Sunday, April 5, 2015

12 cinematic and television gems I found because of my actor crushes

By Sati. Sunday, April 5, 2015 , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My way of watching films? See everything the actor I adore is in. I've recently acquired such obscure stuff with Stephen Dillane that I'm amazed I even managed to find it (and thanks to everyone who helped!). I don't care what imdb rating is. I don't even care what the movie is about. If he is in it, I'll watch it.

It's a technique I employed for years and while I have seen so much shit (Idris Elba really needs to be in better movies, seriously) there are several films which I watched and absolutely adored that I wouldn't have found if it wasn't for my love for that one particular actor who is in it. And almost all of those are completely unknown to the general public, so yet again let me shine a light on these true gems I found, hoping that you guys manage to find them and watch them:

12. Soldier's Girl (2003) (review)
seen for Lee Pace

Based on true events, Soldier's Girl is a shocking and horrifying story of real life crime. Pace, in his first big role, plays Calpernia Addams, a transsexual performer. A young soldier falls for her and the two start a relationship. What follows is a shattering story with beautiful performances and one of the examples of how horrible the intolerance and hatred can be.

11. Eden Lake (2008) (review)
 seen for Michael Fassbender

Eden Lake is one of the most suspenseful and disturbing horror films of the past few years. Why? Because the things shown in this film could easily happen. The movie tells the struggle of two people - a sweet couple played by Kelly Reilly and Fassbender, who are being hunted by the demoralized group of teenagers. It's absolutely chilling.

10. Un Balcon sur la Mer (2010) (review)
 seen for Jean Dujardin

I've seen a whole bunch of movies for Jean but this one was hands down the best find. The film is a charming romance story  Happily married with a daughter, Marc is a successful real estate agent in Aix-en-Provence. One day, he has an appointment with a woman to view a traditional country house. A few hours later, Marc finally puts a name to her face. It's Cathy, the girl he was in love with growing up in Oran, Algeria, in the last days of the French colonial regime. Marc hurries to her hotel. They spend the night together. Then she's gone again. And Marc's mother tells him Cathy never left Algeria. She was killed with her father in a bombing just before independence...The film is a really lovely mixture of thriller and romance, with beautiful performances and cinematography.

9. London (2005) (review)
seen for Jason Statham

Jason Statham, whom I absolutely adore, gets a bad rep. People associate him with action movies and say he is not a good actor. That's not true. He can be incredibly funny, a proof of which is his work in early Guy Ritchie movies and apparently, in upcoming Spy. He is also able to meet the challenge of more complex parts, like his work here, in under seen, underrated and very atmospheric London. Ladies, Chris Evans is also here, so track this one down.

8. Luther (2010-2015) (review)
 seen for Idris Elba

I started watching Luther right after I finished season 3 of The Wire and I was absolutely shocked when I heard Elba's accent. I was thinking 'Wow, he is pretending to have such thick English accent here!' and then I found Elba actually is English and the pretend accent was him sounding like an American in The Wire. Luther remains Elba's best work - he plays a good man with violent temper, a good cop with messed up personal life. And the best part of the show is his electric chemistry with Alice Morgan, splendidly played by Ruth Wilson. I cannot believe they are gonna ruin the show, twice - there is American remake in the works AND a feature film which is gonna destroy that fantastic season 4 ending.

7. Strange Days (1995) (review)
seen for Ralph Fiennes

A unique science fiction movie is a rarity. Even more rare is seeing a movie where Ralph Fiennes plays a laid back guy. Well, that's Strange Days for you. The film has awesome premise -  set in the year 1999 during the last days of the old millennium, the movie tells the story of Lenny Nero, an ex-cop who now deals with data-discs containing recorded memories and emotions. One day he receives a disc which contains the memories of a murderer killing a prostitute. Lenny investigates and is pulled deeper and deeper in a whirl of blackmail, murder and rape. Will he survive and solve the case? - and amazing atmosphere plus bitchin' soundtrack. And Angela Bassett is in it. And the film's ending contains one of my favorite movie kisses of all time.

6. Wonder Boys (2000)
 seen for Robert Downey Jr

This is such a delightful movie which contains one of the best performances from Michael Douglas. Douglas plays  Grady Tripp, a professor/writer living in Pittsburgh who is struggling with writer's block. Whilst doing this, he also manages to get the chancellor pregnant. In the meantime, he and a college student, James Leer (Tobey McGuire) are trying to find a rare jacket once owned by Marilyn Monroe, and a college girl, Hannah Green boarding with Grady has a bit of a crush on him. Downey plays Douglas' colorful editor and he is really hilarious here. Also it's the only movie where you get to see Spiderman and Iron Man in bed together.

