Movies, who doesn't like them? Watching a movie is probably the most standard way of having a good time- alone; accompanied; at home or outside! They are entertaining, can be stress-relieving, serve as an escape from reality, can educate you, or even provide you with a thoughtful and inspirational experience. Films are easily and quickly available nowadays, through bargain DVDs selling all over the place, passing on the many movie channels of your cable/satellite service provider, or through the various streaming clients you can find online.
Personally, watching movies has become more and more one of my most-cherished past-times, hobbies and personal interests. I love the feeling I get when I go the cinema, the emotional impact of great dramas and the excitement of thrilling and fantastic flicks! Not to mention the interesting history behind movies, the fascinating evolution of cinema, and all that buzz constantly surrounding the 7th art and those working in the medium!
This article illustrates movie categories and sub-genres ideal for some memorable home movie-sessions! It is based on personal opinion and from my experience of watching films, many of them!
A hybrid of crime dramas and thrillers
Thrillers have become quite popular in contemporary cinema. As the name implies, a thriller is a movie with the intention of thrilling the audience, with surprising moments and unexpected revelations, while making use of key scenes to send shivers down the spine of its viewer! The main plot of crime thillers is usually about the investigation of an on-going case, where the the identity, or identities of the criminals are kept a mystery until the very end of the movie, when big revelations happen. A particular movie that popularized this genre was Se7en, a story that follows two cops with an on-going case of a serial-killer, whose victims are brutally murdered in very peculiar ways.
There are also other variants of this sub-genre, one of which deals with the very popular conflict between the forces of justice and criminal organizations. These are also known as cop thillers, a type leaning more to action instead of suspense, while keeping the intensity of the genre.
Related: Top 10 Crime Thrillers
Playing with the mind
Contrary to other thrillers whose main characters rely more on physical action to face their enemies, psychological thrillers focus on the mind and one's psyche in order to resolve the plot. Psychological thrillers rely on complex plots as a means to engage the audience into a thinking process, by making them analyze the situation and evaluate the characters in the movie. Mind games, shadowy and deceptive characters, dark and grey ambience, claustrophobic scenarios and even supernatural and otherworldly settings are all elements that can be present in psychological thrillers.
The Game is a relatively popular psychological thriller with many of the genre-defining elements, from the same director of Se7en.
Stories for the heart
Drama is a huge word and it can refer to many things. In the movie industry, it is used to classify movies that generally deal with life, people and family, often relying on emotional stories to reach the audience. Human drama is not an ordinary term, but I use it to refer to movies that delve into human interaction and social behaviour. Decisions, choices, bonds, solitude and hardships are some of my favorite themes in a good drama. The Shawshank Redemption is a prime example of this type of movies and considered by many one of the best movies of all time.
Movies that deal with one's journey for self-discovery, or how the relationship with another may forever change one's view of life, have much value and can make for unforgettable experiences, broaden your horizons and even change your ways.
Taking you to other times
What makes movie epics so appealing is their often grander scale in comparison to other genres. War epics, in particular, explore past events that led to wars between nations, histories of conquest and loss, myths and legends. I'm so fond of this type of movies for one simple reason: they take me from my time to another, giving me 2 hours of refuge in war and blood from the monotony and hardship of the every-day routine. When I think of war epics, Gladiator quickly comes to mind, the impressive large-scale story of the Roman general who became a slave, who became a gladiator, who defied an emperor.
Because sometimes reality is not enough
When I watch a movie, what I'm really doing is escaping from my reality. When I think of escaping from reality, I think of fantasy, or of another realm that does not remind me of my own! This makes me a great defender of fantasy movies, a genre that divides opinions. Some folks can't get enough of them (even the bad ones!), while others will simply disregard them for being far too far-fetched. The truth is, fantasy is supposed to be just that, fantasy. Reality will always walk hand in hand with fantasy, though. After all, it is our imagination that drives us forward.
The trilogy of The Lord of the Rings perfectly captured the spirit of the books and gave us a memorable story of large scale and magnitude. The fight for liberty of the peoples of Middle-earth, underline other values in this fantastic epic of impressive artistic work.
