Rob Hunter is Associate Editor and a writer for Film School Rejects. He reviews dvds and films in general and was even at Sundance this year. Check out his stuff here:
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Also, here's Rob's 2011 Discoveries list:
The Wages of Fear (1953) - The first of several titles I knocked of my list of shame in 2012, this French thriller squeezes every last ounce of suspense from its remarkably simple premise. It's features a slow motion intensity and tension that has rarely if ever been duplicated. I still have yet to catch William Friedkin's remake, Sorcerer, but if it's even half as good as this I'll be happy.
The Night of the Hunter (1955) - Another classic from the fifties that I somehow missed until now, this is a spectacular little thriller that I'm actually surprised managed a release when it did. Director Charles Laughton's sole directorial credit is wonderfully dark and blackly comic at times and beautifully acted throughout. It's also one of the few films where the obvious use of sound stages benefits the film's dreamlike feel.
The Seven Little Foys (1955) - Bob Hope plays the real life patriarch of an Osmond-like family of entertainers, but while the film has its moments it's pretty average over all. So why include it in a list of highlights? Because after seeing this I caught a video of the real Foy children, grown up and still performing, featuring the funniest (and most surprising) retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Here, at the 3:06 mark.
Dr. No (1963) - I actually watched all of the James Bond films in 2012 in sequence, the vast majority of them for the very first time. It seems I had a preconception about the films based almost entirely on the Pierce Brosnan years, so I was incredibly pleased to find several gems throughout Bond's history. This first adventure is easily the best of the Sean Connery films, with the worst being the ridiculous Goldfinger, and the character, action and wit still hold up today.
Brewster McCloud (1970) - My Robert Altman exposure was limited to his trademarked ensemble films prior to this year, but that's no longer the case thanks to this strange, odd, wonderful, weird film that sees a troubled young man (Bud Cort) planning to escape the madness with the help of an angel and a pair of homemade wings. It's a seemingly nonsensical joy that surprises and delights at every turn.
Twins of Evil (1971) - I've been a life-long fan of horror films which means I watched and enjoyed several Hammer films in my youth, but this one somehow eluded me. Odd seeing as it stars two Playboy Playmates in the title roles... Peter Cushing stars as well and delivers a darkly affecting performance as an evil witchfinder who finds his humanity a bit too late. It's bloody, sexy and wonderfully directed by John Hough.
Cesar et Rosalie (1972) - This French film moves gracefully, but painfully, from love triangle to emotional thriller as the effects of jealousy, insecurity and love itself exact a heavy toll. Fantastic performances from Yves Montand, Romy Schneider and Sami Frey combine with lush visuals and a sense that anything might happen. It should have ended five seconds earlier than it does, but it remains a beautiful film.
Don't Look Now (1973) - I'd heard about this Nicolas Roeg film for years, but it was almost always in the context of its infamous sex scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Having seen Fellini's Casanova I was in no rush to see more of Sutherland, but what I hadn't heard in advance was how emotionally raw, achingly acted and beautifully shot it is too. The third act reveal is suitably creepy, but the film's power is in its performances.
Lady Snowblood (1973) - I fell in love with this stylish and bloody revenge thriller thanks to Arrow Video's stunning Blu-ray restoration. Toshiya Fujita’s crafted a beautiful exploitation film that isn’t shy about squirting the red stuff alongside historical and social commentary, and it’s easy to see how future filmmakers could be inspired to create and empower their own dark and capable female heroes.
The Long Goodbye (1973) - The second Robert Altman film I discovered in 2012 is his adaptation/re-interpretation of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe,and it's a special kind of noir perfection. Elliot Gould gives an unexpectedly spot-on performance as a man who doesn't quite fit the Los Angeles around him, and while there's a mystery of sorts at play here it's rarely the film's real focus. And the ending? Altman and Gould lead viewers along with quirky promises only to nail us for believing them in the end. Fantastic stuff.