16 Great Films You've Never Heard Of
16. In The Company Of Men (1997) - Aaron Eckhart and Matt Malloy show just how ruthless the modern businessman can be in this pitch black comedy. Hilarious and disturbing!
15. Nine Queens (2000) - Adapted in 2004 by John C Reilly vehicle criminal, nine queens is an extraordinarily clever look into the world of the con man. More double crosses than a cat's cradle convention.
14. Rosemary's Baby (1968) - Although not often thought of as a major Polanski film, this is actually one of his best. Intensely psychological to the point of horror as Mia Farrow becomes obsessed with her own child. Biblical references abound…
13. Pink Flamingos (1972) - Disgusting, repulsive and often hilarious, Pink Flamingos may not be the best in terms of cinematography. But it still raises a chuckle as people such as Divine battle to be 'the filthiest people ever'.
12. The Straight Story (1999) - From David Lynch, an amazing story of a man who takes on a long-distance journey on a lawnmower!
11. Thursday (1998) - Delight in the hilarious and violent events that occur when big-city architects get mixed up with heroin.
10. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) - The first of two forgotten road movies in this list, this highway racer movie depicts life on the road as you've never seen it. Weird, wonderful and including some hilariously eccentric characters…
9. The Unbearable Lightness Of Being (1988) - One of those fantastic films where love blossoms in the most extreme of circumstances (a Soviet invasion in this case). Juliette Binoche is fantastic in this often-forgotten tear-jerker
8. Cube (1997) - Not to be confused with hopeless Jennifer Lopez vehicle The Cell, The Cube is an astonishing horror actioner in which the victims are trapped in an inescapable 3D prison.
7. Roger And Me (1989) - Most people associate Michael Moore with Bowling For Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11. But this early work is at least their equal as Moore hounds a GM CEO.
6. Vanishing Point (1971)- Meet Kowalski. He's taking his awesome Dodge Challenger from Colorado to San Francisco and no-one's stopping him. One of the best road movies ever…
5. Eraserhead (1977) - Henry Spencer lives in a world run by machines being screamed at by his mutant baby. Is he dead? Or has the apocalypse happened?
4. Drugstore Cowboy (1989) - An early work from Gus Van Sant. Matt Dillon and Kelly Lynch are a convincing heroin-driven modern-day Bonnie & Clyde.
3. Bad Lieutenant - One Of Harvey Keitel's greatest performances as a corrupt NYPD Detective. But no-one ever talks about it!
2. The Big Blue (1988) - Sure, it may be a little cheesy in parts. But The Big Blue is always criminally overlooked. Jean Reno and Jean-Marc Barr are competing free-divers who discover strange illusions deep beneath the waves.
1. Jacob's Ladder (1990) - Although not much actually happens in the warzone, this could actually be counted among the great war movies. Tim Robbins is brilliant as a scarred Vietnam Veteran on the path to insanity…
20 Modern-Day Classics
Note: Modern here implies 'Since 2000'
Note: Modern here implies 'Since 2000'
20. Donnie Darko (2001) - 'Cult value' is a term that's far too easily bandied about nowadays. But this impelling clash of psych, sci-fi, and horror just about embodied the word. In his breakthrough role, Jake Gylenhaal is an outcast teenager haunted by a six-foot bunny named Frank. There's mystery, chilling horror and questions raised as to the nature of destiny as Gylenhaal struggles through a life of legal drug addiction. Pretty impressive when you consider that writer/director Richard Kelly was only 26 at the time of release.
19. Brokeback Mountain (2005) - Ang Lee fully deserves the Oscar he won here, combining Western and romance in the most stunning of settings. For mainstream Hollywood, new ground was undoubtedly broken here.
18. Casino Royale (2006) - It may not be Oscar material. But the best Bond since Connery is not to be taken lightly. This is the rebirth of movie-dom's greatest franchise. And, thanks to this tough new version, Bond is back to his best.
