With all the streaming services available (Hulu, AmazonPrime, Netflix, etc.) it’s become more and more difficult to find good films amongst all of the noise. So I was looking for a few movies that seem to have flown under the radar but are definitely worth watching. Here are a few movies I stumbled upon that I'd consider hidden gems on the streaming circuit.
I was in the mood for some above average, smart action/thrillers. I think I hit the jackpot.
The first movie was "Den of Thieves" starring a grizzled looking Americanized Gerard Butler. Now I know Butler is known mostly for formalized character work in the vein of the "Olympus has Fallen" trilogy, but he can be kind of a chameleon for example "360" where he was virtually unrecognizable. Although Butler is not quite as altered here “Den of Thieves” is reminiscent of "Heat" (the 1995 blockbuster) without the star power of Dinero and Pacino. It's about special forces trained gang that tries to take down (rob) the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve. The movie has a lot of automatic weapon street shootouts similar to "Heat"s final act, which if you remember was one of the best traffic-filled firefights in movie history. The action is wrapped around a decent storyline with some good acting. It's not an Oscar contender, but then again it's not that kind of movie. “Den of Thieves” is successful in what it's striving for, pure action-packed entertainment that you’ve become emotionally invested in because of the well-done character building.
“Sweet Virginia” starring Jon Bernthal, who is best known from The Walking Dead and The Punisher is a movie full of ever-increasing tension. This is a slow-burning indie thriller that burns a bit hotter before the end and is filled with dread because of a great score and dour scenery. Bernthal is a Motel Manager who becomes involved with a psychopathic hitman. It might be the weakest movie on this list simply because it's subtle. Don’t let that stop you from checking it out, it still has enough good acting and interesting characters to be worth a rainy Sunday.
"The Harvest" starring Michael Shannon is an eery and dark coming of age story that flips the script on the usual tropes. I don't want to say too much because the twists and turns and frightening helicopter mother portrayal by co-star Samatha Morton who channels Kathy Bates in "Misery" are all tremendous. It reminds me of early Stephen King and is more along the lines of a medical thriller/horror movie. There's nothing supernatural, but plenty of terror and a great story. The director John McNaughton insists on using celluloid film as opposed to digital and a full orchestral score. It pays off, creating an atmosphere of tension and dread... The two teen leads steal the show. I recommend this movie for both fans of Horror and Mysteries who like a good plot twist.
With so many avenues of entertainment, it's become difficult to wade through the noise and find memorable movies. If you're like me you love finding these overlooked gold nuggets and suggestions from everyone on a blog like this can lead you to some great films. So what are some of the movies that have snuck past the general public that you think deserves a closer look? Please post any movies that you’d recommend on the streaming services.