heretic's list of moofies worth seeing

intro | the list | the reviews | moofie links | the anti-list

It's a familiar scene: a nice sunny day, it's warm, birds are chirping, squirrels are fornicating (well, somewhere they are; we don't really get many squirrels in Australia :)). Everything is all shiny-happy to the point that we could be trying to market home loans. Having spent the day in various constructive activities, you decide to swing by your local video place as you head home... a couple of vids, a couple of friends, a quiet evening beckons.

Walking into the store, you realise your mistake as you peer down the endless aisles of hollow video boxes stretching off into the distance. At this point one of two syndromes will usually set in:

  1. Possibility-Overload Hyper-Reactive Response Syndrome (POHRRS). In five minutes you see 48 movies you'd like to see, and can't decide on renting ANY of them. Incidentally, the acronym when said out loud is astonishingly similar to the noise most people make while affected.
  2. Insufficient Stimulus Apathy Syndrome (ISAS). You can't think of a single bloody movie in the place that you feel like watching.

Both syndromes have caused murders, suicides, seiges, spontaneous combustion and marriage breakups. Often two or more in one go... eg, "I want my copy of CLERKS goddamn it! And I want people to pronounce it correctly! 'CLARKS'! I won't let this girl go until I... *WHOOOOMPHHHH*"

So, in the interests of all involved, I've taken to compiling a list of movies I'd like to see (well ahead of time). I've also started reviewing movies I have seen, so that friends with similar tastes might be able to find a movie to watch; based on the fact that I have similar taste to a few other people (Amazing, but apparently true...).

Now, I'm not saying that all the moofies on this list are included for being brilliant - that's not true. Some are brilliant, others are included for being stunningly dreadful ;) To explain/for instance - myself and El Spank A Go-go (of Slightly Lethargic Productions) rather enjoy the odd Really Crappy B-Grade Vampire Flick (tm). My reviewing tends towards the erratic, and the movies i like best may be the ones i say the least about. Whatever, i'm only including movies i think are worth seeing for some reason. Maybe because they'll fill a boring night, maybe because you shouldn't go through life without seeing them. Maybe i just like it, damnit. Maybe i'll sort them into categories sometime to give a better idea of what's going on.

Where I've happened to notice, I'm including the year of release, major actors and director for each movie. I don't know that info for every movie I watch, so deal with it.

the list

Some moofies listed more than once if i think they deserve it. Things can have more than one label, you know.

awesome must-see moofies

fun moofies

(great) crappy b-grade moofies

moofies for a quiet night in

action / shootup / tarantino-ish

sci-fi / cyberpunk-ish

aussie moofies

"dark"

manga

comedy

"god knows"

interesting "foreign" moofies

* These will probably be listed according to their french titles, La Gloire de Mon Pere and Le Chateau Mon Mere. Pardon my spelling.

moofies to make you think (if you'll let them)

classics

Not many listed, because really most "classics" are boring.

the reviews

12 MONKEYS- (1996) Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt. Director: Terry Guilliam (of Monty Python fame). Great visuals. Dark view of insanity, asylums and the future in general; as well as an element of tragedy and impossible love. Great performance from Pitt in particular. Starts really well but unfortunately loses impact towards the end. This movie is really made by the incredible cinematography and creation of a different and weird world. You won't forget it in a hurry.

ALIENS - (1988?) Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser. Director: James Cameron. This movie is a Cameron classic... far outstripping it's prequel, ALIENS moves faster and has better action. The characters are both better developed and easier to warm to; in particular the space marines are great to watch. The props and backgrounds kick proverbial butt, as do the effects. This is one to watch with some friends late at night; and if you're anything like myself and my friends, you'll never tire of watching it. Maybe it's a guy thing, but there's lots of really cool weaponry, vehicles and equipment; as well as lots of action and quotable quotes ("Have you?", "Game over, man...", "Do the thing with the knife!"). Just go see it. Oh, and watch for that damn bar (everyone I've talked to about ALIENS has noticed it).

