underrated & overrated movies from 2000 to 2011
766 7.5 7.21. Synecdoche, New York (2008)
I'm a huge Charlie Kaufman's fan...and I feel like this is his best movie ever...and, in Italy, it never even came out!
Everybody's always saying that "Kaufman only talks about Kaufman", and that's kind of true (and legitimate, as long as you're saying/analyzing something, wich he always is), but not here; here he is not talking about himself, of course is talking from his point of view, but that's only natural.
This is not an easy movie, it is kind of long, it feels even longer, it goes down very hard on the viewer, it's so full of deatails that it's scary, and it's deeply philosophical; there's no other term to describe it. This is a movie about human life, the way we take it and the meaning(s) we give to it...and it's one of the most powerful and moving pieces of cinema I've ever seen...not to mention greatly written and performed.
A great first movie as a director (even if, I've got to say it, hardly the director's are authors when directing Kaufman's movie, and that's a not very arguable statement!). I'm not sure of what else he'll be able to say and do in the future, but, with this one, he reached greatness once for all.
146 6.4 6.32. Life During Wartime (2009)
Let me be clear about one thing: "Happiness" is an absolute masterpiece, no questions about that.
Now I can go on.
"Life During Wartime" is an odd creature, it feels like a "possible" sequel to the aforementioned masterpiece more than an official one, there's all another cast, all new characters (except for the 3 sisters) and all new stories; it's like Solondz decided to take the Jordans sisters and "play" with 'em a little more, without the necessity of actually bonding the two movies they lead.
Anyway, I found this to be great, a little less disturbing than the first one but, still, as unique, provoking, smart and deep as only Todd Solondz can be.
Unfortunately Todd's not an 'easy' director and he's not very famous and recognized...and his movies are like him...
I originally wanted to put "Happiness" on the list, but that's a 1998 movie, and this is a '3rd millenium' list, so I reall couldn't! Then I realized that this movie is even less recognized than the first one...so...
334 6.6 73. Two Lovers (2008)
James Gray did a great job here!
The directing is so elegant, the story's treated in such an unconventional way, the main character is so refined and fascinating, and the all thing is greatly interpreted...
This is an incredibly delicate and "human" film; I'm not gonna say it's a great love-story 'cause that's not what it is, this is actually a great story about 'love' in a wider, more abstract, deep and personal sense; there's the need of being loved, the need to feel less lonely thanks to someone somehow similar to us, and then, right there in the middle, there's life fucking with us.
82 6.9 74. Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000)
One of the most impressive debut ever; but there's no-surprise with that since Joon-Ho Bong is one of the greatest filmmaker actually breathing!
I strongly recommend this movie to everybody, it's a shame this wasn't a bigger thing!
This is a real gem: sophisticated, unique, original, smart, deep and funny; it keeps skipping from genre to genre and from mood to mood like it's nothing, there's a great rythm behind the all thing, and it's able to feel very intimate while showing great personality.
One of the most refreshing movies of the last decade, you can't miss it.
795 6.9 75. The Host (2006)
This is Joon-ho Bong's biggest hit, and yet is so underrated. Probably the best example of the so called 'New (South) Korean Cinema'.
"The Host" starts playing with a lot of Hollywood's stereotypes and ends up creating something totally new and incredible.
It fucks with the viewer so many time and, again, it's constantly changing mood in an extremely natural way; it's like Godzilla meeting Antonioni and Cohen brothers, simply amazing!
Bong here is great in showing off his poetics and touching his dearest themes in such a nice, subtle way, while creating the best "Korean-blockbuster" ever made.
One of my personal favourites ever.
399 7.2 6.96. Inside (2007)
If you heard of the recent french "horror nouvelle vague" (I don't think it's a very proper definition, but I heard a lot of people saying it and it's just cool to join 'em!), you should have heard of this movie; for sure it's the best of the 'family'!
Dark, gloomy and tense...and yet so short!
A lot of great choices in here, stylistically speaking it's one of the best horror movie of the last decade; it's somehow sadistic for the way it works: whatever it shows you, it does it coldly, almost enjoying that, refusing messy, concited shots and editing, using long, slow, elegant shots and sequence instead.
The idea and the scheme are pretty simple and highly functional: this is a house siege; it's also brilliant how the all concept of "siege" is used and explored on so many different levels (Banlieus-Paris, The Woman-The House, The Mother-The Womb), playing along with the title.
It subtly tries and slowly begins to be a real "nightmare", so there are some very surrealistic and surprising (and, in my opinion, functional) choices, that, apparently, not everybody equally enjoyed.
I personally found it extremely effective, refined and gorgeous.
215 6.4 6.27. Gerry (2002)
It's not an easy film, and it's not for everybody, I'll give you that! But "Gerry" is my favorite movie in Gus Van Sant 'time-stretching' trilogy (that includes the extremely - but not THAT - good "Elephant", and the horrible "Last Days").
