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Project Fandom’s Holiday Buying Guide 2014: TV/Movies

Be it on an addictive TV show or a string of movies, we love to binge watch. Here are a few movies and TV shows you can get for the couch potato on your shopping list.


Movies

Guardians of the Galaxy

 

Guardians of the Galaxy | Poster

Since 2008’s release of Iron Man, Marvel has had an amazing run of success at the box office; perhaps matched only by previous Disney acquisition Pixar. Prior to this year, however, their films had–while remaining very good–become a bit formulaic and predictable. Their first release this year, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, stepped things up in several ways. But, in the end, it was still holding on to something; somehow tethered to a formula in need of a new mixture. That’s where Guardians of the Galaxy comes in. Not only was Guardians of the Galaxy a breath of fresh air, with its loose plot and open relationship with climactic drama, but it was a monumental gamechanger for Marvel future plans. Its success opened the door for Marvel to explore so many more avenues without the need to marry everything to the familiar. This is quite simply a seminal superhero film, and it also happens to be pretty damn fun to watch. – ProFan John


The Wind Rises

 

The Wind Rises

From the seminal to the terminal; while Guardians of the Galaxy signifies a beginning, The Wind Rises heralds the end of an era. As the final feature-length film directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises stands as a masterful culmination of decades-long practice. Miyazaki has spent many years crafting fantastical worlds of wonder and imagination–and some may argue those previous films are higher in quality than his last–but never has he managed to truly capture the vision of what it means to have a dream than with The Wind Rises. Telling a story based on the real-life events surrounding Jiro Horikoshi and his lifelong pursuit of aeronautical engineering mastery, The Wind Rises serves both as a fictionalized biopic of Horikoshi and a symbolic biopic of Miyazaki himself and his lifelong passion for animation and storytelling. In the film’s portrait of Horikoshi, it’s not difficult to see the parallels with Miyazaki, and that’s perhaps what makes this finale hit all the right notes and feel all the more bittersweet in its farewell. – ProFan John


Maleficent

 

Maleficent

This movie was such a surprise. It’s a retelling of the tale Sleeping Beauty, from the perspective of Maleficent. In this version, Maleficent was a young fairy who fell in love with the future king, only be betrayed by him. She seethes for years, grows powerful, and takes her revenge when his daughter, Aurora, is born. Once I realized where the story was going, and did the math in the time jump, I thought Angelina Jolie might have been too old to portray the adult Maleficent, but boy does she nail it. She manages to be sympathetic, beautiful, and terrifying. The special effects are dazzling and watching Maleficent soar over the land is magical. – ProFan Nina


TV

Intruders (Season 1) 

 

Intruders S1

Delivered with the speed and precision of a finely crafted clock, the noir-mystery of BBC America’s Intruders and its first season slowly ticks away an intriguing story of assassins, secret societies, and immortality, until you’re soon so engrossed in the ever-unraveling threads that you simultaneously can’t wait for the conclusion and don’t want it to ever end. Intruders is a thrilling series with phenomenal acting, especially from young star Millie Brown. The complete season will be released December 23 and is currently available for pre-order from Amazon. – ProFan John

You can read our recaps of the first of Intruders here. We’ll also be podcasting season two when it returns to BBC America next year.


Rectify (Seasons 1)

 

Rectify

Sundance Channel’s first original series is phenomenal. Daniel Holden (Aden Young) has been in prison for 20 years for the rape and murder of his girlfriend. When new DNA evidence surfaces, Daniel is released, but has to return home to a town that doesn’t want him and a family that has drastically changed. Rectify will tug at your heart. Young plays Holden as vulnerable and damaged. I cried at least once per episode – sometimes at horrible acts of human hatred, but there are a quite a few moments of human kindness as well. – ProFan Nina


Penny Dreadful (Season 1)

 

Penny Dreadful

Looking for a dark drama on Showtime now that Dexter has signed off? Search no further: Showtime’s Penny Dreadful is everything. Penny Dreadful features classic literary characters, like Dorian Gray, set against a Victorian London backdrop. Sir Malcolm is an explorer who is searching for his daughter, who he believes was taken by vampires. He enlists the help of family friend Vannesa Ives (Eva Green), Dr. Frankenstein, and an American sharpshooter/showman played by Josh Hartnett. While there are plenty of scary moments and the show is visually stunning, all of that takes a backseat to the fantastic job Eva Green does in her role. She’s sexy, frightening, and extremely damaged. You won’t be able to take your eyes off of her when she’s onscreen. – ProFan Nina

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Project Fandom offers up the latest in TV, movies, books, comics, anime, manga, and more for the geek in all of us.

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