Author Topic: 2015 Discoveries  (Read 4262 times)


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2015 Discoveries
« on: December 31, 2015, 08:18:09 PM »
What were the best older films you saw for the first time this year? As usual, lots of pictures encouraged!


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Re: 2015 Discoveries
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2015, 08:33:35 PM »
Top 20 Discoveries

1. A Summer’s Tale
2. Two Days, One Night
3. The Tale of Princess Kaguya
4. Jane Eyre (1996)
5. Beyond The Lights
6. To Sir, With Love
7. Thelma and Louise
8. Pump Up The Volume
9. Quartet
10. Kink
11. Laggies
12. 9 to 5
13. As If I Am Not There
14. The Ballad of Little Jo
15. Dangerous Liaisons
16. The Player
17. Vagabond
18. Pompeii
19. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
20. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome


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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2015, 08:42:23 PM »

I'm sorry. I know it's not normal but I can't help it.

25. Safe (Todd Haynes, 1995)


It don't take long to kill things, not like it does to grow.

24. Hud (Martin Ritt, 1963)


Why do we ask so many questions? Two people shouldn't know each other too well if they want to fall in love. But, then, maybe they shouldn't fall in love at all.

23. L'Eclisse (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962)


The bourgeois will be thrilled to mix with our girls without fear of disease or getting knifed.

22. French Cancan (Jean Renoir, 1954)


Okay. You people sit tight, hold the fort and keep the home fires burning. And if we're not back by dawn... call the president.

21. Big Trouble in Little China (John Carpenter, 1986)
« Last Edit: January 09, 2016, 07:23:55 AM by Totoro »


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Re: 2015 Discoveries
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2016, 12:33:10 AM »


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Re: 2015 Discoveries
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2016, 12:46:41 AM »
I don't know if I can do much for fresh pictures, but I will try to come up with fresh words. I've done the initial digging through my back posts and have 46 titles. I'm going to narrow that done before I post.
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Re: 2015 Discoveries
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2016, 12:27:01 PM »
It's no secret that my interest in movies has waned (as has my interest in writing about them... there are a several movies I saw that I never reviewed). I watched fewer films in 2015 than any of the previous 14 years. Additionally, a higher proportion of what I watch is now devoted to newer releases and revisits. So what used to be a top 20 list of older movies I discovered in the past year is now reduced to a top 10. These are all the non-new films I saw in 2015 for the first time that I rated 85 or higher. It's a smaller list, but it's a good list, and re-reading my reviews has started to rekindle my interest in cinema a little bit.

1. Kokoro

"It has a profound impact as it examines the psychological, spiritual, and moral complexities of its characters."

2. Watership Down

"The film handles death in a way that makes it both terrifying and poignant, haunting and lovely."

3. Deep Water

"A thoughtful piece of work, a thorough meditation on misguided human endeavor."

4. Intimate Lighting

"It all has such an easy-going tempo that it goes down smoothly."

5. The Ape Woman

"The movie never quite goes in the direction you think it will, and the characters are not easily shoehorned into easy boxes."

6. Hedwig and the Angry Inch

"Although undoubtedly campy, it has a sincerity and a solid emotional core that shines through."

7. Time Stood Still

"Both sides of this generation gap are presented with sympathy and understanding."

8. Gone to Earth

"The bold colors help lend the film its faintly surreal aura, an otherworldly patina."

9. Imitation of Life (1934)

"Stahl’s [version] has much to recommend it as well, and is even more daring for its time."

10. Titli

"Compelling, honest and sometimes touching portrait of a mother-daughter relationship."
Watched 2020

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Re: 2015 Discoveries
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2016, 02:49:07 PM »
This is always one of my favorite threads. It provides some great recommendations and it proves that I'm not even close to scraping the bottom of the barrel. Many believe that I watch too many movies, while enjoying few. Also, I've already seen all the Great ones. There's nothing left to Discover. Here are experiences that say otherwise.

American Madness (1932)
Frank Capra already has 6 films on my list of Essentials, but this was the one I didn't see coming. I selected it for Walter Huston and Pat O'Brien, but Capra makes them just two parts in a mosaic about the banking industry 70 years ago that still speaks to today's fragile economy. Capra has always been a master of taking important subjects and making them about great people and this is right up there. Huston also proves to be a perfect fit for the idealistic Capra hero.

Home From the Hill (1960)
Selected for Robert Mitchum, he's perfectly cast as an uber-macho, neglectful father who returns to find his son has become a "mama's boy". Mitchum aims to set the boy straight in this melodrama from Vincente Minnelli. I'm not a fan of Minnelli, but putting him at the helm of a masculine vs. feminine deathmatch is perfect. Mitchum gets to be ultra-Mitchum while every action he takes is reframed for us as questionable.

Blues in the Night (1941)
This is 1SO in a single film. It's a great musical, a great noir, with great dialogue and some great performances from personal favorite Llloyd Nolan to the dependable Jack Carson to Betty Field, who is the year's femme fatale discovery.

Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009)
I put this one off for years because it sounded so sad and from Lasse Hallström I expected more mawkish heart pulling. This is not a typical tearjerker. The dog isn't abused or injured and if it dies it's going to be of old age. Instead the dog becomes a symbol for all of us who ever had to deal with something bad happening that we can never quite wrap our heads around. We may never understand it, while we keep to our routine day after day, waiting for things to get right.