This is a psycho-philosophical journey, if you stick with it, it is capable of literally absorbing you.
Nothing's left to chances, not even the alienating ending, that I found perfect (but that's, for sure, very conceptual, like the all movie is).
Again: not easy and extremely heavy; for sure Van Sant's bravest movie.
562 6.5 6.78. Cassandra's Dream (2007)
Talking about people I'm fan of...Woody Allen was probably my first movie-related-love.
I'm really not agreeing with people criticizing all of his latest works, actually I think that, with "Match Point", "Cassandra's Dream" and "Vicky Christina Barcellona" he not only did great jobs, but he finally took the liberty to talk about life and his vision of the world with no compromises, and I think that's a urge you can find in all of his filmography, and that he rarely took completely out in the past, if you except few movies, once fror all: the wonderful "Fogs and Shadows".
"Match Point" and "Cassandra's Dream" are my two favorites latest Woody Allen's movies but, while the first one was decently received, this second one was way underrated!
I love how he plays with old genres here; the plot's really ambiguous and uncommon, and it's only "dressed" like a classic, when it's really modern and metaphorical in a pretty smart way.
For what concerns me, this movie's talking about humanity, values and taboos in the modern society and how a - possibly Nietzschean - "transmutation" of this values will never be completely possible in such a structured society.
773 7.7 7.69. Lady Vengeance (2005)
And here it is, another south korean movie (I'm a real aficionado!).
This is generally appreciated, but it was also generally unnoticed.
If you know this, you probably know this is part of Park Chan-Wook's 'vengeance' trilogy, along with "Sympathy for Mr Vengeance" and "Oldboy".
This movie was totally overshaded by "Oldboy", and that's not really fair. I mean, of course "Oldboy" is a cool movie, pretty stylish and everything, but this one...this is in an all different league!
I actually think "Oldboy" - that I also liked - is the worst one out of the three, but I get how it can be more appreciated that "Sympathy for Mr Vengeance", it got all the mainstream-appeal and it's easier to follow. Plus: neither Mr nor Lady Vengeance had that big, worldwide, promotion "Oldboy" get, especially thanks to Tarantino's enthusiastic comments.
I found "Lady Vengeance" to be just the perfect synthesis between the first two movies - wich is only one of the reasons why I think it's the best out of the three - and it came out after "Oldboy", so I would have expected a pretty good hype too...
Anyway, this is an amazing movie, the best Park Chan-Wook did so far. Nobody should miss this!
857 6.3 6.210. Crank: High Voltage (2009)
First of all: I loved the first crank, I think it's one of my favorite action movie ever, for sure I can't remember anything that funny coming out during the last decade.
While the first one was a huge success, the second one was a flop, and it still is generally underrated.
Sure, I also preferred the first one; because it was something new and anomalous, and it seemed to know it and to be pretty cocky about it; I loved that attitude.
Still, the second one is pretty damn cool!
Being "Crank" basically a video-game, Taylor and Neveldine knew they surely couldn't change its patterns, so they found the easiest, and yet more effective way to make it work without boring their audience: they went totally bananas.
"Crank: High Voltage" is crazy as shit! Probably too crazy to be fully appreciated by everybody, but that was a great move if you ask me. Watching this movie is somehow like watching an episode of Family Guy, and I couldn't pay, nor imagine, a bigger compliment for a film like this.
They made once for all clear the video-game roots, they filled it up with extemporaneous sketches and nonsensical joke; it's pretty damn funny!
I'll tell you, this is a worthy sequel...but maybe its flaunted 'stupidity' and its extreme "over-the-topness" tried being too smart to make this another hit.
You should probably not be here...whatev'
Successfull yet somehow underrated
2291 7.3 7.511. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
This was generally well received by critics AND public, and that should be enough...but I really feel like it's not!
I feel like this is a somehow forgotten masterpiece...but probably I'm talking like this because this is one of my favorite movies ever and it's particularly dear to me...
This is Wes Anderson at his absolute best. it's smart, touching, unusual and even has a catchy, very distinctive, comic book-like aesthetic (also: you'll never see Ben Stiller in a movie as great as this).
Amazingly written and directed; every time I finish watching it I've got the urge to immediately watch it again.
I'll never understand why this is not in some sort of hall of fame.
4248 7.2 7.712. 300 (2006)
THIS...IS...ACTUALLY-PRETTY-GODDAMN-COOL-SO-STOP-BEING-PRETENTIOUS-BITCHES-ABOUT-IT!! (then I kick you and you fell down a pit! Fuck yeah!)
