Tag Archives: comedy

Movember: The Story of Growing Your Moustache Through Film

The business of growing a moustache is an international affair during the month November. Why? Because people around the world are raising awareness to battle prostate and testicular cancer in men. That’s right, we’re campaigning the Tom Selleck way and loving every hairy second of it! The Movember Foundation (which you can visit here) is also putting up a stand against the high numbers of suicide among our XY-partners, stating a  frightening rate one man per minute worldwide.

As a lady, I can only grow so much of a moustache, but that does not mean participation is a no-go! Instead, I choose to honour this great month in the only other way I know how to – through tireless film talk. So, let’s trace the adventures of one moustache in a land of many other moustaches, from incubation to graduation, kick-starting the party with a classic motion picture, one that has stood the test of time – “Spaceballs”.

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Mel Brooks is showcasing the initial stages of a stash through this newbie-friendly arrangement. It’s the barely there look, which is perfect for anyone starting a fresh batch of face fuzz. There may not be much of it at all, but whatever’s managed to manifest is proudly there. It may seem daunting to glance for progress every two hours, but remember – no Gimli has started with a Selleck.

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I know it may seem like quite the leap here, but transitioning from President Skroob to “Napoleon Dynamite”‘s Kip is more about building coverage and filling up the empty spaces, rather than generating actual thickness. This takes patience, we’re still constructing a Taylor Swift, so we shouldn’t be rushing into a Nicki Minaj. Be happy, you’re making a serious commitment to the mission now and we’re all rooting for success.

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Give it another week or two and your bristle companion will be looking meaner, stronger, fuller, more Jack Black-ier than ever before! We’re ready for expansion, we’re no longer trying to break through the moustache game, we’re slowly gaining speed, zooming past its levels like a wrestler body slamming his opponents on a rink of hairy fire. The empty patches that Kip sported are nothing but history.

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See how those ends are flicking down, trying to make a daring escape into the chin area? This is the point where you can freely purchase a gun in the state of Texas, no questions asked. Also, I think I’m joking, but I’m not entirely sure, so please don’t quote me to US authorities. Josh Brolin is nailing the classic lip jewellery in “No Country for Old Men”, keeping perfect foundation, curve and body.

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Notice how the violence in film posters increases in direct proportion to the facial hair volume? Danny Trejo’s mouth handle in “Machete” has surpassed Llewelyn Moss’s notable number, creeping further into the uncharted territory of southern regions. According to scientific research, this particular design is classified as “Vigilante Mop” under the “Crime Avenger” category.

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There’s no return when you’ve committed to Colin Farrell’s distance, which spans vertically and more than halfway into sworn beard realms. Now, beards are forbidden according to The Movember Foundation’s web page, so this is borderline rebellious behaviour. Did that stop Luke? Did it stop Obi-Wan? No, of course not. Be proud of your progress, you’ve got all the elements for a proud cocaine lord stew and they’re brewing together.

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This is the end result of your downward venture, beautifully demonstrated in detail by assassin Jules Winnfield in cult classic “Pulp Fiction”. Warning: not all face shapes can handle the handle, so handle yourself right when handling this issue. One may think they’ve reached a moustache’s full potential at this point, but don’t let a lack of imagination stunt the progression.

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Emperor Ming lives on a rogue planet called Mongo, where advanced face caterpillars are only reserved for tyrannical overlords with Nike logos for eyebrows. Ad well as body, we have now conquered the length variable of our moustache equation, elevating the entire creation to space villain heights. Where could we possible go from here? Surely the sides don’t just continue into a long spaghetti-style braid, right?

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CORRECT! According to laws of nature that I made up half an hour ago, the moustache takes a defying move and springs up into a fine curl once it reaches certain breaking points. As Dustin Hoffman proves in “Hook”, this design can be both classy, comedic, merciless and for best effect – pulled into a tandem with a matching seventeen century wig.

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Moving forward – literally – we’re now concerned with structuring a good 3D impact to your lip crown. The bristle length is clearly increased and a professional twist is required to reach Daniel Day Lewis’s memorable appearance in “Gangs of New York”. You look in the mirror and remember the days when Nacho Libre was your proudest achievement, as you comb down those luscious waterfalls.

