In theaters Friday: Ice Age: Continental Drift
Over the weekend, Entertainment Weekly released its list of the 50 Best Movies You've Never Seen. I don't know what their criteria were (perhaps low box office but critical raves?), and the list is not without its faults, but still, it does serve as a decent starter for those looking to expand beyond whatever is fast or furious or has Vince Vaughn yelling in it.
Some worthy indie films are here like micro-budgeted time-traveling drama Primer and Keira Knightley's best performance as a tempted wife in the Woody Allen-esque Last Night. There are also films that ought to have been sure Oscar-bait but for odd some reason fell out of the limelight, including Michelle Williams' wrenching lost dog drama Wendy and Lucy, and Christian Bale's grueling, award-worthy turn as a prisoner of war in Rescue Dawn. Among the 50 are a few don't-miss documentaries, too, like rock-doc-gone-wrong Dig! and Amish Rumspringa investigation The Devil's Playground. But documentaries get such low exposure on the whole that they actually deserve their own list of 50.
Here are my quick take on three of EW's solid selections, and two suggestions I would add to their list.
It's hard to believe that the guy who directed Pineapple Express and often helms the HBO series Eastbound & Down started his career crafting thematically and environmentally rich think pieces like this. Set in a tattered, backwoods stretch of the South, George Washington is like a deep-breathing, elegiac fairy tale about what young friends do when they decide to cover up a tragedy they don't fully understand.
Layer Cake (pictured)
A pre-Bond Daniel Craig makes every frame of this London-set mafia thriller compelling. It's like a Guy Ritchie film, without the amphetamine editing, and it's one of the best English ensembles in a genre film from the '00s with memorable performances from Michael Gambon, Tom Hardy, Sally Hawkins, Colm Meaney, Sienna Miller and more.
This is brilliant, gripping science fiction on a budget, which is, truth be told, often the best kind. With killer performances by a lonesome, disillusioned Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey voicing the moon base's all-seeing computer, this is indie Kubrick at its apex, and marked Duncan Jones' arrival as a major talent.
And, I'll add two of my own:
Between salvaging George Clooney's post-Batman & Robin movie career with Out of Sight in 1998 and capitalizing on his newfound Oscar power with Ocean's 11 three years later, Steven Soderbergh made this, one of the best films of his career. A single-minded revenge thriller, The Limey follows Terence Stamp as an ex-con on his journey from England to the U.S. to find and kill the man he believes is responsible for his daughter's death. That man turns out to be a slick, seedy Peter Fonda, and both as actors and as opposing forces of will in this moody picture, the Stamp vs. Fonda title fight does not disappoint.
This tense, psychological drama is centered on the cutthroat chaos that ensues when three roommates come upon a pile of cash when their newest roommate dies. This Hitchcockian thriller is Oscar winner Danny Boyle's feature film debut, and features the charismatic, tortured performance that won Ewan McGregor his breakout role as Renton in Boyle's Trainspotting two years later. Watch the trailer below:
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Elizabeth Arkley Hammett, a local nursing student and Fur Ball co-coordinator, and her husband Grey Hammett III, who works in commercial real estate, will take you through our summer guide. And they'll look good while doing it, too. Where noted, their clothes and accessories are available from local retailers.