Film Review: 10 Amazing Movies No One Saw

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Some movies, no matter how wonderful, just can't seem to catch a break. Now, as someone forever pushing lesser known films on to unsuspecting readers, I thought I'd put together a list of films that wowed critics but were considered a flop at the box office. Here's 10 amazing movies not many people have seen but need to...


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Budget: $3,300,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $135,388 (USA) (10 October 2014)
Gross: $13,092,000 (USA) (27 March 2015) - via IMDB

An aspiring young drummer, Andrew (Miles Teller), joins a dog-eat-dog music conservatory where his dreams of excellence are pushed to the limit when he is mentored by a cutthroat conductor who will exert his students to beyond what is expected of them. Having assured himself the role of core drummer, his life will now become a living hell in order to keep his position.

Thanks to the Academy Awards, Whiplash did finally make back it's budget spend and get some of the exposure it deserved, but it's opening weekend didn't see millions flocking to the cinema screens. With outstanding direction from rookie, Damien Chazelle, stunning cinematography and an Academy recognized cast, Whiplash was destined for greatest from the very start. J. K Simmons, who won Best Supporting for his role, is tremendous as Fletcher - ultimately chilling to the bone and building suspense in every scene he steals.Who knew a film about Jazz could be so entertaining? You can see my full review of Whiplash here. 

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Budget: Undisclosed
Opening Weekend: $6,459 (USA) (19 June 2015)
Gross: $229,094 (USA) (19 June 2015) - via IMDB

It's 1870 and a 16-year old hopeless romantic, Jay (Kodi Smit-McPhee) has journeyed from the cliffs of Scotland to the heart of Colorado in search of his love, Rose, and her father. Unaware of the bounty on the head of his beloved, and naive to the dangers of the wild west, outlaw Silas (Michael Fassbender) agrees to chaperone his quest but with an agenda of his own. 

Visually stunning and with wonderful performances from all cast members, Slow West is a refreshing take on it's genre and a stunning piece of independent cinema. A work of rare purity, it's a shame that the film saw such small distribution in cinemas but well worth the watch if you get the chance. How everyone did not lose their shit over this film is beyond me. You can read my full review of Slow West here. 

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Budget: $1.8 million (NZ dollars)
Opening Weekend: £47,845 (UK) (19 August 2007)
Gross: $1,298,037 (US dollars) - via IMDB

Lily (Loren Horsley), is a socially awkward fast-food waitress with a crush on regular customer, Jarrod (Jemaine Clement) - an equally oddball video-game clerk. Having ceased the opportunity to get his attention at a costume party, the pair dives head first in to a relationship but Jarrod is not exactly what Lily expected. Gearing up for his ultimate revenge against a high-school bully, Jarrod unexpectedly dumps Lily but, she digs her heels in and refuses to give up the fight. In doing so, she finds a side of herself she never knew existed.

Eagle Vs. Shark is a quirky romance unlike anything you've ever seen. Filled with dry, kiwi-humour, kooky characters and stop motion sequences, it is certainly unique. If you like New Zealand comedy series, Flight of the Conchords, and vampire mock-doc, What We Do In the Shadows (Taika Waititi, 2014), you'll adore this wonderfully weird and pretty rom-com.

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Budget: $17,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $599,003 (USA) (20 May 2011)
Gross: $56,816,662 (USA) (16 March 2012) - via IMDB

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a screenwriter and aspiring novelist with major writer's block. Whilst vacationing in Paris with his fiancee (Rachel McAdams), he takes to touring the city at night, alone, in search of inspiration. On one of his late night excursions, Gil meets a strange group of creatives who sweep him along for a night with some of the Jazz Age's icons of art and literature. It is not before long that Gil realizes he has traveled back in time, meeting such personal heroes as the Fitzgeralds, Dali and Hemmingway in the flesh. However, the more time Gil spends with these cultural heroes of the past, the more dissatisfied he becomes with the present and the more distant his relationships become. 

You might think that a gross of £56 million sounds a lot but for a Woody Allen movie, that's not groundbreaking. In fact, it was only following it's Oscar nominations that it actually started to get noticed. Afterall, a Woody Allen comedy where the protagonist goes back in time? It sounds crazy, no? Strangely, it totally works and Midnight in Paris is not only utterly stunning as it presents a romanticized, bygone era of Paris, but it is wonderfully witty. Furthermore, it includes an all star cast including Marion Cotillard; Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen and Tom Hiddleston - all of whom makes this film spectacular. In my personal opinion, Midnight in Paris is one of Allen's greatest films in years and well worth the watch. 

