It’s the end of the year! Which means good news for movie lovers. The superhero franchises and blockbusters are mostly on hold until next spring and summer, and the studios are now trotting out their “serious” fare for award consideration. Don’t get me wrong I love a great actioneer but lately, well … I’ll save those thoughts for another time. I want to talk about two movies that will harsh the holiday high right out of you. And I mean this in the best possible way.
Manchester by the Sea
Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, the story is about painful, harrowing loss. Casey Affleck brilliantly plays a Boston janitor who must return to his hometown because of a death in the family. This movie is a slow burn as it builds on the backstory and journey of Affleck’s character. There’s not a false note in this movie as it offers a slice-of-life of experience that combines pathos and levity and makes us reflect on what we hold dear in own lives.
Written and directed by Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals takes on more complex storytelling than his debut film A Single Man. But like the latter and lucky for us, his fastidious attention detail continues to reign supreme. Starring Amy Adams as a depressed art dealer named Susan, she reads her ex-husband’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) novel, which then enfolds as a story-within-a story, and haunts her throughout the movie. While Susan’s storyline is a campy, grotesque send-up of the art world, shades of Pedro’s Almodovar’s sensibility, and a meditation on life choices, the depiction of the novel is a suspenseful, disturbing thriller fraught with pain. Yes, more pain! I know, not exactly a sunny rec, but this is a challenging film that delves into the dark parts of the soul. Which in my opinion, is always worth exploring.
If you’re up for countering some of the holiday cheer, these are the movies for you.
For someone who once had a fear of flying—take-off and turbulence equaled my own personal hell of anxiety and panic—I love airplane movies! Last weekend I saw Sully and it didn’t disappoint in the terror department. Cool effects, gripping, heroic, and the extra bonus of a cartoony portrayal of the NTSB “bad guys.” Very cathartic to see Sully save the day.
Side note: I overcame my 20-year fear of flying with the help of a hypnosis recording. This summer I took 8 flights with no issues. One time I even fell asleep during take-off. Now that’s a first!
The goal for this Kickstarter started at $15,000 and, at the time of this posting, it’s well over $4 M! For a plastic cube you can play with at your desk. No joke. Check out the link and watch the money pour in.
3. Bone broth
In our continual efforts to achieve good health, we’re consuming bone broth, from grass-fed, grass finished bones. My husband lets it simmer on the stove for two-days, creating a broth rich in minerals and collagen. Our hair and nails are growing like crazy and my skin’s looking healthier too. I can only imagine the positive effects on my innards.
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
4. Apple Plug
Not yet ready to upgrade to the iPhone 7? Consider this …
A strange place to find this political statement.
Recently, I went to the movies twice in one week. As in bought a ticket and went into a theater for the cinematic experience. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but as of late I’ve been hunkered down on my couch in a Netflix binge-coma, so it was a change of pace. These two foreign films couldn’t have been more different, yet they were satisfying in their own ways. If you get the chance, leap off the couch and go see them. Regardless of how outstanding your home entertainment system is, watching movies in the theater is far more captivating. (As long as you can find a theater without aggravating cell phone users.)
A Norwegian disaster movie in the best possible sense. A tsunami strikes the gorgeous Geiranger strait. That’s right. A tsunami. In Norway. I had no idea this was possible! It’s gripping and intense as you identify with the plight of the main characters who are about to be swallowed up by an apocalyptic wave. Several times I clutched the arm of my moviegoing seatmate. Fortunately, we’re good friends and he’s been on the receiving end of my filmic freakouts before.
Written and directed by Stephen Chow, the Mermaid is a goofy, funny and imaginative fantasy-romantic comedy. It’s grossed over $500 million and counting in China, making it the highest-grossing movie in the country of all time. If you loved the exuberant Kung Fu Hustle, you’ll get a kick out of the Mermaid’s comedic shtick tinged with dark sensibility.