Hello and Happy Friday Readers! It's been a long week in my household and I am feeling particularly drained of late, so I thought I would share something a little different today with my take over post. Normally I am all about books, books, books, but occasionally, I like stories in other formats, such as film. Burn out have been a prevalent issue for many creatives and non creatives alike these past couple years. With everything currently on my plate there are times I find myself in desperate need to refill my creative well with some good old visual storytelling. Here are some of my current go to films.
Flicks to Refuel the Creative Tank
The Fifth Element
It's hard to believe this film is over 20 years old now (shut the front door!) but there is just something absolutely magically about this sci fi adventure. Twenty years on, the visuals, humor, and intensity of the characters are still super solid. The Fifth Element always appealed to me because it does so much story telling through character interaction rather than context. Fifth Element actually boasts some pretty interesting world building in a very organic and fluid way, and while the cosmic threat is never fully explained, it doesn't really have to be because of how the story is framed. This film is so character driven even bit characters leave lasting, deep impressions.
What Dreams May Come
Another film that is now over 20 years old and features the late, great Robin Williams, this movie is a masterclass of wonder and emotion, with these deep heavy themes of love, grief, and loss, and the fantastical exploration of Heaven and Hell. It's another film where the visuals just continue to hold up and no matter how many times I have seen this film, it makes me sob, but also leaves me with this sense of hope and joy and sparking imagination.
I debated tossing this one on here because it's so new, but since its late November release, I've been absolutely enamored with this film. While Disney has made some interesting strides in story telling over the past decade this was a pleasant surprise. There is such a heavily layered story about family in this film, about generational trauma, the facades we present to the world, and the healing power of empathy. There is so much conveyed in the relationships between Mirabel and her family that need more than one viewing to fully unpack and the story itself is about healing family connections rather than the classic epic journey or good vs evil. Even that absolute banger of a soundtrack is packed with lyrics that will absolutely destroy you (Surface Pressure lives in my head rent free. Along with Luisa.)
I do love a good romance and this historical is a bit off kilter from a lot of the period offerings out there. Dangerous Beauty is set in 16th Century Italy, featuring Courtesans, forbidden love, an absolute sassy heroine who wields her sex appeal as a weapon, and without context or spoilers, features a witch trial that is both bonkers and perfection. The romance is complicated and messy but you root for Veronica to get her happy ending.
Listen, I am a monster lover at heart. I love it when monsters get happy endings. A great deal of romance stories between monsters and humans ends in tragedy and death of one or the other, but Warm Bodies subverts that in the best way. The elements of dark humor and horror absolutely work for me. While this apocalyptic romance shares many elements with its novel source material, there is something about this film that is just so charming and sweet that the love story between a human and a zombie has no right to be and I am here for it. I will also die on the hill that Warm Bodies might draw parallels to Romeo & Juliet, Romeo & Juliet is not a romance. No. That is an essay for another time.
There is so much to love about this underrated horror sci fi gem. The creepy neo noir vibes of the city. The unreliable narration of the protagonist. The absolute bonkers premise with that cap off climatic scene (you'll know it when you see it). How this movie makes you long for sunshine. The story telling of Dark City is purposefully convoluted. It's designed to keep you off balance and it does so while providing stunning visuals that will feed the dark twisty side of your creative soul. Its close release to The Matrix hurt its reception so many people never heard of this film and they are missing out. The vibe is dark and claustrophobic and I love it.