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It’s practically impossible to create a suggested evolution of the human moustache without including Tom Selleck with an honourable spot. After all, the man is famous for his enviable mouth locks,  situated neatly between two gorgeous dimples and on top of a voice box ready to narrate action movie trailers. Remember when I said Nicki Minaj was a long way to do? We’ve just reached her.

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The only person who can beat Tom Selleck without resorting to any trickery of the curl, squiggle, vertical drop or parting variety, is Ned Flanders himself. A firmly religious man, who loves a good, trimmed stash as much as he does Jesus Christ. This majestic wall of hair doubles up as a face coat in winter and soup storage for fall.

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We’re almost at the final stages of the growing your lip jewellery. We’ve slowly built the foundation in “Napoleon Dynamite” and “No Country for Old Men”, we’ve poured in the concrete in “Gangs of New York”, and now, crowning one cult classic’s nod-wrothy accomplishment – we have “The Big Lebowski”. Sam Elliott has a specimen of worthy proportion, which will leave any observer in jealous awe.

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Your finished product (obviously we’re expecting this result by the end of Movember) should look something like a Dr. Seuss character, especially a woodland spirit, who wishes to preserve a magical wilderness. The Lorax combines length, body, hang and even stylish layers, while being appropriately voiced by Danny DeVito – a man of admirable moustache skills.

But of course everybody’s genetic pool has slightly different fishes swimming around the hair growth centre, so keep that in mind while comparing your progress with other stash buddies. Movember might equate to Kip at best for some lucky fellows, while others could reach a full Llewelyn Moss without a breaking a sweat doing it. You’re all beautiful, and you’re all raising awareness for a great cause, which is the most important part of all.

So, go out there, gentlemen and show the world just how beautiful your face bling can be, and to all my lovely ladies – take up another challenge from the Movember Foundation web page and fundraise for the future of our other gender.

Much love and a happy November to all!

 

 

Christmas Film Reviews: “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Here we are, folks, at the very end of my December countdown. It’s Christmas morning, I have my trusty coffee and a slice of Alaskan bombe. Although the streets outside are devout of snow, today feels festive enough solely in spirit. True, I wouldn’t have minded a nice pile or two to dive in, but London persistently refuses to make a habit of that. Anyway, I’ll jump straight into my film recommendation for the big night.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” is perhaps the most well-known Christmas production of all time. Undoubtedly, a classic which has withstood the tests of time and the tidal wave of quality competition thrown its way. Released back in the cold winter of 1946, this film acted as a much needed reminder of life’s beauty. Ugly pictures of war and death had been showering newspapers and television programmes for too long. Hollywood’s first step towards reflecting this recovery came in motion pictures. “A Beautiful Life” was the only movie ever completed under director Frank Capra’s independent studio – Liberty Films. His desire to break free of the Golden Age’s repressive, Capitalist exploits, gave the project five Academy Award nominations and with a reason.

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Enter George Bailey – Bedford Falls’s most altruistic and kind-hearted resident. His only dream is to see the world, explore everything life has to offer outside the boundaries of New York. Every time a door seems to open and give him a glimpse of those desires, someone runs by slam it shut. Instead of leaving for South America before college, George stays behind to run the family business after his father’s sudden death. The boy manages to save up for tuition fees once more, but ends up giving the money away so that younger brother Harry could receive an education instead. He protects and helps Bedford Falls’s people agains the overhanging tyranny of loan shark – Henry Potter, whose cruel intentions benefit no one, but his egocentric self. However, things are looking up when George marries the love of his life – Mary, a girl he’s known since childhood. They create a family and nestle down in an old house. Years go by and children start spurting, four to be exact, their affordable housing business seems to be thriving better than ever, life is looking up. In the peak of his happiness, a disaster comes to tear the joy apart. George is painfully used to being ripped off in one way or another, he rolls with the punches and tries to keep walking. However, that night is particularly daunting, leaving him in a desperate and suicidal track. George decides to jump off a near-by bridge and end the hurt for ever. Little does he know, Clarence the angel is watching over him that night. An angel who will make a single wish come true – let George see the world as it would have been if the man had never been born. A picture of decay and misery unfolds, playing out every worst scenario the town could have imagined. George learns just how important his kindness was to everyone around and releases the tunnel vision of success for the bigger picture of humanity. Upon realising life is an amazing gift, which should never be wasted on cruelty and disregard, he begins being Clarence for a chance to go back. Once more hug from his children, one more kiss from his wife, a chance to apologise and re-estimate his values, that’s George’s biggest Christmas desire. Moreover, surprises come stacking when the man returns home, and the puzzle pieces finally fit together, because life is truly an amazing treasure.

