The Lobster (2015)
In this absurdist, dystopian black comedy-romance, single people are required by law to find a partner or else they are turned into animals. All single folk have to go to The Hotel and have 45 days to change their romantic situation. Colin Farrell plays David, a man who’s wife has just left him and if he can’t find someone to fall in love with, then he’ll live out the rest of his days as a lobster.
The Battery (2012)
This Indie-American horror film has two baseball players dealing with a zombie outbreak in New England. While zombie horror films aren’t all that unique, this one subverts the genre, and the shambling un-dead are secondary to the interpersonal struggles that these two men face against a certain death.
It’s always the well-done, indie low-budget films that’ll show you how a film should be.
How’s this for a mouthful. Spring is a science-fiction horror romance and it’s easily one of the best films I saw in 2014. It mixes a sudden romance in Europe, with a deep dive into Lovecraftian mythology, with a beautiful ending. It deals with Evan, who loses his mom and job, and decides to run off to Italy, only to meet Nadia.
I really don’t want to spoil the rest of the film, but if you can watch this one, do it.
Big Nothing (2006)
You might think that with David Schwimmer in the cast, this might be a write-off, but you’d be pleasantly surprised with this flick. Schwimmer plays an unemployed teacher who joins forces with a scammer played by Simon Pegg and one-night stand played by Alice Eve, to blackmail a local priest. It’s a black comedy, caper film in the vein of Guy Richie’s early work, and it’s a good one to get lost in for an hour or two.
I randomly stumbled across this one, one late night and it was transfixed by how good Mickey Rourke used to be. This film is based on the life of successful poet/author Charles Bukowski and his time spent drinking in LA from the 60’s to the 80s, and it’s a glimpse into the seedy side of being an alcoholic artist in the glitziest town in the world.
War on Everyone (2016)
This British black buddy comedy pairs up the unlikeliest of actors in Michael Pena and Alexander Skarsgard, but it works. These two guys are corrupt New Mexico cops that are out to blackmail and frame every criminal that crosses them, but then some events are set in motion that makes their jobs even harder and puts them in the crosshairs of a dangerous criminal.
It’s pretty fast-paced and hilarious, but I love it for this part right here:
The Guard (2011)
Another one in the buddy cop/fish-out-of-water genre, but it works. You have Brendon Gleeson as a typical Irish cop and Don Cheadle as an FBI agent tasked at stopping an international drug-smuggling ring. It’s a crass and black look at policing in the Emerald Isle and a fun watch on a rainy afternoon.
Hard Candy (2005)
I’ve seen this one at least 5 times, and I’m still not sure if the main character is right or not. This take on the Red Riding Hood mythos, has Ellen Page luring a Paedophile into her web, rather than the other way around. It’s a brilliant film and one I’d definitely recommend.
Death At a Funeral (2007)
It’s usually at funerals that you find out the truth about some people and this film preys on that sensibility. When a man tries to expose a dark secret about a recently deceased patriarch, things go a little crazy. This is a really, really dark comedy and worth a good laugh, especially since you’ve got Peter Dinklage and Alan Tudyk hamming it up.
M. Night Shyamalan has always been one of my favourite directors and even with the last few films, I’ve tried to stick with him. Admittedly, it’s been hard, but with Split, he’s really made me squeal with joy. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I loved the ending and I love what it means for his next film (but I won’t spoil it here, in case you haven’t seen it yet).
But James McAvoy plays one hell of a man, struggling with 23 distinct personalities, while the girls he’s kidnapped need to find a way to escape before his final personality emerges. Don’t miss this one.
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)
I’d pretty much watch RDJ act his way out of anything, so this film is a bit of a treat. He plays Dito Montiel, in an auto-biographical film about a man who comes back home to Astoria, NY and reminisces about his life growing up in the 1980’s. While his friends end up dead, on drugs or in prison, he believe’s he’s been protected by various so-called saints.
25th Hour (2002)
This is one hell of an introspective film. Edward Norton plays Montgomery Brogan, a convicted NY drug dealer, who reevaluates his life in the 24 hours he has left before he goes to prison. This was probably one of the best films of the decade and it’s going to make you think about your choices in life. Norton’s performance is powerful enough to do that.
Synecdoche, New York (2008)
While a theatre director struggles with his health and his work, as well as the women in his life, he creates a life-sized replica of New York City inside of a warehouse as a part of his new play/art exhibit. Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performances don’t get any better than this.
Murder by Death (1976)
Showcasing some of the best dramatic talents of the day, this satirical murder mystery film is actually really funny to watch, if you grew up on old-school, hard-boiled whodunnits. Each character is a pastiche of a famous detective, and they’re trapped in a house, trying to solve a mystery before they die. This one was very reminiscent of the Peter Sellers’ Pink Panther series, as well as an old Hitchcock film; both of which I love.
This surrealist body horror film is pretty fucked up, but it’s an addictive watch. As the feature film of David Lynch, who’d go on to create the spectacular Twin Peaks, this film has got a man named Harry Spencer who’s trying to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend and a mutant baby. It’s sounds weird, it is weird, but it works as a midnight classic.