Then there are those movies you remember because of an event occurred that had nothing to do with the movie itself. Take for instance the time I was viewing the beautiful and breathtaking 2015 anime movie called, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. In the middle of this film by director Isao Takahata I receive a text message from my younger brother asking about where to buy a home std test kit. Really!! I scrambled and looked at several sites online where they offered STD test kits that take only 15 minutes for results. With an accuracy between 95%-99%, depending upon the kit for a specific STD, I suggested it was one way to go. Why not just go to a clinic or doctor, I asked. Privacy, privacy was the response. Well, you will have to go to a doctor if the results are positive or symptoms persist< I replied. Use condoms, for goodness sake. Fortunately, before I freaked out, I learned that was getting the information for one of his friends, who it turned out did not have an STD. But it certainly shook my happy little evening until everything was sorted out. In fact I was so distracted, initially, I had watched The Tale of the Princess Kaguya the following night as well. I found it to be a hauntingly mesmeric masterpiece that creeps beneath the skin and truly transports the viewer into an enchanting world of myth and magic.   Now that I have distinctly digressed some what, let's get going and explore some more of my favorite films.

STRICTLY BALLROOM

Love this movie, and it’s not only because I was professional dancer in my youth. This is one of Baz Lurhmann’s earlier films, and it’s got it all: humor, romance, and dance all sprinkled with a slightly off-kilter campy tone, which never overwhelms the proceedings. The film’s acting is wonderful, and its editing and direction are simply superb. And the dance sequences are just plain fun! There is really nothing better!

BAGDAD CAFE

Sadly, most people that I’ve talked to haven’t seen this movie. And that’s where I come in, as it’s my goal to get as many people as possible discovering this Percy Adlon-directed gem. This film is easy, yet difficult, to describe. I love everything design in this film. The jackets and shoes and the Wholesale Sterling Silver Jewelry that the lead character wears! A German tourist splits from her husband and winds up in a desolate wasteland of a “town”, filled with offbeat denizens. The story centers on how she touches their lives (and some prove to be more stubborn than others in this regard) simply by her just “being”. This film showcases how one person can affect a community of lives in the smallest ways, and how that impact can then multiply. It’s a lovely piece, and the soundtrack is just fantastic.

KISS KISS BANG BANG

It took IRON MAN for everyone to begin (re)singing Robert Downey Jr.’s praises, but the fact is, Downey’s always been good, even in less-than-brilliant films out of the 80s (THE PICK-UP ARTIST, anybody?). What I hear time and time again is that Robert Downey Jr. made IRON MAN, and the same can be said about KISS KISS BANG BANG, a little gem of a murder-mystery film directed by Shane Black trades murder-mystery conventions for originality. In addition to Downey, the two other major actors, Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan (at the time, a relative newcomer) shine. The chemistry between these three actors is amazing, and the film is fun and touching, and proves that a good film, at least for me, boils down to how well-drawn the characters are.

CURE

As a fan of Asian films, I’m always on the lookout for foreign films with flair. One of the better Japanese thrillers I’ve seen is CURE, directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Calling this film a simple thriller doesn’t quite do it justice – it’s a masterpiece of a police thriller that manages to transcend the genre midway through. Think a more meditative SILENCE OF THE LAMBS which not only asks “What if there was a monster lurking deep within each of us” but takes it a step further by posing the question, “What if we can’t control it”. This film has a mind-blowing “blink and you’ll probably miss it” ending that manages to open the film up in even more new jaw-dropping directions at the last minute. Sheer brilliance in its pacing, acting and in the execution (pun intended) of its thought-provoking material.

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