So, I kinda skipped last week, since it was both Thanksgiving (speaking of which, you should’ve really watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles), as well as my mom’s birthday, and I figured that was a good time to take a break (and stock up on lots of cheap movies from Black Friday, etc). November updates were pretty sparse, for sure, but that’s soon about to end, now that it’s December, ’cause Christmastime is here!
As always, I’ll be reviewing strictly Christmas movies up until December 25th (with exception to maybe a couple theatrical releases and maybe a Hanukkah movie, too, though that’s all doubtful, beyond one promise I made earlier this year that I fully intend on keeping, despite how much it’ll pain me to keep).
To recap, here’s a list of previous Christmas and Christmas-appropriate movies I’ve reviewed in the past:
- Batman Returns (It’s set during Christmas, so it counts!)
- Disney’s A Christmas Carol
- A Christmas Story
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
- Die Hard
- Home Alone / Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- Jingle All the Way
- Joyeux Noël
- Meet Me in St. Louis
- Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
- The Muppet Christmas Carol
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
- The Polar Express
- Rise of the Guardians
- White Christmas
And, for good measure, just ’cause it’s one day of the year rather than a whole season, let’s not forget about New Year’s, as well, as I reviewed the dreadful New Year’s Eve, too.
It’s my favorite time of the year, and the cold weather, of course, provides the perfect excuse to stay inside and watch a few movies, even here in Arizona (as if I needed one), so I hope you enjoy the movies just as much as the holidays!
For now, as always, I leave you with a Christmas-appropriate video. I haven’t watched this myself, and it’s likely to get removed from YouTube at some point, but until then, enjoy Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas. (It’s currently available for streaming on Netflix, too, so consider that a viable option if you have it!)
Happy Halloween, everyone! Welcome to The Viewer’s Commentary’s third annual Scary Movie Month – now redubbed Halloween Movie Month! Why the name change? Because the “Scary” in the title of Scary Movie Month just didn’t seem appropriate when the true spirit behind this theme month is not that I review just scary movies, but I could also include comedies, dramas, or even musicals! As such, I figured that it was time to make the title skew more towards the holiday theme, rather than make it seem like I was sticking to just the horror genre – I’d even broken the “rule” in the past, so it was already fairly inappropriate. That being said, you can pretty much still expect most of the movies being from or at least touched by the horror genre – but you’ll also see that I’m opening up to a wider range of movies, as well.
It’s funny — I had originally started out this theme month to broaden my horizons and explore a genre that I never really was that fond of. Now, in only two years, though, it’s actually one of the things I actually look forward to the most every year, even if I still wouldn’t necessarily call myself a horror connoisseur. Go figure!
October 2013 also marks the beginning of my third year writing for this blog, which had its first post all the way back on September 13, 2011! It’s been a fun couple years writing – though it’s still just a hobby, I’ve become rather well known amongst my small circle of people for being the guy who writes about movies, and I couldn’t be prouder of myself for having stuck with it so long and for still having such a passion for writing about the movies I watch, love, and even loathe – in total, I have written 197 posts, not counting this one, and about 147 reviews of individual titles have been written for this blog as of this writing, including an unprecedented mini-review of an animated short, Paperman. In the future, I hope to continue writing reviews as well as get back to more analytical articles and a few fun lists, as well, which I have admittedly gone away from for quite some time.
Until then, below is not only an alphabetical list of past scary movie and Halloween-appropriate movies that I’ve reviewed in the past, but also a very low quality upload of the hilarious Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode where they riff on the convolutedly titled The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies to sate your appetite until my next review, Zombieland, is posted. I cannot guarantee how long that video will be up, so my apologies if it’s no longer up by the time you get there. If that’s the case, I’ve also embedded the official YouTube video of the original movie itself, sans snarky commentary. (Your mileage may vary on that one…) Thanks again for reading The Viewer’s Commentary, and I hope you all have a great Halloween!
Halloween Movie Reviews: Sept. 2011 – Sept. 2013
So I did Girly Movie Month for May in honor of Mother’s Day in honor of my mom, who, on top of being a female, is also quite girly. Naturally, my first thought after starting that was, “What am I going to do in honor of Father’s Day?”
My stepdad is quite a man’s man, coming from a family that originates in Texas. Naturally, my inclination was to do a month of reviewing nothing but “manly” movies — stuff like Die Hard, Braveheart, Casino Royale, and Man on Fire. But that sounded incredibly bland. Even as a guy, I can only take so many action movies starring burly action stars.
As such, what I decided upon was something that allowed me to be a bit more flexible in my reviews, a theme that would allow me to incorporate not just those manly movies, but films from a slightly broader selection of genres. The solution? Guy Movie Month!
Guy Movie Month will focus on movies specifically designed to appeal to the male demographic, whether they be action, comedy, or even coming of age films. This way, films like Shaun of the Dead and Superbad will also make it in, and I won’t have to watch film after film of sweaty men killing people all the time and thus avoiding my mind from going numb. Hope you enjoy it as much as you did Girly Movie Month — even if you’re not a guy!
Disclaimer: Incidental reviews of theatrical films during this time will not be counted as “guy” movies, unless, of course, they are actually a “guy” movie.
So, May has begun! And what comes with May? FLOWERS! And Mother’s Day! And my mom’s pretty girly — she had me make sure that her Dutch Bros. cup was pink, which was only available online — so, yeah, to commemorate the month of flowers and mothers who like girly things, I’m going to review nothing but girly movies!
Wait! No! Not that kind of “girly movie.” Geez, you freak!
No, what I mean are movies like You’ve Got Mail, The Lake House, Bridesmaids, Enchanted, Brave, etc. will, for the next month, grace The Viewer’s Commentary – only not those, ’cause I already reviewed those.
Stereotypically girly, you say? So be it. I’ll most likely be doing something similar for June and Father’s Day… Anyway, yeah, so get ready to get in touch with your feminine side. Girly Movie Month begins…
Disclaimer: Incidental reviews of theatrical films during this time will not be counted as “girly” movies, unless, of course, they are actually a “girly” movie.
You ever have those periods of time when a big change happens in your life, and this causes a sort of ripple effect that unexpectedly knocks you off your feet and you can’t quite sort yourself out again? I’m feeling that way right now, what with the recent challenges of getting this whole living on my own thing sorted out right now. All this time to myself (after work, of course), and I’ve certainly been using it to watch lots of movies, but I’ve also had to slowly but surely get my apartment together, something that’s been somewhat of a challenge considering the fact that I’ve just never been the tidiest person on earth.
So, needless to say, what with the move, the cleanup, the much-needed 11-day vacation, and work, I’ve been having a sort of scheduling issue this past month, and I feel sort of guilty for having neglected my blog for so long. Heck, I had completely intended on running a review of The Passion of the Christ for Easter Sunday, but I spent most of that time debating whether or not I was willing to put myself through such a brutal film once again just in the name of a review. Ultimately, that evolved into a list of films about redemption, but going down to visit my family for Easter proved to be a priority. I’m just in need of figuring out the scheduling again, especially now that I’m responsible for 100% of my meals instead of, like, 75%, when I had a human roommate. I know that these are famous last words, but this site is not dead, though, and I’m already working on my next review. It’s just a matter of sorting things out and not starting reviews at, like 11PM.
So, yeah, so much for March. Hello, April!
Happy New Year, everyone! 2012 has come and gone, and we’ve made it into 2013 still standing, despite what some may have feared. Lucky us! It’s looking like 2013 will be an exciting year for franchise films, what with a new Star Trek, Iron Man, Thor, Superman, and Die Hard, but then there’s also original material like Guillermo del Toro’s awesome-looking Pacific Rim and District 9 director Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, too! (I’m sure there are some other movies in there that aren’t sci-fi or fantasy-based, too, that might turn out to be good, but these aren’t usually the types of films that generate buzz so early on until they’re shown at film festivals.)
But before we jump into the films of the new year, let’s take a look back at what was supposed to be the final year of the planet as we know it through the films that were released in our apparently bygone twilight period. As with 2011, in the coming weeks, I will be deconstructing 2012 into the following categories (subject to being broken down into smaller parts):
- Notable Films I Managed to Avoid Seeing
- The Films I Liked in 2012
- The Worst of 2012
- My Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2012
Since 2012 was also my first full year of blogging, I aimed to see more theatrical releases and, barring that, renting 2012 releases as soon as I possibly could, but there are still some notable films that I just wasn’t able to get around to, mostly due to having to gauge my expenses — usually because films were released so closely together. That being said, I’m really looking forward to looking back on what turned out to be one of the more exciting and satisfying years in film, in my humble opinion. But, in case you can’t wait, feel free to peruse through the archive and check out all the parts of 2011 in Review, conveniently ordered out for you below!
It’s that time of year again. 2012 has nearly gone, and yet it always seems like there’s even more to do this time of year than any other time of year, what with Thanksgiving leading into Christmas and then into the New Year. I spent last week with my family for Thanksgiving, as well as my mom’s birthday soon after, and so I didn’t really get around to getting my Miracle on 34th Street review out around the time that I intended, so I basically considered it an unofficial start to my second Christmas Movie Month. It’s mere coincidence that my mom wanted to go see Rise of the Guardians, which features Santa, but isn’t necessarily about Christmas, so that was kind of a happy accident. Now, however, I’m switching gears fully into Christmas mode, once again!