THE ASSASSIN - (). Stars: Bridget Fonda, Harvey Keitel. Directed: John Badham. Set in a dark, cyberpunkish future, The Assassin is the story of a junkie who is sentenced to death by lethal injection for killing a cop; instead of dying she's given the chance of becoming an assassin for an undefined organisation (assumed governmental). Features the very spooky "Cleaner", played by Harvey Keitel. Nice'n'dark with a reasonable ending.

BLADE RUNNER (DIRECTOR'S CUT) - (1992) Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Penn. Director: Ridley Scott. Music: Vangelis. The classic sci-fi/cyberpunk story set in a dim and dirty future, about artificial humans... replicants. Created by the Tyrell Corporation (motto: "More human than human") the replicants are used as off-world (space colony) slaves, and are physically and mentally superior in nearly all aspects to the humans that created them. For them to set foot on earth is a crime punishable by death on detection, a sentence carried out by dectective/assassins called Blade Runners. Enter Harrison Ford in one of his greatest roles - Deckard... a retired 'Runner dragged back into service to hunt down and "retire" the replicants. The big discussion point to this movie is the raging debate over whether he is himself a replicant, and the motives of Roy Batty, who is the leader of the renegade replicants. For those who haven't seen the movie, possibly you should see the first release with the voiceovers if you are left wondering what in the hell is going on. The Director's Cut is, however, much better; without the voiceover getting in the way all the time and without the happy ending.


THE BLUES BROTHERS - (1980) Director: John Landis. Stars: Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Carrie Fisher, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, John Candy, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, Twiggy, Frank Oz and the list just goes on. This movie set the record for the most illicit drugs consumed by cast and crew during the making of a film, and it probably came close to a trashing police cars record too. The famous car chases abound, especially the mall chase and final chase to Chicago from the gig. Features the Bob's Country Bunker scene, the Chez Paul resturant scene and numerous assassination attempts by "that girl". ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL VIEWING. If you don't see this movie before you die, you wasted your life. `Are you the police?' "No ma'am. We're musicians."

I really don't think i should try to review this one, because all i can say is if you only take one tip from this page, then make it this moofie. JUST GO AND GET IT. Trust me.


They made a sequel, "Blues Brothers 2000", It's worth it for the music, and the first part of the movie where you catch up with some of the characters. But ultimately it's just insanely silly.


CINEMA PARADISO - A true classic. The story of a young boy who grows up around a cinema; developing a love of film and a great friend of the kind-hearted projectionist. The boy grows up and builds a film empire, but is called back to the cinema years later; prompting him to contemplate his past. A wonderful movie which has stayed with me for years. Some of the minor characters nearly steal the show; and the movie is all the better for it. If you're ever looking for something better than the standard Hollywood crap, try this one.

THE CROW - (1994). Stars: Brandon Lee. Directed: Alex Proyas. The Crow is more than just a movie, it's a creation, a phenomenon. The movie that killed Brandon Lee, about someone who comes back from the dead to avenge the murder of his fiance and himself. The criminals are great, the sets are awesome and the music made the soundtrack a bestseller. Strangely uplifting, not in the sense that you go away happy but in the way you feel comfortable with things after watching it. Believe in Angels, it says... modern day angels in black with pantomime faces; angels who do bad things to bad people. Just see it for yourself. Sequel: "The Crow: City of Angels".

CLERKS - (). Stars: unknown actors. Directed: Kevin Smith (Silent Bob, for those who don't know). I'm told it's one of the new-wave "grunge movies"; I'm not sure about that, but it's really funny. You should note however that people who've worked in retail will get a hell of a lot more out of this than people who haven't. Shot in black and white, with different sections of the movie introduced the same way as in Tarantino movies (blank screen with a name on it - mid titles? I forget the proper name for them). The humour is strange, and very black; some people only like it for what happens at the end (trust me, you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it).

