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Hidden Gems on DVD

Every once in awhile you stumble across a movie on DVD that you missed at the theaters that surprises you at how good it is. Here's a list of some of my recently discovered favorites: Brick: This 2005 homage to the works of detective fiction writer Daishell Hammett has become one of my favorite movies ever. When a loner high school student receives a cryptic and alarming phone call from an ex-girlfriend he still carries a torch for, he launches an investigation into the many cliques that compose the shady underworld of his school. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the lead character and shines. If you're a Veronica Mars fan I highly recommend this stylized high school noir Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: As the writer of the first Lethal Weapon film, Shane Black redefined the buddy action film in the late 80s. In this action comedy, writer/director Black pays homage to and sends up the genre he helped redefine. Rober Downey Jr. plays a Harry, a small time thief who stumbles into the leading role of a detective film. Val Kilmer Plays Perry, a homosexual Private Detective who's been tasked with making Harry seem authentic. The two manage to stumble upon a Hollywood murder mystery that involves Harry's old high school sweet heart Harmony. Downey is great as Harry and Val Kilmer's practically steals the film as Perry AKA Gay Perry The Descent: This is a horror film that manages to be compelling, genuinely scary, and deliver complex well rounded characters as well. In the film a group of women gather to go caving after a tragic accident robs one of them of her wife and child. A cave in occurs and the women find themselves trapped below the earth while tensions in the group start to rise. When a horrific race of underground dwellers begins stalking the women they must fight not only survive but to hold onto their sanity. Writer/Director Neil Marshall expertly manages the tension in this movie. He builds the thrills in a gradual way so that when the monsters finally make their appearance you're guaranteed to jump. If you're a horror fan looking to show a movie to a typically non fan of the genre, here's your film. Running Scared: This 2006 crime film is not for everybody. It's got loads of stylistic over the top violence and if you're bothered by profanity DO NOT SEE THIS FILM! It's the F-Bomb equivalent of the firebombing of Dresden. But if you're a movie fan who doesn't mind either of these, I recommend giving this thriller a chance. In the film a low level mobster must make a nightmarish journey through a weird underworld of criminal characters in pursuit of his young son's friend because the boy stole a gun that he was supposed to get rid of. The film is stylistically and visually very cool. It's shot sort of as a twisted fairy tale. Paul Walker, who I normally can't stand surprised me by being very good as the main character, mobster Joey Gazelle. Vera Farmiga, of the Departed, really shines as Joey's wife Theresa. The scene where Theresa, a mother confronts two pedophiles armed with a pistol is powerful and chilling.