A while ago, I wrote about my favorite movies on the streaming service Hoopla, which you can access for free with your library card, and I am back again. With social distancing continuing for the foreseeable future, I decided to dive back into Hoopla’s library and found even more Hidden Gems that I hope you’ll enjoy!
- Ex Machina: If you like science fiction, amazing performances, and luxurious set pieces, Ex Machina is the movie for you. Starring Oscar Isaac (who many may know from the newest Star War’s trilogy) plays an isolated genius who has completed a groundbreaking experiment involving artificial technology. Without spoiling anything, Ex Machina explores technology, its seemingly ever-growing grasp on our lives, and what exactly it means to be human.
- My Friend Dahmer: This independent movie is one of my favorites, but I was hesitant to recommend because the main character of the film is Jeffrey Dahmer, which might turn some people off. Although the idea of watching a movie about a real-life killer might seem chilling, this film explores the life of a young Dahmer as a high school student before committing any of his infamous crimes. Based on the graphic novel of the same name by John “Derf” Beckford, a real-life childhood friend of Dahmer’s, the movie follows Jeffrey, played by Disney Channel’s Ross Lynch, and his attempt to deal with the pressures of family, high school and wanting to fit in, all while combating a growing desire to commit murder. If you enjoy the film, the original graphic novel is available on OverDrive for you to check out virtually as well.
- The Others: Released in 2001, this horror-mystery starring Nicole Kidman will keep you intrigued for its entire 1 hour and 44 minute runtime as you try and figure out what exactly is happening along with the characters. I would recommend this movie for a variety of reasons such as the engaging story, the casts’ performances, and the unique use of ‘scares’ to move the plot along and not just as filler. The film is based around Nicole Kidman’s character and her two children who are allergic to the sun, forcing them to never be allowed outside (much like most of us have felt the past few months). They spend their time roaming around a large mysterious estate as they wait for their father to return home from the war.
- Serendipity: If you’re looking for a movie with a lighter subject matter than those previously mentioned, I highly recommend the romantic comedy Serendipity. Starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, this classic story will leave you with good feelings all around and asks the question “does fate really exists”? In times like these it can be comforting to know that maybe everything does happen for a reason.
- Doubt: 2008’s Doubt isn’t exactly the definition of a hidden gem-all four leads were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances- but is also worth a viewing none-the-less. The subject of this film, centered around a Roman-Catholic priest could be sensitive for some viewers, but Meryl Streep’s and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performances will draw you in and make you personally feel the internal struggles of each character. https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/12272853
- Memento: This is another movie that isn’t quite a “hidden” gem because it is very popular amongst fans of director Christopher Nolan, but should still be seen. Best known for movies such as Interstellar and The Dark Knight, Memento”is only Nolan’s second film, but his most unique due to its narrative structure. I can’t say much about the plot of the film without delving into spoilers, but the basic premise consists of a man with short term memory loss searching for his wife’s killer. If you enjoy movies that center around mystery and leave you thinking about them days after your first viewing, I highly recommend Memento.
- Oculus: If you like horror movies as much as I do-and are disappointed when they forgo an interesting story in favor of cheap jump scares- then this is the movie for you. Directed by Mike Flanagan, the same director as the hit Netflix show “The Haunting of Hill House”, Oculus tells the story of two siblings trying to cope after the brother is arrested for a brutal family massacre that took place when they were children. Although the premise seems somewhat simple, the writing, acting and atmosphere will draw you in and keep your eyes glued to the screen. Although the story line is more important than making you jump, Oculus does contain a few well-placed jump scares, so be prepared for some pulse raising moments. I highly recommend this movie to not just the horror enthusiast, but anyone who is looking for a creepy movie to watch once the sun goes down.
I hope you enjoy one if not all of these movies like I did and you share them with a friend. Happy viewing!