It’s weird to think that very shortly, 2021 will be coming to a close. With that being said, Hollywood is releasing what seem to be a couple of hopeful major award-grabbing movies. Here’s what films to look forward to for the rest of the year, which you can watch over winter break in preparation for awards season:
Based off of a novel written in 1965 by Frank Herbert, this narrative brings together all of the elements of film that we love to see on the big screen: a star-studded ensemble cast (Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, and Oscar Isaac), innovative costume design, a hard-hitting soundtrack (composed by Hans Zimmer), and intricate visual design that is attributed to director Denis Villeneuve. I would recommend this movie with a warning: it’s definitely not for everyone. Not much background is explained in the film, so if you haven’t previously watched David Lynch’s adaptation of the book or read the novel itself, you may have a more difficult time understanding the plot. With minimal dialogue and more focus on the sound/visual elements, it might feel slow to some.
The movie industry’s biggest franchise is finally gracing us with another highly-anticipated film with Marvel movie Eternals. Similar to Dune, the ensemble cast is filled with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Including Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Kit Harington, and Gemma Chan, and directed by recent Academy Award winner Chloe Zhao, this film is said to be different from anything that Marvel has ever released before. If you like larger-than-life stories, then this is the perfect fit for you.
If you’re a fan of Netflix’s The Crown, then this movie is the perfect match for you. With Kristen Stewart in the titular role, this story named after Princess Diana’s maiden name unpacks the Christmas festivities at Queen Elizabeth II’s Sandringham Estate leading up to the divorce between Diana and Prince Charles. Directed by Pablo Larraín, who also made Jackie, this film is predicted to make Stewart a potential Oscar candidate from the looks of the trailer itself. If you’re a history buff or simply want to know more about the beloved Princess Di, then Spencer is the movie to watch.
Whether you like Halloween for the candy, the costumes, or the creepiness, it feels as though the entire month of October is appropriate for Halloween festivities. A great way to unwind from classes or midterms and to have fun while you’re at home is to watch movies! Here is a list of 8 classic Halloween movies to entertain you throughout the month of October. With scarier movies for those who like a thrill, and ones less scary for those who are just looking to enjoy the festive spirit of Halloween, there is sure to be a movie on the list that you enjoy! Watching any of these movies is also a great way to become familiar with American traditions surrounding Halloween.
“Casper is a kind young ghost who peacefully haunts a mansion in Maine. When specialist James Harvey arrives to communicate with Casper and his fellow spirits, he brings along his teenage daughter, Kat. Casper quickly falls in love with Kat, but their budding relationship is complicated not only by his transparent state, but also by his troublemaking apparition uncles and their mischievous antics.” (Fandango: https://www.fandango.com/casper-2591/plot-summary)
This movie is a classic kid favorite for Halloween! It’s super silly and follows the misadventures of Casper and his ghost friends. Casper is such a popular and well-known movie that people reference the character all the time! If your friend looks scared, like they have just seen a ghost, you can jokingly ask them, “Did you just see Casper?” Alternatively, if something spooky happens to you and you want to make light of the situation, you can say, “There goes Casper playing tricks on me!”
The Night Before Christmas
“The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the “real world.” When Jack accidentally stumbles on Christmastown, all bright colors and warm spirits, he gets a new lease on life — he plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role. But Jack soon discovers even the best-laid plans of mice and skeleton men can go seriously awry.” (https://www.fandango.com/tim-burtons-the-nightmare-before-christmas-1993-99500/plot-summary)
This is another classic Halloween movie. Perhaps you already know who Jack Skellington is and have seen him on T-shirts or on the Internet. This movie is so popular that people also tend to watch it outside of the month of October, and it has even become somewhat of a more classic Christmas movie in recent years!
“After moving to Salem, Massachusetts, teenager Max Dennison explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani and their new friend, Allison. After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees a coven of evil witches who used to live in the house. Now, with the help of a magical cat, the kids must steal the witches’ book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal.” (https://www.fandango.com/hocus-pocus-100603/plot-summary)
Almost every child who grew up watching Disney Channel has seen this movie. It was one of my favorite movies to watch on Halloween as a kid, and it still is today! It has songs, jokes, and adventure all packed into one movie. There are a few classic Halloween symbols in the movie, one of which is a black cat (thought to bring bad luck). Can you find other Halloween symbols as you watch it?
