A still from A24

Movies worth watching between exams

A24’s “First Cow” offers a captivating look at the Western genre and, in just two hours, a long respite from the study. (Image credits to A24)

The school year is coming to an end. You’ve worked hard and been through some of the most bizarre circumstances of your academic life, but like any last period of the semester, finals and assignments pile up, suddenly making you want to clean the bathroom sink or find the best study songs and eventually create an entire playlist. But do not worry. Here are some long-running or slow-paced movies for school breaks that can put you in the mind ready for action.

“Drive My Car” (2021), 2 h 59 min, HBO Max

With a running time of 2 hours and 59 minutes, Ryusuke Hamaguchi “Drive My Car” follows Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) as he guides the stage actors as he finds answers to his life after recent and old losses through his friendship with his driver, Misaki Watari (Toko Miura). As indicated in the title, the movie mostly takes place in the car where the characters are talking or driving. While the film includes beautiful day and night shots of Japanese highways and roads, it is a pleasure to see the similarities and changes in the relationship between the characters through where the characters sit.

Another interesting element of “Drive My Car” is Hamaguchi’s directing style. Screenplay reading scenes where actors read the script unemotionally in parallel with the actual schedule that Hamaguchi reads with his actors, which is believed to bring out impulsive reactions from the actors when shooting on camera. Hamaguchi’s practice makes the chemistry and emotions between the actors in “Drive My Car” even more relatable as it internalizes the audience with YĆ»suke and Misaki’s tireless attitude toward their lives.

“Batman” (2022), 2 h 56 min, HBO Max

One of the most awaited films of 2022 finally made it to HBO Max. From fellow Trojan Matt Reeves, “Batman” takes place one to two years after Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) obtains his secret identity as Batman. Ironically, the film beautifully depicts crime-ridden Gotham City in a modern and vintage design style that evokes a sense of noir that fits perfectly with the mystery detective film. Although recent films featuring Batman have been associated with great action and gadgetry, the ‘Batman’ movie goes back to its roots in Detective Comics where Batman battles a mysterious killer who threatens the city he protects. Despite continuing to spread fear to the criminals who plague Gotham, Batman begins to doubt whether his work makes any difference. But he continues to fight and push himself forward, similar to college students at the end of the semester.

“Blade Runner 2049” (2017), 2 hours and 43 minutes HBO max

“Blade Runner 2049” by Denis Villeneuve is a sequel to the famous old Hollywood classic, “Blade Runner” by Ridley Scott. While expanding the universe from the original movie, Denis Villeneuve’s vision in “Blade Runner 2049” made the movie a science fiction masterpiece. The complex music adds a futuristic and sympathetic feel that enhances the experience of finding hope among the despair of a miserable world. In addition, the visual elements in the movie are a feast for the eyes. Any still shot of a movie, even in a junkyard, is like a painting.

What makes “Blade Runner 2049” a good movie is its story. The film offers a captivating account of the hope and despair of Officer K (Ryan Gosling), who hunts replica, bioengineered humans, as a replica. From excitement to apathy, Officer K goes through a whirlwind of emotions learning how to make a difference when the world around him doesn’t see him as the main character. Blade Runner 2049 will get you ready to give your all as the missions and finals pile up in front of you.

“The First Cow” (2019), 2 hours 1 minute, Hulu

With a relatively shorter showing time compared to the other films on the list, you’ll wish Kelly Reichardt “First Cow” didn’t end once you started. “First Cow” follows the friendship between Cookie (John Magaro) and King-Lu (Orion Lee) when they open a bakery in the Oregon Territory in the 1820s. While this might sound like another western movie with lonely wolves and a dry desert, “First Cow” is by no means a popular western movie. Instead, the film focuses on the kinship and wet forests of Oregon. With a 4:3 aspect ratio, Cookie and King-Lu appear close to each other on screen, making audiences happy about their fortunes small and large during the day and nervous about the risks they take at night.

Although the movie focuses mostly on the relationship between Cookie and King-Lu, the other main on-screen relationship is the relationship between Cookie and the cow. They both long for something they have lost in their lives, the conversation that Cookie had with the cow seems as if they were bonding through a shared loss. The friendship and unique depiction of the wild west in the Oregon jungle will put you in the mood to grab a study partner and get down to business.

Short, fast-paced films are exciting and take less time. But long, slow movies create a lasting effect that one simply cannot experience in short films. It’s as if we’ve spent a lifetime with the characters, going through feelings and experiences we wouldn’t normally have in our fast-paced world. These movies will let you take a break and recharge from the fast-paced reality of the finals.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.