Holiday must-see movies: A slightly sarcastic movie round-up

Holiday must-see movies: A slightly sarcastic movie round-up

By Kenny Lamborn, Staff Writer

Every year, like clockwork, Hollywood churns out big movies for the holiday season. Families are coming together, and what’s a better way to start winter break than sitting in front of a screen for hours with the people you love? This year is no exception, as a myriad of blockbuster movies are currently playing in Portland theaters. Some are contenders for a “Movie of the Year” award, while some are so bad that you just can’t miss them – regardless, there is a movie for everyone this time of year. This list will help you decide which movies are right for you, with a moderate amount of sarcasm and personal bias from a less-than-expert high school student.

Skyfall is the next big James Bond movie release (and the 23rd Bond movie to date), and Daniel Craig has still got it. In this installment, “M” (leader of the organization “MI6”) is under attack as her past comes back to haunt her. Of course, Agent 007 is there to save the day. It has been called “One of the best 007 movies to date,” so if drama, suspense, and cool explosions are your thing – go see it.

Life of Pi
This story, based on the novel of the same title by Yann Martel, follows the saga of a boy lost at sea. While en route to Canada with his family, the ship sinks, and he finds himself stuck on a lifeboat – with a huge, ferocious Bengal tiger. The movie is about his journey, but also explores his past; both of which are told with visually stimulating scenes. Mark Sells from The Reel Deal says the movie is “an absolutely wonder to behold.” If you’ve read the book, or want to see something a little bit more meaningful than a lot of things on the ballot, go see this.

Wreck-It Ralph
If you’ve made a point of seeing every Pixar Studios movie since Toy Story, than you are obliged to see this one. This one has a storyline that sounds sort of familiar: a villain (Ralph) decides to go good, but must prove it by going on a quest through a variety of different video games. “A major advancement for Walt Disney Animation Studios,” says Cinema Autopsy. If animated movies make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, go see this.

Rise of the Guardians
You might think of that strange movie about owls that came out a while ago when reading this title, but don’t be led astray: this movie follows a group of “gaurdians” (such as Jack Frost, Santa, and the Tooth Fairy) in their efforts to stop an evil spirit from taking over the world and ruining the imaginations of children. The Atlantic calls it “a peculiar but delightful hybrid.” Again, if you like children’s animated movies and want a storyline that is meant to give you the warm-fuzzies of the holiday season, go see this.

For you history buffs out there, Lincoln is a (long) historical drama that follows President Abraham Lincoln through his final months in office. Steven Spielberg’s drama “paints a powerful and compelling portrait of the man who has become an icon,” and if you like dialogue-heavy movies without much action but packed with tension, go see this.

Denzel Washington is back in this action-drama-suspense-thriller about a drug-addict pilot who miraculously crash-landed an airplane. The investigation that follows reveal a lot about his personal problems, however, and much of the movie centers around that drama. “Denzel Washington gives one of his most nuanced and impressive performances” says RottenTomatoes. If you like movies with action and can watch plane-crash movies without developing a serious fear of flying, go see this.

Argo follows the undercover CIA operation to save six Americans who are hiding out in Iran during the Iranian revolution. It’s mostly a political movie, but the suspense and drama make it good. “Recommended without any reservation for every and any cinemagoer,” says CJ Johnson of ABC Australia.

Taken 2
Remember how I said some movies are so bad, you have to go see them just to laugh? This is that movie. Taken 2 follows Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent, in his effort to save his family after they are all kidnapped. Yes, that’s right – he saves his daughter in Taken, which leads to them all getting kidnapped in Taken 2. Hey, it could happen. “A sloppy, lazy, unintentionally laughable sequel,” says movie critic Richard Roeper. Like I said, if you just want to laugh (or cry because you thought Taken was good and were hoping for something better), go see this.

Cloud Atlas
Reminiscent of Inception, Cloud Atlas is a beautifully-made and star-studded film. The plot is hard to follow, but it follows the stories of multiple characters. This quote, from RottenTomatoes, does a much better job at explaining it: “[Cloud Atlas] explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, present, and future.” It sounds pretty confusing, but if nothing else, it is beautifully filmed and the change in settings will keep you interested. If you like pondering life and it’s meaning after watching a thought-provoking movie, go see this.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Based on the tragically hip novel of the same name by Stephen Chobsky, this film focuses on the experience of growing up by following a teenage boy named Charlie. “High school can be hell, but Chobsky’s engaging new film argues that anyone can get by with a little help from their friends,” says Connie Ogle of the Miami Herald. If nothing else, this movie shows that Emma Watson has a very promising career outside of playing Hermione Granger. If you like Emma Watson and moderately thought-provoking films, go see this.

Happy Holidays, and Happy Moviegoing! Tweet @THSthepaw to let us know what you think.