5 Movies To Help Get You Through Social Distancing

The world right now is a stressful and scary place. Everywhere you look there is news and talk of the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s easy to fall into a state of depression and gloom, and to let the stress of everything get the best of you. However, I’m hoping this list of feel- good films can bring a little happiness to your day. As movie lovers film can be a good place to go to for a mental and emotional break from the world.

Frozen 2

Frozen 2 Details | POPSUGAR Entertainment

I think it’s awesome that Disney Plus released this film early on its streaming database. If you have not seen this movie yet, I strongly recommend you go watch it. I have seen this movie twice now and enjoyed it equally both times. No matter how old you are, it’s a light-hearted and enjoyable watch. If you have Disney Plus, go watch it! I guarantee you it will brighten up your day during this stressful time.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day Off | Gorton Community Center

No matter how many times you watch this film, you will fall in love with it a little more every time. All around this is the definition of a feel good movie. It will have you laughing till your eyes water, sitting on the edge of your seat, and keep captivated until the credits roll.

The Hunger Games (Series)

A 'Hunger Games' Prequel Book Is Officially Coming Out In 2020

These movies are endearing and suspenseful. After watching the first movie of the series, you will not be able to stop until you have seen them all. Which will end up killing a lot of time and allow you an escape from reality. It’s easy to get emotionally invested in these movies, and the story line is very action packed and exciting!

Mrs. Doubtfire

Mrs. Doubtfire' Review: Movie (1993) | Hollywood Reporter

If you need a good laugh, then this film is a must see. Robin Williams once again does a fantastic job in this film, and will have you laughing until your stomach hurts. Not only that, but this is also a very good feel good movie, and it has a powerful message to it.

The Shawshank Redemption

After A 25 Year Hiatus, A Chance To Finally See 'The Shawshank ...

If you need a movie, that will make you cry, then definitely go check this one out. This movie will suck you in from the first scene of the entire movie. It’s a very tear jerking and a feel good film. Check out my full review of this film under the film reviews section of my blog.

Let me know if you give any of these films a try or if you have any more recommendations of films to watch during this time of quarantine and social distancing.

Saving Private Ryan (1998) Film Review

Synopsis

Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Surrounded by the brutal realties of war, while searching for Ryan, each man embarks upon a personal journey and discovers their own strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency and courage.
Image result for saving private ryan
Release dateJuly 24, 1998 (USA)
Budget70 million USD

My Review 

Image result for saving private ryan battle scene

By far this is one of the best war movies of all time. It’s hard and tear jerking to watch because of how accurate and life like the war scenes are. Something that really adds to the uncomfortable realistic feel of the film is the lack of music. It’s hard to notice when first watching the movie because as an audience member you are so sucked into the action. But if you pay attention during any battle scene, there is absolutely no music playing in the background. In fact, music is used sparingly and only when it adds to the overall emotional impact on the audience. During the bloody war scenes all the audience hears are bullets shooting, men screaming, blood gushing, and orders being given. This makes the audience feel as if they themselves are on the front lines with all the actor’s.

Image result for saving private ryan

Another powerful element of this film is the camera work. The cinematography is innovative and creative. However, it’s kept subtle to where you don’t remember your watching a movie on a screen. It feels as if your watching war history in person. A lot of the camera angles are kept eye level, or close to the ground, which adds to this effect. There are very little bird eye shots or hero shots in this film. Which would have only lost the audience’s personal connection into the film. This was a really impactful decision made by the cinematographer of this film.

Image result for saving private ryan

This film showcases the darker side of humanity. It allows audience members who have never been on a battle front a chance to experience the realistic horror and intense action. It allows us a look into a world not all of us are familiar with. That makes watching this film such a memorable experience.

My Rating

4.8 out of 5

I recommend everybody watch this film at least once in their life.

Coco (2017) Film Review

Synopsis

Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. After meeting a charming trickster named Héctor, the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
Image result for coco
Release dateNovember 22, 2017 (USA)
Box office807.1 million USD

My Review 

Pixar does not disappoint. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen a Disney Pixar movie I have not fallen in love with. I finally got around to checking this movie off of my must see list, and I loved every second of watching this film.

The animation is top-notch, and the color, music, and overall environment created in this movie was astounding to look and listen to. One of the amazing things about Pixar movies is that no matter how old you are, these movies will always have a special place in your heart. This movie is relatable for a wide age range. Whether you’re a kid balancing life and family, a parent trying to understand your child, or an elderly family member stuck in the past. This movie had a lot of life lessons that could be learned, and I truly feel any audience member will connect with the film on an emotional level.

