Vrai’s Favorite Things: Movies (20 to 16)

Longtime readers will know that anniversary month means lists. And while last year’s anime rundown involved a certain amount of long deliberation, settling on a film list for this go round ended up being a ticket to the Village of Excruciation. Perhaps it’s the shorter time investment, and all that that implies – more time to watch more, more sustainable on an experiment than a long form series, more easily fed into a larger impression – but I find my relationship to movies hugely different to how I approach TV series.

That’s not to say I don’t love movies – I do, a lot – but the list is a lot more mutable, and favorites tend to be relegated to a time and place in my life when they were meaningful rather than something carried through the decades. So when I was putting this list together, I settled for the following: movies that were significantly influential, impressed me with some unique and lasting aspect (enough that they’d become a go-to in listing “good examples of x”); or, plainly put, movies that if I heard someone hadn’t seen them, my response would be siddown, this is our night now. And while there’s plenty of great things I haven’t seen yet, and those future movies might someday overtake some items on this list, they’re still recommendations I’d stand by.

Continue reading

Five Forgotten Gems: Animated Film Edition

Long before videogames took on the mantle as ‘most frequently dismissed potential art form,’ the field of animation had been scraping for even the smallest bits of esteem from the cultural majority. Yes, of course animation is ‘kid’s stuff,’ not worthy of the attention of the real moviegoing public.

Never mind that animation allows for a near infinite variety of stylistic opportunities and a far more affordable means of enacting the fantastical and surreal in addition to the low-key and lifelike, or that the timeless quality of the form allows it to escape technological and era-driven pigeonholing far more easily than its live action counterparts (not to mention that stylized videogames age far more gracefully than their verisimilitude-obsessed peers).

But given the general subject matter around these parts, I expect I am (in part) preaching to the choir. So let us instead uncover some gems of animation, from the underpraised works of established geniuses to bold and unproven artists, whether you missed them the first time around or are itching to see them again.

Continue reading