By Benjamin G. Baldwin, Editorial Staff (‘20)

With the current pandemic disrupting much of our lives and inhibiting us from doing much outside of the home, we must look inward to keep ourselves active, engaged, and entertained. Due to the availability of streaming services, people can pretty much watch any film they can imagine from the comfort of their homes. Here are some film recommendations, ranging from “silly fun” to “serious artworks”, to get through this time of crisis.

 

 

  • Blade Runner (Director’s Cut): 

 

    • Currently available to stream on Netflix, this cyberpunk neo-noir classic is quite possibly one of the greatest science-fiction films of all time. Initially released in 1982 to little commercial success and mixed reviews, Ridley Scott’s masterpiece was slow to gain recognition. After numerous re-cuts, the Director’s Cut, released in 2007, is the definitive original artistic vision of Ridley Scott’s highly-influential classic. Whether you have an interest in the history of film, are a special effects junkie, sci-fi enthusiast, or want a philosophical film exploring human nature and the dynamics between creator and creation, this is a must see (the sequel, released in 2017, is worth checking out also if you like the original). 

 

 

  • Chinatown:

 

    • Although it will require an extra fee on Amazon or Hulu, this film is worth it. A classic directed by Roman Polanski that follows the investigation of private eye Jack Giles into an L.A. water-rights scandal. Inspired by the real-life California water wars, the film delves deep into the institutions of political power and the futility of fighting evil. The film is a direct result of the desolation Polanski experienced following his pregnant wife’s brutal murder by the Manson family in 1969.

 

 

  • Seven Samurai:

 

    • Akira Kurosawa’s epic tale of seven rōnin defending a mountain village from bandits is one of the most-influential films of all time with stunning cinematography and a sprawling narrative. Be ready to set aside some time for this over three-hour long film. (Available on Amazon.)

 

 

  • The Third Man:

 

    • A personal favorite, this film is wonderfully moody with a near-perfect use of camera angles, lighting, and music to set an eery, unsettling tone throughout. A depiction of post-War Vienna, it follows the plot of an American author investigating the mysterious circumstances of his friend’s sudden death. Dreary and down-right cynical, this film is a must see for anyone that enjoys suspense or is interested in the film noir genre and expressionist filmmaking. It also has a wonderfully odd soundtrack (with the zither as a prominent instrument) that further disorients the viewer. (Available on Hulu and Amazon)

 

 

  • Parasite:

 

    • The South Korean film that made Oscar history is now available to stream on Hulu. A dark satire on class conflicts and socioeconomic stratification, the film follows the attempts of a lower class family trying to infiltrate the lives of a wealthier one. A mixture of stand-out performances, excellent direction, and seamless storytelling help to make this film have a powerful and resonant message. (Available on Hulu for free, Amazon with rental fee)

 

 

  • Barry Lyndon:

 

    • Probably Stanley Kubrick’s least successful film, this doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Sure, it is a long, slowly paced film. However, it features some of the best cinematography ever put to screen, coupled with a wonderfully curated classical music soundtrack, and a nuanced tale about power, ambition, and human ruthlessness. Its cinematography alone is enough to watch this, with scenes looking like paintings and filmed in only candle light (achieved by using very expensive Carl-Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 lenses made originally for NASA’s Apollo program; only 10 such lenses ever existed). If you are interested in period pieces, cinematography, or just Kubrick’s work in general, this is highly recommended. (Available on Amazon)

 

 

  • Kill Bill:

 

    • This movie is just pure fun. The battle at the ‘House of Blue Leaves’ is such an absurd, gratuitously violent scene that it’s hard to look away. This movie is long, violent, and split into two parts. However, it is also a highly referential film, mashing up tropes, genres, and references of everything from Spaghetti westerns to Japanese samurai films to Wuxia cinema to classic Hollywood dramas. If you like this kind of postmodern film making, then Tarantino’s revenge epic is a must see. (Available on Hulu for free, Amazon with rental fee)