In case you missed any of my reviews from last year, here’s a quick rundown of films that I reviewed for Christmas 2011:
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The Polar Express
Meet Me in St. Louis
Scrooged, A Muppet Christmas Carol, and Disney’s A Christmas Carol in an ill advised Grudge Match Review that I came to despise doing – Part 1 & Part 2
For this year, I plan to stay on task a bit more, and I’ve already got several reviews planned! Let’s also not forget that the aforementioned Miracle on 34th Street pulls double-duty as both a Thanksgiving and Christmas film! I also promised last year that I would review Eight Crazy Nights for those of you who celebrate Hanukkah, but the film disappeared around that time from Netflix, and I wasn’t about to use up a Blockbuster movie exchange. This year? … Maybe. But I’m not making any promises. That movie was pretty awful… Anyway, aside from maybe a few incidental theatrical reviews and one “special” review that I’m planning on writing at the end of this week (hint: it’s all about the supposed oncoming of the end of the world, and I’m not about to watch that movie or write that review without a few drinks to help me along), you can pretty much just expect Christmas movies until that day comes!
Until then, just in case I don’t get around to that awful Adam Sandler Hanukkah movie, please enjoy this classic Saturday Night Live animated music video instead, “Christmas for the Jews”:
It’s that time again! Halloween is coming up, and so it’s time for scary movies! Last year, I wound up focusing a great deal on classic slasher films, with a few other sub-genres thrown in for good measure. For your convenience, I’m including a link to all the scary movie reviews I wrote right here, in order:
The Last House on the Left (1972)
The Last House on the Left (2009)
Friday the 13th (1980)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
28 Days Later
Shaun of the Dead
I list these because, as you can see, it’s a lot of slashers, sequels, and remakes, with Contagion being arguably the only odd duck, as it is a scary movie, but not necessarily horror. I felt it necessary at the time to explore these slashers, largely because they were films I wasn’t that familiar with. I didn’t particularly enjoy watching all of these grouped together, but I did enjoy the learning experience. This year, however, I’m going to focus more on scary movies that I, personally, enjoy. I intended to review some of these films last year but, for several reasons, did not get around to doing so.
Seeing as how Halloween is also my birthday, I’m feeling a bit selfish this year, I guess. I’m turning 26, and I’m feeling as though my youth has peaked, and I’m now beginning the downward spiral. Call me dramatic, if you must! So, yeah, you’re mostly going to see reviews of films that I actually do enjoy, though I’ll try to sneak in a few that I don’t as well. You’ll also likely see a few reviews of films that are not scary or horror, but those will only be theatrical reviews. One you will most certainly see sometime soon is a review of Looper, for example. (Go see it — It’s fantastic!)
So, yeah, that’s my plans for my second annual Scary Movie Month this year! I hope that the scary movies that I enjoy will lead some of you to new and enjoyable experiences, though I can’t exactly say that I’m all that adventurous when it comes to this genre. Feel free to chastise me if that is the case, though I doubt I’m going to get as sidetracked as I did last year, when I let some Elm Street fans hijack my attention and ended up reviewing a whopping four Freddy Krueger films.
What I am going to do, however, is provide you with a great horror film to kick things off. This year’s public domain YouTube post is The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a horror film hailing from Germany that had a great deal of influence not only on Tim Burton (an obvious point), but also features Conrad Veidt, an actor who would go on to play another scary character in The Man Who Laughs and would directly influence the creation of Batman’s arch nemesis, The Joker. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was one of the first full length silent films that I watched, thanks to my freshman year, second semester film history class in college. The bizarre visuals, freaky makeup, and shadowy, brooding atmosphere is fantastic and still effective at inducing fear and anxiety, even after over 90 years have passed since its creation. I hope that you will enjoy it as well as the rest of Scary Movie Month this year!
Just a quick update today, as I’ve not been feeling too well. I figured I’d do a little bit of writing, however, and take some time out to discuss what’s been up in my own life for once — for a blog, I just don’t write that much about myself, it seems, so I think it’d be nice to do now that I’m feeling all tired and such.
Up until today, the most exciting thing that happened recently in my movie-watching life was my pre-ordered copies of The Aristocats, The Rescuers films, and Pocahontas arriving in the mail.
I’m a huge fan of Disney animation, and with these films and the upcoming Cinderella, I will have 26 of the 52 Disney Animated Feature films, spanning DVD and Blu-Ray, a number that includes this year’s really fun-looking release, Wreck-it-Ralph:
A long time ago, when I first started this blog, I intended to start something going down every single Disney animated feature, as well as Pixar’s, but those kinda fell to the wayside. I’m still planning on it, however, and I’m just figuring out the logistics of how that’s going to work, exactly. Perhaps it’ll be along the lines of my Ultimate Evolving Superhero Films List, but I kind of wanted to go deeper into the films, too, so who knows? I’ll figure something out, though!
