Tag Archives: Love Actually

Recommended Viewing for December 2016

I know I usually do a “What’s Streaming” post once a month, but that really only covers what new, notable additions are coming to different online services. I have a film degree, though, and movies and television are near and dear to my heart. So every once in a while, I find myself just wanting to dish out recommendations based on what I’ve watched recently or what I notice has been on Netflix for ages but only just recently showed up in my recommended categories. This may be the beautiful start of a monthly series.

Indie/Drama:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Netflix)

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Anyone who knows me at all will not be surprised to see this at the top of my list. This is my absolute favorite movie, and it’s available to watch on Netflix. This movie takes its story of romantic love gone wrong and flips it on its head by adding the element of science fiction and memory erasure. Michel Gondry directs this beautiful film starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in what I would argue are some of their best roles.

Amelie (Netflix)

Another of my favorites, this French film stars Audrey Tautou as a quirky, lonely young woman who starts trying to help others through inventive plans and schemes. In the meantime, she almost utterly misses her own shot at happiness and love. This charming film is a great way to spend a lazy Saturday while it’s cold out, if anything for the imaginative and beautiful shots of Montmartre and breathtaking soundtrack.

Children of Men (HBOGo)

A much darker recommendation than the two above, this film based on PD James’ novel of the same name is a terrifyingly bleak outlook of the end of humanity, with only a glimmer of hope shining through. The film stays with you; I only saw it once a few years ago, and there are still parts that haunt me. If you’re in the mood for something dark, this is the perfect choice.

Comedy/Zone Out:

Keanu (HBOGo)

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I caught this film in theatres because it looked entertaining and there was nothing else to do, and I must say I was impressed. If you’re looking for some laughs at some ridiculous jokes, a hilarious film where everyone is obsessed with a little kitten, and just want to veg out and not think about anything, give this film a shot. It’s great for a few laughs, which is great since we need a bit more levity right now.

Burn After Reading (Netflix)

A Coen Brothers’ classic, this film features an ensemble cast and is absolutely hilarious. Part spy thriller part what is going on comedy, if you missed this one when it came out, I highly recommend checking it out. See Brad Pitt be thoroughly idiotic, George Clooney be way too into running and other weird things, and John Malkovich be, well, John Malkovich.

O Brother, Where Art Thou (Netflix)

Another Coen Brothers’ classic, this retelling of The Odyssey takes place during the Great Depression and follows George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson as escaped convicts trying to find treasure while a determined sheriff tries to track them down. Along the way they become famous after recording a song for the radio and interrupt a KKK rally. This is a definite must see.

Deadpool (HBOGo)

Did you miss Deadpool earlier this year? Did you see it and want to see it again? Great news, it’s currently on HBO if you have it! Beyond that…I don’t know if I need to say anything else. Deadpool. Go watch it.

Kids/Family:

The Jungle Book (2016, Netflix)

This live-action version of The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, was released earlier this year and through the new deal with Netflix and Disney, came to Netflix at the end of November. The film is definitely worth a viewing; the film is beautiful, it has some great actors doing the voices, and the young Mowgli is absolutely fantastic.

Zootopia (Netflix)

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I was thoroughly impressed by this film when I decided to check it out recently on Netflix. It actually feels more like a buddy cop film than an animated flick, and the story plays out in a sophisticated manner. This film took a lot of flack and criticism for pushing inclusiveness and diversity, but I’d say that’s even more reason to check it out.

Paddington (Netflix)

A film version of the story of Paddington Bear, I feel I should recommend this movie with a slight warning; if you have very little ones, this is not a movie for them. Spoiler lite reason is that the villain is a taxidermist (played wonderfully by Nicole Kidman) and can actually be very scary, especially for kids who understand that she wants to kill and stuff Paddington. Beyond that, this is a beautiful film about what constitutes family.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (HBOGo)

This is the only Harry Potter film on any streaming, but my honest opinion right now: this is the only Harry Potter film we need right now. Also one of the best done. If you don’t own copies of Harry Potter, or if you’ve missed the entire Potter craze right now, now’s your chance to check one of the best films out.

