Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Shape Of Water

One more before the end.

I almost waited a damn month to see this movie! I set on my calendar, December 7th The Shape Of Water. Movie didn't even hit here until the 22nd. Just got out from seeing it today, so geez was the wait worth it? Actually yeah! This is a very, very good movie with it's own unique visual style set in 1962 where a cleaning woman name Elisa works at a government base where basically they bring Abe Sapien in from Hellboy (who is literally played by the same guy) and they kindle a strong bond together. What follows is a jailbreak, a power struggle over a creature's life, and the strangest and yet very heartfelt romance I've ever seen. The romance does work, believe it or not. You wouldn't think a mute woman and the creature from the black lagoon would make an endearing couple but they do. And now comes the part, where I bow down on my hands and knees and shower endless praise for Sally Hawkins. Oh my God. Now I said this about 3 years back when I watched Legendary's Godzilla, "Mother of mercy that woman is absolutely beautiful.". And now this film has cemented the fact that Sally Hawkins is one of the most gorgeous women, if not the most gorgeous woman on the planet. This film was legit made for her, if she didn't take the main lead, the movie would never have been made. And she has the most powerful performance and not even spoke a line, that takes ridiculous talent and she sells this movie down to the last detail. Doug Jones also does very well, and the creature effects look incredible. Like, I really think he is there. It's not full CGI, he is actually there. Wow. And again, not a single line spoken and yet says so much. All the supporting cast help flesh out the movie, Octavia is a wonderful supporting member and made me smile a lot, Richard Jenkins and his relationship with Elisa is a highlight of the movie, and of course we have Michael Shannon. He is a dick in this movie! Like with every major player, you get why they are the way they are, but not Michael Shannon. Still intense as ever, and just a highly unlikeable and despicable human being. So that really helps us love our protagonists better, and it goes without saying this is an emotional film. Logic left far before the movie began, there is a scene....and it is so corny. But, there's a reason to it all, it has a (somewhat) logical progression to it. Doesn't change the fact it is totally ridiculous and kinda makes you go WTF, but it is based on human emotion alone. I have to say though when it began, I was awestruck, it really hit hard and I was stunned and amazed but then it went off the deep end. This was a weird movie. And I want you to think about that for a second. In over 300 reviews, with all the weird stuff I watch and love with reckless abandon, and I say this movie is weird? Damn. But, it's still a great movie and I am so happy I finally got to watch it. It didn't disappoint, I will no doubt buy it when it hits video, and if you are in a weird part of your brain and desperately need something off the wall and bizzare, look absolutely no further. Dive in head first, and let the emotions wash over you.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Last Jedi

I have never heard a more appropriate and true line in a trailer ever, "This is not going to go the way you think.".

New Star Wars movie, well that's neat........STAR WARS!!!! Yes!! Yes! The day is finally here! And let's be real here. From fan to fan, this movie is very good but it has problems. The story pretty much takes place after Force Awakens, Rey finds Luke and tries to persue Jedi training, Leia, Poe, and Finn are fleeing from the First Order, and Kylo Ren and Snoke are hell bent on ruling the galaxy. First thing is first, this is not Empire Strikes Back. At all. This movie does things no other Star Wars movie has ever done or even dreamed of doing. That must be commended for something, for going to such unforseen and unexpected areas but it just makes me wonder what in God's name is gonna happen in Episode 9? I don't know! Don't even have a clue! And neither do you! It pleases me they went in a bold, and unexpected route but what now? What comes next? Have to say, performances are still strong though. Mark, Daisy, Carrie, and John are the real stars here and they all bring full force into these characters. And seeing Carrie Fisher on screen for the last time was surprisingly pleasant, I forgot she was no longer here because she is just so great in this movie. Action and effects are extremely well done, with jaw dropping scenes, and moments that made my heart thud in my chest. So obviously the movie had profound effects on me, so it must be amazing right? Well...kinda. There was so much pandering to younger kids with these jokes that have no place being in a very serious Star Wars movie, and the Porgs got distracting. Why is it a sin to have a serious movie? I know Star Wars is for all, especially kids, but could you literally have not put butts in those seats if you didn't tell jokes? I place this stigma on today's movies, you can't be too serious because every godforsaken movie HAS to have comic relief right?! Just....this movie has tonal problems. But thankfully it quits after awhile. It's like there were so many good and even groundbreaking things you saw in a Star Wars movie, but there were elements that could not be ignored and hurt the film. The ending was by far the worst part, not just because it was over but it just kinda stops. Sure, stuff happens but it just leaves you dangling and not even in a good cliffhanger way! Just, what the hell is supposed to happen next? Now you can argue the middle movies of both trilogies had similar endings where not much happened and you were left guessing but with this movie, I thought the ending was just kinda there and had no real purpose. I'm very happy I saw it, it certainly did not disappoint but I feel like I need to see it again before I can fully put my thoughts in. Of course you should see it, to make your own judgements but I can safely say that I did enjoy this movie and really, really need to see it again for myself.