Take this as a promise from me – this film will melt your heart. The phrase “they don’t make them like they used to” is in full effect here, proving that old pictures have a quality about them that a blockbuster just cannot replace. Its script, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett is romantic, funny, happy, exhilarating and painfully honest about pain and struggles. The dialogue flows like a river, turbulent with snappy George’s humour and rhetoric, yet calm with its authenticity. It manages to touch big themes will small sentences. “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey, that’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary,” George said on his first date with future wife Mary. Infinitely beautiful their lines are to listen and see, about that there is not a single doubt inside my mind.

James Stewart is a name that should be a part of your film repository. An actor, father, war hero and generally kind human being, Stewart could not have been a better fit for the role of George Bailey had he consciously tried to be. He is absolutely extraordinary, quiet, but understood, funny, yet truthful and serious. Nothing more could I have asked from his character or portrayal, because Stewart masters both to perfection. His blue eyes stare at you through the black and white picture, digging holes inside your soul only to bury a seed of subtle positivity and joy.

Henry Travers is in the role of Clarence, who we only get to see for half the movie. In that time, however, he manages to become irreplaceable as a plot point and influence, creating an unshakable staple of the timeless tale. The angel who wants to get his wings and gives a small-town man a second chance at life, is the sidekick every person needs. Another supporting role goes to Donna Reed, who encapsulated George’s intelligent, funny and supporting wife Mary. The two’s connection shakes the ground with forceful tremors, leaving its audience wishing they had a romance of such proportions. From that first date, to their embrace over the phone and calm marriage that followed, a picture of an ideal is painted. Although critics gave Capra a hard time about his characters’ unrealistic idealism, they later re-visited that opinion, which was inevitable. It’s a chemistry and a love story, which surpass superficial expectations.

The theme of suicide is explored in one of the film’s culminations, which leaves spectators on the edge of their seat. George is someone we have created a relationship with and having to see him pushed to the limits of disappointment hits us just as hard. Capra does not simply gloss past the issue, dwelling into it through Clarence and George’s conversations. That’s partially what makes the recovery so powerful. We’ve seen the lows, we’ve hit rock bottom, so having a kick start back into happiness in its purest form feels exhilarating.

If you hadn’t figure it out by now, “It’s A Wonderful Life” could very well be one of my favourite films, period. It holds quality, which we rarely get to see in mass cinema nowadays, its cast is more than perfect for the complex set of characters we explore, and the rollercoaster of emotions leaves us gasping with overwhelming joy. There is nothing more that I could wish for in a perfect Christmas film. This is everything and more.

Now, have yourselves a very merry Christmas!

Thank you for following my blog this past year and hopefully I can continue to entertain you throughout the next one!

Stay amazing!

Megs X

Christmas Film Reviews: “Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas”

Long and furry fingers grace two horrid, bony arms,

in their middle is a tummy full of smelly, trash bin charms, 

when night fall comes, he watches all that sleep,

for evil plots are conjured in this green and spoiled creep.


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Jim Carrey is in the role of Grinch, Dr. Seuss’s beloved Christmas villain. Excuse my astonishingly bad rhymes there, but I thought the best way to start off a children’s character is by couplet-ing my way in. The film was directed by industry titan Ron Howard, who holds movies such as “A Beautiful Mind” (2001) & “The Da Vinci Code” (2006) under his belt. Now that we know both cast and mastermind are skilfully chosen, let’s venture into the plot itself.

