The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 14

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Image result for the bourne identity red mini

By the time 2002’s Die Another Day hit our screens, signalling the decline of a certain British spy with the initials JB (or at least Pierce Brosnan’s portrayal of him), we had already been introduced to an American undercover agent with the same initials and the heralding of a new kind of action film

The operative in question was called Bourne.

Jason Bourne.

Although he was also known as John Michael Kane.

And in fact, as we would discover in a later movie, his real name was David Webb.

But we knew him as Jason Bourne.

Although, for a while in the inaugural film, he didn’t know any of his names.

Because he had amnesia.

Which was quite an important plot point.

There’s no doubting the impact that the Bourne franchise had on the genre.

By the time the next Bond film rolled around, Brosnan was gone to be replaced by Daniel Craig, and gone too were the inanities of invisible cars, ethnicity-altering surgery and bad guys called Mr Kill. Instead 2006’s Casino Royale is a stripped back affair with a harder, colder Bond and a greater focus on the plot making actual sense. It’s arguably the best of all the Bond films (though I still prefer On Her Majesty’s Secret Service despite all its plot holes and George Lazenbyness) and owes much to the Bourne series.

There are now five Bourne films in existence (if we count 2012’s The Bourne Legacy and ignore the 1988 made-for-TV version of The Bourne Identity and we probably should do both of those things). 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum is often viewed as the ‘pick’ of the bunch and it rightfully has its plaudits.

Overall though, I still have a preference for the film that kicked the whole franchise off, 2002’s The Bourne Identity. It may be because the bulk of that film is set in Paris and I found myself living in that fair city shortly after the film’s release.

But I think it’s more because, however great some of the sequels are, it’s Identity which introduces us to the world of the absent-minded assassin and sets the tone for the later movies.

Also, whereas the others tend to invite a time-hungry binge of Bourne (I often find that when I watch one I suddenly need to watch the rest immediately) Identity is its own self-contained story. I certainly had no objections when Supremacy came out in 2004, but had there never been another Bourne film made, Identity would still be a complete narrative in and of itself. We didn’t need a sequel, however much we might have wanted one, (although the studio, in clear contradiction of Mick Jagger’s wisdom, did give us what we wanted over what we needed).

In any case it is The Bourne Identity which is hiding in plain site behind door number 14 of The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of CHristmas(ish) Films.

Matt Damon absolutely owns the role of Bourne, but there are topnotch performances all around, particularly from Chris Cooper as the troubled Alexander Conklin. Franka Portente is also excellent as Bourne’s fellow fugitive and subsequent love interest.

So good is The Bourne Identity that it inspired me to read the original Robert Ludlum books.

They mostly have very little in common with the movies but they pass the time if you have nothing better to do.

But the films are much better.

And The Bourne Identity, in particular, is always worth a watch.

Score For Christmasishness

2t

I must have seen The Bourne Identity countless times. But it wasn’t until I started my Christmas(ish) films Advent calendar that it occurred to me that one might consider it a Christmas Film.

Because it isn’t really a Christmas Film.

But it does appear to be set around Christmas time judging by the festive decorations on display throughout the movie.

Like many other aspects of the movie, the Christmas theme is understated.

Which makes it a very ‘Bourne’ Christmas when you think about it.

So while it’s not the most Christmas(ish) of all the movies to feature in The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) films, it’s certainly not the least..

 

The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 13

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Welcome back to The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) films. Today we must tread with caution as creeping out from behind door 13 are several seemingly cute and harmless furry creatures. But feed them after midnight they become a lot less cute.

They become Gremlins.

Gremlins is a veritable 80s classic. I loved it as a child, although I also found it terrifying. It’s quite scary if you’re a kid. It’s less scary if you’re an adult, although I still wouldn’t want to meet an actual gremlin.

It’s also a lot of fun – it’s definitely a comedy, albeit often in the darkest of ways. Mean as the Gremlins themselves are, there are plenty of human driven moments of darkness, from the Scrooge/Mr Potter inspired Mrs Deagle to the vicar who quite happily sells out his neighbour to a Gremlin-infested mailbox.

Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates capably manage the juxtaposition between comedy and horror, but the real stars of the show are the Gremlins themselves. Even the eighties special effects don’t diminish the ‘fear-factor’ they bring to the screen but some of the films biggest laugh-out loud moments are also Gremlin -inspired.