Coraline (HBOGo)

A darker film directed by Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas) based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, this amazing and beautifully gothic inspired stop-motion animated film is a must-see in my opinion. If you love any of the things listed, this is the movie to check out this month if you have HBO.

The Neverending Story (HBOGo)

This classic film is currently available on HBO so that you can relive your childhood and share the nostalgia with your family. Or indulge in nostalgia on your own, preferably with blankets and hot drinks.

Holiday:

Love Actually (Netflix)

This romantic comedy has become a holiday classic since it was released in 2003, and features a huge ensemble cast, including some faces that were newish back then but well known in the geek community by now (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Martin Freeman, Andrew Lincoln, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster). Definitely not for children, this film is a fun way to kick off the holiday season and remember that love is, actually, all around us.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (HBO GO)

The live action version with Jim Carrey is currently on HBO, and if you need a Grinch fix or some holiday fun, this is always a good watch.

The Santa Clause (Netflix)

Ready to relive some 90s nostalgia? This Tim Allen classic that sees him turn into Santa Claus after an unfortunate accident Christmas Eve is available on Netflix just in time for the holidays.

White Christmas (Netflix)

This classic film starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kane features all of the classic songs that you’ve probably grown up with. If you need some classic musical holiday cheer, this is going to be a great pick for you.

Scrooged (Netflix)

This irreverent film starring Bill Murray gives a more updated retelling of A Christmas Carol, with Murray starring as a heartless TV executive who is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

Home Alone (HBOGo)

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I’m not sure how much I need to say about this classic, except that it’s available on HBO if you have it, just in time for the holidays!

Miracle on 34th Street (1947 classic, HBOGo)

There are a few other versions of this available on streaming, Netflix has one or two, as does Amazon Prime, but if you want the 1947 classic version of this film, it’s currently available on HBO.

A Muppet Christmas Carol (HBOGo)

Another version of the classic Dickens’ tale, this time told by Muppets! Again, if you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit and love the Muppets, this is a great film to add to the list.

What’s Good on Netflix: March 2016

There’s actually a lot of really exciting things either already on Netflix or coming out this month. You can see a full list here, but I’m highlighting a few of my favorite choices below.

Love, Actually and Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

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dat hair tho…

I feel as though Netflix is answering the need for more Alan Rickman this month by adding these two titles. Love, Actually is one of the only romantic comedies I can tolerate, and I haven’t seen Prince of Thieves in ages, but now that it’s on Netflix I think I will, if anything for the ridiculous 80’s hair.

Becoming Jane

If you’re a Jane Austen fan, this movie is worth checking out. Although not as well done as adaptations of Austen classics, it has a fantastic cast and a suitably melancholy plot.

Corpse Bride

A Tim Burton classic, and definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it before and like the whimsical and macabre.

Blade Runner

A cult classic,  now available on Netflix! Which is great for people like me who have never had a chance to watch it (I’ve been busy?)

Star Trek 1-3 (yes, Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock!)

KHAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNN!

House of Cards (season 4)

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If you have yet to get into House of Cards, you need to this weekend. (I apologize in advance, you may not get anything done due to this suggestion.) Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are both fantastic in their roles as strong, power hungry D.C. heavy weights. The show can be hard to watch, but not in a Game of Thrones hard to watch way. The protagonists are both beyond morally grey, and yet you will absolutely find yourself rooting for them. The show was produced by David Fincher, and is one of the best shows on TV.

Daredevil (season 2)

If you haven’t watched it yet (cough *me* cough) you have some time until the March 18th premiere of season 2. And as you know, everyone here at Comparative Geeks recommends that you do.

