12 Films of Christmas 2020 (Part 3)

Season’s greetings, friends and others. It’s time for another little brief post in this silly holiday series of mine. So who’s ready for family gatherings, à la National Lampoon? No one? Well, too bad, it’s happening anyway.

So as you probably figured out, we’re talking about “Christmas Vacation”, the 1989 holiday comedy about Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his family inviting their colorful and dysfunctional relatives over for the holidays. It’s a concept old as time, and I thought the execution here was pretty good. It’s a wacky tale of hijinks, shenanigans, and a jolly bunch of assholes trying to make christmas work. And I enjoyed following it. The characters are enjoyable, and the pacing is cracking. And I did laugh quite a few times. That doesn’t mean I laughed all the time, there were a handful of jokes that didn’t really land with me. And there were admittedly no scenes that made me have any loud belly laughs. So sadly I don’t necessarily enjoy it as much as many people seem to do. That’s not saying I disliked it though. Cousin Eddie (played by real life insane person Randy Quaid) tends to get pretty consistent chuckles from me. And some of Clark’s snark can get a smirk. And I do admit that the finale is the best part of the movie, as that’s where the funniest jokes appear. So it is a pretty funny movie… just not as funny as many people have told me.
And as far as being a heartwarming holiday film goes, it ain’t too shabby in that department either. Yes, the family members are all dysfunctional, but you can also tell that they love each other on some level. So when shit hits the fan, you not only get some chuckles, but you do get moments of a family coming together to try to make the best of the situation. So there is some actual heart here among the misery.
So in conclusion, “Christmas Vacation” is a decently funny comedy featuring a very talented cast. I can see why people love it and watch it every year, but for me it’s just… alright.

On the third day of christmas, an old one I did pick
Oh by the way, Chevy Chase is a bit of a dick

Movie Review: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

And the Month of Spooks continues. This time with a strange hybrid. So here we fucking go.

Ladies and gents… “From Dusk Till Dawn”.

A pair of criminals (George Clooney & Quentin Tarantino, yes really) are on the run for some horrible crimes they committed. To stay away from the law, they take refuge in a titty bar somewhere in Mexico. They are however in for a horrible surprise, when they find out that the people at the bar aren’t exactly what they appear to b- vampires, they’re vampires. So now we have our profane crime-thriller/vampire movie. And the story here is fine. Straightforward, but clashing in tones. One moment it’s this Tarantinian crime story, then it’s a family drama, then it’s horror, then it’s a dark comedy. While there are a lot of solid moments here, they don’t necessarily flow that well into each other, creating these tonal clashes. Like I said, there’s a lot of fun moments, and it does entertain in that sense, but the lack of good transitions does distract at times.

The characters in this are decently interesting, if a bit poorly defined at times. George Clooney plays Seth Gecko, one of the two brothers on the run from the law. He’s assertive, strict, bit of a dick, but does at times show a more human side (even if his exterior still screams asshole). He’s clearly the leader of the two, and he’s an interesting character to follow, even if he’s not very likable (which might put some people off). And Clooney is great in the role. Next we have Harvey Keitel as Jacob Fuller, a family man that’s been kidnapped by the Geckos. He’s a former preacher just trying to enjoy a nice trip with his kids, but that of course goes a bit awry. He’s a decently interesting guy, and Keitel is great in the role. Next we have Quentin Tarantino (yes, really) as Richie Gecko, Clooney’s younger brother. He’s a creepy psychopath. That’s all I’ll say, as I don’t wanna get into too much detail. And I honestly think Tarantino is good in this role, it’s probably the best performance I’ve seen from him. We also get supporting work from people like Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Tom Savini, Danny Trejo, Salma Hayek, Fred Williamson, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Graeme Revell, and it’s good. It’s not too prominent, but when it can be heard, it’s pretty good, creating some decent ambiance. The movie also has a fair bit of licensed tracks used throughout, a lot of them within the blues-rock genre, which not only fits the movie surprisingly well, but also is right up my alley. So yeah, this movie has good music.