Well I think that's it. Time for the reviews to end for the year. Surprisingly, and again I do need to see this movie another time, this was not the best movie of the year. At the moment. I'll watch it again and make my ultimate decision, so I'll let you know before Christmas. Until then, thanks for another year, hope you have a fantastic holiday, and may the force be with you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Ah, what a nice movie. And a very appropriate film for the season.

One of the few adaptations of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, Hogfather follows the story of the book quite well. Imagine a world as flat as a disc, carried by four elephants, on the back of a giant turtle. And in this world, magic and fantasy are common place with wizards, bogeymen, and gods walk among mortal men. This particular story takes place during the Discworld equivalent of Christmas, where the fat man in red has gone missing forcing Death himself to take up the job. Meanwhile his granddaughter Susan investigates exactly why he disappeared, what follows is an offbeat adventure mixed with comedy, peril, and a very appropriate and extremely thought provoking issue of belief. Now it must be said, it is not necessary to read the book, though it does help. If you choose to give it a shot I ask you to keep a very open mind, and have some serious free time, the movie is split into two 90 minute episodes culminating in 3 hours. 3 hours is nothing to me, but it can be daunting to others so keep it in mind. The characters are outstanding, that's Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey and Good Behavior fame as Susan, and believe it or not this was the second thing she ever acted in! And she does a great job, as this no nonsense, pure logical woman in a very illogical world, that's just trying to maintain an ordinary life despite the whole, her grandad is The Grim Reaper thing. Oh, and her grandfather is all things wonderful and I absolutely love him. It's difficult to describe his character strangely, he just tries his best to understand humanity because he has a great affinity for them, he may not understand everything but he just tries his best and it is incredibly endearing to me. Granted, this will probably just be my cup of tea. I love the more fantastical, and offbeat things in life so of course this thing is right up my alley but I do hope that you give it a shot! It has that Christmas or Hogswatch spirit depending on your point of view, with a fascinating and surprisingly poignant standing on the power of belief and more importantly, why you should believe in things. Quite possibly the best scene in the entire movie is a merely a conversation between Susan and Death on why human beings need to believe in things. It has such power and truth, and kinda made me get all misty-eyed. In fact that happened at least twice, the movie has just that all encompassing Christmas spirit and atmosphere just with a very odd twist to it all. I was very happy to see it, especially after reading all the Discworld Death novels, and it does improve elements of the book I have to say. With Terry Pratchett's writing, there is wandering about, and checking out other things beyond the main plot and the movie sticks to what's important but it does still wander a bit, but it's not that bad. So I had a lovely time watching this movie, I was invested even though I know how it all ended, and I daresay I would watch this every Christmas. Might be a longshot, maybe nobody will be brave enough to check it out, but honestly I loved talking about it, these books have become favorites of mine so it was nice to finally show the love for it. Regardless, we got one more review for the month (maybe) and I am heavily excited for it. So until then, Happy Hogswatch.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It's A Wonderful Life

It's A Wonderful Life, Christmas classic, beloved by all, and......I really do not get the love for this movie.

This is not an uplifting, happy, or joyous movie that makes you appreciate life. Hell, it's not even a Christmas movie until more than halfway through! I just...I can't....why is this movie so loved?? Honestly, it's one of the most depressing movies I've ever seen. I really did not like this movie! It's not a bad movie, not by a long shot! But dear God, I just could not get into it. Did I watch the wrong movie? You know the movie where we spend the better part of an hour and a half watching the life of an ordinary guy, his buisness ventures, romance, and decline until there's about maybe 40 minutes left and his guardian angel goes Rod Serling on his ass, showing him the world if he was never born, then we get a mere glimpse of happiness and genuine pleasant moments before the credits roll? A Christmas movie where suicide is brought up multiple times, the stereotypical rich asshat actually wins the day in the end, one of the most cruel and genuine suspenseful scenes where a man berates his family and almost looks like he is about to beat his wife and children, and just gets more and more dark and depressing until...maybe the last 10 minutes. I'm sorry, this is a Christmas classic? How much xanax did you take in order to enjoy this movie? Please, tell me. Cause I need some! True, the movie has brief comedic moments but they are so few and far between. It deals with some pretty heavy stuff but the problem is, Jimmy Stewart's character has had a not so great life to begin with, so honestly when he Twilight Zones and see what the world is like without him, and he comes back it doesn't feel triumphant or uplifting in the slightest. It just still feels tragic. I'm sure I'm nothing but a dirty, rotten, heartless bastard for not liking this movie but it is not a happy, or uplifting, or even a Christmas movie. This movie bombed big time when it first came out, critics hated it, and not many people saw it. So how did it become ressurected as this "Christmas classic"? Now I will say the performances are all good, with Jimmy Stewart having a lot of humor and frantic energy but good God does he get over the top happy near the end. I honestly was kind of rolling my eyes at how joyous he was being back to the real world, it just seemed so cheesy and forced. I really did not go in to this movie like, "Bring it so called Christmas classic, show me the joy of life, and the spirit of happiness.". No! I was happy to finally see this movie with hardly any expectations, and what I got was an underwhelming, kinda dull, and downright depressing movie. Jesus H. Christ, no wonder suicide rates skyrocket around this time of the year since we got this movie playing! I am dead...fraking...serious. This is not a joke. It's A Wonderful Life is actually the exact opposite of a wonderful film.

