Happy New Year! How about a biopic for Auld Lang Syne’s writer Robert Burns?

Happy New Year’s Eve, folks! You’re probably preparing to host your NYE bash or getting ready to go to a NYE party, or like me perhaps you’re at home watching the NYC ball drop from the comfort of your home. Well, whatever you do, most likely you’ll be singing Auld Lang Syne as you’re toasting the passing of another year… or in this case, another decade!

Well, let me just take a moment to put the spotlight on the writer of that classic song, Scottish poet, Robert Burns. In fact, Auld Lang Syne is actually a poem he wrote in 1788 and then set to the tune of a traditional folk song (per Wiki). I’ve been sooo anticipating the film adaptation of Scotland’s favorite son, known only as The Bard in his homeland.

Gerry Butler has been attached to star and I’ve blogged several times about the project in the past with, first here and as I mention here, it’d be nice to have fellow Scot James McAvoy to co-star with him in it, too! So far the project has been on and off for sooo long, I mean it was back in 2005 at the Red Eye premiere that GB talked about his interest in bringing this biopic to life (as you can see in this YouTube clip) and how much he wanted to work with Julia Stiles. I’ve kinda stopped paying attention to it so I don’t continue to get disappointed, but yet another piece of news just surfaced that got me all excited again.

According to Daily Record, Butler and director Vadim Jean (who directed him in a tiny indie One More Kiss) met at the glitzy Paramount Hotel in Times Square around Christmas to discuss the project. “We are great friends and we were meeting up, catching up. Burns is still on and we talked about working together.” Jean reportedly said. Described as a Scottish Shakespeare In Love, the film focuses on Rabbie’s lovelife as he is torn between wife Jean Armour and Edinburgh society hostess Agnes McLehose. Butler might also produce the film under his production company Evil Twin, alongside the Mob Film Company.

Let’s just hope this isn’t just another rumor!! This is surely one of the cinematic projects I wish would just happen soon.

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Well, as we look to 2011, do you have a certain film project you’ve been hoping to get off the ground? Perhaps a book adaptation or something your favorite actor has been rumored to star in but hasn’t happened yet? Do share!

 

Guest Post: 3 Best films of 2010 and 3 worst films from 2010

By Ted Saydalavong (read Ted’s profile)

So 2010 is coming to an end, hard to believe, movie fans and critics everywhere will have their list of best and worst films. For this post I’ll name my top 3 best films (Note: Different people have different tastes in films so this is MY personally favorite films of 2010). And I’ll name my top 3 worst films of 2010. Also, since I didn’t see all of the films that came out this year, I will only focus on the big budgeted ones that studio hoped it will either make a lot of money or earn some Oscar nominations.

I saw some good foreign films this year too that I would include in my top 3 but again since I decided to just focus on big budget Hollywood films, I can’t include them. Side note: In case you’re interested in some of those foreign films, please check out Mother from South Korea and A Prophet from France. Both were released in 2009 in their country but didn’t hit the states till early 2010. I will bet that those two films will get a remake from Hollywood real soon, so check them out before Hollywood will either ruin or maybe they’ll improve them. (Example: The Departed was an upgrade over the original Infernal Affairs from Hong Kong).

Anyhoo, here are my top 3 best/favorite films of 2010:

  1. The Social Network
    So how can you make a movie about how Facebook was created? Well first off you hire a good writer in Aaron Sorkin and a great director David Fincher and make one hell of great film. Whether you’re a Facebook user or not (I’m one of the 500 million users, in fact I signed up with them since they started accepting users from outside of college campuses around mid 2004, I think), you’ll enjoy the great cinematographer, sharp dialogs and great performances. I can’t say enough good things about this film, partly maybe because I’ve started a online company in my early twenties and was caught up in the excitement and/or maybe I was just thrill seeing a movie that didn’t have any shootouts or explosions yet I was on the edge of my seat while watching it. Will it win the best picture of the year, I won’t be surprised if it does, so far it won pretty much all of the prestigious critic awards and I believe most of the respected critics in the country have voted as one of their favorite films of the year.
  2. Inception
    This is by far one of the most ambitious and smartest summer tent pole films I’ve seen since well Nolan’s last film, The Dark Knight. It has great visual effects, soundtrack, performances and editing. This is a good example of how to make a good smart pop corn summer flick without insulting the audience (I’m looking at you Michael Bay, McG, M. Night and Brett Ratner). A lot of us have been complaining about how summer films tend to be either sequels, remakes or comic book based, so when a studio has the balls to release a big summer flick like this, I was truly appreciated.

