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  • Silent Night 2012

    ★★½ Watched 13 Dec, 2014

    More of a remake of Christmas Evil than Silent Night Deadly Night, as a vengeful santa rampages through a town dishing out justice to the naughty (including, wonderfully, a child). More attention is paid to the investigating cops than to the killer himself, but his exploits are suitably gory and grotty to make the enterprise at least watchable.
    The acting is uniformily poor, with Malcolm McDowell on fine "what is this shit?" form, though Donal Logue is good as a grumpy travelling Santa who delivers a wonderful "What is Christmas anyway?" monologue.

  • Reindeer Games 2000

    ★★ Rewatched 14 Dec, 2014

    There's the germ of a good idea here, but sadly Frankenheimer's last major film is a massive disappointment.
    Affleck is not too bright as the prisoner who adopts the persona of his dead cell mate to hook up with his pen pal Charlize Theron, but her brother has sights on him too to help him rob a rather ropey looking casino on Christmas Eve.
    Various twists abound and characters act in stupid ways merely to advance the plot.
    A good…

  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 2005

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 06 Dec, 2014

    Just gets more perfect everytime I watch it. Introduced some friends to it this time, who loved it too. My work here is done.

  • Carry on Christmas 1969

    ★★★ Watched 05 Dec, 2014

    The Carry On team tackle Dickens' A Christmas Carol in their own inimitable way in this TV special.
    The Past/Present/Future sections feature sketches with the most tenuous of links to the story (Frankenstein, Robert Browning and Cinderella) but it's all good fun. It's great to see the team reacting to a live audience for a change, with Charles Hawtery particularly playing the crowd.
    But the highlight is undoubtedly Carry On semi-regular Frankie Howerd who steals the whole thing from under…

  • You Better Watch Out 1980

    ★★★½ Watched 05 Dec, 2014 1

    For too many years I've promised to watch John Waters' favourite christmas movie and I finally got round to it this year. And what a lovely surprise it was.

    It's NOT a horror film. There is one scene (which appears a little tacked on) where the blood flows a bit freely, but it's quick and does not represent the film as a whole, which is the story of a Christmas obsessed man who determines he wants to be a real…

  • The Silent Partner 1978

    ★★★★ Watched 04 Dec, 2014

    Little gem of a movie, managing to combine standard 70s tropes of light hearted caper movie, grotty exploitation and Elliot Gould being amazing into an absorbing and very watchable whole.
    Gould is a frustrated (in more ways than one) bank teller who works out that a particularly nasty Christopher Plummer is going to rob his bank window dressed as Santa. He foils him and takes the cash himself leading to a cat-and-mouse game between the two. Throw in a sadly…

  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles 1987

    ★★★ Rewatched 29 Nov, 2014

    A great film for an hour before it runs out of steam and slips into holiday sentimentality for the final 20 minutes, in which there are literally no jokes.
    Martin is really on autopilot (testing out the stressed middle-aged family man character he would portray throughout the 90s), so this is really Candy's show, and he demonstrates a surprising depth for such an OTT character as Dell. It also shows what a good actor he could be with the right material, which he so poorly had.

  • Olympus Has Fallen 2013

    ★★★½ Rewatched 28 Nov, 2014

    2nd watch and enjoyed it even more than the first time, probably because this time I watched it in its natural environment of a Friday night at home with a beer.
    The DVD box screams "It's Die Hard in the White House", but it's not... it's Die Hard TWO in the White House, because it's ridiculous, violent, profane and entertaining despite itself, not because of itself.

    This movie should be embraced as my generation embraced the likes of Commando and should have ushered in a whole new raft of proper R Rated action movies, but that seems unlikely, even with a promised sequel set in London.

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 22 Nov, 2014

    A great set up and interesting first two acts lead to a slightly dreary finale despite excellent work from all involved.
    Mystique/Raven, so pivotal to proceedings becomes the X Men equivalent of the masks in Mission Impossible.
    Not as much fun as First Class, not as exciting and thoughtful as X2, but still good entertainment.

  • X-Men: The Last Stand 2006

    ★★ Rewatched 21 Nov, 2014

    First time I've watched this since release, and it was slightly more watchable than I remember, but it shows the damage that a hack like Brett Ratner can bring to a thoughtful and nuanced superhero franchise, a fact made clearer by the fact those that have followed have not only been better but have sought to undo so much of the damage caused.

  • Night of the Demon 1957

    ★★★½ Rewatched 01 Nov, 2014

    Been years since I'd seen this and if it was my first viewing I'd wonder what all the fuss was about.

    Of course, it's still a fine piece of spooky cinema, but it's also got some dreadful acting, some scenes play like 1920's filmed plays, a horrific 'blacked-up' actor playing an Indian, and, of course, the monster.
    Luckily a director as skilled as Tournier manages to still make a great movie, but I found it lacked a lot of the impact it had on me years ago.

  • Trick 'r Treat 2007

    ★★★★ Watched 01 Nov, 2014

    Finally watched this after hearing a lot of good things and was not disappointed. A kind of Halloween Pulp Fiction it intertwines a few grisly tales straight out of the Tales From the Crypt playbook.
    Rather than the conventional horror anthology standby of a group of unfortunates sharing unrelated tales, the stories here are (loosely) linked with characters reappearing throughout. It makes a refreshing change and nicely ties things together.

    And 'Sam' is without a doubt the creepiest horror creation since the 1980s.