Archive

Archive for December, 2012

Review: “New Year’s Eve”

December 29, 2012 6 comments
New Year's EveDirected by: Garry Marshall
Produced by: Mike Karz, Wayne Allan Rice, Garry Marshall
Written by: Katherine Fugate
Edited by: Michael Tronick
Cinematography by: Charles Minsky
Music by: John Debney
Starring (in alphabetical order, by first name): Abigail Breslin, Alyssa Milano, Ashton Kutcher, Carla Gugino, Cary Elwes, Halle Berry, Héctor Elizondo, Hilary Swank, Jake T. Austin, James Belushi, Jessica Biel, Joey McIntyre, John Lithgow, Jon Bon Jovi, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Heigl, Lea Michele, Ludacris, Matthew Broderick, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penny Marshall, Robert De Niro, Russell Peters, Ryan Seacrest, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sarah Paulson, Seth Meyers, Sofía Vergara, Til Schweiger, Yeardley Smith, Zac Efron
Year: 2011

 

The reason why I ordered the cast in such an order is, quite frankly, because I couldn’t figure out what the main starring role for this film was. Wikipedia had Halle Berry listed first, but I don’t really think her role as a nurse who simply stays put while a man is on his deathbed until it’s revealed in the final couple minutes that she’s also been longing this whole time for her man-in-combat really puts her at the forefront of this film’s ridiculously massive cast. The alphabetizing brings a little sanity to the madness of what amounts to a celebrity hodgepodge of A, B, and C-listers. At the very least, if that list doesn’t get me a bump in the site hits, I don’t know what will. (Possibly a review of Garry Marshall’s previous ensemble casserole, Valentine’s Day….) Read more…

Review: “A Christmas Story”

December 24, 2012 6 comments
A Christmas StoryDirected by: Bob Clark
Produced by: Bob Clark, René Dupont, Gary Goth
Written by: Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, Bob Clark
Edited by: Stan Cole
Cinematography by: Reginald H. Morris
Music by: Carl Zittrer, Paul Zaza
Starring: Peter Billingsley, Jean Shepherd, Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, Ian Petrella, Scott Schwartz, R.D. Robb, Zack Ward, Tedde Moore
Based on In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd
Year: 1983

 

It’s easy to forget how good a movie is when certain cable networks play it non-stop for 24 hours. There was a point where I simply had no desire to watch this movie. I was even sick of seeing the ads on TV for the “24-Hours of A Christmas Story” marathon. Luckily, we got rid of cable and, after a couple years, I oddly kind of forgot that the film even existed. It wasn’t long before the film came back up, however, when, one Christmas, my stepdad admitted that he had never seen it before. Somehow, here was someone who somehow had cable all this time but who had managed to avoid a holiday classic his entire life, despite this annual onslaught. I suddenly felt like I was prepared to revisit what was once the scourge of our Christmas season festivities, if only for the fact that here was someone who had yet to be touched by Ted Turner’s cynical yet depressingly successful grab for viewership. So, of course, none of us could let this stand any longer. We had to secure a copy of the film right then and there. Read more…

Dual Review: “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”

December 18, 2012 7 comments
Home AloneHome Alone
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Produced by: John Hughes
Written by: John Hughes
Edited by: Raja Gosnell
Cinematography by: Julio Macat
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, John Candy, Roberts Blossom, Gerry Bamman
Year: 1990

 

Home Alone 2: Lost in New YorkHome Alone 2: Lost in New York
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Produced by: John Hughes
Written by: John Hughes
Edited by: Raja Gosnell
Cinematography by: Julio Macat
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Tim Curry, Rob Schneider, Dana Ivey, Brenda Fricker, Catherine O’Hara, Eddie Bracken, John Heard, Gerry Bamman
Year: 1992

 

It had been a long time since I had seen any of the Home Alone films when I bought the Blu-Ray set of the first two films that went on sale earlier this month for the lovely price of about $12. Being in a spend-y mood, I bought it happily, having wanted but never owned the first two films since I was a little kid. (Oddly, I did own a VHS of the third film.) And, I gotta say, while I still mostly enjoyed the films, even at age 26, I didn’t find myself laughing at them nearly as much as I had as a little kid. It’s not that I’m above the whole slapstick thing — I just watched Ted for the first time tonight, and one of the funniest parts of that movie was the ridiculously violent beat down the teddy bear gives Mark Wahlberg — but I certainly felt a lot more cynical about it than I had expected.