    If The Dark Knight didn’t make as much money as it did, we probably would never have seen Inception on the big screen.Now with all that said, I do have some problems with the film. Mainly I think Nolan made the story more complicated than it should have been and he just couldn’t figure out how to solve it. Maybe he should’ve brought in his brother to clean up the mess. Also, I just think the main characters weren’t in any real danger even though they were being chase by the “bad guys”, maybe if Nolan had included another team who’s also going after the same thing and somehow they meet in the dream world or something like that, I don’t know. Those are just some minor complaints I have about this film.

    I think Time magazine had it wrong when they named M. Night the next Spielberg a few years ago. They should’ve waited a few more years and name Christopher Nolan instead, let’s face it, what has M. Night done since he was given that throne? Well he made The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening and The Last Air Bender. Raise your hands if you actually think those films are “good” or even decent, anybody? I didn’t think so. Nolan on the other hand has made some good to great films around the time M. Night was on the cover of Time magazine. You may ask why I brought this up? Well I believe Nolan will have a career that’s similar to Spielberg’s. Steven Spielberg has made a lot of films that earned tons of cash at the box office but was never given any respect by his peers until he made Schindler’s List. Now look at Nolan’s career so far, the two Batman films have made well over a billion dollars, Inception made close to $300 million and of course the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises is a guarantee box office gold. Maybe in a few more years, Nolan will make THAT film and get some respect from his peers.
  3. True Grit
    I saw this film just a few days ago and it’s still fresh on my mind, when I see it again I may either move it up on the list or down, not sure yet. In any case, this is a great western from the Coen Bros., filled with great performances and dialog. It’s so surprising how funny it was and yes it does have the Coen Bros. signature violence in it, even though it got a PG-13 rating. I won’t ruin it for you but you’ll be shock at how brutal that scene was for a PG-13 film. The film was gorgeously shot by Roger Deakins, one of my favorite cinematographers. Seriously this man just doesn’t know how to make a movie look bad, he even shot M. Might’s awful film The Village and that film looked amazing.

    With the Coen Bros.’ direction and Deakins’ great cinematography, this is a highly recommended film. BTW, don’t expect to see a lot of shootouts in the movie, the marketing folks did a great job of making the film look like it’s an action adventure western. If that’s what you’re looking for then you’ll be truly disappointed, Tombstone it is not. For western, I would compare this to Unforgiven and for the Coen Bros. film, I would compare it to Blood Simple.

Now here are my 3 worst films of the year, again there are tons of bad films that came out in 2010 but I’m going to only focus on the high priced pictures Hollywood offered us.

  1. Green Zone
    This is by far the worst film I saw this year and it pains me to say it because Paul Greenglass is one of my favorite directors working in Hollywood today. I also like Matt Damon as actor quite a bit but somehow these two guys totally messed up this movie. I considered myself to be liberal when it comes to politics but wow this movie just rubbed me the wrong way. Not only was it preachy on a subject that most people in America already knew about but Greengrass kept hammering away at it and never lets up. If you saw the film then you know what I’m talking about. I also thought that the film came out a couple of years too late, I mean if the Bush administration were still in the office then maybe it would’ve been more relevant but it’s 2010 and Bush is long gone.

