One more thing before 2016

Was this year good or bad? I always thought that question was pointless.

How can you decide whether a whole 365 days was good or bad?

I’m going to make this a short post just as a final message before 2016.

For me 2015 was quite productive.

I went to New York, I left College with some pretty damn good grades, I got involved with Cuckoo Young Writers, I submitted some short stories to a few competitions (none of them won but still another good try!), I started this blog and of course I got into University.

With my reviews, videos and Twitter activity my teeny weeny audience has certainly grown and I hope it will continue to grow in the new year.

I’m proud of what I’ve put out this year especially on YouTube. I think THE END?! and Counsellor 6 are probably the funniest videos I’ve ever done.

Of course 2015 wasn’t perfect but it has been a year of great developments for me.

It has also been a great year for cinema with brilliant films such as Amy, Inside Out and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The best film of the year for me though would have to be Mad Max Fury Road.

Why would be a full review.

For the rest of the world however even a politically naïve monkey like me has to admit it hasn’t been so great.

Numerous terrorist attacks and government solutions that are probably going to cause more problems than solve them.

I hope 2016 will offer joy and success for everyone.

I hope to do well at Uni, meet more people, create more content and have more new experiences.

I hope cinema brings more quality. 2016 looks to be an odd year with possible hits and misses such as Batman V Superman, Deadpool, Finding Dory, Star Trek Beyond and Ghostbusters.

Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa however is going to be the one to see for me.

And I hope the rest of the world manages to resolve these conflicts without risking our values and our lives.

Wow, so much for the short post thing. Oh well.

Until then, have a Happy New Year everyone.

P.S. I’ve got a book review of Circus Mirandus on Cuckoo here and, if you’re still feeling festive, a Christmas video here.

Happy New Year!

Well then… Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Review

This film was god awful and a great disappointment.

Joke. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was actually really good. It had the focus and spirit of the original trilogy, good likable characters and a brilliant pace.

Star Wars the force awakens pic

Now I would usually write the premise of the piece I’m reviewing but writing a complete premise would involve giving some things away.

Trust me. There’s a reason why everyone’s saying you should see this unspoiled.

However I will give a brief, brief overview.

Its 30 years after Return of the Jedi, an imperial army known as The First Order is trying to take over the galaxy. Our protagonists try to stop them.

The characters is what made Star Wars great and The Force Awakens perfects its characters.

While they’re not really unique or three dimensional the film establishes their desires and personalities instantly and with that knowledge you immediately care about them.

The performances are great. The new cast members express the chemistry between the characters brilliantly.

I won’t lie Daisy Ridley was a bit woody at the beginning with the way she delivered her lines but she got better as the film progressed.

The Force Awakens is possibly the best example of referencing done right.

In Doctor Who, the recent Star Trek films and most remakes and reboots the references are always shoehorned into the dialogue and sound really awkward and unnatural.

Here the references are presented as the mythology of the story. They are brought up as historical events and don’t feel artificial.

Is The Force Awakens perfect? Is it a game changing classic? No.

The biggest problem I had with the film was the plot.

Without spoiling anything the film is basically a carbon copy of A New Hope.

I know a lot of people have said it is just paying homage to the original trilogy bur for me the line between homage and copying really blurred. There were many points when I was thinking to myself “really? They’re doing this again?”.

I wouldn’t call it a classic or even the best film of the year but I don’t think The Force Awakens was supposed to be any of those things.

While I still agree with all the points I made in my post ‘The Force Awakens: Just Another Sci-fi Fantasy film?‘ I say that if it was supposed to be a simple, fun, nostalgic adventure film that caught the spirit of the original trilogy, then it succeeded.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens earns a solid 8 out of 10.

 

MORE LOVABLE CHRISTMAS CRAP! Jack Frost 2: The Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (2000) Review

It is nearly half one in the morning on December 17th 2015. I’m sober. Its been a good day since I’ve seen this but based on multiple viewings and the great enjoyment I had watching it I’m pretty sure my memory is good enough to crank out a review.

Many have criticised Jack Frost 2: The Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman for its lower budget and annoying cartoony characters.

However, I think it is those qualities that makes this better than the original.

jack frost 2 pic
Love means never having to say you’re ugly.

Yes, I think Jack Frost 2 is better than the original. Another rare example of a sequel being superior to its predecessor.

Then again we’re talking about films concerning a Mutant Killer Snowman so that’s not saying a lot.

Sam (the sheriff who caught Jack Frost and destroyed his resurrected Snowman form) is traumatized by the events of the first film. To help him recover his wife takes him on a holiday island vacation for Christmas.

Unbeknown to them, after an accident at a research laboratory Jack Frost is brought back to life and pursues Sam in the tropics with vengeful intentions.

I didn’t mention this in my review but one issue I had with the first Jack Frost was the pacing and the other characters.

With the exception of Sam and Maria, I thought a lot of the other characters were pretty bland. They were just your usual, run-of-the-mill angry American townspeople.

Most of the first and second acts featured them a lot which really slowed the pace for me.

These flaws are fixed in the sequel.

