Five film recommendations from FilmFella Henry – Part 4

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Call me pessimistic, but 2011 is shaping up to be a bunk year for film. As such, I’ve consigned myself to a year spent trawling back over past classics, forgotten cinema gems and the odd zombie splatterfest. To help you all through a seemingly unending drought of recent film inspiration, I’ve compiled the below recommendations.

As always, let me know what you think and suggest any other worthy watches!

Where Eagles Dare (1968) 

Director:  Brian G. Hutton

Staring:  Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure

Why you should check this out:  At first glance, WED may seem like a standard WW2 caper (a la The Guns Of Navarone, Dirty Dozen et al), but don’t be fooled: a lot more is going in this intelligent espionage thriller. WED works on several levels and benefits from both the striking location of Schloss Hohenwerfen and the chance to see some Nazi’s get the kibosh.

Fantastic Planet (1973)

Director:  Rene Laloux

Staring:  Jennifer Drake, Eric Baugin, Jean Topart

Why you should check this out:  Combining surrealism and socio-political commentary, this unique French/Czech animation paints a future where humans are enslaved by a giant alien race. An underlying commentary of the Soviet occupancy of Czechoslovakia, Fantastic Planet is an intriguing, thought provoking watch that underlines the perils of oppression and the power of knowledge.

Primer (2004)

Director:  Shane Carruth

Staring:  Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden

Why you should check this out:  The problem with the majority of time travel movies is that they are often full of plot paradoxes, never quite constructing a believable time jump theory. Not so with Primer, which attempts to broach the subject in a much more scientific manner. Don’t be put off: the results, though jargon-heavy, are far from dull as even the most cautious scientist can’t escape the perils of causation. Shot on around $7k, Primer is an impressive achievement for budget filmmaking.

Walkabout (1971)

Director:  Nicholas Roeg

Staring:  Jenny Agutter, David Gulpilil, Luc Roeg

Why you should check this out:  When two orphaned children are stranded in the Australian outback, their only hope of survival lies with a mysterious aborigine boy. Like a more surreal version of The Gods Must Be Crazy, Walkabout compares the clashing worlds of urban and natural, provoking a scrutiny of our own lives. All done, of course, in Nicholas Roeg’s unique style.

Network (1976)

Director:  Sidney Lumet

Staring:  Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch

Why you should check this out:  In light of the great director’s recent death, I think it prudent to give a mention to one of his best films, Network. Set within the television industry, it charts the live breakdown of TV anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) and the subsequent network exploitation of his crazed rants. More relevant now than ever, Network is such an important film that I recommend everyone (especially Charlie Sheen) to check it out.

Thanks for reading.  You can follow my tweets here @filmfellahenry

Advertisements

About filmfellahenry
Film reviewer, script writer and occasional painter. Fan of Lumet, Aronofsky and Kubrick, with a good measure of early John Carpenter thrown in. Particularly like post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and fantasy film genres.

5 Responses to Five film recommendations from FilmFella Henry – Part 4

  1. Josh says:

    ‘2011 is shaping up to be a bunk year for film’ I agree. It’s a shame, because last year was great (Toy Story 3, Inception, Black Swan, Shutter Island and The Social Network, to name but a few) and yet this year seems to be a bit of a letdown. There is of course, ‘The Tree Of Life’, but everything else seems to be very weak in comparison, i.e ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

    Anyway enough rambling, I think that the following are forgotten gems and deserve to be watched:
    ‘Return Of The Living Dead’
    ‘Thank You For Smoking’
    ‘Trick ‘R Treat’
    and ‘Public Enemies’

    • Thanks for reading Josh. I’m also looking forward to Tree of Life, I just hope it’s better than New World.

      Nice recommendations by the way. Return of the Living Dead should be on any zombie fan’s list (as well as the sequels), Thank You for Smoking was really enjoyable (and better than Up In the Air IMO) and Trick R Treat was a surprisingly fun watch. Though I’ll admit to not being a fan of Public Enemies.

      As a further recommendation, if you haven’t already check out the Game of Thrones TV series. Really excellent stuff that totally does the book series justice.

  2. I agree with you Henry, this has been a very bad year for cinema. It is actually pretty troubling. Where are all the good American Indie movies or foreign language classics? I had around a run of six or 7 films at the cinema which I hated or found medicore. I am number 4, Battle L.A and Sucker punch were particularly souless. On Dvd, I recently enjoyed Mic Macs which I found to be very inventive. The weird animation the nine was surprisingly good I thought. It was strangely bleak for a family animation. Another animation I enjoyed was Megamind. Found that to be pretty funny and fresh. And Rango was another animated joy I thought. Animation is fairing strong but everything else is below par. And don’t get me started on this terrible retro fitted 3-D. I took the glasses off for twenty minutes during Thor. It made no difference whatsoever. In fact, the light improved. I think what happened to me Friday would be a good message to Hollywood idiots pushing 3D. I was dragged along to see Pirates on stranger tides on Friday by a group of friends. Guess what? I haven’t seen it. Why? Because it was only showing in 3D and not one person wanted to then see it then. All claimed 3-D gave them a headache. So in this case, rather than attract more people 3-D is stopping people see the films who would otherwise watch them. Could have a rant now but a said I wouldn’t start.

    • Totally agree mate. Just check out my 3D rant for my views on the subject…

      I don’t watch any 3d screeenings anymore. If it isn’t out in 2D, then they’ve lost my custom. However, if you can to a 2d showing of Pirates, I would recommend it.

      As for animation, I think you’re spot on. Watched Despicable Me last night and found it hilarious. The same team did Hop, so I plan on seeing that soon, though judging by its bad IMDB rating, I’m guessing that the magic only works once.

  3. I agree with you Henry, this has been a very bad year for cinema. It is actually pretty troubling. Where are all the good American Indie movies or foreign language classics? I had around a run of six or 7 films at the cinema which I hated or found medicore. I am number 4, Battle L.A and Sucker punch were particularly souless. On Dvd, I recently enjoyed Mic Macs which I found to be very inventive. The weird animation the nine was surprisingly good I thought. It was strangely bleak for a family animation. Another animation I enjoyed was Megamind. Found that to be pretty funny and fresh. And Rango was another animated joy I thought. Animation is fairing strong but everything else is below par. And don’t get me started on this terrible retro fitted 3-D. I took the glasses off for twenty minutes during Thor. It made no difference whatsoever. In fact, the light improved. I think what happened to me Friday would be a good message to Hollywood idiots pushing 3D. I was dragged along to see Pirates on stranger tides on Friday by a group of friends. Guess what? I haven’t seen it. Why? Because it was only showing in 3D and not one person wanted to then see it then. All claimed 3-D gave them a headache. So in this case, rather than attract more people 3-D is stopping people see the films who would otherwise watch them. Could have a rant now but I said I wouldn’t start.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: