The Easter Weekend is quickly lurking, which for many of us, means a four day weekend and with snow due to hit the UK again over the bank holiday, it’s the perfect time to catch up on those films that have been on your 'to watch' list forever and those series your colleagues (and the whole of Facebook) couldn’t stop talking about, that you missed when they were on TV.
If you’re like us and dreading the return of the Beast From the East, why don’t you refresh your DVD collection with some newbies that are guaranteed to brighten up your Easter. Whether you are spending it alone, with your partner or are looking for something to keep the children occupied, we have the perfect Easter inspired suggestions for you. Prepare yourself for a blissful, long weekend consisting of chocolate, your sofa and the best in film and TV box sets.
For the chocolate lovers
Easter has become so much more than a religious holiday and for many people is an excuse to scoff their faces with chocolate but with our metabolisms slowing down and the risk of diabetes heightening, why not enjoy chocolate a different, more risk averse way this Easter with these two films, both staring Johnny Depp, that are just as sweet as coco.
Single mother Vianne arrives in a tranquil French town with her daughter and opens a unique chocolate shop. She creates a collection of mouth-watering sweets which seduce the usually dreary villagers to indulge their temptations and satisfy their desires – just as Lent begins. This award-winning film starring Juliette Binoche, Judie Dench and Johnny Depp is an enchanting, moving and heart-warming tale of love and temptation, a big-budget movie with its roots in European art house cinema.
It’s a chocolate inspired film for the whole family that never gets old, based on the beloved classic Roald Dahl tale, Charlie and The Chocolate Family. Young Charlie Bucket finds himself the winner of a 'Golden Ticket' from a Wonka Bar giving him and his Grandpa exclusive entry to a tour of the mysterious Chocolate factory, owned by the eccentric candy maker, Willy Wonka. Charlie and the other winners find themselves immersed in a magical world beyond their wildest imaginations - Oompa Loompas, golden egg-laying geese, everlasting gobstoppers, lickable wall-paper and chocolate rivers. This comedic and fantastical film provides laughs, magic and mystery – but beneath the chocolate galore, there is a moral story, warning children about the dangers of greed.
The Religious Adaptations
Easter is seen by the Christian world as the most holy celebration of the year and whether you believe in Christ or not, if you are celebrating Easter it’s only right that you understand what the festivities honour, because if it wasn’t for Jesus, we would be without the excuse to indulge in more chocolate than we know we should.
Robert Powell narrates this TV series dramatizing some of the most well-known fables from the Bible. It begins in the Old Testament with the biblical story of Creation and Noah’s Ark and takes us right through to the New Testament, including the crucifixion of Jesus, and his resurrection – the very day that Easter commemorates. The critically acclaimed series chronicles the agony of Jesus' final days and will enrich you with the beautifully performed and directed, stories that make up The Bible.
It was the winner of 11 Academy Awards in 1959, including Best Picture. It was a defining film of its time, once deemed 'the greatest of all spectacles' and to this day, remains one of Hollywood's most popular films made. It's a rich, complex dramatic experience full of intensity but spectacle aside, this film is nonetheless emotion-evoking and doesn't compromise on the human story. After seeing his mother and sister imprisoned, and himself being enslaved for three years, Ben-Hur plans and achieves revenge but upon his return to Jerusalem, he joins the following of Jesus Christ – the man who revived him when he had previously collapsed after being denied water during his enslavement, and finds true peace. Judah witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus and with the blood of Christ, heals his mother Miriam and sister Tirzah in one of the most memorable miracles depicted in cinema. Although set almost two thousand years ago in AD 26, this film doesn't lack in relatability and there are many parallels to society today - particularly the alienation of demographics within society, and the patriarchal class structure we are familiar with today.
Adapted from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical, "Jesus Christ Superstar" that had huge success in the West End and Broadway. It follows the last days of Jesus Christ's (Ted Neeley) life, told by a group of travellers who arrive in modern-day Jerusalem on a tour bus. Events are seen from the perspective of Apostle Judas, the man who betrays Jesus to the Judaic religious leaders in return for thirty pieces of silver. The films tells us a family-friendly version of the story that led us to the events that today’s Easter celebrations are in remembrance of.
Everyone is secretly a sucker for a bit of romance whether they'll admit it or not, so why not enjoy some classic love stories that will warm you up from the inside out this Easter weekend?
This visually gorgeous MGM classic is deemed a must-have DVD not only for it’s wholesome narrative that is appealing to all the family, but also its entertaining musical factor, as it’s packed full of catchy Irving Berlin songs that will undoubtedly lighted the spirits of the whole family. It’s perfectly suited Easter movie, opening with Fred Astaire as a Broadway showman buying Easter gifts and performing the number ‘Happy Easter’ and finishes with the films leads strolling along ‘An Easter Parade’. It also stars Judy Garland as a sweet innocent up-and-coming country girl out of her depth in the world of show-business who falls in love with a unrealising Fred Astaire in this charming romance.
It holds the title of the best romantic film of all time and this year it celebrates its 73rd Anniversary. This timeless classic is one of those films you must watch and regardless of however many times you do see it, it never fails to tug on your heart strings. This cinematic masterpiece was conceived at the end of World War 2, a time and a place so far from the world that we know now, especially the worlds we see depicted on screen. It was a period when sexual repression and altruism made moral sense so that is how people behaved, or at least on film and TV – it was rare to affairs and desire was presented with coy and censorship. So how is it that now, in a world that lives by the motto ‘sex sells’, a film so far from what we are familiar with, is still so popular? Well, it’s beautifully made, it's shot so eloquently, it’s complimented by a gorgeous soundtrack and it features stunning performances. It may well be, that we as an audience, no matter our age, are so compelled by the concept of falling in love, only to reject that seemingly perfect love. Brief Encounter is poetic, it’s romantic and it’s tragic – but it’s a film that will never get old and perfect for evoking some emotion this Easter.
Inspired by the Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny has become a symbol of the Easter celebration in the Western world and it is said to derive from as early as the medieval times. It was believed then that rabbits could reproduce without the loss of virginity, encouraging people to associate the animal with the Virgin Mary. Jesus's resurrection on Easter Monday is largely associated with new life and this is further emphasised with Easter falling in spring, a time where we see nature blossoming. Rabbits are also associated with strong fertility - with the ability to give birth multiple times within one year to large litters, therefore becoming a symbol of new life. With this in mind, one of these classic rabbit themed films is the ideal way to occupy your children during their time off school.
All of the delightful and much-loved characters, including Peter Rabbit, from the Beatrix Potter's famous stories come to life in this digitally restored version of the colourful and imaginative musical interpretation of her tales, choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, composed and scored by John Lanchbery, and danced by members of the Royal Ballet. These enchanting theatrical adaptations will charm children and adults alike.
The double BAFTA award winning cinematic adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel, Alice in Wonderland, that despite the varying modern adaptations, remains one of the most loved versions. This version is widely regarded as the most extravagant, yet reflective adaptation of what is one of the longest-living children’s favourite. When Alice (Fiona Fullerton) leaves her friends by the river to follow a white rabbit (Michael Crawford), she falls down a hole to the centre of the Earth and lands in the fantastical Wonderland.
In Wonderland, she meets a set of eccentric yet peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures including singing Caterpillar, a dancing Griffin, a sleepy Dormouse, a grinning Cheshire Cat and a mad March Hare, and together they become her unlikely companions.