Movies You Might Have Missed: The Bad Sleep Well

In the West, there's no question that Akira Kurosawa is best known for his period pieces with samurai. From the ground-breaking Rashomon and epic The Seven Samurai to the cowboy-film-in-disguise Yojimbo that inspired Western imitations and Shakespeare adaptations like Ran and Throne of Blood, Kurosawa's samurai dominate the Western perception of his work. To only focus on these masterpieces, however, is to miss the great work he did with contemporary settings and stories. The Bad Sleep Well is such a one.

Movies You Might Have Missed: There Was a Father

In perfect honesty, this mid-war film does not show Ozu at his very best. The heavy hand of national propaganda can be clearly felt overpowering his characteristic light touch at several points in the film. Regardless, Ozu is always a cut above the madding crowd and this turn by Ryu is particularly impressive since he manages to convey a man who ages 30ish years over the course of the film with very little in the way of makeup.

Movies You Might Have Missed: The Apostle

Robert Duvall is a great actor. No one would probably argue that point. Turns out he can direct pretty well too, but what really sets this movie apart is the writing. I'm sure I won't do this one justice, but there's no way I could leave it off this list. I myself am not a part of the Pentecostal/Holiness church tradition, but I am familiar with small-town, Southern Christianity in a general way since one side of my family comes out of that. This is the most honest film portrayal I've ever seen of how that aspect of Southern life functions.

Movies You Might Have Missed: The Best Offer

I'll put this right up front: this  movie has more nudity and sexual content than any other film on the list I've put together for these posts this year. The topic does figure into the plot and thus isn't wholly gratuitous, but it would perhaps have been possible to include by indirect means the plot critical elements... If you're still here, then lets talk about the rest of movie.