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Budget: $10,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $4,231,727 (USA) (21 February 1999)
Gross: $10,824,921 (USA) (9 May 1999) - via IMDB

Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) is a corporate drone who hates his job at a soul-destroying software company. In search of some kind of enlightenment, Peter undergoes hypnotherapy and finds himself with a new lease of life. He no longer listens to his boss, refuses to work overtime, plays computer games all day and unintentionally charms two corporate big wigs into putting him on the management fast-track. However, when Peter's friends and colleagues learn that the company is about to be downsized, they hatch a revenge plot against the company inspired by "Superman III."

Office Space might be something of a cult classic now, but on it's opening weekend, it certainly did not break the box office. You may not be aware of it, but references from Office Space are used constantly in TV sitcoms, in particular Family Guy. Besides being hilariously funny and responsible for some brilliant internet gifs, Office Space is a wonderful showcasing of screenwriting and character creation at it's best. To this day, Milton Waddams (Stephen Root) is one of my all time favourite tragic/comedy characters. If you haven't seen it already, I urge you strongly to give it a go and check out Jennifer Aniston's role while you're there.

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Budget: £1.6 million (NZ dollars)
Opening Weekend: $128,520 (USA) (20 February 2015)
Gross: $3,333,000 (USA) (8 May 2015) - via IMDB

A New-Zealand documentary film crew follow four house-sharing vampires to document their daily lives and the build-up as they prepare for New Zealand's biggest un-dead social engagement of the year: The Unholy Masquerade. 

Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi's second entry in today's list; the pair star and direct in this original and hilarious mock-documentary. Funded by themselves and Kick-Starter, What We Do in the Shadows had a limited distribution in cinemas yet it has received worldwide recognition at International Film Festivals. Having been such a big fan of Eagle Vs. Shark, I managed to find the film in a small screen and was not at all disappointed. I love the comparison of the vampires to that of first year students and the film's dry humour. If you haven't seen it already, it is not available on Netflix and is utterly fantastic and, by far, one of the most original films I've seen in years.

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Budget: $15,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $279,457 (USA) (29 March 2013)
Gross: $21,383,298 (USA) (21 June 2013) - via IMDB

In upstate New York, a motorcycle stunt driver, Luke (Ryan Gosling) turns to robbing banks in order to provide a future for his newborn son. However, his antics put him on a deadly collision course when an ambitious young cop (Bradley Cooper) decides to hunt him down. Years later, their sons (Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen) must deal with the unforeseen consequences of their fathers' actions.

Whilst the movie was never recognized by the Academy, it certainly earned itself a few awards at independent film festivals. It managed to make it's money back but on opening weekend, The Place Beyond the Pines was a near flop despite starring two Academy nominees, one being a shirtless, tattooed Ryan Gosling. Both Gosling and Cooper prove their talents in this beautifully shot, crime-drama which certainly deserves a few. The Place Beyond the Pines gets a Sophie star rating of 4 out of 5 stars. 

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Budget: $20,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $188,000 (USA) (2 January 2015)
Gross: $5,749,134 (USA) (24 April 2015) - via IMDB

An ambitious fuel supplier, Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), tries to adhere to his own moral compass among the rampant violence and corruption that plagues his industry. Feeling that both his family and livelihood are being threatened, he strives to protect his loved ones during the city's most violent year in history in New York, 1981. 

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Oscar Isaac is by far one of the most underrated actors in the industry. As per usual, he delivers a stunning performance Academy Award nominee, Jessica Chastain in this stylized, crime thriller. The cinematography is beautiful yet nostalgic and whilst the film itself may have had a short cinema distribution, it's now available on Amazon Prime and would strongly recommend giving it a watch. 


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Budget: $40,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $8,855,063 (USA) (23 October 1998)
Gross: £790,203 (UK) (26 March 1999) - via IMDB

Seeing a young boy's interest in a 1950s television sitcom, a mysterious television repairman (Don Knotts) provides David (Toby Mcguire) with a remote control which transports him inside the black-and-white program, Pleasantville. Having accidentally transported his sister, Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon), along with him, the pair initially takes well to the simplistic, nostalgic world of the sitcom but this is interrupted when they introduce their own modern day values. Jennifer soon sets about corrupting her fellow characters with glimpses of reality which unexpectedly bring a little color into their black and white existence. Before long, many find themselves in glorious technicolour and outcasts in the society.

I love this film for a whole host of reasons. Besides the stunning costumes and 1950s culture, the black and white vs technicolour becomes a metaphor for civil rights and society as a whole. Although a seemingly empty teen flick, Pleasantville features an all-star cast and has a whole lot of heart and depth and I'd strongly recommend it to anyone. 

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Budget: $2,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $160,089 (USA) (13 March 2015)
Gross: $14,673,301 (USA) (19 June 2015) - via IMDB

Jay (Maika Monroe) is carefree teenager but when she sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), she learns that she is victim to a fatal curse that is passed on through sexual intercourse. Presented in the form of a friend or stranger, Jay is forced to fight or flee the deadly supernatural force which is hunting her.

