Moviegoer: Beat the Heat with Winter Films

Mads Mikkelsen stars in the movie Arctic.

Think cool with these winter wonderland movies 

The heat and humidity have finally found Chesapeake Country, making it a little easier to socially distance because it’s too hot to get too close. If the heat and the summer storms have you wishing for a cooler climate, take a trip with these five movies, all of which have a theme that should cool you off.  

Netflix: Klaus 

As punishment for being the worst student the postal academy has ever seen, Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) is banished to a post office in a tiny Arctic town that’s in the middle of a feud. The only way Jesper can get out of the posting is if he gets the town to send a thousand letters. That’s easier said than done when the town elders won’t interact at all.  

When Jesper discovers Klaus (J.K. Simmons), a woodsman who loves making toys, he gets an idea: If he can convince the children to post letters to Klaus requesting toys, he’ll meet his letter quota. But the joy of the children begins to change the small little town. Can a little bit of kindness and a few stamps really end the feud? 

If you’re looking for a little Christmas in July, Klaus is the perfect way to get in the spirit. The sweet animated film is an excellent reminder that the spirit of the season is always more important than the present tally. Featuring great vocal performances from Simmons and Schwartzman, the movie is surprisingly funny and can appeal to all ages.   

Good Animation * PG * 96 mins.  

Disney+: Cool Runnings 

Derice Bannock (Leon Robinson] dreams of being an Olympian. When his hopes of qualifying as a sprinter are dashed by bad luck, Derice fears his dream is dead. But when he meets disgraced former bobsled coach Irv (John Candy), Derice realizes he still has a shot at Olympic glory. 

Derice puts together a bobsled team. At first, the town thinks it’s a joke, Jamaica has never had a bobsled team. They don’t even have any snowy conditions to train on. But as the men train together, they begin to win supporters. Can a Jamaican bobsled team medal at the Olympics? 

Based on a true story, Cool Runnings is a silly film about chasing your dreams no matter what. Whether they’re practicing in a freezer truck or training with pushcarts, these men won’t be denied their goal. Director Jon Turteltaub blends humor and an underdog sports story for a truly inspiring tale of perseverance. Brilliant performances from Candy and Leon help sell this family flick.  

Good Comedy * PG * 98 mins.  

Prime: Arctic  

After his plane goes down, pilot Overgård (Mads Mikkelsen) manages to eke out a meager existence. He ice fishes, treks to the top of a hill to attempt to signal for help, avoids a hungry polar bear and maintains a giant SOS in the snow. His days are repetitive with no hope of rescue in sight. He’s lost three toes to frostbite and it’s just a matter of time before the rest of his body gives out.  

When a helicopter arrives, Overgård thinks he’s saved. But the helicopter goes down in a blizzard, leaving only a wounded pilot and a destroyed machine. Overgård must decide whether to stay put and let the pilot die or attempt to drag her on a perilous journey to a lookout post. 

If you’re longing for colder weather, Arctic might make you reconsider. A stirring survival adventure, this is a film that will have you on the edge of your seat as Overgård trudges through nearly impossible conditions. The film also features an amazing performance by Mikkelsen, who’s alone for most of his screen time. It’s incredible to watch him hold the frame in a nearly silent performance.  

Great Action * PG-13 * 98 mins.   

Hulu: Anna and the Apocalypse  

Anna (Ella Hunt) wants nothing more than to leave her small Scottish town of New Haven. She has big plans to travel and have adventures. The thrills find her instead when zombies raid her town. Now she has to fight through zombies using little more than her wits and spare Christmas decorations if she’s ever going to leave town.  

Did I mention this is a musical? 

Combining zombies, musical numbers, and some genuine laughs Anna and the Apocalypse is basically Sean of the Dead for theater kids. Though at times the humor is a little broad, the movie stays entertaining thanks in large part to a star turn from Hunt. The result is a holiday zombie flick that’s surprisingly peppy and full of catchy tunes. If you’re in the movie for a cold weather flick that’s full of quirks and gore, Anna and the Apocalypse has just enough bite to keep you occupied.  

Good Horror Musical * R * 99 mins.  

Kanopy: Force Majeure  

While enjoying a ski trip in the French Alps, a Swedish family sees a controlled avalanche and mistakes it for a deadly force of nature. In a panic, Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke) abandons his children and wife, running to safety. After the snow settles, he’s faced with two scared children and a furious wife. Can Tomas win back the respect of his family before the vacation is over?  

DO NOT give in to temptation and watch the English version of this film starring Will Ferrell. It’s an anemic imitation with none of the original’s insightful writing or beautiful acting. Director Ruben Östlund examines traditional masculinity, relationship dynamics, and how relationship troubles  affect all those around them. The movie is moving, uncomfortable, and deeply funny. If you’ve been sheltering-in-place too long and said something terrible to your family in the heat of the moment, you’ll be able to relate to Force Majeure’s train wreck trip to the Alps.  

Great Dramedy * R * 120 mins.