Thursday, March 3, 2011

Edgar Wright Top 10 Underrated Films

Originally posted on 2 Jan 2011:

I'm pretty sure I stole these from I like: 

Edgar Wright’s Top 10 underrated or underseen movies of 2010

1. “Four Lions” – If this was a bigger hit, I’d worry for the safety of its makers. It’s a ballsy satire that never wimps out. Chris Morris made my favourite TV comedy show of all time, “Brass Eye” and his debut feature is no less ballsy and hilarious.
2. “Enter The Void” – The most stunning visuals of the year for me.  A rewarding, if grueling experience where the viewer essentially takes the POV of a drug tripping ghost. This is an out of body experience in every way possible .
3. “Splice” – This film was awarded a Cinemascore of F on the basis of two audience losing sex scenes that caused audible ‘What the fuck’ cries when I saw it in the cinema. I applauded them. This is a great twisted little piece of science fiction that deserved to be lauded for its smarts and guts.
4. “Tiny Furniture” – This film announced a great young voice in Lena Dunham and its beautifully detailed look at New York’s directionless youth was fresh and funny. Unlike its mumblecore predecessors, the camerawork was nicely composed and thought out. Hugely impressive for its budget.
5. “Never Let Me Go” – This film did not get nearly enough credit for having the courage of its convictions. It’s rare to see a piece of science fiction this spare and intelligent in 2010. Mark Romanek made a haunting piece of cinema that was both emotional and brilliantly chilly.
6. “The Last Exorcism” – The TV spots did something of a bag switch with this one. The actual film is not what was advertised, it was better. It’s original title of ‘Cotton’ better sets you up for the mock documentary tale about huckster evangelist Patrick Fabian whose faith is tested by the deeply troubled Ashley Bell.

7. “
MacGruber” – In 2007, Akiva Schaffer brought us “Hot Rod.” In 2010, Jorma Tacconedirected “MacGruber.” Now Andy Samberg has to make another cult comedy in 2013 to complete the Lonely Island trilogy of underrated movies destined to become stoner classics. “MacGruber” is so fucking stupid, yet I cannot deny I watched it every night on the ‘Scott Pilgrim’ press tour in every hotel I slept in. The team up montage, the begging scene, Will Forte excruciating response to the accidental massacre of his team and the two aforementioned unforgettable sex scenes are comedy highlight of the year.

8. “
Life During Wartime” – Todd Solonz’s sequel to “Happiness” barely got released and yet it was as sharp and as strong as any of his work. The theme is this is one of forgiveness and the film has a memorable haunted mood. It sometimes feels that you’re watching all the characters in some waking purgatory, so spooky are the performances of Shirley Henderson, Michael Kenneth Williams and Paul Reubens. While the complete cast swap of this sequel is probably down to not being able to bring back all the original actors, it actually seems meant. I’d like to see Solondz return to these characters in 2023. It can be like his very own [Michael Apted doc] “7 Up.”
9. “Please Give” – Somewhat overshadowed by the equally great “The Kids Are All Right,”Nicole Holofcener’s ensemble comedy is sprinkled with ace work from Oliver Platt, Amanda Peet and the brilliantly crabby Ann Guilbert.
10. “Frozen” – “127 Hours” and “Buried” made more festival noise, but Adam Green’s ski lift bound thriller was a just as worthy addition to the single location Lifeboat genre. Making the most of the tiny budget, the film gets maximum impact with its sickening twists. A great one to watch with friends and scream ‘Don’t do that!’ at the screen.
Also worthy of mention are a host of films that either did festivals in 2009 or were U.K. releases that opened in the US in 2010. All well worth checking out are…
– “Mother,” “Fish Tank,” “Youth In Revolt,” “MicMacs”, “Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee and “Best Worst Movie.” Please also bear in mind there’s a whole lot I’ve yet to see, “Monsters” being the first on my list to see as soon as possible.