Skip to main content

Christmas Countdown!

So... it's December again!

Where I live, December means that you wake up in the dark, and the sun will have set by the time you leave work. It's extremely depressing; many people around here suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder to some degree.

I've always found that, to combat this, it help to embrace the happy aspect of December. This year, I'll be combining my Christmas cheer with my love for movies, and bringing a Christmas movie post daily until Santa's big day.

Now let me take a moment to expound on my philosophy on how to conduct film analysis. I generally critique movies based on the following pyramid:

Enjoyment is the lowest level on which a film is graded. It forms the foundation that is often lacking in so-called "art films" that focus solely on the higher levels. Above Enjoyment is Criticism: how well a film was made has a huge bearing on its quality. Atop this, we have Commentary: this is mostly dependent on the writing and direction of a film. Films which make commentaries are the most important and long lived. This is the most important aspect of a successful film, but it's also dependent on the lower levels.

It's possible for a film that is strong one one level to be lacking on the level below, but the best films are strong on all three levels e.g. Full Metal Jacket, Vertigo, Tootsie.

It is important for an analysis to mirror the strengths of the topic; it doesn't do to talk about Big Top Pee Wee or Glitter as an argument for Malthusianism, however tempting that argument may be.

So back to the topic at hand, Christmas movies rarely make it far above the Enjoyment level, so I will be treating them as such. I'll be going easy on all but the most atrocious films.


Popular posts from this blog

Review: Anomalisa

Weird is rarely used as a good quality in film criticism, but few words so completely describe Charlie Kaufman’s work as weird does. All of his films are a window into his very particular worldview, and that p.o.v. is certainly unlike anything seen in pop culture. For that reason, Anomalisa became an entry on many most anticipated lists for 2015. That Kaufman chose stop-motion to tell this story made the picture an event. So it came as a disappointment when the film was one of the year’s more mundane efforts.

Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind have an energy and heart at the center that is not present here. Previous collaborators like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry were able to temper the overwhelming negativity Charlie Kaufman occasionally falls prey to, but, this time, the writer doesn’t have a director to rein things in. In all of his efforts to create an experience that is both familiar and alienating, Kaufman may have accidentally created something host…

Hulk vs. The Incredible Hulk vs. The Avengers

There are two movies about the Hulk and one that features the green monster as a major player. One was made in 2003 by an auteur, starring a little-known Aussie. Five years later The Incredible Hulk came out to the same tepid reaction as Ang Lee's Hulk did. This weekend, The Avengers made the Hulk as popular as he has been in a long time. So it comes down to this: Hulk vs. Hulk vs. Hulk. Who will smash whom?

Round One: Acting
Edward Norton outshines Eric Bana as the dual persona of the meek Bruce Banner and the rage-induced Hulk. Eric Bana was given little to do but run and fight and often the audience was just waiting for him to transform. With the Incredible Hulk, Norton's Banner is fully fleshed-out and we are given a reason to care about him. Being allowed to go a little dark with Banner's scenes questioning what is left of his life provided emotional resonance to the character that Hulk lacked. Yet even with the capable performance that Norton gives there was something …

The Dream Is Real

For my money there is nothing cooler than the idea of a city folding in on itself.