    A little history behind this movie, when it was first announced way back in 2007 the film was supposed to be a satire on the Irag War. But before they started shooting, Greengrass decided to change the script to a straight drama picture. Universal was actually quite excited about the new script and they even scheduled the movie to open on the holiday season of 2008 hoping for some Oscar nominations. Well a month or two into production, Greengrass again decided to change the script, now he wanted to be an action/drama and so they had to push the release date to 2009. With more changes to the script while the film was being shot, Universal didn’t have much faith in the picture so they decided to dump it in March of this year, a hit or miss month for film releases. Also, the film went well over its original $80 mil budget, it came in around $150 mil and of course it tanked at the box office.

    Again it pains me to call this the worst film of year because I know that Greengrass is such a talented filmmaker but I think his political beliefs has overtaken his mind and ruined this movie. Hopefully he’ll come back with a great film in a year or two. He’s currently in pre-production of a film called They Marched Into Sunlight, another political theme film set during the Vietnam war.
  2. Unstoppable
    I don’t know how Tony Scott convinced a movie studio to give him $100 mil to shoot a film about a runaway train and somehow he even convinced Denzel Washington to come on board. The film got some good reviews from critics and I was hoping for some good time when I went to see it. Boy was I wrong, the film has no dept and I didn’t care for any of the characters in the movie. I was so bore that I was sort falling asleep during one of the big action sequences. The film runs about an hour and a half but it felt like 3 hours to me.

    If you really want to see a better movie about runaway train, I suggest renting Runaway Train starring Jon Voight and Eric Roberts, it doesn’t have the cool action scenes like Unstoppable but it has way more interesting storyline and characters. Runaway Train was going to beAkira Kurosawa’s first directing debut here in the states but the project was canceled because the snowstorms were so bad, his crew could not work. The movie might have even better had Kurosawa directed it but I’ve never seen any of Kurosawa’s work so I’m just assuming here.
  3. Robin Hood
    This was one of the films I looked forward to back in the summer but wow I don’t know what happened. The film was a mess from start to finish and everyone in the film looked like they didn’t want to be there, well Cate Blanchet was pretty good in it. Crowe looked like he’d rather be doing something else than playing Robin Hood and Scott’s direction was downright awful. It pains me to say it because Ridley Scott is one of my favorite directors but I think he just made the movie for the money. The movie was supposed to be a prequel so why did they cast a forty something Crowe as Robin Hood? We’ll never know.

    The behind the scenes stuff was quite long with this film so maybe they should’ve shelf the project instead of spending close to $200 mil shooting it. My guess is that Universal spent so much money in pre-production that they have to make it and probably pushed Scott to finish it in time for an early May release. Originally it was scheduled for a November 2009 release but because of script changes, they had to move the release date to 2010.

I would’ve included the remake Clash of the Titans on my worst list but it was so bad that I couldn’t even finish watching it, I turned it off after half hour into the movie.

Well those are my best and worst list of 2010, feel free to agree or disagree and of course you can name your best and worst films from 2010.

Happy New Year!

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rtm’s note: I should have my own list up by later today this weekend. Well, any reaction to any of Ted’s choices? Please chime in below.

The Flix List: Top Ten Favorite Trailers Released in 2010

Well this is an easy one. Sometimes a week go by without me seeing a single movie—yes that’d be a lousy week indeed—but I almost see at least one trailer per week. I go to IMPAwards.com for posters and for my trailer fix, I’d go to Apple trailers page. The best trailers not only do what they’re supposed to, that is entice us to really see the movie, but they’d also have the power to tickle our minds and move our hearts. Or they’re just simply a heck of a lot of fun and entertaining, often much more so than the movie they’re promoting. Some trailers are also pretty addictive. If I like one, I have to resist myself from watching it over and over again to prevent overexposure. But usually I’d have already watched my faves more than a half dozen times by the time I sit down to see the movie themselves.

So without further ado, here are ten of my favorites that are released this year:

1. Jane Eyre

Intriguing, romantic, unearthly

2. Toy Story 3

Moving, lively, uproarious

3. The Social Network

Timely, witty, fascinating

4. Cowboys & Aliens

Bizarre, out-of-this-world, downright awesome!

5. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows

Dark, stirring, magical

6. Cairo Time

Lush, unconventionally-romantic, poignant

7. Inception

Enigmatic, cool, dynamic

8. Rango

Fun, hilarious, playful

9. Battle: Los Angeles

Compelling, eerie, relentless

10. A-Team

Fun, frenetic, frivolous

Honorable Mentions:

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Now your turn to tell me your favorite movie trailers of the year!

The Flix List: Top Ten Favorite Posters of 2010

From now until New Year’s, I’ll be posting various Top Ten list of 2010 movies. I love movie posters, so I might as well start with those. Thanks to Luke @ Cynicritics for selecting The Art of Movie Poster from back in April in his list of most wonderful posts of the year. I’m so honored!

Well, the criteria for selecting my favorites are based on creativity, uniqueness, and use of composition/color/angles that make them so eye-catching and also memorable. I’d easily choose any of these to display in my home if I were to put movie posters around the house. So without further ado, here are my top ten faves in random order:

1. Black Swan

All of the Black Swan posters are pretty spectacular (you can view them all here). There’s one with feathers all around framing the poster, as well as black/red art deco illustrations that are well, pretty artsy. But without a doubt this one is the most striking of all to me. It’s got almost a haunting quality with the broken porcelain face. Natalie Portman’s symmetrically gorgeous face has never looked more breathtaking… or more mysterious.

2. Never Let Me Go

I’ve blogged about this poster back in July. The simplicity of it is beautiful. At first glance, it feels blissful and innocent, it almost has a nostalgia quality about it. Yet somehow you know there is more to it than meets the eye, which is the core of the movie’s plot. The fact that the lower part of the word GO is cut off is like a little clue.

3. From Paris with Love


I absolutely adore this one, and not only because I love anything to do with the Eiffel Tower. Sooo imaginative and simple, but delivers such an impact. If only the movie is half as clever.

4. Inception

The whole marketing for Inception is all around cool. It captures the enigmatic quality of the film and the bold red font really complements the moody bluish tone. The banners are equally noteworthy, or as I said in the post, absolutely drool-worthy.

5. I Am Love

I am in love with this poster. I’m a sucker for cursive font, but if not used properly, it can feel outdated and old. But in this poster, it still feels pretty contemporary whilst still evoke the romantic tone of the film. I love the way the top of the ‘L’ wraps around Tilda Swinton. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the movie itself but the poster definitely get top marks from me.

6. Rabbit Hole

The theme of this movie is quite bleak, it centers on a happily-married couple whose life is turned upside down after their young son dies in an accident. It’s rare that a poster actually goes deep into the psyche of the film it promotes, but this one practically does the job. As Andrew said in his post, “So subtle, and yet it’s kind of jarring and garish.”

7. The American

I adore the 70s retro look of this design., it almost look like something for a Steve McQueen spy thriller. Perhaps try to lure audiences of George Clooney’s age as well as the younger audience who thinks retro is trendy and cool. As the film centers on an assassin hiding out in Italy for one last assignment, it captures that reclusive mood and the female face in the background hints at a love story as part of the plot. Simply brilliant.

8. 127 Hours

Everything about this poster grabs you: the composition, the colors and obviously what’s happening right in the center of it. If you already know what it’s about, you’d surely appreciate the fact that the simple design tells the story. But if you don’t, you’d surely be curious enough to find out what it’s all about. Based from the reviews, the Danny Boyle movie certainly lives up to this striking poster.

9. Tangled (French version)

I have a penchant for Disney Princesses but I’m not as enchanted by the American version. This French one however is all kinds of awesome. It’s whimsical but still has that romantic Princess-y quality about it and the colors and composition makes for a winning design.

10. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

I generally love illustration design, and if handled well, they can be the most attractive. Such is the case with this Woody Allen movie poster. I blogged about this one as well back in August, and I still love it now as I did back then. It’s simply a beautiful design that’s unabashedly romantic and seductive. Not sure if the movie lives up to such a promise.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Kick-Ass poster is one of the four character posters that you can view here. First thing that came to my mind is awesome! I love that each of the poster has the character’s back towards the camera, as if to say convention be darn! Yet it still conveys the whimsical aspect of the whole story.
  • Buried isn’t one I’d actually hang on my wall, but I give points for its creative use of typography and the Hitchcock-ian quality.
  • The marketing dollar behind the new TRON movie is impressive, there are dozens of them! Fortunately, they all look pretty cool and definitely captures the hi-tech and sleek look of the digital world.
  • When I first saw the Somewhere poster, I thought it was an ad for a resort/hotel. But upon second look, I thought it’s kinda cool that it doesn’t look like a traditional movie poster. The Sofia Coppola film centers on a hard-living Hollywood actor who re-examines his life after his 11-year-old daughter surprises him with a visit. Just like her previous work, Lost in Translation, the sense of place displayed in the poster is a crucial part of the plot.
  • The Alice in Wonderland quad is quintessentially Tim Burton-esque with the curly branches. It definitely has that otherworldly quirkiness quality that fits the story perfectly. And the colors are just downright gorgeous!

All posters are courtesy of IMPAwards.com

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Well, that’s my list, folks. Now, what are YOUR pick of most eye-catching posters?

FlixChatter Review » TRON: Legacy

There are all kinds of reasons why I anticipate a certain movie. Most of the time it’s the directors/actors involved, sometimes it’s the story that grabs you, whether from a trailer or the book a given movie is based on. But sometimes, it’s neither. As I’ve mentioned here, I got curious because my husband’s a fan of the original and we even rented it as a ‘warm up’ before I see the sequel. Interestingly enough, my reaction about the two movies are quite a contrasting one. Whilst the 1982 version’s storyline was engaging, the visuals left much to be desired—granted it was impressive back then—that I quickly became numb by all the neon lights. TRON: Legacy is definitely a major improvement as the 3D visual effects is so dazzling you can’t help but marvel at its glossy neon world (even the TRON-ified Disney logo animation is absolutely beautiful). I soon become immersed in the digital realm and sit in awe of its beauty, but once I step away from all the visual candy even just for a little while, the plot just doesn’t hold up.

Michael Sheen and Garret Hedlund

The story starts off with the disappearance of tech genius Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) and the owner of computer technology empire ENCOM the night he told his son Sam about a new “digital frontier” he has created called The Grid. Fast forward twenty years later, the now grown-up Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is lured by a mysterious pager message from a supposedly disconnected phone from Flynn’s abandoned arcade. Before he knows it, he’s sucked into the digital world, a.k.a The Grid just like his father did and the quest begins to find his long, lost father. I think the premise has a lot of potential but it seems that the filmmaker and all the studio honcho’s main concern with this sequel is to improve on the technical eye candy that any trace of narrative coherence is thrown by the way side. On the one hand, the movie seems to take itself so seriously that it almost takes the fun out of the the video game world; but on the other, the convoluted plot is riddled with plot holes and preposterous scenarios that forces us to check our brain at the door in order for all of those to work.

Then there’s the acting. I thought Sam Worthington’s lackluster acting in Clash of the Titans was bad, but Garrett Hedlund seems on pace to match his as one of the worst acting of the year. Sure he’s got the swagger and rebellious sensibility of an orphaned rich kid with serious daddy issues, but he certainly lack any dramatic skills the role requires. Ok, this ain’t Shakespeare and he’s perhaps picked more for his athleticism for the fight scenes, but it really wouldn’t hurt to see some any kind of believable connection between him and his father. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we’ve got the ridiculously over-the-top Michael Sheen as a club owner with white suit, white hair and white walking cane, who must have thought he was the star of David Bowie or 80s Lady Gaga’s music video.

