Review: Bad Santa 2

BadSanta2
If watching Billy Bob Thornton get pass-out drunk is your idea of good holiday entertainment, THIS is the film for you

Way back in November 2006, director Terry Zwigoff and writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa unleashed Bad Santa on the world, providing us with the perfect antidote to the crass-commercialism and forced cheer that can mar the festive season.

Flash forward 13 years and a new creative team has cooked up Bad Santa 2 with the hope of recapturing the same blend of pitch black comedy and surprisingly heartfelt emotion that made the first outing such a success.

Unfortunately, the end result comes across a bit like warmed-up Christmas leftovers: still enjoyable, but far less satisfying than when it was served up fresh the first time around.

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Review: Bad Santa 2

Pop Culture By The Numbers: Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters_TeamShot
All the team were pretty happy with this infographic, except for Egon…

Which Ghostbusters movie has the most visual effects shots? At what ungodly hour did Ray Parker Jr compose the hit theme song? And just how many gallons of shaving foam does it take to simulate a downpour of marshmallow goo?

Find out in this month’s Halloween-themed Pop Culture By The Numbers infographic!

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Review: Rango

Rango
It says something about Johnny Depp’s career choices that “lizard sheriff” is probably not the weirdest role he’s ever played

So often these days, it seems like big budget movies are made with a specific audience in mind, in a cynical attempt by studios to maximise profits at the expense of stifling creativity.

But every so often, along comes a major studio release that is so markedly different from the “paint by numbers” fodder that tends to flood the industry that it can only be the result of filmmakers interested in telling the kind of story they want to, demigraphics and creative think tanks be damned.

So it was with Rango, Gore Verbinski’s screwball animated Western, which premiered five years ago this month. I’m not entirely sure what audience Rango was made for – possibly for film buffs, but more than likely for the filmmakers themselves – but regardless, I sure am glad that it exists.

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Review: Rango

Soapbox: Getting it right, again and again –Why Groundhog Day is the greatest high concept comedy of all time

GroundhogDay_Phil_Rita
We’ve all had mornings like this…

Today marks the annual Groundhog Day celebration in North America, so I’d like to take a look back at director Harold Ramis’ 1993 classic Groundhog Day, arguably the greatest high concept comedy of all time.

Today marks the annual Groundhog Day celebration in North America, so I’d like to take a look back at director Harold Ramis’ 1993 classic Groundhog Day, arguably the greatest high concept comedy of all time.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Continue reading “Soapbox: Getting it right, again and again –Why Groundhog Day is the greatest high concept comedy of all time”

Soapbox: Getting it right, again and again –Why Groundhog Day is the greatest high concept comedy of all time

Soapbox: Soldiers, presidents and visionaries – The top five Aaron Sorkin movies

TheSocialNetwork_Sean_Mark
Maybe the only time it’s been acceptable to praise a film starring Justin Timberlake

If all Aaron Sorkin ever did was create The West Wing – one of the most highly regarded TV shows of all time – it would still be enough to cement his reputation as one the greatest ever pop culture scribes.

Fortunately, Sorkin isn’t one to rest on his laurels. In addition to developing several other TV series over the last few decades (including the admirable yet flawed Jeff Daniels’ vehicle The Newsroom), he’s also authored several acclaimed screenplays.

Having finally had the chance to catch up on Sorkin’s latest cinematic offering, Steve Jobs, I’ve decided that now would be as good a time as any to rank the top five films scripted by everyone’s favourite ultra-liberal dialogue maestro.

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Soapbox: Soldiers, presidents and visionaries – The top five Aaron Sorkin movies

Anatomy Lesson: “The place where the Falling Angel meets the Rising Ape”

Hogfather_Death_Susan
The Downton Abbey series finale was not what anyone expected

If there’s one thing I love about Christmas stories, it’s that virtually all of them are determinedly “about” something. Unfortunately, the majority of them are also about the SAME thing – the importance of kindness and the value of family – which can get a little tedious after awhile.

Don’t get me wrong: I support that message lock, stock and barrel. But every so often, another type of festive tale will come along that skews a little different, breathing new life into the genre.

So it is with Hogfather, the 20th novel in the late Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and in this month’s Anatomy Lesson, we’re going to take a look back at its TV adaptation, which first aired back in 2006.

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Anatomy Lesson: “The place where the Falling Angel meets the Rising Ape”

Soapbox: A Christmas movie for every occasion

LoveActually
This image is the least wholesome thing about this list, I promise

It’s holiday season, and what better way to celebrate than by vegging out on the couch in front of some decent Christmas classics?

And yet, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. After all, while Christmas may be “the most wonderful time of the year”, it’s also one of the most emotionally complex.

One minute you’re singing carols proclaiming the glory of the new born Christ, the next, you’re screaming his name as your prize turkey goes up in flames.

As such, it’s critical to have a robust programme of Yuletide flicks at your fingertips, in order to accommodate all of the major moods and occasions that the silly season can throw your way.

With this in mind, I’ve prepared the following list of Christmas-themed movies for your convenience. Whether you’re full of cheer, about to go on a ho-ho-homicidal spree, or somewhere inbetween, there’s bound to be something on this list for you!

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Soapbox: A Christmas movie for every occasion