Seasonal

Free Birds

Year: 2013
Directed By: Jimmy Hayward
Written By: Scott Mosier, Jimmy Hayward, David I. Stern and John J. Strauss

 

It suddenly dawned on me tonight, on the eve of Thanksgiving, that I haven’t reviewed a movie with a Thanksgiving theme. Over the past couple of years at least I have liked to drop a movie review that correlated with America’s mostly passed over holiday. So suddenly did the realization hit me that I had little to no time to consider an appropriate film. In years past we have reviewed Dutch and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, both excellent movies for the holiday. This year on short notice I had little time to consider before the most practical film of all was suggested by Amber. So, I may have dipped into my children’s fledgling DVD collection for this title that I think works all too well.

There are several films made for my children that I find myself liking just as much as they do. Titles that immediately come to mind are The Croods, Big Hero 6, and of course this film. Pixar makes great films for all ages too but all too often now they are trying to make me cry and it pisses me off. I will never get over that bullshit at the end of Toy Story 3. I’m referencing the scene in which all the toys find themselves in the trash compactor with no hope of escape. Instead of trying to come up with some new escape plan they all hold hands and accept their imminent death in what last for many many seconds before they are saved. Come on Pixar, why don’t you just kick me in the balls and make me cry honestly??? It’s obscene to have this kind of moment in a children’s film and nothing makes me feel sillier than bawling my eyes out in a Toy Story film.

I find that I cry far more often in children films than in adult films these days. I am unashamed of it in most cases but Pixar gets under my skin because they are just laying it on too thick. In The Croods when the dad has to throw his entire family across the gap in the Earth only to be left behind himself I cry like a baby, but that’s different. There’s the father daughter aspect that hits me in the heart and I feel like they earn my tears honestly. Pixar cheats by going too hard for that punch in the gut, and really letting the moment linger.

This movie however does not make me cry at all and in fact it’s quite the opposite as the laughs keep on coming. I think the story about these turkeys time traveling to get themselves off the Thanksgiving menu is hilarious. The two main characters are voiced by Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson making the movie that much cooler. You even have a lot of other great voices filling up other roles like Amy Poehler, Keith David, Colm Meaney, and even George Takei. They all sound fantastic and deliver on a script that will keep you laughing.

It’s easy the older we get to dismiss animated films for being nothing more than babysitters for the youngins but if you sit down and watch some of them with them you might find yourself surprised. I didn’t particularly like Boss Baby, but for every five of those movies there’s a Shrek, Wall-E, an Up and I know I’m starting to contradict myself naming a few Pixar films but those are exceptional films and Pixar has, in the past made some truly exceptional movies.

So if you get bored with parades and football this Thanksgiving day check out this movie with your kids. You will probably be surprised to find out you enjoy it just as much as they do. Whatever you do try to do something to celebrate the family fun day and not move immediately to Christmas. Take some time to eat turkey, congregate with loved ones, sit through at least one ridiculous argument, and honor the memory of a make believe history. If you already have your Christmas lights up shame on you, that’s Friday work. Tomorrow, that’s all about family, fun, some drama and a lot of thankfulness. I hope you all have a happy one and find plenty to be thankful for.

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Year: 1991
Directed By: Nicholas Meyer
Written By: six different people including Leonard Nimoy, and Nicholas Meyer. Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek)

RYAN’S REVIEW

After suffering through the last two miserable films it’s nice to see they finally took one of their movies seriously again. They finally put together a movie with a good story and made the best Star Trek movie since The Wrath of Khan.  It would have been really unfortunate had they not put together a good film for the final go round with the original crew. They finally got around to resolving that conflict with the Klingons and did so in great fashion.

You can instantly see in this film that it benefited from having Nicholas Meyer back at the helm as director. The whole tone is different from the last three films. They brought back Nicholas Meyer in order to avoid any problem with Nimoy and Shatner because Nimoy was considered to direct. There was some contractual clause that said anything one of them got to do the other got to do as well and Nimoy had already directed two films. I’d argue that all three directed by Nimoy and Shatner were weak but the fifth film by Shatner was far and away the worst. It was a good idea to put this movie back in the hands of a real director who had already had success with the franchise.