This film was not predictable for me, and I did not see the plot twists coming. Which is not a typical element of a children’s film. The plot had me interested and engaged throughout the entire movie, starting from the first ten minutes of the movie. If you are interested in learning more about other cultures and their traditions, I strongly recommend you watch this film. I have always been fascinated by the tradition of Day of the Dead. This movie gives an interesting look into this tradition, and how family is valued into Mexican Culture.

Overall, this movie is an incredible feel good movie to watch solo or with the family. It’s a highly emotional story that will tug at your heartstrings.

My Rating

4.5 out of 5

Image result for coco

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Film Review

Synopsis

Writer and notorious marriage detractor Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) falls for girl-next-door Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane), and they tie the knot on Halloween. When the newlyweds return to their respective family homes to deliver the news, Brewster finds a corpse hidden in a window seat. With his eccentric aunts (Josephine Hull, Jean Adair), disturbed uncle (John Alexander), and homicidal brother (Raymond Massey), he realizes that his family is even crazier than he thought.
Image result for arsenic and old lace
Release dateSeptember 1, 1944 (USA)

My Review 

If you have not seen this film… Go Watch It Now! This movie has been on my top 10 list of films for years now.

My favorite thing about this film is the plot structure. They based this film off on a play and that shows. This play follows the old style of comedy with dramatic irony. The audience is fully aware of what is going on in the movie, however a lot of the actors are left in the dark. Which leads to a lot of confusion among the characters within the film and adds to the comedic element for the audience.

Something I love about this film that I think more plays and films need to be inspired by is all the comedic timing and use of facial expressions. Image result for arsenic and old laceCary Grant’s facial expressions throughout this film makes for some of the best comedic moments. This is also something that is known to be one of Cary Grant’s signature strengths.

The plot of this film is quick paced, and there are several stories lines going on all at the same time. Newly wed Mortimer Brewster is trying to leave on his honeymoon, his aunts are murdering elderly gentleman, his uncle thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, and his crazy brother Jonathon shows up  on the run from the police. While the overall feel of the movie is left very light and comedic, the action within the play is insane and the audience gets to watch along on the journey.

I absolutely adore the acting in this film. Besides Cary Grant’s amazing performance, everyone else does a fantastic job. There is not a bad acting performance in this entire film. Image result for arsenic and old laceJosephine Hull and Jean Adair as the two aunts is my favorite. These two women do not disappoint in this film, and their characterization is amazing. They are nothing short of being sweet elderly women in this film, which makes it even more of a comedic shock to find they have single-handedly poisoned and buried several men in their cellar. 

Lastly, the camera work and lighting of this film are unique and appealing. Much like the play, this film takes place solely inside the Brewster’s living room. While we see action take place in a few other locations, most of the film is set in one area of the house. However, the film does not get boring and as an audience member it’s hard to notice that the camera has not left the one room. The camera work is very innovative and creative.

My Rating 

4.5 out of 5

Image result for arsenic and old lace

The Shawshank Redemption Review (1994)

Synopsis

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover and is sentenced to a tough prison. However, only Andy knows he didn’t commit the crimes. While there, he forms a friendship with Red (Morgan Freeman), experiences brutality of prison life, adapts, helps the warden, etc., all in 19 years.
Image result for the shawshank redemption
Release dateSeptember 22, 1994 (Beverly Hills)

My Review

I do not understand why it took me so long to see this film, but I am thrilled I did. This film blew me away. It’s a powerful story, with incredible acting and amazing plot action. I was immediately drawn into this film from the very beginning and only became more captivated in the story the more it went on.

My favorite thing about this film was the powerful acting performances. I was not as familiar with Tim Robbins as I was with Morgan Freeman before watching this movie. However, unlike most movies, neither actor over-shined the other. Image result for the shawshank redemptionBoth of them did such an incredible job, and as an audience member it truly felt like the two actors were feeding off of each other’s performances and energy which only strengthened their acting. The other actors in this film were incredible. There was such distinct and committed character development, which added a lot to the film and made it seem even more lifelike.

This film had a very natural flow to it. The plot points moved effortlessly from one to the other. I never noticed a moment where this film seemed to drag on and lose my attention. I think something that aided in that was Morgan Freeman’s character narrating the film and guiding the audience through the story. As an audience member, this also made me feel more involved within the world of the film and helped me get invested into the story of the film.

Probably the most powerful and affective element of this film is the writing. With it being adapted from a Steven King novel, I knew that the writing would have a strong foundation to base off of. Image result for the shawshank redemptionHowever, the writing of this movie entirely blew me away. The movie is very intense and leaves a huge emotional impact on the audience. Since the audience gets so emotionally invested in the main characters, there are many parts of this story that make you mad. Even after watching this film, the emotional impact will stick with you, and you will think about it long after watching the film.

