12 Films of Christmas (Part 10)

Part ten. The tenth part. We’ve seriously already gone through ten parts in this series. I’ve said it before, but time sure flies. Wow. Anyway, let’s get into it.

Family. Facing your fears. Deadly traps. These are the central themes of christmas classic “Home Alone”. Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) lives in a troubled home. And when he’s supposed to go on vacation to France with his family, his family forgets him and he gets left alone at home. And he soon have to defend his home from a pair of bumbling thieves (Joe Pesci & Daniel Stern). And yeah, “Home Alone” is great. It’s a good movie for teaching lessons about family and how you should learn to confront your fears and to be a good person and blah blah blah, we all know why we’re watching “Home Alone” every year, and it’s to see two thieves get knocked around by some really clever and fun traps set out by a little kid. Yes, the lessons in this are heartfelt and good, but they’re not what people watch this for. We’re here for slapstick, and then we get some heartfelt lessons in the meantime. This movie could’ve probably gotten away with just being a silly holiday comedy featuring traps and slapstick and stuff, but the filmmakers actually gave a damn and put in a lot of effort to make a movie that resonates on multiple levels. So yeah, “Home Alone” is great.

What do you think about “Home Alone”? And what’s your favorite trap from the movie? Leave any and all answers in the comments.
Have a good one.

12 Films of Christmas (Part 9)

Holy shit, we’re already nine part into this silly series. That means there are only three parts left… damn, time sure does fly.

Out of all the movies I’ve done for this so far, this is the only one I had set from the start since it’s a yearly tradition for me to do on the 21st of December every year. The movie (if you didn’t know from the image, you cave dweller) is “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) is the pumpkin king, the very face of this magical place called Halloween Town. He has however gotten quite tired of Halloween and want something new in (after)life. Then one day while walking through the woods he stumbles upon a portal that leads him to Christmas Town, and this gives him the idea to take on christmas. And as you probably gathered from the opening of this paragraph, I love this movie, it’s one of my favorites. It has a fun story, fantastic animation from Henry Selick and his team, catchy songs, and some of the most memorable character designs in any movie ever. From the second I hear the opening notes to “This is Halloween”, it sucks me right into it and I am happy that it does. Out of every christmas movie available out there, this is my personal favorite.

What do you think about “The Nightmare Before Christmas”? And what’s your favorite Tim Burton movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one!

Movie Review: The Nighmare Before Christmas (1993)

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I love it when you have a certain type of movie and then give it a sort of unique twist. Kind of like how “Bad Santa” I reviewed the other day was a christmas movie that was a dark comedy that didn’t always make you feel good. The movies that stick out like that are the ones that people are going to remember after watching it. And if we are sticking to the theme of christmas for a while I have to mention how many christmas movies are the same. So seeing a christmas movie that is a bit different is really refreshing. And today we are taking a look at such a movie. A movie from when I was young(er).

Jacks and Sallys… “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.

The story of this movie is that there are several “towns” that all represent one of the several holidays of the year. You have one for easter, one for christmas but the one we are entering tonight is the one leading to “Halloween town”. And this town is basically run by “The Pumpkin King” Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon). When Halloween is over for the year Jack goes to contemplate life he finds these doors which lead to the other towns. And since this is a christmas movie he stumbles into the Christmas door and enters “Christmas town” where he learns a lot about christmas. And after that he wants to get christmas to Halloween town… and as you may expect it doesn’t go too well. Now I think this premise is awesome and can lead to some of the most clever situations in any christmas movie ever… and I was right. This movie is funny, it’s clever, it’s heartwarming, it’s creepy and it got more personality than a lot of christmas movies these days. It is one of the most original and clever stories I have ever experienced from a movie, and that just makes me all kind of happy! The only minor flaw about this plot is that certain parts might (for some people) feel a tiny bit rushed. But since I thought the story was paced really well I have no problem with it.

The characters are really well fleshed out and interesting. Yes, some of them don’t even get names or that much dialogue, but that is okay because you still know who the hell they are. There is the wolfman, there are the vampires, there’s the creature from teh Black Lagoon. See, easy! But to be more serious the characters are varied enough that they never bother you. And the ones that get a lot of screen time are great. Such as Jack who is one of the most loveable characters ever. Sally (Cahterine O’Hara, returning for a christmas review) is his sort of love interest while also being the first one to realize the whole “Bringing Christmas to Halloween” thing is a bad idea. And the villain of the movie, Oogie Boogie (Ken Page) is pretty great. He is witty, he is cool and got the best song in the entire movie, by far. And the voice acting in the movie is really good too. I think the actors were perfectly chosen for the characters they are voicing in the movie. My two favorite voice performances are probably those of Chris Sarandon (Jack) and Ken Page (Oogie). They bring so much humanity and just overall fit. And I can safely say that the characters and voice acting in the movie are overall great.