Olivia Wilde as Quorra

Jeff Bridges is the only hope for any kind of dramatic grounding, but he pretty much just reprises The Big Lebowski‘s The Dude for the digital era with lines like “Biodigital jazz, man!” and “Youre ruining my zenman!” I suppose if we really want to see Bridges’ acting prowess, it’ll be in True Grit. Bruce Boxleitner is back as the creator of the TRON program Alan Bradley, and Cillian Murphy also makes for a brief cameo in the beginning scenes, though he’s so utterly underused I don’t even know why they cast someone of his caliber. Olivia Wilde actually fares pretty well as Quorra, Kevin Flynn’s protege who’s drawn and sympathetic towards Sam. She rises above being a merely ‘pretty prop’ like the other girls in the skintight cyberpunk suits.

But even with all the shortcomings, this is by no means a waste. In fact, for the 3D effects of the lightcycles alone, I’d even be willing to recommend this movie. And it’s definitely one to behold and savor in its full 3D glory. This is Joseph Kosinski’s first feature film after years of making commercials and short films, and the three and a half years it took to make this movie definitely paid off visually. I really can’t say enough about how truly stunning is the world of the new TRON: all of the neon-lit vehicles, the light-up rubber suit costume design and futuristic landscape and architectures are worth the price of admission. The ambiance is enhanced by the vibrant and dynamic music by French Electronic music duo Daft Punk, who has a cameo in the movie. The soundtrack is probably one of the movie’s greatest assets.

Well, for a while now I’ve been contemplating about adding some sort of a rating system. Y’know, like you see in every professional critics’ reviews… and seems like a good many movie bloggers out there have a rating structure. Instead of stars, I’ll be using film reels which is also part of the logo of FlixChatter (a complete ratings guide to follow).

I give this movie 2.5 out of 5 mainly for the visual effects. The filmmaker hints at possible follow-up at the end but given the poor storytelling quality, I don’t think I’m that interested (except maybe if Hedlund is replaced by oh say, Christian Bale).

Two and a half stars out of Five
2.5 out of 5 reels

Has anybody else seen this movie? If so, what did you think of it?

Hello again everyone, I’m baaaack!

Hello, hello!! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas break. I was blessed to spend time with family to celebrate Christmas and my mother in-law’s Christmas-day birthday. I definitely need to get back to the gym pronto as I’ve been eating soooo much yummy food all week, most of them were home-made Indonesian food that my mom’s friends cooked for us!

Thank the Lord we had booked a morning flight last night as the snow got worse as the day progressed. In fact, our flight was delayed for an hour due to a de-icing snafu and I got worried it could be canceled & we’d be stranded in the snowpocalypse North East! Take a look at this photo of Times Square where our hotel was at. We were just there a couple of days before this blizzard hit!

Dan Nguyen's Times Square Flickr Photo

Photo courtesy of Dan Nguyen

Well, suffice to say it’s been a slow movie-watching week as I didn’t get to the theater at all. The only thing I saw last week was Shrek The Third after a big Christmas dinner. The movie itself was ok, not horrible but definitely not as funny as the original Shrek, but no matter, it was indeed a lovely experience watching a movie together with family.

But last night I finally got to see got to see TRON: Legacy! I had been wanting to see that for ages, and despite the so-so reviews, I still had to check it out for myself. Well, the dazzling visuals certainly didn’t disappoint! I’ll try to get my review done later today for tomorrow.

Oh, before I sign off, I thought I’d share this video that was shown on the Christmas day church service. I thought it’s a poignant look at what would happen if Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah were using Facebook in the times of Jesus Birth.

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Well folks, it’s good to be back in the blogosphere and looking forward to catching up on your posts! Now tell me, what movie(s) did YOU manage to see during the holidays?

Happy, Happy Christmas, Everyone!

Graphic by mrgraphicsguy @ deviantart.com

Today I’m celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Christmas always holds a special meaning for me, but today is extra special as I’m also celebrating my beloved mother in-law’s 60th birthday! My sister in-law also flew in coast to coast from Seattle. I feel so blessed to be able to spend this joyous season with family.

