Have you ever wondered what has happened to Kevin McCallister? 

You know the story! You must! Kevin McCallister is the 8 year old boy who was left all be his lonesome in the 1990 smash hit movie Home Alone. The film, which also starred Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, is pretty straight forward. By accident, Kevin’s family take a trip to Paris, France but accidentally forget him when his sister makes a mistake while taking a headcount. Kevin is forced to survive on his own but matters take a turn for the worse when he realises that there are two criminals who plan to burgle most of the homes on the street including his own, which is considered the prize target. Kevin, who is unfortunately unable to contact the police due to downed phone lines, takes it upon himself to defend his home against these home invaders in hilarious fashion. 


The movie later spawned a sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York where a mix up at the airport leads Kevin to taking the wrong flight and becomes once again separated from his family again, but this time in New York. 

So I ask you, what becomes of a young man who is twice abandoned by his family at Christmas time?

Jack Dishel has all the answers

There is also a hilarious follow up from Marv!

It’s A Wonderful Life. The Ultimate Christmas Movie?

A colleague of mine at work surprised me the other day when she told me that she had NEVER SEEN Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a movie which stars James Stewart and Donna Reed and was released in 1946! Yep, that’s SEVENTY years ago. 

Though it’s release was many years ago, It’s a Wonderful Life (IAWL) is still a mainstay of the holiday season and with great reason too. The story revolves around George Bailey who – after a series of unfortunate events – wishes that he never was born.  An angel called Clarence is sent to earth to make his wish come true and show George what life would be like for his friends, family, and indeed the community without him. 

I always watch IAWL every year without fail at Christmas time, sometimes even twice. It’s a movie that I’ve known since my childhood. A movie that I have watched with my Mum, Dad and brother and it’s a movie that has always resonated with me – even more so as I’ve got older. It’s a movie also that you need to watch all the way through. It will undoubtedly be on television sometime around Christmas so if you haven’t seen it, it’s really worth checking out. To be honest, most films with Jimmy Stewart are worth checking out at least once but this movie is special. 

Here are some of the reasons why. 

1. The relationship between George Bailey and Mary Hatch.

Yes, at it’s heart, IAWL is a love story (yes, I’m soppy and no I don’t care). The relationship George and Mary have is quite special; she completes him. But she isn’t just some eye candy or trophy, she is a smart, interesting and caring woman (yes, she is also beautiful). One of the joys of watching this film is seeing their relationship blossom – it’s heart warming and also the sort of relationship any sane man can only dream of having. 

2. The importance of community. 

IAWL is not just a story about one man or just one couple but the placing of one man in his community. George runs Bailey’s Building and Loan company, a place which helps keep the local community afloat. Without spoiling the story for you guys, the importance of one man in his community and what he does for his community really shines through here. 


3. It tackles some suicide

IAWL is amazing in that it tackles suicide. George Bailey is drawn to a point where he wishes he no longer existed and the angel Clarence grants him the opportunity to see what life would be like without him. It’s a rather beautiful life lesson and as someone who has himself suffered from dark times and who has wondered whether the world would be better without him, it’s nice to be reminded that you as a person have no idea just exactly how much the world needs you and even if you think it is insignificant, those tiny ways that you do matter can actually be a whole lot. 


4. It has the perfect ending for a Christmas film. 

All I will say is that at this festive time of year, IAWL brings you a very important message and a message that will serve you well at Christmas time. 


So please, if you haven’t seen it already, do see it. It’s an amazing film and a Christmas great. 

Merry Christmas!

The Witch [2015](Review)

This evening, my family and I watched the Witch. It’s described online as a historical period supernatural horror film and was written and directed by Robert Eggers in his directorial debut. It stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson. 

Plot

The film follows a Puritan family encountering forces of evil in the woods beyond their New England farm. Set in 17th century New England, it begins with a man named William is threatened with banishment from a Puritan plantation alongside his wife Katherine, daughter Thomasin, son Caleb, and fraternal twins Mercy and Jonas, due to a difference in interpretation of the New Testament. Their differences in opinion leads the family to leave the church and the plantation it controls and build a farm by the edge of a large, secluded forest far from the Puritan settlement. Katherine soon gives birth to her fifth child, Samuel. While being closely watched by Thomasin, Samuel mysteriously vanishes from her presence. The family are devastated as they try to figure out what happened to Samuel and who is to blame for what happened. 

