Aside from all the awesome movies I’ve reviewed so far, I’ve compiled a convenient list of the absolute must-watch-movies for all your foreign entertainment needs:
1. Battle Royale
Released in 2000, Battle Royale is a Japanese movie adaptation of the novel by the same name. Lots of people have said that this movie is where The Hunger Games drew its inspiration from. In a time when school attendance is at an all-time-low, schools around the country are in a panic and don’t know how to handle it. Obviously the only logical thing to do is trick all the students into coming back to school and then pit them together in a battle to the death, right?
The story follows a Japanese middle school student named Shuya Nanahara. After finally returning to school, he and all his other classmates get gassed on a “field trip” and wake up on a strange island. They are then given backpacks full of miscellaneous weapons and told to have at it. The rules are simple: whoever is the last man (or woman) standing wins.
This movie is just the right amount of disturbing to keep you glued to your T.V. If you liked The Hunger Games, then you have no excuse for not seeing this movie.
2. Pan’s Labyrinth
Pan’s Labyrinth may be one of the best dark fantasy films of all time. It’s a Mexican-Spanish movie directed by the famous Guillermo del Toro. This movie follows a little girl named Ofelia as she struggles to cope with the realities of war. Ofelia loves fairy tales, and they soon become her escape as she moves into a new place with her mother and new evil stepfather who is also a Captain of the army.
One day while Ofelia is exploring she stumbles onto a labyrinth only to meet a faun. The faun believes her to be Princess Moanna and gives her three tasks that she must complete before the full moon. If she does this, she’ll be able to join the spirit world as the princess.
This movie has some disturbingly iconic scenes that you won’t be able to forget. From the fantastic creatures to the emotional and touching story, Pan’s Labyrinth is a movie that deserves your attention.
Oldboy is a 2003 South Korean mystery thriller directed by Park Chan-wook. The film follows a man who has been locked in a hotel room for 15 years. He has no idea why, and no idea who put him there. When he’s finally released he vows to find those responsible and make them pay.
The less you know about this movie, the better. There is a plot twist here that makes The Sixth Sense look like Kindergarten Cop. Also, make sure you watch the original. There is a Hollywood remake coming out soon that is sure to destroy everything good about this amazing piece of cinema.
4. City of God
City of God is a 2002 Brazilian drama that follows two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio De Janeiro. One of the boys grows up to become an aspiring photographer who keeps getting swept up into madness, while the other a violent drug dealer who lives off it.
This movie gives you an in depth look at the life of the poor kids of Rio and its gangs. Crime, revenge, anger, this movie has it all. You really feel for some of the characters in this movie who are just trying to get by while living in such a dangerous place. Finally, things spiral out of control between the last two remaining gangs. It seems to be a viscous cycle that few escape.
5. The Raid: Redemption
The Raid: Redemption is a 2011 Indonesian martial arts action film. This movie is all about fast, in your face action. The Raid is about an elite police squad trying to take down a crime lord who owns an apartment building in Jakarta’s slums. The team sneaks into the apartment building on a mission to capture the crime lord who is hiding out in one of the top floors. Eventually they are found out, and must endure the waves of enemies sent to destroy them on every floor. Think classic-arcade-game, because this movie is just like that. The apartment floors are like levels, and the police must clear every one before finally getting to the boss.
Saying that this movie has over-the-top action doesn’t do it justice. The stunts performed in this movie will give even Jackie Chan a run for his money.