Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Film Discoveries of 2014 - Todd Liebenow ""

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2014 - Todd Liebenow

Todd writes about neglected cinema at his blog Forgotten Films, which I am a big fan of:
http://forgottenfilmcast.wordpress.com/
He also runs a great podcast about those kind of movies there too and I've been a guest on that show twice(episodes 1 & 12):
http://forgottenfilmcast.wordpress.com/tag/forgotten-filmcast/
Todd also writes articles for Man I Love Films:
http://manilovefilms.com/author/squonk/

Lastly, find him on twitter here:
https://twitter.com/ForgottenFilmz
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Quest for Fire (1981) Jean-Jacques Annaud’s caveman story doesn’t have a single word of understandable dialogue, but it is one of the most engrossing films I’ve seen in a long time.  It is beautifully photographed and skillfully performed by the likes of Ron Perlman and Rae Dawn Chong.  

The Big Bus (1976) Before Airplane! there was this hilarious jab at the disaster film genre directed by James Frawley, who would go on to direct The Muppet Movie.  It has a great ensemble cast and rapid fire gags.  The ZAZ boys may have perfected this style a few years later, but this film got them heading in the right direction.

Into the Night (1985) John Landis’ take on North by Northwest is quirky and tense with a bunch of the Landis trademarks Easter egg hunters are looking for.  Jeff Goldblum makes a perfect reluctant hero and Michelle Pfeiffer has never been more gorgeous as a girl who is obviously trouble but you can’t help fall in love with.

Man Hunt (1941) Slick thriller from Fritz Lang concerning a hunter who has the opportunity to shoot down Adolf Hitler but fails, only to be hunted down by the Nazis himself.  It has wonderful atmosphere and great performances by Walter Pidgeon, George Sanders, and a very young Roddy McDowall.  Lang also pulls no punches in showing his thoughts on the Nazis.

The Evil that Men Do (1984) This Charles Bronson vehicle is over the top in every possible way and I loved it.  He’s pitted against a truly despicable villain played by Joseph Maher, who I usually think of as a nice guy.  He was a priest in Sister Act, after all.  Never again, though.  He is evil to the core in this and deserves every bit of the nastiness Bronson dishes out.

The Bellboy (1960) Jerry Lewis’ directorial debut is a wonderful throwback to the comedians of the silent era.  There are both simple and complex comedic sequences.  A few fizzle, but the great majority of them succeed in proving Lewis’ skill as both a comedian and director.

Gypsy (1962) Natalie Wood blew me away in this adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical.  She makes an amazing transition from sheepish to sexy in this film.  Rosalind Russell is also incredible as the stage mother from hell.

Lady Killer (1933) Wonderful pre-code with James Cagney going from crook to movie star.  One could say the filmmakers were making a strong statement about the true nature of Hollywood.  Cagney is as cool as ever in this one.

Iceman (1984) This unfrozen caveman story was surprisingly touching, believable and thought-provoking.  The great cast features the likes of Timothy Hutton, David Strathairn, Danny Glover and James Tolkan...but it is John Lone as the caveman who truly turns in a remarkable performance.

Invaders from Mars (1986) Tobe Hooper’s remake of a 1953 alien invasion flick really surprised me.  It is a loving salute to the sci-fi movies of the 50’s mixed with the Spielbergian sensibilities of the 80’s.  Plus Louise Fletcher eats a frog.

They’re Playing with Fire (1984) I’m not going to sit here and tell you this is a good movie, but I just couldn’t resist this strange take on the college guy dates his sexy teacher formula.  It seems like it’s going to be a sex comedy, but then it becomes a thriller and morphs into a slasher movie with a killer Santa Claus before it’s done.  I found it strangely amusing...and who better to play the sexy older woman than Sybil Danning?

Night Train to Terror (1985) This is now officially the worst movie I have ever seen.  Cobbled together from three other films, both finished and unfinished, and joined together by the weirdest framing device in cinema history.  Basically, God and the Devil are riding on a train, bargaining for the souls of an 80’s rock band that is riding in the next car.  The acting, directing, writing, and effects are all horrible and so unintentionally hilarious that it is a joy to behold.

1 comment:

Robert M. Lindsey said...

Love Into the Night, it's one of my all-time favorites.