Tag Archives: Christmas

Cinema Dispatch: The Grinch

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The Grinch and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney

Is it already time for the holiday season?  Can’t we postpone it for another three months or something?  No, of course not.  The only thing as certain in life as Death and Taxes is the ever expanding period of time known as THE HOLIDAY SEASON where good will and cheer are sold to us in gift baskets and wrapping paper.  If you couldn’t tell already I’m not the biggest fan of the season’s greatest excesses even if I do take some joy in trying to find the perfect gifts for people and buying the shiny wrapping paper to put it in.  Still, it’d be nice if we could contain it to the month of December, but no; were stuck with Holiday Music, Holiday Sales, and of course… Holiday Movies.  With Illumination having already turned The Lorax into a rather detestable piece of confused anti-corporate nonsense, they’re back to the Dr. Seuss well to turn the man’s most beloved creation into yet another big screen adaptation just in time for theaters to start hanging up the tinsel.  Will this be an improvement on the studio’s previous output, or are we in for yet more Illumination mediocrity?  Let’s find out!!

You see, every Who down in Whoville likes Christmas a lot which is good for keeping the economy strong and red hot!  But the Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) who lives just north of Whoville does not seem pleased.  Perhaps a trip to the store will put him at ease.  With his dog Max in tow, he treks through the snow, to the city of Whoville to where all he can think is NO.  No to the consumerism, no to the cheer, just get him to the grocery store to buy provisions and beer.  Along the way he meets Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely), who seems nice enough, but has nothing to do in this rather thin plot.  There’s a story I guess about her finding Santa, but really she’s on hand to be cute and her likeness used on promotional bottles of Fanta.  Anyway, The Grinch takes a while to get properly pissed, but he eventually decides that something is amiss.  This lousy holiday just makes him way too stressed, so perhaps he’ll steal Christmas and you know the rest!  Will he find happiness in ruining this day for others, or is there a way for him to live peacefully with his Who brothers?  Will Cindy Lou Who find the answers she needs, or will her tale be lost in the script weeds?  The question of course on everyone’s mind is why should I see this when Netflix is only $13.95!?  No wait, it’s $13.99.  DANG IT!!

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“I’m ready to call this day a total loss.  How about you?”

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The Cartoon Physicist’s Noughtie List: Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather Review

Cinema Dispatch: Krampus

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Krampus and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Michael Dougherty

There really hasn’t been a good Christmas horror movie since Gremlins, has there?  I’ve heard good things about Rare Exports, but that didn’t even get a decent sized theater release here in the US.  That’s all about to change… maybe, with this horror film about the holiday season’s canonical version of The Grinch!  It certainly has an uphill battle considering how hard it is to walk that line between scary and being hilarious (intentionally anyway) but there’s some strong talent behind this film so there’s a good chance they can actually pull it off!  Will this movie manage to be a fun horror comedy that becomes a holiday staple, or is this a giant piece of cinematic coal that we’re being punished with for giving War Room so much money?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about a family who gets together on Christmas despite the fact that no one likes anyone.  You’ve got Tom and Sarah (Adam Scott and Toni Collette) who are the parents of Beth and Max (Stefania LaVie Owen and Emjay Anthony) and they’re playing host to Toni’s sister Linda (Allison Tolman), her husband Howard (David Koechner), and their three kids Stevie, Jordan, and Howie Jr (Lolo Owen, Queenie Samuel, and Maverick Flack).  Oh, and there’s a baby in there somewhere along with bitter sardonic Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell).  Wait, am I forgetting anyone?  THAT’S RIGHT!!  Tom’s mother Omi (Krista Sadler) who will play Miss Exposition here as she knows ALL about Krampus yet doesn’t tell the family until well after the shit has hit the fan.  Anyway, as you’d expect around the holidays, tensions flare up and there’s a huge fight that causes young Max to finally give up on the Christmas spirit.  This decision makes completely responsible for what happens next and the deaths of whichever loved ones get caught in the crossfire.  A huge storm rolls in that cuts off this neighborhood from the rest of the world and takes out the power and cell phone towers.  There’s something else out there though and the family soon finds themselves besieged by Gremlins knock offs, snow monsters, and a really fucked up Jack in the Box before Krampus finally shows up to deal with this family himself.  Can they survived Yuletide massacre long enough to open their presents?  Will Max be forever haunted by the fact that his sadness (which is something that’s REALLY outside of his control) is the root cause of all this horrifying shit being rained upon them?  Is it at least as good as Santa’s Slay!?

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Even if it is, that’s some serious damning with faint praise.

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Cinema Dispatch: The Night Before

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The Night Before and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Jonathan Levine

Is it too late to declare a war on Christmas?  I don’t mind the holidays, but I’ve also worked in retail so I got a firsthand look at the Christmas calendar creep and how NO ONE likes to push this shit in October, let alone November.  Thankfully they ALMOST waited until December to start throwing out holiday films with last week’s Love the Coopers and now The Night Before.  Unlike that other film though, I was REALLY looking forward to seeing this because I love Seth Rogen and his particular brand of comedy.  Not everything he’s been a part of has been great (I thought The Interview was pretty underwhelming), but I always like to see what he does next which this time seems to be pretending he’s in the same age group as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie.  Wait a minute.  HE’S THE YOUNGEST ONE OF THEM!?  Huh.  Learn something new every day.  So will this be the kind of movie to bring out the holiday cheer and break out the eggnog, or will this make everyone feel even Grinch-ier than they already are at this time of the year?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the adventures of Ethan, Isaac, and Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie) on their last big Christmas Eve together before ending their tradition.  You see, about fifteen years ago Ethan’s parents were killed by a drunk driver right around Christmas time and so his friends decided that they will spend the holidays with him which soon became a tradition.  What also became a tradition is that they would party their ASSES off because they were young when they started it so of course that’s what they ended up doing.  However, it’s been going on for way too long and Isaac and Chris have their own things going on while Ethan is still stuck in place, unable to get his life going.  Still, he agrees to this being the last time they make this a big party event and even has a surprise for his friends that will make this the best one of them all.  There’s a super-secret party that takes place every year (the Nutcracker Ball) that they’ve never had a chance to go to because they could never find out where it was or how to get invitations.  Through sheer luck, Ethan finds three tickets for the damn thing at his shitty job and steals them without a second thought so that he and his friends can have the greatest night of their lives!  Will this final night be all it’s cracked up to be, or are they just too damn old to keep going the way they’ve been going even for one more night?  Will they be able to salvage their friendship despite the changes in their lives that makes it harder for them to find the time?  Wait, how fucking deep is this movie about taking drugs and Christmas shenanigans!?

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WHY ARE THERE FEELS!?!?!?

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Living on Netflix: Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger

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It is once again Christmas time, and we all know what that means!  CRAPPY HOLIDAY MOVIES!!!  Ugh… I was not looking forward to having to do a Christmas movie considering how chock full of crap the genre is filled with, and the knowledge that I COULD be watching much better holiday films instead of whatever one I decide to review.  Netflix must have heard my thoughts (I think that’s part of their license agreement) and delivered unto me a holiday film called Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger starring the one and only David Tennant!  Well it HAS to be good, right?  I mean, Dr. Who wouldn’t sign on to anything that sucked… would he?  There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to keep on reading!!

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