Apart from the standard blockbusters, reruns and part thousand of a movie concept we already know, there is a lot more than that. Some of them will be flops, but a lot of them are just low budget movies that don’t get the recognition they should get.
Reddit user Taffy771 made nice list of some very nice but underrated movies. Ofcourse a lot of them is an opinion, but you should sure give a lot of them a shot. It isn’t always about CGI and explosions.
Against The Sun.
A tale of survival in the vein of Lifeboat, All Is Lost, Life Of Pi, and the first act of Unbroken, Against The Sun is the true story of three WWII soldiers who crash and find themselves lost at sea drifting aimlessly on a lifeboat with little hope of rescue.
It stars Tom Felton of Harry Potter fame, and if you can look past the hilariously bad CGI (which thankfully only makes fleeting appearances), you have a great single location story of man versus nature, with just the right amount of man versus man conflict sprinkled in.
+1 is an interesting mix of Project X and Triangle. During the party of every teenager’s dreams, a cosmic disturbance causes duplicates of the partygoers to mystically appear, resulting in chaos and violence for some but giving others a second chance at fixing past wrongs.
The film feels decidedly pulpy, mixing a whole range of genres from science fiction to horror to romantic comedy, and also boasts an impressive visual style, making great use of neon lights and slow motion.
Before I Disappear.
Before I Disappear is the feature length adaptation of director, writer, and star Shawn Christensen’s Oscar-winning short film Curfew, and tells the story of a suicidal man who is forced to look after his eleven-year old niece for one hectic night.
The premise may sound cliched, but Christensen adds enough surreal elements to the tale, including a scene set in a bowling alley which is one of my favourite cinematic moments of last year, so as to make it feel very unique and original. Also stars Emmy Rossum (Shameless) and Ron Perlman (pretty much everything).
Electric Slide has an interesting background; it was originally meant to be a higher budget film featuring Ewan McGregor and Carey Mulligan. Instead, what was released last year was a much smaller film starring Jim Sturgess and Isabel Lucas, two lesser names who nevertheless put in fantastic performances as a couple who engage in a spree of bank robberies across America, Bonnie And Clyde-style.
It’s a fascinating true story, and, while the film doesn’t really work as a character study, it slides by on the strength of the actors involved, a strong soundtrack, and stylish editing.
This Swedish movie was tipped by many people to win Best Foreign Film this year, however, in what was one of the Academy’s biggest snubs, it wasn’t even nominated. It’s a real shame as well because this is a powerful movie dealing with the aftermath of a (near) disaster and how it shakes up a family dynamic. At its best it’s an insightful and nuanced look at the concept of masculinity and its place within the modern family, and it doesn’t hurt that it features Kristofer Hivju (Game Of Thrones) and his glorious beard.
Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife.
If you liked Very Bad Things you should check out Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife, a film which has flown under the radar despite featuring Donald Faison (Scrubs) and Patrick Wilson (Watchmen). The less you know about the film the better, but the title should give you some indication of what sort of a movie you’re getting into. Sadly it’s let down by very bland cinematography that doesn’t match the movie’s wickedly playful tone, but those who enjoy their comedies dark could do a lot worse.
Odd Thomas, staring Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) was stuck in post-production hell but finally saw a release last year. It’s a Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) adaptation of a Dean Koontz book that is most accurately described as a supernatural thriller but yet also packs a hefty emotional punch and impressively fast-paced banter.
Once again the CGI is the weakest part of the film, but it doesn’t hold back a movie which is much better than its lack of attention would have you believe.
Rob The Mob.
Yet another movie based on a true story, Rob The Mob is perfect for Boardwalk Empire fans wishing to see more of Michael Pitt in a gangster context. Pitt plays an ex-con who has the flawless idea of robbing mafia social clubs, but gets a little more than he bargained for when he stumbles across highly valuable and sought-after information during one of his raids.
The film is worth seeing just for Andy Garcia’s subtle and dignified performance as a mob boss, but it also offers a refreshingly grounded look at organised crime in America.
The superhero genre is one that doesn’t readily lend itself towards low-budget efforts, which is all the more reason to admire this (admittedly very flawed) film by Todd Burrows and Christopher Folino. Sparks is made on a shoestring budget, so you can’t go in expecting the greatest special effects or acting (you know it’s rough when Jake Busey, not even Gary Busey, is the biggest name in the cast), but it manages to pull off a very slick, neo-noir visual style reminiscent of Watchmen and Sin City whilst featuring an origins story which is actually interesting for once and a plot which respectfully subverts the conventions of the genre.
The lack of attention directed at this one is a little mystifying, as it has plenty of hallmarks of a blockbuster, including an all-star cast featuring Kate Beckinsale, Ben Kingsley, Michael Caine, Jason Flemyng, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Sturgess, and David Thewlis. What’s more, this cast is given a script based off an Edgar Allan Poe short story to work with and is directed by Brad Anderson (The Machinist).
It’s hard to see how you could go wrong, and sure enough the movie delivers plenty of twists, thrills, and memorable moments, all set against the atmospheric backdrop of a gothic mental asylum. Just make sure not to watch the trailer, as it unfortunately gives away some of the biggest reveals of the film.
The Signal is without a doubt one of the most beautifully shot films of 2014. I really wanted to show this off, but unfortunately couldn’t do so without significant spoilers, as one of the joys of this film is going in knowing as little as possible and being surprised at the direction the story takes. Suffice to say that the director got his start as a cinematographer and it shows, because the visuals here are simply stunning, particularly in the thrilling final act.
The story may not quite live up to the style of the film, especially for those familiar with science fiction tropes, but I still found it interesting, and there’s just enough of a philosophical undertone to keep things intellectually as well as visually engaging.
Another low budget scifi effort, Time Lapse deals with three friends who discover a strange contraption that takes photos through their apartment window exactly 24 hours in advance. It’s an interesting twist on the time travel concept, and the premise of course throws up questions of free will and how best to exploit the machine, both of which test the characters’ dynamic and morals.
The twists are laid on thick and fast, as is the norm for movies such as this, and the complexities of what’s going on will have you thinking long after the credits have finished rolling.