The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – A FDWG Movie Review

Nightmare Before ChristmasHallowe’en this year marked a minor milestone in my house.  After Charlotte got her sackfull of candy, we returned home and watched The Nightmare Before Christmas.  We watched the whole thing, and as far as I can remember this is the first time she’s sat with me and watched an entire full length feature film, animated or otherwise.

This is a Fat Dad With Glasses review, which means I’ll be mostly covering it from the father-of-a-five-year-old-girl angle.  If you want my grown-up independent type view point… Here you go:

Despite being a fresh take, it still features a pretty derivative theme.  However, the movie is very entertaining.  It’s a masterwork of visual and musical achievement.

If you would like that opinion expanded upon… Seriously?  You can go pretty much anywhere else on the internet.  Or bait me with a comment below. It’s shockingly easy to get me to talk about something “I’m not gonna talk about” with comments.

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Review Grab Bag (10-4-15)

Review Grab Bag 11-4-15

It’s the 11th Edition of the Review Grab Bag, everyone!  Yay!  For something I’ve been doing for a little over 4 years, that’s really not a lot of Grab Bags.  Sure, once or twice there was basically a whole year or more in there where I didn’t post anything… but we don’t like to talk about that.

*Shifts eyes shiftily*

Anyway…  Today, in the Review Grab Bag we’ll find 2 movies, a Graphic Novel and a puzzle that’s from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

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Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

Safety Not GuaranteedWANTED: Someone to go back in time with me.  This is not a joke.  You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED.”

Aubrey Plaza plays Aubrey Plaza Darius, a young, blunt, disinterested intern who’s still looking for something to give her life meaning. Up and Coming “That Guy!™” Jake Johnson plays her narcissistic writer boss, Jeff. Along with another socially awkward intern, this unlikely trio travel out to a small Washington town in search of the man who placed the above ad.

Eventually they find Kenneth, played by another up and coming “That Guy!™” Mark Duplass.  When Kenneth gets spooked by Jeff, it’s up to Aubrey Darius to reel him in if they ever want to find out just how crazy Kenneth is… or isn’t.

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Review Grab Bag (1-5-15)

Grab Bag 1 5 15

Happy New Year, folks.  It’s 2015 and after an 18 month hiatus, the Review Grab Bag is back.   If you don’t remember, or didn’t realize in the first place, the RGB is where I throw up a paragraph or two about stuff that I have something to say about, but not much of a something.  This time around we take a look at 3 Sci-Fi movies that have very little in common, and an Atari 2600 cult classic.

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In a World… (2013)

In_a_World_poster[1]Somewhere, a while ago, I saw Lake Bell–or maybe Rob Cordry? I don’t know.  I saw someone, damn it–talking about this movie to someone… Conan, Ferguson, Jon Stewart?  Fuckin’ vague memories.  I hate ’em.  Whenever it was, I filed it away in the mental file marked, “That Sounds Interesting To Me, But Not Enough To Ever Seek It Out.”  And that’s why whoever photoshopped the movie poster for this one is a mother fucking genius.

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John Wick (2014)

John WickJohn Wick, or Keanu Reeves Kills Everyone or Tonight We’re Going to Movie Like It’s 1999, is the story of what happens when you kill an ex-assassin’s dog.  Turns out, it’s just about exactly as wise as you might think it is.

John Wick has everything that’s been missing from the action movies I’ve been watching for about 15 years now.  Lots of action, head shots, blood and brains splattering faces and walls, violence, revenge, deaths, dog killing, Daniel “Not JCVD” Bernhardt, Marilyn Manson on the soundtrack…  for better or worse, John Wick is a return to the mid-late 90s, and I for one welcome it.

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The Boondock Saints (1999)

Boondock04Gerry Parkes, Doc from Fraggle Rock, passed away this past week.  I’ve got a huge soft spot for that character and that show.  Parkes’ death was the catalyst that finally got me to sit down and watch a movie that’s been on and off my radar for, apparently, about 15 years.

The Boondock Saints follows the story of two very Irish Catholic brothers, Young Indiana Powder and Daryl Dixon, who decide after narrowly escaping some Russian mobsters–and a divine epiphany–that they should start killing really bad guys.  Willem Dafoe plays an FBI agent who specializes in Organized Crime.  Dafoe becomes more and more frustrated at his inability to catch the assassins who seem to simultaneously be ridiculously lucky bungling oafs, and criminal mastermind vigilantes.

The movie walks a line between a mediocre action film on a tight budget that tries to be over-the-top, and a surprisingly good dark comedy.  I think it works much better when viewed as the latter than the former.

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Annabelle (2014)

AnnabelleCoverAs of last Tuesday, the old man and I had been out to see one movie in the last year.  It was that possession movie with Jeff Winger in it as a tough guy.  We enjoyed it, but being forced to say that’s the best movie we’ve seen together in a year is pretty much a fucking travesty.  Theatrically released horror movies are so few and far between now we hardly get out to see anything.  When something does come along, Real Life™ comes along and kicks one of us in the balls.

So, when we saw previews for a movie with a possessed doll that looks creepy as fuck we honestly didn’t expect to be able to get out to it.  However, the stars and planets aligned and Real Life™ chose to leave our balls alone for a week.  Or so we thought.

It turns out that last week, Annabelle was our kick in the balls.

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Oculus (2013)

OculusOculus is a suspense/horror movie from writer/director Mike Flanagan.  It jumps back and forth telling the horrific story of the Russell family, both in present day, and 12 years ago.  Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites) has finally been released from a mental hospital following past events.  His sister Kaylie (Amy Pond Karen Gillan) is convinced a haunted antique mirror was the source of their family’s troubles, and is determined to prove it.  Reluctantly, Tim helps her in her plan, expecting what she really needs is help letting go of the past.

I think my expectations were a tad too high for this one.  I remember being moderately intrigued by the trailers, but never getting a chance to see it in theatres.  Moderate levels of praise kept my expectations tempered in the interim.  After learning Flanagan has been given a chance to write and direct Stephen King’s completely unfilmable Gerald’s Game, and that some people thought he was a good choice–largely because of this movie–it moved to the top of my To-See list.

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The Raid 2 (2014)

The Raid 2The Raid 2 is writer/director Gareth Evans followup to his well received 2011 kung-fu killing spree, The Raid:  Redemption.  Iko Uwais returns to the role of Rama, who is sent to prison, undercover, in order to infiltrate a triad of mafia families and bring them down.  Once again, the action scenes in The Raid 2 are fantastic, and everything else is just filler.  The trouble this time around is that at 2 1/2 hours running time there’s just too damn much of that filler. Continue reading