6. Badlands
Now Streaming on FilmStruck

Not everyone is a fan of Terrence Malick‘s more recent tone poems, which are light on story and big on mood. If you’re looking for all of the beauty and grandeur of a Malick film, but with just a smidge of a story, check out his haunting 1973 debut Badlands. Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek are a couple of mixed-up kids on the run, cutting a bloody path across the Midwest. After Spacek’s father (Warren Oates) stands in the way of her relationship with the much older Sheen, Sheen kills dear old dad and the lovebirds set out on a journey that begins racking up a body count. That may make Badlands sound like Natural Born Killers, but the film is much more subtle, much more emotional. Spacek’s narration is both childish and poetic, and it gives the entire film an ethereal quality that only Malick seems able to successfully create. It’s easy to roll your eyes at some of Malick’s later films, but Badlands is something special.

For fans of: Days of Heaven, Bonnie and ClydeTrue Romance, magic hour.

7. Colossal
Now Streaming on Hulu

One of the weirdest movies you’ll ever see, Colossal has one killer set-up: Anne Hathaway is an alcoholic who moves back to her hometown and promptly discovers she has the power to control a Kaiju-sized monster in Seoul, South Korea. That might sound ludicrous, but Colossal makes it work, and then it starts going in directions you’ll never expect. At first, director Nacho Vigalondo makes it seem as if Colossal is going down the path of a million other generic quirky indie romantic comedies, especially when Hathaway encounters a childhood friend played by Jason Sudeikis. But what follows is anything but your typical rom com. Colossal takes a dark, disturbing turn, and that’s all I’m going to tell you. The less you know about what happens here, the more effective the film is. What I can tell you is this: Hathaway is a delight to watch here. And the thing is, she’s always been that way. At some point, the internet decided to focus its pent-up frustrations on Hathaway because she seemed to be overly enthusiastic about her work. Hopefully everyone is over that now and ready to accept that Hathaway really is a talented actress who never deserved the internet ire she drew. Colossal gives her a unique opportunity to remind audiences of her talents.

For fans of: Pacific Rim (sort of), In the Company of MenThe Host, unexpected twists.

8. Cop Land
Streaming on Hulu 12/3/2017

Before he made the rule-breaking superhero western Logan, James Mangold made the moody indie crime drama Cop Land. Sylvester Stallone leads a cast that includes Harvey Keitel, Ray LiottaPeter Berg, Janeane Garofalo, Robert Patrick, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra, Cathy Moriarty, John Spencer and Robert De Niro. Like LoganCop Land has roots firmly within the Western genre, but instead of being set on the dusty plains, it takes place in a New Jersey suburb, with New York always looming in the background. Stallone is the washed up local sheriff who turns a blind eye to all the “real” city cops who are clearly corrupt and running wild in his town. But little by little, Stallone’s character begins to come around to doing the right thing. This is a surprisingly melancholy movie – it’s like a Bruce Springsteen song come to life, full of weary working class folk just trying to get ahead. Stallone’s presence likely made audiences at the time think this was going to be an action movie, which it definitely is not. While there are bursts of violence, Cop Land is more of a quiet, reflective film that seems to have been forgotten.

For fans of: Mean StreetsShane, On the Waterfront, Robert De Niro shouting “YOU BLEW IT!!”

9. Body
Now Streaming on Shudder

Just in time for the Christmas season, here’s an under-the-radar horror-comedy that thrives from three strong central performances. Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen, Lauren Molina are three friends reunited for the holidays. Growing bored one chilly December eve, the ladies decide to have a little fun. One of the women tells her friends about her rich uncle’s mansion, sitting vacant while the uncle is away on vacation. The three then proceed to sneak into the empty home and set about partying. And then everything goes wrong. This is another one of those movies where the less you know, the better the result will be. Little by little, Body begins to turn nasty, going down increasingly dark paths, especially when an unexpected visitor arrives at the house and puts a serious damper on a fun evening. Rogers, Turshen and Molina are equally strong here, each bringing something distinct to their roles while also remaining natural; these seem like real people in a really bad situation, not actors performing a part. I’m about 97.8% sure you’ve never heard of this movie, so if you have Shudder, now’s your chance to discover it!

For fans of: RopeThe Descent, Jawbreaker, Larry Fessenden cameos.

10. Band of Robbers
Now Streaming on Netflix

I will freely admit that Band of Robbers is a film that should be terrible. Writer-directors Aaron and Adam Nee take Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and updates them for the 21st century, while also turning the characters into adults. I can already sense you rolling your eyes at this premise. But wait! Band of Robbers is a surprisingly funny, surprisingly charming film that works despite it’s potentially hazardous concept. Band of Robbers has some flaws, and the style of the film owes a huge debt to Wes Anderson, particularly his film Bottle Rocket, to the point where I think it’s safe to call some stuff here a rip-off. Yet gosh darn it, this film is a lot of fun. Huck (Kyle Gallner) and Tom (Adam Nee) get mixed-up in a plot to rob a pawn shop; a plan that goes hilariously awry. The supporting cast, including Matthew Gray Gubler and Hannibal Buress, bring a lot to the proceedings, and Supergirl‘s Melissa Benoist is on hand to charm the hell out of you. I urge you to overlook Band of Robbers‘ potentially twee shenanigans; you won’t be sorry.

For fans of: Bottle RocketThe Last Romantic, pleasant surprises.

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