oscar winning “Writing on the Wall,” it’s the most radical approach to a Bond theme ever recorded. As the series with Daniel Craig as Bond continues to get darker and more realistic, the song matched the stark mood.

In its original incarnation the super criminal group SPECTRE were more entertaining than menacing, a parody of what such an organization would look like. The lyric, “futures tricked by the past, Spectre, how he laughs,” induce paranoia and doom. The best Bond theme never to appear in an actual Bond film.

The 20 Best Female Movie Performances of The 21st Century

knifeinheart

When choosing the top 20 performances by an actress of the 21st century I tried to make a list that deals with complex characters as well as the ones that are lesser known to the larger audience.

Of course I could have put a lot of great actresses on this list but keep in mind that these lists are subjective and I decided on only 20 that in my opinion made a mark on the 21st century.

 

20. Uma Thurman in Kill Bill Volume 1 & 2 (2003/04, Quentin Tarantino)

kill-bill-vol-1

Uma Thurman (in my opinion) is an underrated actress. She happens to be in some of the most legendary films with some of the most legendary characters but still people don’t give her enough credit. None of her characters can compete with Beatrix Kiddo aka The Bride. A lot of people may disagree with this choice but this list couldn’t be finished without Uma.

In Quentin Tarantino’s two-part martial arts epic Uma plays Beatrix Kiddo, the deadliest female assassin in the world. She was a part of “Deadly Viper Assassination Squad” that made a living from killing people. She becomes pregnant with her boss and lover Bill and decides to quit her job and protect her child form that cruel world.

Bill comes running after her and finds her at a wedding rehearsal with her new soon-to-be-dead fiancée and a pregnant belly. He along with all the other members of the squad massacre the entire wedding chapel and he puts a bullet inside her head. She survives the attack and is left in a coma for 4 years.

After she wakes up she decides to revenge her child and herself in some of the most brilliant film sequences ever filmed. Uma had to master the Samurai sword, learn how to fight for months and learn Japanese language for the film. She showed incredible strength and determination.

Her role in the film is funny, strong, angry, bitter, sad and a lot more. She made it her own and also made it the best female action character ever and showed how women can kick serious ass. Physicality was a major part in the film but her strong performance of a woman who had to repress all human emotion that might make her hunt for blood harder is undeniably noteworthy.  She had one of the most challenging roles in film and having Quentin by her side made it legendary.

Her fight is real, hard and you can’t blame her for wanting revenge after you see what they did to her. She shows such real emotion and bares herself completely for the role. Uma was nominated for over 30 awards (counting both Kill Bill films) for the same role but only won a couple of them.

 

19. Oksana Akinshina in Lilja 4-ever (2002, Lukas Moodysson)

lilja-4-ever-2002

Lilja 4-ever is a heartbreaking film by Lukas Moodysson. It is based on a horrific true story that happened to a little girl. Oksana is the youngest actress on this list.

At 15 she starred in Moodysson’s film in which she plays a young girl named Lilja who lives in Estonia with her mother. They live in a poor neighbourhood in an old building that is run down. They are preparing to start their new life in America with her mother’s new boyfriend.

Just before they’re about to go her mother tells her that she can’t go with them and leaves young Lilja to live with her aunt. Lilja has a breakdown and begs her mother not to leave her but she still does. Lilja then goes to her aunt’s flat but her aunt leaves her there and moves herself into Lilja’s old apartment that is bigger.

Left to care for herself, Lilja wanders the streets of Estonia in search of someone who can help her. Her friend starts spreading rumors about her and everyone starts to avoid her except a little boy named Volodya who ends up being her only friend.

Oksana does some pretty impressive acting at just 15. She is so raw and uncensored and her young spirit works well for a character like Lilja. After many bad encounters she meets Andrei, a young man who she falls in love with but her life switches for the worst when human trafficking becomes involved.

Oksana possesses incredible realness, she becomes a face of many young girls who were robbed of their childhood and their innocence and for which nobody got the blame. One of the strongest child performances ever and one that had to be on this list.

 

18. Samantha Morton in Morvern Callar (2002, Lynne Ramsay)

Morvern Callar (2002)

Samantha Morton’s performance in “Morvern Callar” is quite a fascinating ride. This is Lynne Ramsay’s second feature film. In the film Samantha plays Morvern Callar, a young woman who wakes up one day on the floor of her boyfriend’s flat and finds that he committed suicide right next to her. He left her money for his funeral, a note saying “it just seemed like the right thing to do” and “don’t try to understand” and that he finished his novel and that she should go and submit it to a publisher.

After that she follows an unusual “grief” pattern that makes some audiences not so fond of her or the film. This is a work of art, and not everything is meant to be taken literally in it or her actions but then not everything is meant to be metaphorical either. Questions arise, did she love him? Did he love her? Did they have a good relationship? What was their relationship? Did they know each other long? Was he really depressed? This film leaves you with more questions than answers.

Samantha’s performance is very reserved. You can see her character is a wounded girl but not in a traditional sense. She comes off as guarded and lonely not necessarily because of her boyfriend but perhaps she was always like that and that is the only way she knows how to be. She puts her name as the writer of the book and tries to completely eliminate his traces.

Why would she do that? What was he like towards her? We can see glimpses but never the whole picture. Her portrayal is one of a kind and creates a real character with real issues that deals with alienation and pain in atypical ways. Samantha’s role of a flawed, distant young woman is one that is going to be remembered for a long time.

 

17. Mo’Nique in Precious (2009, Lee Daniels)

precious

How comedienne Mo’Nique came to be Mary Lee Johnston in “Precious” is a mystery to me but I am glad to have been a witness to her amazing performance. In the film she plays a mother of the main character, a 16-year-old girl Precious who is obese and illiterate. They live in Harlem, New York with her daughters two kids that came from incest after her father raped her. They are poor and living of off welfare.

She is unemployed and abusive to her daughter and often subjects her to mental, and physical violence. Mary Lee has completely given up on her life and takes it out on her daughter. She belittles her and makes her feel worthless every day. She tries to make her feel exactly as she feels. After her daughter learns how to read and tries make a better life for herself she becomes more and more abusive and mean.

Mo’Nique gives all of herself in this film. She plays a sad and damaged individual who was never a good mother to her child. She is filled with rage and fear. She feels jealous of the affection her daughter received from her husband. She can’t seem to figure things out because she was once “Precious” that never received any help or affection. Everything was taken away from her and when she fought for something she fought with the wrong person. Her daughter.

It is masterful acting and it shows just how low a person can fall. How bad can a fall affect a person and after that affect others around that person. She handled her character with empathy and never looked her as a character on a page. Mo’Nique won an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role along with numerous other awards.

