We all lead busy lives and with hundreds of movies coming out every year it’s quite easy to miss some great ones. Between blockbusters and other heavily promoted movies there are countless others that fall through the cracks. There are only so many movies you can watch at any given time!
This is where this list comes in! The intention is to highlight some of those unknown but worth watching movies. It doesn’t mean that everything in the list is a perfect 10.
But a lot of them have some great elements to showcase. Wether that’s the overall concept, cinematography, script, or a combination of things.
Duel Mystery | Thriller (1971)
Even though this is a movie directed for TV it’s worth watching for several reasons! The first one is the obvious one. It’s a really really good movie! It’s one of the rare cases where a direct to TV film is actually good! Second of all it’s the directorial debut of Steven Spielberg! It showcases one of his greatest strengths as a director.
Like Jaws the story is deceivingly simple but it’s using that as a platform for some great character exploration.The main character is a motorist who gets himself in trouble while trying to pass a truck! You can feel the anguish of the protagonist and relate to his unforeseen conundrum.
But apart from the main character the movie has a great antagonist. The way Spielberg chooses to portray him intensifies the situation even more and showcases his great talent as a director. I’m not going to give anything else away. Just find the movie and watch it! If you can get your hands on the DVD version which contains great commentary extras from Spielberg even better!
Wait until dark Mystery | Thriller (1967)
This movie was really popular in 1967 but 48 years (!) have passed since then. As you would expect not a lot of people are aware of its existence!
Yet another movie with the simplest of plots that manages to create some captivating storytelling moments. It’s mostly shot inside an apartment and its impact is even greater because of that. Audrey Hepburn portrays a blind woman in a dire situation. She unknowingly is in possesion of an object several people would like to get their hands on.
Terrence Young successfully creates a sense of claustrophobia with every passing moment. A little bit dated in some parts e.g. overdramatised acting but very successful in others. Henry Mancini manages to create some tense moments with his soundtrack while everything unfolds in moments of silence and darkness.
Trivia after watching the film: In the final scene, movie theatres were directed to turn the lights off one by one as each light build was smashed on-screen.
Confessions of a super hero Documentary (2007)
The film concentrates on four people making their living, as costumed superheroes at the Hollywood walk of fame. A fascinating glimpse in to their daily routine, their personalities and their choices in life. The creators document the characters without trying to make a statement or serve their own agendas and beliefs. They just observe the characters as unobtrusively as possible. As every documentary that respects itself should!
Pontypool Thriller (2008)
An alternative view to the zombie genre. The plot revolves around a radio host documenting the strange events occurring at the small Canadian town of Pontypool. The audience and the main character experience the events of the movie at the same time. The character doesn’t know anything more than what the viewer knows and vice versa.
By creating this strong bond between the audience and the main character the viewer has a more immersive experience trying to unfold the mystery. To enhance this feeling we get to piece what is going on outside the radio station mainly through through phone calls from people calling in and talking to the radio host. A brilliant way to tell a story and save budget!
Accuracy of Death / Sweet rain (Suwîto rein: Shinigami no seido) Drama | Fantasy (2008)
A beautiful, small Japanese movie. Chiba is a Grim Reaper whose job is to decide who should die or not. An elegant story about what it means to be alive.
Great cinematography and nice little ideas throughout the film. For example the constant rain when the Grim Reaper visits earth and his “sidekick” a black dog that has deep and thoughtful discussions with him. In a way a bit similar to “A boy and his dog” in that regard but instead of having voice overs the whole dialog is carried through subtitles!
Charley Varrick Action | Drama (1973)
Charley Varrick is a film of its time. The 70s was a period where the American film industry questioned everything in the movie making process. This produced a lot of unusual films with tons of experimentation in narrative, character development and cinematography. Everything was questioned and everything was approached slightly differently than before. And this shows through on Charley Varrick.
A movie about an anti hero portrayed by an actor that is not immediately connected to action movies. So even though it’s a hollywood movie through and through it has a lot of quirky qualities to make it stand out.
Charley along with his wife and friend rob a small town bank. What they don’t know though is that the mob is using that bank to launder money.
That’s all I’m going to say. The rest you need to find out on your own!
Primer Sci-Fi | Thriller (2004)
By the end of the movie the first time through, chances are you will be incredibly confused. You will still be confused the second time around and probably the third! What matters though is watching the whole story unfold.
And the story and its characters are as entertaining and as interesting as it can get. What is even more amazing is how this movie could possibly be made with such a ridiculously low budget. The whole film was produced with just 7000$! You won’t be able to tell though.
What you’ll witness is great performances, and great story in a beautifully shot movie. Primer is about two friends who accidentally discover the means to travel through time.
After watching this do yourself a favour and watch Shane Carruth’s second film Upstream Color. An absolutely gorgeous film!
Cashback Comedy (2006)
Cashback is about a young kid (Ben) who spends his nights working at a local supermarket after developing insomnia. He along with the other quirky employees try to find ways to fight the monotony of a night shift.
A very creative film with a lot of elaborate shots. Obviously a work of a director who loves the moviemaking process! What is worth noting is that Cashback started out as a short film but then expanded on to a full feature film with the same cast and crew!