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday

Also on March 18th comes the return of Pee-wee Herman in a new Netflix movie. If you’re like me and can’t hear “Tequila” without doing the Pee-wee’s Big Adventure dance because you grew up watching it, this will hopefully be worth the wait!

And just for fun, if you want to check out the worst movie I’ve ever seen, check out The Forbidden Kingdom when it comes to Netflix March 24th.

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I’m still angry at the ex who made me see this…

What are you looking forward to in March?

The Genius of Alan Rickman

I’m already sick of this week, I definitely want a do over. First we got the news that David Bowie had returned home (I choose to believe this, it’s better than thinking otherwise) and now we’ve woken up to a world without Alan Rickman.

Most American audiences were first introduced to Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, Bruce Willis’ dastardly yet incredibly charming enemy in Die Hard. Fun fact: the iconic scene where they run into each other and Gruber pretends to be American wasn’t originally in the script; it was added after Rickman continually walked around set imitating an American accent. John McTiernan decided it was such a great accent he came up with a scene to use it in.

For a lot of people of my generation, though, our first experience with Alan Rickman was in the Harry Potter movies. Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Severus Snape was perfect; I’ve never tried to picture anyone else in the role, because honestly no one else would have been able to play it. He was one of the few actors who knew the fate and details of his character before the books were finished, and after reading the seventh book I could see why. Watching every movie, you can see the way that he occasionally looks at Harry – angry that he looks like James, but protective of him because of his lasting love for Lily. The one movie change I was always okay with was the way they handled Snape’s memories in the last movie. Watching him hold Lily and sob still makes me cry, and I’ve seen that movie more times than I can count.

Tears. Always.

Being only 11 at the time the Harry Potter movies started coming out, I experienced a maturing as I grew up watching the series. My fancies shifted from the two main characters, Harry and Ron, to Snape (never Cedric Diggory). I was incredibly interested in film even then, and so I started to look up every movie that Alan Rickman had been in, and watched as many as I could find at Blockbuster (blast from the past there).

That is how I found Sense and Sensibility, which changed my life. It introduced me to Jane Austen. It introduced me to the idea that you may not know what you really want, and sometimes getting what you want is not what you need. Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Colonel Brandon was inspired. It was nuanced, it was subtle, it was romantic, it was one of those performances that can make you fall 100% in love with a fictional character.

He brought Colonel Brandon to life in a way the book just didn’t for me. He made the audience realize that passion isn’t always loud or over the top; sometimes passion is quiet and understated, but that doesn’t make it any less real or deep. Reading the book, you feel like Marianne would have been happy with Willoughby; watching the movie you realize she’s far better off with the soft, slow-burning passion of Colonel Brandon. For me, that was an awakening. I was quite similar to Marianne when I was young, and watching Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon made me realize what I really wanted in my life and what kind of love I needed to find to be happy.

I was lucky enough when I studied abroad in Dublin to see Alan Rickman in Henrik Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman onstage at the Abbey Theatre. Seeing him live…that voice. It’s amazing in films, but in person it was indescribably beautiful. I never realized how much of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would be, but I’m incredibly happy that I have that memory to cherish for the rest of my life.

Alan Rickman with Fiona Shaw and Lindsay Duncan in John Gabriel Borkman at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in 2010

This has been a rough week. I have some choice words for cancer, they maybe rhyme with duck and too, but I won’t repeat them here. Instead, I’ll just watch Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually, Dogma if I can find it on demand, and heck even Galaxy Quest today, and plan on binge watching Harry Potter all weekend. Maybe I’ll do a tweet along, especially if I do it with wine (or try making my own butterbeer?)

My Favorite Christmas Movies

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It is that time of year where we deck the halls, wear funny sweaters, and try to spread good cheer. One of the other parts is usually watching your favorite movies, that you might not watch other times of the year because they are a Christmas movie. Some of these movies are ones that I have grown up watching others have come later, but all are ones that I love to watch during the holiday season. I do not necessarily own them all, but you can usually find most of them playing on some channel during December.

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