Whoville lays tucked in the snowy mountains of a snowflake. Its people are polite and helpful, living together in their small town community. Towering above them, in the depths of a hill, is the Grinch’s dusty abode. He watches them throughout his days, as Christmas approaches, and makes evil plans to steal away the joy. That is until a little Cindy Lou Who, one kind and thoughtful child, remembers the lonely creature and decides to present him with a gift of friendship. She nominates the Grinch for a prestigious award, making him socialise with past family and friends in Whoville, rather than hide. We become acquainted with a past, which triggers sympathy and sadness, but can ego-centric mayor Augustus and his girlfriend Martha May turn their attitudes around? Can they right the wrongs of a childhood long-concealed? The Grinch isn’t willing to wait for an answer even a second longer, setting a plan to sweep Whoville’s houses of their precious offerings at once. It’s Cindy Lou’s last chance to change his mind and heart. It’s the final plea to make him see a light within the darkness.

Well, here comes our show-stealer – Grinch himself, who absolutely nails the eponymous archetype with flying colours. Although Cindy Lou (Taylor Momsen) sticks close behind, it’s Jim Carrey’s slapstick movements and brilliant grump portrayal that take the prize home. Mannerisms are an important attribute to any good comedy and Carry is famous for his physical capabilities, so being able to transfer them onto the Grinch gives the Dr. Seuss creation an entirely new dimension. Don’t get me wrong, the storyline had been explored in a television series many a-year before that. However, live action gave both kids and adults a fresh look at things.

Taylor Momsen was fluid and clever – carrying the phantasmagoric Whovian costume as naturally as her own outfit. No teeth, ears or braids felt out of place, props to the six-year-old girl, who carried them like a champion. Although Taylor has changed direction with a singing career in rock music, the role will remain a part of her professional affiliations for ever. She was the sweet child who saved a hopeless Grinch and turned hatred into love.

As far as production design is concerned, it’s refreshing to see a physical set up, opposed to a green-screened computer animation. We see the convenience of manufactured graphics entirely too much nowadays, so a large part of “The Grinch”‘s charm comes from its adorable set. To kids, this wouldn’t make much of a difference, but trust me, grown-ups of the world, that fuzzy Christmas feeling will flow a lot easier after watching a throw back like this. Ron Howard’s vision of the production definitely surpassed any expectations Dr. Seuss fans could have conjured. The live action rendition of “The Cat in the Hat” (2004) proved to be another challenge, which, however, failed to please audiences and was generally received badly by both viewerships and critics.

In summary, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is an amazing, heart-warming tale of grand imagination and comedic threads. Ron Howard’s spin of the all-time book classic has now become a classic in its own right. Jim Carrey’s green creature is an image I grew up with and never want to part, Taylor Momsen’s Cindy Lou gives children an image of kindness to strive to. All of these ingredients combine perfectly in a Christmas dessert worthy of a film night home.

Stay awesome!

Megs X

 

Christmas Film Reviews: “Home Alone”

This entry hardly needs an introduction. The “Home Alone” franchise made its start twenty five years ago and has become one of the most prolific Christmas traditions. Child star Macaulay Culkin graces its original instalment as young Kevin McCallister – an eight-year-old grump who has trouble dealing with an overcrowded family. Chris Collumbus, a known name in the world of production, made a step in directing this project and has harvested worldwide reputation from it. The very first festive video cassette I owned happened to be “Home Alone” and it brings me great nostalgia to say – here’s the long-overdue review.

The McCallisters are going on vacation to Paris and everything is set – luggage, cousins, aunties and pizza. A staggering fifteen people wonder about the Illinois home the day before Christmas eve, buzzing like bees for their big adventure. Among them is young Kevin, who seems to always get the raw end of the deal. Upon being punished for causing chaos, he wishes his family would simply disappear.That desire is fulfilled when the boy gets left behind next morning in the rush to a late airport drive. Life suddenly becomes a party for the kid, who has waited for an opportunity like this years in time. However, a pair of local robbers also have plans for Kevin’s home and they’d travel great lengths in fulfilling them. When nightfall comes, they make a move, not expecting the child to fight back in a determined attempt to defend his castle. From then on, it is a fast-track rollercoaster through laughter and excitement as both sides try to even the score. Will Kevin get his family back in time for Christmas day? Will he regret having pushed them away in the first place? One thing’s for sure, the Wet Bandits will receive everything they deserve that holiday, burns and bruises included.