Thirty-three and a half years after its release, Gremlins still feels fresh and different to anything else out there.

Every time I watch it, I find new things to love about it.

Score For Christmasishness

5t

Gremlins doesn’t really need to be set at Christmas and it was originally released in June so the intent was perhaps not for it to be considered a Christmas movie.

But it really is. The action takes place on Christmas Eve so there’s no escaping the festive feel of the film, but more than that, there are clear references to Christmas classics such as It’s A Wonderful Life, with that film’s ‘Bedford Falls’ a clear inspiration for Gremlins’  ‘Kingston Falls’. Main character Billy even works in a bank that is not dissimilar to ‘Baily Building  and Loans’.

Later in the film Kate’s tragic tale of her father’s demise is a tragic tale of Christmas calamity.

In many ways Gremlins is a ‘send-up’ of more familiar festive fare, but seasonal satire or not, the film still feels very Christmas(ish) indeed.

Although the Gremlin carol singers that appear in one particularly memorable scene don’t seem quite as full of good cheer as one might hope….

 

The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 12

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Image result for on her majesty s secret service

12 days into December and as luck would have it, we happen upon door 12 of The James Proclaims Advent Calendar Of Christmas(ish) Films. And it’s about time that a namesake of mine turned up

His name’s Bond.

James Bond.

There have been 24 official Bond films made (and a few unofficial ones too), and, as far as I’m aware, only one has any element of Christmas in it (if we ignore the insanely named Dr Christmas Jones from  1999s The World Is Not Enough). I’m happy to stand corrected – there are enough Bond films to merit an Advent Calendar of their very own and even though I’ve seen them all, I’m not about to re-watch them all again just to establish their respective Christmasishness.

But I know, from memory, that one of them is fairly Christmassy.

And that one is 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Everyone has their own favourite Bond. Connery, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan and Craig all have their advocates.

Few, however, would champion the cause of George Lazenby.

And for very good reason.

He is, easily, the weakest of all the Bonds.

There are many moments in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service when Lazenby’s performance is shaky and uncertain. The rest of his performance is much worse than that.

As the first person to take the role on the big screen other than Connery, Lazenby had big shoes to fill and, metaphorically speaking, tiny feet.

Somehow though, the worst of all the Bonds is in arguably the best of all the Bond films.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is absolutely brilliant in spite of its leading man.

There are plenty of ridiculous infuriating moments that threaten to derail the whole thing. There’s the weird ‘reveal’ of the new Bond in the opening sequence, during which Lazenby breaks the fourth wall, after his car is stolen, and whines that “this never happened to the other fella’.

There’s also the ridiculous dubbing of another actor’s voice over Lazenby when Bond  goes undercover, because apparently Lazenby couldn’t ‘do a different voice’.

The story too, is reasonably hard to follow and really, if properly scrutinised, doesn’t make all that much sense.

But Telly Savalas and Ilse Steppat make for compelling bad guys as Ernst Stavros Blofeld and Irma Bunt respectively.

And to be fair to Lazenby, he does the action sequences pretty well.

The score too, is exceptional. Of course there is the usual Bond theme music and that is all well and good, but significant elements of the film are underpinned by Louis Armstrong’s We Have All The Time In The World. It doesn’t sound like it should be on a Bond soundtrack, but it works for this film.

The thing that makes this the most compelling of the Bond films though, is strangely enough the least ‘Bondish’ element.

Which is the love story.

And more pertinently, who he falls in love with.

Diana Rigg’s ‘Tracy di Vincenzo’ is quite probably the best ‘Bond girl’ ever, precisely because she is nothing like the archetypal Bond girl. She is a fully formed character, with a melancholic air underpinning her performance. That Bond would ever fall in love might normally stretch credibility, that he would fall in love with Tracy seems beyond any doubt from the moment we meet her.

Rigg is not actually on screen for a large percentage of the film but she personifies everything that is good about it and elevates it far above being ‘just another Bond film’.

If you’ve seen On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, you’ll know the ending is bleak, much darker than is usual for the franchise.

Still, it is in the final scene that Lazenby earns forgiveness for all that has gone before in terms of his own performance. I defy anyone to watch him deliver his closing lines without welling up at least a bit.

