Sunday, 31 December 2017

Top 10 - Films of 2017

So this is my first 'best films of the year' list. I wasn't going to ever do them but I do love making lists. I was going to start doing them once I'd seen over 100 films per year - most years I have (I'm still transferring my reviews from an old site) but so far this year I've only seen around 80. Anyway, enough of my life story. I think I've seen enough films this year to start this list but it is subject to change.

My person favorites of the year are as follows:


10. Okja

Heartwarming, heartbreaking and nearly made me a veggie. Another brilliant film by Bong Joon-ho.


9. Logan

Told every other superhero/comic film to up their game and made a grown man cry damn it.


8. Colossal

One of the years most overlooked films. An indie classic in the guise of a big monster movie, I loved every minute.


7. Mudbound

One of the most beautifully directed/edited films I've seen in a long time.


6. Thor: Ragnorok

Marvel has perfected the balance of humour, sci-fi, action and that certain je ne sais quoi. Getting Taika Waititi in to direct was an inspired decision.

5. The Death of Stalin

Armando Iannucci's historical satire, starring Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin and Jeffrey Tambor is about as eclectic and ridiculous as you could ever hope for.


4. Prevenge

Wonderfully dark, funny and original. Alice Lowe is amazing.


3. The Other Side of Hope

Aki Kaurismäki is back and he's on fine form. Long may he continue.


2. Dunkirk

It was certainly the best war film of the year but then I think it was the only war film of the year. Forget that though, Dunkirk is one of the best war films of all time!


1. Blade Runner 2049

Expectations were high and I was so nervous they would mess it up. I adore the original film, it is one of my favorite films of all time and somehow Denis Villeneuve matched its greatness. Outstanding. Not only best film of the year but best of the decade so far. I nearly cried with joy.


Big shout out to the following films that almost made the list:

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
A fantastic comedy/drama with stand out performances. Wish it had had a big screen showing though.
I Am Not Your Negro
A stunning documentry, compelling and vital viewing.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Funny as hell and even better than the first.
Trainspotting 2
I seriously nearly cried after watching it. It gave me nostalgic feelings and also told me to stop being so nostalgic. Blade Runner 2049 made this a short-lived experience but I still loved it.
Get Out
A wonderfully original horror/thriller

