It’s February and everything sucks right now, so it’s time to unwind with February Fisticuffs – a punchy look at some of the best, worst and most average boxing, kung fu and martial arts movies. Son directs father in Dance of the Drunk Mantis, an amusing 1979 martial arts movie. Yuen Woo-ping is the director, […]Read more "February Fisticuffs: Dance of the Drunk Mantis (1979)"
It’s February and everything sucks right now, so it’s time to unwind with February Fisticuffs – a punchy look at some of the best, worst and most average boxing, kung fu and martial arts movies. Stephen Fung’s Tai Chi Zero is a wild one. The 2012 Chinese martial arts film is about as loud and […]Read more "February Fisticuffs: Tai Chi Zero (2012)"
Robert Hamer’s Kind Hearts and Coronets is the sort of dry, dark comedy that isn’t made very much anymore. The 1949 picture stands starkly as a sort of exercise in pursed politeness, where lines are uttered with cold intellectualism and character operate in outlandish but utterly “civilized” ways.Read more "Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)"
Given the catastrophic acid bath that has been 2016, it may be hard for some to get into the holiday spirit. 1997’s Jack Frost may be just the ticket, with its derision and weirdness and general disregard for Christmas cheer.Read more "Jack Frost (1997)"
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is a tepid and troubling movie that brims with a special kind of banality, even for a Christmas feature. Michael Lembeck is again in the director’s chair, while the screenplay by Ed Decter and John J. Strauss is less busy but less entertaining than what was offered in […]Read more "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)"
Tim Allen dons the red and white suit again for The Santa Clause 2, the 2002 sequel to the 1994 original. This outing is directed by Michael Lembeck from a busy by-committee screenplay. It is filled to the brim with stuff and often suffers under the burden of its multiple plots, especially when the movie […]Read more "The Santa Clause 2 (2002)"
John Pasquin directs The Santa Clause, a Christmas movie that from Disney that sits just on the edge of true curiosity. This 1994 film sprouted two sequels and plunked Tim Allen and his Home Improvement trappings in the driver’s seat, but it’s really more interesting to consider from an adult perspective.Read more "The Santa Clause (1994)"
Jonathan Taylor Thomas makes for a grating protagonist in the 1998 Christmas comedy I’ll Be Home for Christmas. The film is directed by Arlene Sanford from a screenplay by Michael Allin, Tom Nursall and Harris Goldberg. It has the usual Walt Disney Pictures trappings of the era, including a wonky sense of what’s cool.Read more "I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998)"
Those with an aversion to schmaltz should steer well clear of Fred Claus, a 2007 Christmas movie so loaded with unstable sweetness it’s nearly unbearable. On the other hand, there’s somewhat of a remarkable quality to the David Dobkin comedy that suggests magic in the David Fogelman and Jessie Nelson screenplay and several surprises from […]Read more "Fred Claus (2007)"
One of the more objectionable modern Christmas movies is the 2008 endeavour Four Christmases. This Yuletide rom-com is directed by Seth Gordon from a screenplay Matt R. Allen, Caleb Wilson, Jon Lucas, and Scott Moore. It is a vehicle for the homespun services of stars Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn and it has a lot […]Read more "Four Christmases (2008)"
As Christmas movies go, Christmas with the Kranks is almost doggedly awful. This 2004 comedy is based on the 2001 John Grisham novel Skipping Christmas, with a screenplay by Chris Columbus. Joe Roth directs without an ounce of anything artistic, while cinematographer Don Burgess utilizes a conventional style.Read more "Christmas with the Kranks (2004)"
Directed by John Murlowski from a screenplay by Jonathan Bond, Fred Mata and Dorrie Krum Raymond, Santa with Muscles has the honour of landing in the bottom rated movies over at IMDb and is often found on many a “worst movies” list. That assessment seems a little excessive, especially considering the context of such a […]Read more "Santa with Muscles (1996)"
A jumbled but entertaining effort, the 2016 incarnation of Ghostbusters luckily has enough juice in the proton pack to overcome the overblown trappings of Paul Feig’s approach. The director also wrote the screenplay with Katie Dippold, who wrote Feig’s The Heat in 2013.Read more "Ghostbusters (2016)"
Frank Tuttle’s This Gun for Hire is mostly known for a star-making turn by Alan Ladd, who plays a hitman named Philp Raven and who is cold as ice – except when it comes to kitties. The 1942 film noir is based on Graham Greene’s novel A Gun for Sale and features a screenplay by […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: This Gun for Hire (1942)"
Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Central Intelligence is an entertaining trifle, a happy-go-lucky spy comedy that generates tremendous chemistry from its actors and doesn’t do too much heavy-lifting. The screenplay by Thurber, Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen isn’t revolutionary in the slightest, but it does contain just enough retro fluff to overcome its over-plotted tendencies.Read more "Central Intelligence (2016)"
Travis Mills writes and directs Porches and Private Eyes, his second film of 2016 after Durant’s Never Closes. Like the latter, Porches and Private Eyes has a strong sense of place. In this instance, it’s the town of Brookhaven in Mississippi that forms the underpinning.Read more "Porches and Private Eyes (2016)"
For one reason or another, the merging of horror and the Christmas season seems a perfect fit. In Krampus, director Michael Dougherty creates a familiar moral fable out of the titular figure of Alpine folklore and the results are underwhelming.Read more "Krampus (2015)"
Jordan Galland’s Ava’s Possessions is a colourful and creative romp, but it’s also burdened to the point of self-destruction. The 2015 horror comedy is strengthened by a high-spirited aesthetic and imaginative cinematography by Adrian Peng Correia, plus it features an enjoyable set of performances.Read more "Ava’s Possessions (2015)"
A black comedy with a slasher movie chaser, Adam Wingard’s You’re Next uncorks a chilled bottle of social satire. The 2011 picture is written by Simon Barrett and ostensibly seems like a conventional home invasion piece, but there’s an edge to it that sets it apart in the genre.Read more "You’re Next (2011)"
He first appears as someone called “the Swindler,” a dappled character scrapping it out with Henry Lehrman’s “Reporter” in the 1914 silent short comedy Making a Living. The struggle is real. Finding work isn’t easy and people are forced to fight it out for whatever employment can be found. And Charlie Chaplin, clad in big-ass […]Read more "Chaplinmania: Chaplin in the Keystone Age"