 

16. Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011, Lynne Ramsay)

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Tilda Swinton is a great actress. In Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin” she gave one of her most memorable performances. In it she plays Eva, a lonely middle-aged woman who has to survive a life of shame and nasty looks after a traumatic event that not only changed her life but the lives of the whole town.

We see her living alone in a small house splattered in red paint. Before that she lived with her husband, son and daughter. Her son is in prison and she sometimes comes to visit him.

Throughout the film she tries to piece together her life and moments of her son’s childhood that might have had something to do with the way he turned out. This film deals with guilt so beautifully and cinematically. Tilda as Eva is impressive in the way she tries to cope with the harsh reality she might have caused. You see her struggling as a mother to a cold, distant and manipulative child.

Should she have been a stricter mother? Could she have eliminated evil in his son? Was it something she did to him? She now has to live the consequences of her son’s actions and that is the only thing that is certain.

Tilda’s face can be a canvas that you can explore for hours. She gets lost in her character and creates magic. You empathize and feel sorry for her. Tilda Swinton was nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

 

15. Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine (2013, Woody Allen)

Cate Blanchett in ‘Blue Jasmine’

Combining Cate Blanchett and Woody Allen together proved to be some great magic. In this film Cate plays Jasmine, a middle-aged, spoiled socialite whose husband was arrested for doing some illegal business. Jasmine then suffers a nervous breakdown before coming to San Francisco to move in her sister’s middle class home she shares with her husband and kids.

Jasmine is used to living a life of luxury, travels and excess and now has to learn how to stand on her own two feet. Cate’s performance is so entertaining and bewildering. She plays this manic, delusional woman that tries miserably to get her old life back but instead all she gets is heavy doses of reality. She speaks anxiously and tries to numb her pain with alcohol and pills.

Soon she gets a job working as a receptionist with a dentist that harasses her and quits. Cate is in full control of her performance, and frame by frame you are witnessing her characters demise. She mumbles and talks out loud while reminiscing of her glorious past life. She refuses to be thrown in the middle of this blue-collar world.

It later becomes apparent that she was the one responsible for her current situation and perhaps can’t come to terms with that fact. Cate Blanchett won over a dozen awards for her portrayal of Jasmine including an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

20 Great Movies That Introverts Will Absolutely Love

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

Being an introvert is often misunderstood as being boring, uninteresting, and plain. People have a tendency to care less and aggrieve towards those who are reticent, quiet, and what we often call “loner”, “weirdo”, or “creep”. Introverts are some of the most underrated and misjudged people today, and how most people perceive them is far from who they really are and what they really do.

Introverts are withdrawn and separated from society, not simply because they want to, but because they are always on a different page; they think and act differently and no one will get them other than themselves.

On the other hand, extroverts tend to be better at communicating and expressing their thoughts and feelings, while introverts are known to be reserved and hesitant when it comes to disclosing, and the movies listed can be a basic and useful guide for extroverts to understand and see the world in an introvert’s eyes.

Their most quiet moments can be the moments where they are the most thoughtful and/or imaginative, and in these films, we see this side of them.

These movies show introversion as a compelling way of life and not just a state of mind of being alone; they show the reasons behind it, its effects towards other people, and how they deal with it.

The following films convey what introverts feel and see that extroverts don’t. The films listed introduce us to a different yet interesting world of introverts who may not be socially active but have an active inner life.

 

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

The 2012 coming-of-age film portrays the life of a socially awkward teen named Charlie, played by Logan Lerman, as he start to discover life in the outside world, having been recently discharged from a mental health institution.

He is shy and confused in starting a normal life as a high school freshman, until he meets two seniors who became his guide toward discovering life as a teenager; through them, he was exposed to parties, more new people, and even drugs. Amidst Charlie’s enjoyment and happiness, he continuously gets dragged down by his fears and bitter memories.

Stephen Chbosky, the director, writer, and author of the novel from which the film originated, took a poetic and emotional approach to the movie. It shows the cause and effect of Charlie’s shy and reserved characteristics. The funny, romantic, and sad moods are used to portray dark topics such as gender issues, drugs, and sual abuse.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” shows us that introverts always have something they endure and cannot find a way to express and share with others. It is so moving and will bring back good and bad memories from high school that would make not just introverts, but everyone, feel nostalgic and emotional.

 

2. Amélie (2001)

amelie

This surrealist film is about a naive French girl named Amélie (Audrey Tautou), who was diagnosed with a heart problem by her parents and kept her isolated from other people as she grew older. Amélie’s loneliness and curiosity triggered her to create her own world of imagination and surrealism.

Amélie spends most of her time being alone, observing other people’s actions, and she enjoys watching them. She is curious and excited, yet scared and awkward in social interactions, until a discovery triggered her to step up and communicate with someone to indulge her greatest curiosity.

Acclaimed French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet directed the 2001 comedy-drama, which received recognition both critically and commercially. “Amélie” is not an easy story to relate with, for it shows introversion and loneliness in a very different and creative way. Nonetheless, the film showed a great mixture of heart and entertainment.

Amélie’s character was shown in a sensual and charming way that is easy to fall in love with. The film realistically depicts an introvert’s life with its surface details that mirror the life of those who feel alone and curious about the world, who want to conquer and face their fears as they deal with people.

 

3. The Station Agent (2003)

The Station Agent – 2003

“The Station Agent” is a 2003 comedy-drama film directed by Tom McCarthy, which revolves around the life of Fin, a man with dwarfism, who lives in solitude in an abandoned train depot.

Following the death of his only friend, Fin retired from his job and chose to live alone, but he finds himself growing closer to his neighbors each day; Joe, a hot dog vendor, and Olivia, an artist. The three become friends as they learn more about each other and do their daily walks along the railway tracks.

The portrayal of the three characters shows a great contrast towards each other, and creates an unusual chemistry among them. From the antisocial character of Fin, the over-friendly and outgoing Joe, and the emotionally damaged Olivia, the film shows how socially awkward the characters are in different ways. Their quirky and effortlessly funny way of acting during both light and heavy scenes translates to the movie and would capture the empathy of the viewers, in spite of its uniqueness.

The characters differ in their personalities, but they all share the lifestyle of living in solidarity and isolation from society, and formed a strong bond because of it.

 

4. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Luke Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

This Oscar-nominated comedy-drama was directed by Wes Anderson, a director who creates characters that are eccentric and often times awkward, and the characters from “The Royal Tenenbaums” are no different.

The film is about the lives of three bright and gifted Tenenbaum siblings who were overachievers, who experienced success during their childhoods, and ended up with failures and misfortunes after their arrogant and selfish father, Royal, left the family.

