I’m happy to watch almost any type of movie. From brilliant to B-movie (or Bee Movie), classic to cash cow. Occasionally I stumble across a movie that I love but was previously unknown to me. Here’s my subjective, growing list of those films, and why I think they’re worth your time.
The Paper (1994)
Directed by Ron Howard, starring Michael Keaton, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei (as well as Jason Alexander, Lynne Thigpen, Catherine O’Hara all wonderful in smaller roles). This fast-paced film is 24 hours in the life of an overworked editor at a New York tabloid newspaper. Michael Keaton is terrific and funny as his character tries to keep a dozen balls in the air. 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s on iTunes.
Wait Until Dark (1967)
Audrey Hepburn stars as a blind woman who is conned and terrorised by men trying to steal a doll full of drugs. It’s based on a play which has starred Lee Remick, Honor Blackman and Marisa Tomei. It features a wonderfully out-of-tune score by Henry Mancini. 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s on iTunes.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
I love a caper film, and this is one of the best. Robert Shaw leads a team including Martin Balsam as they steal a New York subway train. Their plan seems unclear but Walter Matthau and Jerry Stiller try to work it out from the subway control room. A brilliant serialist score by David Shire absolutely nails ’70s New York. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s on iTunes
36 Hours (1965)
War films aren’t my favourite, but this is more of a spy thriller like a good episode of Mission: Impossible. It’s WWII and a German doctor comes up with a scheme to trick an American officer that the war is over to give up some crucial intelligence. It’s based on a short story by Roald Dahl and stars James Garner, Eva Marie Saint and Rod Taylor. I love the piano heavy score by Dimitri Tiomkin. Available on Amazon Video.
Julie Andrews pretending to be a drag queen, helped by Robert Preston playing her gay bestie with great sensitivity. This film is so full of heart and sadness that it’s shocking it is so under appreciated. James Garner and Lesley Ann Warren are also terrific. Songs by Henry Mancini. I believe this is one of Blake Edwards’ best film. 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. Available on iTunes.
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
I love a movie that feels hot, and I love a courtroom drama, and this is both. Led by James Stewart, Lee Remick and Ben Gazzara, this film deals with a rape case with surprising maturity and weight considering its age. James Stewart is never better than in this film. The jazz score is by Duke Ellington who also appears in the film. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Available on iTunes.