JT Film Review



Sometimes a movie just doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. There can be many reasons for this. If a movie delves into politics it invariably distances itself from those who don’t agree with the political side being presented. Sometimes a movie is too slow. Sometimes it is released opposite a bigger movie which grabs the headlines, or a director who generally works in an established genre will try something different. Whatever the reason, there are many movies that are good, even great, but are not recognized by the general movie going crowd as such.

Here is a list of my favorite…

“Under Rated Movies”


world_is_not_enough_poster 8. The World Is Not Enough (1999)

I’ll start off with an oft-maligned Bond pic. This is my personal favorite of the pre-Craig Bond movies; now granted I haven’t seen many. However, this is still a great movie. The climax has Bond getting a bit meaner and rougher than we would expect, and it makes a nice turn for the character. The theme song is among the best in the series, and we get a nice dose of Bond double entendre along with the action. Whats not to like?

thin_red_line 7. The Thin Red Line (1998)

Due to being released the same year as Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, this other WWII movie didn’t get as much attention. This movie is a bit long, to be sure, but has some excellent sequences. During the best sequence the Americans are attempting to storm a Japanese position, and they must approach it under “cover” of two foot grass. The camera stays at the men’s eye level, making the open grass fields seem just as inclusive and dense as a jungle, and excellently conveys the men’s feelings. It’s a very meditative movie as well, which you don’t see too often.

phoneboothpubm 6. Phone Booth (2002)

This is an extremely tense film about a man forced to stay in a phone booth by a sniper. It has a couple slightly un-realistic points to it, but they are the type that you’ll only think about later, after you’ve watched the movie, and even then they won’t really affect your enjoyment of it. Despite the fact that the whole movie is stuck in and around a phone booth, this movie is a thrill-ride and a half, guaranteed to keep you glued to the screen the entire time. It’s thrilling, it’s exciting, and features (another) amazing acting job by Colin Farrell, who (as in Hart’s War and Tigerland), shows not a hint of his Irish accent.


5. Battle of Britain (1969)

This movie is rarely, if ever, mentioned when it comes to the great WWII movies. This is one of the best, involving great aerial sequences, an all star cast, and intriguing “behind-the-scenes” bits taking place in War Rooms and offices. It is almost a documentary on the “Battle of Britain” part of the war, featuring “whos whys and wheres” of many of the strategic decisions made during the war. It does have a little side plot involving Christopher Plummer and his girlfriend which I think we could have done without, (much like the romantic side plot in The Caine Mutiny). But, it is still an excellent movie.

matchstick_men 4. Matchstick Men (2003)

Nicholas Cage, Sam Rockwell, and newcomer Alison Lohman all put in admirable turns in this wonderful con-man film made by none other than Ridley Scott. It is a pensive, schizoid take on the genre, and Nicholas Cage performs wonderfully as the lead phobic con man. It’s a movie that has a quirky heart-beat to it, which is what Nicholas Cage tends to do best. (If only he’d stop making these crappy action movies he’s doing now! Do I hear an “Amen”?!)

lordofwar 3. Lord of War (2005)

Nicholas Cage again appears on this list with Lord of War. It follows his character as he slowly gets more involved in the illegal arms dealing business, at the same time destroying himself and those he loves. It’s a snappy, fast paced movie, heavy stylized in parts. It’s fast, it’s fun, and most of all it’s very smart and emotionally engaging. The slightly political message at the end may rub some the wrong way,but regardless, it is a wonderfully made movie. Definitely recommended.

2010 2. 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)

People tend to disregard this as a vastly inferior sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, putting aside the difference in style, this is a wonderfully engrossing science fiction movie. True science fiction, I may add. It has a solid dose of Cold War era politics mixed in, which actually adds to it I believe. One sequence involving a space walk is flat out one of the best sequences ever in science fiction film. This is a smart movie, grounded in reality; where 2001: A Space Odyssey was ethereal, focusing on the fantastic. Both are great movies on their own terms, and I highly recommend this one.

Mosquito_Coast 1. Mosquito Coast (1986)

Peter Weir directed this after Witness, another collaboration with Harrison Ford. It features Ford playing far from his usual roles, a slightly paranoid, obsessive inventor who decides it is for the best for his family to move into the jungles of South America and start their life fresh. He is a rigid anti-conformist, and flat out rejects most ideas other than his own. We see this man through the eyes of his son, played by River Phoenix, as his father descends deeper and deeper into an obsession with living off the land, free of civilization. This is one of my favorite movies, and should definitely have greater recognition.


Any more movies you think should be on this list? Do you disagree with any movies already on there? Please feel free to comment!



June 24, 2009 - Posted by | List | , , , , , , ,


  1. I agree with your number 1 and not because you bought me the dvd hahaha

    Comment by Joel D. | August 4, 2009 | Reply

    • You should watch 2010 as well, I’m sure you’d like it.

      Comment by jamesturpin | August 4, 2009 | Reply

  2. It’s interesting to read opionions from a younger version of yourself. Did I REALLY say The World is Not Enough was my favourite pre-Craig Bond flick? Sheesh.

    Comment by jamesturpin | May 22, 2013 | Reply

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