Must See Films

*check these films for classification, e.g. Parental Guidance or over 18*

These are films that, for one reason or another, I consider are ‘must sees’.  They may be incredibly funny, extremely thrilling or just so amazingly different to the norm.  I have excluded many commercial films that almost everybody has seen already, such as Star Wars, Matrix, etc.  They are all available from good video stores but of course, many should be seen on the big screen only.

#1 Last Night: This amazing Canadian film is set on the eve of New Year 2000. The world is about to end. There is mayhem, madness and parties. What would YOU do?! Very humorous and engaging.

#2 Dead Man: With a heap of stars; Johnny Depp, John Hurt, Gabriel Byrne, Iggy Pop and Robert Mitchum in his last ever role. Jim Jarmusch captures this film in grainy black and white. Depp is at the end of the line in a ruthless western town. He flees on to a spiritual journey aided by a native American.  Features a haunting guitar score by Neil Young.

Sin City: A great detective-noir fantasy with hard-boiled heroes, drop-dead dames and plenty of revenge. ?? strips come to life in black, white and blood.

Secretary: My absent-mindedness worked well for me here when I picked this one off-the-shelf with Brigdet Jones 2 in my mind. Boy, was I in for a shock! James Spader is excellent in this challenging film.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: There, I got it. Difficult name to remember, hard film to forget. This is one of only two memorable films I ever saw on a 'plane journey. Similar to Memento, this film plays on memory and what you can trust. From the makers of Being John Malkovitch.

Memento: A very scary film based on the main character's ability to remember only the last five minutes. Considering he's an ex-cop out for revenge, jeez, anything could happen here! What do you believe. Your memory? Best get a tattoo then...

The Anniversary Party

Before Requiem for a Dream was Pi. See both. Restate objectives: 

Braindead: Before Lord of The Rings, Peter Jackson made some pretty weird films! This is a brilliant take on the zombie genre with buckets of both blood and black humour. And you thought the baby scene in Trainspotting was horrific!

Bodymelt: This film uses heaps of actors from Aussie soaps in a brilliant, gory, horror piss-take. Just hearing Harold Bishop scream "F*ck the cops" down the phone makes it worthwhile.

Insomnia: A great mainstream thriller starring Al Pacino. White knuckle like Silence of the Lambs but not as gory.

Donnie Darko: Nice, dark US independent thriller.

Blue Vinyl: A first time documentary maker with an excellent team create this expose on the vinyl manufacturers collaboration to hide the deaths associated with the industry. Engrossing and amusing.

Trainspotting:  A very ‘nineties’ film about a group of Edinburgh junkies.  The brilliant soundtrack (Underworld, ,etc.) is a perfect match for the fast-paced story.  Although it is very funny, it does portray the very negative aspects of heroin abuse.

Eraserhead:  You may not even get 30 minutes into this film, but it is compelling and very much talked about.  David Lynch (Twin Peaks) uses black and white photography and industrial influences to create the bleak existence of, er, lonliness, isolation, um, solitude, oh, and, er, matrimonial problems (I think).

Brazil: I still love this film. Terry Gillian's (Monty Python) brilliant film of the future where workers in adjoining rooms share the same desk! Look out for Robert DeNiro as the renegade plumbing contractor.

12 Monkeys: Sci-Fi with Bruce Willis as a wacko time traveller. Based on a strange little French film called 'La Jette'.

Fargo: A pretty sick and violent Cohen brother's film. Still very funny though.

Miller’s Crossing: A Cohen brother's film (Raising Arizona, Fargo). A gangster film, set in the 20's (?) this is different from most of the Cohen brother's films. The humour is there though, in the amazing characters and long silences.

Koyaanisqatsi: Music by Phillip Glass.

Let Him Have It: Before Dead Man Walking, this film also deals with the issue of capital punishment. Set in London in ????, no-one in the audience could talk in the foyer for the collective lump in the throat.

THX 1138: Now this is classic sci-fi that has influenced so many others. This film introduced the silver Terminator T2 model (3000?), had Le Mans cop cars and Robert Duval with a shaven head! Count how many soundtrack samples have been used in techno music.

Shallow Grave: From the maker's of Trainspotting. But this film has a different pace and style, an original score, all of which, I think, will conspire to make this film a classic.

The Usual Suspects: You should all have seen this film by now. I saw this before anyone knew the 'spoiler'. If they had run films back to back, I would've been right back in the next session.

The Book of Life: Wim Wender's take on the Lord coming back to on his Father's business to open the seventh seal using an Apple notebook (Are you sure? Click Yes or No).

The Life of Brian: The amazing inflatable outdoor screen in the Botanical gardens always has this religious piss-take playing on Christmas eve. I've seen charter 'planes flying in low to see the finale!

The Crying Game: Another film spoilt rotten by spoilers.  Geez, join a film group and get to see them first!

The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover: Probably Peter Greenaway's most accessible film. Which isn't saying much. It's shocking, but compelling.

Dark Star: Another early sci-fi. At least this one is a piss-take! As with Spinal Tap, if you come in half-way through, it can take a while to click.

Bad Influence: Dated in parts (it's always the music!), this is a great thriller starring James Spader as the office dweeb and Rob Lowe as the charismatic dark horse.