I know this was actually a huge success, but I'm just tired of reading people (especially some critics) bitching about how actually "dull", "stupid" and "inaccurate" this is...Down here there's even a certain amount of people saying that this is a movie for "hot-headed fascists".
So, since I think this is all bullshit, and since the movie is somehow snubbed by a lot of 'cinephiles', I thought...whatever! I'm putting this on my list!
"300" is a very effective adrenalinic flick...is it over-the-top? Of course it's over-the-top! That's the all point!! It's over-the-top and yet it's not ridiculous; matter of fact: it's pretty epic.
The only parts of the movie that I didn't quite enjoyed are the ones out of the battlefield (and believe me when I say I'm not a huge fan of long-lasting action or battle scenes).
The fantastic, supernatural and excessive elements of the movie (that's based on a graphic novel, we all know that, so stop blathering about realism and history) are pretty funny, even a nice touch actually.
As for the "ethical" and "political" accusation, not that I usually care about this kind of criticisms, I find 'em inappropriate, just get over it.
(I am probably going to be a bitch about it, I'm just having fun!)
3844 8 8.413. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Can I say it? I'm going to say it:
I find "Requiem For a Dream" to be nothing but a shitty, wanky movie!
Definitely Aronofsky's worst job (yes, I preferred "The Fountain", that I actually found not that bad!).
When I watched it I couldn't get off of me the sensation of being in front of someone who was so hardly trying to provoke strong reactions in me; but the movie is not that shocking, actually I found it quite boring ("a never ending purge"...yep, that sounds about right as a definition).
I remember enjoying the hallucinatory sequences about Harry's mother, her pills addiction and the tv...but that's it, the rest of this film is just well edited, condescending shit.
And even the wildly over-worked editing and directing are actually funny only at the beginning, but they ends up being just too much, and totally pointless!
The dark, gloomy and ostentatiously "bad" attitude of the movie feels a little hypocritical, and it seems to me more like a way to hide and justify the trite emotional and "melodramatic" attitude that made this movie not that much of a thing for me!
...I understand how some people could like this though, especially some teen-agers, but I still find it extremely overvalued.
4089 7.2 814. Avatar (2009)
Everything about this movie is already being said...
Nice images, but totally cold and empty (and that's enough to make 'em nothing THAT special, with or without 3D).
In this boring, "I already saw that...like...a thousand times", plot, the old 'white-guilt' is joined by a deeply irritating eco-moralism and by an excruciating do-gooder-ism; and the all operation is way too leery for me.
I found it totally unsympathizable, predictable and absolutely not worthy to watch.
4039 7.3 7.615. Juno (2007)
Annoying...this was just annoying...she is annoying, he is annoying, they are annoying, everything about this movie is extremely annoying.
And that's too bad, I really liked "Thank You For Smoking" a lot!
No questions about what's the worst thing about this movie: the final sequence.
That is one of the worst ending I've ever seen...and here I wanted to add something like "and I watched *TITLE OF ANOTHER MOVIE WITH A BAD ENDING*" but I couldn't really think to anything adequate; that's how bad the ending of this shit is!
My god this movie is so pretentious...
"Juno" is like its script: not terrible, simply annoying and ingenuously over-thought.
Just 'cause you can think and write something even remotely smart it doesn't mean you and your characters are the best thing ever happened to cinema, and it surely doesn't mean your movies are going to be any good! Matter of fact, this movie sucks balls!
oh...and the all "let's make her a sarcastic, too-cool-for-school, tom-boy AND kind of a nerd" was also fake, way overdone and unsurprising; didn't really work for me...just made me want to beat her dead.
In other words: a juvenile deja-vu (watched too many episodes of "Daria" hu?!).
(did I already say it was fucking annoying? 'Cause it was!)
4306 8 8.516. The Departed (2006)
Unnecessary, as a remake and as a movie per se; totally unsurprising. All the additions made to Hong-Kongese version are pretty bad and make the all thing way weaker and more predictable than the original one.
..."Infernal Affairs" please!
2327 7.9 8.217. Gran Torino (2008)
I honestly don't see where's the 'masterpiece' everybody were talking about back in '08. After I watched it, for an instant, I almost thought I got the wrong movie!
An old story told in the old way...nothing wrong with that, except that this movie is far from being a classic.
Clint wanted to celebrate decades of cinema and characters (his cinema and his characters of course), probably redeiming them from all their guilts and violence, but what came out, in my opinion, was merely a shadow of all of that!
The movie, the characters, the moral and the meaning are way too obvious and predictable, and I couldn't help but getting the feeling of an after school special.
The worst thing is that the way this world is shown to us is so stereotyped and out of its time that I actually found it kind of sad, even a little embarrassing...
It's still enjoyable, I guess, but I really don't see what all the fuss is about!
698 7.1 7.118. Carnage (2011)
If anybody else but Polanski would have done this movie, this would have been nothing.