“From Dusk Till Dawn” was written by Quentin Tarantino, and directed by Robert Rodriguez (not the last collaboration between the two). And Jesus heart-staking Christ, it’s obvious form a mile away. Tarantino’s dirty dialogue, Rodriguez’ energetic and oft campy direction, it’s all here in spades, and it gives the movie a nice sense of energy that keeps it from getting boring. It also does add a bit to the action scenes that exist in the movie, which are fun to watch, partly due to the stuff I just mentioned, and partly due to the really solid visual effects that are on display here.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 64% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 48/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

So while “From Dusk Till Dawn” has a fair bit of flaws, I still enjoyed watching it. It has an okay story, okay characters, great performances, really good music, and really good writing/directing/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “From Dusk Till Dawn” is a 7,56/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “From Dusk Till Dawn” is now completed.

Daaaark Night. It’s a Daaaark Night. What? It’s a good song. Even the movie knows it.

Movie Review: Hellion (2014)


Family is probably the most important thing in our life. You know, next to oxygen and liquids and nurishment… but on a deeper scale, family is the most important thing. So it’s sad when someone’e family life is complete and utter shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hellion”.

Hollis Wilson (Aaron Paul) doesn’t really have the best life at the moment. First off, he lives in a shitty house which is a terrible place for him to try raise his two sons. Second, he might have a bit of a drinking problem. So when his youngest son Wes (Deke Garner) gets placed with his aunt (Juliette Lewis) by CPS, Hollis and his older son Jacob (Josh Wiggins) have to find a way to improve their lives and get Wes back. Now while there is a bit of the whole “Shitty father has to improve his life for his damily” cliché in here, the story still presents itself in a pretty good way. Key word(s) being “pretty good”. The way it is presented overall is really good, giving a good sense of drama (even if it at times might not make sense). However the plot moves at a slow pace. And when I complain about a movie having a slow pace, something is wrong. Also, while I usually praise ambiguity and the choice of leaving things for the imagination, the ending could have been a bit less ambiguous. So yeah, overall the plot is okay.

What “Hellion” lacks in plot, it doesn’t make up for in characters, but rather in acting. Josh Wiggins gives a really good performance for someone so young in this movie. Sure, he’s no Tye Sheridan or Haley Joel Osment, but he’s still good. Deke Garner is fine as his little brother. Juliette Lewis (fun to see her in something these days) was really good in her role. Aaron Paul… Aaron Paul. You might think I am about to complain about him, but no! He was fantastic in the movie. I would put the quality of his performance slightly below “Breaking Bad”. In other words, it’s still realy fucking great. There weren’t any bad performances in this movie, but there weren’t really any character too interesting. None stod out to me like “Yes, that character is memorable and great”, so that brings it down a little bit.

The soundtrack consists mainly of heavy metal songs. As someone who listen to a decent amount of heavy metal, I recognized some of the songs and enjoyed them. And at times it really worked for the movie, but I can also admit that at times it didn’t really work at all. I can also admit that my personal preference when it comes to metal kicked in a little since I didn’t like all the metal songs used. Most felt generic and meh. The ones that really stood out the most to me were the two songs by Metallica that they used, and that might be simply because I fucking love Metallica. But overall the soundtrack for the movie was pretty good.

While the framing and pict710ure quality for the movie was good, I still feel like I need to complain about the directing/camera work here. The movie is too shaky. At times it was fine, nothing to complain about there. But then we have times where it is really distracting and really annoying. I would’ve liked to see some more steady shots in the movie. Even “Joe” which came out the same year was more steady than this and that also looked like it took place in someone’s dumpster. What I mean by dumpster is that the location they are at looks like a piece of shit. Also, fun fact: This is based on a short done by the director Kat Candler back in 2012. Not that it improves anything, I jsut thought it’d be fun to mention it.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception to say the least. On Rotten Tomatoes it got a 60% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 55/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

“Hellion” got major potential to be a great movie, but unfortunately it fell donw a pit and lost the potential somewhere. The story is average & slow, the characters are not interesting even though the acting overall is great, the soundtrack is pretty good and the directing is annoying & distracting. Time for my final score. AAAHHHH! My final score for “Hellion” is a 7,01/10. While not great, it is still worth a rental.
Rent it

Review of “Hellion” is completed.

I really got nothing to finish this with.