Combining action with sience fiction
Much like fantasy, science fiction has a somewhat different audience, for its detachment from reality. However, sci-fi movies usually rely on science and actual theories to tell a story that could very well happen in our future. Looking back at some of the older sci-fi movies, their premises did happen, as is the case with the earliest, very rustic sci-fi movie, A Trip to the Moon of George Melie. I like action movies for their excitement, and I like science fiction for their impressive settings and daring themes. Mixing the two of them has given me some of my favorite movies of all time, like the legendary The Terminator and its sequel, or the more horrific Aliens, movies that have the main characters threatened by exterminating machines and monstrous extraterrestrials.
Showing dark, scary worlds
One of my most recent movie preferences of this list. Dystopian movies take their name from the concept of dystopia. They are usually set in an alternate reality, where society suffers at the hands of a corrupt or totalitarian government. Dystopian films are occasionally associated with post-apocalyptic scenarios or cataclysmic events, being associated with science fiction as well. A Clockwork Orange still ranks as one of the most known and impacting movies of this kind, in a story where the government tries to fight criminality and street-violence, by experimenting on individuals with behavior-manipulation techniques.
I like how many of these movies send messages and encourage reflection through the use of plots in dark, nightmarish and even surreal worlds!
The truth is, everyone wants to be one!
Probably the most popular type of blockbuster in cinema today! Superhero movies are very recent, and practically separated themselves from science fiction/fantasy, creating a genre of their own. The growth of their popularity is simply astounding, partly because of the rebirth of popular comic book heroes on the big screen, such as the X-Men, Spider-man and Batman. I am of the opinion that comic books and superheroes aren't just for children and teenagers! (Well I should be, I'm defending myself...) People would be surprised by the quality of some of these stories and the themes behind them. However, just as it is with everything else, there is pretty bad stuff out there.
With the attention that superhero movies have been gaining lately, the thoughts of these stories being childish are slowly fading away, especially taking into account the releases of very well-directed, dark, dramatic and thought-provoking superhero films. A good example of a superhero movie that raised the bar for all others to come after it was Batman Begins, which revived the ever-popular dark hero from the comics, in a world comparable to our own, leading it into one epic dark knight trilogy.
Related: Top 10 Superhero Movies
Delving into the arts of action movies
Aw, martial arts, I can't describe in words how much I admire the feats the human body is capable of achieving, and how delighted I can be by watching a good choreography! Martial arts movies are really action movies, focusing more on the physical fighting aspect of it. But it's not all about fights! Martial arts have a spiritual side to them and are a way of life for many people, most notably in Asiatic cultures. A great movie, and a favorite of mine, that tells an incredible story while at the same time showcasing the magnificence and spectacularly of the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun, is IP Man- inspired on the story of Yip Man himself.
Using the art of slapstick
Alas, I'm also a great fan of comedy! When talking about entertainment, fun should ultimately be the most important factor involved! And the truth is, the act of laughing comes out naturally when you are happy or feeling good, it is the manifestation of happiness of your body! So, when considering what to watch, many will decide for a comedy movie.
Slapstick as it is called, is the art of making the audience laugh by exaggerating everything that may be considered normal! Ranging from one's own mannerisms to the act of doing some activity or job, slapstick is exceeding the boundaries of common sense, and making use of everything the body can do to create funny situations. Comedies in every medium have long used this concept to entertain audiences and provoke laughter. Although styles and mentalities have changed over the years, slapstick still makes many people laugh today, including me! The king of slapstick comedy was Charles Chaplin, a legend in comedy and cinema in general, that continues to make generations laugh with its unique presence on-screen. One of his most popular movies is Modern Times- an oldie, but one with plenty of value and gags!
And that's it folks. I sincerely hope you can find some value on this article despite the fact that it is more of a personal rambling than anything else. In any case, I can't stress enough that everyone is entitled to their own preferences! It's not like there is an obligation to like something because everyone is raving about it, or feel ashamed for enjoying something less popular or contemporary. Watch what you like and have great movie sessions!