Winter Movie Rundown

The dawn of winter break is nearly upon us. That voice in your head? The one telling you to get your homework done? Soon it shall be silenced. Soon, we weary masses shall be united in our pursuit of one simple thing: absolute nothing. No longer will binge-watching Netflix be a means to avoid our responsibilities. No longer shall our one-more-episode addiction lead to guilt-ridden consciences and last-minute deadlines. Now, we shall be free to watch as much as we want, with no consequences. You’ll even have time to check out some of Netflix’s December additions, a few which are listed below.


Better Than a Snowball Fight

“Tangerine” (2015): The awards buzz around this film is serious, but the film itself is fun. The story follows two transgender sex workers as they blaze through Hollywood on Christmas Eve, hunting down one of their cheating pimp boyfriends. Due to budget constraints, the whole thing was shot on an iPhone 5s, but don’t let that deter you — the final product simply looks unique rather than shabby. Dark, funny and surprisingly heartfelt, “Tangerine” is a movie you’ll be hearing a lot about in the next few months, so you should definitely check it out now. (Available now)

“Phoenix” (2014): After receiving facial reconstruction surgery that leaves her completely unrecognizable, a concentration camp survivor hunts for her husband in postwar-Berlin. However, her husband may be the one who betrayed her to the Nazis in the first place. Often described by critics as “Hitchcockian” and “noir-ish,” this German psychological mystery has received worldwide praise. It’s definitely worth your time. (Available Dec. 8)


Worth Checking Out

“A Very Murray Christmas” (2015): This star-studded Christmas special was made especially for Netflix and features Bill Murray, George Clooney, Michael Cera, Miley Cyrus, Amy Poehler and a ton of other celebrities. It was also directed by Sofia Coppola, whose track record wavers between fun, thought-provoking arthouse drama and dull, infuriatingly-boring arthouse drama. The plot revolves around Murray worrying that no one will come to his Christmas show because of a huge snow storm. “A Very Murray Christmas” has the potential to be a total disaster or a total funfest — fingers crossed for the latter. (Available Dec. 4)

“Ray” (2004): An oldie, but a goodie — albeit a somewhat schmaltzy one. “Ray” follows the life and career of musician Ray Charles and features an energized performance from Jamie Foxx that won him an Oscar. If you’re a fan of lengthy biopics, this is the film for you. (Available now)


I’d Rather Freeze

“CBGB” (2013): If you’re like me and you’re a fan of seeing Rupert Grint in roles that aren’t “Ron Weasley,” then you have a good reason to check out “CBGB.” If not, well, you should probably avoid this dull foray into the punk music scene. On the one hand, the film has a killer soundtrack, but on the other, it’s poorly written, strangely cast, and doesn’t do its source material (the true story of the rise of some of the best punk acts in existence) justice. (Available now)

“Vampire Academy” (2014): The YA novels this film is based on are a wild ride, but they’re aimed at a very specific audience (i.e. teenage girls) and the film adaptation’s target audience is even more marginalized (i.e. teenage girls who read the books). However, having once been a Teenage Girl Who Read the Books, I think I have the authority to say this movie was … disappointing. But if the description “teenage drama at a vampire high school in the middle of a Montana forest” sounds appealing to you, don’t let me stop you. (Available Dec. 7)