A Rave Reviews retrospective

Rave Reviews celebrates its fifth anniversary this month! Yes, for the past five years this little column has been fortunate enough to grace the pages of SPIN Newsmagazine, and bring the readers a little taste of movie magic. So what better way to celebrate than to look at some of my favourite films of the past five years?

Favourite Real Life Story: I thought picking one film for this category would be easy, but so many great documentaries have come out in the past five years that I had to pick two. First, Born Into Brothels, one of my very first reviews back in 2005. The story follows photographer Zana Briski as she brings the restorative power of art into the lives of seven children living in the red-light district of Calcutta. The story is incredibly inspirational, and won an Academy Award in the category of Best Documentary Feature. Second, In the Shadow of the Moon, a jaw-dropping history of the Apollo Space Program. With beautiful footage from the lunar missions and insightful interviews with members of the Apollo flight crews, this is one of the must-see docs of the last decade.

Favourite Laugh-Out-Loud Comedy: Whether it was a runway full of drag queens in Kinky Boots or Amy Adams trying to cook a live lobster in Julie and Julia, there have been plenty of movie moments that have induced side-splitting, face-hurting laughter. But how can you top the well-balanced humour of Up? There’s something for everyone—clever wit, hair-brained schemes, simple-minded talking dogs. Dug the Dog is one of my favourite comedic characters of the last five years. I haven’t looked at a squirrel in the same way since I saw this movie!

Family First Favourites: Although I’m a self-professed horror lover, I’ve come to discover that my softer side craves stories about families, be they young or old, sewn-up serious or completely cracked. Two films really stand out for me over the past five years. The first is Waitress, starring Keri Russell as an unhappily married, pregnant waitress whose misfortunes turn out to be so many blessings in disguise. The other is The Namesake, an incredible story about an Indian couple raising their children in New York. Both films are absolutely delightful and worth pulling off the catalogue shelf at your local video store.

A New Favourite? Okay, so you’ve already seen all of my favourites and are looking for something fresh. Look no further than I am Love, a gorgeous Italian drama starring Tilda Swinton. Swinton plays a high society Italian housewife, dutifully managing hearth and home. When she falls for her son’s business partner, a torrid affair ensues that threatens to undo her life. Swinton is pure perfection, and the Italian vistas will leave you breathless. I am Love will definitely be a top contender for the next Rave Reviews retrospective.

Thanks so much to the team at SPIN for giving me five years of excuses to watch movies and write about them. And thanks to you, readers! Here’s to five more years of Rave Reviews!

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