The soundtrack for the movie just might be one of my favorite soundtracks of all time. Danny Elfman did an excellent job composing a score that really caught the overall feel of the movie. But the regular bakcground score isn’t what we want to talk about, oh no. We want to talk about the musical acts our characters take part of in the movie. They are all pretty great. I think my favorite might be the Oogie Boogie song. It is jsut so jazzy and cool and I simply love that stuff. I’ll leave a link to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw0aoVpFCDw

The animation in this movie is in my opinion fantastic. I am a huge fan of stop motion animation and the since the animation in the movie is both stop motion and really well done I think it looks great. Sure, some parts might look slightly jittery in places, but overall it looks great. I am especially surprised how they got some of those parts done because there are no signs of CGI in this movie. So yeah… animation is great.

The title may say “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” but he didn’t actually make it. Yes he was part of creation and story, but he didn’t actually direct it. The direction was actually done by Henry Selick who have done a bunch of otehr movies. Including the excellent stop motion kid-friendly horror movie “Coraline”. Just thought it could be fun to mention.

This movie as far as reception among both critics and people have been pretty great. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. This is also one of the few and weirdest examples of a movie that has no score or review on Metacritic. Hell, it doesn’t even exist one there. Roger Ebert however got a review where he gave the movie 3,5/4 stars calling the movie

“filled with imagination that carries us into a new world”

On imdb.com the movie has a score of 8,1/10 which usually means it would be on the “Top 250 list” which this movie isn’t. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the catefory of Best visual effects.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is one of the most creative and original movies I have ever seen. It got a fun story, good characters/voice acting, great music, great visuals and can work for the entire family. So now I am going to hand out my final score. My final score for “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a 9,78/10 which of course grants it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“The Nightmare Before Christmas” finally has a review!

Some of you might ask me when you see this review “What’s this!?

Movie Review: Home Alone (1990)

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And the christmas reviews are continuing today with one of my childhood favorites, maybe it is one of yours as well, I don’t know. But will it hold up? Let’s find out!

Boys and girls… “Home Alone”

Kevin McCallister (Macauley Culkin) is not too happy with his incredibly dysfunctional family. They are all under huge stress because they will be going to Paris. Problem is that when they go to Paris they realize something… they forgot Kevin. So now he has to take care of himself while also trying to stop two burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) who want to steal all his and his family’s shit. You also have a side-plot going on where Kevin’s mom (Catherine O’Hara) is trying to get back home to Kevin. This story is very entertaining in premise and execution. Yes, a lot of it is very unrealistic and often makes little to no sense, but it still got a lot of comedic and charming moments to keep it going well.

Do you expect Oscar-worthy performances from this movie then you are sorely mistaken, my friend. The acting is average, but it doesn’t need to be more than that. I suppose the best performances in the movie might come from Roberts Blossom and Catherine O’Hara, but they are still nothing too special. And a lot of the characters in writing and style are just plain out assholes… I am not sugarcoating it, they are assholes. I guess that is part of the story and therefore works, but it just bugs me because I am a generally nice guy. But overall, characters and acting works.

I don’t really have to say what I think about the music because it should be obvious since it was composed by none other than the legendary John Williams. Yes, I love the music in the movie and there is nothing more to it. John Williams’ music is always great.

Camera work and cinematography (while not bad) is nothing special. Don’t bother focusing on that. The real cream-of-the-crop stuff here is the slapstick comedy you get… it is fucking glorious. As a fan of slapstick comedy I was happy to see that it actually was really fun and entertaining in this movie.

Time to see how people responded to this! Let’s see here… ah, here we go! On Rotten Tomatoes it got a 54% positive rating. On Metacritic this movie got a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it got a 7,4/10. The movie was also nominated for 2 Academy Awards in teh categories of Best Original Song (Somehwere in my memory), and best original Score (John Williams).

As a huge fan of slapstick comedy, this movie gave me good entertainment. As a heartwarming christmas story, it worked. And with the great score by John Williams I am finally able to give my final score to “Home Alone”. My final score for “Home Alone” is an 8,96/10. And while it doesn’t hold up as well as it did years ago, I still think it is a great movie and worth buying!
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“Home Alone” is now reviewed.

I guess it’s winter now. So just… Let it snow!