Happy Christmas → In wonderful Joe Swanberg fashion, Happy Christmas feels so real because it is. The dialogue was completely improvised and the production was filmed in Swanberg’s home and stars both him and is actual baby son. How cool is that?! Baby Swanberg is so entertaining that he’s enough of a reason to see Happy Christmas, but everything else about the film is quite wonderful too. Jenny (Anna Kendrick) is a somewhat careless twenty-something-year-old who comes to Chicago to live with her brother Jeff (Joe Swanberg) and his wife Kelly (Melanie Lynskey). Her arrival totally shakes things up and makes for a great story about the responsibilities that come with growing up and the importance of making personal happiness a priority, even in the face of adversity. I also enjoyed Lena Dunham’s playful role in the film as Kelly’s slightly more stable friend, Carson. Happy Christmas will definitely be on my Favorite Films of 2014 list!
The One I Love → Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elizabeth Moss) have a marriage that was once fun and loving, but is now falling apart. In an attempt to salvage their relationship they decide to take the advice of their marriage counselor and escape for the weekend. What they find at their destination is both bizarre and completely life altering. The One I Love (dir. Charlie McDowell) premiered at Sundance this year and had a limited theatrical run in August, at which time I saw the film at my local theater. I can’t go into much detail about the film without spoiling it, but I will say that it was absolutely thrilling and unbelievably unique. Along with Happy Christmas, this film will be on my end-of-year favorites list!
Snowpiercer → Snowpiercer is an outlandish South Korean sci-fi action film (dir. Bong Joon-ho) that is based on the French graphic novel, Le Transperceneige. The film stars Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, Octavia Spencer, and Tilda Swinton as they cohabitate on a train that holds the world’s last human beings and circles around the frozen earth, year after year. On the train, a class system is established where the poor occupy the back of the train and the elites inhabit the front. This film is one wild ride – literally. So many things happened in Snowpiercer that I did not expect, but welcomed giddily. What is most impressive about the film is the absolutely awe-inspiring production design. Each portion of the train is a spectacle for the audience to absorb, detail by detail. Snowpiercer is a fun watch, but be sure to be prepared for some pretty graphic violence.
Chelsea Peretti: One of the Greats → The “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star is unbelievably funny, and in this Netflix Original comedy special she showcases her unique sense of humor and impeccable comedic timing. I was laughing out loud throughout the entire special, and I’m sure you will be too.