Family praying for some good crop


Reception:

The Witch grossed $25.1 million in North America and $15.3 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $40.4 million. It received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a “Certified Fresh” rating of 91%, based on 259 reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10. However, it only scored 6.7 amongst ~80000 views on IMDb. 

You should have seen the over guy


My opinion:

I’ll be honest with you: I’m still not quite sure how to digest this movie. In terms of setting the scene, the authenticity and the acting, I can’t really criticise the movie too much. Specifically, huge shout outs are deserved for Ralph Ineson (William) and Harvey Scrimshaw (Caleb) who gave excellent performances. Yet, although the film was marketed was as a “terrifying horror movie”, I don’t quite think it was quite deserved of such titles. Yes, the movie did get under my skin and there were scenes that truly made me feel uncomfortable, it wasn’t uncomfortable in a terrified sort of way. It was more along the lines of disgust or distaste. There were definite scenes that I would genuinely upset some members of the audience and I don’t understand quite why these scenes are necessary in the film. Directors should realise that this sort of scenary, while they might argue it to be visceral, is just distasteful and not entertaining. If people were entertained by this, they need some sort of therapy in my opinion. Something’s are better left unseen. 

Just some kids goating around…


As I said before, the acting was very competent and credit should be given to the actors for dealing with a more complicated than average script which did add to the authentic feel of the movie. I did not like the ending but that is something I’m more often than not used to in this day and age.  Overall I would say that this film was rather a take or leave it film. It wasn’t anything particularly special but something rather left of the field that doesn’t quite hit the spot. 

The film is lukewarm overall


Rating: C-

Electric Dreams (1984) – Movie Review


Way before Spike Jonze’s “Her” came a movie called “Electric Dreams”. Actually, this was way before people freely explored the internet and before people thought that computers were cool. 

Electric Dreams is a 1984 American-British science fiction romantic comedy-drama film set in San Francisco, California, that depicts a love triangle between a man, a woman and a computer. It stars Lenny Von Dohlen (Twin Peaks), Virginia Madsen (Sideways and Candyman), Maxwell Caulfield (Grease 2), and the voice of Bud Cort (Braindead) and was directed by Steve Barron, who also directed Mike Bassett – England Manager. It also has the honour of being the first film released by the Virgin Films production company. It’s designed in your typical cheesy 80s fashion but don’t let that fool you. This film is all kinds of funky. 


Miles Harding is an architect who envisions a brick shaped like a jigsaw puzzle piece that could enable buildings to withstand earthquakes. Seeking a way to get organized, he buys a personal computer to help him develop his ideas. Although he is initially unsure that he will even be able to correctly operate the computer, he does what every good technology geek does and buys numerous extra gadgets that were not necessary for his work, such as switches to control household appliances like the blender, a speech synthesizer, and a microphone. When Miles attempts to download the entire database from a mainframe computer at work, his computer begins to overheat. In a state of panic, Miles uses a nearby bottle of champagne to douse the overheating machine, which then becomes sentient.

If a sentient computer wasn’t enough to set your appetite, as mentioned earlier on, a love triangle soon ensues between Miles, his computer (who later identifies himself as “Edgar”), and Miles’ neighbor, an attractive cellist named Madeline. That’s right! 


Obviously all hell breaks loose and the movie comes to one hell of a climax. 

The movie scores a 6.5 from IMDB which is possibly a little bit unfair but don’t let that put you off. It actually is a pretty cool film. I mean,  look at this way. This was way before computers had gained such a big foothold in every day life. The idea of having a computer that could control your home with a few clicks was something of crazy science fiction times yet look where we are today with things like Apple’s HomeKit. The idea that people could converse or ask computers question too seemed the stuff of fantasy yet today we have Siri or Cortana. I’m not saying that your latest phone or Xbox is going to get the hots for your next door neighbor. Personally, I’d be pissed if mine did because I really don’t need anymore competition as I’m already struggling but I still think it’s quite funky to see people’s ideas of computing and how far we have come in the 32 years since. 


The film also boasts a pretty kick arse soundtrack which no doubt was influenced by Richard Branson’s influence (He is the owner of Virgin).  The soundtrack features music from prominent popular musicians of the time, being among the movies of this generation that actively explored the commercial link between a movie and its soundtrack. 