Score for Christmasishness

3t

The first hints of Christmas occur around 45 mins into the film when Bond arrives in the snow-covered alps. Snow, in itself, is not a sufficient determiner of Christmasishness, or clearly many more Bond films would join the list, but Christmasishness is confirmed about an hour in, when Bond, in the guise of ‘Sir Hilary Bray’ while residing in Blofeld’s ‘allergy clinic’ is invited to spend Christmas there. We see our first Christmas decoration at 1 hour 15 and when Bond’s secret identity is uncovered by Blofeld  a few moments later, we see a  large Christmas tree. Christmas presents even form an integral part of Blofeld’s masterplan (a masterplan as preposterous as the best of the Bond franchise).

We hear Christmas music in the background as two henchmen are sent tumbling over a cliff to their brutal and untimely (but still very festive) deaths.

There’s a very much a Christmas carnival air about the alpine town that Bond hides out in on escaping Blofeld’s clutches – indeed it’s rather reminiscent of a those German Christmas markets that pop in all the major towns and cities at this time of year.

In all just under half the events of the film appear to be set at Christmas time and much of the major action takes place against a snow covered backdrop. Definitely a Christmas(ish) film in my book.

The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 11

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It’s day 11 of the James Proclaims Advent Calendar Of Christmas(ish) films and it’s time to be done, once and for all, with Shane Black.

Don’t get me wrong, the man is pretty much peerless when it comes to making films that are are ‘not-really-Christmas-films-but-a-bit-Christmassy-nonetheless’.

But if he’s going to include a Christmas element in all of his films then the novelty is going wear off eventually.

To be fair, not every film he’s ever had a writing or directing credit for has featured in this advent calendar of Christmasishness but he has managed to get six (including today’s effort) on the list, which is a whopping 25% of the total.

Which is a lot.

Nonetheless, it has to be acknowledged that, with the possible exception of The Last Boy Scout (which might be an awful film but one I’m still relatively fond of) they have all been pretty good.

And today’s entry into the festive filmography is also a goodun’

For it is 2016’s The Nice Guys.

Starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, it is familiar Shane Black territory, insofar as an unlikely duo team up to solve crime and take on the bad guys. In this case it’s muscle-for-hire Jackson Healy (Crowe) and alcoholic PI Holland March (Gosling). Throw in March’s teenage daughter, Holly (who sounds like she should be an irritating character but is surprisingly not) and you have an improbable team of sleuths working to solve a conspiracy, which, boringly, seems to be related to the automobile industry. The ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of the subterfuge are really not important though, it’s the set pieces that make the film, and it’s full of action and comedy in equal measure.

You won’t find too much originality here, but the cast all put in strong performances, and the 1977 setting works well to set the movie apart from similar fare.

Ultimately it’s a familiar ride, but no less fun for that fact.

Score For Christmasishness

1t

Although Shane Black enjoys a Christmas setting, this is one of his least Christmassy efforts. Basically, it isn’t a Christmas film, but in the final scene, once all the action has taken place, all the loose ends are finally tied up and we’re fundamentally just ‘saying goodbye’ to the characters, our heroes meet up in a bar, and it’s clear from the decorations all around them, that it is, at this point in their timeline, nearly Christmas.

Which is a fact that adds nothing to the film whatsoever.

 

The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 10

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Day 10 of the James Proclaims Advent Calendar Of Christmas(ish) films brings us The Ice Harvest.

Starring John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton and Connie Nielsen, and directed by Harold Ramis, it’s a Christmas-themed comic crime caper, with twists and turns galore.

Or so it first appears.

On paper it looks like it could be an absolute riot.

And it’s not bad.

But it’s not as good as it probably should be.

Harold Ramis was an actual Ghostbuster, lest we forget, and also the man who brought us Groundhog Day. The Ice Harvest  doesn’t quite meet the expectations you might have based on that pedigree.

The twists seem largely predictable. The jokes don’t always land as well as they should, and while the performances of the cast are all fine, no-one shines. Thornton is probably the standout performer – the understated menace  of his character ‘Vic’ is something of a precursor to his later work as ‘Lorne Malvo’ in season 1 of the outstanding Fargo, but, even for a film as short as this, he is probably underused.