17. Sideways (2004) - Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church take a gentle stroll through the Californian vineyards here. Far too much wine rhetoric has been used in the description ('a hint of City Slickers with a dash of When Harry Met Sally…' etc etc). Forget the wine, it's actually a brilliantly and subtly created coming-of-age comedy exploring the predictability of middle age and two differing characters' reactions to it. You don't need to be a wine-o to love Sideways.
16. Amores Perros (2000) - Alejandro González Iñárritu came to the fore this year as the man who could have ruined the Scorsese Oscar party with Babel. In fact, Iñárritu had already perfected the multi-stranded drama here, connecting three involving storylines to one car crash.
15. Chicken Run (2000) - It may be hard to think of this as one of the greatest cinematic feats of the millennium. But Chicken Run is perhaps the greatest exponent of Aardman Animation's charm. The parallel's to The Great Escape with Mel Gibson as Steve McQueen only seem to add yet more Brit value.
14. The Bourne Supremacy (2004) - Almost certainly the greatest action franchise of our time. Director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon won the studio's trust with the first installment, allowing them to go bigger and better with this sequel. Bring on The Bourne Ultimatum!
13. Gladiator (2000) - 'My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius…' we all remember the monologue. And it made the career of Russell Crowe. Seven years later, Gladiator seems to have attained that classic 'film they put on the telly at Christmas' status. One viewing a year is probably too little…
12. United 93 - A visceral look at the heroics that occurred on the 9/11 plane that never reached its target. Powerfully effective as both thriller and tribute...
11. Amelie - So French the DVDs should come in stripy jumpers, Amelie lured us into the imagination of director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. A golden vision of Paris for the brilliantly eccentric Audrey Tautou to track down her man.
10. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) - The high-wiring Wu Xia generation of martial arts films has been consistently spectacular (Hero, House Of Flying Daggers). But the mould was cast by this absorbing tale of high-drama and heroics.
9. Shaun Of The Dead (2003) - "You've got red on you." The team behind cult stoner-comedy Spaced made a one-movie leap to A-list movie-players here. Where Hot Fuzz may have had the action, Shaun Of The Dead has double the charm. And Zombies…
8. Memento (2000) - Guy Pearce came to everyone's attention with LA Confidential in 1997. But this role as a tattooed vigilante with no short-term memory will probably always remain his most-remembered role. Confused? Check out the chromatically organised version on the DVD.
7. The Departed (2006) - With Scorsese in the director's chair and Nicholson watching over them, DiCaprio, Damon and Wahlberg must have felt the pressure to deliver their life-best performances. The results, as Oscar agrees, are spectacular.
6. Children Of Men (2006) - Far too often overlooked, Children Of Men presented some of the best action sequences of 2006; all of them set in a future uncomfortably close to the world of today.
5. Little Miss Sunshine (2006) - Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin and young Abigail Breslin all excel in this long-haul trip in a VW campovan. Simple, charming and heart-warming, Little Miss Sunshine will live long in the memory.
4. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) - It's a brave filmmaker who sets an adaptation of Homer's epic poem The Odyssey in the deep south circa 1930. But Joel and Ethan Coen were very much up to the task, perfectly casting John Turturro, George Clooney and Tim Blake Nelson as their three chain-ganged convicts.
3. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001) - Obviously, there was no way this list wasn't going to include a Lord Of The Rings film. The question is which one? Where The Fellowship lacks the battleground magnificence of the second and third films, it lays such a solid foundation that Towers and Return Of The King couldn't really have failed. It just seems to be the one that people go back to, reminding us of the tingle we felt when we first arrived on Middle Earth.
2. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004) - Jim Carey cemented his propensity for 'proper' acting here as his relationship with Kate Winslet turns sour and the couple decide to have each other erased from their respective memories. But the real credit should go to screenwriter Charlie Kauffman for a script that blurred time and reality as it tells one of the best romances ever committed to film. Simply fantastic.
1. City Of God (2002) - If you haven't seen it yet, you most definitely need to. In Gangland Rio De Janeiro, where drug dealers rule and life expectancy doesn't go far beyond thirty, one kid - Rocket - manages to dodge the bullets of a drug war to take pictures and escape the slums. Stylish and sleek yet also jarringly real, City Of God is a clear winner.