My Rating

4.5 out of 5

Image result for the shawshank redemption

 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Film Review

Summary

Lloyd Vogel is an investigative journalist who receives an assignment to profile Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers. He approaches the interview with skepticism, as he finds it hard to believe that anyone can have such a good nature. But Roger’s empathy, kindness and decency soon chips away at Vogel’s jaded outlook on life, forcing the reporter to reconcile with his own painful past.
Image result for a beautiful day in the neighborhood
Release date: October 10, 2019 (USA)
Box office: 64.1 million USD
Budget: 25 million USD

My Review

I definitely had different expectations for this film. I knew that Fred Rogers would not be the focus of the film, since Tom Hanks was the supporting actor. However, I did not expect the film to intertwine two worlds by transitions related to Mr. Rogers show. This was one of the most confusing elements of the film. While it was very creative and looked amazing from a visual standpoint. It was hard to tell if the film was taking place in real time or was just another episode of Mr. Rogers show.

The show starts off with Mr. Rogers on set for his show talking about a man named Lloyd. And the movie cuts between the show and Lloyds’s life until finally the two intertwine. Image result for a beautiful day in the neighborhoodThis got even more confusing toward the end of the film when the audience ended back on Mr. Rogers show. The mixing and cutting between the two worlds was unique and interesting, but very confusing in terms of time and space.

The strongest thing about this film was the acting. Tom Hanks did not disappoint, and he fully became the essence of Mr. Rogers. In fact, it was hard to remember that it was an actor portraying Fred Rogers instead of the real deal. I was pleasantly surprised by the other actors of the film. Especially Matthew Rhys and Chris Cooper. I have not seen a lot of movies with either of these actors in it, and they did a fantastic job. However, compared to the scenes with them on screen alongside Tom Hanks, their performance was weak in comparison and less believable.

Overall, I enjoyed the feel of this movie. The color grading, music, and camera style was kept very similar to how an actual show of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Growing up watching the television show, this was very nostalgic for me and helped as an audience member to peak my interest further into the world of the film. Image result for a beautiful day in the neighborhoodHowever, the transitions got confusing as times since as I stated it was hard to tell if the film was in real time or all flashbacks. This is a main reason I would not watch this film again. I enjoyed it, however, for me once is enough.

My Rating

2.5 out of 5

Rear Window Film Review

Synopsis: 

The story of a recuperating news photographer who believes he has witnessed a murder. Confined to a wheelchair after an accident, he spends his time watching the occupants of neighbouring apartments through a telephoto lens and binoculars and becomes convinced that a murder has taken place.

Image result for rear window

Release dateAugust 4, 1954 (New York)

My Review

Image result for rear window

Rear Window is my favorite Alfred Hitchcock film and has been on my top 10 list of films for years. My favorite thing about this film is the set. The whole movie takes place from Jeff Jeffereies (James Stewart’s) apartment. Throughout the movie the viewer looks into the lives of his neighbors through Jefferies window and into the neighbors’ windows. All the shots spying on the neighbors are done from a point of view aspect. This is creative and different for movies made during the 50s. The camera shots get very creative. My favorite point of view shots is when Jefferies looks through his telephoto lense on his camera to get a closer look at the lives around him. As the camera cuts from Jeffereies looking out, to what he is seeing the audience sees the images on the screen as if they themselves were looking through a telephoto lense. In this way, the director has taken complete control of the audience and has manipulated how they will watch and perceive the film.

Image result for 180 degree rule

Another creative camera movement this film does an innovative and creative job of accomplishing is breaking the 180 degree rule. In film, we use the 180 degree rule when setting up camera shots. The 180 degree rule says that two characters in a scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other. Traditionally, if the 180 degree rule is broken it disrupts the scene and causes disorientation to the audience. However, there is a scene in this movie upon which the 180 rule is broken, causing no kind of distortion. In a scene between James Stewart and Grace Kelly, she crosses over the line and into the other side of the action. However, the way they pull it off there is no disorientation to the audience which is hard to do. 

The acting in this film is totally on par. James Stewart never disappoints, and his acting in this film is extremely compelling. The acting of the neighbors though small roles, are done exceptionally well. Something that’s important in this film is the disconnect between all the neighbors. Throughout the entire film, the viewer sees a world in which all of its characters are stuck inside their own worlds and never fully connect with each other. Image result for rear windowThe only time the neighbors interact is when the death of a neighbor’s dog brings them together. I really appreciated this element of the film because it felt a lot like real life. Typically, we are so stuck inside of our own lives we don’t always notice the small details around us until a tragedy brings us all together.

The last thing I really enjoy about this film is the plot structure. This film flows so effortlessly, and it follows a well put together plot structure. It’s the type of movie in which you forgot your watching a film. Every element of this film flows so effortlessly and ties together. perfectly it’s easy to see that the creators of this film put a lot of time and effort into the films pre-production which paid off.