Three by Basil Dearden (1959/1960/1962)
A great night at the movie. What began as one planned viewing turned into a triple feature from a director I was largely unfamiliar with. The Eclipse Set Basil Dearden’s London Underground covers three popular Noir sub-genres, a racially charged murder mystery, a heist film and a jazzed up version of Shakespeare's Othello. All 3 are different enough from each other while capturing a particular feel for Britain during this time period.

The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
One of my favorite inexplicable trends this year was the time when I seemed to be perfect in sync with oneaprilday. Sometimes we were in the minority together - Boyhood - and sometimes it was this. I am not a fan of director Elaine May, but I really liked The Heartbreak Kid for all the reasons why people like May's type of awkward comedy. "The Office" created a lot of great uncomfortable comedy, but nothing is as hilariously, uncomfortably awkward as some of the highlights here.

A Walk In The Sun (1945)
From Pixote and The Top 100 Club, this was my first Discovery of 2015. A war picture that emphasizes the waiting but isn't tedious because there's a lot of conversation (provided by the great Robert Rossen). A great ensemble, but the standout is Richard Conte who jumped from outlier to major star in my mind. I watched a lot of his films during Noir-vember because this had me wanting to see more.

The Overnighters (2014)
Staying with the Top 100 Club, oldkid let me inside a world that's sadly a portrait of America and a window into oldkid's own life. (This film connects with Steve's Facebook posts.) It left me amazed by how many people are struggling to get by and how there are people who want to help their fellow man.

Cashback (2006)
Bondo gave me this discovery, a look at relationships that's more sexually honest while being fantastical. It's the way we can ask questions of ourselves while viewing things in an environment only cinema can provide. I can forgive flaws if a film makes me think, and Cashback posed some questions no other film has given me.

Detachment (2011)
My final Top 100 Discovery is from the late, great smirnoff. This school drama tackles a major social issue head-on, like The Overnighters. It does it with a mixture of frankness and the fantastic, like Cashback. It just about goes off the rails every 5-10 minutes, but manages to claw and shout its way back into some powerful points.

Okay... how about some genre Discoverines.

Ghostwatch (1992)
A proto-Paranormal Activity from Britain is like a modern War of the Worlds. Builds nicely to some creepy and scary moments that are hard to shake off.

Burn Witch Burn (1962)
Like Village of the Damned, this British chiller takes a new turn every few minutes so you're never quite sure what's coming, though you're certain that damned eagle statue is going to be a part of it.

Orphan (2009)
Something wrong with Esther, alright. From a pulpy premise, the script and director go classy. Good performances keep the screws tightening for almost two hours. A horror film that plays the long game rather than trying to jolt you with scares every 5 minutes. That's what makes it such a find.

Mistaken For Strangers (2013)
Initially funny, ultimately emotional documentary of two brothers. One is a confident rock star, while the other continually screws up to avoid facing his constant doubt in himself. This says more about family than any fictional tale of family dysfunction.

One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937)
I was curious about Deanna Durbin, and this had the safety net of some familiar character actors. They do their usual fine work, but it wasn't needed. Durbin is great, and I hope to watch the rest of her collection this year. The film also contains one of the year's best scenes, an orchestra of unemployed musicians playing along the staircases of conductor Leopold Stokowski (playing himself).

You and Me (1938)
The House Across The Bay (1940)
I always saw George Raft as the tough guy for when you can't get Bogart. This year I discovered he has a great soft side, brought out by Silvia Sidney in You and Me and Joan Bennett in The House Across the Bay. You and Me is also a sort of musical, with some unusual numbers put to Fritz Lang's powerful imagery and silent film sense of editing. House is a prison Noir, focusing on the woman outside who waits and worries for her man in jail.

The Tall Target (1951)
Station West (1948)
Two Western Noir starring Dick Powell. Tall Target is a Presidential assassination thriller set aboard a train and directed by Anthony Mann. Station West is the most perfect blend I've seen on the two genres, with great dialogue and a supporting cast that includes Jane Greer, Agnes Moorehead and Raymond Burr.
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Re: 2015 Discoveries
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2016, 04:50:04 PM »
Great lists. Keep 'em coming. I always love this topic.
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Re: 2015 Discoveries
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2016, 07:47:43 PM »
Amistad (1997)
Boogie Nights (1997)
Coming to America (1988)
Election (1999)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
A Few Good Men (1992)
Following (1998)
Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Meet the Feebles (1989)
The Naked Gun (1988)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
A River Runs Through It (1992)
Scrooged (1988)
Snatch (2000)
Strictly Ballroom (1993)
Velvet Goldmine (1988)
Veronica Mars (2014)
Walking and Talking (1996)
Zodiac (2007)
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Re: 2015 Discoveries
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2016, 08:12:08 PM »
2015 was the year I discovered Aki Kaurismäki and Roy Andersson, who've made some films that were instantly among my favorites, and whose styles are, in a way, not that dissimilar. Their styles of humor align with the kinds of things I find funny.

Individual discoveries were:

Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
Another Year (Mike Leigh, 2010)
Stranger Than Fiction (Marc Forster, 2006)
Wings Of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987)
Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)
The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970)

I also loved the two Christian Petzold films I saw in the last couple weeks and am going to check out some more, but it wasn't enough to be a full-on discovery.