Springtime is here! Last year, around this time, we released a blog with some of our recommendations for “hidden gem” films. Just about a year later, we are revisiting this topic as a way to spring into the season and share with you a few more unlikely finds!
Craig recommends: The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008)
"The Good, The Bad, The Weird is a South Korean western, that takes place in Manchuria just prior to WWII. This unique set-up leads to one of the greatest adventure films of all time; in fact, I have consistently been branded a heretic for claiming that it is better than the Indiana Jones franchise--and this coming from someone who, as a boy, ran around with a knock-off Jones hat and a bull-whip (poor parenting). Song Kang-ho, playing the titular Weird, completely steals the show here as the bumbling thief who has more depth than initially anticipated. And, as we follow the Weird on his suspense-laden journey, we are treated to amazingly choreographed action sequences that rival anything out there today. While these scenes are worth the price of admission on their own, the reason that this film succeeds is that it marries the action with solid characterization and palpable tension, resulting in a cinematic experience that is not only immensely fun, but emotionally rewarding. And, to top it all off, there is an expertly-crafted twist involved!"
Jeff recommends: Band of Robbers (2015)
"Band of Robbers is a modern take on Mark Twain's classic characters, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. The story itself is clever, not to mention, awkwardly funny. Tom and Huck are older in this tale but they haven't outgrown their pursuit of adventure and danger. "
Michelle recommends: Long Shot (2017)
"Mix together the unlikely ingredients of baseball, a murder trial, and Larry David, and you get this unbelievable true story. The short documentary features one man’s real-life struggle to prove his innocence after an accusation lands him on trial for a murder he insists he did not commit. At a 39-minute runtime, it is a quick watch that leaves a lasting impression."
Hunter recommends: El Orfanato (The Orphanage) (2007)
"If you like suspense without all the violence and cheap thrills of modern day horror films, then El Orfanato is a movie you should see. The story takes place at a home in Spain that had once been an orphanage for disabled children. Laura had grown up in this orphanage and has now returned to live there with her husband and adopted son, Simon. Soon after the family moves in, Simon begins to communicate with an invisible friend. When Simon suddenly goes missing, Laura's search for her son begins to unravel terrible secrets of the past. This beautifully filmed ghost story is a haunting tale that will stay with you long after it is over."
Steve recommends: The Fall (2006)
"The Fall is a 2006 adventure fantasy film that was shot in more than 20 countries, including India, Indonesia, Italy, France, Spain, Namibia, China, and numerous others. The movie tells a story within a story. Set in 1920's Los Angeles, The Fall stars Lee Pace who plays Roy Walker, a stuntman who is bedridden in a hospital after a fall. He strikes up a friendship with Alexandria (Catinca Untaru), a young patient who is also recovering from a fall. Roy enthralls Alexandria with a fantastic story of five mythical heroes on a quest to kill a corrupt provincial governor. The two worlds blend together throughout the film with spectacular visuals."
Note: All movie images are courtesy of IMDB.