Amongst the seemingly endless amount of Hollywood blockbusters released each week, there are many independent gems just waiting to be seen. Unfortunately, for economic reasons, these films are not shown by most multiplex cinemas and therefore are harder for people to seek out. For every big-budget disappointment like Batman Vs Superman, there are fascinating original films like The Lobster which are crying out to be seen and discussed. So, in case you are crying out for something different, here are the five best films, released in the past few months, that you should see but probably haven’t:
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Following in the same footsteps as the 2010 hit Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is another delightful comedy from our neighbours across the Tasman and was a massive hit at the New Zealand box office. Directed by Taika Waititi (Boy, What We Do in the Shadows), the film revolves around a young delinquent named Ricky, who along with his irritable foster uncle, finds himself to be the subject of a national manhunt. With great performances from Julian Dennison and veteran Sam Neil, the film will leave you smiling, touched and immensely satisfied.
Eye in the Sky
Although recognised by most as the late Alan Rickman’s last film role, Gavin Hoods’ Eye in the Sky should also be remembered for the thought-provoking thriller that it is. Featuring stellar performances from Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi, and of course Alan Rickman, the film is a nerve-wracking and intense investigation into the moral and political ramifications of drones and modern warfare. Never has a shot of people talking been so tense! A must-see for everyone.
Nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2015 Academy Awards and receiving universal praise, Mustang is an important and inspirational exploration of sexism and oppression. Set in the north of Turkey, Mustang is the story of five young girls and their struggle to free themselves from the deeply oppressive traditions enforced by their strict guardians. Emotional, relevant, and constantly engaging, Mustang is a triumphant celebration of femininity, individualism, and friendship, which also raises the important issues of female inequality and oppression.
Arguably one of the greatest siege movies in recent memory, Green Room is an excruciatingly tense and unpredictable film which is not for the faint-hearted. Starring the late Anton Yelchin, Imogene Poots, and the legendary Patrick Stewart (in a rare but terrifying villainous performance), the film revolves around a punk rock band who are targeted by a group of white supremacists after witnessing a murder. Full of graphic violence and aggressive tension, Green Room is not so much a film as it is an adrenaline fuelled experience. Featuring an outstanding and deeply unsettling performance from Patrick Stewart, Green Room is well-worth checking out, if you have the stomach for it.
One of my favourite films of the year so far, The Witch is an incredibly creepy and understated horror film that ranks with The Babadook as one of the best horror films in recent years. Set in 16th Century New England, the film revolves around a family who slowly become torn apart by dark witchcraft. Unlike many horror films these days, The Witch is all about using atmosphere and tension to scare the audience, rather than cheap ‘jump’ scares. Much of the imagery in the film will be lingering in your mind long after it’s finished and may give you a few sleepless nights.