The actors are great, if it wasn't for them, I would have deeply hated this shit, instead...I was just very, very, very annoyed!! But not 'cause of them, that's for sure.
Of course Polanski can direct, there's no surprise with that, but I don't really see any greatness in this thing...
There's an extremely predictable plot and, unfortunately, there's nothing else to enjoy! The deep, sad, obviousness behind every single concept and dialogue was just too much to handle for me! An obviousness hardly hidden by the fatiguing excess of DULL rhetoric behind every single (pointless) speech!
You start the movie, after 5 minutes (top) you know what it's going to be, how it's going to end, and even what the last scene will be! (spoiler alert: the boys forget about the fight).
"But that's so smart 'cause it's so theatrical, and it's all set in one location in wich Polanski knows how to move the camera, and the characters are so verbose they HAVE to be at least smart!!"
...no they don't and no they are not! (and who gives a shit about how many location they used?! )
This movie, sure is wordy, but not in a good way, and the reason is probably the same behind all of that "astonishing theatricalness":
the script is from a theatrical piece, unfortunately not a good one, a dated one...an extreeeemely dated one! (I think it was actually written in 2006, but it feels to me like it was written in the 70's by some kid who just discovered relativism).
It was not even bad enough to make me angry, it's just pure mediocrity, and the fact that Polanski directed this made the all thing a lot more disappointing in my eyes.
1337 7.5 7.919. The Fighter (2010)
I didn't "hate" this movie, I didn't deeply disliked it neither but...seriously...WTF?!
4470 8.4 8.820. Inception (2010)
Nolan tried to realize a deep, meaningfull, movie with a super-duper mainstream fashion.
It's an interesting attempt, but he just couldn't.
The several redundances, the everlasting action sequences - that quickly become boring - and what seems to be a never-solved indecision between simplistic and ambiguous explanations, make this movie cold, not that deep, not that "trippy" and not that astonishing.
Still nice to watch, just not that great and a little disappointing.
5954 8.4 921. The Dark Knight (2008)
Ok, let's be clear: I think Christopher Nolan's generally overrated.
I preferred this "The Dark Knight" to "Batman Begins" (that I really couldn't stand) and I think it's a nice movie, but, still, super-overrated!
The whole thing is based on Joker's monologues and Heath Ledger's performance (let's be clear: nothing to say about that!), but, in the end, this is just another batman movie, with few nice action sequences.
Of course, before Nolan came, Batman's franchise was dead and buried, but...who cares?!
Basically I think this movie has the same flaws his author has: it lacks of a really personal style, it's a good, derivative, son of its era and there's nothing really distinctive or special about it (except for ONE actor and ONE role).
It's cool though...but that's it, it's just cool, chill out!
1165 6.9 7.322. Limitless (2011)
to be fair: people didn't really care that much about this movie...but the only fact that someone did it's enough to let it be in here, that's how fucking bad I think this is!
Easily one of the worst pieces of crap I've ever seen and, by far, the worst movie on this list.
It takes a potentially-kind-of-interesting idea and turns it into the worst script ever.
Fucking boring, poorly written, poorly directed and poorly edited! I would like to say something bad about the actors too, but the so called "characters" of this thing are literally too pointless to let anybody actually 'act'...so...I wouldn't know...let's just say they sucks anyway!
I'm actually not sure what's the worst thing about this movie...maybe it's the idiotic voice over that tells us what's happening while the terribly useless and inconclusive directing show us random images? Or maybe it's the pathetic plot? Or maybe it's just De Niro's definitive and biggest sold-out ever? Well it could actually be simply the directing that, as I said, it's pretty terrible and reminding of a TV-Sale...But we cannot forget the 'visual effects', that are not only stupid and unnecessary, but also poorly done and horrible!
Seriously, FUCK THIS MOVIE! There's nothing good to say about it.
Let's Also Remember
two more movies...there's just too many of them!
2114 8 8.123. The King's Speech (2010)
...I mean...it's ok...a classic story set up in a classic environment, with some reminiscence of "My Fair Lady"...
The writing and the directing are only fair, the actors are pretty good, the characters (as the all thing) are way too corny though.
Nice movie, far from being great or mind-blowing.
2658 7.4 7.924. The Social Network (2010)
This movie is cool and enjoyable (even if, here and there, it can result a little slow), but I was really surprised by all the fuss it created, and I actually think it was more facebook(-as-a-social-phenomenon)-related than about the movie itself, since there is nothing really unique or remarkable about it.
"it's representative of a generation"...is it? Really? That much?!
Well maybe, on a certain level, it is, but it still ain't anything new or exciting, stylistically nor narratively. It's just ok.
I like Fincher, but I feel like he's falling in that big old trap called "mannerism".
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