10 underappreciated films you need to see

Our article series ‘One from Under the Radar’ aims to bring you some of the best under-appreciated films out there. Here’s a collection of the best so far…

Moon

Moon, released in 2009, is a British science fiction film directed by Duncan Jones, who would later go on to direct Source Code and the upcoming Warcraft film. He was perhaps previously best-known for being the son of David Bowie, and oddly the film somehow seems to make more sense with this trivia in mind. Made for a tiny budget (in cinematic terms at least,) of c. $5,000,000, and gaining just under double that at the global box office, Moon was, and indeed still is, an under-viewed gem. It premiered at Sundance, before gaining a select release in some parts of the U.S, before its opening was expanded to other cinemas in the U.S and Canada, before coming to the U.K, where it was made. Nonetheless, Moon was still critically acclaimed by those who did see it, and indeed it gained many (though arguably not enough) accolades, most notably the BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer, as well as being nominated for the Outstanding British Film Award.

Want to know what makes Moon special? READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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The King of Comedy

One of Robert De Niro’s least well known roles: 1983’s The King of Comedy is also one of his most remarkable. Want to see a young De Niro prove he can do more than act the slick, tough guy? The King of Comedy is the perfect demonstration. Directed by Martin Scorsese, a master of his craft, the film is a dark comedy that follows De Niro’s character, Rupert Pupkin, in his quest to make it big as a stand-up comedian. Successful US comedian Jerry Lewis also stars as TV comedian Jerry Langford and Pupkin is an obsessive Langford fan. When his chance to meet Langford comes it soon spirals into a strange and dangerous story of a deluded and ambitious super fan.

Want to know more about one of Robert De Niro’s most unique roles? READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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How to Change the World

While not, strictly speaking, an edition of our ‘One from Under the Radar’ feature, How to Change the World was one of the most under-appreciated releases of 2015 and seems to have gone  undeservedly under the radar for many cinema-goers.

“The moment that launched the modern environmental movement”- a Russian whaling harpoon sails 15 feet above a man’s head as conservationists attempt to obstruct it’s task. Greenpeace is born. How to Change the World is an eye opening and inspiring docu-drama that shows Greenpeace at its conception, a tiny organisation fuelled by a passion for conservation and a rabid opposition to the irresponsible establishment. The film examines the bravery of the original ‘eco-warriors’ (this film will leave you using that phrase without the irony it now seems to come with as standard,) in the line of fire, as they took a stand against nuclear testing, whaling and seal clubbing. Based on the writing of Green Peace co-founder Robert Hunter alongside footage of the group’s early exploits the film shows a real, raw activism, far different and far more deserving of the term, than what we know today.

Want to know more about this great tale of 70’s heroism? READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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Ivan’s Childhood

Director, Andrei Tarkovsky, largely disregards the prioritisation of entertainment value or storyline. His works do not follow any preconceived or recognisable structure; they demand a viewer’s full attention and consequently can be considered heavy-going. After his first feature film Ivan’s Childhood (1962), Tarkovsky’s particular cinematic style became a prominent influence to many European directors. Tarkovsky, along with later followers like Sharunas Bartas and Alexander Sokurov, was directing in an age where narrative-dominated Hollywood was, at last, taking a back-seat. The 1960’s were the time for breaking cinematic rules and experimenting with film as an art form. Ivan’s Childhood is the beginning of Tarkovsky’s respected auteur which is, remarkably, often described as poetic.

Want to find out more about this ‘poetry over plot’ epic? READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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The Baker

A little known gem- 2007’s The Baker is a British comedy starring Damien Lewis (star of Homeland, Wolf Hall and Band of Brothers,) as a retiring assassin trying to escape his old life and dangerous former associates. Abandoning the big city Milo (Damien Lewis,) takes up residence in a small Welsh village as a rival killer attempts to track him down. The insular, gossipy, rivalry filled village of Gwynfyd, makes for the perfect setting as an intricate set of mis-understandings (and the villagers suspicions of Milo’s past,) lead to a series of coincidental accidents and deaths.

Want to know more about this under-rated comedic gem? READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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Trollhunter

A movie which combines the style of Cloverfield, the suspense of Blair Witch and the fantasy of Lord of the Rings?  Surely that is the stuff of legend?  Legends are exactly the stuff of Trollhunter, a dark mockumentary which brings Norwegian fairy tales to life.

This Norwegian film follows a student camera crew as they accidentally discover the existence of trolls, and network of hunters who control them.  It is a clever movie with countless nods to Scandinavian culture and a sharp, silly wit.  The students, whilst tracking an alleged bear hunter, stumble onto a hidden world in which trolls devour farmers’ sheep and have their own vets to treat the more domesticated ones- a world where they must douse themselves in pungent troll slime to remain undetected.

Want to know more about this fantastic Norwegian oddity? READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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Next Goal Wins

The heart wrenching redemption story of American-Samoa’s international football team- Next Goal Wins follows the team as they try to regain their self-respect and competitive streak after losing 31-0 to Australia. The surprisingly emotional journey shows the worlds’ lowest ranked team score their first ever goal, win their first ever game and progress to new heights. Perfect for football fans and non-football fans alike, Next Goal Wins is an exemplary ‘feel good film’.

Want to know more about this feel good, redemption story? READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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Northern Soul

Industrial Lancashire, 1974- two alienated, working class teenagers come together over a love of soul music. Shy, quiet John, (played by Elliot James Langridge,) sees his life revolutionised when he meets Matt (Josh Whitehouse,) an aspiring DJ attempting to introduce the community to the vibrancy of Northern Soul’s style and sound.

A short pre-amble for the un-initiated: Northern Soul was a music and dance movement that emerged in the North of England and the Midlands in the late 1960’s. Its unique style of dancing marked it out as something very new to British culture and enthusiasts would travel to America in order to acquire vinyl Soul records because most simply weren’t available on the British market. Places like Wigan Casino and Blackpool Mecca became synonymous with the movement and were pilgrimages for fans of Northern Soul.

Northern Soul tells the story of this movement in a tremendously immersive way, alongside a gripping coming of age story. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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Layer Cake

Layer Cake is a 2004 British crime film starring Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, George Harris and a whole host of other actors, many of whom have gone onto bigger things since its release (Tom Hardy, Ben Whishaw and Burn Gorman being the most notable examples of this). Matthew Vaughn, a man who many will know from Kick-AssX-Men: First Class and most recently Kingsman: The Secret Service directed the film, and it shares many of their/his stylistic qualities.

Want to find out what makes Layer Cake special? READ OUR FULL ARTICLE HERE

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Frontera

A dark horse among dark horses, Michael Berry’s Frontera nonetheless holds its own admirably amongst the very best films 2014 had to offer. Elements of crime dramas, westerns and thrillers come together marked by a thoroughly striking performance from Ed Harris, to create a gripping journey that is often poignant and bleak, but also full of hope. Beginning with the aspirations of a young Mexican man on his second attempt to get across the border and make a new start in the United States, the film winds into a set of complex misunderstandings and explores the desperation, hardship and discrimination that real Mexicans experience in attempting to make the same journey.

Want to know more about what sets Frontera apart? READ THE FULL  ARTICLE HERE

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