Following the plot, the Tenenbaum siblings were distant from society. They were busy and would isolate themselves in their home, practicing and working in the fields of their individual expertises. They never experienced the childhood that normal people would experience, because of the fame and success they had. They never had decent social interactions and had their own personal places for work.

The film then shows the effects of this childhood lifestyle as they grow up, when they need to live independently. “The Royal Tenenbaums” is a dark comedy that is brutally honest when it comes to tackling the characters’ personal conflicts, but also values the importance of family and friends.

 

5. Pi (1998)

pi 1998

“Pi”, directed by Darren Aronofsky, is about Max, a paranoid and antisocial mathematician who dedicates himself to solving a piece of an equation that he believes will unlock the universal patterns found in nature, as he thinks that everything can be understood and analyzed through numbers. Max suffers from cluster headaches, social anxiety disorder, and paranoia that distances him from everyone living in his neighborhood.

“Pi” maximized its capacity to produce a quality, intelligent, and emotional film despite its tight budget. Without the use of special effects, extravagant sets, big name studios, or A-list actors, it was simply driven and completed with its powerful and thrilling plot, with a screenplay and elements that made it special.

The way the film was written, edited, and shot gives it a claustrophobic and anxious feeling. The black-and-white cinematography, jargon, lighting, and music, as the film goes on, feels foreign and makes whatever the character feels translate and even affect the viewers as well.

 

6. The Quiet (2005)

the-quiet-2005

“The Quiet” is an independent thriller-drama directed by Jamie Babbit. It is about a deaf-mute teenager, Dot, who was adopted by a strange family following the death of her father. The family seemed normal at first, until she discovered disturbing dark secrets and issues kept within the family, as well as the family discovering her own secrets.

Now an orphan, Dot does not feel like she belongs to the family because of the hindrance of her disability. The communication has barriers; not just because of her deaf-mute situation, but by the family’s situation, especially their daughter Nina’s feelings and attitude towards her.

The distressing subjects of the film are difficult to watch. As the main character tries to adjust and adapt to her newfound family, the viewers also have that alienated feeling, wanting to know more and somehow blend in with the family, but also realizing that trying to adapt and grow used to living with people you are not familiar with are not easy processes.

As a mute, Dot can be seen as uncomfortable, troubled and out of place with the people she now interacts with without having to express them with words. Despite of the sensitive issues being shown, The Quiet also shows that silence, at times, could be a powerful way of communication.

The 25 Most Disturbing Horror Movies of All Time

A Serbian Film

The term disturbing is defined as something that can be troubling mentally or emotionally. It is something that is upsetting and may even make you physically ill. That being said, the term can be considered rather subjective.

As human beings, we all have had our own unique experiences that over time have molded our characteristics, behavior, feelings, and personal judgments. So something that is disturbing to one person may not be disturbing to another.

That being said, this is list of twenty five films from the horror genre that are disturbing or could be considered to be disturbing. The horror genre is the most likely place that we are going to find imagery that will shock and disturb the audience, featuring tales of true crime, serial killers, slashers, rape and revenge, torture, scenes of horrific gore, and the list can go on forever.

Within the genre and its many subgenres, they can take us into the deepest and darkest corridors of humanity. Places that we hope to never witness or become a part of. It is those types of events that can be potentially disturbing.

This list contains a little bit of everything, with at least one film from every decade between 1966 and 2016 and at least one from America, Serbia, Germany, Austria, Italy, Mexico, Hong Kong, Japan, Spain, China, France, Sweden and Argentina.

It is a varied collection of horror pictures; with some between being critically hailed, many being labeled as exploitative and controversial, and some being banned in various parts of the world.

[Author’s Note: This list is not meant to be an all inclusive list or a best of list; it is simply twenty five horror movies that may be disturbing.]

 

1. Africa Addio (1966)

africa-addio-1966

“This is Africa like it is baby… where the name of the game is blood… and you kill or be killed!” [1]. A documentary that shows the transition of Africa in the early 1960’s from white colonialism to independent black nations. The results were not very pretty, including mass executions, tribal slaughters, and the high volume of animal poaching and slaughters.

Spoiler alert or warning, avoid watching this if you don’t want to see graphic footage of animals being needlessly murdered. It’s brutal and terrible, but as with any documentary it records what happens. The point is that all of this imagery is necessary to paint a picture of the events that were occurring in Africa during this volatile period of history. There are some absolutely stunning shots mixed in with the carnage.

It was written, directed, and edited by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi, who also did Mondo Cane (1962) and several other similar Mondo films. There are multiple versions of this that had been released around the world, all with different runtimes.

The original version was supposed to be 140 minutes, with a seriously truncated version cut down to 83 minutes released in the United States in 1970. The Blue Underground DVD’s runtime is 128 minutes and there is an Italian director’s cut that runs the full 140 minutes.

There is also some debate on the legitimacy of all of the footage, with claims that some of the sequences were staged. Both directors deny these allegations and state that the only time that they staged any footage was for Mondo Cane 2.

 

2. Last House on the Left (1972)

The Last House on the Left

“To avoid fainting, keep repeating: It’s only a movie, only a movie, only a movie…” [2]. Two girls go to a concert and on the way try to buy some pot; they end up being kidnapped by a group of thugs. They take them into the woods and humiliate and rape these girls. They consequently end up murdering them and by happenstance end up going to their house, where the parents exact their revenge.

This is a violent, bloody, grim exploitation rape and revenge film that is either loved or hated. In a documentary for the film, director Wes Craven said that “it is a film that is completely uncompromising and is completely uncomfortable…that art is about things that exist, and those [bad] things exist” [3].

The film has been censored and banned in many countries, including the United States where theaters would cut portions of the film out [3]. Despite the controversy, it received some pretty good reviews. Roger Ebert gave it three and a half stars and called it a “bitter little sleeper of a movie that’s about four times as good as you’d expect” [4].

 

3. Thriller: A Cruel Picture AKA They Call Her One Eye (1973)

Thriller A Cruel Picture

“First they took her speech…then her sight…When they were finished she used what was left of her for her own frightening kind of REVENGE!” [5]. A mute girl named Frigga (Christina Lindberg) is kidnapped, hooked onto heroin, and forced into prostitution. She has her eye gouged out when she won’t have s with a client. Secretly she starts training in martial arts and the use of weapons, in order to seek revenge.

A Swedish film that was initially banned in its own country, it is considered part of the subgenre of a rape and revenge film [6]. It is also sploitative because of the large amount of nudity that is involved. The main reason that it was banned was because of the intense eye-gouging scene, with a rumor that a real human eye had been used [6].

