Stuck Up Cinema – 3 Movies You Need to See Part 2

I think it’s about time that I did one of these again. My first entry into the ‘Movies You Need to See’ entry was all the way back in the early days of TUG. If you haven’t read it, go start on that post and then watch those movies and then come back here to see three more movies you need to see. The first one I kind of hovered around some older movies, or movies that you wouldn’t tend to get around to seeing unless someone went out of their way to show you. In this second edition I figured that I would talk a bit about some movies released in the last 15 years– modern movies if you will. If you have seen them: great, stop reading this entry and go watch them again. If you haven’t seen them: you’re in for a treat.

Without further ado, here is 3 Movies You Need to See Part 2.

Warrior (2011)

Directed by: Gavin O’Connor

A lot of my friends wrote this movie off as a ‘Fighter’ wannabe; even I did originally. They came around at the same time and the comparison was unavoidable. It’s like the unfortunate release timing of Stir of Echoes, which timed directly with The Sixth Sense. Both are great movies, but Stir of Echoes deserved much more praise and attention than it actually received. Warrior is like that too, everyone talked or heard about The Fighter, but Warrior was just one of those ‘rip-offs’. Warrior follows Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, two foreign dudes playing Americans, that both need money for different reasons and both join a big UFC tournament to try and win that money. Nick Nolte comes in with an UNSTOPPABLE performance as their father. Seriously, he will rip you apart as you watch this movie, his performance is absolutely fantastic. The two leads also do a great job, and they both look the part of UFC competitor, making the fights believable.

But good God, the fights– THE FIGHTS. They’re great. Even though the movie is incredibly predictable you’ll go through the motions that the movie lays out before you. When the movie wants you to feel the tension of the fight you’ll feel the tension of the fight. When the movie wants you to cheer for the protagonists you’ll cheer for the for the god damn protagonists. At the end of the movie you’ll get goosebumps and you’ll feel fulfilled. Essentially this movie is just a great example of going along for a ride as a viewer. You’d think that would be more common in film, but, unfortunately, it isn’t common at all. This movie uses smart and simple film techniques to showcase a good, albeit predictable, story of two brothers both competing for something. It is put together wonderfully and I can watch it again and again and like it every time. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

Gattaca (1997)

Directed by: Andrew Niccol

A modern ‘sci-fi’ movie that instead of, like the next movie on the list, grounds itself in the realism of the science fiction genre. Instead of saying something seemingly implausible like ‘what if aliens landed on Earth’ Gattaca says ‘what if we got to the point in genetics where we could breed perfect humans?’ Gattaca follows Ethan Hawke who plays a child born out of natural methods, meaning that he has isn’t a ‘perfect human’ which means immediately, right off the bat, he is discriminated against for it. Seriously, in this near future a human born naturally is usually designated to doing grunt work and other crap like that. However, Mr. Hawke wants to be an astronaut, he wanted to be an astronaut his whole life… and he doesn’t want his ‘imperfections’ to stop him from achieving that.

I watched this movie in Grade 11 English, ages ago, and I fell in love with it even back then. This movie is an emotional roller coaster. The climax of the film will cause you to reach five emotional climaxes and you won’t imagine how they could plausibly incorporate another high after the one you just went through. But no, they do it and it’ll make you feel so good. This movie is a feel good movie without shoving that idea down your throat. It’s whole point of existent, its raison d’etere if you will, is to remind you that we are put on this planet to achieve our goals. It’s not about being born perfect, it’s about fighting for what you want and you will achieve all of your dreams.

Big props to Jude Law too. There isn’t any movie I’ve seen that I didn’t like him in.

District 9 (2009)

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp

Then on the flip side of the sci-fi spectrum is District 9. I knew that I would love this movie the moment that I saw the trailer in theatres. The trailer was an alien being interrogated, the government asking about his weapons, and the alien begging to be released and to be allowed to go home. That was shocking to me; I imagine that with all of the ‘alien invasion’ scenarios it is highly likely that it won’t always turn out into the ‘glory to America’ saving the day thing. The part of humanity that we don’t like to look at too much is that we are pricks. We are just pricks. Straight up. District 9 showcases the idea of humans exhibiting its own racism and prejudice on an alien race. That’s just neat. I like that and for that alone the movie deserves a recommendation. It just helps that the movie is also really good.

It’s separated into three very fun acts, all of which showcase some nice filming styles and niches. The first bit is a Found Footage style of filming introducing our characters and introducing a little bit of comedy. The second bit is a ‘man-hunt’ like situation that also allows for a nice little bit of disturbing body horror and the last act of the movie is a full on summer blockbuster. It’s not really a surprise to say at this point that the aliens look great, and the movie seems very real because of it. Sharlto Copley was also a great lead actor, especially considering that this was his first real film. Now I know I don’t really have much to say about this movie but you just have to understand that District 9 is great. It’s an awesome movie and a true feat considering its budget. It’s entertaining, unique and a solid example that sci-fi isn’t finished yet.

Hope you enjoy these movies when you watch them. I’ll see you next Monday, folks.


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