6. Roxanne Roxanne
Director Michael Larnell hasn’t quite figured out how to make a biopic that feels innovative. Roxanne Roxanne hits too many familiar notes to be a slam dunk. The excess melodrama and desperate attempt to humanize everyone is on full display here. Then again, those things are often needed to engage casual moviegoers. Basically, it’s a shame that movies like this play things so safely.
However, since we’ve come to expect this kind of generic storytelling in biopics, it’s worth appreciating what these movies actually do right. While Roxanne Roxanne is hardly groundbreaking, it is an emotional cinematic experience that greatly benefits from a sublime central performance.
Seriously, even if this movie was a complete disaster, it would still be worth watching for Chanté Adams. Luckily, it’s not a complete disaster. Formulaic storytelling aside, Roxanne Roxanne benefits from poignant dialogue, beautiful cinematography, and emotional messages.
In addition, the movie does actually take a more character-driven approach than most biopics. It’s still pretty standard stuff, but the parts that make Roxanne Roxanne feel like a character study do at least a little to set the movie apart.
Honestly, biopics rarely manage to feel unique. While that doesn’t necessarily excuse Roxanne Roxanne, it does make it feel like less of an outlier. No, it’s nothing new. It is, however, incredibly well-made and engrossing for the reasons listed above. More importantly, it’s easy to sit through and it’s available at the touch of a button through Netflix.
7. Lust Stories
Lust Stories is the feminist Bollywood kick in the face we didn’t know we needed. The anthology film revolves around a group of Indian women seeking to feel sexually liberated. It’s a topic that’s very rarely tackled in that particular part of the world, which is why it’s so special
Obviously, this is a niche movie. Bollywood is niche as is, but then you add in the anthology format and the overtly political overtones. Not everyone is going to be nuts about it, but people looking to watch an insightful feminist commentary should find this to be an overall satisfying experience.
As an anthology movie, some shorts are better than others. That being said, this is a rare occasion where all of the shorts are, at the very least, worth a watch. They range from slightly above average to excellent, so viewers will never have a flat-out bad time. That is, they won’t have a bad time if they appreciate this kind of structural approach alongside some admittedly preachy themes.
Basically, you can tell whether or not this is your kind of movie based on the description above. Lust Stories is a movie about women facing sexual repression. It’s about how they combat that repression by defying expectations and doing whatever makes them feel alive. There are conflicting feelings when it comes to this kind of stuff, and you’ll know whether or not you’re the target audience within several minutes.If you’re one of those people, you’re in for a treat.
8. Imitation Girl
With only 256 votes on IMDb, it would be an understatement to call Imitation Girl a movie you may have missed. Rather, this is a movie you’re almost guaranteed to have missed. By comparison, some other movies on this list have over 10,000 votes.
If 10,000 is considered a hidden gem, who knows how to classify a movie like this? Lucky for the readers of this list, one particular writer decided to dig through pages upon pages of On Demand titles looking for a few that could stand apart from the crowd. This digging led to a little movie called Imitation Game.
Let’s start off with a warning: this is strictly for the arthouse crowd. This bizarre sci-fi character study never tries to borrow ideas from other movies. It does its own thing whether you like it or not. Dialogue is sparse, performances are subtle, and storytelling is unimportant.
The premise revolves around an extraterrestrial woman who takes on the body of an adult film actress, but there isn’t a whole lot of story or conflict based around that. Rather, the movie quickly sets things up before moving onto something more important – character development. The way this is approached will amaze some viewers while baffling others. Jumping into the strange world is a risk patient movie lovers should absolutely take.
Again, this isn’t a movie for everyone. On the contrary, there will be a large chunk of people who find the whole thing to be a pretentious snooze. It takes a lot of patience to sit through this quiet, melancholy chunk of filmmaking. That being said, it’s easy to appreciate the ambition regardless of whether or not the movie ends up being enjoyable to you.
9. Mom and Dad
Due to the fact that Mandy was just released and it’s hard to tell the amount of hype surrounding it, this list will instead discuss another Nic Cage movie that managed to defy expectations.
Although Mom and Dad isn’t quite as successful the actor’s most recent outing, it’s still one hell of an entertaining movie that takes advantage of Cage’s penchant for turning things up to eleven. It’s not exactly smart, but it’s also not trying to be. The goal seems to be pure, unadulterated madness. In that regard, this movie is an obvious success.
The premise borders on being foolproof. In other words, it would be hard to make a movie like this that isn’t at least a little enjoyable. In Mom and Dad, every parent feels a sudden urge to murder his or her child. Instead of approaching this as some sort of mystery where the audience tries to figure out why the parents behave this way, director Brian Taylor wisely takes a more bonkers approach.
This is just 90 minutes of adults chasing after children with various tools. It’s about as hilarious as one would expect. The man that brought us Crank knows a thing or two about over-the-top violence. It’s a good thing he’s at the top of his game here.
So maybe this isn’t the most sophisticated movie of 2018, but nobody expects it to be. This is a movie that does exactly what its target audience wants it to do. It provides endless amounts of entertainment for people who love violence piled on top of violence. This particular author has no complaints.
10. The Cleanse
The Cleanse isn’t the most obscure movie on this list, but it’s pretty damn close. Then again, considering the fact that it sat on the shelves for two years, who could blame people for completely missing it? After a quiet debut at SXSW in 2016, this John Galecki-led movie (previously titled The Master Cleanse) has finally seen the light of day. It wasn’t exactly worth the two-year wait, but it’s still a fascinating creature feature that does a whole lot with its Gremlins-esque set-up.
In The Cleanse, people visit a spiritual retreat where they can tackle various mental health issues. Following a liquid cleanse, they’re introduced to a tiny visitor who can apparently solve their problems. To speak further about these visitors would ruin the movie, but be aware that they’re definitely the stars of the show. The actors and actresses all do a pretty great job. They just can’t compete with these little critters that strike a fine balance between being cute and vicious.
Unfortunately, tonal inconsistencies prevent this from being a must-see. The Cleanse bounces back and forth between horror, drama, and comedy. While some movies can get away with this kind of tonal zigzag, everything here just feels a bit jarring. That, sadly, earns the movie a low placement on the list. However, its inclusion on the list says that, in some degree, this is a solid movie worth the attention of people who wouldn’t normally know about its existence.