I don’t have much time because I decided I need to go see Whiplash for a third time today. It is still one of my favorite movies from last year and, since I spend most of my weekends working at a movie theater, I can go see it for free.
But I did want to recap a few movies I haven’t done full reviews of if you need some recommendations of what to watch, after, of course, you see Whiplash. (It’s out on DVD, Amazon, etc. now and is still in some theaters.)
I’ll start with another film that is available to rent now, Big Hero 6. I was in the mood for something lighthearted last weekend and plus one of my favorite comedians, T.J. Miller, is the voice of one of the characters. I saw it at the budget theater, which wasn’t the greatest experience (speaking from the perspective of a customer who also knows a little about the movie theater biz), but it was fun to see it with kids in the theater and hear their reactions to the film.
The story focuses on a young boy, Hiro, and his relationship with a robot that his brother designed. The robot, Baymax, was originally created to help people when they’re sick but Hiro, after a family tragedy, programs him to have more superpowers and more or less save the world from the bad guys. I could be more specific since I don’t think spoiling an animated movie can do that much harm, but I didn’t know anything about the plot before I saw the movie and I think that made it all the more enjoyable.
Big Hero 6 won the Oscar this year for best animated feature film. Interestingly, T.J. Miller did voice acting in another one of the nominated films, How To Train Your Dragon 2. I haven’t seen that one or the other nominees so I can’t speak to whether it was deserving of the win from that perspective. But, it is a funny, heartfelt film and is fitting to watch no matter what mood you’re in.
The other two films I saw recently, Two Days, One Night and She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, take a little bit more emotional preparation but are definitely both worth watching.
Two Days, One Night stars Marion Cotillard as Sandra, who is faced with losing her job unless she convinces her coworkers to give up their bonuses so her boss can afford to keep her on staff. The employees all have to vote one way or the other so Sandra spends two days visiting with them to save her job and be able to help provide for her husband and kids.
The filming style was very minimalist, which adds to the experience of understanding Sandra’s struggle. She needs to save her job after she missed work due to being in the hospital and suffering from depression. I read that it was filmed in chronological order, which is an effective choice here since the story focuses so much on the time Sandra has before the decision will be made.
it is hard to watch at times but provides a real glimpse into human nature and the tough decisions people have to make even when they care about someone. Most of Sandra’s coworkers did not want to make the decision but it did bring her closer together with some of them as well as her family during the process. Cotillard was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the film, and deservedly so. The filming style and intense focus on Sandra as a person show how much Cotillard embodied the character.
Two Days, One Night had a limited theatrical release but it should be available to rent soon.
Last, but certainly not least, if you’re in the mood for a documentary, put She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry on your list. It also had a limited theatrical release but check the website for screenings or where to rent it in the future.
The film is about some key players in the women’s movement from the late 1960s to early 1970s and features a historical look at the founding of organizations such as NOW as well as what the activists did for women’s rights and to overcome their own personal struggles.
It is a good refresher and lesson for someone (okay, me) who maybe spent a lot of time daydreaming in history class with the addition of learning about the personal stories of activists from the women’s movement.
The documentary mixes current interviews with historical footage and pictures of protests and speeches that did a lot to change the rights women have. At the same time, it also highlights what still needs to be done in today’s society.
I am certainly guilty of watching movies I like over and over again, (ahem, did you see Whiplash yet?), but I try to expand my horizons too. Two Days, One Night, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry and even Big Hero 6 have done that.
In addition to Whiplash, I am going to see A Most Violent Year, later today and Wild Tales tomorrow.
I hope I have convinced you to watch one of these films but, especially if you graduated high school circa 1999, I permit you to revisit 10 Things I Hate About You. It holds up.
That is all.