Friday, October 23, 2009

Hidden Gem Films - 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days (2007)

During the final days of communism in Romania, two college roommates, Otilia and Gabita, are busy preparing for a night away. But, rather than planning for a holiday, they are making arrangements for Gabita's illegal abortion and unwittingly, both find themselves burrowing deep down a rabbit hole of unexpected revelations.

The fascination of the film comes not so much from the experiences the friends have, however unspeakable, but in who they are, and how they behave and relate.

This is a raw, gritty masterpiece. 9/10.

Hidden Gem Films - Hard Candy (2005)

Geoff "Patrick Wilson" is a 30ish, successful, high-fashion photographer who meets 14-year-old Haley "Ellen Page" on the Internet. They arrange a date at a coffee shop and then head back to his house. What follows is a spine-chilling nightmare, and Geoff has no one to blame but himself.

On one level, it's a revenge picture about a 14-year-old girl who entraps a 32-year-old pedophile on the Internet, gets herself invited to his home, and quickly has him strapped down and helpless. On another level, it plays into the classic porno scenario in which a dominating female torments her victim.

The tension is ramped up in this psychological thriller. 8/10.

Hidden Gem Films - Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

Gritty drama, set in the early 1970s, about a band of superstitious, drug-addled misfits who live by their wits and rob drugstores.

The movie stars "Matt Dillon", in one of the great American movie performances, as the leader of a pack of two young couples who are on the prowl in Washington and Oregon. It is 1971, and they are the rear guard of the love generation. They drift from one rented apartment or motel room to another in an aimless migration in search of drugs.

Director "Gus Van Sant" spins a tale with a thread of insane logic that makes it one of the most absorbing movies in a long time. 8.5/10.

Hidden Gem Films - The Last Seduction (1994)

A conniving New York woman cons her medical-student husband into engineering a lucrative drug deal, then flees with the loot, hiding out in a small town in upstate New York. Devising an insurance scam, she talks a lovestruck claims adjuster into murdering her vengeful spouse.

John Dahl's "The Last Seduction" knows how much we enjoy seeing a character work boldly outside the rules. It gives us a diabolical, evil woman, and goes the distance with her.

"Linda Fiorentino" is excellent in this cool, sexy thriller. 8.5/10.

Hidden Gem films - Little Children (2006)

In a suburban town full of perfect parents devoted to rearing their children for Harvard futures, a stay-at-home mom has an affair with an ex-jock, stay-at-home dad who rebels against his wife's wishes that he become a big-bucks lawyer.

This unnervingly funny and quietly devastating film -- director Todd Field's first since his smash 2001 debut with "In the Bedroom" -- pulls you in like a magnetic-force field. It's more than a moral fable about the traps we set for ourselves by not growing up.

Most films fade from memory, this one will stay with you. 8/10.

Hidden Gem Films - The Devil's Rejects (2005)

Ambushed at their isolated home by Sheriff Wydell and a squad of armed men, the Firefly family wakes up one morning with guns blazing -- yet only Otis and his sister, Baby, manage to escape the barrage of bullets unharmed. Hiding out in a backwater motel, the wanted siblings wait to rendezvous with their errant father, Captain Spaulding, killing whoever happens to stand in their way. But as the body count mounts higher, Sheriff Wydell decides to take the law into his own hands.

Rob Zombie ("The House of 1,000 Corpses") continues where he left off with this relentless, exceptionally violent, deliciously twisted road movie/torture chamber. This movie is not for the squeamish but if you enjoy this genre you will be more than satisfied. 8/10.

Hidden Gem Films - Cache (2005)

Georges (Daniel Auteuil), a television talk show host, and his wife Anne (Juliette Binoche), are living the perfect life of modern comfort and security. One day, their lives are disrupted in the form of a mysterious videotape that appears on their doorstep. On it they are being filmed by a hidden camera from across the street with no clues as to who shot it, or why.

As more tapes arrive containing images that are disturbingly intimate and increasingly personal, Georges launches into an investigation of his own as to who is behind this. As he does so, secrets from his past are revealed, and the walls of security he and Anne have built around themselves begin to crumble.

"Cache" is a intelligent thought-provoking film that will stay with you long after the closing credits. 8/10.