There is also a considerable amount of hardcore s scenes that are included “that far transcends the violent nastiness of the original versions of I Spit on Your grave or The Last House on the Left by making it impossible to deny the directorial intent of making rape sually titillating” [6].

There are really so many reasons why this is a cult film. It was banned and people want to see it. It also appeals to various subgenre fans; exploitation, sploitation, rape and revenge, gore, and the Christina Lindberg fan group. Yes, she is very popular.

 

4. I Spit on Your Grave AKA Day of the Woman (1978)

I Spit on your Grave

This has been one of the top banned movies in multiple countries and is very controversial, being hated by some and loved by others. Jennifer (Camille Keaton) is a New York City writer who goes to an upstate cabin to work on a novel. There she runs into four men, who rape her and destroy her novel. Over the next few days she recovers and takes vengeance upon her attackers.

That basic synopsis doesn’t make the film sound like it should be one of the most hated films in cinematic history. The issue is the rape scene or scenes, which last somewhere around thirty minutes of the film.

For some it may be extremely difficult to watch and for some they may actually get off on the scenes, which is part of the reason exploitation cinema existed in the first place. Roger Ebert’s review of the film found there to be “disturbing moral implications as the audience…seems to approve [of] the most horrific violence being visited on a woman’s body” [7].

The film is often viewed as being misogynistic towards women. The rape scenes are very intense; if you can get through that portion of the film then you may actually find this to be a feminist film.

The director wanted to make a “a film that was responding to his own personal outrage of the violence he encountered first-hand against women, and so he decided to make a film graphically portraying the horrors of such—with an ending that was feminist wish-fulfillment based on his own experience, as the heroine gets revenge on her attackers and makes them pay for their crimes.

Viewed in this context, its prolonged scenes of rape and assault are not depraved or ashamed; they are deliberately painful and horrifying to watch, as they should be” [8].

 

5. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Cannibal Holocaust

“Don’t turn away! Look at it! These are men, men like you!” [9]. This Italian motion picture directed by Ruggero Deodato is still one of the most controversial films of all time and ushered in the whole cannibal subgenre of exploitation, as well as the concept of found footage cinema that would be later popularized by the likes of The Blair Witch Project.

A professor goes into the Amazon jungle area referred to as Green Inferno in search of four missing documentary filmmakers, who where in search of two cannibal tribes. He recovers their camera footage and we witness what ultimately happened to them, and the terrible acts that they committed themselves.

It touches on some social commentary that asks questions about how much is staged while making a documentary, as well as the fact that modern society is sometimes no better than the cannibals that are portrayed on the camera.

There has been debate if there was ever any intention by the director to comment on social issues as opposed to simply making a shocking movie about cannibals. It is filmed rather well and has a beautiful score from Riz Ortolani, who also was the composer on Mondo Cane, Africa Addio, and almost 200 other pictures.

While there is gore, several rape scenes, full nudity, cannibalism, castration, and an infamous scene where a woman is scene hanging from a spike, the main controversy stems from the number of animals killed on screen. This includes a large turtle decapitated, a coati, a tarantula, a boa constrictor, a squirrel monkey, and a pig.

At first, Italian authorities believed that it was a real snuff film and arrested Deodato and confiscated all of the film materials. A court trial was held and several of the actors had to show up in order to prove that they were still very much alive and that it was on screen acting. It was initially banned in several countries and made the video nasties list in the United Kingdom.

There are various versions of the movie that have been released with different pieces of footage removed or added in, including an animal cruelty free version that eliminates the animal death scenes.

 

6. Anthropophagus (1980)

Anthropophagus

“It’s not fear that tears you apart…it’s him!” [10]. This is an Italian production directed by Joe D’Amato, who also made the disturbing films Beyond the Darkness and Cannibal Apocalypse. A group of vacationers end up on an uninhabited island where a crazed and deformed killer looks to slaughter them like he did to the rest of the town.

While some viewers may find this one rather tame compared to something else, it does have two rather gross sequences involving cannibalism that you will never forget. Despite being regarded as a very low budget Italian horror movie, it managed to get banned in the United Kingdom and put on the video nasty list. It is a cult favorite amongst many gore fans.

There were several follow-ups to this done by D’Amato, a pornographic film titled Porno Holocaust with essentially the same plot and a pseudo-sequel titled Absurd. German director Andreas Schnaas did a remake entitled Anthropophagous 2000 (1999).

 

7. Corpse Mania (1981)

corpse-mania-1981

“When Life Ends, The Terror Begins” [11]. When you need a crazy horror film from Hong Kong, you know that you’re in good hands with the Shaw Brothers studio. They produced several totally whacked out ones and this one involves a necrophiliac serial killer that goes around killing prostitutes.

Defined as a Hong Kong giallo, it is rather atmospheric for its dark subject matter. There are several scenes of necrophilia, a dead woman covered head to toe in maggots, and multiple graphic and bloody death scenes.

 

8. Guinea Pig 2: Flowers of Flesh and Blood (1985)

Guinea Pig Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985)

This is one in a series of seven Japanese horror films that were created during the 1980’s and 1990’s and feature a heavy amount of gore. This one involves a sociopath wearing a samurai helmet and white make up who kidnaps a girl and slowly dismembers her, so he can turn her into a flower of flesh and blood.

It has a little bit of everything that would be perfect for a date night; there is animal mutilation, loads of blood, extreme gore, graphic mutilation sequences, disembowelment, and a wonderfully gross eye ball scene.

This was another series in which the filmmaker Hideshi Hino had to prove that the first two films didn’t involve the actual murder of someone. A controversy involving a Japanese serial killer owning one of the tapes led to its discontinuation of production in Japan. It has most recently been released in a complete box set by Unearthed Films.

The 10 Best Comedies of 2016 (So Far)

best-comedies-2016

We’ve tackled the horror genre, and now we’re going to look at comedy movies. What are the best comedies of the year so far? Like the horror genre, comedy movies seem to be much more consistent than other genres this year such as action movies and dramas. As a result, it might be hard to narrow the list down to just ten.

The year is roughly three fourths of the way over, so there’s plenty of time for more comedy heavyweights to sneak in at the end of the year. We’re going to make sure we talk about the movies up to this point just in case you might forget about these movies when the big Oscar and Globe contenders come up.

One thing to note about this list is that it is going to look strictly at traditional comedies. Unlike the aforementioned Golden Globes, the list will only include movies that can be classified as a comedy with little to no argument. In other words, you will not find films like The Martian, Her, The Kids are All Right, and Eternal Sunshine.