Home Alone - Kevin McCallister

Perhaps it was the fact that I watched them back-to-back in one night. Perhaps it was because I watched them while cooking a turkey that inadvertently filled my apartment with large plumes of smoke (the turkey turned out fine, but I’m still unsure what caused all that). Or perhaps it’s because I realized that 2 is basically just a remake of 1 with extra ridiculous and a hefty dollop of moralizing. Maybe it was a combination of those factors.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York - Kevin McCallisterSo, rather than review these films separately, as I would with any other franchise, I decided to review them at the same time. Unlike with last year’s Grudge Match Review of adaptations of A Christmas Carol, however, this isn’t really a competition, but rather an efficient way of killing two birds with one stone. After all, take a look at those credits up there. The films are identical in cast and crew, with the second one doing the typical sequel thing by throwing in a few new faces for good measure, and, for the most part, they are the same in story structure, too. Read more…

Review: “It’s a Wonderful Life”

December 14, 2012 5 comments
It's a Wonderful LifeDirected by: Frank Capra
Produced by: Frank Capra
Written by: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Jo Swerling, Frank Capra (screenplay)
Cinematography by: Joseph Walker
Editing by: William Hornbeck
Music by: Dimitri Tiomkin
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Henry Travers, Frank Faylen, Ward Bond, Beulah Bondi, Joseph Kearns
Year: 1946
Based on the short story The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern

 

It’s almost impossible for me to hear the term “life-affirming” without thinking of something cloying or preachy. One of the few exceptions to this rule, however, is It’s a Wonderful Life — a film that, though undoubtedly now a Christmas season classic, is also a truly profound answer to the questions that may rise up as we go through life and its inherent trials. Read more…

Review: “Jingle All the Way”

December 12, 2012 6 comments
Jingle All the WayDirected by: Brian Levant
Produced by: Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan, Mark Radcliffe
Written by: Randy Kornfield, Chris Columbus (uncredited rewrite)
Editing by: Kent Beyda, Wilton Henderson, Adam Weiss
Cinematography by: Victor J. Kemper
Music by: David Newman
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman, Rita Wilson, Jake Lloyd, Robert Conrad, Jim Belushi
Year: 1996

 

A lot of Christmas movies attempt to sell us the idea that they know what the true meaning of Christmas is. Usually movies like these involve the main character committing some sort of minor, selfish sin that hurts a member (or members) of their family, especially the children, before going through some ordeal that causes them to realize, through some contrived epiphany, that all important (and incredibly generic) meaning behind the season: family. Cue the proverbial rush to make things right through some sort of breathless plea for forgiveness and confessions of mutual love before the warm embrace with their loved ones (spinning around is optional, but gazing upward in triumph is usually a must). It’s a familiar and easy formula, sometimes doctored up to make the story seem original, but usually there’s at least some sort of artificial sincerity at the film’s core that is just enough to make you feel warm inside, even if it’s just for a guilty moment. Read more…

Special Review: “2012” – Eat, drink, and be merry…

December 8, 2012 2 comments
2012 (film)Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Produced by: Harald Kloser, Mark Gordon, Larry J. Franco
Written by: Harald Kloser, Roland Emmerich
Cinematography by: Dean Semler
Edited by: David Brenner, Peter S. Elliott
Music by: Harald Kloser, Thomas Wander
Starring: John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Woody Harrelson, Liam James, Morgan Lily, Thomas McCarthy, George Segal
Year: 2009

 

Disclaimer: Aside from the insertion of images, film credits, and tags, this review is being written by someone who not only was having a couple drinks whilst watching this awful movie (and therefore was likely not paying too much attention), but was also very likely written while having a couple more afterward. Why? Have you SEEN this movie? It’s awful! One would need a few drinks to take any pleasure out of it! …That, and my roommate and I thought this would be a fun (possibly funny) experiment to see how well I write after a few drinks. All the great writers were abusers of substances, right? And so I figured I should review this before the big day comes, December 21, while everyone still supposedly has the time to read this. This review will not be edited once posted. My apologies to anyone who thinks I’m a bad influence. Hope you enjoy it as much as I hated this movie!

Disclaimer to the disclaimer: I am not an advocate of substance abuse, and this was all conducted within the safety of my apartment. Do not by any means take this an endorsement of illegal activity, irresponsible behavior, illicit drug use, and general, overall stupidity! Read more…

Review: Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

December 7, 2012 6 comments
The Nightmare Before ChriastmasDirected by: Henry Selick
Produced by: Tim Burton, Denise Di Novi
Written by: Caroline Thompson, Michael McDowell (screenplay); Tim Burton (story)
Cinematography by: Pete Kozachik
Editing by: Stan Webb
Music by: Danny Elfman
Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Ken Page
Year: 1993

 

Aren’t you glad that emo culture is on its way out? (Or is that fad already dead? I can’t really tell. Not in school any longer. I hope it is.) I remember this one emo kid in my high school, a couple grades below me, who went by the name of “Jack.” I put that in quotations because, as it turns out, his name wasn’t actually “Jack.” I honestly don’t remember what his name was, but I do remember how stupid I felt once I learned that his name actually wasn’t “Jack,” as I had come to believe, and that he had chosen this false name based on the lead character from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Read more…

%d bloggers like this: