Category: Underappreciated Movies

A Quick Announcement for Underappreciated Movies

Hello, dear readers! You may have noticed that there wasn’t an Underappreciated Movies post at 9:00 AM this morning. We are very sorry!

The reason for this is that Windy and Melissa are BOTH in the process of moving homes, plus the Fringe Festival is coming up. In the whirlwind of crazy, we ran through our backlog of movie picks, and now don’t have the mental bandwidth to keep up.

So, we’re putting Underappreciated Movies on hold until life calms down a bit.  But don’t worry — the podcasts and Trailer Tuesday will keep coming!

This Week’s Underappreciated Movies

Every Monday, each of us will suggest a film that we feel too few people have seen.


Melissa’s Pick of the Week: Krull

The 1980s saw a boom of fantasy films, and Krull is one of the weirdest. In Krull, a princess is stolen by aliens (?!) on her wedding day, and her prince is given a knife-covered frisbee-boomerang thing so he can quest to rescue her. Along the way, he assembles a ragtag team of loners and misfits, who are mostly played by actors who became famous later (Robbie Coltrane! Liam Neeson!). They encounter flying horses, sinister swamps, vanishing fortresses, giant spiders, a cyclops… anything the filmmakers can think of. Accompanied by a great score from a young James Horner (may he rest in peace) and some truly cool practical special effects and art design, Krull is a mix of everything that was both right and wrong about sword & sorcery films in the 1980s — dazzlingly so.


Windy’s Pick of the Week: Them!

James Whitmore (Brooks in The Shawshank Redemption) and Edmund Gwynne (Santa Claus!) star in this 50s fable warning of the perils of the atomic age. Nuclear testing in the desert has resulted in Giant Mutant Atomic Ants! The army must destroy the nest – but wait! The queen flew away…in the direction of Los Angeles! A fun horror thriller in the classic 50s monster movie canon; if you haven’t seen it, turn out the lights and grab some popcorn.

This Week’s Underappreciated Movies

Every Monday, each of us will suggest a film that we feel too few people have seen.


Windy’s Pick of the Week: The Mark of Zorro

I worry that younger people have only watched the Antonio Banderas versions of this iconic character and have missed out on a truly epic and defining performance by Tyrone Power. This is the movie (and performance) that inspires young Bruce Wayne to become Batman, after all. Diego Vega must disguise his skills as a swordsman by playing a mincing nobleman so that he may rescue the common people from tyranny. Along the way, he also gets to woo Linda Darnell – and if you think Catherine Zeta Jones is gorgeous, wait ’til you see Ms Darnell. The bad guy is none other than Basil Rathbone! Who did all his own fencing! Seriously, dig this one up and enjoy Tyrone Power being dashing and clever and charming! Let the swooning commence!


Melissa’s Pick of the Week: Death Race 2000

The original Death Race 2000 lies somewhere between ridiculous cheesefest and frank social commentary, and I love every minute of it. In a dystopian future, a deadly road race is held annually to quell a bloodthirsty populace; points are awarded for running over random pedestrians. The most famous racer, played by Keith Carradine in bondage gear, drives a Corvette decked out to look like an alligator (including teeth). His competitors are no less flamboyant, including a very young pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone in buffoonish cowboy gear. It’s violent, wry, explosive, unapologetic, and delightfully weird. Director Paul Bartel (who gave us the equally weird Eating Raoul) and producer Roger Corman (who gave us 90% of all other movies) guide this film like they’re soaring a flaming airplane with dead engines: it shouldn’t fly, but it sure does.

(By the way, here are some photos from when I found the alligator car in Illinois.)

This Week’s Underappreciated Movies

Every Monday, each of us will suggest a film that we feel too few people have seen.


Melissa’s Pick of the Week: Drive Angry

It’s over-the-top. It’s often ridiculous. It contains some stunningly bad CGI. But Drive Angry has muscle cars and devil cults and kickass Amber Herd and Nic Cage as a man who has returned from hell for a bit of vengeance. If that has you saying, “Hey, that sounds kinda like Ghost Rider,” you’re not wrong, but I’ll add this cherry on top of the cheese sundae: Drive Angry also features William Fichtner as a mysterious badass named The Accountant. Fichtner steals every single goddamn scene he’s in. It’s really saying something when an actor steals a movie from a hell-escaped Nicholas Cage, but Fichtner is what truly makes this popcorn flick worth a look.


Windy’s Pick of the Week: The Red Shoes

I had thought this is a movie for the true lover of musicals and dance movies: dabblers and dilettantes don’t even bother. Then when it showed at BNAT 11, I got yelled at that I hadn’t recommended it to people sooner. “You knew about this movie and didn’t tell me?” So here – I’m telling you. If you know the classic fairytale, then you already have an inkling of what sort of tale you’re in for – and it’s not going to have a happy ending. It’s about dance and obsession – ambition, but also those who seek to control our talents. Starring the alarmingly beautiful (and talented – she was a star of the ballet stage) Moira Shearer in saturated technicolor, this film is simply stunning. There’s a lot more happening than a ballet, but the central set piece is one that will stick in your memory for years to come.

This Week’s Underappreciated Movies

Every Monday, each of us will suggest a film that we feel too few people have seen.


Windy’s Pick of the Week: All That Jazz

It feels weird to call a movie that I obsess about so frequently and so vocally “underappreciated.” Especially since it was an Oscar winner (in secondary technical awards mostly), and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Writing, and Best Cinematography. All that, and yet a surprising number of people haven’t seen it. I make this my crusade! It’s a backstage musical. It’s a tortured-artist movie. It’s a meditation on the creative process. It’s an unflinching biopic of one of the greatest dancers of the last 100 years. It’s a love letter to theater. It’s a dark comedy. Fosse the man was charismatic, charming, demanding, and driven – and this is his funhouse mirror portrait of himself.


Melissa’s Pick of the Week: The Host (aka Gwoemul)

Prior to the recent Godzilla reboot was this fine Korean take on the giant mutant monster genre. I presume kaiju nerds will have already seen this film, but anyone with a passing fancy for sci-fi monsters should seek this out. Not only does The Host give the audience decent critter thrills, but it also taps into an angle where most monster movies flounder: decent human drama. Many a critic has noted that The Host contains at least as much Little Miss Sunshine as Gojira, and it’s absolutely true: the film thrives on being a bittersweet comedy about a dysfunctional family as well as a thrill ride. Beyond that, the film is directed with real snap by Joon-ho Bong, who also directed the superb Memories of Murder, and who later went on to direct Snowpiercer.

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