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The Underrated: Electra Glide in Blue

Booed on release in Cannes for being fascist, in my opinion erroneously, even were Electra Glide in Blue rubbish, which it isn’t, that it was made at all would strike me as worthy of a review. The time was the early 1970’s, the counter-culture was in full force, still, and protests were raging across the United States. The studio decided to give James William Guercio, manager of rock/ pop group Chicago, $1m to make a film that asked the audience to sympathise, to some extent with the police. The resulting film, Electra Glide in Blue is a genre-crossing mish-mash that reflects Guercio’s love of early Westerns, particularly John Ford films, adds a dash of noir and was heavily marketed as “An American Movie by a New Director. James William Guercio”. Critically reviled for being, amongst other things, “Slick and exploitative”, Electra Glide in Blue has since been described as  “the most overpromoted and widely reviled film of the 1970s.”  Read More…

The Underrated: Swimming With Sharks

Remember back when Kevin Spacey actually made good movies? I think it was just before he was launched into superstardom by the Usual Suspects. It was certainly before he took up dog walking in one of London’s most notorious gay pick up areas. Anyhow, around about this time, the mid 90’s, he churned out a series of exceptional performances in exceptional films. Some of them, such as Seven and The Usual Suspects itself are rightly heralded, but this little film, Swimming With Sharks, was probably his first great performance and slipped right under the radar. I love this film unconditionally, as I recognise a lot of my own experience at work in it, but I can see why it has almost been forgotten about.  Read More…

The Underrated: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

I should really rename this series “the forgotten about”. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and that’s because I haven’t really seen anything that I’d class as that underrated. However, while watching Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, which is arguably the ultimate Sam Peckinpah movie, it occurred to me that the film receives nowhere near the love that it should do. Even if it is arguably to blame for some of Cokey McFrankensteinhead’s more wild excesses. I find it surprising that in this day and age of remakes, particularly of notorious films from the day, that this Grand Guignol of bloody tragedy and ultraviolence wouldn’t have flitted across some marketing whore’s desk. I mean, if you think about it, the supremely unpalatable Straw Dogs received a grotesquely inappropriate remake last year (which genius cast Kate Bosworth in the Susan George role? She’s got the sex appeal of a tapioca filled jockstrap) so it’s astonishing that arguably the definitive pulp movie somehow has remained untouched.  Read More…

The Underrated: Ink

What the hell happened to this one? In an age bereft of intelligent philosophical science fiction/ fantasy, unless you count Avatar’s infantile save the whales nonsense, it strikes me as absolutely criminal the treatment this film received. I’d never even heard of it until about 5 minutes before I turned it on, and as a result, I’m seriously considering buying it on Blu-Ray. It’s no hyperbole for me to say that Ink is probably the best film I’ve seen this year. I’m not exaggerating, this is a touching, deep and clever film made by a film-school dropout on an absolute shoestring. This is the film that only managed to get DVD distribution because of piracy (according to imdb, anyhow), and I’d like to thank every sticky-fingered internet nerd out there for that. Well done, everyone, now if you can turn your hands to stamping U2 out, then the internet really will have worked wonders. Read More…

The Underrated: The Eyes of Laura Mars

Well, this film was unexpected. I put it on the list as it was initially released on August 2nd 1978, which I deemed close enough to my actual date of birth to include it in the birthday series. Since then it’s been superseded by another film, but, regardless, I was intrigued about the premise enough to give it a watch. Probably because it sounds a lot like Blink with Madeleine Stowe and I really like that film. Nevertheless, though, The Eyes of Laura Mars was a pleasant surprise. Read More…

The Underrated: Fermat’s Room

This film came under the heading of “pleasant surprise”. I’m including it here, because it does merit discussion, and it has been shockingly overlooked. Maybe it’s the subtitles or something, but for the life of me, I can’t think why this taut little thriller (inaccurately billed as a horror movie) is being ignored. It’s fascinating actually, the process by which films come to receive a wide release, and I have to admit that my fascination in it is partially based on my lack of belief and understanding as to why certain films get the nod and certain others get the shaft. Still, though, Fermat’s Room has an absolutely glowing review from Phillip French in the Guardian, but even that wasn’t really enough to bring it the attention that it warrants. Read More…

The Underrated: The Chronicles of Riddick

Right, let me just check my inventory for this one: Flak jacket? Check. Tin Hat? Check. Bunker? Check? Magic shite repelling shield? Arse, there’s always something.

Well, that’s as prepared as I’m going to get for this. I’ve long held out that while in no stretch of the imagination is Chronicles of Riddick a good film (and let’s face it, it really isn’t), it is at the very least a hilariously entertaining one with more ambition, balls and downright flair than almost everything else that passes itself off as a summer movie nowadays.

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The Underrated: Dead Man’s Curve

You know a film has been completely forgotten about when you can’t find a single image of it on-line. Not one. So, for this week’s underrated effort, I’m going to write a little review in praise of Dan Rosen’s long forgotten career-launching vehicle, Dead Man’s Curve. Due to lack of images, this will be short. Read More…

The Underrated: Body Snatchers

I’ve been dealing with relatively high caliber films in this series recently, and I’m getting a bit sick of pretending I know what I’m talking about when it comes to high art. Not to mention that there’s only a limited amount of time before I’m revealed as a fraud. So instead I thought I’d take a quick look at a version of one of the most remade films in history- I give you Abel Ferrara’s truly overlooked 1993 Body Snatchers. Read More…

The Underrated: Peeping Tom.

Again, this is a funny choice for an Underrated review, seeing as it clearly isn’t really underrated any more. Sure, no bugger has seen it, but that’s more to do with the fact that it was made in 1959. Interestingly, up until 1980, this really was a lost classic. It took Martin Scorsese himself to save it, restoring one of the few surviving UK prints, and we should all be grateful that he did.
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