From: Silver Screen
Winter Weekend Watchlist: Films guaranteed to have you freezing from start to finish
With winter break coming to a close and the Spring semester looming on the horizon, classic Christmas movies like “Home Alone,” “Love Actually” and “A Christmas Story” are bound to have been on repeat the whole time you were home for the holiday season. Here is a list of movies to break out of the tedium and enjoy some equally winter-esque settings without all the holiday cheer and Hallmark Christmas storylines before starting classes again this January.
The Revenant (2015)
It really does not get much more “winter” than this. Bitterly cold, gritty and unforgiving, “The Revenant” tells the story of Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), an 1820s frontiersman on a fur trade expedition as he fights for survival against all odds. “The Revenant” touches on questions surrounding family, kinship and finding hope despite having faced tremendous loss — all things we must deal with at one point or another as we close out breaks surrounded by our closest friends and family. Having won three Oscars and 92 other awards, there is no doubt this movie should be hailed as one of the quintessential winter movies of the decade.
Based on true events and in parts of the novel by Michael Punke, “The Revenant” was directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu and written by Iñárritu and Mark L. Smith. The writers and producers do an excellent job of bringing out the harsh realities of winter, and DiCaprio carries out the role of Hugh Glass with perhaps a little too much integrity, having slept inside a dead animal carcass, endured hypothermia and eaten a raw Bison liver all in preparation for the role.
“The Revenant” is available to stream on Hulu with a premium subscription or to rent on Amazon Prime Video now.
Knives Out (2019)
For those home with a dysfunctional family, “Knives Out” follows the very dysfunctional Thrombeys as they come together for an investigation following the death of their patriarch, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Harlan, a renowned crime novelist, is found dead shortly after his 85th birthday, leading to an investigation conducted by gentleman sleuth Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig). As we delve deeper into each family member’s relationship with Harlan, viewers find themselves sitting atop a web of lies, with each individual having a clear motive and acting to obscure the truth. Set in a snowy winter on the gothic style Thrombey estate, “Knives Out” is a perfect cozy mystery with unpredictable twists and turns.
Full of moody people and lushly textured scenes, “Knives Out” was written and directed by Rian Johnson, who also directed critically acclaimed films like “Looper” and “Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi.”
Knives Out is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video now.
Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book One: Water (2005)
Season one of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” begins in the snowy cold of the Southern Water Tribe and ends in the equally icy palaces of the Northern Water Tribe. The show follows the journey of Aang (Zach Tyler Eisen) and his water tribe friends, Sokka (Jack De Sena) and Katara (Mae Whitman), as he wakes up in a world ravaged by war and is tasked with putting an end to it. A Nickelodeon cult classic, many have seen ATLA before, and what better time than the holiday season to sink into old comfort shows? If nostalgia isn’t what you’re going for, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is still a show that lends itself to deeper interpretation touching on themes like war, imperialism, increasing responsibilities put on the shoulders of younger generations and the power of found families.
All three seasons of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” are available to stream on Netflix now.
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Episode V of the Star Wars franchise is definitely the chilliest, with the movie opening on Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Chewbaca (Peter Mayhew) facing an attack from the imperial forces on the ice planet Hoth. For those of you wanting to break into the Star Wars franchise but just haven’t found the time, winter break provides the perfect opportunity to stay indoors and binge. “Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back” is the second film released in the franchise, and is sure to provide all the winter scenes and cold weather you could want from a space opera.
“Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back” is available to stream on Disney+.
Happy Feet (2006)
More in the mood for heartwarming animated movies this holiday season than space operas that span nine long movies? “Happy Feet” is the perfect movie to settle into for a meaningful, heartwarming and action packed adventure set against an arctic backdrop.
Many of us can relate to returning to our hometowns and feeling just a little bit disconnected from those we used to think of as close, and we can see this reflected through this story as our main character struggles with making a place for himself amongst his emperor penguin peers. Throughout the film, we follow Mumble (Elijah Wood), a baby emperor penguin born without a singing voice in a society of penguins that does nothing but sing. Mumble instead is born with dancing feet, something that those in his vicinity refuse to accept, and is eventually driven out by his community of penguins. Mumble embarks on a long and winding journey, coming to terms with his dancing feet and returning to his home a new penguin by the end.
Featuring spectacularly musical penguins, “Happy Feet” was directed by George Miller (also director of the “Mad Max” franchise), Judy Morris and Warren Coleman, and features a great soundtrack with songs from Queen, Prince, P!nk, The Beach Boys and Earth, Wind, and Fire — guaranteed to have you humming along the whole time.
“Happy Feet” is available to stream on Hulu.