Friday, 23 December 2016

Don't Forget the Popcorn

When the forecast for this Winter said that it was going to be a terrible one I fully believed them. I prepared with extra socks, a stash of good food, and a packed movie list to get me through the dark Winter nights, but we seem to be having a bit of a warm flash just in time for the holidays. I for one (and I know I’m the only one) am cheering for the lack of snow and almost-green vibe we have going on, but I give it about a week before we get back to the norms of -30°C (-40°C with windchill). Not that the cold would really stop me anyways - that’s what heavy duty boots and gloves are for, not to mention my adorable new earmuffs! But if you can’t handle the cold, now is a good time to make a mug (or three) of hot cider, pop some popcorn (none of that chemicalized microwave stuff, please), and cue up a good movie!

As much as I was the exact opposite of Minnie when I was a teenager, the seminal theme of this film resonated so powerfully that I couldn’t help but put it on the top 5 list. Teenage girls are such a unique mystery that it’s almost as if they are united in their mutual strangeness into this ethereal being of continual contradictions. While watching this film I was amused, horrified, uncomfortable, and at the finale greatly warmed and inspired. To be a teenage girl is an incredibly powerful time in any woman’s life, and the depiction of Minnie’s life strikes an intimate chord that is sure to be heard by women throughout the world. Even while I am far out of my teenage years (contrary to what some people seem to assume lately) this movie is one that reaffirmed the belief that I had when I was growing up and which got me through the trying teenage years - do what you must to be true to the person who you are, and you will become the person who you are meant to be. I was one of the lucky ones who go out of it alive without losing who I was, and I just hope that this film is discovered by the young women of the future who maybe don’t have those same support systems or self-belief. We all deserve to be free and to revel in ourselves, for we are the strangest of creatures.

High-Rise (2015)

Of all of the films that I saw this year, High-Rise wins the award for being the strangest and most literary (while still being enjoyable), even though it promotes itself as nothing more than a simple drama of a pocket society. I still don’t fully understand all of the references and inferences that play out through the story, but I kind of can’t wait to watch it again. And then read the novel, obviously, because to do so would likely mean missing some of the finer points.

It’s a good thing that I don’t really take anyone else’s reviews into consideration when I decide whether to watch a movie or not, or I would have written this film off entirely - and I honestly think that would have been terrible, since I immensely enjoyed watching it! So what that it’s not completely consistent with the graphic novels (I’m not reading those anyways), so what that it’s got a lot of characters (some of whom could have been removed for simplicity’s sake), so what if the main protagonist is a rather psychotic woman (come on, we all know Harley Quinn stole the show)? DC broke new ground with their alternative take on superheroes and opened up a whole new universe that is strikingly separate from the established Batman/Superman franchise, and is much-needed with the over-saturation of the spandex-rife genre. And did I mention that the cinematic effects were a whole other ball game? They jump styles throughout the film, but they do so with a surprising amount of expertise that seems to parallel the varying types of characters in the Squad, and which I thoroughly enjoyed seeing in 3D! So haters gon’ hate, but I couldn’t give a fuck - I loved this movie!

Macbeth (2015)

The Scottish Play will always have a special place in my heart as the story that introduced me to the genius of Shakespeare in high school, but this film is the first time that a movie or enactment has matched my ideal vision of the play in action. To me, Macbeth was always driven by a dual motivation; not only was he greatly affected by his own and Lady Macbeth’s political greed, but the role of the witches (whether he sees them in reality or they are a manifestation of madness is up for debate) is often downplayed. The director obviously gives Lady Macbeth a leading role - I found Marion Cottliard’s character to be incredibly frightening even in the face of her own weakness and failure - but the adaptation is so straightforward that it begs watchers to read into it what they will. This simplicity and purity adds up to an incredibly powerful adaptation, one in which the characters are allowed to play out their story on the harsh landscape that is medieval Scotland. Even if Shakespeare is not your normal penchant, this might be the one film which can catch the attention of the unwilling - the final fight scene between Macbeth and Macduff against a sunset is beautifully graphic, even as it treads the space between dream and reality. 

I will admit that when I first read the book The Little Prince, I was not a fan. I still find the story rather incomprehensible except as a source of surrealism, but that didn’t stop me from being completely excited when they announced this film was being made a few years ago. The initial appeal was the unique animation style rather than the story, but I have to say that both far exceeded my expectations. And thankfully the wait for it’s completion and release (which was incredibly annoying in its continual delays due to funding issues) didn’t make me forget to watch it in the first place! It’s been so long since I watched the film (it was the earliest addition to the list) I can’t recall a lot of the minute details, but with a film like this what matters most is the glowing feeling of watching a story that is truly magical. I really can’t wait to watch it again, and relive every moment, because this definitely feels like one of those films that’s destined to be a lifelong favourite and to get better with every re-watch. 

images from here, here, here, here, and Tumblr

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