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!

12 Films of Christmas (Part 2)

As I promised earlier, here’s the second part in my 12 Films of Christmas series. So let’s get into it and see what Santa has brought us this time!

So for my second choice I’m going with a bit of an out of left field choice. This is “Batman Returns”. So what’s the plot? It’s christmas time in Gotham City and everyone’s preparing up to have a jolly good time. However, things take a strange turn when two mysterious figures called The Penguin (Danny DeVito) and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) show up and start causing trouble. So it’s up to Batman (Michael Keaton) to find out what their plans are and then stop them. Don’t be surprised that I managed to squeeze a Batman movie into this series, you knew it would happen somehow. But this is truly a christmas movie, as plenty of christmas stuff pops up both in the forefront and background of the movie. But more importantly, do I like this movie? Yeah, I do. Sure, it’s (pun intended) batshit crazy, and there are things about it that I’m not the biggest fan of. But there is still enough good stuff here to make it a highly enjoyable movie. Tim Burton returned (pun intended… again) to direct this movie after his 1989 smash hit “Batman”, and you can tell here that this is a Tim Burton movie. Dark yet playful imagery combined with an epic yet odd Danny Elfman score makes this one of Tim Burton’s Tim Burton-iest movies (before he found Johnny Depp). Keaton is of course once again fantastic as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Pfeiffer is strange and sexy as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito is one fucked up Penguin… but it somehow works in this strange world that Burton has established. And Christopher Walken as Max Shreck is one of the most delightfully slimy performances I’ve ever seen. It’s a dark movie, but it’s still a lot of fun and definitely something that can and probably should be put on during the holidays.

What do you think about “Batman Returns”? Did you like the darker tone that this had compared to the already dark “Batman”? Please, leave any and all thoughts on this movie in the comments, I’d love to hear your opinions on it.
Have a good one.

My Favorite Scenes: The Nightmare Before Christmas – This is Halloween

Hello and welcome to the revival of this long-dead series. Seriously, I haven’t done a post for this little series of mine since mid-July. Feels both great and weird to be back at it. Quick summary for any newer followers: In this series I share scenes from movies and TV shows that I like and tell you kind of why I like the scene. There, you’re caught up to speed, especially since the title is pretty self-explanatory. Now, let’s do it.

So since it’s the Month of Spooks it would be appropriate to share a scene that relates to the spookier side of cinema. Inspiration to make this specific post: I saw a post on facebook relating to this movie, which led to me wanting to watch this scene, which led to me thinking “Shit… I should make a post about this!”. And now we’re here! This is of course the ever so popular “This is Halloween” from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Now to be fair, I have mentioned at least once or twice on this blog (and on various social medias) that I consider this a christmas movie. If you want to consider it a Halloween movie, go right ahead, you are absolutely right to do so. But I watch every year around christmas, December 21st every year to be exact. So why would I share a scene from this movie then? Does the title “This is Halloween” ring any bells? Yeah, that’s why. This entire scene, which is more or less the opening scene for the movie, just oozes Halloween spirit and perfectly fits this Month… because spooky shit is going on. What also makes it great is the fantastic stop motion animation from Henry Selick and his crew, 23 years later and it still looks terrific. And of course the masterfully composed/written song by Danny Elfman is not to forget. Combining these things makes for one of the greatest opening scenes in movie history (in my opinion). This of course also leads to one of my favorite Disney films ever. And before I wrap this post up, I have to warn you… if you ever somehow watch this movie together with me, get ready for me singing along to pretty much every song (Sidenote: I am not a good singer at all). Yeah… I fucking love this scene.

Have a good one and enjoy!

My Top 13 Favorite Superhero Movies

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Hey guys, once again it is time for a Top 10 (not really). And by Top 10 I mean Top 13 because I felt like I couldn’t exclude some of these. I was thinking “Hmmm, I need to make a new Top 10… but what kind?”. Then I remembered that “Ant-Man” is coming out this year (And for those of you who have al ready gotten it, we here in Sweden don’t get it until wednesday). And that made me think about superheroes. So to commemorate “Ant-Man” coming out, let’s talk about my favorite Superhero movies of all time(ish).

Rule #1: This rule should be a given at this point; this is my list so if you don’t agree with it, you have no right to bitch and moan about it.
Rule #2: Keep in mind that the title says “Superhero Movies”. This means that is can really be anything about a superhero, the movies doesn’t need to be strictly based on comic books. It also means that “Guardians of the Galaxy” won’t be on the list because that is a space/sci-fi movie and not about superheroes.
Rule #3: Only one movie per series. This means that I might only have ONE “Iron Man” movie or only ONE “Captain America” movie. This limits the list a little bit. However, reboots don’t count since they aren’t really part of the same series.
Rule #4: Keep in mind that I haven’t seen every superhero movie ever. So you will not see movies like “The Crow” or “Blade” or “Megamind” on this list.

Now that the rules are out of the way, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… My Top 13 Favorite Superhero Movies!

Number 13: Superman (1978)
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The oldest movie on the list. This is one of the first superhero movies ever made that actually worked, no the 1966 “Batman” and his shark-repellent does not count even though it is fucking hilarious. No, this is the movie that showed that superhero movies could be made and be good. The only reason it isn’t higher is because I have really not seen this movie since I was like 10, but I do remember liking it. So that is why it is on the lowest spot.

Number 12: Watchmen (2009)
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When this movie came out it got incredibly mixed reception. A lot of people enjoyed it, a lot of people hated it. Me? Well as you may have perceived, I liked it. Do I think it’s perfect? Not at all. For one, it feels a little too long for it’s own good. Second of all, too much blue dick! But despite my problems with the movie, I still enjoyed it a lot for it’s cool action scenes, fantastic soundtrack and Jackie Earle Haley’s performance as Rorshach. He was fantastic in the movie.