“Marnie and her siblings get a big shock when they follow their grandma home to Halloweentown – and find out they come from a family of witches. The town is the only place where supernatural beings can lead a ‘normal’ life, but trouble is looming, and on her 13th birthday Marnie not only finds she is a witch, but that she and her family are involved in a fight against the evil that is threatening to take over the world.” (https://calendar.gwu.edu/films-field-halloweentown)
This movie is another Halloween Disney Channel classic. It is more on the silly side, but that doesn’t keep it from being a enjoyable for all audience members! Witches are said to possess powers and abilities that they are unable to explain in their childhood until they find out that they are witches, and this is exactly what happens to Marnie in the movie. A great, heartwarming watch that is sure to keep you entertained.
“After transferring to a Los Angeles high school, Sarah finds that her telekinetic gift appeals to a group of three wannabe witches, who happen to be seeking a fourth member for their rituals. Bonnie, Rochelle and Nancy, like Sarah herself, all have troubled backgrounds, which combined with their nascent powers lead to dangerous consequences. When a minor spell causes a fellow student to lose her hair, the girls grow power-mad.” (https://www.fandango.com/the-craft-2494/plot-summary)
While most of these movies take place on the East Coast, The Craft is a movie that takes place in Los Angeles, so there isn’t a more perfect movie to watch if you are on or near campus on Halloween! This movie explores more witchcraft and magic than the others, but it’s still funny and follows the lives of teenage girls in high school. Don’t let the spells spook you – this movie also has a great message!
Ghostbusters (1984 version)
“After the members of a team of scientists lose their cushy positions at a university in New York City, they decide to become “ghostbusters” to wage a high-tech battle with the supernatural for money. They stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, a doorway that will release evil upon the city. The Ghostbusters must now save New York from complete destruction.” (https://www.scadshow.com/content/scad-cinema-circle-ghostbusters)
What’s more iconic than Ghostbusters? This movie is definitely a classic in American culture and will appeal to all sci-fi lovers. One of the scenes features a Twinkie, a classic American snack cake that is referenced in pop culture and movies all the time!
“A scientist builds an animated human being — the gentle Edward. The scientist dies before he can finish assembling Edward, though, leaving the young man with a freakish appearance accentuated by the scissor blades he has instead of hands. Loving suburban saleswoman Peg discovers Edward and takes him home, where he falls for Peg’s teen daughter. However, despite his kindness and artistic talent, Edward’s hands make him an outcast.” (https://www.fandango.com/edward-scissorhands-2668/plot-summary)
If you love Johnny Depp, chances are you might have already seen this movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are in for a treat! Much like the famous Halloween monster Frankenstein, Edward Scissorhands is built in a laboratory, but he experiences human emotions and forms relationships with people around him. This movie is great for those who want a romantic movie with a Halloween twist!
Last year, a gripping and horrifying new Netflix film called Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock, swept us into a newfound obsession and fanfare (as most Netflix Originals tend to do). Now, on July 21st, a sequel novel to the hit film titled Malorie will be released much to the anticipation of fans and those who are curious to learn more about the series. Personally, I fully intend to read Malorie once it is available for multiple reasons (such as my boredom from quarantine), but one of the main reasons that I will be reading Malorie is because I intend to re-watch the original film with an entirely new perspective and apply that to the book. What perspective and lens will that be? I am here to tell you that it will be one based off of fear, actions, and consequences.
Since Malorie has yet to be released, not much is known about its content or the intricacies of the plot. However, the information I’ve gathered so far is that the story is set twelve years after the events of the original film, and the main character Malorie and her children are still living with blindfolds covering their eyes, as they fear the creatures roaming the earth will harm them if they glance at them. Malorie then receives news that a loved one is possibly still alive. Based off this new information, Malorie will be forced to choose whether to remain safe or risk grave danger by seeking out the loved one.
With the original film and the commentary of the second novel in mind, there seems to be a main, overlapping theme between the two: fear. Fear of danger. Fear of loss. But most importantly, fear of the unknown. The creatures that roam the earth in Bird Box and Malorie are invisible, but those that look upon them are met with a violent fate. Since they are invisible, no one knows for certain what they are, what they look like, etc. It is a fear based solely off of what others have described and experienced as well as a perception of what an unseen enemy is doing to humans on earth.