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Mudbound
Dir: Dee Rees
2017
*****
At its heart, 2017’s Mudbound is about racism and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, both issues are dealt with in quite a specific manner but we are introduced to the story through a largely unrelated path. The film is set in Louisiana and opens with us being introduced to Laura McAllan, a 31 year old virgin living with her parents who is suddenly swept off her feet by her brothers boss. We learn about Laura (played by Carey Mulligan) through her own narration and she carries the story over to her husband Henry (played by Jason Clarke), his brother Jamie (played by Garrett Hedlund) and the Jackson family who rent farmland from them. Each character takes it in turn to tell their story through narration but the chapters are quite soft and the switch of narration is very subtle. It’s a fantastic format that while striking, is also very easy to follow. It is matched by some terrific performances and excellent direction from Dee Rees whose films, I believe, are too good for television premieres. Mudbound has received the recognition it deserves but it would have been glorious to have seen it on the big screen. I digress. The film looks at life in rural Mississippi and how unaffected it is during the Second World War. Jamie is sent to war, as is the Jackson family’s eldest son Ronsel (played by the show-stealing Jason Mitchell). While Jamie wasn’t particularly successful in his life before the war, he had his passions and lived the life of riley, while Ronsel worked hard to help his family on the farm and kept his head down with regards to the locals. They both find a sense of freedom and a sense of purpose while in the army and they also see hardship and horrors beyond their imagination. They see how little their lives matter in the scheme of things but also how important life is. They are treated as equals, they weren't black and white fighting alongside each other, they were Americans fighting for their freedom, brothers in arms as it were. Returning to their hometowns and going back to that unchanged life is hard to comprehend. Hard to comprehend for Jamie but near Impossible to comprehend for Ronsel, who after serving his country and putting his life at risk every day for his fellow countrymen, has to return to using the back door of the grocery shop and has sit at the back of the bus. Ronsel and Jamie become acquainted after meeting in town and develop a friendship that they keep secret from the townsfolk. They exchange war stories - good and bad and take comfort in the fact neither one of them is alone in their town that is totally unaffected by the way in which the second world war changed the world. Unfortunately for them, they are outnumbered by the ignorant and the bigoted and a series of events sees the pair fighting their own personal war. The synopsis may sound a little cliche but I assure you it isn't. The genre has been developed and furthered and Mudbound really does stand above many other films of its ilk. It is astonishing to learn that the story is in fact based on real life events and hasn't been made into a film before, again, my only real criticism of the film is that it wasn't shown in cinemas. Jason Mitchell steals the show and Garrett Hedlund is also impeccable. Carey Mulligan and Jason Clarke give great supporting performances and Rob Morgan and Mary J. Blige are both outstanding. Dee Rees deserves the attention of audiences and those in the industry, she deserves full rein from now on and the opportunity to shine on the sbig screen.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Whitney: Can I Be Me
Dir: Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal
2017
***
Celebrated documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield wisely takes himself out of the story here which deals with the life and death of soul singer Whitney Houston. It's an incredibly sad story but it isn't without its frustrations. From the very beginning, Whitney's career was mapped out for her. Her mother was well known in the church and headed one of America's best known choirs. Her cousin was Dionne Warwick and she inherited the family talent, although she arguably had the most powerful voice. She was signed to Arista Records in the early 80s but what the documentary skips over is the many years her mother had her singing in seedy nightclubs. The opening of the film plays audio of her friends and colleagues stating that she had god voice and that god chose her path, indeed, many of the people in her life hid behind god. Her ex-bodyguard talks of how he sent a report stating how bad things were getting (which had him sacked) stating that no one person was responsible for Whitney's death at the young age of 48. However, it seems clear that everyone played a part in some way, particularly Whitney herself. It's an old story; teenage singer, swept off her feet and given stardom, fame and success at too young an age, doesn't deal with it well, gets into drugs and an unhealthy relationship and dies young. The real problem, as so often it is, is that her family were also her managers. Her mother