The time around Christmas is my favorite time of year. Mainly because I intentionally take some time off from working to spend time with my wife and kids, and my parents, and there’s just something magical in the air around this time of year.
One of my favorite parts of taking this time off is that I get to recharge my batteries and spend some time enjoying the stories that other people tell. Over the past few days, Barbara and I have been catching up on some great movies (and one really bad one) and I thought I’d share a few that are worth watching.
Fair warning: all four of these movies are pretty dark and some of them have some disturbing imagery. If you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, you might…actually, you will want to give these a pass. If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, by all means, check these out. Worth the watch.
How I Live Now is a dark love story set among a raging war and nuclear fallout. It isn’t your average love story, but it’s a powerful one nonetheless. A young girl from America is sent to live with her extended family in Great Britain just before a war breaks out and a nuclear weapon is detonated over London. What happens next is a harrowing story of escape and survival. Although I’m not sure you could say this movie has a happy ending, it was a good film and I really appreciated the story.
The Returned is probably the best movie on this list. It’s dark. It’s disturbing. It has an ending that surprised me and it isn’t often that a movie will do that. A different type of zombie movie, The Returned features zombies that walk among us every day, turned back to humanity by a wonder drug that’s now running out. It was a great movie and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Definitely check it out if you’re a fan of dark movies without much humor.
I wasn’t sure about Snowpiercer at the beginning. The title didn’t do much for me and I passed it a few times in the Netflix queue before I finally decided to read the Wikipedia entry for it. I ended up reading the ending, so I went into Snowpiercer already knowing how it wrapped up. It was going to have to be a pretty good movie to make up for the fact that I already knew how it was going to play out. Fortunately for me, it delivered. Probably my second favorite of the three movies I’ve mentioned here, Snowpiercer has a great story, is fantastically directed, and has some great moments of post-apocalyptic imagery for other end-of-the-world junkies like me. I highly recommend it. Check it out.
Edited to add: I can’t believe I forgot Equilibrium! Barbara reminded me that we watched this too, and it was awesome. Christian Bale isn’t Batman, but he sure does a good job of fighting like him. Equilibrium is a great movie. Watching Bale’s transformation from the beginning to the movie to the end is an outstanding ride. The action sequences are, admittedly, over the top, but I don’t feel that it detracted from the message of the movie or the enjoyment. The message was a bit heavy handed, but it was a great movie that I’ll probably watch again just for the last half an hour or so.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m gearing up to get back to work on my own stories, but I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve liked over the last couple days in case you’re looking for something to watch instead of going out to party on New Year’s Eve.