Speaking of that list, by the way, after all the superhero stuff I’ve been covering lately, part of me has been drifting towards older movies. In the past week or so, I’ve watched Sabrina, which features a very endearing performance by Audrey Hepburn and even a surprisingly sweet performance by Humphrey Bogart, whose only other movie I have seen, I am ashamed to say, was just Casablanca, which I also rented this past weekend, along with American Psycho, which isn’t exactly old and was certainly new for me. (I enjoyed it, if you’re wondering.)
Same goes for Glengarry Glen Ross, which showed up on Netflix streaming this week and was an amazing experience. All the actors in that movie are hamming it up in the most awesome way, with Al Pacino actually having to keep his head above his costars, including Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, and Ed Harris, who are also stellar. Not to overlook Kevin Spacey, that is, who puts in a comparatively understated performance as the office manager (or whatever his title was) whom nobody likes. Again, however, that’s not exactly an old movie so much as it is an older movie.
I also threw on The Shop Around the Corner one late night, which came with my copy of You’ve Got Mail, and I’ve got to be honest — it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I know it’s a beloved classic, and I’m not going to begrudge anyone who does love it, but I found it rather… droll. Perhaps it’s my unreasonable love for the snappier remake, but I did enjoy the lead performances in Shop, despite not being much of a fan of the film itself. Perhaps a second, non-late night viewing is in order.
But the oldest film I watched recently was 1933′s King Kong, which was prompted after my buying the masterful 2005 remake at my local Bookman’s for a steal. It was my first viewing, and I can honestly say that the spectacle, if not the special effects, holds up very well, even today, and I thought that the stop motion effects and camera tricks were fantastic. According to this Roger Ebert review, the projection screen they used for some of the background effects was pieced together from condoms! How hilarious is that? I must also note that I watched the ’76 remake, too, before watching the original, each for the first time. It was an interesting experience going back in time, almost like tracing back the history of the story, from 2005 back to 1933. I can honestly say that I consider the 1933 and 2005 versions to be brilliant, but the 1976 modernized version is pretty awful. I plan on doing a review of each of these films soon, once I finish up that Superhero Films List — part 3, the final initial increment of the list, is still coming!
Another goal of mine is to commemorate director Tony Scott, whose work I have honestly not been the biggest fan of, but he was a director whose style I nonetheless admired, with his gritty . I enjoyed Top Gun far more than I expected, cheesiness and all, when I first watched it a while ago, and Unstoppable was great fun and illustrates that a good action film doesn’t necessarily have to have a central villain. I also happen to think that Man on Fire is an underrated thriller, so expect a review of that to come, as well. It’s truly sad when we lose great talents, and it’s even sadder when it likely could have been prevented. I send my condolences to his family and hope that they have the support that they need at this difficult time.
Shifting gears, I previously said that my Disney movies were the most exciting thing happening this week, up until today. That’s because I bought myself a new laptop, which I’d been meaning to do for quite some time, but had to save up for it. Here’s the super awesome deal that I got that was only a little more than I expected to pay: http://dealzon.com/deals/lenovo-ideapad-y570-coupon#lenovo-ideapad-y570-08626qu
How is this relevant? Well, basically, this is going to enable me to write more and get more active with my writing. I had a laptop last year that crapped out on me before I started The Viewer’s Commentary, and, honestly, I miss it dearly. I have a hard time keeping focus, and staying in one place is really hard. When my laptop died last year, I had to get a cheap computer, fast, as I had nothing else. The desktop I’m currently writing on, a Compaq bought off the shelf no less, was a used computer I got from my buddy for $200 and has done an admirable job in the past year and a half, but I miss the intimacy of a laptop and the ability to move around wherever and whenever I wanted without having to abandon my work.
This new machine, which I only found tonight, but have been saving up for unknowingly for the past several paychecks, has Blu-Ray built in, so I’ll finally be able to take more screenshots on my own, rather than searching for them on the web. Seriously, this is going to hopefully allow me to write more and be more mobile, rather than having to sit in my uncomfortable chair in my room, and even if I go visit my family 100 miles away, I can finally take a computer with me and update from there when everyone else has gone to bed. Now all I have to do is get in the habit!
So, that’s what’s going on in my life these days, at least as far as my movie viewing habits goes. I’m planning on seeing ParaNorman this weekend, as I’ve been given a Groupon movie pass from my boss to a local theatre, so, huzzah! Expect a theatrical review of that, too!
Hey, I just wanted to say that I had completed a review of Attack the Block just a few minutes ago and found out that, despite saving several times, the draft did not save and the publishing of the article did not go through. As a result, I have to start from the previous save file, which was not nearly as complete and does not reflect over an hour’s worth of revisions. The review will be posted soon, but I’m tired and frustrated and will work on the review again later as it is now after 1:00AM. *sigh*
I’ll try again later…