I was lucky enough to catch a sneak-peek of this at FrightFest in 2014 but at the time I hadn't given it much after-thought. It was only when I watched it properly on Amazon Prime that I realized just how special this horror is. Unlike many contemporary horrors, It Follows relies entirely on psychological horror over jump scares. From start to finish, this unique horror is unsettling to say the least and all the more scary that the supernatural presence can appear anywhere, at anytime. Above all, it presents many feminist debates. It Follows is a story of innocence lost; Jay is punished for having sex (in the true spirit of horror genre codes and conventions) but she is forced to engage in further sexual activity to rid herself of the curse. However, if her next partner is caught, the curse will revert back to her and she must yet again pass it on. Pretty fucked up, right? Furthermore, it's beautifully shot and features some excellent cinematography. It Follows is a true modern-day horror classic.

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Well, that's it for another film post. If you've seen all of the above, congrats - you're a film nerd much like myself. What are your favourite underrated movies? Are there any movies on your list to watch this month? As always, I love reading your comments so please do leave them below. 

Until next time movie fans,



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22 comments:

  1. I'm so happy to say I saw 'WWDITS' and even own it own DVD. It was just perfection! I do need to see the place beyond the pines actually - heard many good things about that one!

    Chloe Mary Davis | www.lovefromlucky.com

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    1. Yay! I love that you've seen it. It's such a clever and hilarious film. Ugh it's sooo good! x

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  2. oh wow, ive NEVER seen any of these! will definitely have to
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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    1. Haha i'm not surprised at all - add them to your list :) x

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  3. I love watching lesser know films, I feel a bit cool! Ha! I really liked The Place Beyond The Pines and Pleasantville, but will check out some of the other titles as they all sound so interesting! :)
    haveyouseenhowshespeaks.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Me too! I feel like I have a huge long list still to get through at the moment though. Ah so glad, I think they're both awesome movies but so underrated! You'll have to let me know what you think of the others :) xx

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  4. I have to admit that although I've heard of some of these, the only one I have actually watched is Midnight In Paris!

    Meg | A Little Twist Of…

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    1. Well, that's definitely a strong contender! It's actually one of my all time favourite movies :) x

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  5. I'm proud that I've seen 3 of these! Been meaning to watching It Follows for ages x
    Emily
    www.thebelljarblog.com

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    1. Yay! Well done you, knew you had great taste ;) I think you'd really love it, it's really haunting. We'll have to have a movie night soon x

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  6. Amazing blog post, it's introduced me to some amazing sounding movies! I'd love to watch the one about the drummer seeing as I play drums myself! Loved this post and will be sure to check them all out!

    www.leahrachelgoth.blogspot.com

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    1. Aw thank you! I'm so glad you like it and that you can be inspired to watch some new films. Ha it's more about jazz/drama but it's awesome - hope you like it! x

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  7. This is such a good post, I love finding quirky little films to watch that aren't so mainstream and I'll definitely be watching some of these soon. Nice to see that Pleasantville is included, it's one of my faves! x

    Always, Alice

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    1. Yay! Mine too - such a classic. You'll have to tell me what you think of them :) x

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  8. The Place Beyond The Pines is one of my all-time favourites! Great post!

    xo, Liz
    http://lipstickandconfetti.com

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    1. Excellent choice - I haven't seen it in so long now but I've always loved it x

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  9. Great post, I haven't watched any of these but I've been meaning to watch It Follows and I want to watch Whiplash purely because of Miles Teller x

    owlsinthesummer.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you :) Ha he's pretty awesome in it tbh, I couldn't believe he went from this to Fantastic 4 though x

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  10. I really enjoyed reading through this excellent list you've put together! Whiplash has two really intense and outstanding performances which I really liked but I definitely wouldn't want a teacher like that IRL. I will have to watch It Follows and What We Do in the Shadows. The time travel plot in Midnight in Paris reminds me of Predestination (which I'm sure you've seen, Sophie) with Ethan Hawke, which has a really interesting and bizarre take on the subject. Even if a film fails in some respects, I usually don't think I wasted my time if I feel that they tried to do something new and interesting; your Ryan Gosling pick made me think about Only God Forgives. Lately, it's been a little difficult for me to go and see films in the theaters but I plan to see Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some!! and Batman V. Superman despite what the critics say.

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    1. Aw thanks Gil. No I agree, I go to FrightFest every year and alot of those films are never picked up or recognised but I'm still glad I got to see them. I just like ticking them off my list. Ah yes I did think of Only God Forgives - it got absolutely slated but then also people loved it. Ah I should check that out, it's out here in May. Batman Vs Superman wasn't great but glad I saw it for myself anyway :)

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  11. The Place Beyond The Pines is so painfully underrated! Beautiful film, deffo one of my faves :) xo

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    1. Mine too - I just don't understand how it was snubbed by the Oscars at all. Great movie xx

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