As they say in Game of Thrones: Winter is coming!
I cannot stand the cold, frost and dark days, but at least the harsh weather conditions are a good excuse to tuck into hearty winter dishes. It’s also the perfect time for cinema nights at home, whilst cuddling up on the sofa with a blanket and a big pot of warming cinnamon tea.
Here’s my quarterly list of must-see and must-avoid films and TV series, which should keep you entertained this winter.
Scroll down for a fantastic food tip in the beautiful city of York!
This post is part two of my Arts & Culture wrap-up for the months July-September. In part one I made an overview of exhibitions and books for you. In case you missed that post, you can find it here.
Happy winter home cinema nights 🙂
FILM & TV
Top 5 best films/TV series
Slow West (2015, Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Caren Pistorious)
As the title already suggests, this is a very slow-moving western film. The plot is very simple and straightforward: a 16-year old boy travels across America in the age of cowboys to find the girl he loves. Remarkable film with great characters and a very non-Hollywood plot development. Just don’t watch it when you feel sleepy as it will definitely send you to sleep 😉 (not because it’s boring, but rather because it’s slow-moving)
De Behandeling/The Treatment (2014, Geert van Rampelberg, Ina Geerts, Johan van Assche)
This dark and unsettling Flemish film isn’t appropriate for the faint-hearted or young parents! I thought this was a great thriller (it’s based on the bestseller novel by British author Mo Hayder) which investigates the grim world of pedophiles. Again a film with a non-Hollywood turn of events.
Bienvenu chez les Ch’tis (2008, Kad Merad, Danny Boon, Zoé Félix)
It wasn’t only serious business on the silver screen for me, but I also laughed a lot while re-watching this feel good French film about a man moving to the north of France for work. At first he hates it as the weather is horrible, the people are weird and he can’t understand their quirky dialect. It doesn’t take long for him to warm to his new colleagues though and he starts lying to his family he left behind in the south of France just so he can go off and enjoy his new secret life. This of course results in tricky situations and complex lies. A great film if you just want to switch off and have a good laugh!
Amy (2015, directed by: Asif Akadia)
I’ve never been a big fan of Amy Winehouse, but after seeing this touching documentary on her life, I started to listen to her songs in a completely different way. This documentary confirms everyone’s suspicions on how her father and ex-partner exploited Amy’s talents and aided the decline in her health and mental state. Unlike the documentary on Kurt Cobain I saw earlier this year, this biopic feels more authentic.
Breaking Bad S01-S05 (2008 – 2013, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn)
I spent most of August and September binge-watching episodes of Breaking Bad, the popular TV series about chemistry teacher Walter White who starts to produce crystal meth when he discovers he has lung cancer to ensure he can leave his family money after his passing. It’s remarkable how quickly the viewer’s empathy for ‘Mr White’ changes as his character transforms from victim to criminal.
This excellent video remix by Chris Lohr is so witty and cleverly done!
Note: spoiler alerts and lots of swearing.
Top 5 worst films/TV series
Tomorrowland (2015, George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie)
I’d love to tell you what this Disney sci-fi is about, but I was completely lost whilst watching the film! It has something to do with science geniuses, parallel universes and robots.
Inside Out (2015, voices by: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind)
I seem to be the only person on the world to NOT like the latest Pixar animation film. Not only did I dislike it, I actually walked out of the cinema screening… The trailer (below) was very promising, featuring the different characters in one’s head that make up someone’s personality, but I think that they chose the funniest scene for the preview. The film is about a teenage girl and how Sadness starts to dominate Joy in her head.
Hannibal Season 3 (2015, Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Gillian Anderson)
I stopped watching the new series of Hannibal TV series just two episodes in as I remembered how dialogue heavy this series can be. If you’re interested in seeing psychiatrics having academic dialogues in which they exaggeratedly analyse people and events, then this is the series for you.
Lady in the Water (2006, Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright)
At the time of the original release I really liked this film featuring Paul Giamatti and made by the director of The Sitxh Sense. I recommended the film to my husband who had never seen it before and one night in the past months we decided to watch it. After an hour we switched off the film, it was actually quite appalling.
True Detective Season 2 (2015, Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams)
After the fantastic first season of True Detective, the series is back with a second season featuring a completely new cast and plot. It’s only since recently that I can bear watching Colin Farrell. I absolutely could not stand his face and eyebrows a few years ago. Fair is fair, he plays a great role in this series, as do Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams. I was rather skeptical about these two latter ones and wondered if they would be able to pull off such serious roles in a dark series as True Detective. So why did I list this series in my top 5 of worst films/TV series then? Clearly not because of the acting in it, but again it’s the plot that just spoils all the fun. It’s just absurd how many connecting storylines there are and there are so many names in it that you get completely lost as a viewer. A real shame as in principle this is a good series!
In September I spent a day in picturesque York, a historic city that was very important in the ancient Roman empire. Popular sights are the cathedral, medieval city walls and Viking centre, just to name a few. But obviously my first thought was: where can I find the best Yorkshire puddings and Sunday roast?! I found a fantastic new restaurant and bar that serves amazing Sunday lunches and has a great selection of Belgium beers (including my favourite Tripel Karmeliet): Sutlers Bar & Kitchen.
Other films I (re-)watched in the last months, in alphabetical order:
100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, The (2013, Robert Gustafsson, Iwar Wiklander, David Wiberg), Alfie (1966, Michael Caine, Shelley Winters, Millicent Martin), Ant-Man (2015, Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly), Blindness (2008, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Gael García Bernal), Breakdown (1997, Kurt Russell, J.T. Walsh, Kathleen Quinlan), Cake (2014, Jennifer Anniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick), Collateral (2004, Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith), Flight of the Conchords (2007-2009, Jemaine Clement, Brent McKenzie, Rhys Darby), Gauntlet, The (1977, Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle), Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015, documentary about Scientology), Iris (2014, documentary about Iris Apfel), Layer Cake (2004, Daniel Craig, Sienna Miller, Michael Gambon), Legend (2015, Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton), Odd Couple, The (1968, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, John Fiedler), Office, The S01-S02 (2001-2003, Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook), Panic Room (2002, Jodie Foster, Kirsten Stewart, Forest Whitaker), Terminator, The (1984, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn), Terminator Genisys (2015, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong), Thelma & Louise (1991, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Brad Pitt), Town that Dreaded Sundown, The (2014, Addison Timlin, Veronica Cartwright, Anthony Anderson)
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