Monday, December 11, 2017

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Yet another first. And you know what? Though I have not seen hardly any of the Vacation movies (I do not count Vacation as part of this series cause fffffffffffffff-I do not particularly care for it.) this will be hard to top.

Christmas Vacation almost perfectly encapsulates families visiting for Christmas, it's almost too real despite the ridiculous and outlandish tragedies that befall our main character Clark who really just want a nice, lovely Christmas with his family. Now I've stated it before and I shall state it again, all great comedy stems from misery. And there is some misery in this movie! But it also has actually very touching and nice moments, so it's not just slapstick and crude jokes, it actually has some genuine pleasant moments that aren't just there to remind you "Hey! It's a Christmas movie! Look at the sweet Christmas-y scenes!!". No. It's there to support the story. Clark just wants a Christmas like he had when he was a kid, and the conversation he has with the little girl is legitamately heart warming and sweet. But dude, he puts up with some boalshiet in this movie! Honestly the funniest bits is when he slips, and just starts being an ass to people just right out of nowhere. I was rolling, that cracked me up so much. I have to admit I didn't really expect anything with this movie, I never even really heard all that much about it, so I went in with an open clear mind and what I got was a very good movie. It was funny, surprisingly charming and sweet, and just a fun movie. I do recommend it very much, and am very happy I saw it. So it was a good night, and we got one more unseen Christmas movie. Hopefully I can take it.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


Well damn this movie was awesome!

In fact....this is my favorite adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Yep, I said it. Why? Well, here we go. Scrooge is a loose adaptation of Charles Dicken's classic tale, with a new modern spin on it. Bill Murray, more or less plays Bill Murray specifically this outrageous jerk named Frank who is the head of a major broadcasting channel, and he is a diiiick in this movie. Like, to the point where I was laughing but also taken aback by just how unashamedly brutal and mean this guy is. It's like if Scrooge, the Grinch, and Blackadder spawned this evil, yet hilarious person. And I was surprised how great the movie was, cause I read up on it and the production seemed like a total mess, with the script constantly being re-written, Richard Donner and Bill Murray had a very strained relationship on set, and yet through all of that this is still a coherent, funny, and a very decent adaptation of a classic. This movie still has the heart and message of the original, while still doing a fresh take. Sure, we still get all the ghosts but the film has fun with it, and really treks into dark comedy which I love. The ghosts all have unique personalities but by far my absolute favorite is Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Now let me go on record and say, I friggin' love Carol Kane. She is 90 different flavors of crazy and perfect, she's just wonderful and I adore her. Her scenes in this movie had me rolling on the floor laughing! She stole the movie for me, that is how great she was! She was just so odd, and offbeat, yet so funny, and for lack of a better word...adorable. I must meet her and hug her, because Carol is brilliant in my eyes! Another person who I just loved watching is Bobcat Goldthwait in a supporting role, mainly because almost the whole movie I was like, "I know this voice. This is so damn familiar. But why? This guy is funny and his voice is so recognizable!" and then I found out. Ah! Good old Bobcat, funny dude! The music caught my attention too, throughout the movie I was just thinking, this music sounds like unused tracks from Batman Returns. This is very Danny Elfman. Guess what? Music was done by Danny Elfman. About 4 years before Batman Returns. Hey man, if your brain is really onto something, chances are you are totally correct. Scrooge was a treat to say the least, to the point where I want to make it a tradition to watch it every December. There's even a great Groundhog Day reference 5 years before Groundhog Day was even released. Yeah, this movie's a bit weird. But great. You gotta see this movie before Christmas, especially because of the speech at the end. It still rings true after about 30 years, and really makes you feel good inside. 4 stars! Check it out! And come back tomorrow, cause we always got more.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Oh how I find such joy in this short, though it's mostly found of a certain Grinchy sort.