While there are plenty of great films that blur the line between comedy and another genre from this year (Love & Friendship and Florence Foster Jenkins) , we’re going to focus on films that make comedy the top priority. There certainly are films on the list that feature some type of drama, but in the end it’s abundantly clear that they are primarily comedies.

 

1. Don’t Think Twice

dont-think-twice

Mike Birbiglia’s directorial debut Sleepwalk with Me was the perfect adaptation of his one-man show performed Off-Broadway. It perfectly mixed Birbiglia’s clever standup with a melancholic story about anxiety and the life of a comedian.

Four years later, Birbiglia returns with a film that tops his debut in every way imaginable. Featuring a more consistent tone, a funnier script, and a more concise story – Don’t Think Twice is one of the best movies of 2016 so far.

Like Sleepwalk with Me, this movie is a refreshingly honest look at live comedy. This kind of biting honesty can’t be found in even the most acclaimed movies about live comedy. The laughs may be the thing that draws the audience in, but the surprising amount of depth regarding the subject material is what allows Don’t Think Twice to remain memorable long after the conclusion.

This isn’t to say the film is devoid of laughs. On the contrary, the jokes fly at you like bullets. However, they’re just icing on an already delicious cake.

If you’re looking for more of an incentive to watch the movie, then the stellar ensemble should help convince you. Led by a number of famous stand-up comedians, this kind of chemistry between cast members is hard to come by. It’s a true ensemble in that it’s hard to pinpoint who’s the star of the show. Everyone brings their a-game and it’s evident that the cast is passionate about the project.

Don’t Think Twice is a remarkably genuine take on a subject that audiences have seen before. Birbiglia has managed to take something familiar and make it fresh and exciting. He’s two for two as of now, and it’s exciting to see what he’s going to deliver next.

 

2. Swiss Army Man

Swiss Army Man movie

Are you sick of big budget blockbusters that all copy one another? Are you looking for something a little different? If so, then Swiss Army Man might be the right movie for you. Honestly, a “little different” is probably an understatement.

Swiss Army Man is so strange, you’ll have a hard time believing that actual human beings came up with this concept. After watching the movie, you’ll feel lucky that somebody was crazy enough to make a movie like Swiss Army Man

The basic concept (if you could even use the word basic) is that a man trapped on an island has to utilize a man with an array of supernatural powers to escape. The powers range from magic farts to erection compasses. The inherent quirkiness of the idea itself warrants a chuckle, but the execution is what puts Swiss Army Man so high on this list.

The movie’s delightful soundtrack, dedicated performances, and assured direction assure that the movie is more than just an interesting concept. It’s definitely still an interesting concept, but it’s also a heartfelt, hilarious look at friendship and the importance of living life to the fullest.

The concept is bound to throw certain people off, but the people who are willing to embrace this eccentric film will likely fall in love. Even if you find it hard to appreciate the strangeness of it all, there is an unbelievable amount of dedication and craftsmanship that makes the movie easy to at least admire.

 

3. Everybody Wants Some!!

Everybody Wants Some (2016)

Linklater’s spiritual successor to his cult hit Dazed & Confused may not have the same lasting effect as some of his more recent films, but it’s still a charming comedy with quiet confidence throughout. Everybody Wants Some!! is a “boys will be boys” tale that will leave a giant grin on your face from beginning to end. It’s not exactly a complex movie, but its simplicity is something that undoubtedly works in the film’s favor.

Linklater has always relied on building complex characters through the exchange of dialog rather than through plot development, and this movie is no exception. Everybody Wants Some!! is more than meets the eye as a result of its wonderful script penned by Linklater. The majority of this movie is made up of characters simply chatting.

The highlight of the film is watching the members of this loveable baseball team interact. Despite the large ensemble, the characters all manage to have their own distinct personalities as a result of Linklater’s mastery of character development.

Then again, the cast also deserves praise for bringing the characters to life. Glen Powell is probably the best of the bunch as upperclassman smartypants Finn, but each and every cast member brings his or her own spin on the delightfully quirky characters.

Will Brittain keeps the laughs coming as resident redneck Beuter, Wyatt Russell was a welcome addition after he surprised viewers in 22 Jump Street, and Blake Jenner never ceases to bring charisma to the table as the lead. In addition, Zoey Deutch bounces back after her appearance in Dirty Grandpa.

Everybody Wants Some!! shows Linklater at the top of his comedy game. It’s not exactly a life changer, but the killer script, alluring cast, and nostalgic setting add up to one hell of a time at the movies. It’s one of the most purely enjoyable movies of the year.

 

4. The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys

Fresh off of directing one of Marvel’s most financially successful movies, Shane Black returns to deliver something a little more grounded and small-scale.

While The Nice Guys is still very much an action movie like Iron Man 3 and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it’s also his most overtly comedic film by a mile. The Nice Guys mixes stylized action with belly laughs to create Black’s crowning achievement. It unfortunately tanked at the box office, but it still deserves every ounce of your undivided attention.

The basic setup isn’t anything groundbreaking. Two very different personalities are forced to clash when they’re brought together to solve a crime. It’s essentially the same as every buddy movie in existence.

The premise may feel familiar, but Black adds just enough of his own space to make things his own. The script rapidly fires jokes at you while also setting up a surprisingly intricate story. In between laughs, you’ll likely try putting the pieces together in order to figure out the big mystery.

Gosling and Crowe are a comedy force to be reckoned with. The chemistry between the two seasoned actors is one of the film’s greatest strengths. Additionally, Angourie Rice keeps up with the two and then some. Her pitch perfect timing results in one of the best breakthrough performances of 2016.

 

5. Deadpool

Deadpool

Deadpool isn’t half as revolutionary as it thinks it is, but it’s frequently laugh-out-loud hysterical. Despite the character’s disastrous appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox has still toyed with the idea of a Reynolds-led Deadpool movie for close to a decade. Of course, as a result of the aforementioned movies horrible treatment of the character people had their doubts.

Then people started to gain interest when trailers began to come out and Ryan Reynolds starting losing his mind because of how exciting the project was for him. Still, with a first-time director on board and lingering doubts regarding how edgy they could make the film, most people remained cautiously optimistic at most.

Deadpool completely defied expectations in terms of overall quality and box office success. Ryan Reynolds seems as if he was born for the role. At times, it’s hard to tell if he’s playing Deadpool or if Deadpool is playing him. Unlike his silent depiction in X-Men Origins, this Deadpool is the character that comic readers have loved for years.

In this adaptation, he’s a wisecracking asshole who breaks the fourth wall in between bloody battles. His jokes don’t always land, but when they do they’ll bring you tears.