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Macaulay Culkin’s star made a breakthrough with the “Home Alone” empire, launching the child’s career into A-list heights. It has since died down, but not before making his face a household image. Culkin’s performance has been appraised by spectators and critics for a reason. We see the innocence and naïvety of every child seep through, complimented by grand fantasies and painful realisations. A character and performance we can truly identify with, presented on a platter of catchy Christmas tunes and flickering faery lights.

Catherine O’Hara is a panicky, fidget-prone Kate McCallister, whose most memorable scene breaks the fourth wall of cinema. “We forgot Kevin!”, she shouts on her flight to Paris, having realised the unimaginable, yet hilarious gaff. That line has become so iconic, it has sprouted a boy band and a fandom.

Chances are I wouldn’t need to sell this film, because most of you have already fallen in love with it. However, it would’t hurt to try. There’s laughter, there’s tears, there’s the heartbreakingly sweet story of Old Man Marley and the adorable Gus Polinski’s polka group. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are the Wet Bandit duo, a thieving pair of dimwits, who get made into complete fools by young Kevin. Both actors are exceptionally believable, portraying finely grated stupidity and undying ambition for their task.

All in all, “Home Alone” has almost everything you’d need in a perfect Christmas film, albeit having missed Santa Clause himself. It’s a heart-warming reminder of our families’ importance in the homeliest celebration of them all.

Naturally, I recommend a cheese pizza with this gem, and maybe a cup of chocolate milk for the soul.

Stay awesome! Four days to go.

Megs x

Christmas Film Reviews: “Krampus”

December is a month of cookies and milk, a celebration of jolliness, purity and family values. Halloween and its tidal wave of horror releases get dethroned and shoved into the back of your Instagram feed as soon as midnight strikes. However, this Christmas Michael Dougherty had a slightly different idea for merrymaking with own directorial creation “Krampus”. A mash-up of the two greatest holidays in every child’s life, starring comedic staple Adam Scott as central character Tom. By his side we see (fictional) wife Toni Collette and extended family David Kouchner and Allison Tolman as the most dysfunctional crew of opinionated parents.

We follow tiny Max (Emjay Anthony), whose experience of Christmas is slowly spiralling into misery with each consecutive year. His mother and father appear progressively distant, one always away and the other keeping obsessively busy. His hillbilly auntie and uncle are raising a litter of rednecks and sister Beth is tearing away from their best-friend relationship. In a fit of anger, the boy rips up his very last Santa Clause letter apart and throws it hastily into the cold wind outside. What follows is a raid of nightmarish monsters, who transform their entire neighbourhood into an icy kingdom. Gingerbread bites back, clowns crawl between the house walls and elves spread mischief into the front lawn. Through the harshest of blizzards, their families must stick together and iron out the kinks in an attempt to survive. Only Omi (Krista Stadler), Max’s grandmother, knows of the terror that is yet to come. It is the shadow of St. Nicholas everyone should fear, the demonic spirit, which punishes the naughty and feeds on the hopeless.

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The idea of a Christmas horror flick is far from being a long-awaited epiphany. Some of “Krampus”‘s more notable competitors are “Gremlins” (Dante, 1984), “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” (Helander, 2010) and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (Burton, 1993). They have all collected audience approval, scoring high in social platforms such as IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Dougherty, however, brings a strong dish to the table with this demonic rendition of the eponymous mythological creature. The image of Krampus itself remains hidden until the very culmination of the film, building up our hunger for a revelation. We expect a villain that wouldn’t give us serious dream joo-joo, but simultaneously need a strong kick of fright to construct that successful contrast between comedy and horror. In my opinion, this is what makes “Krampus” so intriguing – the best elements of two juxtaposing worlds, which are tossed together instead of blended into one.

All performances were carried out smoothly and excitingly. Adam Scott and Toni Collette shared a special connection on screen that left me endeared and positive. Simply said – two actors with great chemistry, complimenting each other in both humour and romance. My only impression of Allison Tolman had come from the strongly beloved “Fargo” series. Her character in the FX masterpiece is a charming, yet determined police woman. Here, Tolman opens up to a brand new assortment of distinctions – the settled wife, the courageous mother, the affectionate countryside tomboy. Appreciation for her talent grows by the day and it is well-deserved. Special mention to the entire cast of children, including Emjay Anthony, Stefania Owen, Lolo Owen, Queenie Samuel and Maverick Flack, who made the film flicker with nostalgic glances of the world. After all, as kids we truly believe in the magic of Christmas, and this company of talents transcends that innocence perfectly into the camera.

