Hidden Gems #6
Hidden Gem #60: The Steel Trap (1952, U.S.A.)
Director: Andrew L. Stone
This 'man on the run' caper packs an additional wallop of suspense by focusing on our main protagonist's continuously fascinating and unpredictable behaviour: One response will surprise us with an even riskier "second job" for him to complete.
Hidden Gem #59: The Hill (1965, U.K.)
Director: Sydney Lumet
Far less known than Lumet's earlier play adaptation of 12 Angry Men, this pressure cooker of a story by Ray Rigby is expertly handled by its accomplished director, delivering intense characterisations and performances that burn right through us, including a career best by Sean Connery. (See: Inspecting a Hidden Gem).
Hidden Gem #58: Death Note a.k.a. Desu nôto (2006, Japan)
Director: Shusuke Kaneko
A live action translation of a very popular, ingenious Manga/Anime series that's packed with creative characters, wild story elements, sly humour and a dramatically charged battle of strategies, taking us on one hell of a genre-crossing ride.
Hidden Gem #57: Death Note II: The Last Name a.k.a. Desu nôto: The last name (2006, Japan)
Director: Shusuke Kaneko
This bold sequel picks up right where the first Death Note left off, introducing additional captivating story twists and exciting conflict resolutions.
Hidden Gem #56: Diamonds of the Night a.k.a. Démanty noci (1964, Czechoslovakia)
Director: Jan Nemec
Hallucinatory fantasy, brutal reality and 'Bunuelian' imagery are perfectly blended together in this groundbreaking nightmare of two young Jewish concentration camp escapees; from an under appreciated director who importantly formed part of the Czech new wave (including Ivan Passer and Milos Forman).
Hidden Gem #55: Your Three Minutes Are Up! (1973, U.S.A.)
Director: Douglas Schwartz
A highly enjoyable mixture of irreverent comedy with a serious examination of developing maturity, this gem contains a wealth of pleasantly engaging interactions between our two diverse lead performers.
Hidden Gem #54: Patterns (1956, U.S.A.)
Director: Fielder Cook
Personal ambition conflicts with the human values of a newly hired executive thrust into a world of ruthless big business practices, with Rod Serling's acidic dialogue being the fuse that ignites the explosive dramatic fireworks in this emotionally devastating cinematic gem. (More here).
Hidden Gem #53: The Holy Mountain (1973, Mexico/U.S.A.)
Director: Alexandro Jodorowsky
If you enjoy getting high, do so when seeing this expert satirist's abstract mosaic of absurd, grotesque imagery and sacrilegious symbolism which pokes fun at the idea that there is something meaningful to be made out of life or for that matter, this motion picture.
Hidden Gem #52: Dark Hazard (1934, U.S.A.)
Director: Alfred E. Green
One wouldn't expect to find a compulsive gambler so endearing, but this character continuously exhibits such a distinctively warm human kindness, with the added bonus of being portrayed by the great Edward G. Robinson, that's precisely what happens in this little gem guaranteed to put a big grin on your face. (More here).
Hidden Gem #51: Straight Time (1978, U.S.A.)
Director: Ulu Grosbard
Just as Jose Giovanni (an ex-con turned screenwriter) introduced a sensational new perspective of gritty realism into the French crime genre, so did Edward Bunker for its American counterpart, not only writing Straight Time's source novel No Beast So Fierce while in prison, but also co-writing the screenplay and working as a consultant on this supremely made project. (More here).