The plot and pacing are a bit messy, but they’re not much of an issue when you get to spend so much time with one of the most likeable characters in the X-Men universe. In terms of quality, it’s a stretch to call Deadpool one of the “greatest” superhero movies. However, it’s definitely one of the most consistently entertaining takes on the genre.

The 20 Best Uses of Mirrors in Cinema History

TaxiDriver4_002Pyxurz

The mirror stands as one of the great objects of cinema. It has been widely used, and has always fascinated directors in a particular way, as if its mere presence in a scene could create a unique visual moment, as well as adding psychological nuances to the film.

Mirrors are reflections and duplications of reality, which can be said of cinema itself; the introduction of this “meta” element between reality, cinema and reflection is often the very reason why filmmakers choose to use mirrors as part of their works.

Apart from this aspect, many directors simply cannot resist the temptation of exploiting the visual potentiality of this object, often employing more than one mirror in the same scene to create unique duplicating effects.

This list looks at the films that best used mirrors in effective, innovative, or striking ways.

 

20. Boogie Nights

Just as the final scene of Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull references another movie (On The Waterfront by Elia Kazan), the last sequence of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights homages the ending of Raging Bull itself.

Anderson (or even better, Anderson’s style) has never hidden the fact that Martin Scorsese, together with Robert Altman, is the main inspiration for the way he builds the universe of his movies.

Apart from the reverence Anderson shows to his masters, the homage to Raging Bull has a twist which underlines the film’s general sense of irony: while talking to himself in the mirror as De Niro’s Jake La Motta did, Mark Wahlberg’s Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler unveils the over-sized body part which made him a porn legend, which makes for a less dramatic moment, but just as effective.

 

19. 3 Women

This 1977 film by Robert Altman intersects the stories and destinies of three different female figures: Millie (Shelly Duvall), an enthusiastic young woman, Pinky (Sissy Spacek), an apparently childish woman, and an eccentric artist, Willie (Janice Rule).

In Bergmanian fashion, Altman extensively shows the protagonists reflected on a mirror, and subsequently introduces the ideas of ambiguity and duplicity. The traits of the three women, and in particular of Millie and Pinky, seem almost to merge and progressively get lost into one another.

The characters struggle to embody a certain female “persona” but fail in doing so. The film’s atmosphere is oneiric and psychological; 3 Women was clearly inspired by Bergman’s work, but to some degree it has become influential on its own, as David Lynch’s Mullholand Drive proves.

 

18. Summer Interlude

Summer Interlude (1951) is one of the earliest films in Bergman’s filmography, especially considering that he directed more than sixty movies, and was repeatedly described by the director himself as the first film in which he found his true artistic voice and his cinematic style.

It is no coincidence, then, that mirrors are heavily featured in the film; they are often in front of Marie, the protagonist, giving the spectator and insight to her thoughts and reflectiveness, and are also featured in a beautifully framed dialogue between Marie and her ballet-master.

 

17. Dead of Night

Dead of Night is a 1945 British horror film. One of the few horror films produced in Britain at the time, it has proven quite successful and its resonance is still present in the genre.

The film follows a central story around which various tales of horror unfold, narrated by a group of people to a man who claims to know each one of them, but only from his dreams. One of these tales is the story of a haunted mirror in which the past is shown. A striking horror moment which makes the film’s elaborate mosaic of thrilling stories even more memorable.

 

16. The Mirror

Andrei Tarkovsky decided to name his fourth full-length film “Mirror” while he was shooting it. Mirrors are present throughout the whole movie, maybe not too prominently for a film titled after them, but certainly in a significant fashion.

The film is built as a series of inconsequential recollections of a man, and has a dream-like atmosphere which owes something to Bergman, as a movie titled “The Mirror” could not have avoided doing.

The film has the slow pace and the long takes for which Tarkovsky’s style has become recognizable, and constantly switches through different time periods. Perhaps less known to the general public than other works such as Solaris or Stalker, the film has the undisputed admiration of legions of critics and film fans and stands as one of the great masterpieces of cinema.

 

15. Enter the Dragon

“Remember: the enemy has only images and illusions. Destroy the image and you will break the enemy”. This is the philosophical maxim that Bruce Lee’s character remembers near the end of Enter the Dragon before the final confrontation with his enemy Han.

The sentence gains a particular meaning since the place where Lee is about to fight is filled with mirrors; the subsequent fight scene has many broken mirrors and hypnotic reflections of great effect.

This was Lee’s final film before his mysterious death in 1973; the film was released six days after he died. Enter the Dragon is a classic martial arts film, and one of the most known of the genre, a fact that is proven by the great number of homages and parodies the movie has garnered through the years.

 

14. Eternity and a Day

The Palme d’Or winner at the 1998 edition of the Cannes Festival was Theo Angelopoulos’ Eternity and a Day (Μια αιωνιότητα και μια μέρα); it is one of the Greek director’s masterpieces and the third entry in the Trilogy of Borders.

The main character’s in the story are a terminally ill poet (Bruno Ganz) and an Albanian boy (Achilleas Skevis) who is an illegal immigrant; also featured is a 19th century poet played by Fabrizio Bentivoglio.

The film is as stylistically masterful as one can expect an Angelopoulos film to be. It features a wonderful mirror scene in which the man and the boy enter a bar; as the man talks, the camera stays on a mirror on which we can see the boy’s reflection.

A group of policemen enter, and the boy immediately gets scared and takes a step back, disappearing from the frame, just as another man enters the bar and is shown twice, in the mirror and outside of it. It is only after a few moments that the viewer understands, through the reflection of the poet’s reaction, that the boy has run outside the bar.

 

13. Black Swan

After having told the story of wrestler who has fallen in disgrace and his intense struggles, Darren Aronofsky directed Black Swan (2010), a film with similar themes of obsession and professional-artistic dedicaton.

A journey into ballerina Nina Sayers’ (Natalie Portman) psiche, the film plays with the concepts of reality and perception, as earlier films of Aronofsky such as Requiem for a Dream did. One revealing sequence is the fitting scene, in which Natalie Portman’s character stands in front of a mirror while her body is measured for costumes, and one of her paranoid visions appear.

The whole film is filled with mirrors, them being in the dressing rooms, or the rehearsal gym, and so on. Deceptive reflections are the symbol for paranoia, and in the end the most extreme moment of the ballerina’s descent into madness happens through a broken mirror.

 

12. Last year at Marienbad

A French-Italian coproduction, Lat Year in Marienbad is Alan Resnais’ second film after his masterful debut Hiroshima Mon Amour. If his first film dwelled on the theme of memory, this second feature is built to resemble a dream, and its editing, scenographic and visual choices steer away from the regular sense of perception of reality; the screenplay, which was adapted down to the detail by Resnais, is by Alain Robbe-Grillet.