Everyone knows the tale, of the town of Whoville and the Grinch who hated holiday cheer. But why is this story so beloved? That we must think, unlike that of a certain remake. It is a tale of finding the true meaning of Christmas, and not just the mirth of material possesions, with wonderful animation, color, and cast that makes this film just as memorable as it was in the past. It knows the point it is trying to make, and does not try to distract, because it is done with actual sophistication and tact! With a story of an eternal grump, a kind of story we know too well, who eventually learns to appreciate the holiday and not think of it as hell. Our Narrarator is Boris Karloff who voiced the Grinch too, and looking back it is so much cooler than anyone else could do. His voice is perfect and deliciously vile, with devilish body movements that are equal in guile, with hate and disgust for all things happy and seriously who could ever want anything so sappy? For Christmas is a nightmare and something I don't wish to exist, though at the very least I can deal with it for my family does insist. Although Charlie Brown told the meaning of Christmas better than most, this short film still has heart and something worthy of note. The songs are memorable and detailed in filth, so gross and disturbing it could curdle milk. It's a classic that no one could ever top, but that didn't stop Hollywood from making a flop. If you want a short film with cynicism and love for Christmas, then I couldn't think of a better candidate. Gather around with your family and give it a watch, who knows maybe even your heart will grow a notch.

Rhyming is hard, I must truly say. It makes me wonder how Dr. Seuss made it through the day. There is only one Grinch for me thank you very much, so you can keep your Jim Carrey movie. I often did watch this movie even when it wasn't Christmas, hell I did that with the Rankin-Bass specials too so I'm happy I could talk about it because it does indeed deserve the love and could do more than a big budget flub. But our job is not done, for tomorrow I will be visited by 3 spirits....

Thursday, December 7, 2017

In Search of Shapes In Water

Well I'm stumped on this. So I wanted to review The Shape Of Water before I went on my Christmas break and the damn movie was released in New York today, and won't get down here until the 21st! The closes theater showing it is in Austin, so that pretty much scratches that out. As a gift, I might do it after my break has started but until Saturday, I really got nothing. On the upside, it is snowing outside now. In Texas. In SOUTH Texas. Hell, at least someone has been listening to me! I decided that October should be cooler with a lot of breezy air and falling leaves, and we got that here. I felt it was high time December should be, you know...December so the temperature has dropped to the 40s and now snow. Now we need to make the snow last just one day more, and all will be right in the world. So what should I talk about tomorrow? An In Retrospect, or another Christmas classic, maybe even a short film to get you in the spirit? Who knows? But we'll all find out tomorrow. Until then, stay frosty and I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Ernest Saves Christmas

Alright, it's Christmas time again. Bah humbug to you and your ridiculous elfs on shelfs!

But seeing as how it is Christmas time, we should look at holiday movies. It's for you, and certainly not for me. So let's start with a more outlandish movie Ernest Saves Christmas. Starring the late and talented Jim Varney, this particular Ernest movie finds him meeting the big red guy himself, and tries to help find a succesor to the role of Santa Claus. It's a decent flick, with Jim doing fine work and gets to improvise a bit, the story takes a basic Christmas story and expands on it beyond just..."Santa! Let's go deliver presents!" which I do admire, the comedy is good, the setting of Florida gives it a unique setting since it barely gets below 70° down there (very much like Texas), and the replacement for Mr. Clause is genuinely heartwarming. Even though my grinchy grinch heart does not hold Christmas highly, I did actually enjoy this movie. It's a very good family movie and perfect for children around this time of year. I do have to state explicitly how this might be the best on-screen version of Santa, ever. This is the best Santa ever (And no, I have not seen The Santa Clause. Any of them. Withold your stoning and stake burning of me later.). You'll recognize his voice as the Sultan from Aladdin, and he is beyond perfect. You get the sense this is a man who has a deep love and commitment to Christmas, and all aspects of his character are addressed. Kindness and compassion, a great connection to all children, devotion to the season and his job, it's just raw unadulterated joy and happiness and all things good. I believe in Santa Claus. He is real. But....this doesn't change my views on Christmas, not one little bit! That holds a lot of power from an average holiday family film. Hell, the opening is quite frankly one of the most lovely and and dare I say even nostalgic Christmas movie openings ever. All it is, is select images of Santa Claus with carol music. But by God, it is like Christmas in it's most basic form and really would be prime movie watching if you hold a Christmas party, just the overall mood and....I don't know just pure esthetic is ideal in a situation like that. I haven't seen many Ernest movies, but from what I have heard this is easily the best. But it's all due to this film's Santa. Think about it, how many times have you seen Santa in films, and legitimately loved the potrayal? Like, this is the real deal Santa as he could, would, and should ever be? I can't say that often. But this movie did it. And while my general disdain for Christmas remains.....this movie was really good and got me in the spirit a bit. Oh hush, I'm not enjoying this. Kinda. Um...I hate Christmas! And, to prove my point we won't review another Christmas movie until Saturday! Ha! You won't be finding me in any yuletide cheer or joy this month! Until next time, my plans for stopping Christmas continue...