The Ice Harvest is an easy film to like but a little harder to love.

I’d probably watch it again though.

Score For Christmasishness

4t

The action is entirely set on Christmas Eve and, at the start of the film it’s  Christmasishness is very much in the foreground. Festive music, a man dressed as Santa and Christmas trees are all present.

As are Christmas presents.

There are numerous scenes throughout the movie that remind us of the season and, if not central to the plot, Christmas certainly doesn’t feel irrelevant to the larger story.

You probably could set this movie at a different time of year, but actually, it’s likely to be the Christmas theme which serves as the basis for repeat viewings, and it’s that which might elevate what initially seems like a  forgettable film into something a touch more memorable.

 

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The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 9

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Image result for the last boy scout

Here we are at door 9 of the James Proclaims Advent Calendar Of Christmas(ish) films, and it’s about time Bruce Willis popped up.

Yes it’s no other than the most Christmas(ish) of all the action films….

The Last Boy Scout

Sorry, were you expecting something else?

Is there a more Christmas(ish) Bruce Willis flick than The Last Boy Scout?

Well, possibly. And maybe that one (and perhaps its sequel) could yet appear in this unrivalled compendium of merry movies.

But The Last Boy Scout is a great film in its own right.

Well it’s a good film.

Goodish anyway.

Ok it’s really quite bad.

But it was written by Shane Black who, lest we forget, is responsible for whole heap of actually quite good Christmas(ish) films previously featured in this feature.

So we can forgive him one bad one.

Especially as, if rumours are to be believed, his original script was supposedly quite good and was subsequently ruined by numerous studio-enforced rewrites.

If I’m honest, I do still quite enjoy The Last Boy Scout.

None of it makes even the tiniest bit of sense. The dialogue is clearly meant to be full of witty sarcasm but is instead often stilted and generally out of context with the narrative. Quite a lot of people die for what seems like no good reason.

A central plot point is the potential legalisation of ‘sports gambling’.

Which is not the most exciting premise for a film.

It’s certainly not a great reason to go around shooting people.

Is ‘sports gambling’ even illegal?

If so, then my annual punt on The Grand National is now starting to worry me.

Nonetheless, the film moves along quite quickly, and if you’ve had a bit too much ‘festive cheer’, the incoherent plot probably won’t bother you too much. It might even make more sense if you watch it when a little inebriated.

Score for Christmasishness

1t

There’s a reference to the fact that the holiday season is imminent when Willis’ character, Joe Hallenbeck, comes across a drawing his daughter has recently produced of a demonic figure wearing a Santa Claus costume and holding a decapitated head. The title of the drawing is ‘Satan Claus’.

And that’s it.

Other than a callback to Satan Claus at the end of the film, there are literally no other references to Christmas.

This film has no business being in a list of Christmas films.

Yet, a cursory internet search reveals that it often is in such lists.  Probably because of the Shane Black connection.

But really, there is no good reason to watch this film at Christmas.

Then again, there is no good reason to watch this film at all.

 

The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 8

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Image result for the long kiss goodnight

Hello and welcome to day 8 of The James Proclaims Advent Calendar Of Christmas(ish) films.

And door 8 invites us to cast our memories back to 1996, to a film in which Geena Davies has lost her memories – for our film today is none other than The Long Kiss Goodnight.

And wouldn’t you know it, it’s another Christmas(ish) action flick written by Shane Black.

Six years before amnesiac spies were all the rage thanks to Jason Bourne (I know that technically 2002’s The Bourne Identity was based on a 1980 novel of the same name and that there was also a 1988 film adaptation of the same novel but no-one much cared about Jason Bourne before the Matt Damon movie), Samantha Caine AKA Charly Baltimore was already running around not remembering stuff and being really good at fighting people. Davies convinces as both the perplexed school teacher with no memory, who can’t understand why people keep trying to kill her (or indeed how she manages to keep kicking their asses) and equally as the cold-blooded assassin she becomes once her memory is restored. They are such divergent identities that at times it’s hard enough to believe that they are the same character, let alone that they are being played by the same actor. That she then manages to find a convincing ‘happy medium’ between the two personalities at the film’s conclusion is all the more impressive.

Helping her out in her adventures, Samual L. Jackson has tremendous fun as the sharply dressed, morally-flawed-but-well-intentioned private detective who ends up very much out of his depth for most of the action.

