I’ve been wanting to feature an Indian movie for a long time, but nothing has struck me as good enough. I was going to direct you to check out Veerana: Vengeance of the Vampire / Purani Haveli: Mansion of Evilbut that Mondo Macabro disc is selling for crazy collector prices now (maybe try a torrent search). Anyhow, Tumbbad was a real pleasure to find as it’s easily the best Indian film I’ve ever seen, of any genre. It’s super dark, and there’s very little of the silly humor that plagues most Bollywood films. Most important, it is genuinely creepy. Some of the CG isn’t quite up to current standards, but don’t let that keep you away. This is an excellent film with a damn good soundtrack to boot. Oh and by the way, smoking is injurious to your health.
This is a beautifully photographed borderline-art film about teenage rebel fighters with an American hostage. It has several violent scenes, but is mostly a deliberately paced dark drama. The jungle locations are stunning, and seem so remote they’re from another planet. All the actors are excellent, but it was a pleasant surprise to see Julianne Nicholson (Law and Order / Boardwalk Empire) knock it out of the park as the hostage. This film also features a killer electronic soundtrack by Mica Levi who also did the music for Under the Skin. Monos is an almost perfect film that I strongly recommend to any patient film buff.
I think this one got overlooked or underrated by a lot of people as it is a bit long and deliberately slow. This is not in-your-face horror or blockbuster action. The crafted look and pace lean more towards an art film. If you can get yourself into the right frame of mind you will see that Hold the Dark is an almost flawless movie. Director Jeremy Saulnier has made three excellent films in a row (plus work on True Detective), and I’m looking forward to his next one, Rebel Ridge.
This is a surprisingly well-constructed dramatization of the 2008 terror attacks. It does not pull any punches, so be prepared for a lot of graphic violence. The bloodshed is balanced with mostly-believable human stories. Hotel Mumbai manages to shine some light on a story that I didn’t know nearly enough about before watching.
Most seasoned horror nerds have seen this already. However if you’re 21 right now, you were only around 9 when it was released. Also good spooky movie choices on Hulu are few and far between. If you happened to have missed this one, get on it. Let the Right One In is a very artistic and emotional vampire movie of the highest order. The film is deliberately paced, so watch with some patience.
Most people missed that the director behind One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest made a very good historical drama revolving around “the father of modern art” Francisco Goya. It stars Stellan Skarsgård, Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem, and Randy “Cannibal Father Knows Best” Quaid. As I often say, it isn’t perfect. However Goya’s Ghosts is a solid choice if you’re looking for a movie off the beaten path.
Here’s a damn good historical drama based on Henry V. It’s got all the top quality elements in place: production design, cinematography, soundtrack, and performers. The film also features knights in full armor doing battle in graphic detail. I don’t recall anything else I’ve seen using period accurate (to my layman’s eye) outfits in combat like this. The movie is a bit on the long side, but don’t let that deter you. I didn’t fast forward even once.
Not available on Blu-ray.
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This is easily the best recent samurai film, and it’s also one of my top choices among Takashi Miike’s output. 13 Assassins is fast-paced, well made, and features awesome performances. No, it doesn’t have many of the transgressive aspects that this director is known for, but I barely noticed. This film kicks major ass from start to finish.