Sunday, 26 December 2010

The Best Christmas Films aren't about Christmas

Let's face it, most films about Christmas time aren't actually THAT great, but our blinding desperation for feelgood nostaligia makes us believe that all Christmas Films = instant classics. Elf, The Santa Clause, Love Actually, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation are just some of the films misconceived as decent.

Before booing me for being a Grinch (also another bad Christmas film), I will say there are some great Christmas films out there, they just aren't centred around the idea of 'Peace on Earth', or even 'Goodwill to all Men'. They are usually something altogether darker and more alternative takes on the Holiday season. Here are some great Christmas films that aren't actually about Christmas:

Film: Gremlins (1984)
Plot: Small furry thing multiplies into loads of small furry things, which then transform into small slimey things that run amok in small town America.
Christmas moral: Don't buy pets/Mogwais for Christmas.
Why it's so good: Despite being a film I've watched since the age of 10, the classroom scene is still frickin' terrifying!
Why it's still feelgood: Amazingly cute scenes of Gizmo being all cute.

Film: Die Hard (1988)
Plot: Sharp looking Germans take over an LA office building, which really pisses off New York cop John McClane.
Chistmas moral: Give your ex-wife a ring and give it another shot.
Why it's so good: "Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho." Nuff said.
Why it's still feelgood: The cop shoots the bad German dude, even though he accidentally shot that kid from that one time. Melts the heart.

Film: Bad Santa (2003)
Plot: A delinquent conman poses as Santa in order to rob a department store.
Christmas moral: Fat kids are people too.
Why it's so good: No one has quite destroyed the illusion of Santa Clause quite as much as this film.
Why it's still feelgood: Because it makes you laugh. A lot.

Friday, 24 December 2010


I'm nearly 100% sure that all these films are gonna be great.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Love and Other Bullshit Plotlines

Watched Love and Other Drugs the other day. For 2/3 of the film it's a bog standard romantic comedy, complete with clichés such as: the charismatic womanizer lead who falls hopelessly in love with the kooky yet amazingly attractive female lead, the crazy sex obsessed comic relief character, the eccentric dysfunctional family, and the handsome dickhead rival. Ticks all the boxes then.

But in the final 1/3 it shifts gears into a sentimental disease drama and expects us to sob uncontrollably into our popcorn. WELL NO, HOLLYWOOD, I'M NOT GONNA CRY. You can't just play the disease card and presume we're all gonna bend over our cinema seats and take that emotional enema. NO. You have to earn it. Like Terminator 2 or The Lion King.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

This Week's Film Injustice

In such tough economic times films are often shelved or cancelled altogether. A few recent financial casualities included X-Men Orgins: Magneto, and the new Bond movie, which would have concluded the epic story set out from Casino Royale. But more disappointing perhaps, is the cancellation of Pixar's Newt; the story of the last 2 blue-footed newts who are forced together (despite hating each other's guts) in order to save their species. See some of the concept art below:

It is then quite amazing when you see a film like this is made:


Monday, 6 December 2010

10 things that are wrong with London Boulevard

London Boulevard is almost comically bad. I say 'almost', because if you were to actually laugh at this film, it would might give it the false pretence of being a 'guilty pleasure', but it's far too offensive for that. Here's why it deserves it's 22% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes:

  1. Colin Farrell's accent: Whilst it's never verified, Mitchell (Farrell) is presumably from London, and therefore his accent should probably be cockney like the rest of the cast. Right? One thing's for certain, it's definitely NOT Irish.
  2. The Romance doesn't work: I know saying 'the romance doesn't work' in a gangster film is like saying 'the plot doesn't work' in a porno. But when it's given this amount of screentime, it's hard to ignore the lack of chemistry between Knightley and Farrell. It's like watching 2 planks of wood slap violently against each other.
  3. Every punchline ends with the c word: I'm not about to get all Daily Mail on yo ass, but there's only a certain amount of times I can hear the word 'c*nt' used as a means to derive humour. Refreshing, perhaps. Lazy, almost definitely.
  4. It's completely unoriginal: If you've ever seen a gangster film made in the last 50 years, you've seen London Boulevard before. If I were Quentin Tarantino, I would quit directing and just make a living off suing this film.
  5. The plot is a moody teenager: What exactly is this film's problem? It's like it's pissed off at every aspect of society, but can't decide which aspect makes it more damn mad. The Press? Drugs? Racism? Fame? Knife crime? Just don't expect depth on any of these issues.
  6. Unnecessary Violence: In this movie there is: a man is killed for being black, a woman is punched in the face for no reason, a homelessman is beaten half to death by youths, a man is glassed because he made a joke, and a man is stabbed to death because he made a moral decision. And believe it or not, some of these scenes are played for laughs.
  7. The plot holes are mind blowing: A lot of the time I felt like I was watching a rough cut of the movie, because there are some blindingly obvious gaps in logic. There's one scene in particular which eerily references Mark Chapman, but goes absolutely nowhere.
  8. The Cameos: Arguably the best parts of the film are when someone like Stephen Graham or Super Hans from Peep Show appear, but 2 minutes later they are swept off the screen to make way for The Colin Farrell Show. Reminds you of what the film COULD have been.
  9. Ray Winstone plays... well, Ray Winstone: Just pull the string in his back, and out comes a highly offensive cockney insult.
  10. Mitchell just isn't convincing: Watch the clip below and tell me that in reality Winstone wouldn't lean across the table and slap Farrell for being 'a silly twat'.