DRAGONHEART - (1996) I did an extended review of this movie at the time of its release; seeing as I rarely actually go to the movies and I enjoyed this one a great deal.

THE FUGITIVE - (1993) Stars: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones. The story of Dr Richard Kimble, a doctor accused and wrongly convicted of murdering his wife. He escapes in a spectacular bus/train crash scene, and sets out to find the murderer while being relentlessly persued by Lt Samuel Gerard (played particularly well by the perfectly-cast Tommy Lee Jones). The clues are all there, but you have to watch very carefully... the plot is complicated enough to keep you enthralled but not so tangled as to lose the audience.


HACKERS - Stars : no big names, but well cast (watch for the guy who plays Tintin in The Crow). A great moofie about hackers and hacking, captures a certain "information wants to be free" feeling... (perhaps that should be "Trust your technolust" :)). While the representation purists will hate the portrayal of computer systems as fantastic 3D cityscape GUI's, i think they work well. After all, it's really a stylised representation of something that wouldn't otherwise translate onto the big screen (unfortunately, hollywood needs more than grey-on-black text). Plus the scene where the hackers go apeshit over a laptop is kinda funny, when you consider how outdated it would be now.

At any rate, if you can put up with all the hackers being ultra-cool and trendy (not one unwashed misanthrope among them) then you should enjoy Hackers. The soundtrack is awesome, one choice tune after another; the terminology is right ("he's elite!") and the characters are good (gotta love Serial Killer :)). The plot is good (the worm was a real thing, don't know about the tanker idea though but it certainly sounds feasible) and the attitudes, personalities and lack of understanding on the part of certain key adults too true by half. The villain's megalomania is highly remeniscent of many hackers interviewed over the years. Watch out for excerpts and quotes from The Hacker Manifesto.

(If you like HACKERS, see "CYBERPUNK"; by Peter von Brandenberg & Marianne Trench, © 1992 Intercon - a great documentary, a little dated now but still great).


JEAN DE FLORETTE - () Stars: Gerard Depardieu. Director:. A fantastic french tragedy. The story of the hunchback Jean De Florette, adapted to film from the book by the director. A city man who inherits a country property and tries to become a farmer, but runs out of water due to the jealous actions of his neighbours, the Soubeyrans, and ends in ruin. Sequel: Manon Des Sources. The haunting musical theme will stay with you for days.

LOST HIGHWAY - (1997) Stars: Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Nick Nolte. Cameos from Marilyn Manson and Twiggy Ramirez in the porno. Director: David Lynch. Well, this is one hell of a weird movie. You'll be trying to sort this one out in your head for some time to come - not only are you not given any explanations or conclusions, it appears that Lynch doesn't know what they are either (although I'm guessing he must have a *theory* at least). Having said that, it is still a damn good movie... interesting cinematography, great soundtrack.

MANON DES SOURCES - () Director:. Sequel to Jean De Florette, where Jean's daughter takes her revenge on the whole villiage; amongst a few other things. If you saw Jean De Florette, you will want to see this movie; and you won't be disappointed. Even without the impressive figure of Gerard Depardieu, this movie is superb.

MAVERICK - (1994) Stars: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner, James Colburn. Directed ?. A fun movie, with a few twists. If you like westerns that don't take things too seriously; you'll probably love this one. The plot centres on Brett Maverick, gambler and all-round... umm, all-rounder. He's trying to a) raise a few thousand dollars for the $25,000 entry fee of a poker championship; and b) get to the game. But as is usually the case, other people have their own ideas about what Maverick's headed for. This movie is lots of fun to watch... maybe not one for the Western "purist", but one for when you don't need a downer.

MEET THE FEEBLES - (). Stars: psycho puppets. What can I say? I certainly wasn't ready for it! :) Imagine the Muppets meeting hard drugs, alcoholism, depraved sex and graphic violence. If you can. Not one to watch with the kids, but actually kind of funny in a really sick way. There's no way to describe it really, you'll just have to see it; just be ready to repeatedly say "Oh my *god*" and "Was he doing what I think he was doing?"


