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Film flurries 

There's no question that movie-watching is a most excellent winter hibernation activity. Few things are better than queuing up a good movie or two when the snow is blowing and the wind is howling. And what if you're looking for a little cinematic encouragement to get your butt off the couch and reacquaint yourself with the outside world? Well, movies can do that too!

Whether it's underdog athletes striving for glory, Liam Neeson battling the elements (and some seriously determined wolves), or Kathy Bates's terrifying bedside manner, here are some film recommendations that'll be sure to quicken the pulse, get your blood pumping, and leave you ready for action.

click to enlarge COURTESY COLUMBIA TRISTAR PICTURES
  • COURTESY COLUMBIA TRISTAR PICTURES

"Cliffhanger"

A bonafide classic of the '90s dumb-but-also-awesome action flick genre, "Cliffhanger" stars Sylvester Stallone as a ranger in the Colorado Rockies whose rescue team ends up tangling with a ruthless band of international thieves (led by scenery-chewing John Lithgow) combing the mountains for $30 million they've let slip through their fingers. It's over-the-top and very silly, but man is it entertaining, and I promise the sight of Stallone bench-pressing a bad guy onto a stalactite is all the gym motivation you're looking for.

click to enlarge COURTESY WALT DISNEY PICTURES
  • COURTESY WALT DISNEY PICTURES

"Cool Runnings"

Disney's fictionalized, family-friendly account of the first ever Jamaican Olympic bobsled team doesn't reinvent the wheel when it comes to underdog sports flicks, but I've got a soft spot for its mild fish-out-of-water humor and heart. Questionable accents aside, this charming comedy might just inspire you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

click to enlarge COURTESY 20TH CENTURY FOX
  • COURTESY 20th CENTURY FOX

"Eddie the Eagle"

A socially awkward, working-class British chap dreams of Olympic glory in Dexter Fletcher's entertaining sports-biopic about Michael Edwards (Taron Egerton), whose presence became a popular story at the 1988 games in Calgary (coincidentally the exact same Olympic Games that saw the debut of a certain Jamaican bobsled team). I've said it in these pages before, but Matthew Margeson's inspirational '80s-style synth score is a real banger. Crank it up when you're in need of that extra push.

click to enlarge COURTESY OPEN ROAD FILMS
  • COURTESY OPEN ROAD FILMS

"The Grey"

Liam Neeson stars in this bone-chillingly bleak thriller about a team of oil workers whose plane crashes deep in the Alaskan wilderness, leaving them to fight for survival as they find themselves stalked and hunted by a vicious pack of timber wolves. It's the perfect blend of primal man-versus-nature philosophizing and Liam Neeson punching wolves in the face. And hey, the ever-present existential terror of death nipping at your heels can be a great motivator for all kinds of things.

click to enlarge COURTESY WARNER INDEPENDENT PICTURES
  • COURTESY WARNER INDEPENDENT PICTURES

"March of the Penguins"

This Oscar-winning documentary follows the epic yearly journey of Antarctica's emperor penguins to reach their ancestral breeding grounds, find a mate, and hatch their young. If those adorable little birds can trek across the wintry tundra, braving the cold, exhaustion, starvation, and hungry predators, maybe the effort of brushing and scraping off your car to get to the gym isn't so bad.

click to enlarge COURTESY COLUMBIA PICTURES
  • COURTESY COLUMBIA PICTURES

"Misery"

Rob Reiner adapts Stephen King's novel about popular author Paul Sheldon (James Caan), who is rescued from a car crash by Annie (Kathy Bates), his less-than-stable "number one fan." Annie's doting efforts to nurse him back to health turn from uncomfortable to outright murderous as he's crippled, drugged, and held captive in her isolated home. His nightmarish plight is bound to leave you itching to get up and out of the house.

click to enlarge COURTESY UNIVERSAL PICTURES
  • COURTESY UNIVERSAL PICTURES

"The Thing"

John Carpenter's horror masterpiece follows a crew of American researchers in Antarctica who encounter a parasitic, shape-shifting alien lifeform that secretly assimilates its way into their group. The men's gradual descent into paranoia and violence (plus some of the most horrifying creature designs ever committed to film) will surely get your heart pumping.

Adam Lubitow is a freelance writer for CITY. Feedback on this article can be directed to becca@rochester-citynews.com.

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