A few suggestions for your viewing pleasure this holiday season, with and without children.
Want to escape from the utter boringness of your family this holiday? How would you like to see a family even crazier and more dysfunctional than yours to help you keep things in perspective? Well we have the show for you. While you’re home this holiday weekend binge watch Netflix’s The Crown. This period drama follows her majesty the Queen of England from her not-so-humble beginnings as Princess Elizabeth through her early time on the throne. The show features enough tawdriness to make you feel like you’re watching reality TV, but because it’s a historical period piece it doesn’t come with the shame! There’s scandal, intrigue, infighting, and a proper coronation fit for a queen. And if that doesn’t pique your interest John Lithgow plays the aging Winston Churchill. Check out The Crown on Netflix; it’s a jolly good time.
If you enjoy having your mind melted (you’re Splimm – of course you do!) might we suggest Marvel’s Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Doctor Strange follows the story of its title character as he goes from arrogant surgeon to mystical magical sorcerer, with a pit stop at ego-crushing humbleness and training in between. The character of Dr. Strange is interesting in that he might have one of the biggest egos in the Marvel universe (think Tony Stark in operating room scrubs) well before he has a lick of magical powers. He’s the doctor that corrects you if you call him mister. In its typical fashion, life promptly brings him back to earth in dramatic fashion and sets him on a pseudo vision quest to get back his swagger.
Storyline aside, the movie is visually stunning, on par with the groundbreaking graphics of The Matrix or Inception. Doctor Strange takes you on a brain bending journey that looks like an LSD trip in all the best ways. Running up walls, into portals, and through various dimensions, we viewers see the kaleidoscopic world of sorcery that Strange must master in order to save earth from evil. Make sure to put the young ones to bed before you turn this one on…you don’t want to have to clean up the puddles of brain matter this film produces.
Kubo and the Two Strings
If you and the kiddies haven’t already, set aside some time this holiday season and watch Kubo and the Two Strings. This animated film follows Kubo, a young Japanese street performer, as he goes on a hero’s journey to discover the secrets of his father’s death. With the help of an overprotective Monkey (voiced by Charlize Theron) and a forgetful Beetle samurai (Matthew McConaughey), Kubo must fight off his bewitching aunties and a few monsters on his quest for the Moon King. The storyline is both engaging and exciting for all ages.
We’ve seen the loss of a parent and path to redemption as a trope in more than a few children’s film, but Kubo jazzes it up and repackages it in an attention-grabbing way. It helps that the animation in this picture is near flawless. It combines the best parts of anime with today’s sophisticated 3D computer graphics. If the plot and visuals don’t thrill you, the adult humor baked in might! Kubo and the Two Strings was released in August of this year by Laika Productions. While flew under the radar, it’s well worth dusting off this gem.