My Rating:

4.5 out of 5

What Did I Just Watch (A Midsommar Review) *Spoiler Alert

Midsommar

Synopsis  

A couple travel to Sweden to visit their friend’s rural hometown for its fabled midsummer festival, but what begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.
Image result for Midsommar
Release dateJuly 3, 2019 (USA)
Budget$8–10 million
Box office42.3 million USD

My Review: 

I’m sure I am not the only one left heavily confused after watching this film. I am a huge fan of Ari Aster and his work, and I knew going into this film it would most likely be full of deep and dark symbolism and disturbing ideas. After watching this film, it left me confused and in deep thought about what I had just watched. For some people, this is a reason they dislike the film. However, I think there is a lot of strength in a film that resonates with you hours after watching it. This film made me think and reflect on the movie even days after watching it.

The film focuses around Dani and begins with her tragic life. Her sister has committed suicide while also killing Dani’s parents. The audience then meets Dani’s boyfriend Christian, whom we discover has been looking for an excuse to break up with her for almost a year. From the beginning, I disliked Christian and felt bad for Dani, which I think the director was hoping for. Dani then tags along with Christian and his friends to visit his friends hometown in Sweden for the Midsummer ritual.

Ari Aster said he wanted to create a film about a breakup. While Dani and Christian’s relationship was a central part of the plot, I felt that the movie mainly focused on family and the need to feel wanted. From the moment Dani gets the call about the deaths in her family, Dani calls Christian and leans on him more than ever. She becomes severely dependent on Christian, even to where he can’t even get away from her and go to Sweden alone with his friends. Most of the movie I saw Dani as weak and dependent on others for emotional and physical support.

Image result for Midsommar

Once in Sweden things get weird, the characters all experiment with drugs and it seems their hallucinations mix in with the reality of the cult-like society to where the audience doesn’t know what’s real and not real. Towards the beginning of the movie Dani and Christians bear witness to a ritual of the cult in which the older members of the society throw themselves off a cliff to recycle their life before old age sets in. Of all the guests visiting the society, Dani seems disturbed yet intrigued by the ritual. Through a Point of View shot, we see Dani make eye contact with one of the cult leaders and there seems to be some level of connection between the two. One by One Christian’s friends get killed off by the cult members. However, the audience sees Dani become more and more intrigued by the society and everything it represents.

If you notice later in the film, Dani sees the society in the way she did while on drugs without depending on drugs. In comparison, Christian still only sees the society as Dani does while on hallucinogens, which he’s even reluctant to take toward the end of the film. This just goes to show the contrast between the two characters and the separation between the two on their own personal journeys. Dani depends less on Christian and more on the society. During the May Queen ritual is when the audience sees the real change within Dani.

Throughout the film, flowers seem to represent the family unit. There are flowers in the room shown with Dani’s dead parents lying in their bed, and they cover the room in which the visitors stay with paintings. The members of the cult also wear flower headpieces throughout much of the film the clothes they wear even have flowers embroidered on them. However, the audience does not see Dani wear flowers until the May Queen ritual in which she wears a flower crown. It is here when Dani makes a real internal change.

Image result for MidsommarThroughout the ritual process, the audience also sees Dani smiling the most genuine smile she has made in the entire film. Before that she was depressed and often anxious, never smiling for longer than a  few forced seconds. This represents just how much she’s feeling the emotional support and sense of community she has been looking for throughout the entire film.

Things take a real turn once they have declared Dani the May Queen. The audience now sees her covered in a whole robe of flowers, further showcasing her conversion into the strange society. The breaking point for her occurs when she sees Christian having sex with a cult member in a strange ceremonial procreation ritual. Dani begins crying and screaming, visually upset and the cult members surrounding her scream and cry as well. Taking on a load of her emotional burden. It is here that Dani furthers her conversion and begins emotionally depending on the society even more.

The film ends with Dani deciding to send Christian to burn alive in the last ritual of the Midsummer festival. As she watched the temple with Christian inside she at first seems sad and begins crying, and again the society shares in her burden and begins crying and screaming. After a few moments of this the camera then shows a closeup of Dani and she lets out a sickly and disturbing smile. Her smile brings the film full circle and symbolizes her complete conversion into the Swedish cult. Image result for MidsommarShe has finally found what she has been looking for the entire movie and has completely given herself fully to the people and society around her. She has found a new family and one that allows her to depend on them more than Christian ever did.

My Rating:

3.5 out of 5

Overall, I enjoyed watching this film. I liked that it required me to analyze it for its deeper meaning, and I appreciate the uniqueness of this film. However, for me seeing this film once is enough and I don’t see myself urging to watch it soon.