It’s ludicrous stuff but lots of fun. A particular highlight is the world weary agent/mentor played by the ever-brilliant Brian Cox. He doesn’t have much to do, but manages to cram a lot of memorable one-liners in his brief time on screen, all delivered with an acerbic, sardonic wit.

If over-the-top action and border-line pantomime villains is your thing then you could definitely do much worse that The Long Kiss Goodnight. It’s nonsense but it’s thoroughly entertaining nonsense.

Score For Christmasishness

4t

There are Christmas credentials aplenty in this film. No less than two Christmas Parades occur, one towards the beginning, and one during the action-packed denouement.

There is plenty of snow, and there’s even a reindeer, albeit the reindeer is mortally wounded in a road traffic accident, an accident that also sees the demise of the Santa Claus from the opening Christmas Parade scene. True, he’s not in his outfit when the accident occurs, and he is very much inebriated, but he is still the only version of Father Christmas to feature in the film.

The Christmas theme is helped further by the fact that the climax of the film is on Christmas Eve, so the objective of ‘saving the world’ (or in this case the lives of four thousand innocent people) runs in parallel with the notion of ‘saving Christmas’. That our heroine creatively uses Christmas lights to finally topple the bad guy is worthy of extra points.

Really the film could work just as well if set at any time of the year, but it does make the most of the Christmasishness available to it, which means, for the sake of this series, it scores highly.

 

The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 7

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Behind door 7 of The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films we find the neo-noir crime masterpiece that is LA Confidential.

Released in 1997, it’s hard to believe this movie is twenty years old. There’s a genuinely timeless air about it, perhaps partially because of the 1950s setting, but more so because of a smart script, strong performances from an ensemble cast including Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito and James Cromwell, and a pacing that is fast enough to keep you engaged but never so fast that the dense plot becomes overwhelming.

The twists, when they come, are genuinely surprising, but the plot doesn’t overly rely on them and the film bears up to multiple repeat viewings.

Of the three leads, Kevin Spacey is given top billing, but, although his performance is excellent, we can (thankfully given recent events) skip past him because the (then relatively unknown) Australian duo of Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce (the latter, at the time, better known to most people as Mike from the almost inexplicably popular soap opera Neighbours – a tag he has thankfully managed to convincingly shake off since) are the stand-out performers.

LA Confidential blew me away in 1997 and to this day remains one of my favourite film of any genre..

Score for Christmasishness

1t

It may surprise people to see LA Confidential in a list of CHristmas films, indeed I’d forgotten that there was anything Christmasish about it, but in preparation for this ‘Advent Calendar’ I did a bit of research into ‘films that are surprisingly Christmassy’. LA Confidential was on more than one list. It shouldn’t have been. It’s isn’t really all that Christmassy. The preliminary events of the film are set at Christmas, culminating in a pivotal scene of police brutality, which is subsequently dubbed ‘Bloody Christmas’. Then Christmas doesn’t feature again.

At all.

So it’s not a Christmas film, but it is still a really good film and probably a better use of your time than watching Reindeer Games if truth be told.

The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 6

James Proclaims (6)

Image result for batman returns

The other day I was strolling past a nice(ish) hotel and I saw Father Christmas. He seemed to be promoting some kind of Christmas event that was being hosted within the establishment.

He was not alone in doing so, for he was accompanied by a woman that I supposed to be his good lady wife (Mother Christmas?).

Flanking the festive pair were two other personages. One I recognised as being Iron Man.

The other was Batman.

It was not a quartet one generally expects to see on a cold morning early in December.

I mean, Father and Mother Christmas I was absolutely fine with – the event they were promoting was all to do with the forthcoming yuletide celebrations and I suppose when we’re within the jurisdiction of the Advent calendar then all such events are fair enough.

But why promote a Christmas party with Marvel and DC’s respective ‘crime-fighting-billionaire-geniuses-with-no-real-superpowers-but-lots-of-cool-technology’? Were Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne bank-rolling the event?

The excited faces of the small children who seemed to be the target market of the event suggested perhaps not. Perhaps in this day and age Father Christmas alone is not enough of an attraction for the kids. Maybe an Iron Man/Batman combo is what’s necessary to get the youngsters through the doors.

