As the year comes to an end, anybody and everybody are posting their best of the year lists. Most of these lists contain variations of the same 15 or 20 films. To break the mold, some are even posting lists of the best films of the year that you probably haven’t seen. I find that even these lists are filled with the same movies. And if you’re a film geek reading a site like /Film, chances are you know about most of the movies on these lists.
I wanted to do something different and compile a list of the best films of the year that you’ve never heard of. The selections should be movies that (for the most part) none of your family or friends have heard of, and you might even have to do some extra legwork to get your hands on.
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Winter’s Bone is a tense, dreary affair, consisting almost exclusively of characters devoid of vitality or a sense of humor. It’s a thriller, but not in the traditional sense; the thrill stems more from the grim, desperate atmosphere that pervades every frame than it does any acts of violence or terror. Thrust in the middle of this ordeal is the poor but resilient Ree Dolly, who at only 16, is already tasked with taking care of her two younger siblings and near vegetative mother. Her life gets considerably more complicated when she discovers that her criminal father, who’s nowhere to be found, put up their house as collateral for his bail. So off she goes, facing down the stoic yet threatening glares of her drug-addled rural community in hopes of finding her father and keeping her destitute family intact. Were it not for the film’s penchant for cultural authenticity, the story might not be as engaging as it is, but the neorealist approach allows the film to operate at a slow-burn pace without ever becoming boring. Unlike what you might expect from a more mainstream Hollywood effort, the conflict here isn’t simply solving the mystery of where the father is and why; it’s about hoping you can make it another day without going to bed hungry, if there’s even a bed left to go to at all.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Director’s commentary, deleted scenes, and a making-of featurette.
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Back in May there was news that Al Pacino might star in You Don’t Know Jack, Barry Levinson‘s biopic of controversial ‘Doctor Death’ Jack Kevorkian. (As Peter reported on Page 2.) Not only is Pacino in the picture, but Susan Sarandon and John Goodman have also joined, according to THR. The film, scripted by Adam Mazer, is a loose adaptation of the book Between the Dying and the Dead: Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s Life and the Battle to Legalize Euthanasia. Despite the cheeky title, which should help lure viewers into a downer film, Kevorkian’s long fight to establish the right to die for terminally ill patients is a serious, important story. Kinda trumps the last Goodman/Sarandon pairing, in last year’s Speed Racer. Read More »