might have made her finish high school, but her control was the instigator behind her downfall. It is amazing that her family let it happen, as they knew the business better than most. Like I said, there was a lot of talk about god but really it was all about the money. To be fair her parents clearly didn't know how to help Whitney with her drug dependency, other than to show their disappointment. Her father, whom she was very close to, actually sued her for emotional damages just three months before he died. It seems that Whitney might have been a lesbian, having a long-term relationship with old friend Robyn Crawford. Robyn did everything she could to save Whitney but Whitney's parents and husband Bobbi Brown eventually saw her off. Whitney's voice was strong but she wasn't, after years of control, she had very little strength left it seems. I have sympathy but when you know that her young daughter, who grew up among the addiction and unhappiness, followed in her mother's footsteps, dying of an overdose just three years later after being in a coma for six months, that sympathy is replaced by anger. No one seems to want to take responsibility, instead they talk about god. It's all rather despicable and heartbreaking. Everyone around her believes her voice was given to her by god, but if they truly believe that, known what they know now, wasn't it a curse? Like I said, an incredibly sad and frustrating story, one so old that it really shouldn't be happening anymore.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Bright
Dir: David Ayer
2017
***
I'm no big fan of David Ayer. I find his films to be incredibly samey and he seems to possess the same two tricks which he plays again and again. Some of his films are better than others, with Fury probably his best so far. His obsession with Los Angeles gang culture is tiresome though and after 2016's Suicide Club I'm surprised he's still getting any work out. Bright had its premiere on the small screen, which I think will always hinder a production. So far everyone seems to hate it, with some calling it the worst film of 2017. Now, as much as I've disliked some of his films in the past, Bright is far from the worst film of 2017 and is also a great deal of fantasy fun. It's no masterpiece sure, but it is a fantastic story and is entertaining throughout. Ayer has clearly been marked. I hate this new trend in Hollywood. The film was slated before it even came out, Ayer - and star Will Smith to some extent - have been labeled in the Hollywood media and I'm not sure if they will ever recover. I judge a film by its own merit, as should other people. I'm a film critic but I totally understand why people are turning on us, not understanding that some of us are independent and some of us aren't. Anyway, I thought Bright was pretty good. I loved the premise; in a presumably parallel dimension, Earth is just like ours, except magic does exist, as do Orcs and Elves. Orcs are pretty much how they are described in fantasy novels; they are slow, sluggish and not particularly pretty. They are treated as lower-class citizens, mainly due to the fact they sided with the mysterious dark lord over two-thousand years ago. Elves on the other hand live an exclusive life in their own city. They are successful, well dressed and control pretty much everything. Humans are somewhere in the middle. I also spotted a police horse-Centaur in one scene which I thought was brilliant but it wasn't a race that was explored. The criticism I've read for the film is that very little is explained, which I find a bit frustrating as the audience is given plenty of information with which to read between the lines. If the film explained the entire history of this alternative reality it would have been an incredibly boring film, as it was, it just got on with things and I thought it was quite a clever approach. Will Smith, who plays a human police officer called Daryl, is partnered with the first ever Orc cop and is put under pressure by his colleagues for excepting him. Orc cop Nick (played by Joel Edgerton) is shunned by his fellow police officers and by his Orc brothers. It is clearly meant to be symbolic of racism in America but I'm not sure it is truly successful in this respect. It is somewhere between Enemy Mine and Colors, but has far more in common with Alien Nation and nearly every other film Ayer has made. The fantasy element could have been stronger, as could the relationship between the two main characters but all in all the idea comes through. I don't think it would have been a great film to see in the cinema but for a television movie its pretty good. I do understand the criticism, I just don't see why Ayer got as much flak for it than any of his other films. The editing is bad and the construction and continuity needed a lot more work but it is better than many films hailed as 'great films' in 2017. It's a neat idea, an idea that I think can be built on. I'm certainly up for a sequel, even if it is directed by Ayer again.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Pulp Fiction
Dir: Quentin Tarantino
1994