MURIEL'S WEDDING (1994) Stars: Toni Collette, Bill Hunter, Rachel Griffiths, Matt Day, Sophie Lee. Written & Directed by P.J. Hogan. Another fantastic Australian movie, a facinating introspective look at certain aspects of Australian culture - in particular a facination with weddings.... not as a statement of your love for the one you are marrying, but as your big day; your one big day in life. If ever there was a movie to highlight the tragedy of bogans and their meringue-dress weddings, this is it.

The plot centres on Muriel, the daughter of a father who has told her she's a nothing from the day she was born. Overweight and unhappy, she is rejected and demoralised by the local set of trendy bitches; but finds a friend in an old schoolmate. They eventually move to Sydney, and Muriel tries to change her life. The problem is that she measures success by whether she gets married or not.

The trendy set are lampooned well and truly for being the "bunch of cocksuckers" they are; but at the same time it looks quietly but seriously at the ingrained problems of society that drive a family to the limits of emotional endurance. The practically catatonic mother is tragic and scary; and the children show the effects of constant beration by the father for "being useless". The movie does have some really funny moments though, which it needed for balance.

The casting is brilliant, with Bill Hunter playing the corrupt councillor father in his usual style (bring STARK into mind); Sophie Lee as the lead bitch of the shallow tart set (I'm not sure if saying she plays it well is exactly a compliment ;)); the embarrased swimmer and the shy date are played perfectly; and to cap it off there is a fantastic performance by Toni Collette as Muriel. This movie has to be seen to be fully understood, the subtleties in the dialogue are tremendous. Perhaps the greatest measure of MURIEL'S WEDDING is that the people it was written about don't understand it; which only serves to highlight the point of it.


OCEAN'S ELEVEN - A great cast in this remake of an old classic. Basically a bunch of crims decide to rip off a casino for the massive amounts hidden in its vault. The vault, naturally, is impossible to break into; so they'll have to get creative. Plenty of witty banter and extremely amusing characters; with a good dash of hacking by social engineering and other scams. A lot of fun.

PAPARAZZO - (1994) Stars: Nick Berry (from Heartbeat... but don't let that put you off). Set in London, Paparazzo lampoons the whole celebrity vs. paparazzi institution beautifully. This movive has some brilliant moments, often using a quiet but fairly black humour. Lasting images, a tad depressing. An unusual movie, well worth the time.

PULP FICTION - () Stars: too many to list. Director: the man himself, Quentin Tarantino. The famous accidental killing of the guy in the back seat and subsequent cleanup of the car; complete with appearance from the Wolf. The magic marker and adrenaline shot scene, Jack Rabbit Slim's twist competition, the "great vengeance and fuuuurious anger" speech and Kahuna burgers. Fantastic soundtrack. Cult movie that everyone should see at least once.

PUMP UP THE VOLUME - (1990) Stars: Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis. Writer/Director: Alan Moyle. Teen angst, a pirate dj, suicide, love and an out-of-control school principal pushing students to breaking point. PUTV follows the story of Mark Hunter, a disillusioned teenager stuck in Arizona and a world he finds hard to live in at all who sets himself up as pirate dj Happy Harry Hardon. His words are like poetry as he speaks with heart-rending accuracy about the trials of being a teenager... PUTV has a brutal honesty about how hard it can be to grow up in the 90s... an honesty that no guidance counsellor ever had the guts to use. Pump Up the Volume is essential viewing.

THE QUICK AND THE DEAD - (1995) Stars: Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe, Gene Hackman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lance Henriksen. Director: Sam Raimi. A great western of the modern style, with lots of bad, ugly people and plenty of shooting. There aren't really any "good" guys so much as the people you mentally side with, and Sharon Stone's character Lady. The plot centres on a "winner takes all" gunslinging competition run by the corrupt and evil mayor of a small town. Great performances all 'round; especially from Hackman who plays yet another extremely nasty bad guy, and Crowe in the role of the pacifist Preacher forced to take part in the competition.

