Each month the Cinelinx staff will write a handful of articles covering a specified film-related topic. These articles will be notified by the Movielinx banner. Movielinx is an exploration and discussion of our personal connections with film. This month, we’re picking our favorite films for binge watching. We’ll suggest a theme and the four movies we think would be most enjoyable to watch back-to-back while being related to this theme. Let us know which themes you think you would enjoy the most, and if not, what films you would add or take away.
Binge watching TV shows is fun way to spend an afternoon, and it can work equally well for movies. While it may be fun to watch all the films in a trilogy or franchise, it can be equally entertaining to watch if they are not directly related but have a common theme or idea. Binge watching can be a way to re-watch the films of your favorite genre, or get caught up on films that you haven’t gotten around to seeing, but everyone tells you that you should. If you’re snowed in for a day, sick, or maybe just don’t feel like getting up off the couch, then movie binge watching can be a somewhat productive way to spend the day.
When selecting movies to binge watch, the most important thing is to make sure that you will never be bored. This can be accomplished by finding movies that you’ve never seen before (and therefore they will be a new experience), or by selecting movies that are very engaging. Furthermore, you need a good theme. When you are binge watching a TV show, you get connected to the characters and the themes. Watching something else just isn’t appealing. The same characters are not always possible when binge watching movies, but common themes is something that can be accomplished if you plan accordingly.
With this thought in mind, I’ve selected one film on which to base this selection of binge-watchable films. Since it is November, and this week is the 5th, the solution could not have been more obvious. Indeed, the quote “Remember, Remember, the 5th of November” may be permanently embedded in the minds of people who have seen the film, but its worth looking into further. The sentiment of this quote is simple. It’s about remembering those who have rebelled against oppression. It’s about fighting for your rights as a human being, and setting straight those that are corrupt or untrustworthy. This is a common topic in literature and movies, and therefore a perfect topic on which to base a movie binge upon. There’s a reason that Hollywood is so obsessed with dystopian settings these dats, and these films will go a long way to proving why. Enjoy!
Movie # 1: V for Vendetta (2005)
The Premise: In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman.
The Connection: The 5th of November.
The Reasoning: This movie is a rare gem. First of all, graphic novels have rarely translated so well to film. Second, dystopian movies in general are rarely this good. The rebellious attitude of the script, coupled with an exciting and eloquent performance by Hugo Weaving make this film engaging to watch, even if there isn’t a whole lot of action or adventure. Natalie Portman is always great at creating a relatable centerpiece, and John Hurt’s performance as the antagonist makes your blood curl (in a good way). It’s a great interpretation of the source material, and the special effects are eye-opening. For those of us who have seen the film before, it is endlessly quotable and full of layers to dissect. For those who have not seen it, there are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep you guessing, and the story is very intelligent. Overall, it’s full of interesting and logical ideas that make you really think. In an era where dystopian films copy common ideas and themes from each other, V for Vendetta does things differently, and as a result, is a rewarding experience.
Movie #2: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
The Premise: George Orwell’s novel of a totalitarian future society in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history tries to rebel by falling in love.
The Connection: John Hurt
The Reasoning: While V for Vendetta featured John Hurt in an adversary role, in the film version of “1984”, he is the protagonist. Nineteen Eighty-Four is the movie adaptation of the book that changed it all. This is the original dystopian story. Fans of the sub-genre should watch this film to at least appreciate where the general ideas began. Sure, the film version has its flaws, and isn’t a duplicate of the book exactly, but there’s enough good stuff here to keep you engaged. First of all, it’s old and obscure enough that many people may have never seen it. Fans of modern day dystopian films will have fun pointing out the similarities, and fans of classic films will enjoy the storytelling methods and subtle yet effective plot. For those who salivate over visuals, this film has excellent cinematography and very detailed, interesting scenery. The rundown, alternative post-WW2 setting is gritty, fierce, and emotional. Most of all, the film builds towards the finale, which is the best part. Part body horror, part philosophic debate, it’s a shocking and worthwhile climax.
Movie #3: Brazil (1985)
The Premise: A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state.
The Connection: Based on the ideas of 1984 (it was also originally supposed to release in 1984)
The Reasoning: 1984 was released in 1984, so the next film I chose is also from the same era, and is an interpretation of those themes from a slightly different perspective. Brazil is Terry Gilliam’s most realized (best) film, and it is truly an artistic masterpiece. Those who might not have appreciated the dirty monotony of 1984 will enjoy the wacky over-the-top retro-future that Gilliam has created in Brazil. Although the foundation of the film may be the same as 1984, the interpretation and the tone are very different. To begin with, Gilliam uses his Monty Python wit to give a almost comedic, satirical tone to the idea of a government that is far too overbearing. It’s a stark contrast from 1984, but just as effective at getting the message across and making you think. On top of an interesting premise, there is a cast of entertaining characters, including one of the best cameo performances of all time. Brazil may be a crazy film, but it’s also beautiful and well-constructed.
Movie #4: Cloud Atlas (2012)
The Premise: An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.
The Connection: Jim Broadbent
The Reasoning: This film finalizes our movie selection. It is connected to Brazil by featuring Jim Broadbent, but it also has a connection to the first film in our series by being a Wachowski film. As the last film, it has to be lively enough to keep your attention. Thankfully, as a Wachowski film, you know it will have plenty of action and amazing special effects. It is based on a book by the same name, so those who have read the book will be interested in how it is adapted. For those who have not read the book, the story is very innovative in the way that it tells several stories that are separated by centuries, yet linked together with a common thread. It is perhaps the most expansive dystopian film yet, using thought-provoking metaphysical ideas to explain how relationships between people and their actions can transcend their lives. It is a very exciting film, with an impressive presentation that keeps your eyes and your mind entertained and ends this movie binge with a bang.
You’ve seen some of our favorite rebellion films to watch all at once, which would you add to your own movie-marathon at home? Let us know our picks in the comments below!