The main song of the movie was called “Together in Electric Dreams”. If you like 80s music, you really should check it out (It’s by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder). Here it is!

Remember. We’ll always be together. However far it seems! We’ll always be together. Together in Electric Dreams. 

Movie Review: Shark in Venice

STARRING: Stephen Baldwin, Vanessa Johansson and Giacomo Gonella

Hey guys and thanks for reading. Today’s review is on the 2008 horror movie Shark in Venice.


 The movie was pitched as being like Indiana Jones meets Jaws so obviously I was intrigued to see what this movie had to offer, especially since I am a big fan of creature features, Jaws and generally anything that has sharks in. 

Without spoiling the story, the plot goes something along the lines of: Stephen Baldwin is David Franks, an archeologist who heads off to Venice to search for his father who mysteriously went missing in Venice, while diving in the city. When he arrives, David uncovers a cryptic trail that may unveil the lost fortunes of the Medici. The mafia are aware of this lost fortune and are keeping an eye on Franks’s every move as he attempts to hunt this treasure and by the way, they’re not the only ones that could stand in his way. Because you see…there are sharks. 


Even though this film reeks (of promise), surprisingly it doesn’t quite deliver. This is even with Stephen Baldwin’s best acting efforts (see above). 

Seriously though, the film is an absolute mess. I don’t know how my Dad even found this movie but he did and since we had it, we had to watch it. I actually started laughing at this movie within the first thirty seconds of hitting play. This was mainly do the ridiculous looking mafia boss played by Giacomo Gonella (see below). 


The storyline was laughable, although maybe not on par with Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus, while the acting and script were disastrous. Stephen Baldwin is a bad actor. He’s so bad. If you must see one scene in this movie, it’s the scene where he is having a nightmare. He also looks like he is in a constant state of jet lag. That being said, I don’t want to give him too much credit as the rest of the cast were equally awful. 

Movies like this need a sense of humour. For example, while Sharktopus was an incredibly bad movie, it’s one saving grace was that you could tell that nobody was taking themselves seriously. You unfortunately can’t say the same for this. This film was just bad and it was not intentionally bad. That’s what makes it so much more tragic. It also makes you wonder how Stephen Baldwin ever managed to get roles like the Usual Suspects. 

Verdict: if you are a glutton for punishment or you really want to punish someone with a movie, then this movie is for you. It’s also a good guide on how not to make a good movie. If you are one of these people, who like me, loves to see silly movies and laugh and/or have a bit of a giggle, you may also get some value out of this but I would recommend you have some alcohol on standby.  Otherwise, stay clear!

Grade: E

A Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocolypse: Review


So recently, I finally got down to watching a film that I had long wanted to see, Scouts Guide To the Zombie Apocolypse. And while I won’t lie and say that the cute blonde on the front cover didn’t play any part in my intrigue of this film, I am self confessed Zombie Apocolypse nerd and a big fan of shows like The Walking Dead and movies like Dawn of the Dead, Resident Evil, Shaun of the Dead and World War Z. So I was pretty excited even if I was unsure what to expect. 

The plot:

Three boyhood friends who are scout members get stuck in the middle of a zombie Apocolypse. Pretty simple right?  The three boys, Ben, Carter and Augie have been Scouts pretty much throughout their childhood. And while Augie is a die hard scout aficionado, Carter wants out while Ben is somewhere in between; especially Ben wouldn’t mind out but he doesn’t want to hurt Augie’s feelings.  This comes to a head when a big party from some older kids is happening on the same night that Augie is about to get an important badge and Ben is torn between hanging out with some cute girls and sticking by his friend. Then a zombie Apocolypse happens. All they have is each other to battle the storm until they meet a gorgeous bartender called Denise and comedy ensues as the four of them battle the undead. 

Thoughts:

The film, while pretty basic is pretty entertaining. The cast is pretty on point and there are quite a few laughs out there throughout the running time. And while this film might not be as laugh out loud funny as say Shaun of the Dead, the events of the night are quite comical, added to by some great cameos from David Koechner and Cloris Leachman. 


This movie gives you plenty including some rather cringeworthy moments, numerous zombie selfies as well as zombie cats. Yes, you heard me. ZOMBIE CATS. 

Scouts Guide To A Zombie Apocolypse is a fun film that will keep you amused throughout its running time and will give you some memorable moments to joke with friends about. I’m giving this one a B-.