Favorite Film Discoveries of 2014: Part Four (The 2000s)
This is the same idea as “Favorite Older Films First Viewed in” which I did since 2011. The idea was one I first saw on Rupert Pupkin Speaks. I have usually done the list in parts. This time I will find ways to group the films.
My first installment can be found here. The second installment can be found here, and part three here. In this installment I will focus on a segment of films I do not discount from a list like this: Post-2000 releases. Since I have an annual award anything else is usually eligible, I do usually try to keep them a bit older, but 2014 was rather different in a few regards.
Miracle in Bern (2003)
One thing that was a bit of predestination it would seem is that prior to the 2014 World Cup I watched two German films that were football (soccer) themed. The first being a story surrounding West Germany’s unlikely win in 1954 that focuses on the scorer of the eventual clinching goal in the final against Hungary and the young boy who idolizes him and is like a good luck charm. On a footballing note one interesting factoid is that the club the boy is a fanatic of, and the goalscorer Helmut Rahn played for; Rott Weiss-Essen has since fallen by the wayside in the tiers of the German Bundesliga.
It’s a film that works a number of plots very well and has very realistic, and time-appropriate football action. It’s only available on region 2 disc but it well worth watching if you can, especially for fans of the sport.
The Wild Soccer Bunch 4 (2007)
In Joachim Masannek’s film adaptations of his football-themed books it seems each installment is odder than the last. While no title in this series has the balance, cast or layers that his most recent title V8 does, this film is enjoyable in its own right and likely the oddest of the lot that stands five films deep, and threatens to grow.
This one is only available on region 2 as an import and is recommended for fans of children’s film, football and the weird.
Real Injun (2009)
In what was an all-too-rare experiment I watched this film on the Kino Lorber app I watched this film free, with a 60-90 second commercial break per 10 minutes. It usually only costs a dollar to by pass the commercials.
This is a fascinating, eye-opening doc that discusses the changing face of the Native Americans on film. It delves into how stereotypes developed and how they either influenced, played off or ran counter to societal perceptions through the ages. With any group examining the portrayal they have had on film is crucial and this one stands with The Celluloid Closet and Bamboozled as powerful statements on depictions of minority groups in American cinema.
The Famous Five (2012)
When you dig around through international releases long enough it becomes quite interesting to discover what films, books, shows, music, etc. register abroad that may not have quite such an impact in your home culture. Such is the case of The Famous Five series.
Prior to discovering this current incarnation of these cinematic adaptations I was unfamiliar with the series and author Enid Blyton both. As it turns out both this series and her works continue to be very popular both in her abroad and in her native England. Though she died in 1968 she was one of the top 10 selling authors in the UK during the first 10 years of the 21st century. Her film adaptations to date have been all overseas. The first two were serials in 1957 and 1964 in the UK. Then in 1969 and 1970 there were two adaptations in Denmark. The current German series is the most prolific and most profitable at the box office to date.
I went into part three blind to all these facts, as well as to the cinematic backstory that accompanied these films. Therefore, I backtracked to be better able to appraise these films on their own merits, including how this particular film worked in conjunction with the other two.
The Famous Five feature a familiar formula of smart kids who get embroiled in mysterious capers by chance or insistence and save the day. The fact that there are two boys, two girls and an extra-smart dog make the best of The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Rin Tin Tin rolled into one.
The original in the new series is available on Blu-Ray in Germany with English subtitles and does offer the kinds of smart kid-based adventure film that’s too rare here.
This concludes the 2014 list. See you next year!