Image result for kurtwood smith star trek

Kurtwood Smith as a Klingon!!! Didn’t even have to look him up on IMDB, I recognized him even through the Klingon make-up. This movie is as good as it gets with the original crew but having Kurtwood Smith as the Federation President only makes it better. I am a bit confused because he looks like a Klingon but that can’t be right. It wouldn’t make sense for a Klingon to be President of the Federation. He must be some other type of alien that just looks Klingon like. I don’t really know what they were going for in the make-up department if he wasn’t a Klingon because otherwise it was a little ridiculous.

One problem I notice in this movie is that far too often the characters reference Earth in the 20th century. The Klingons are quoting Shakespeare for crying out loud. Why would they be quoting a four hundred year old Earth writer when they are from a different planet on the other side of the universe? They don’t just quote him once either but several times, it’s like the Klingon General’s thing. It doesn’t make any sense but that’s a small problem in an otherwise really good movie.

It’s really cool that they were able to get Michael Dorn into the movie for a Klingon cameo. I have always been a big fan of the Next Generation’s Worf and it’s fun to see him making his first appearance in one of the films. It’s not mentioned in the movie but he is supposed to be playing Worf’s grandfather in the film. There was apparently a story pitched at one point that would have had Captain Kirk meeting Jean Luc Picard and there being a passing of the torch for the films. There was some reason they couldn’t do that though because the show was still ongoing.

This is my second favorite film featuring the original crew. It’s an interesting movie that can stand on its own and that makes it exceptional in this franchise. I love that they finally went back to the Klingons as the villains and I love the conspiracy story of unknown perpetrators trying to destroy the lingering peace between the Federation and Klingons.  It’s an interesting and exciting plot with a terrific climax. I have had to force myself to pay attention for like the last three films but this space battle at the end sucks me in. It follows with an equally exciting assassination attempt. This movie is just head and shoulders above its three predecessors.

I like how the signatures of the original crew actors come across the screen before the credits role. It really…… signifies (hold for applause) their farewell to the series and was a cool way to cap off the movie.

This was a perfect way to close out the original crew and I’m glad they were able to do that gracefully. The next film serves as a cool transition between crews. This is a rare Star Trek film that stands on its own and has the potential to draw new fans. Having gone through all six of these films quickly I’d say The Wrath of Khan was the best, followed by this one as the two best films in the franchise. The Search for Spock was OK but not spectacular and a continuation of the second film, which makes it a tad cooler. I think the first, fourth, and fifth films in the franchise are all pretty lame and I don’t vouch for them. This movie however, is easily worth your time to see because it’s not just a Star Trek film, it’s a good movie all by itself.

NEXT MOVIE: Star Trek: Generations (1994)

 

Christmas 2015

Life has been busy lately. In this holiday season Amber and I have been in the full grip of responsibility and life. There has been fortune, trouble, luck, and misfortune but all fits into the regular hustle and bustle of reality. We have an excellent movie on deck in Reservoir Dogs but I have been waiting for the right time to jump into that one. Nevertheless I was prompted with the most obvious of questions the other day. When “top five Christmas movies?” came through my text device this was my reply:

Life of Brian
Die Hard
A Christmas Story
Christmas Vacation
Home Alone

With special mention to Love Actually and The Ref. I also suggested Scrooged and Bad Santa as in consideration. Christmas is by no means my favorite holiday and with two daughters and a wife it has done nothing but raped my wallet as the years progress. Yeah, I’ve been raped by Christmas, I said it. This holiday has lost all meaning in today’s society and stands as nothing more than an excuse for all of us to go out and waste our hard earned money on many things that will undoubtedly end up lost in the darkness of closet corners everywhere. In saying so I am simply suggesting that this is not a holiday I necessarily associate beloved movies with. However it is the center point of so many movies and such a rating category is necessary. I dropped these titles off the top of my head with little consideration but now I will explain why they made that list.