The characters, as cartoony and stereotypical as they may be, are much more compelling and entertaining.

Even if you don’t think they’re funny, they’re still likable and fun to watch.

Colonel Hickering is a lovable old British colonel who keeps reminiscing about his time in India and giving casual reactions to horrific sights, Bobby is a charming stereotypical Jamaican barman and David Allen Brook’s portrayal as Agent Manners is hilariously melodramatic and much better than Stephen Mendal in the original.

Scott Macdonald is also brilliant as Jack Frost. Just thought I should mention that.

On top of the funnier characters and quicker pace the gore, despite the lower budget, is amazing.

One of the kills involves a guy getting his tongue stuck on a frozen lamppost. I don’t want to spoil anything but the outcome is possibly one of the most creative kills in horror film history.

In conclusion Jack Frost 2: The Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman is a vast improvement on the original as well as stupidly entertaining.

So there we have it. The Jack Frost films. It would be interesting to see a third film but unfortunately I don’t think many people are going to spare money for a tiny cult film series like this.

Then again we should be grateful for what we have. A hilarious double feature that’s worth adding to anyone’s holiday watch list this Christmas.

Anyway, Jack Frost 2: The Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman earns a…. fuck it, a glorious 8 out of 10.

 

I have no idea what to feel about this. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Review

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a strange animal in that it is an enjoyable film but nothing more.

Does that mean its bad? Oh no. It has great stop-motion animation, a good pace, an engaging plot and interesting characters.

But did I feel for the characters? Was I fascinated by its thematic expression? No.

nightmare before christmas pic
…………………………………………

Even though he didn’t direct it, there is a recognizable Tim Burton theme. In that sense the film is very similar to Edward Scissorhands.

Both films concern an outsider trying to fit in a society but their attempts alienate and enrage the people so they are forced to return to their solitary and boring world where they’re better off.

The film concerns a reality where every holiday (American one anyway) has its own world.

Jack Skellington is known as the Pumpkin King, the most popular figure in Halloweentown. He is adored by every creature and demon around him but he has grown bored of the same annual routine. He wants something new.

He suddenly discovers Christmastown, a completely different reality and way of life. Inspired, Skellington kidnaps Santa Claus and delivers Christmas in his own style.  Unfortunately, not everyone is impressed with his vision.

As I said there are familiar Burton themes about outsiders and fitting in certain social orders but apart from that The Nightmare Before Christmas is just a fun visual fairy tale, which isn’t entirely a bad thing.

Its not A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life but its an innocent, little enjoyable holiday film that’s worth a watch if you have the time.

If not, there are better Christmas films you could be watching.

Overall, The Nightmare Before Christmas earns an admirable 7 out of 10.

Lovable Christmas Crap. Jack Frost (1996) Review

I don’t know when I’ll have this posted but right now it’s the 11th of December 2015, its nearly midnight, I’ve just watched this film and I’m pretty drunk.

Since the premise of this 1996 Horror Comedy concerns a serial killer that has transformed into a mutant snowman due to a freak-accident, trying to kill the sheriff who caught him I’m not going to give this film a deep analysis because Jack Frost obviously knows it doesn’t deserve such thought.

jack frost pic
Somethings don’t have to be of quality to produce happiness.

The opening scene establishes the tone perfectly; the clunky dialogue, the over-the-top acting, the Christmassy snow and the unconvincing but charming special effects.

The people, logic and world of Jack Frost is soaking in stupidity.

One of the first kills in the film is of a bully who, while sledging around a street, is pushed to the ground by Jack (in his ambiguous snowman form) and gets his head cut off by the blade of his friend’s passing sledge.

When the police and FBI place the town under curfew a young couple break into the Sheriff’s house to get drunk and have sex.

Later in the film a scientist explains that “the soul is a chemical” and the substance Jack collided with in the accident absorbed his spirit.

Jack Frost is full of bizarre moments like these which is what makes it so charismatic.

Jack-Frost-1997-1

The special effects only add to the film’s cuteness.

The production team had to create a shapeshifting, T1000-like snowman with a fairly low budget.

The film uses swift cutting and clever cinematography showing Jack’s rubber body and arms waving around with blood squirting, creating the illusion that he is killing someone.

Now of course if the film had a big Hollywood budget the execution would’ve been a lot more convincing but it would lack the creative charm the existing low budget version has.

Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if Edgar Wright had seen this film and was influenced by its fast cutting. I know that’s unlikely but  you’ll see what I mean if you watch it.

jack-frost-horror-movies-8489696-700-3861
No comment.

The performances are good in that they fit the film’s tone; Christopher Allport is your bland heroic sheriff, Rob Labelle is cynical and quirky as the scientist and Scott McDonald is gloriously evil as Jack Frost.

In conclusion Jack Frost is a silly adorable Christmas film which I think everyone should give a watch this season.

Jack Frost earns a loving 7 out of 10.

UPDATE: I’ve uploaded a new Metalico video right here.

I’m also going to try and crank out a little MetalicoOfMeltron Christmas special before the big day so keep a look out for that and other Christmas reviews!