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My verdict is such – “Krampus” will indefinitely remain a part of my twelve-day countdowns. It’s a film I truly enjoyed watching, a picture that left me entertained from top to bottom and most of all surprised me with great quality. Whether you need a Christmas shot of festivity, an ideal date flick or a relaxed Friday night on the couch, “Krampus” is here to provide.

Enoy by the fistfuls of popcorn!

Stay awesome!

Megs x

 

 

The New “Ghostbusters” Cast Promo

There’s one upcoming release this year that comedy buffs have been drooling over. An all-female cast, composed of SNL veterans such as Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon avec Golden Globe nominee Melissa McCarthy, is dropping in July. The “Ghostbusters” reboot has been a long-awaited pick up on the legendary franchise.

Columbia Pictures, the production’s distributor, has slipped an official cast promo today. Bare in mind, director Paul Feig didn’t leave much for the imagination in the first place by posting news and photos all over social media throughout last summer. However, catching a still from the finished product is more than exciting. A simple reminder we’re a few months away from one of 2016’s most anticipated comedies is always welcome right in the midst of a jolly, holiday season.

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Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd and Sigourney Weaver are also in the pool of talented cast. It’s nice to see them hand over the ghostbusting torch to a new selection of next generation fighters. The cherry topper is that we also have Chris Hemsworth, who seems to be in pretty much every second blockbuster audiences see these days. It’s been a big  year for the Australian A-lister, who broke through the icy stardom barrier with his role of Nordic god Thor back in 2011.

Safe to say I can’t wait for this to hit the big screen.

Stay awesome!

Megs x

Christmas Film Reviews: “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

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The number eleven spot on our Christmas countdown falls in the hands of Tim Burton. I mean honestly, were you really expecting otherwise? With limited competition in the stop-motion festive variety, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” snatches a prime slot in the winter hall of fame. Although it features a cast you’ll almost certainly be unfamiliar with, that only contributes to the flavour – adding a degree of authenticity to otherwise truly phantasmagoric scenes.

Chris Sarandon enters the role of Jack Skellington, a poetic and smiley scrag, who lives in one of six tree kingdoms. Surrounded by ghouls, witches, zombies and vampires (among other creepy crawlies), his gloomy life in Halloween Town seems not quite as exciting as the past remembers. Screams and cries no longer bring Jack a sense of satisfaction, a distinct lack of deeper purpose and dullness haunt his last return home. As a healthy concoction of horror, comedy, romance, fantasy and musical, Tim Burton expresses these feelings in a graveyard song, which romantically changes the course of Skellington’s destiny. Entirely by chance, he stumbles upon Christmas Town, a neighbouring land engulfed with sparkly decorations and hearty laughter. At once, Jack finds himself with a burning obsession in mind. What is this pure bliss and who’s the jolly, old man hauling “Ho-ho-ho!” from a fancy red robe? Soon enough the whole community gets involved, determined to recreate the festivities in their own, sinister way.

As mentioned somewhere in the above lines, I’d point out where, but I want to see you suffer, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a stop-motion animation. For the unfamiliar souls on my reader crew, this art form includes miniature figurines, which are manipulated into action still by still, effectively creating a fluid motion. Back in 1993 when the film first made its debut in cinemas, arguably one of the most famous pioneers in the genre were Aardman Animations. You’d know some of their work such as “Wallace and Gromit”, “Chicken Run” and “Flushed Away” from general childhood playground tiddle-taddle. Practices was still developing in order to create the feature films we see released in present day, which flow with admirable smoothness in motion. This means that every now and then you’d be able to spot slightly rougher, chopped up segments, which will send you straight into a nineties throwback. Don’t panic, that’s one of the movie’s biggest positives, embrace the journey and strap in while it lasts. The genuinely charming clumsiness is a gift, rather than a set-back.

The storyline jumps from one action to the next in an engaging string of events. Not a dull moment exists in this swirl of dismal fright and optimistic Yule merriments. Imagine the film like a swirly marshmallow, which ties its flavours to utmost perfection. Thematically, we see notes of compassion, camaraderie and hope, which shines a guiding light into the otherwise dark future of Halloween Town. The songs are poetically written, expressing accurate emotions with few simple lines.

