I have decided to share five films that I recommend anyone watching. In this list are some of my all-time favourites as well as newer releases that really got my attention. Without further ado, and in no particular order…
- The Hunt (2012) directed by Thomas Vinterberg, and starring Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal TV series and Casino Royale). This was Denmark’s entry for the Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars, and was definitely a great movie to watch.
Synopsis: Mikkelsen plays Lucas, a kindergarten teacher who is accused by a young girl in his care of abusing her. From the offset, the viewer knows this is a lie. This story displays the repercussions of making an accusation like this, and shows just how life destroying this can be.
This was on my watch list for a while because there are times I feel that to watch a foreign film, I need to pay it my full undivided attention. This was definitely worth the wait, and Mikkelsen shows that he has great acting ability. As we see his life being turned upside down, we feel tremendous frustration and sorrow for him. There is some effective tension built throughout which is a great tool for engaging the audience. If you have Netflix, it is available to watch.
- Sideways (2004) directed by Alexander Payne, starring Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church. This is an adaption of Rex Pickett’s novel of the same name, and won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars.
Synopsis: Two old friends Miles and Jack (Giamatti and Church) embark on a week-long adventure around California’s wine country before Jack gets married. This tells the story of what they get up to during their week away.
This is one of my favourite movies, and I cannot speak any higher of it. The dialogue is smart and witty, the acting is great, and some really good comedy arises as a result. I’m not a fan of wine, but this film made me want a drink. For any readers out there, the book is fantastic too. Pickett also released a sequel called Vertical which I also recommend.
- As Good as It Gets (1997) directed by James L. Brooks, starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear. Nicholson and Hunt won Best Actor/Actress at the Oscars for their roles, and this is where we see them at their acting best. Kinnear was nominated for a Supporting Actor award also.
Synopsis: Melvin Udall (Nicholson) is a romance author with OCD, and Carol Connelly (Hunt) is a waitress who works at the restaurant Melvin frequently visits. After gay artist Simon (Kinnear) is attacked, these three are brought together with some interesting results.
This is another of my all-time favourites. Brooks really gets this right with the cast, and there is some great charm in this movie. Nicholson really does steal the show as the film’s protagonist, and this is one of his most memorable roles in an array of fantastic performances. I urge you to check this out if you have not. Cuba Gooding Jr is also really good in this movie in a smaller role.
- Pulp Fiction (1994) directed by Quentin Tarantino, starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. This is just a selection of the great acting talent in this movie, and is in just about everyone’s list of top movies for a reason. This took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and is a genius film.
Synopsis: This is a non-linear story centring on numerous characters: two mob hit men, a gangster’s wife, a boxer and a couple about to rob a diner. This focuses on their respective stories, and the viewer sees them intertwine in various ways.
Everything about this film is fantastic – the acting, script, soundtrack and directing. Pulp Fiction is definitely one of those films people will look back on in years to come, and is arguably one of the best films of all time. This small section definitely does not do the film justice so just watch it. You won’t regret it.
- Good Will Hunting (1997) directed by Gus Van Sant, starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgård. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and Robin Williams won the Best Supporting Actor award. This is another one of my favourite films of all time. I first caught this on late weeknight television, and I am really glad I did.
Synopsis: Will Hunting (Damon) is the janitor at a prestigious Boston University, who just so happens to be a genius. After a violent encounter, he is forced to work with Professor Lambeau (Skarsgård) instead of going to jail. He also has to see Sean Maguire (Williams), a therapist who tries to provide guidance to troubled Will.
The screenplay for this movie is great, and Damon/Affleck wrote some truly memorable and fascinating characters in this Boston set story. There was some speculation that they didn’t actually write the script, but this was firmly denied. I highly recommend this film because of the screenplay, directing, acting and soundtrack. The late Elliott Smith has several songs featured on the soundtrack, and he is an artist I discovered through the film.
These are just a small selection of movies I loved, and there are plenty more I would like to recommend.
I welcome any new recommendations. 🙂