5. Dark Harbor (1998)
 seen for Alan Rickman

This is honestly the kind of story Ingmar Bergman could make a movie about. A bickering couple (Alan Rickman and Polly Walker) drive fast through a downpour to catch the last ferry to their island retreat. In a flash, they recognize a crumpled body laying at the side of the road after much argument they stop, only to find a young boy (Norman Reedus) battered and bruised. An offer of summoning the police firmly rejected, the two help the boy as best they can although it certainly means missing the ferry... and so starts this thriller: a tale of twisted sexual attraction and ulterior motives.The film has terrific performances, incredibly intense scenes and very cool intrigue and twists and turns.

4 Solaris (2002) (review)
 seen for George Clooney

This movie may not be for everyone - slow pace, cryptic story, lots of surrealism - but I found it to be absolutely beautiful. It's hypnotic and strangely hopeful, depending how you interpret the film's ending. Either way, even if it's not your cup of tea, it's worth seeing for gorgeous cinematography and incredible score alone.

3. Burning Man (2011)
seen for Matthew Goode

This is a true gem of a movie - incredible performances, gorgeous cinematography, fantastic and intricate story structure and haunting scone by Lisa Gerrard. It's a profound story of love, grief and returning to the world of the living after suffering loss and it has absolutely remarkable performance by Matthew Goode.

2. Fugitive Pieces (2007) (review)
seen for One True God Stephen Dillane

Fugitive Pieces is a beautiful film about Jakob, a writer, who, when he was a little boy, saw his family killed by Nazis. Years later Jakob is still haunted by horrible memories, mostly of his beloved sister who was taken away. It's a gorgeous film about going on in spite of the pain that is in one's past and I'm so grateful that unlike the novel the film has a lovely, happy, hopeful ending.

1. Dirty Filthy Love (2004)
seen for Michael Sheen

This one is actually in my top 100 favorite movies of all time. It's a small TV production but it's right up there with theatrical films when it comes to quality of the script and performances. It's the finest work of Michael Sheen's career and it also has incredible performance from always great Shirley Henderson. Sheen plays Mark, a successful architect whose life starts to collapse due to his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Tourette's Syndrome. Mark is obsessed with getting back with his wife and at the same time, at support group he meets Charlotte, a woman with problems of her own, who starts helping him. While the film has many quirky and funny scenes, it's also heartbreaking and the depiction of Mark's disease is very upsetting. But it all ends in a beautiful and hopeful way.



Honestly guys, track these films down. You're gonna be making me one happy bunny if you see them!

RELATED POSTS:
10 Actors I Would See In Just About Anything (aka welcome to Fangirl Heaven)

35 comments:

  1. Oh, these kinds of posts are what I live for, Sati! All of these sound wonderful and I'm going to try to see at least a couple of them. I'm still haunted by Fugitive Pieces, such an amazing film!

    Also, Wonder Boys's picture here is awesome, I love RDJ's expression!

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    1. I'm so psyched I got at least one person to track down Fugitive Pieces! :D

      RDJ is seriously so funny in that one.

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  2. I've seen London... I didn't like that film. There's a lot of talent in there but no one really got any good material to work with. I have seen bits of Eden Lake, man that is fucked up.

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    1. I liked Statham's storyline, it was ironic and it had pretty great twist that actually led to somewhere.

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  3. Great list! Already noting down those I'd want to see!

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    1. Thanks! hope you have a chance to see them, many aren't easy to find

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  4. This is an excellent post! I'm like you where I go on actor kicks and watch a bunch of movies/TV shows with that particular actor. It's a great way to find gems. (That's how I found The Fades, which I watched for Joe Dempsie)

    Every time you mention Fugitive Pieces I get so pissed that I cannot find that movie anywhere. Netflix and Youtube fail me. lol

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    1. It's so weird that this movie is so hard to find, I'd think fans of Nina Dobrev, who has small part in it, would make it more accessible like all the other movies where someone from CW show appears :)

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  5. Great post Sati! I'm definitely gonna check these films out except for Solaris cause I've seen it already and it's a brilliant sci-fi film that Interstellar tried to be but failed. Try to watch Contact if you haven't. Now thats what I think Interstellar should've been like. It so happens to star Matthew Mcconaughey and was one of the first films I ever saw in cinema and fell in love with to this day.

    They all sound so intriguing and amazing. Plus, I somehow found Fugitive Pieces, albeit through unscrupulous means, but as soon I go abroad, I plan on buying it for DVD.

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    1. Thanks! I did see Contact, I know a lot of people hate on that but I quite enjoyed it. It was certainly not as dumb as those bookshelves in Interstellar.

      Awesome, I really hope you like it!

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  6. This is such a lovely list! Those I've seen I like, then those I haven't, I'll try to give some of them a look!

    The French movie sounds like something I need to watch soon!