The cuteness factor is brought to us by Zero – a ghost puppy, which is just as cuddly and functional as your own dog, except it features a glowing, red nose, sweetly reminiscent of Rudolph’s knocker. And if that isn’t adorable enough already, he is in the shape of a floating sheet, showcasing the nearly extinct classic portrayal of spirits. The dream pet all ’round! Zero’s as much a part of the plot as master Skellington himself, hovering above the soil like only a loyal friend could.

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Catherine O’Hara is in the part of Sally, a toxicologist, runaway experimentation. Despite her frightening rag-doll body, sawn together with thick, blue stitches, she is adorable and lovable just as much as Zero is. Jack inevitably develops affections for her, which culminate in the resolution of the film, so make sure you don’t get drunk enough by then to give slumber priority. It’s a heart-tugging moment of finding love in a hopeless place. It’s two creatures of the night connecting beyond the boundaries of terror.

To conclude, this animation is a film just as much for kids as it is for grown ups. I would dare call “The Nightmare Before Christmas” a timeless classic, full of imagination and creativity. It bursts the seams of traditional festive tales, merging seasons and stories together into a bigger celebration of the life beyond fairytales. I could only finish this off by recommending a nice cup of hot chocolate, impaled with a cinnamon stick and sprinkled with dusting sugar for this one.

Enjoy the nightmarish Christmas, everyone.

Stay awesome!

Megs x

 

Christmas Film Reviews: “Scrooged”

Well, folks, reporting from the gateway to my Christmas countdown, I must admit excitements are high this morning. If we were a Dr. Seuss story, my writing desk would be covered in a thin layer of frost right about now. The coffee would be comically frozen on its very edge and I’d be sporting horizontal pig tails. However, luckily most of us are having a jolly, old time next to the fire on boring planet Earth. Sit tight with your gingerbread latte and let the magical words of wisdom carry you to the land of film. As promised, the kick start to all twelve reviews is going to be an all-time classic retelling of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”.

“Scrooged” follows the skeletal structure of the tale you know and love, but wraps it masterfully with an eighties layer of hairspray and glitter. Starring the unmissable Bill Murray, a comedy legend of the modern day, and directed by Richard Donner, a.k.a. that dude who brought us “The Goonies” and a bunch of Superman flicks you’re probably too young to have seen, I would personally classify this film as a national treasure.

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The humbug is back, only this time not as a slouched, old man, but rather young and reputable Frank Cross, the sole director of an influential television studio. His unsympathetic and heartless way with others quickly becomes evident, largely through the relationship he holds with personal assistant Grace.  On the verge of Christmas Eve, a golfing pal from the past comes back for a tall glass brandi and an eerie warning of trouble. I find it necessary to mention said buddy is long deceased and fashions a cute, white mouse in the crevice of his skull. He speaks of visitors who are to change Frank’s sculpted and selfish attitude to life. That night marks the beginning of a spiritual journey through time and space, which shakes the producer’s hard-earned beliefs and position. We embark on an adventure along the poor and wealthy New York City, where festivities are in the heat of the Christmas season. First comes a mysterious slash reckless taxi driver, who is in desperate need of a Colgate intervention. Second, we’re met with a crazed, quirky fairy whose voice rings higher than Santa’s signature sleigh bells. Do enjoy her healthy dose of slaps and tugs, however, as those made me laugh the hardest. Third and last we encounter Death, who points with bony fingers towards the forlorn consequences of an egocentric existence. A grim picture indeed, full of loneliness and tears.

Murray is superb in the role of a cold scrooge. It directly juxtaposes his portrayal of Venkman – ghost busting professional and sarcasm extraordinaire, which warmed spirits a mere four years before this picture’s release. His dry humour sticks to your teeth like grandma’s moist fruit cake, and his hair forces you into a cringe fit every time it’s fully framed. But you know what, we enjoy every living second of it, sheerly out of appreciation for the art of old humour. Lord knows comedy has evolved a lot throughout the years from snappy, relevant, well-written comebacks to Adam Sandler’s purely magical fart noises. Frank becomes a well-rounded character we comfortably distaste and later admittedly care for, blurring mistakes of the past through fresh, Christmas hope.

