Scene Unseen:
Some Whole Films.

In the weeks I've been working on this column there have been movies which I've wanted to cover but haven't been able to find an angle. They're maintream pieces which for one reason or another have generally gone unnoticed either because they sound difficult, strange or in one case bonkers. All of them are worth digging up if you're in the mood ...

The Mod Squad

Unfairly unheralded when it was released in the UK by virtue of being an adaption of a tv series no one had seen, The Mod Squad is epitomy of cool. It plays like a homage to the seventies exploitation genre done in the style of the French New Wave. The main reasons to watch are Claire Danes, Giovanni Ribisi and Omar Epps slink their way through the proceedings, their mesmerisingly understated performances recalling early Clint Eastwood, that kind of slow burn charisma.

Duets

A sports road movie about karoke, Duets is deeply unconventional, irrational but ludicrously enjoyable. It's one of those moments when a series of characters, stories and ideas which shouldn't be together in the same 112 minutes collide and somehow work. If nothing else, it's a chance to see people like Paul (American Splendor) Giamatti, Maria (The Cooler) Bello and Gwyneth (for goodness sake) Paltrow command a room with their vocal stylings.

U-Turn

Bonkers. From the retina-searing cinematography to the larger than life performances U-Turn is classic film making from another reality. It's difficult to eventually put your finger on why it all finally works although I personally put it down to cameo performance which appears about halfway through -- it doesn't last long; it doesn't contribute anything to the film overall but its mere presence elevates everything...

Blue Crush

Stop sniggering. This is the film you think you'll abore until you see it. From the opening moments your eyes will be glued to the screen as wave after massive wave sloshes across the screen attacked by these tiny creatures, mini-Everests forming and reforming, each a new adventure. Even those who are less forgiving of the standard romantic subplot must agree that the performances likeable, the photography stunning, and the action heartstopping.

Last Party 2000

Phillip Seymour Hoffman investigates the 2000 Presidential Election as it happens drawing out the issues and presenting an even more horrific view of American politics than Michael Moore has four years later. The Democrats eventually come across as the lesser of the two evils, my favourite moment being when at their conference Hoffman asks a member what they stand for and after she offers the list tells her it's exactly what he heard at the Republican conference. You should come to the UK...

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