Part sharp political satire, part slapstick dystopian nightmare, Brazil is Terry Gilliam at the peak of his considerable filmmaking powers. The battle to get the movie to the big screen is almost as epic as the film itself, with Gilliam in the role of the hero slaying the metaphorical monsters of studio executives. Set against the backdrop of Christmas in an über-materialistic, overly bureaucratic society, Brazil is the story of Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a low-level office worker with an overactive fantasy life who smashes through all social mores and regulations to maybe save an imagined damsel in distress. Near equal parts hilarious absurdity and grim prognosticating, Gilliam’s Brazil shreds institutional and societal conventions with a razor wit, fabricating a world that is both entirely foreign and all too familiar. An early scene in Lowry’s office is eerily similar to the day jobs most of us slog through. Purchase Brazil right here!
If you’re like us, and I suspect many of you are, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Alien universe is, of course, Christmas. Those slobbery, acid-blooded xenomorphs scream holiday spirit like nothing else in sci-fi. The latest return to that world, Ridley Scott’s 2012 adventure Prometheus, takes this to heart, and the action goes down around Christmas. While not the game-changing event many fans hoped it would be, I’m of the camp that thinks Prometheus got a bit of a bum rap. Are there problems, big problems? To be sure. And it is full of the worst cinematic decision-making this side of the Hangover movies, but I enjoy it. It’s worth watching to see the scene with drunk Idris Elba and the Christmas tree alone. You might not want to watch it on the actual holiday, however, especially with family, that alien-fetus abortion scene could lead to some awkward dinner table conversations. Family gatherings are already tense enough without opening up that can of worms. Purchase Prometheus right here!