Mind Benders & Time Shifters

by sbfraser3 | created - 24 Mar 2015 | updated - 04 Mar 2019 | Public

Off-normal flicks that have come my way. Some are much better than others, but all are worth a look if you like this kind of movie. In no particular order, except that some of the first few titles are uber low budget offerings that put 99% of Hollywood to shame.

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1. Donnie Darko (2001)

R | 113 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

88 Metascore

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.

Director: Richard Kelly | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne

Votes: 717,191 | Gross: $1.48M

I personally liked the Theatrical cut better than the now more common extended version - it left even more for you to decipher on your own. 9/10

2. Primer (2004)

PG-13 | 77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

68 Metascore

Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention.

Director: Shane Carruth | Stars: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya

Votes: 93,275 | Gross: $0.42M

Two guys and a box. You can't get much lower tech. 8/10

3. Ink (I) (2009)

Not Rated | 107 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

A mysterious creature, known as Ink, steals a child's soul in hopes of using it as a bargaining chip to join the Incubi - the group of supernatural beings responsible for creating nightmares.

Director: Jamin Winans | Stars: Christopher Soren Kelly, Quinn Hunchar, Jessica Duffy, Jennifer Batter

Votes: 20,668

So imaginative. I've watched this several times over the years. 9/10

4. Coherence (2013)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

65 Metascore

Strange things begin to happen when a group of friends gather for a dinner party on an evening when a comet is passing overhead.

Director: James Ward Byrkit | Stars: Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen

Votes: 97,208 | Gross: $0.07M

Such a cool idea; based loosely in real theory. I don't really consider this a spoiler, but (geek alert) the final 10 seconds contradicts the basis of the underlying premise. I wish they'd come up with an ending that didn't, but it was still effective. 8/10

5. Lunopolis (2010 Video)

Not Rated | 98 min | Sci-Fi

Two documentary filmmakers accidentally uncover the greatest moon secret the world has never known, and the powerful organization determined to keep it that way.

Director: Matthew Avant | Stars: Dave Potter, Jed Himel, Matthew Avant, Hal Maynor

Votes: 1,270

Too much fun. Bogs down a little in the middle, but still worth it. Apparently this movie was made for less than $5,000, so don't expect a lot of flash. 7/10

6. Final (2001)

R | 111 min | Sci-Fi, Drama, Thriller

48 Metascore

Bill wakes up from a coma in a hospital ward, raving about tissue regeneration experiments, final injections, organ transplants and having been cryogenically frozen. Battling flashbacks of ... See full summary »

Director: Campbell Scott | Stars: Denis Leary, Hope Davis, J.C. MacKenzie, Jim Gaffigan

Votes: 1,226 | Gross: $0.01M

A special project movie with stars Dennis Leary & Hope Davis (both great here) that was done for $80k. 7/10

7. Arrival (II) (2016)

PG-13 | 116 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

81 Metascore

A linguist works with the military to communicate with alien lifeforms after twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world.

Director: Denis Villeneuve | Stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg

Votes: 554,875 | Gross: $100.55M

Solid, all the way around. Interesting take on "non-linear" time and how we might perceive it. 9/10

8. Inception (2010)

PG-13 | 148 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

74 Metascore

A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe

Votes: 1,937,593 | Gross: $292.58M

Great premise. Wish they'd had a more aggressive editor for the chase/fall sequence at the end - it went on forever. 8/10

9. Interstellar (2014)

PG-13 | 169 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

74 Metascore

A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy

Votes: 1,390,381 | Gross: $188.02M

Wow. Just so good on every level. 10/10

10. The Nines (2007)

R | 100 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

52 Metascore

A troubled actor, a television show runner, and an acclaimed videogame designer find their lives intertwining in mysterious and unsettling ways.

Director: John August | Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis, Melissa McCarthy, Elle Fanning

Votes: 32,031 | Gross: $0.06M

Very cool. Melissa McCarthy was great, and Hope Davis is always very good. Got "whacked" in the ratings because of it's strong religious overtones, but you don't have to be religious to think it's a very cool & original concept. 8/10

11. Timecrimes (2007)

R | 92 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

68 Metascore

A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.

Director: Nacho Vigalondo | Stars: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, Nacho Vigalondo

Votes: 54,563 | Gross: $0.04M

Interesting, but not one of my favorites on this list. 6/10

12. Inland Empire (2006)

R | 180 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

73 Metascore

As an actress begins to adopt the persona of her character in a film, her world becomes nightmarish and surreal.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Karolina Gruszka, Krzysztof Majchrzak, Grace Zabriskie, Laura Dern

Votes: 51,269 | Gross: $0.75M

You could put almost anything Lynch into this category. I only added two. 8/10

13. Mulholland Drive (2001)

R | 147 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

84 Metascore

After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Jeanne Bates

Votes: 303,164 | Gross: $7.22M

See above. 8/10

14. Stay (I) (2005)

R | 99 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

41 Metascore

This movie focuses on the attempts of a psychiatrist to prevent one of his patients from committing suicide while trying to maintain his own grip on reality.

