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Hidden Gems: An exploration of underappreciated flicks worth watching

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Each year a deluge of movies enter and exit box offices, some to critical acclaim and others to universal panning. There’s a select group, however, of severely underappreciated flicks which grace cinemas briefly. These tragically misunderstood movies often feature decent reception to mixed reception from critics and audiences. As we celebrate the best-ofs a la the Golden Globes and Grammys, let’s check out 6 underrated films worth watching.

“47 Ronin” (2013 Film)
“47 Ronin” (2013 Film) Wikipedia.com

“47 Ronin” (2013 Film)

Featuring a slower plot, compelling narrative and unique feudal Japan setting, this Samurai tale was dishonorably executed. Criticism ranged from Keanu Reeves’ lack of Japanese heritage (come on people, that’s explained in the movie) to accusations of boredom. Fans of Samurai flicks should enjoy the story, which ultimately didn’t deserve the cascade of insults hurled its way.

“The Black Cauldron” (1985 Film)
“The Black Cauldron” (1985 Film) Wikipedia.com

“The Black Cauldron” (1985 Film)

Hailing from Disney’s Dark Age, this is not a children’s flick despite the Disney name. “The Black Cauldron” boasts gorgeous animation and one of the greatest Disney villains, brought to life through John Hurt. Sadly, the lack of sing along tunes and potentially kid-frightening images tarnished reception for arguably Disney’s most innovative feature. The Tomato Meter really does not do “The Black Cauldron” justice. 

“Halloween” (2007 Film)
“Halloween” (2007 Film) Wikipedia.com

“Halloween” (2007 Film)

John Carpenter’sHalloween” set a precedent for slasher flicks, popularizing the genre. Amidst an increasingly stale market, Rob Zombie released an update, honoring the roots of the franchise and recreating Michael Meyers. Zombie focuses on Meyers’ backstory, which humanizes the formerly silent monster. He introduces a haunting nature vs. nurture theme and his recreation serves as an engrossing retelling. Much better than reviews indicate, it’s nowhere near as cheesy as Carpenter’s original, and most likely got roasted for its status as a “remake.”

 

“Prometheus” (2012 Film)
“Prometheus” (2012 Film) Wikipedia.com

“Prometheus” (2012 Film)

Though greeted by a warm reception, “Prometheus” wasn’t praised as it should have been: for being one of the most creative sci-fi films in past years. Ridley Scott’s addition to the “Alien” franchise sought to expand the universe, offering answers but creating more. Viewers expected definitive conclusions, which they largely didn’t receive and “Prometheus” was critiqued for being unoriginal. Sure, it may not have redefined the genre, but in retreating to the golden age of sci-fi, emulating classic flicks from the 70’s and employing CGI to craft a setting, this is seriously a slept on prequel.

“The Two Jakes” (1990 Film)
“The Two Jakes” (1990 Film) Wikipedia.com

“The Two Jakes” (1990 Film)

Chinatown” may be universally heralded as a classic, but the sequel wasn’t greeted with the gusto of its predecessor. It might be slower, and the plot is a bit convoluted, but acting is phenomenal featuring Jack Nicholson’s directional work and many returning cast members. It’s a great noir flick, and just because it isn’t as good as “Chinatown,” well, how many movies are? Just go watch it.

 

“The Informant” (2009 Film)
“The Informant” (2009 Film) Wikipedia.com

“The Informant” (2009 Film)

“The Informant” is one of the funniest films you probably missed. Coen Brothers fans will love this quirky film brimming over with dry, subtle humor. Fueled by Matt Damon’s oddball narration, the critical reception and audience appreciation vary greatly. Damon provides what may be his greatest performance to date. Stand down, Bourne. It’s really hilarious, and there’s not really a comparable film. “Fargo” comes close in terms of similar humor, but style and plot differentiate “The Informant” from other releases.

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