Claire, played by Karen Allen, is his festive counterpart and long-time romantic interest. She volunteers at a homeless shelter and enjoys hobbies such as bringing soup, hitting people with convenience shop doors and appearing in places really, really fast. Needless to say, the two belong with each other despite their vast, almost unbridgeable differences. However much it pains me to say this – Bill and Karen have close to no chemistry and the entire affair falls somewhat flat. The hard-drilled idea of their love from the original roman resurrects the efforts partially, but not fulfillingly.

Alfre Woodard, who you might know from the controversial programme “True Blood”, is clever and quick-witted personal assistant Grace. Her financially unstable family is a lovable bunch of jolly kids and a young outcast, who holds a heavy personal story. They are a ‘modern’ equivalent of the Cratchit household, which manages to trigger Frank’s deeply buried sympathy. A performance convincingly divided in equal parts hopefulness and despair, truly balanced between the gloomy past and the opportunity of a brighter future.Alfre creates the significance behind her kin’s crossroads in a manner that leaves us no choice, but to care.

All in all, here’s the verdict – a cult Christmas classic, which supports the original themes and characters of “A Christmas Carol” whilst modernising them in a believable way. The words Bill Murray, eighties and sarcasm should drive you to the sofa by themselves. However, if you need a gentle nudge, I guarantee a rollercoaster of laughter, sorrow, astonishment and disgust all in the frame of one-hundred and four minutes. As far as festive film lists go, this is a must-watch.

Now sit back with a bowl of marshmallows and enjoy!

Stay awesome!

Megs x

 

Thoughts: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2

From the producers who brought us “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” last year, here comes the film of your entire lifetime. Brace yourself for a half hour of Megan Fox’s cleavage, followed by the voice of BoJack Horseman and his really goofy human face, only to end on a full ninety minutes of green CGI sewer tugs. Oh, and they’re also teenagers. And ninjas, who for some reason sound stereotypically black even though they’re played by an all-white crew. Heck yeah, twelve-pound tickets!

Let’s start this analysis on the cat with the hat – Michael Bay. Although he plummeted into an A-list career with a strong curriculum vitae, partaking in projects such as “Armageddon” (1998), “Pearl Harbour” (2001) & “Bad Boys” (1995), that friction has long been lost. Come 2007 and the reign of “Transformers” began, making the director a commercial joke in the eyes of fans. Now, a master of sequels and notoriously bombing productions, this film obviously felt like the logical step forward.

Crunching numbers, I can tell you to the best of my ability – “Out of the Shadows” will make money. There is no doubt in my mind its budget will break even on the first weekend of release. TMNT grossed a total of $493m. worldwide over an allowance of $192m in its entire run, tripling the Paramount prognoses. However, having said that, it also received a measly 21% approval rating on RottenTomatoes and a 5.9/10 on IMDB. Now, what does this tell us? Audiences watch it, having learned their lesson from “Transformers” and all of its sequels, but why?

Because bad, conventional blockbusting movies create conversation. Group behaviour tells us to watch it, because otherwise we’d be excluded from the jokes and all residual mocking conversations. We want to stay current without fear of exclusion. I skimmed through a WebMD article on the topic, so the facts check out.

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This is exactly what TMNT 2 is counting on. Director Dave Green has one feature film under his belt, which gathered an even lower user score of 4.7 on Metacritic (“Earth to Echo”, 2014). Watching the trailer, nothing strikes me as particularly grabbing or exciting. It features a slow motion escape, just like the first one, awkward romance jokes, just like the first one, and a soundtrack of Will Arnett’s screams… Just like the first one.

Congratulations on making the exact same film with the exact same cast. Now feast on the millions of fanboy boners who will pay extra money to see this questionable creation blown up eight storeys high. This time starring Jessica’s body, William Fichtner’s forehead, Stephen Amell’s down-falling career and Tyler-Fucking-Perry. Featuring those four black turtle, sewer, painter thugs, who are also teenagers, ninjas and white actors.

P.S. This article may contain sarcasm, bad humour and a very biased opinion. I restrain from being objective, it’s really just not as fun. Enjoy!