*****
Columbia Tristar turned down Pulp Fiction describing it as ‘Too demented’. It’s shocking to think that a big film production company wouldn’t at least recognise Quentin Tarantino’s now-modern classic as something a little different and exciting, but then QT is still asked about violence in his movie to this day by mind-numbingly empty-headed interviewers, and films with non-linear narratives are still only made by independent film makers. I had mixed feelings about Pulp Fiction when it first came out. I was in the glorious early years of becoming a cinephile, discovering a whole world that I did not know existed, spending most of my afternoons with Louis Malle, Yasujiro Ozu and Aki Kaurismaki. I saw QT as nothing more than a copycat, someone who had spent an awful lot of time working in a video store, who had sucked in about as much as he could and spat it all out on celluloid. In many ways this is exactly what QT is, but, what I didn’t ever appreciate back in 1994 was just how well he had put these ideas together. I remember thinking the chatty dialogue was stupid, the emperor’s new clothes and really nothing special but the truth was he brought the ordinary into the mainstream. Most modern scripts are still a couple of decades behind Pulp Fiction, the truth is, like many, I was incredibly jealous that I hadn’t had come up with the idea first. It’s simple but brilliant. The sceptic in me desperately wants to say that this was an attempt at capturing the essence of cool, but the truth is it is cool in its own right. I don’t think QT is ‘cool’ as such but he knows how to conjure it, and his cast (who are cool) generate it with ease. I think every actor that has worked with QT since Pulp Fiction has tried to emulate the characters within it – a little too much in certain cases, indeed, Pulp Fiction will always be his signature film, but after all this time I’ve grown to appreciate that, rather than be put off by it. I have always been critical of QT and of Pulp Fiction but the truth is it’s an incredibly watchable film, over twenty years later and I can still watch it and get goosebumps. Don’t tell the police, but it was the first film I saw in the cinema that I was underage for. I remember being on the edge of my seat for a good part of the movie, not only because I had no idea what to expect – knowing many of the scenes were said to be ultra-violent, but also because I was expecting to be kicked out at any minute. I wasn’t kicked out and it really wasn’t that violent. In fact, there really is hardly any violence at all, no more than your average horror or action film. It’s one of those films that has received all the wrong kinds of hype, even to this day. It’s constantly misunderstood, mis-sold and spoken of like no one has ever seen it. Serendipity has been very kind to QT but then one could say he planted the seed, he may not have known what the flower would be come, but he knew it would grow. The opening credits begins with a dictionary definition of Pulp Fiction and still people muse over what it is about, like it isn’t self-explanatory. QT’s extensive use of pastiche and homage make it something of a postmodern noir masterpiece that, for better and for worse, opened the floodgates to more creative independent filmmakers. I don’t think you can really deny the impact Pulp Fiction had on modern cinema, it was a game-changer for sure and whether you love it or hate it, it pushed boundaries that were long overdue a push. QT clearly loves other directors who left little bits of themselves in them, indeed, you know all of his films are influenced by others and are, in some cases, carbon copies of other ideas, but there is always something from the man himself. Whether it is a tie in from one of his other films or reference to something from his own ‘universe’, you know a QT film, his signature was established from the outset and you can deny him that creative brilliance just because it’s simple. Seven interweaving stories involving the same characters over the course of a few days, all very simple but all totally unpredictable. The initial concept of the film is fascinating. Roger Avery wrote the rough first draft of what Pulp Fiction would become in 1990. He and QT came up with an idea for a short that quickly turned into a trilogy. Initially, they were going to write a three-part horror anthology; QT and Avery project was named Black Mask after the popular crime fiction magazine and featured an initial idea from QT, a following one from Avery and a third collaboration would follow. QT’s idea ended up becoming Reservoir Dogs and Avery’s ‘Pandemonium Reigns’ would form the ‘Gold watch’ sequence of Pulp Fiction. Everything changed after Reservoir Dogs, QT still wanted to make a trilogy but in the end the he decided that it would be better to tell different stories within one film. In his own words; “I got the idea of doing something that novelists get a chance to do but filmmakers don’t: telling three separate stories, having characters float in and out with different weights depending on the story. Part of the trick is to take these movie characters, these genre characters and these genre situations and actually apply them to some of real life’s rules and see how they