Dominic LeRose and Johnny Bildings are seniors at UW-Madison who are fanatics about all things entertainment. Their goal is to recommend their favorite movies, tv shows, books, music, documentaries and specials to make the dismal times of the current pandemic a little less sufferable.
With Halloween on its way, what better time to watch not only just the scariest movie in years but one of the best films in years period? Ari Aster’s traumatizing debut feature isn’t effective solely due to its unsettling premise about a family haunted by a demon and a cult that worships the entity, but due to how it authentically captures the harrowing break down of a family. Toni Colette gives the greatest performance in a horror movie you can find, unleashing her dramatic powers as no other has ever done in a horror film. From start to finish “Hereditary” challenges us to face the literal and figurative demons plaguing a broken family, traumatizing us in the process yet carefully testing our attention to detail. Undoubtedly one of the most disturbing films of the decade so far, you won’t know what hit you after viewing this nuclear bomb of a movie currently included with Amazon Prime.
Music has a way of making the current world make more sense, and few artists have withstood the test of time as much as the late Marvin Gaye, a pioneer in the Motown scene and a brilliant social poet. Songs such as “Inner City Blues” and “What’s Going On?” are surprisingly as relevant as they were during their release in 1971, tackling seemingly unavoidable social issues such as racism, poverty, war, and conflict. Through the powerful, transcending songs of this gifted artist, we have the chance to reflect on society as a whole and enjoy the beauty of the Soul genre.
There’s no better feel-good movie than Pixar’s 2009 hit “Up.” The polar opposite of “Hereditary,” this animated classic is a heart-warming, tear-jerking masterpiece that anyone can enjoy no matter their age or background. In a time filled with political tension, a deadly virus, social unrest, and economic turmoil, this pick-me-up is a hopeful and beautiful story that everyone deserves to see.
My pursuit of getting scared led me to discover this hidden gem and sequel to the classic 1980 Stanley Kubrick horror film “The Shining” on HBO Max last weekend, which was largely ignored by audiences due to bigger King releases earlier in 2019 - “Pet Sematary”, “IT: Chapter II” — but warrants far more attention and praise. Ewan McGregor (“Star Wars”) teams with director Mike Flanagan (“Haunting of Hill House”) to star as an adult version of Danny Torrance, whose alcohol abuse has caused him to repress his childhood trauma and psychic abilities before he finds himself trying to save a powerful young girl under attack from a devious cult named the True Knot, led by Rebecca Ferguson (“Mission Impossible”). Beautifully laced with shot-for-shot recreations of its predecessor and evoking the feeling of constant dread throughout, Flanagan’s work is a strong follow up and should be a staple of Halloween viewing.
Before the new season comes out Friday morning, be sure to take the quick trip back into the world of galactic bounty hunters, Baby Yoda, and more with “The Mandalorian” — available on Disney+ and easily bingeable with only eight episodes in the first season, each falling somewhere between 30-45 minutes apiece. Starring Pedro Pascal (“Narcos”) as the eponymous and faceless bounty hunter, this is as close to an actually good Star Wars property as you’ll get from Disney — capturing unfamiliar parts of the universe in a serialized yet compelling way and featuring a slew of new supporting characters that will quickly become some of your fan favorites. If you have four hours, love assassin stories and more, don’t worry — “This is the way”.