Heavily criticized for its pretentiousness, the film has also been hailed as a masterpiece of surrealism and New-Wave cinema. Mirrors are a crucial part of the experimentations Robbe-Grillet and Resnais adopted for the film, and the hotel the film is set in is filled with them.

The most memorable image of the film concerning a mirror is the one in which Giorgio Albertazzi looks at Delphine Seyrig down an hall, but the spectator only sees the woman in a reflection near Albertazzi’s close-up.

 

11. Orphée

Orphée is a 1950 film by Jean Cocteau which retells in a modern setting the legend of Orpheus and Euridices. The Greek myth tells of Orpheus, an exceptionally skilled musician who can sway both living and non living things with his music; when his wife Eurydice dies, he gets the chance to retrieve her from the underworld, only to the condition to not look at her during their journey back to the world of the living; this proves too much to him, and has he turns to look at her, he loses her again.

Cocteau’s adaptation features an impressive mirror scene, when Orpheus has to enter the underworld. He first has to put on special gloves (this particular action is actually shown in reverse order), and then passes through a mirror whose glass becomes liquid and lets him pass. The tricks used for the scene are not extremely elaborate but perfectly work in the film’s oneiric atmosphere.

The 10 Most Uncompromising Filmmakers in Cinema History

Werner Herzog

When it comes to making a film, the risk of alienating the viewers is always there. Not everything will be understood or appreciated. Most filmmakers don’t want to risk it. A safer alternative would be to follow a simple formulaic, which not only pleases the audience but also makes them much more bankable for investors. But there are some who will risk it anyway.

To them, filmmaking is not about being recognized, the glamour of having your name on the silver screen. It’s a craftsmanship that deserves to be honored. But in order to do that, the filmmaker must sometimes tread spaces too uncomfortable for most. They could make it easy on them, but that would be cheating their vision.

Time and again, they have challenged conventions. Never interested in your usual Hollywood schmaltz, in comfortable three-act structures or even sympathetic characters. These people have challenged conventional narratives, have played with our expectations, crushed our spirits when necessary. Nothing was sugarcoated, no subject was off-limits.

Taking us farther away from our comfort zones than any studio executive would dare to. None of them cared about making you feel ‘good’ about yourself or your fellow man. They aimed to portray humanity as they saw it, in all its ugliness and necessary filth.

In the following list we take a look at these polemic filmmakers. Whether you liked them or not, there’s no denying their artistry, the genuine effect it had on us when we gave them a chance.

 

10. Todd Solondz

todd-solondz

Some filmmakers like to do one for them and one for themselves, and back and forth, The studio and the independent. But I like to do everything for me…” this statement by Todd Solondz is not surprising once you look at this filmography.

From his first film Fear, anxiety and depression to his last Wiener-dog which garnered a large walk-out at its Sundance premier from the dog-lovers in the audience, it becomes increasingly obvious that he’s not remotely interested in mainstream fame.

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In arguably his most famous film Happiness, we have a father giving parental advice to his son about how to ejaculate, even offering him some help. Both deeply uncomfortable and hilarious, even more so when you are aware that the father is a pedophile. The rest of the cast involves people who are all lost, prisoners of their own impulses, all looking for that Hollywood moment that is never within their reach. Creatures of suburbia, promised the simple life but whose lives could never remain simple.

In Dark Horse, the main character is a thirty-something manchild who still lives with his parents, seeking their acceptance and personal success. It’s the typical story of the perennial loser seeking redemption. A perfect opening for a touching Hollywood film but Todd instead subverts the cliche, refusing to make the main character easily likeable. Abe (the main character) is like all Todd’s characters, a victim of his own hubris.

Blaming his father for not becoming the famous singer he dreamed to be, understanding life through the tired pop-songs he listens in his car. Pop songs that talk about becoming the man you really are- instead Abe will never be the man he really wants to be, and the sooner he accepts this the better.

Palindromes

Palindromes, a favorite among Solondz devotees, involves a protagonist played by eight people of different genders and race. The fact that Solondz spend his whole live savings on making it because no studio wanted to back it, makes his name essential in this list of uncompromising directors.

All of his characters live with a fake narrative of themselves, deep down they know how sad they really are and its their desperate attempts to mask it that is the source of the dark comedy Todd revels in.

All of them think they are in a Hallmark movie, and reality is always there to break their hearts. All of them seek true love but are often times too selfish to truly give themselves to someone else.

Todd’s movies are mean spirited, but at the same time, one could argue he gives a human face to these people too. In the moments when the characters offer that glimmer of authenticity, the blessing is a great one. The world is full of phonies and they can be painful to watch, but we can be fascinating creatures too. And even in our most depraved moments, maybe even a bit lovable.

And on the topic of the ending of Wiener-dog ‘I’m going to use a big truck to crush a tiny little dog… Well I’m really going to do it, because life is crushing.” It’s this fearlessness in an artform mostly used to sugarcoat reality, that cements his position in this list.

 

9. Takashi Miike

best Takashi Miike movies

Miike is infamous for the incredible amount of work he has done in a short span of years. The way he works with a tight schedule would make most notable Hollywood directors jealous. That’s not to say his films aren’t an acquired taste.

Apart from having to be somewhat accustomed to Japanese cinema- it’s highly advisable not to dive into it without some knowledge beforehand, the initial cultural differences could be alienating at first- his films do not shy away from extreme content. One needs to have a particular strong stomach. Not only that, an appreciation of dark comedy, even scatological humor which is often sprinkled the depravity and gore.

Visitor Q (2001)

In one his most famous films Visitor Q, a satire on the family drama (and possibly a loving ode to Passolini’s Theorema), not only will the viewer be confronted with taboo subjects such as incest, sual assault, necrophilia and lactation s, Miike also invites you to laugh about these things.

In one particular noteworthy scene, the father character having s with a corpse, finds his p stuck inside the dead woman due to rigor mortis. His mother character helps him out using oil and vinegar and when does not help, heroin seems to do the trick. Needless to say, this is probably not everyone’s cup of tea. This film could make John Waters blush- and probably has.

Most of his movies deal with extreme violence, switching from cartoony depictions to the shocking and visceral. In one his other more famous films Ichi the Killer, we have a character slicing people in half with a blade in his boots, mixed with a disturbing scenes of rape and female mutilation.

In Fudoh: The New Generation, his Yakuza classic, we have a blackly comical scene where kids are playing soccer with the severed head of their teacher (a scene homage in Eli Roth’s Hostel 2, Miike himself cameos in the first Hostel film as a violent hungry businessman), while later a child is brutally murdered. Nothing and nobody is safe in a Takashi Miike movie.