unravel.” Two scenes in Pulp Fiction were written by Avery for the True Romance screenplay but were left out of the film. QT knew who he wanted to cast and pretty much got his way. He launched and relaunched the careers of many actors and put together and satisfyingly eclectic cast. John Travolta was a surprise choice for everyone. The producers wanted Daniel Day-Lewis, other names put forward included Alec Baldwin, Gary Oldman, Sean Penn, Dennis Quaid and just about every other bankable leading actor popular that year. It was written with Michael Madsen in mind and was offered to him but he turned it down to star in Kevin Costner’s Wyatt Earp – a decision he has expressed regret over ever since. It turned out to be the character of his career (Saturday Night Fever fans may disagree) and it is now impossible to see anyone else in the role. He was very neatly suggested as the brother of Madsen’s character from Reservoir Dogs and a film starring both was touted but alas, it never was. Likewise, the character Jules was very nearly Michael Beach – who was said to be very good, but it is impossible to think of anyone other than Samuel L. Jackson in the role. Johnny Depp or Christian Slater nearly played Pumpkin instead of Tim Roth and they could have played opposite either Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Jason Leigh or Marisa Tomei as Honey Bunny instead of Amanda Plummer. I like them all but in all honesty having Clarence and Alabama from True Romance starring opposite each other as different characters probably wouldn’t have worked as well as one might think. Depp was also considered for the character Butch along with Matt Dillon and Nicolas Cage. The mind boggles as to how either of those would have worked out. Harvey Keitel was always Winston Wolf but there was talk of Al Pacino and Michael Parks taking on the role should he become unavailable. QT himself was thinking of playing Lance instead of Jimmy but decided he’s be better off behind the camera for the overdose scene, and while John Cusack and Bill Paxton were considered (as well as Depp, Cage and Slater), Eric Stoltz rightly got the part. Mia Wallace was the part everyone wanted, I’ll be honest and say that Marisa Tomei, Patricia Arquette, Pam Grier, Angela Bassett, Robin Wright and Meg Tilly would have all been great – Uma Thurman made the role her own, but it’s not a performance that I’ve always loved. According to QC, Jennfer Aniston came very close to getting the part but I find that hard to imagine. I love Carl Weathers, Sid Haig, Jim Brown and Charles S. Dutton but Ving Rhames is Marcellus Wallace, just as Christopher Walken was Captain Koons over Robert De Niro, Michael Parks and Tommy Lee Jones. As much as I love him, Bruce Campbell would have been completely wrong for Maynard. Courtney Love once said that QT approached her late husband Kurt Cobain to play Lance but he denied it, saying he never once met or spoke to Cobain before his death in 93. QT has said that friend and fellow Reservoir Dog Steve Buscemi was due to star as one of the main characters but ended up with a cameo due to time conflicts with another movie. What his role would have been remains a mystery. Pulp Fiction could have ended up as a very different type of film, I think they mostly got it right but I also think they got lucky. So much of the film is mused over, it has become something beyond cult and beyond mainstream. It is clear that the briefcase is full of ‘treasure’, whether it be money, drugs or gold, it doesn’t really matter, and yet nerds and cinephiles still argue about what it could mean. This is the side of Pulp Fiction that has always put me off. It’s a very simple exercise in symbolism, it’s relatively unimportant, quite a nice touch visually, but unimportant all the same. Uma Thurman draws a square on the screen for goodness sake, and besides, it’s actually copied from 1955’s Kiss Me Deadly. Cinephiles will see the influences, and it is something of a sport to try and spot them all, but when the average viewer thinks it’s 100% original, well, that’s when I hate QT films. However, I still consider him something of a genius. He has been described as a cinematic kleptomaniac, and I’ll go along with that. He’s picked the fruit from other people’s trees, he didn’t grow his own tomatoes but he’s one hell of a chief. You can wax lyrical about the contents of his films all day long and there are more fan theories to Pulp Fiction than any other non-science fiction film. These theories range from profound to utterly ridiculous – personally, I just like how QT suggests just how terrible things can become from taking overlong toilet breaks – but the others also make for fine reading and great film-based drunken chit-chat. The snappy script, the colourful characters, the non-linear narrative and the awesome cinematography all go towards making Pulp Fiction a bona fide cult classic and a masterwork in its own right. The fact that people still talk and reference it today confirms that, and it still feels fresh. I’m not sure that anyone involved has made a better film since.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Top 10 - Christmas Horror Films

