Review Roundup - Christmas 2014

Part 2 of 2 (PART 1)


Speaking of unsettling daytime movies, what time do they usually broadcast this one? The first ghost visit which replaces the Scrooge and Marley scene is kinda disturbing, and so is the poor dead guy who gets found in the sewers towards the end. A film which has a far stronger opening half while Bill Murray is being a total jerk to everyone. While it gets less effective when the Ghost of Christmas Present shows up, there's still a lot of fun stuff (who doesn't want to see The Day The Reindeer Died) and I like the past scenes which all work well - it's good to see Karen Allen outside of Raiders.

Movie Rating: 3/5
Christmas Rating: Richard Donner (3/5)
Festive Moment: 'Charles Dickens would have wanted to see her nipples!' 


I guess we're moving into all the familiar viewings here, but it's good to get in a John Landis comedy, and one with a pre let's-play-everyone Eddie Murphy. It falls a part a bit once the big plan at the end comes along with the train party / gorilla stuff going on for far too long and the stock exchange plot pushes it away from being a real xmas viewing, but what the heck it fits the bill and has plenty of laughs. As they say 'Merry New Year! Ah-ha-hah-ahhaa!'.

Movie Rating: 4/5
Christmas Rating: Clarence Beakes (2/5)
Festive Moment: Eating salmon through the worst ever Santa beard


In a rare break from the usual format I will include this seasonal episode of Rowan Atkinson's acidic anti-character as its stands alone from the other episodes. This is never really as good as the two series of the show which get included as dream / spirit visions (the second and third seasons) but it has its moments because of the writing. Plus the idea of this story being done in reverse and the kind, generous man realising he could benefit from being cruel is pretty good spin on things.

Episode Rating:
Christmas Rating:
Robbie Coltrane (3/5)
Festive Moment: 'Ill-conceived love I should warn you, is like a Christmas cracker. One massively disappointing bang and the novelty soon wears off'   


I was never a big fan of the likes of Paprika or Perfect Blue but this is by far the best of Satoshi Kon's movies for any time of year. Those others showed great skill and imagination but this is the one that manages to cram in the charm, tragedy and character depth pushing them to new levels. By keeping in all those weird cuts and odd moments he enjoys including of course, it builds up a magical experience in spite of the more down to earth story setup of homeless people struggling with their demons. The idea of coincidences driving the plot forward makes for interesting viewing without ever becoming over done, and the darker elements provide some somber moments that flesh things out but never become too morbid. A real animated gem. 

Movie Rating: 4/5
Christmas Rating: Uncle Bag (3/5)
Festive Moment: Gin saved by an angel