RESERVOIR DOGS - () Stars: Too many to list. Director: Quentin Tarantino. The famous torture scene with ear-slice, lots of blood and some great action sequences. Features some great dialogue, including the Madonna speech, "I don't tip", the commode story and K-Billy's Super Sounds of the Seventies (read by deadpan comic Steven Wright). The violence is ready to explode the whole time and that's why it all works.

ROMEO MUST DIE - (2000) Stars: Jet Li, Ahliya. This movie had me hooked from the opening credits; with the timed vision and beats. No-holds-barred fight scenes and some very cool effects make this an intense action experience. Keeps you interested and has some comic relief to keep things from getting too dark. If you like this sort of movie, see it soon.

RONIN - Stars: Robert De Niro. A great mix of spy thriller and all-out action. This one has tense standoffs, shootouts, intrigue... plus some of the best car chases you'll ever see. The movie goes places most movies shy away from - it does not pull any punches. It's a hell of a ride and there are plenty of twists, betrayals and - oddly - trust.

The STAR WARS Trilogy I'm not going to review these! Crawl back under your rock!

TERMINATOR 2 : JUDGEMENT DAY - (1991) Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, Edward Furiong. Director: James Cameron. Although T2 set the new standard for special effects, it is not just an effects film. It's an exploration of human nature and survival, and what it means to be human and value human life. The plot centres on two terminators, one like the one in the original movie and the other an advanced prototype liquid metal "T-1000". The "evil" terminator, the T-1000, is sent back by Skynet to kill John Connor, the son of Sarah Connor, who was the target in the first movie. The "good" terminator is sent back by humans to protect him. It's probably best not to try and sort out the timelines if you know them well - it'll screw your head around trying.

TWINS OF EVIL - () Stars: Peter Cushing and the first twins to pose for Playboy (apparently). The fact that Peter Cushing is in this one should be an indicator. Classic crappy B-grade vampire movie; complete with puritan witch-hunters, good girl/bad girl twins, mute black henchman to the rich vampire and of course the scholar hero. Not for those who like a serious exploration of vampiric tragedy, but one for lovers of "crappy vampire movies".

 

a few of the movies still to be reviewed:

La Gloire de Mon Pere [MY FATHER'S GLORY] - ()
LE CHATEAU MON MERE [MY MOTHER'S CASTLE] - ()
UNFORGIVEN - ()
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE - ()
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING - ()
THE FISHER KING - ()
HIGHLANDER - ()
YOUNG GUNS - () Brat pack movie, but still good.
YOUNG GUNS II - ()
PLATOON - () "Rejoice O young man, in thy youth..." - Ecclesiastes
APOCALYPSE NOW - ()
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA - () Stars: Kurt Russell and a bunch of badFX monsters.
MALL RATS - () Directed: Kevin Smith.
CHASING AMY - (1997) Directed: Kevin Smith.
DOGMA - (2000) Directed: Kevin Smith.
SNATCH -()
LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELLS - ()
BOONDOCK SAINTS - ()
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON - (2001) Stars: Chow Yun Fat....
SLEEPY HOLLOW - ()
STILL CRAZY Stars: Billy Connolly.
HEAT - () Al Pacino, Robert De Niro
ANALYSE THIS - () Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal
MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM - () Kevin Bacon, Michelle Pfieffer, Callista "Count My Ribs" Flockhart
THE MATRIX - Do I really need to review this one?
GALAXY QUEST - ()
DARK CITY - () Kiefer Sutherland..
DEAD MAN ON CAMPUS - ()
AIRHEADS - () Funny.
THREE KINGS - () See it for the cow scene, if nothing else.

 

 

 

moofie links

 

 

moofies not to bother with

By definition, it's hard to remember the forgettable ones :)

 

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