Let it Snow
As winter sets in, here are six snow-centric movies for your consideration.
This dystopian sci-fi thriller by Korean director Joon Ho Bong got buried at the local Cineplex, which is unfortunate because it contains some terrific performances and a fascinating premise. A failed climate experiment plunges the entire globe into eternal winter. The handful of survivors travel the icy world on an elaborate train where deeply engrained human nature re-asserted a caste system among the passengers. Chris Evans (Captain America) is the intrepid outcast who decides to challenge the hierarchy and take control of the train. Also starring Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, and John Hurt. —M. F.
Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)
When a Washington State fisherman is found dead, suspicion falls on his Japanese neighbor who had a grudge against the dead man. Set in 1950, just five years after World War II ended, the movie explores racial undercurrents in a Puget Sound fishing village as families from different cultures try to adjust to life with people they are used to thinking of as the enemy. —P. G.
A Simple Plan (1998)
Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, The Evil Dead) directed this wickedly clever yet bleak crime thriller set in rural Minnesota. Three hapless acquaintances stumble across a crashed plane full of money and decide to quietly steal their way to the American dream. Unfortunately, they begin to mistrust each other almost immediately, and descend into a tangle of deceit, lying, and even murder. Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, and Bridget Fonda star in this neo-noir classic. —M. F.
I’ll confess to not being a particular fan of this ostensible classic from the Coen Brothers (Ethan and Joel); the violence is just a little too casual and the broad characterizations of Midwesterners feels pretty glib to this Indiana boy. Nevertheless, the performances of Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, and Steve Buscemi are noteworthy, along with the Coens’ signature mix of tension and humor. —M. F.
The Shining (1980)
The feverish horror stories of Stephen King don’t seem like obvious source material for auteur Stanley Kubrick, and in fact, King fanboys were scandalized by Kubrick’s liberties with the original narrative. But Kubrick’s meditations on the privations of isolation (physical and emotional) create a brooding resonance that transcends the limitations of the horror genre. Thirty-five years later, moments from this film continue to haunt and disturb. Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall, and one incredibly creepy mountain resort. —M. F.
Love Story (1970)
Romance blooms in the snows of New England as upper crust Harvard boy (Ryan O’Neal) falls for working class Radcliffe girl (Ali MacGraw) in this tearjerker that also manages to act cool despite some clunky dialogue. But 45 years later we’re still wondering what they mean by “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”