Although, if that is the case, then really they needed to invest in better quality costumes. Certainly the superhero outfits were somewhat inferior to the garments worn by ‘The Christmases’.

While Father Christmas looked like he might actually be the real Father Christmas, and Mother Christmas was certainly convincing enough as a woman that might be married to him (although Mother Christmas is a figure cruelly overlooked in popular culture so I’ve no idea whether her costume was ‘authentic’ or not), Iron Man wasn’t fooling anyone. For starters his costume was, very clearly, made of some kind of cloth rather than…well…metal.

Batman looked a little better, but the giveaway were the white trainers he was wearing.

And the fact that I felt, on balance, in the unlikely event that Batman and Father Christmas came to blows, my money would’ve been firmly on Pere Noel. And there’s no way the real Batman would lose in a fight to Santa Claus.

Still, when I really thought about it, what better two superheroes to represent Christmas than Iron Man and Batman. After all we’ve already established Iron Man’s Christmas(ish) credentials in Iron Man 3.

And Batman too, has had his own Christmas(ish) outing.

In Batman Returns.

Which is set at Christmas.

And very much the film that represents door 6 of The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films.

Much like James Bond, everyone has their own favourite Batman. Ben Affleck made a surprisingly good one in 2016’s surprisingly awful Batman Vs Superman. Most people agree that Christian Bale was pretty awesome in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Other Batmen are available but my own favourite is Michael Keaton, who donned the cowl in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). Arguably Burton and Keaton’s first Batman collaboration is the stronger film, but Batman Returns is a more than commendable follow-up.

I was probably a little on the young side when the first film came out, though I’ve grown to love it over the years, but Batman Returns landed just as I was becoming a hormonal teenager, and Michelle Pfeiffer’s ‘Catwoman’ left more than a lasting impression.

It is, in true Tim Burton style, an overstated affair. Danny Devito relishes his role as The Penguin and Christopher Walken seems to be in his element as the villainous Max Shreck (and credit must also go to the actor who plays Max’s son Chip Shreck for making the most of his very few lines by doing a laudable impersonation of Walken – presumably to establish the biological link…)

Although this is a sequel, it works entirely well as a standalone film and while it is not the best of all the Batman films out there, it is very far away from being the worst.

 

Score for Christmasishness

3t

There’s snow, there’s a big Christmas Tree and scenes of seasonal shopping abound. The score, while not exactly what you’d call ‘Christmas Music’, certainly has a fairytale quality about it that feels quite festive in it’s own way.

There are certain plot points that hang a little on the Christmas setting, particularly the horrifying demise of unfortunate Ice Princess.

That said, it wouldn’t take a significant rewrite for the whole film to be set at a different time of year and still work pretty well.

On the whole, then, it’s not really a Christmas film but the yuletide links are not entirely tenuous. It’s probably more Christmasish than Iron Man 3 on balance.

So , at least that’s one cinematic triumph that DC has over Marvel…

 

The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films – Door 5

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It’s day 5 of December, so it’s no coincidence that we’re opening door 5 of The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) films.

And out of the  shadows comes the ‘spooktacular’ Ghostbusters 2.

Which is the sequel to the original 1984 Ghostbusters and not the 2016 reboot.

Ghostbusters (1984 version) is one of my favourite films ever. I actually quite enjoyed the 2016 effort, but you can’t help but compare it to the source material and in that light it can’t quite stand up.

But the same could be said of 1989’s Ghostbusters 2. It isn’t quite as good as its predecessor. But it seems unreasonable to expect it to be.

It is, nonetheless, still very very good.

Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts are all back and all have their moments to shine. It’s Bill Murray who steals the show though. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bad Bill Murray performance but he is on fine form here. Ghostbusters 2 might be a good film without Murray, but from the moment he appears on screen, the film is elevated to something a bit special (albeit still not quite as special as the first film).

Score For Christmasishness

1t

The culmination of the film is New Year, and there are numerous indications that we begin the narrative prior to Christmas. So the movie almost certainly covers the whole of the Christmas period, yet, aside from the occasional festive reference in the dialogue, and the odd decoration in the background, you wouldn’t necessarily be aware of it. We manage to pass the big day itself without any acknowledgement.

So it really isn’t very Christmasish at all.

But it’s still a great film.