Most Christmas films are absolute horrors but only a few are intentional. I've watched far too many Christmas films but I found the Christmas horror to be something of a relief, because even when they're bad, they're generally quite good. Surprisingly, there are more than 10 that I consider great. Here they are:

10. Black Christmas (1974)

9. Krampus (2015)

8. Treevenge (2008)

7. Saint (2010)

6. A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

5. Santa's Slay (2005)

4. Rare Exports (2010)

3. Christmas Evil (1980)

2. Jack Frost (1997)

1. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Top 10 - Favourite Christmas Films

These are my favourite Christmas films in order - not yours - mine. Where are the classics you ask? Well, these are my classics, these are the few films that make me feel vaguely Christmasy and don't make me want to vomit/break things. Christmas horror films are on another list, as are alternative Christmas films (for all you Die Hard Die Hard fans)


10. The Muppet Christmas Carol


9. Scrooge 1970

8. The Nightmare Before Christmas

7. It's a Wonderful Life

6. A Charlie Brown Christmas

5. Scrooged

4. Miracle on 34th Street 1947

3. Father Christmas

2. Santa Claus: The Movie

1. A Muppet Family Christmas

Bad Santa 2
Dir: Mark Waters
2016
*
Not many films deserve a sequel and far fewer receive one that is as good as or better than the original. Bad Santa was well received, indeed, back in 2003 is came as a very welcome addition to the seasonal genre and something of a breath of fresh air. Written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, with input from executive producers The Coen Brothers, Bad Santa was as bleak, droll and hilarious as you would expect. Terry Zwigoff was an inspired choice for director and it suited him perfectly. There were issues between the Coens, Zwigoff and Miramax producers the Weinsteins but it all turned out good in the end. It was low down and dirty, but funny and in the end rather heartfelt, which was a surprise, making it a genuinely touching film. It really didn’t need a follow up. By 2016 there were many failed sequels, so really, Bad Santa 2 had to be something special. It could not have been more horrid. It had to be ace, the only other option was to fool people into thinking it would be good and playing on the name of the first film and they went for the latter. Do Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates or Octavia Spencer need the work this badly? Did they get paid more than their usual salary? You know a film is bad when you can whole-heartedly say it is the worst movie Tony Cox has ever been in. It relies on the name, the characters and familiarity but tarnished the name, messes up the character dynamics and isn’t even that similar to the original – while also being just like it. The humour in the first film was a bit sharp and a bit dark, Bad Santa 2 started off wonderfully bleak but soon descended into the most repulsive gross-out nonsense that had it’s day well over a decade ago. It will appeal only to grubby-minded 13 year old boys, and even then there are more attractive films out there for them. People (filmmakers) often confuse comedy with shock, it is true that in times of extreme shock people can laugh but there is absolutely o danger of that here unless you have something very wrong with you. Brett Kelly put on vast amounts of weight that he had struggled to lose as a child to reprise his role as Thurman Merman. That has to be one of the most tragic things I have ever heard. None of the writers or producers from the first film returned and it shows. Mark Waters and Shauna Cross clearly didn’t get the original Bad Santa, either that or they simply wanted to (or were hired to) produce a cheap cash-in. I’m not sure who, why and what the hell were they thinkings, and I don’t want to either. It shouldn’t have ever happened and I feel stupid for falling for the same old fraudulent trick. Bad Santa has zero redeeming features. None. It has got to be one of the worst Christmas films and worst alternative Christmas films ever made – and there is a lot of competition. I would rather watch a Christmas film starring Dean Cain, a Labrador and a pair of annoying children that was clearly filmed during the summer. If I’m being honest, I’d rather stick a Christmas tree in my eye and pull it out the other end than watch Bad Santa ever again. What a sack of coal.

