7. STREET FIGHTER ALPHA ^ This excellent anime feature focuses on an interrupted reunion between a martial artist and his long-lost kid brother. Blessed with a slambang plot and rich with stunning imagery and imagination-overdrive animation, this flick undeservedly went straight to video when it should have played in theaters. ^ STATUS: Currently on home video from Manga Entertainment.
8. THE STRANGE CASE OF SEñOR COMPUTER ^ Artificial intelligence received a genuinely original reinvention with this wonderfully droll comedy about a robot who happily embraces the worst of American junk culture, with a combination of hilarious and horrifying results. Forget about Spielberg’s “A.I”–this is the robot movie of the year! ^ STATUS: Currently on video from World Artists with a planned DVD release for 2002.
9. EVERYTHING MOVES ALONE ^ A truly delightful surprise, this breezy comedy about a suicidal soldier’s entanglement in a weird small town feud was produced for $9,000 by a trio of gifted young Connecticut filmmakers. Fueled with an easy charm and wry sense of the absurd, this small gem is more than deserving of wider notice. ^ STATUS: No additional theatrical playdates following New York premiere last summer; no home video premiere announced.
10. FALLEN ANGELS PARADISE ^ This wonderfully rude Egyptian dark comedy followed the raucous and unapologetically anti-social celebrations surrounding the wake for a Cairo pimp. Packed with wonderfully nasty humor and a stubborn refusal to surrender to a sense of decency, the film is one of the most intellectually intoxicating exports from the vibrant North African film industry. ^ STATUS: Still playing in festival and limited commercial engagements; no home video premiere announced.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: ^ FALUN GONG’S CHALLENGE TO CHINA, a chilling documentary on the Communist Chinese government’s brutal crackdown on the non-violent/non-political spiritual movement; YELLOW CARD, a gentle drama from Zimbabwe about a teenage soccer star taking responsibility for his illegitimate baby boy; GHOST HUNTERS, a jolly documentary short following spook-chasers in search of elusive spirits; ROADKILL, Antero Alli’s harsh short drama about two couples who fail to make life imitate art; BLACK INDIANS: AN AMERICAN STORY, a fascinating documentary on the mixed-race heritage of individuals with African-American and Native American backgrounds; LAST JOURNEY INTO SILENCE, the harrowing documentary portrait of emotionally frayed Holocaust survivors; and THE REAL THIRD WORLD, a wonderfully wicked send up of the MTV staple, with the obnoxious housemates stranded in Bangladesh.
And now, from the far end of the spectrum, comes the 10 Worst Unseen Films of 2001…
Get the list of THE 10 WORST UNSEEN FILMS OF 2001>>>