Life of Brian

In my younger days, in a strange gap between relationship responsibility I used to frequent a local bar. At this particular establishment they has a tradition every Thanksgiving. They stayed open and served Thanksgiving food while playing this film, as well as Christmas Vacation on all the TVs. One year I found myself at my favorite bar on Thanksgiving evening and was quite taken with the tradition. I had seen this movie before but hadn’t considered it a Christmas movie. Nevertheless it made perfect sense qualifying, it starts on the inaugural birthday of Baby Jesus. This one is a classic and easily one of my favorite comedies of all time. Check out our review with the link above for more on the film.

Die Hard

As I mention regularly; I grew up in an action junkie household and family. This is the father of all action films and it take place at Christmas! It counts, and it easily stands above most others by both precedent and quality. This movie both set the bar and created countless others that tried to emulate it with moderate success. The tradition lives on even until today with seemingly every effort made by Liam Neeson. For more on this one follow-up with our link above.

A Christmas Story

Who doesn’t love this film about Ralphie and his experiences on what was once such a magical holiday? For me it reminds me of what Christmas used to be and what I hope it still is for my own children. We don’t own this one, because we don’t need to. It’s a seasonal movie I love but I’m good with it once a year for 24 hours on TV. Having it on in the background on this day is part of the tradition. I sincerely hope that it always airs for the entire day for the rest of my life. I have always been a big fan of that broadcasting. I don’t remember when it started but for as long as I can remember it has been going on.

Christmas Vacation

I’ll be honest, this one was actually swapped out for Bad Santa in the original response. I do not love this movie as I have simply seen it too many times and don’t find it endearing as much as most. For me, it’s the movie too many people LOVE. I like the movie and think it captures Christmas exceptionally well but it’s just not that far up on the list for me. I love Chevy Chase in this, Beverly D’Angelo is special to me for so many reasons, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is great, the kids are Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis, and the list goes on and on with special mention of Doris Roberts, she is so great. If I’m being totally honest it’s Uncle Eddie that brings it down for me. I have never been able to stomach Randy Quaid and this movie is the specific reason. His part is funny but the guy just rubs me the wrong way.

Home Alone

This one, the perennial film of my generation is really my favorite. With the adorable eight year old Macaulay Culkin this classic John Hughes film reminds me of home. This one is mine, my movie for the holiday for my generation. As I am prone to say, we never got enough of Joe Pesci and need to treasure everything we can. Even when his is desperately trying to mask his affluence for profanity. This is a great and hilarious movie that I love, for more of our thoughts on it click the link above.

Special mention Love Actually

I really hate to admit it but I do love this film. It’s funny and seasonal in exceptional ways. Even worse to admit, it always makes me cry. It’s one of the movies that reminds me I’m human and it brings out emotions I keep locked away in efforts to be a beacon of masculinity in a house full of females. It’s a wonderful and heart-felt movie I can’t deny despite my best efforts.

Special mention The Ref

This was actually intended to be our holiday based review for this Christmas but time did not allow. This is a really funny movie that we eventually intend to review in full. Maybe it will turn up next Christmas.

In consideration Bad Santa

This movie doesn’t have that warm and fuzzy Christmas feel but it’s all Christmas that’s for sure. I now cherish the movie most because of Bernie Mac. I thought he was a really funny comedian and we lost him too soon. This movie is a bit too crude and vile but it’s hard to deny how funny it is. Billy Bob Thorton uses the fuck word like great painters use a brush. He says it in a way that comes close but doesn’t quite match the capabilities of the greatest, Joe Pesci.

In consideration Scrooged

This is a really fun movie but it doesn’t make the list because it came to me too late. I don’t know how I managed to miss this movie over the years but saw it for the first time a couple of years ago. I love Bill Murray but I didn’t love this movie. I liked it just enough to keep it in mind when I suddenly threw together some titles though and if you are watching a Christmas movie you really can’t go wrong checking this one out.

This post was actually supposed to be up yesterday but the day got away from me. We had a truly wonderful Christmas this year that I think we will all remember fondly. I especially because in the mist of all the action this short list of Christmas reviews popped out of me along the way and I think it came out quite nicely. I have closed the door on the holiday the minute the clock struck 12 last night but for any of you who have lingering Christmas spirit any of these movies would great to check out while you ride that wave into the break. Merry Christmas 2015 and check us out next year when we will hopefully be able to publish a review for The Ref and with hope are far enough along in the collection to cover Scrooged as well.