Sweet Bird of Youth

Sweet Bird of Youth

The One Percent

The One Percent

This Boy

This Boy’s Life

Angel Heart

Angel Heart

Love You More

Love You More


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Unsung 1970s

The Cassandra Crossing

The Cassandra Crossing

Although one would have to admit that The Cassandra Crossing is not a work of art and has been left unsung for a reason, at the same time, anyone in their right mind would feel obliged to recognise that it’s just so much fun.

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The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

Nicolas Gessner’s madly titled The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane may well be the darkest coming-of-age story to have ever been made. No wonder that 14-year-old Jodie Foster was given the lead role of Rynn, and no wonder Martin Sheen was put somewhere in there too – with the mere task of making her life that little bit harder every time he visits.

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The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

Paul Newman’s direction is entirely story-focused, paying its respects to Paul Zindel’s play and the remarkable skills of his off-screen wife and daughter. Joanne Woodward is given plenty of time and material to demonstrate her acting ability, which unfortunately means that by the end of the film her audience is absolutely appalled by and terrified of her.

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Husbands

Husbands

John Cassavetes has the unique ability, and is one of the few directors who does, to inject a sense of the unseen into his films. Husbands is a good example of this – there is nothing remarkable in anything he presents us with here, in any single scene.

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Lolita (1962)

Lolita (1962)

Lolita has a grace and charisma that is found in a lot of Kubrick’s earlier films. It has a similar likeability to Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and the same cool sense of cunning as The Killing. The mix of performance, script and taboo makes Lolita a timeless delight.

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Lolita (1997)

Lolita (1997)

Lyne’s Lolita is dark and depressing and deals with the turmoil of the characters in a more blatant way. It is this darkness of character, along with the sexual explicitness, that makes Lyne’s Lolita a more loyal adaptation but not necessarily a better one.

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Adaptations of Lolita

Adaptations of Lolita

The book has been adapted twice. Its first adaptation, by the infamous Stanley Kubrick, was released in 1962. This adaptation was a tricky one, because of the censorship in those days; Kubrick decided to approach this adaptation more wholly. The second adaptation, by Adrian Lyne, was released in 1997. In this one, it was as though the filmmaker were more liberated.

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The Conversation

The Conversation

It’s no wonder that Francis Ford Coppola considers The Conversation his most personal film. It is his most focused, most observant, loneliest film – a character study that delves deep into the nature of one, single human being: the enigmatic and absurd Harry Caul.

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The Story Behind “Apocalypse Now”

The Story Behind 'Apocalypse Now'

And so I began to understand why it seemed different that anything I had ever seen. It had, in a way, been infinitely more involved than any other film could even claim to be. The development of Apocalypse Now had been an output of life.

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Escape From Tomorrow

Escape From Tomorrow

The film may disappoint those who expected something that would “bash Disney”. And, depending on how much of how you conflate the company and childhood, adults may find it intriguing, most of all, for daring to speak the kind of urban-legend thoughts you might have pictured to yourself at some point — within a feature film.

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The Atomic Café

The Atomic Café

I once heard that someone criticized this film for making fun of its source material too much. Whether or not that actually happened, it’s an uncannily ironic comment for The Atomic Café — a film made entirely of clips and footage related to atomic weapons and the Cold War. Each of these is original footage: nothing new was shot, and no commentaries or interviews were added onto them.

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On the Essence of Cinema

Unsung Cronenberg

Spider

Spider

One of Cronenberg’s most underrated films, Spider is a gentle film with moments of terror and unpredictability – it finds itself following a brief moment in Dennis Cleg’s life, after his release from the psychiatric ward, and his move into a boarding house, run by Mrs. Wilkinson.

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Cosmopolis

Cosmopolis

David Cronenberg and Robert Pattinson commandeer Cosmopolis, a film based on Don DeLillo’s classic novella of the same name. Some of the director’s previous works, like Spider and Naked Lunch, also came from novels and this one might be his most fascinating so far. Theatrical, abstract, thin on plot and very much carried by dialogue, it was surprising that Cronenberg got there first.

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A Dangerous Method

A Dangerous Method

Based on a stage play which was based, in its turn, on a book by John Kerr, A Dangerous Method is about the relationship a young Carl Jung develops with a troubled patient as well as the beginning and break-up of his friendship with Sigmund Freud.

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Eastern Promises

Eastern Promises

Christmas turns sinister and Vincent Cassel gay in David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises — two things that bring everything upside down. A festive London works as an ironic backdrop for Russian mafia and a patriarchal crime business with a Christmassy family restaurant as its front. And every tough-looking guy is kind, while the sweet faced old men are in no way to be trusted.

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