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2013 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (September – December)

January 25, 2014 1 comment

Inside Llewyn Davis - Oscar Isaac

Oscar season! This is when the studios want to release the best films of the year (or so they say). Why? Because they want the films to be fresh in the voters’ minds. Prestige films and the like. Indie dramas, historical period films, war films, controversial films… If it can make you cry, your heartbreak, your spirit lift with joy, make you see things from a new light, this is the season.

It’s also a good time for seasonal holiday films. You’ve got your horror films to cover Halloween, your Christmas films for Christmas, and this year we even got an animated Thanksgiving film (though I’m not certain that all you people looking forward to a big piece of juicy turkey are going to love it). Meanwhile, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa get left out, once again. For some reason, this season was also rife with Christian films, from Kirk Cameron, to Miley Cyrus analogs, to Christmas miracles, the industry that claims to represent my faith has got you covered in that area. Woo.

It’s not all your typical films, though. More and more, Hollywood is figuring out that you should spread your action films and your romantic comedies throughout the year, rather than bunching them all into the middle. Consequently, we got a few Sylvester Stallone-involved flicks this season, a sequel to Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, as well as the latest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: The Dark World.

Nevertheless, as with the first and second entries, I couldn’t see them all, so, as with the last time, here are the films that, as of this writing, I did not see from May– August 2013, in order of release, as noted on Wikipedia. Please note that, as in the past, I still reserve the right to watch any film that is listed here and then re-remark on the film in one of the upcoming articles on films I did see from 2013. So, yes, again, you might see some of these films again, and soon, since this is the last of the films that I haven’t seen from the year. Enjoy! Read more…

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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: Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

December 7, 2012 7 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…

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