Courtesy of Tribeca Film
The holidays give us a much needed chance to catch our breath after the semester ends.
Many of us will head home at least once over the next month or so and probably spend some time relaxing in our old living rooms. Why not take the chance to catch up on some great films that you may have missed over the past year? Here’s a list of 10 films you can check out on Netflix, pick up from a Redbox or stream via iTunes to get you started:
1. “Moonrise Kingdom”: Earlier this year, indie filmmaker Wes Anderson released “Moonrise Kingdom,” perhaps the loveliest film of his career thus far. Concerning a pair of young lovers (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) on the run from family and friends in 1965 New England, the cast is rounded out by Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Bill Murray, among many others, and boasts fantastic turns from the two young leads. Your mom will think it’s cute.
2. “Sound of My Voice”: Brit Marling stars in Zal Batmanglij’s psychological thriller about two journalists who infiltrate a cult. Marling gives one of the most arresting performances of the year as Maggie, the leader of the group who claims she’s from the future. Batmanglij is a major new talent in American independent cinema.
3. “The Comedy”: While this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, those with the patience for deliberately paced films and the stomach for unlikable leads will find Rick Alverson’s character study fascinating. Starring Tim Heidecker (of “Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” fame) as a self-absorbed hipster in Brooklyn, the film is intentionally and often unbearably uncomfortable, while still retaining a sharp comedic edge. Watch it with your PBR-guzzling cousin.
4. “Safety Not Guaranteed”: This breezy comedy, like “Sound of My Voice,” concerns journalists investigating someone who claims he can travel through time. But unlike the tension and thrills of “Sound of My Voice,” “Safety Not Guaranteed” is a romantic comedy starring Aubrey Plaza from “Parks And Recreation” and Mark Duplass of “The League.” It has a lot of laughs and a lot of heart, and would make a great post-dinner watch.
5. “Your Sister’s Sister”: Also starring Duplass, “Your Sister’s Sister” positions the actor in a love triangle between Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt. The trio all give exceptional performances in a film that’s light on plot but big on feelings.
6. “The Cabin in the Woods”: For the horror fan in the family, it doesn’t get much better than Drew Goddard’s beautifully meta horror romp. A game cast of good-looking young people (led by Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth) head to a remote abode, where they get more than they bargained for. Very smart, very funny and featuring one of the craziest climaxes in recent history, “The Cabin in the Woods” should satisfy even the biggest horror nerd. Come for the cabin, stay for the merman.
7. “The Loved Ones”: This nasty little Australian import plays like “Carrie” on crystal meth. Part John Hughes, part “Hostel,” the story of a disturbed young woman who will stop at nothing to have her perfect prom night is not what one might call “light entertainment.” Shockingly violent and gleefully over-the-top, grandma might want to sit this one out.
8. “Haywire”: What we may now refer to as “the other Steven Soderbergh movie that came out recently,” “Haywire” couldn’t have less in common with “Magic Mike,” aside from the presence of Channing Tatum. Starring MMA fighter Gina Carano as a wronged spy out for vengeance, “Haywire” is a smart (if slight) action-thriller, and has some of the coolest fight scenes of the year. Soderbergh captures the action with a steady hand, so unlike the “Bourne” films, there’s no shaky camera that will have you losing your stuffing.
9. “Beyond the Black Rainbow”: Panos Cosmatos’ moody sci-fi film will delight any fan of ’70s and ’80s genre films. Recalling the movies of John Carpenter, David Cronenberg and even Stanley Kubrick, “Beyond the Black Rainbow” features striking imagery and a score that will have you ready to break out the box of VHS tapes in the basement.
10. “Bernie”: Marking something like a return to form for “Dazed And Confused” director Richard Linklater, “Bernie” is a hilarious film about, what else, murder. A side-splitting Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey (seriously, was there anything he wasn’t in this year?) lead the cast of this pitch-black comedy.