Happiness of the Katakuris

That’s not to say Takashi Miike is solely about shock. His filmography is rich with different genres. The Happiness of Katakuris mixes musical, comedy, horror and stop-motion in a ridiculously entertaining blend.

The deeply underrated The Bird People of China is a moving portrait of two people finding meaning in a rural Chinese village. He’s even done an enjoyable kids movie The Great Yokai War and a silly video-game adaptation Ace Attorney. None of them have the shocking content you would expect from his style of filmmaking.

But this segment could not be finished without mentioning his most notorious film; Audition. It’s not only an incredible work of cinema, slow-burning, creepy, shocking, but ultimately moving depiction of loneliness and abuse.

When all is said and done, his tireless work ethic, his wonderful unpretentious manner, hate him or love him, there’s no denying that he’s one of a kind.

 

8. Gaspar Noe

Gaspar Noé

The Argentinean born director Gaspar Noe knows very well that his movies are not for everyone. So much so that he has stated that he enjoys his bad reviews more than his positive ones, ”the good ones help the movie to exist,” he stated in an Indiewire interview, ”…but The bad ones help you to get into some kind of revenge plan, and excited for another movie.”

I Stand Alone (1998)

His first cinematic outing was I Stand Alone, the tale of a despondent butcher slowly giving in to his baser desires. Like most of Gaspar’s film, I Stand Alone did not have a traditional script. Only the monologues were written, the rest was an outline. Not having a traditional script was to become a good tactic to get his most famous film Irreversible produced.

The funding for the film was a self-proclaimed ”bank robbery” because he knew if there had been a traditional script, nobody would dare produce it. The scene that would probably make any producer hesitant would have been the eleven minute rape, which was only briefly mentioned in the outline.

The actual scene is an endurance test, that garnered most walkouts in the year it was released. Shot in one unbroken take, we get a little taste of what horror the victim endures, culminating into her being beaten into a coma.

Irreversible

His latest film Love caused much uproar with its unflinching depiction of s but expect nothing less from him. Gasper’s movies are visceral, unrelenting and hard to watch, but it comes closer to the darkness of its subjects than more conventional movies would dare to tread. They are experiences; assaulting the senses, waking you up from a summer full of lame blockbusters. For this alone, not to mention his incredible knack for visuals and beautifully choreographed one-take shots, he deserves to be on this list.

 

7. Nicolas Winding Refn

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Seeing as the Danish born director Nicolas Winding Refn proclaims himself to be the ‘pornographer of cinema,” it’s safe to say that he isn’t shy about a little controversy- in fact, he actually invites it.

To him, the definition of a successful film is a polarizing one, to make them think and ponder whether they liked it or not. One only has to look at his latest film, Neon Demon, a gorgeous looking film that also involves both cannibalism and necrophilia, to see that he has wholeheartedly stuck to this view.

Apart from his last film, all his films involve men driven to darkness. Loners seeking a redemption of sorts, fighting against their own nature. They seek love but often don’t know how to handle it. A desire for intimacy in a dark grimy world. Sometimes they find it, sometimes they they find themselves even more lost than when they started.

Bleeder (1999)

It’s his particular use of both violence and sweetness that makes his films powerful, scenes of gentle character interactions in a world surrounded by violence. In Bleeder, we have two stories; one man’s descent into violence, the other a sweet tale of a man finding love.

Drive is both a tender love story and a violent noir thriller, which has both a slow-motion kiss and immediately after that; a graphic head-stomping. To Refn, violence is like suality. ”Climaxing only for a few seconds. But the shorter and faster it is, the more effective it is.” And violence does indeed assault the lives of his characters, the nightmarish effects become all the more apparent.

But no matter how vicious his films might get, they’ll also be gorgeous to look at. Using color to both give an insight into the nature of the scene and mental turmoil’s of his characters. It’s a surprise that he’s actually colorblind but in his own words, his handicap might have been beneficial. Looking at the gorgeous scenery of his films, it’s hard to disagree.

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His first American feature Fear X lead his production company being bankrupted. It would not be the first time that Refn would undergo financial trouble during the making of a film. Even after receiving some mainstream success with his neo-noir triller, he had to empty his family’s personal account to finish his follow-up Only God Forgives. This only shows his uncompromising dedication to his vision for film.

Slow-burning, beautiful to look at it, at times both endearing and unnerving, his films are not for everyone but even his biggest critics cannot his knack for the language for the language of cinema. No matter how messy his next film will be, it will surely be too beautiful to dismiss.

 

6. Alejandro Jodorowsky

Alejandro-Jodorowsky

Those who have seen the inspiring documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune are very well aware of the magnitude of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s vision. The documentary chronicles the eventual failed attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune, which if he would have succeeded would have been the Space-opera to end all Space-opera’s.

Eventually Alejandro’s dream project would turn out to be far too ambitious, with too many ego’s too juggle and the cost skyrocketing, and the production fell apart. But if documentary proves anything, if his former movies haven’t already; it’s that when Jodorowsky lets his imagination run free, we are in for a very special ride.

Fando & Lis (1967)

Born in Chile, a former Circus clown and puppeteer and mime student, Alejandro made his first feature film in 1968; Fando y lis. It takes most directors some time before they find their style, but in this debut, he would highlight many of his signature styles; series of surrealistic scenes, rapid editing, nudity, people with either disfigurements or physical handicaps.

Just like in his most notable films, Fando y lis concerns a spiritual journey for enlightenment. in The Holy Mountain, it’s the Thief seeking for the aforementioned mountain, in Santa Sangre it’s a son and his armless mother who seek fulfillment through bloody revenge.

In all these four films, the main characters come be aware of their delusional pursuit, coming to realize that ultimate fulfillment is out of reach for the human spirit. All of them involve surreal imagery, either portraying the horrors of human error or satirizing their hopeless attempts for utopia.

Ranging from horrifying to the bizarre to the knock-down hilarious, Jodorowsky pulls no punches. In El Topo, a group of cultists massacres a group of outcasts because they don’t follow the norm.

In The Holy Mountain the main characters finally reach the holy mountain, only to discover faceless dummies instead of the promised wise immortals and we are told by the director himself that none of this is real, and that ”real life awaits us.”

The Holy Mountain

The obsession with materialism and how it cultivates into a false religion is a concurrent theme running through most of his films, as are the sins of the parent running down onto the children. It seems unnecessary to say, but his films are certainly not for everyone. The puritans among us should stay away.

An open mind is definite necessity, the willingness to be baffled. But suffice it to say, though all its madness and gore and debauchery, there’s a definite humanist streak that aches and prays for the awakening of human decency.