We all remember that scene when Jack holds Rose in Titanic, or that trippy moment during Inception when the city bends into the sky. The “moving picture,” as literal as it sounds, is a rare storytelling medium where the visually stunning movies element is at least as important as the plot, soundtrack, and characters. Oftentimes, detailed and consistent visuals set the atmosphere of the movie and deliver a truly immersive experience, albeit into the strangest and most imaginative worlds. Here are five movies that you will wish you experienced on the big screen. They are also relatively obscure, so not your Grand Budapest Hotel, Big Fish, Tree of Life and certainly not Avatar.
Filmed over four years in 20 different countries, Tarsem Singh’s The Fall is a feast of natural and manmade wonders around the world, all wrapped up in the imagination of a paralyzed stuntman and a little girl whose arm was broken in a riot. Given its crazy shots, you’ll be surprised to know that The Fall was filmed with less CGI than true human ingeniousness and careful planning. My favorite interview story — the crew wanted a scene in a blue city, but couldn’t find one blue enough, so they went to the Blue City of Jodhpur, India and gave out free paint. Next time they went back, they started shooting.
Godzilla — or “Gojira” as he’s known in Japan — has been delighting moviegoers and destroying Tokyo for five decades now. The sum total of his screen appearances is 28 films plus one very bad Hollywood outing, with another U.S. remake set for 2012. But which of his films truly stand apart from the pack of men-in-rubber-suits that make up the kaiju eiga (monster movie) genre? Here’s the short list of my personal favorites.
Premise: A giant dinosaur mutated and awakened by atomic testing wreaks havoc until super-science finds a way to stop the rampage.
Why it’s good: Director Ishiro Honda approached the ‘monster on the loose’ material as if he were making a documentary on Atom Age gloom and anxiety. The result is a classic of Japanese post-war cinema.
Godzilla, the monster: Special effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya depicts best Godzilla movies as a terrifying walking H-bomb incarnate and a merchandise-ready movie star.
Trivia: “Gojira” was the most expensive Japanese movie of its time to produce, budgeted at around US$1 million — an amount double that of “The Seven Samurai.”
NBC’s Parks and Recreation may be over, but we will always cherish out memories of the town of Pawnee, Indiana. We’ve watched as Leslie Knope tirelessly worked to improve a town that’s slogan used to be “First in Friendship, Fourth in Obesity.” Best parks and rec episodes took a farcical look at the relationship between small-town governments and their often ill-informed citizenry; it showed the hypocrisy of elected officials when it comes to their personal and professional lives. It provoked debate about government overstepping its bounds and infringing on personal freedoms. By using comedy, the show explored hot-button issues such as sex education, gay marriage and the difference between a pony and a miniature horse. Leslie Knope and her friends may be moving on, but like the citizens of Pawnee, we’re all better off for having known them. Here are the best episodes of the series.