Director: Marc Forster | Stars: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Kate Burton

Votes: 72,053 | Gross: $3.63M

I heard someone call this "Lynch Lite". Ultra-lite is more like it; but still pretty good. 7/10

15. Spider Forest (2004)

R | 112 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A recently widowed TV producer is drawn to an isolated cabin in a mysterious woods.

Director: Il-gon Song | Stars: Woo-seong Kam, Jung Suh, Kyung-hun Kang, Hyun-Sung Jang

Votes: 2,018

Korean. Subtitles. Very "foreign" feel, in a good way. 8/10

16. Solaris (1972)

PG | 167 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

90 Metascore

A psychologist is sent to a station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Jüri Järvet, Vladislav Dvorzhetskiy

Votes: 74,767

Russian. Subtitles.

One of my favorite movies of any kind. You need to be the kind of person that can settle in for a VERY paced (read slow) offering. A fact that may be interesting only to me: I've seen this movie, the G. Clooney remake, and read the original book by Polish author Stanislaw Lem. They are all good, but each focuses on a very different underlying theme. 10/10

17. Mr. Nobody (2009)

R | 141 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

63 Metascore

A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.

Director: Jaco Van Dormael | Stars: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh Dan Pham

Votes: 206,219 | Gross: $0.00M

Really liked this. 8/10

18. Memento (2000)

R | 113 min | Mystery, Thriller

80 Metascore

A man with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife's murderer.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior

Votes: 1,072,358 | Gross: $25.54M

Better the second time through. 7/10

19. The Fall (2006)

R | 117 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

64 Metascore

In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances.

Director: Tarsem Singh | Stars: Lee Pace, Catinca Untaru, Justine Waddell, Kim Uylenbroek

Votes: 104,096 | Gross: $2.28M

This and The Fountain are true "eye candy". This would be one of my lower rated on this list. 6/10

20. The Fountain (2006)

PG-13 | 97 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

51 Metascore

As a modern-day scientist, Tommy is struggling with mortality, desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Sean Patrick Thomas, Ellen Burstyn

Votes: 221,645 | Gross: $10.14M

See above, but I liked this better. 8/10

21. Back to the Future (1985)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

87 Metascore

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the eccentric scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

Votes: 988,585 | Gross: $210.61M

Too straightforward for this list, yet here it is. 8/10

22. Triangle (2009)

R | 99 min | Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller

A group of friends suffer a yachting accident and take refuge on a cruise drifting on the open sea, but quickly realize they were better off on the upturned yacht.

Director: Christopher Smith | Stars: Melissa George, Joshua McIvor, Jack Taylor, Michael Dorman

Votes: 95,601

So close, and yet . . . 2nd tier but top of the 2nd tier. 7/10

23. 12 Monkeys (1995)

R | 129 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

74 Metascore

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Joseph Melito

Votes: 557,239 | Gross: $57.14M

This one had to grow on me. I really didn't think much of it when it first came out, and I'm still not totally sold on it. Maybe it's just a Terry Gilliam thing? 6/10

24. Looper (2012)

R | 113 min | Action, Crime, Drama

84 Metascore

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano

Votes: 516,947 | Gross: $66.49M

Love the "Closing The Loop" concept. 7/10

25. The Jacket (2005)

R | 103 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

44 Metascore

A Gulf war veteran is wrongly sent to a mental institution for insane criminals, where he becomes the object of a doctor's experiments, and his life is completely affected by them.

Director: John Maybury | Stars: Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Daniel Craig, Kris Kristofferson

Votes: 105,915 | Gross: $6.30M

I really don't know why I liked this, but I did - much more than I should have. 7/10

26. The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

PG-13 | 119 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

52 Metascore

A reporter is drawn to a small West Virginia town to investigate a series of strange events, including psychic visions and the appearance of bizarre entities.

Director: Mark Pellington | Stars: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, David Eigenberg, Bob Tracey

Votes: 73,088 | Gross: $35.75M

Ditto (see above). 6/10

27. Source Code (2011)

PG-13 | 93 min | Action, Drama, Mystery

74 Metascore

A soldier wakes up in someone else's body and discovers he's part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train within 8 minutes.

Director: Duncan Jones | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright

Votes: 467,572 | Gross: $54.71M

Pretty good, but the ending could have been a lot less formulaic. 7/10

28. Groundhog Day (1993)

PG | 101 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

72 Metascore

A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky

Votes: 559,250 | Gross: $70.91M

OK, Groundhog Day 8/10



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