Hidden goodies of the year
The other week my partner, known here as The Essex Princess, was out of town.
With no Princess to oversee proceedings, I reverted to the cave-dwelling troglodyte that secretly lurks in all men. I stalked the house in my pyjamas, devoured bad food and indulged in a movie binge.
I suppose we all have different tolerances, but for me a movie binge is 11 films in seven days.
I took the chance to catch up with some of the films I have missed this year. I always try to catch essential films at the cinema, but the ones I miss are always swept up later on Blu-ray at home.
It was a mixed bag. There was mediocre, but entertaining, fare like Hunger Games and The Dictator; charming fun like Aardman's claymation Pirates! and the surprisingly weighty superhero movie Chronicle.
But among these films were a handful of overlooked lovelies. Films that I missed in their very short run at the cinema, but was delighted to discover at home. It is sometimes hard to spot these films at the cinema. They are often drowned out by the blockbuster hullabaloo. It is like trying to listen out for a flute solo while a marching band is passing.
So, here is a trilogy of truly great films that, like me, you may have missed this year.
This is my favourite on the list. It is sensational.
It's a Norwegian-German production about an art thief whose life quickly and violently unravels.
It is incredibly good fun to watch. I watched it alone, but found myself exclaiming aloud at some of the surprising plot turns and the driving, unhinged narrative that just keeps going and going and going.
If you haven't seen it, I urge you to rent it as soon as possible. And keep yourself off the web to remain unspoilt.
It's like Glengarry Glen Ross retooled for the subprime meltdown. A smart script, big-hitter cast and a story about how the American Dream can sometimes go a bit squiffy.
Kevin Spacey is sensational as a complacent and comfortable investment boss who has let the financial apocalypse happen on his watch. Jeremy Irons strides in to drive the final act with compelling focus.
It's one of those films where the pleasure lies in watching amazing actors show what they can do with a crisp and tightly focused script.
This is an engrossing and unblinking portrayal of a man in pain.
Michael Fassbender plays a New York executive addicted to sex in a brave performance that subtly hints at the pain and turmoil that drives his compulsive behaviour.
Carey Mulligan is also excellent as the sister that disrupts a life well ordered to best service his addiction.
Be warned, it is an explicit film that unflinchingly portrays the depths to which addiction can drive a man. It's a very moving film.
On a lighter note, if they ever make a movie of my life, I want to be played by Fassbender's tadger. It's got real screen presence.
If you've already seen these, let me know your thoughts. If not, rent them now.
Have I missed any overlooked lovelies? Have you seen any great films this year that you don't think received their due? What do you think of my choices? Comment below.
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