Streaming for Your Pleasure: Movies to See Before the Summer
Article By: Dan Clark
We are about to embark on what will hopefully be a rather fun summer of movies. With that in mind I focused the second installment of Streaming for Pleasure of some films you should see before this summer hits. Having a familiarity with an actor or director’s career can often shine some light on what their future projects may have in store. Also it can help garner more motivation to see a film you would have otherwise avoided. Curious what the Avengers might be like? What Tom Hardy has in store for the character of Bain? Well check out some of these films and they just might answer some of your questions.
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, and Lucy Russell
Synopsis: Christopher Nolan writes and directs this odd, claustrophobic neo-noir film about a seedy young Brit (Jeremy Theobald) who’s obsessed with following people — albeit harmlessly at first. After meeting a like-minded bloke (Alex Haw), the twosome graduate to breaking and entering — but meet their match in a tough blonde dame (Lucy Russell) who may have dubious plans of her own.
Why You Should Check It Out: Christopher Nolan is one of the most respective directors today. He’s been the rare breed that has been able to create huge box office hits that receive great critical response. With that in mind it’s great to look back to where it all began with his first movie Following. While the budget was small the talent was still large enough to shine through. If you are at all a Nolan fan this is a must see.
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Panliano
Synopsis: Suffering short-term memory loss after a head injury, Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) embarks on a grim quest to find the lowlife who murdered his wife in this gritty, complex thriller that packs more knots than a hangman’s noose. To carry out his plan, Shelby snaps Polaroids of people and places, jotting down contextual notes on the backs of photos to aid in his search and jog his memory. He even tattoos his own body in a desperate bid to remember.
Why You Should Check It Out: While Following is where Nolan began his career Memento is where he perfected it. I could even argue that this may still be his best film. While The Dark Knight is no doubt a comic book movie masterpiece Nolan showed with Memento that his capable of great things with little resources. If you ever wondered what movie got him the job of revitalizing Batman I believe this is it. Greatness is found in the small things like editing and structure. Telling a story backwards is a great way to prove you can do the small things in a big way.
Directed By: Joss Whedon
Written By: Joss Whedon
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, and Chiwetel Ejiofor
Synopsis: Picking up where his cult show “Firefly” left off, writer-director Joss Whedon’s tale of galactic unrest follows Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), captain of the transport ship Serenity, and his scrappy but loyal crew. When the ship picks up two fugitives from the powerful coalition ruling the universe, “Mal” and his mates find themselves at the center of a cosmic conflict, pursued by military forces and space-roaming savages.
Why You Should Check It Out: While many geeks have had some experience with Joss Whedon’s work some may still wonder what The Avengers will be like in his hands. The movie of his you must see before this summer has to be Serenity. It shows how well he handles characters and their interactions with one another. If you had any worries about Whedon directing The Averngers watch this as soon as possible. You’ll see how much of an importance Whedon places on devloping his character’s relationshps. Plus its simply a great movie. Easily one of the most underrated Science Fiction films in the last decade.
Death Race 2000
Directed By: Paul Bartel
Written By: Robert Thorn and Charles B. Griffith
Starring: David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone, and Simone Griffeth
Synopsis: Paul Bartel (Cannonball!) directs this sci-fi cult classic about the deadly and brutal Transcontinental Road Race in which rivaling teams travel across America scoring points by offing innocent people.
Why You Should Check It Out: Sylvester Stallone has numerous iconic roles like Rocky, Rambo, and of course the biggest role of all Nick from Rhinestone. One of his first starring roles was in the cult classic Death Race 2000. If you are going to watch the action movie version of porn that will be Expendables 2 watch this beforehand. Interesting enough Stallone’s Expendablescostar Jason Statham starred in the remake of this film back in 2008. Watching the original you can see why the remake doesn’t work as well. Cult films like this are better served with no named actors. It just helps to give it that gritty feel.
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson
Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, and Dianne Wiest
Synopsis: An inventor dies before developing hands for his creation, a boy named Edward who instead has scissors at the end of each arm. Edward lives a monastic existence until an Avon lady adopts him and takes him to live in the pastel paradise of suburbia.
Why You Should Check It Out: Looking at Tim Burton’s recent releases it is clear that he is a shell of what he used to be. His original style and imagination was forever unmatched during the 80’s and much of the 90’s. Hopefully this summer’s Dark Shadows brings some of that back. In any event to see Tim Burton at his best check out the film that help make Johnny Depp a sensation in Edward Scissorhands. It reminds you that their team up wasn’t always a punch line.
