Recommended Movies for the Winter Holidays


The Life of Maverick

The movie I’d like to recommend here is “Top Gun.” Released in 1986, this action movie depicts the story of Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, a pilot who takes on the most challenging fighter pilot training program “Top Gun.”

While the powerful combat scenes and immortal songs like “Danger Zone” and “Top Gun Anthem” are major highlights, what I really want to emphasize is the confident lifestyle of the protagonist, Maverick.

Maverick is supremely confident in his abilities, often showing a cheeky attitude towards his superiors. He’s not much interested in following rules, instead sticking to his own beliefs and instincts. Behind this lies his undeniable talent, displaying exceptional skills in flying fighter jets. Maverick, while arrogant, is the ultimate professional.

His overflowing confidence is also evident in his personal life. His stylish fashion, exemplified by his sunglasses and leather jacket, is incredibly cool; I even bought the same type of sunglasses. His always cool and composed demeanor is something I deeply admire. This extends to his approach to romance as well, being straightforward and genuine, and effectively showcasing his charm. Many would aspire to be like him.

As I’ve discussed, “Top Gun” has much to offer from a unique perspective, but as mentioned earlier, it’s also filled with breathtaking action scenes. On a cold winter’s day, this movie is sure to heat things up.

TOP GUN | Official Trailer | Paramount Movies


Light and Shadow of Hollywood’s Golden Age

Directed by Damien Chazelle, renowned for “La La Land,” “Babylon” focuses on the lives of people in the so-called golden age of Hollywood in the 1920s.

When the film industry was a nascent form of entertainment, people were captivated by silent movies. Hollywood, as the new entertainment industry’s mecca, attracted numerous young dreamers. Manny, an aspiring youngster, and Nellie, a fearless and free-spirited woman, meet at a party of Jack, an instant celebrity silent film star. Manny becomes Jack’s assistant, and Nellie begins her ascent in Hollywood as an actress.

The first half of the movie, depicting their climb to Hollywood stardom, is rhythmically portrayed and a joy to watch. Especially noteworthy is Nellie’s first job as an actress, where Margot Robbie’s emotive performance is striking.

Contrasting with the lively plot, the naive characters’ gradual transformation while being molded by Hollywood is skillfully depicted. Life becomes more flamboyant and the social circles more demanding, all during a major transition to talkies (sound films). As sound is integrated into films, bringing changes in shooting style, studio operations, and acting methods, how will these Hollywood inhabitants adapt?

The movie dynamically and rhythmically portrays the tumultuous golden age of Hollywood, spotlighting people from various backgrounds.

The contrast and transition between the glamorous world and its darker side, dreamers and the successful, fading silent movies and emerging talkies are beautifully depicted in a manner characteristic of Damien Chazelle. It’s a must-watch for the end of the year.

Babylon Official Teaser (Complete Version)


Experiencing AALTO

Alvar Aalto, a prominent Finnish architect and designer, is well-known for his simple design of the Stool 60 with three legs and a single seat. Fascinated by Nordic design during my study abroad in Scandinavia last year, I couldn’t resist heading to the cinema after seeing the trailer.

The film portrays Aalto’s life, narrated along with letters written by his first wife Aino and testimonials from his second wife Elissa and friends. Particularly moving were the letters Aino wrote to Aalto. Both architects and partners in both professional and personal life, their mutual support was strikingly evident. The letters were filled with respect and love, further enhanced by beautiful music and visuals.

The film also showcases some of Aalto’s works, with my favorite being the Louis Carré House. Designed for the French art dealer Louis Carré, it features white walls and warm wooden materials. Although I’m no architecture expert, the minimalist Nordic charm and the warm light through the large windows felt nostalgically familiar. The overall subdued use of background music, including the scenes of the Louis Carré House with natural sounds of birds and rustling leaves, made it feel like stepping into another dimension, a unique cinematic experience.

Regardless of one’s interest in architecture or interior design, this film is likely to be enjoyable to many. There is much to learn from the relationship and perspectives of Aalto and Aino, who turned their passion into their profession and mutually respected and inspired each other. I highly recommend this movie for its comforting Nordic ambiance.

Movie 'AALTO' Official Trailer


Questioning the Ultimate Theme of ‘Living’ Through a System of Choosing Death

This work tackles the sensational theme of “drawing lines in life based on age.” It portrays a Japanese society where the “Plan 75” system is enacted, allowing elderly people over 75 to choose death as a solution to an aging society.

The protagonist, 78-year-old Michi Tsunogai (played by Chieko Baisho), lives alone after losing her husband. She’s laid off from her hotel cleaning job due to her age and faces the demolition of the apartment complex she resides in. Increasingly cornered, Michi eventually decides to apply for “Plan 75.”

Watching this film, what struck me was how realistically the acceptance of this system in Japanese society is portrayed. As the writer and director Chiee Hayakawa suggests, it prompts a reconsideration of the dangerous yet prevalent societal mindset of measuring human life by productivity.

The movie’s serious tone is amplified by the brilliant acting and the technique of long single-take shots. In an era of increasingly short video content, deciphering the nuances in the film’s silences is a unique cinematic experience.

While not a happy-ending movie, it’s a film I recommend when one has the time and mental space.

PLAN 75 Official Trailer