Five film classics to enjoy this winter

28 March 2019

Winter is almost upon us. The nights are getting darker, earlier and temperatures are dropping. .It’s a great time to batten down the hatches and fire up a good movie. 

So it’s the perfect time to catch up with Alastair Ross (our Len Lye Centre Cinema movie expert) for some recommendations. We asked him to share his all-time top five movie choices. 

Alastair says: “It is quite difficult to reduce it down to five. In the same way I find it hard to say which bands I like the best, every so often I will proclaim to my wife, oh this new album by (insert band) is the best thing I have ever heard and she will look at me and say, hello what? That’s what you say about everything. So what do I know really, I am easily excited about films and music. Here is my shot at five of my favourite movies”. 

Jaws (1975)

I saw this movie at the local State movie theatre when I was about six, I don’t actually recall what my feelings were about the film at the time, but when I have watched it and re-watched it, I know for a fact it coloured my fear of the ocean and I remember as a small boy trying to leap from the doorway of my bedroom to my bed as I was convinced there was a shark waiting to get me. It is just a fascinating film, with a wonderful script by Carl Gottleib who was rewriting the script on set in a house at Martha’s Vineyard while they were filming. The cast is brilliant and regardless of what you think about the effects now, the closing scenes with Quint sliding down the boat and those lifeless black eyes and the yawning abyss of the shark’s mouth remains indelibly imprinted in my brain as one of the most horrific sequences in film. 

Halloween (1978)

One of the truly great horror films of the ‘70s, a masterpiece of surefooted tension and atmosphere, I was thrilled to play this in the Len Lye Cinema and especially delighted when parts of the audience came dressed-up for the occasion. John Carpenter’s score for the film is the glue that holds it all together. Completely self-composed it adds layers of tension that become almost unbearable towards the finale. Bravura performances from Donald Pleasance and Jamie Lee Curtis are just the icing on the pumpkin pie. 

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

I loved the TV show and didn’t quite expect the tone of this film when I first saw it, which is not to say I didn’t like it. While there was an inherent sweetness in the TV series and a lightness of touch, this was jettisoned for the prequel film, which shows the last seven days of Laura Palmer before her untimely death. The actress Sheryl Lee is a total revelation in the film displaying a tremendous commitment to playing a truly damaged character - so much of the film is traumatic and upsetting and it has a hard heart that isn’t touched by the closing sequence. Again, musically the soundtrack is incredible and I recall walking out of the cinema in a dreamlike state just like I used to feel each time the show finished on TV. 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

I could probably have chosen any of the John Hughes’ films as a title that is instantly nostalgic and great, but Ferris is the overall winner. I was so inspired as a teenager by this film and decorated my bedroom to look like his. I loved the music and the ridiculous over-the-top spirit of the ultimate bunk from school. Matthew Broderick was perfect in this role, in fact the whole cast is, the quintessential teen movie.

Heathers (1988)

Heathers is such a great counterpart to Ferris Bueller, such a dark take on teenage warfare in high-school. I adored Winona Ryder and Christian Bale in this film, they are the Bonnie and Clyde of the ‘80s, and there are so many memorable lines and twisted delights throughout. I was so excited when we played this last Valentine’s Day in the Cinema and have to say enjoyed the gasps of horror and delight from the audience. I recommend you catch this film when you can.

Alastair has just released the Len Lye Centre Cinema’s April cinema guide. You can check it out here or keep an eye on Hello NP as all upcoming movies are posted here. 

Alastair Ross laoding in movie reel