Monday, 25 December 2017

A Very Murray Christmas
Dir: Sofia Coppola
2015
**
I'm not a huge Christmas guy to be honest but I love the old seasonal television specials from Bing Crosby and the like, where everyone was wearing Christmas jumpers, sat in a log cabin somewhere with someone at the piano and a special guest here and there bringing a touch of comedy to proceedings. Cheesy as hell but magical all the same. An updated version of one of those classics starring the one and only Bill Murray sounds like an awesome idea on paper, but unfortunately the reality is something quite flat. The premise is that Murray, who is playing himself, is set to put on a live Christmas Eve show in a fancy hotel somewhere in down-town Manhattan. Due to heavy snowfall, New York suffers a power cut and the live link is severed, as is Murray's obligation. The food in the kitchen needs to be eaten before it goes off and so the remaining guests cosy up in the bar and eat, drink, sing and drink some more. Sounds great, but it really isn't. There is, in my opinion, far too much singing. The guest stars aren't great and are written into the 'plot' rather badly. It feels like a very tired take on the rather tired Muppet theme of needing to put on a show - which is in turn the actual show. The Muppets get away with it (just) because they are the Muppets and the Muppets can do no wrong (apart from Lady Gaga and the Muppets' Holiday Spectacular that is). Scrooged is one of my very favorite Christmas films but this is nothing like that, it is just odd, and the idea of a Bill Murray-doesn't-want-to-be-in-it parody about Bill Murray not wanting to be in something - even though he wrote it, doesn't really work. I'm under the impression that the USA has quite a few seasonal specials around Christmas and I can see why this might come as something of a relief, but we don't have many at all in the UK, and that comes as a relief, if this is the best of the best. I like the way Sofia Coppola directed it, I liked the boozy feel of it and most of the songs. I also loved seeing a glimpse of New York in winter, I just didn't think much of how the guests were introduced and how they were written. Michael Cera and Jason Schwartzman didn't play themselves even though Chris Rock and George Clooney did, neither Cera or Rock had great cameos, they were there purely to add a name to the credits and Clooney and Miley Cyrus's dreamlike appearances verged on cringe-worthy as Clooney's comedy was off and watching a half-naked Cyrus dancing around two men who are triple her age is a little distasteful, even if it does seem authentic to the Christmas specials of yesteryear. I guess I thought it would be funny, and if not funny then at least melancholic - which I think it was trying to be but didn't quite get there. Written by a heavy drinker, starring a heavy drinker and should only be watched after a few long drinks for optimum enjoyment. Keep drinking until you like it is my advice.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Eve
Dir: Mitch Davis
2015
*
Christmas films are generally awful, I've said it many times now and I'm yet to be proven wrong. The good Christmas film/Bad Christmas film ratio meter swings to the bad with some margin and with the arrival of Mitch Davis' Christmas Eve it went down a further few places. It will take at least five Miracles on 34th Street to get it back to where it was in 2014. The film features six separate stories that are connected by various characters. Each story happens simultaneously during a power outage during Christmas Eve in six separate elevators. One is in a Hospital where two Doctors, two interns and an unconscious patient with terminal illness are trapped, one contains a group of classical musicians on their way to a concert, one is on the edge of a skyscraper that is under construction, one is in an apartment building and the other is in an office. The trapped doctors lark about unprofessionally and discuss higher powers while the one atheist doctor is ridiculed for not believing in God. The evidence for God's existence being that the cheerful Doctor 'Just knows' and that seems good enough for everyone, ridicule justified. The apartment elevator features an aggressively flirtatious man and a timid women and a horrifically feeble attempt at justifying predatory behaviour. The classical musicians get to know each other, overact and go on a wild and unconvincing voyage of self-discovery while Sir Patrick Stewart performs a one man show on the side of a building. I hope Sir Patrick Stewart got paid a lot of money, even though he doesn't deserve it. The office elevator story is a little more pointless than the others (if that's possible) and serves only as a way to connect some of the unimportant aspects of the other stories. There is nothing 'Christmassy' about any of the characters, stories or situations. I think the overall message is supposed to be 'because God' but it's not exactly clear. It certainly didn't make a believer out of me although I do wonder whether this was the work of the Devil. The acting is beyond dreadful, it isn't in the least bit funny, moving or thought-provoking and I feel angry (yes, angry) that I wasted part of my life on it.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Top 10 - Favourite Alternative Christmas Films

Why on earth am I making an alternative Christmas film list? 

1. It's my blog
2. I'll do as I please
3. I love lists
4. You also like lists, why don't you just admit it?
5. Sometimes you want to be involved with Christmas without fully embracing it because you don't want to give people the impression that you like it, because you don't. Humbug, etc


10. The Night Before


9. All Is Bright (AKA Almost Christmas)


8. Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker

7. Bad Santa


6. Merry ChristmasMrLawrence

5. Dean Spanley
4. Joyeux Noël


3. Trading Places


2. Die Hard


1. Gremlins