I am bored to tears with the latest “box-office smash,” and sick to death of formulaic blockbusters. If you agree—or simply need some new ideas for video rentals—read the list below for our suggestions of engaging and offbeat films.
Each film on our list boasts some of the industry’s most highly regarded actors and directors. Many of the actors were so young at the time these movies were made that I didn’t recognize them until the credits rolled at the end of the movie!
Beautiful films from highbrow literary sources
The Painted Veil
Director: John Curran
Cast: Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Liev Schrieber and Diana Rigg
Plot: A love story set in the 1920s against the backdrop of the cholera-infested countryside of China.
A Passage to India
Director: David Lean
Cast: Judy Davis, Alec Guinness, Victor Banerjee and Peggy Ashcroft
Plot: A study of two totally different cultures (the repressed English and the more sensual Indians) that attempted to coexist in Colonial India.
Sweet independent film
Pieces of April
Director: Peter Hedges II
Cast: Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson and Oliver Platt
Plot: Witty, touching family comedy-dramañ for mature teens and up.
Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, Keanu Reaves, Hilary Swank and Giovanni Ribisi
Plot: Southern gothic murder and a chilling psychic mystery.
Socially conscious, gritty suspense thriller
Dirty Pretty Things
Director: Stephan Frears
Cast: Chiwetal Ejiofor, Audrey Tautou
Plot: Story of the struggles of the immigrant underclass in Britain and what they do to survive.
Sadomasochistic, steamy, kinky love story
Director : Steven Shainberg
Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal (debut), James Spader
Plot: Secretary learns to enjoy reprimands for typing errors and a more “involved” relationship soon develops.
Weird, campy horror classic
The Lair of the White Worm
Director: Ken Russell
Cast: Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg
Plot: Taken from one of Bram Stoker’s horror novels, the movie is campy with a capital “C.” A grisly plot and many double entendres are its hallmarks.
Teen comedy for all ages
Adventures In Babysitting
Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Elizabeth Shue
Movie: A simple night of babysitting goes horribly awry in this charming screwball comedy, which was filmed on location in Chicago.