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    1. It's really lovely, Dujardin was actually in a number of good ones. Some of the people on the list like Elba for example only have few decent films in their filmography :/

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  7. Wonderful list! I'll keep my eye out for these, I love discovering hidden gems. So glad to see Wonder Boys here, I can't believe that the same director also made L.A. Confidential.

    I remember watching Fish Tank because of Michael Fassbender, but that movie is actually in my top 25 of the 2000s, I absolutely love it.

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    1. Thank you! Wonder Boys is such an underseen movie and a complete delight.

      I wasn't a big fan of Fish Tank but the performances there were amazing

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  8. God, Dirty Filthy Love was heartbreaking. Had it not been for your high praises of it, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have even heard of it let alone seen it.

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    1. Glad I could get you to see it :) The majority of the film is really rough but it only made the ending more lovely.

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  9. I love this idea!

    I've sadly only seen Eden's Lake and Solaris, but I had Soldier's Girl and Burning Man in my Netflix queue because you had talked about them before. Now I have more to add!

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    1. Thank you!

      I hope you get around to see them!

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  10. Wow, except for Luther I haven't seen any of these. I am glad to see we have some of the same celebrity crushes, though. :-)

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    1. Oh, you should definitely check the other ones out and not just for the eye candy :)

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  11. I love the way you watch films! I tend to be all over the place on my viewing choices, unless I'm doing research on a year for the CinSpecs. :)

    Great post! Eden Lake and Wonder Boys are terrific. I've been meaning to see Strange Days and London for years, so I need to do that some time soon.

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    1. I'm very consistent - each Friday for the long time now - Dillane movie night :)

      Oh they are both atmospheric, if anything I'll bet you love the music there, so good

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  12. Luther is a very uneven show - I've nearly written a Recommendation post for it several times, but I talk myself out of it when I start to think about the ups and downs of Season 2. I'm not even sure I bothered to catch up with Season 3, and that's quite surprising as I've become a massive fan of Elba. He's great.

    Strange Days is an incredibly uneven movie, and the sexual assault subplots reaaaaaally creeped out a lot of viewers. There were chunks of the movie that weren't satisfying, and I doubt I'll change my mind on this one, but maybe one day I'll give it another shot.

    Solaris was a very fine adaptation of a difficult and complex sci-fi story. I had seen the Russian original, and the reason why this version wins out is (a) it doesn't have a dreadful translation that makes it even more difficult to understand what the hell is going on and (b) the cinematography here is fantastic (an unfair point of comparison, as the Russian film had a smaller budget and was made ages ago).

    I love your dedication to your cinematic crushes!

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    1. Oh season 3 is much better than season 2!

      I saw it few years ago a while back and really liked it. The sexual assault subplots...well, I am GoT fan so it takes a lot to freak me out when it comes to something like this.

      Thank you! It's either a sign of great dedication indeed or madness :)

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    2. I may try to find the time for Luther III, then. Elba is always worth it.

      Oh, you mean A Song of Sexual Assaults, Actual & Threatened? I hear it's good, but I'm not really into it. The cast seems uniformly fine, though...

      And, hey, why can't it be a sign of both?

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    3. It's not that bad with sexual assault, it's based on medieval times after all. The show puts way too much female nudity in, though.

      That's a good point :P

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  13. Love this idea, great list! And "One True God Stephen Dillane" couldn't be a more perfect description.

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    1. I almost always use this title when talking about him :)

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  14. Great post. I love what you say about Statham. The guy is truly more than many give him credit for.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, he is! He is so wonderful in comedy and he can pull off drama whenever he has a good script to work with.

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  15. This is such an awesome idea for a list Margaret and of course I can relate!! Even so-so movies become a gem when our crush is in it, but these all sounds like they're worth watching! Un Balcon sur la Mer sounds lovely, I'm crushing on a Frenchman right now, which is rare as I almost always go for the Brits, so I think I'll be watching a lot of French movies right now. Speaking of Dujardin, I'll be posting a guest review of his current thriller The Connection, unfortunately I missed the screening for that one, it looks quite gripping!

    Oooh Statham is in LONDON too? I was gonna see it for Chris Evans but hey, now there's another reason to see it! I still have Burning Man to watch, it's in my queue!

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    1. Thank you! Ooh I heard that The Connection is good, definitely looking forward to this one

      He is and he is the best in the cast there!

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  16. Thanks for the Strange Days recommendation. It will be in my underrated sci-fi flicks list.
    Can I borrow the idea of gems I found because of my actor crushes?

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  17. Thank you for your blog!! I'm portuguese and have a Cinema blog too! I found Cinematic Corner when was searching about Gone Girl. I was completely obsessed with the movie and I love the assemblies you did for it. Now I'm trying to browse here withou read nothing about GOT because I'm only in 3rd season! I have a huge crush on Stephen Dillane and always try to see all my crush's movies. I'll see some of Dillane!

    Best wishes!

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