Number 11: V For Vendetta (2006)
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Remember remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason Should ever be forgot. The poem of Guy Fawkes and his attempt to take down the parliament with explosives. And then V (Hugo Weaving) comes in with a Guy Fawkes mask and has a plan similar to Fawkes’. A very thought provoking movie with a lot to say. It is also the last movie that the Wachowski’s had a hand in before they lost their fucking minds (Sidenote: I have not yet seen their show “Sense8” which I have heard is pretty great). But this is an excellent movie featuring a genuinely fantastic performance from Natalie Portman and a poetic/surprising turn from Hugo Weaving.

Number 10: The Incredible Hulk (2008)
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I hear how people are going “Wait, is this asshole putting that almost forgotten Hulk movie over the poetic beauty of “V For Vendetta”? What the hell?”. And from that I point you towards rule number 1. But yes, I put this above “V For Vendetta”, and that I will explain why. Long time followers will think I did it because I am an Edward Norton fanboy… and you might be right, but that’s not my reasoning. See, where “V For Vendetta” is a thought provoking and poetic masterpiece, I put “The Incredible Hulk” above it because it is just a fun movie. I really like the action scenes in this movie, they are awesome. And like my old followers probably assumed, I love Edward Norton in this movie, he’s great (as always).

Number 9: The Incredibles (2004)
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Second movie with the word “Incredible” in the title and the first one to not be based on any comic book. That’s right, at number 9 we have the Pixar animated movie “The Incredibles”, directed by Brad Bird who also made “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” which was a good action movie. This movie is fun, it has interesting characters, the animation is terrific and it is perfect for the entire family(ish). What’s not to like?

Number 8: Batman Begins (2005)
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I swear, someone will break rule number 1 because of this spot. You know… since people seem to love “The Dark Knight” so much over this movie. But if you remember when I did my “Top 10 Batman Movies” list, I ranked this above “The Dark Knight”. And that is why this movie is on this list. It has a great plot, great direction by Christopher Nolan, great performances (except for Katie Holmes), and it broguht Batman back from the dead after that failure that is “Batman & Robin”. Let me just tell you my biggest issue with all of Chris Nolan’s Batman movies; Batman’s voice, it just sounds silly. Okay, moving on.

Number 7: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
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That’s right, I like “Age of Ultron” more than the original “Avengers”. Wazzup, motherfuckers! Just kidding, I love you. But if you wanna bitch, go to someone else’s blog because this one is protected by the first rule. But yeah, this is a sequel that I actually enjoyed more than the original. To me, this was more fun and had a much faster pace than the first movie. And Ultron was an amazing villain, mostly thanks to the excellent script and the charismatic performance by James Spader.

Number 6: Iron Man (2008)
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What? I said “Only one movie per series”. Not “One movie per cinematic universe”. So “Iron Man” goes on this list. Mostly for being cool, innovative, fun, great and for starting the MCU. Also, AC/DC music.

Number 5: Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)
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While based on a series of comic books, this is the only movie on the list not coming from either DC or Marvel. But we don’t need those two corporate giants to make a good superhero movie, because “Hellboy 2” is fucking awesome! Directed by Guillermo Del Toro who is an amazing visual director, this movie stars Ron Perlman in his second outing as the titular character, trying to save the world. And I got a message for you Hollywood… PLEASE GIVE US A HELLBOY 3!!!

Number 4: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
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A sequel that is so much better than the original that it is absolutely crazy! This movie took everything that was good about the first “Captain America”, and improved on it. Only downer is that there is no Hugo Weaving. But everything else in this movie is amazing. It also never breaks pace, this is an intense, action-packed movie with a pretty good spy-thriller twist on it. Also, this movie has ROBERT REDFORD! MARVEL GOT ROBERT FUCKING REDFORD ON! HALLELUJAH!

Number 3: X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
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I guess 2014 was a good year for comic book movies. “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. This movie marked the return to the franchise of director Bryan Singer who hadn’t made a great movie since 2003 when “X2” came out. But when he made this, holy shit he made something fantastic. “Days of Future Past” had the action you wanted, the drama you needed and the humor to keep the movie fun. While I love “X2”, this might actually be my favorite “X-Men” movie of all time. Also, that scene with Quicksilver… amazing.

Number 2: Batman (1989)
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Remember what I said about reboots not counting as being in the same series as earlier movies? Yeah, that is why I could put this movie so far up here. And if you go back and check my “Top 10 Batman Movies” list, you’ll notice that this is my favorite Batman of all time. And that is because this, to me, is a perfect movie. I love absolutely everything about this movie. Sure, the music by Prince is a little distracting, but it doesn’t ruin the movie for me. I still love this movie A LOT. It’s fun, it’s dark, it has Jack Nicholson, it is motherfuckin’ “Batman”!

Number 1: The Matrix (1999)
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This might to some people be my strangest pick for this list. I mean, since all other movies relate back to superheroes in a more direct way. This doesn’t really touch on it that much, but ultimately made it to the list. I was actually debating with myself about putting this movie on the list or not for a while, then I watched Watchmojo’s video “Top 10 Superhero Movies Not based on Comic Books”. That is what ultimately made me put the movie on the list. This is a superhero movie at heart, even though it doesn’t clearly show at first. But to me it is still a superhero movie and my faovrite superhero movie of all time.

So what are your thoughts? What is your favorite superhero movie? Leave a comment and let me know.

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!?