Directed By: Rian Johnson
Written By: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haaas, and Emilie de Ravin
Synopsis: When a secret crush turns up dead and the murderer is anyone’s guess, teenage loner Brendan Fry (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is forced to navigate his school’s social network through intense interactions with thespians, band geeks and druggies (including a grown-up Lukas Haas). This unconventional film noir marked a promising debut for writer-director Rian Johnson, picking up a Special Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
Why You Should Check It Out: Looper is one of my most anticpated movies coming out this year and Brick is a big reason why. Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s first team up took the noir classic style and placed in the modern world. That juxtaposition really worked for me. Johnson has the ability to play with a genre to bring out something new. If you have no desire to watch Looper checking out Brick may change that.
Directed By: Nicolas Winding Refn
Written By: Brock Norman Rock and Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring: Tom Hardy, Kelly Adams, and Luing Andrews
Synopsis: Nicolas Winding Refn’s vivid and unflinching biopic delves into the life of Britain’s most notorious prisoner, Charlie Bronson (Tom Hardy) — who’s been jailed for nearly 35 years — and attempts to dissect the real man behind the deranged persona. While Bronson’s primary ambition was to be famous, he became a celebrity of sorts as a criminal who seized myriad opportunities to demonstrate extreme and terrorizing savagery.
Why You Should Check It Out: Tom Hardy has been in almost everything in the past year. He’s a much bigger star then back when he was first cast as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. While his casting wasn’t as shocking as Joker’s in The Dark Knight some did question how he got the role. It was clear that someone in casting saw the raw intensity that is Bronson. The physical presence Hardy had in this film shows playing Bane will be no trouble at all for him.
Directed By: Jilian Jarrold
Written By: David Peace and Tony Grisoni
Starring: Andrew Garfield, David Morrissey, and John Henshaw
Synopsis: Loosely based on the facts surrounding Britain’s notorious Yorkshire Ripper case, this grim thriller, Part 1 in the television adaptation of David Peace’s novels, uncovers rampant police and civil corruption in mid-1970s Northern England. Girls are disappearing, the Yorkshire community is abuzz with gossip and fear, and a young reporter (Andrew Garfield) is suspicious when a mentally handicapped immigrant is fingered for the heinous crimes.
Why You Should Check It Out: While I am still trying to figure out why Spider-Man is getting the reboot treatment already I can’t argue with their casting of Peter Parker. American Audiences got a taste of Andrew Garfield’s talent in The Social Network, but that doesn’t give you a complete picture of what type of actor Garfield is. I would advise checking out Boy A but that is not available on streaming. So instead I’m advising checking out The Red Riding Trilogy Part 1. Interesting enough Garfield’s character also works for a newspaper in this. Though I doubt this time around he is wearing tights underneath his clothes.
Directed By: Steve McQueen
Written By: Enda Walsh, Steve McQueen
Starring: Stuart Graham, Laine Megaw, and Michael Fassbender
Synopsis: Acclaimed visual artist Steve McQueen makes his feature film debut with this gripping drama (and Independent Spirit Award Best Foreign Film contender) that depicts the events surrounding a hunger strike staged by a group of IRA prisoners during their 1981 incarceration in Britain’s Prison Maze. Led by IRA volunteer-poet Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender), the strikers waged their six-week-long protest in an attempt to be acknowledged as political prisoners and to improve the prison’s conditions.
Why You Should Check It Out: I searched long and wide to find a film that was somehow related to Promethus. There wasn’t much and the only film I could find that could at all relate was Steve McQueen’s Hunger. It may seem like a reach, but it does show you where Michael Fassbender broke out as an actor to be reckoned with. Promethus has a stacked cast and the best out of the bunch may be Fassbender. After watching this it would be hard to disagree.
Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Written By: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, and Jason Statham
Synopsis: Looking to make a bundle in a high-stakes poker game, a quartet of shiftless lads from London’s East End instead finds themselves up to their eyeballs in debt to underworld porn king “Hatchet” Harry when the game turns out to be rigged. With only a week to repay Harry, the frantic foursome hits upon the notion of robbing a gang of reefer thieves. Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng and Jason Statham star in director Guy Ritchie’s stylish big-screen debut.
Why You Should Check It Out: I know Jason Statham films have become undistinguishable at this point. Films like Safe help prove he isn’t running from this fact. Too see something different from Staham I would advise checking out Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It lets you see a side of him that is not present in movies like Safe or the Expendables 2. While both of those films have their place it’s nice to see he is actually capable of more.