The Jerk (Carl Reiner, 1979)

Steve Martin breaks a lance for jerks everywhere

Steve Martin’s comedy film debut is a madhouse of oddball characters, barely threaded situations and the absurd, non-sequitur humor he drew scores of people to his shows with.

Seppuku

Japan’s secret storytelling weapon

Seppuku is the secret narrative weapon of Japanese storytelling. Unique to Japan and their culture of honor, seppuku (or hara-kiri as it is also known) is the ritual self-disemboweling of a samurai with a sharp knife. Sometimes it happened when a samurai was disgraced through his own actions. Sometimes it was demanded by their lord for political reasons. Sometimes it occurred to save the samurai’s family. But whatever the reason: it is an evocative, excruciating, captivating dramatic experience that has virtually no parallel in western cinema.

Dr. No (Terence Young, 1962)

Doctor Nobody does it better (spoiler notice)

It was a little over fifty years ago that Dr. No launched James Bond into the collective unconscious. Bond became a film icon that is today just as valid and valued as it was when handsome, rugged Sean Connery first walked into the frame and shot his unknown assailant.

L'année dernière à Marienbad (‘Last Year at Marienbad’, Alain Resnais, 1961)

What really happened in this luxurious maze of marble and mirrors?

It’s difficult to discuss the plot of L'année dernière à Marienbad, because so much of it is shrouded in the unknown. There is a man in a hotel. He meets a woman and informs her that they had a meeting here last year. The woman can’t remember it, but the man insists and refuses to leave her alone. Is there truth to his story, or are they the delusions of an obsessed stalker? Perhaps even a rapist? As time goes by, memories get muddy on both sides, are forced onto the other, become strained, contradictory, disappear altogether. The truth of Marienbad is known only to its endless marble hallways, its trompe l’oeils.

Repo Men (Miguel Sapochnik, 2010)

Be a good boy and pay your loans, or the repo men will come (spoiler notice)

Remy and Jake are damaged goods. After the war, their desensitization towards violence was so all-consuming they ended up with the grisliest of jobs without batting an eye: they became repossession men.