Oh, and what else is special? My friend and frequent FC contributor Vince ‘Rockerdad’ Caro has kindly let me share his awesome Happy, Happy Christmas song with you today. I find myself humming the tune for days after hearing it for the first time and it’s one I can listen over and over again. With a catchy song like this one, I wish he’d recorded an entire holiday album! ;)


Note from the rock star himself:

This was written in about 20 minutes 10 Christmases ago on a 4-Track. It was meant to be a ‘cheap’ present for my folks (they were unimpressed). It was part of a cassette (remember those?) mix of songs my wife and I wrote together to give to friends for Christmas. I sent it to our label in 2002 and they liked it so much they decided to record it in a nice studio (with  the intent of using it for some advert agenda unbeknownst to me at the time). Apparently they were onto something… It was included in the holiday episode of the second season of Tru Calling. And most recently, this year’s Grey’s Anatomy (check out the episode online, the song came on towards the beginning in the surgery scene). My folks REALLY LIKE IT now. Happy Holidays!

Here’s wishing you all a holiday season filled with laughter, love and meaningful memories to cherish throughout the year!

Guest Post: Favorite Christmas Movie set in & around NYC – ELF

Seasons Greetings from TheScarletSp1der!

When I was asked to contribute to FlixChatter about Christmas movies that I enjoy, I did not know what to think…because there are soooo many Christmas movies that I love! Narrowing it down to one or two  seemed nigh impossible! Some of my favorite Christmas movies include titles such as The Santa Clause, White Christmas, Elf, Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, Christmas With The Kranks, Home Alone, Jingle All The Way, the classic It’s A Wonderful Life, and many more! (I feel a movie marathon coming on soon at my house!) :)

Fortunately, this post is meant to focus on a couple of Christmas movies set on the East Coast! “Whew!” I can narrow it down a tad now!  Several movies showcase the legendary Rockefeller Center Christmas tree as that landmark seems to be a requirement for all Christmas movies in NYC! I hope that Ruth will get to see it this Christmas!

My choice this time around for one of my favorite Christmas movies set in and around NYC is: Elf!

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I do not enjoy much that Will Ferrell does. His over-the-top style of comedy (loud, gesture-filled, and obnoxious) ruins too many scenes in my opinion. BUT when I saw Elf for the first time, it ended up being proof to me that Ferrell can indeed be a part of a fun movie project and not ruin it. (I know many people LOVE Stranger Than Fiction….but not I). Why Elf? In case you don’t know about the film, Elf focuses on Buddy the elf -a human that was raised by elves and has lived at the North Pole his entire life at Santa’s workshop. The movie follows him as he embarks on a quest of adventure to New York City in order to find his real father who, up to this point, has had no idea of his existence. Things get hilariously interesting rather quickly as Buddy explores the unforgiving environment of New York City!

Alongside Will Ferrell, Elf showcases the acting talent of Zooey Deschanel, Bob Newhart, James Caan, and Jon Favreau (who also directed Elf….he directed Iron Man as well)! Elf ends up being a movie that encourages lightheartedness and embracing the true spirit and meaning of Christmas….and, it’s just plain fun. Here’s one of my favorite clips from this film. Elf brings a nice blend of music, cheer, unconditional love, togetherness, comedy, Christmas, and ignorance to New York City. While there are so many other films that feature Christmas in New York, Elf is one that I initially thought I would hate, but have ended up enjoying it, and I hope that you may too! If you’re still not convinced, here is the trailer…it may change your mind!

I wish a very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Sincerely,

TheScarletSp1der

What are some of your favorite Christmas movies? Do you like Elf?

Guest Post: Three Christmas Movies Set in New York

By Darren Kowalska

America’s love affair with New York City gets especially mushy around Christmas time. The city that, for the rest of the year, has a reputation for rudeness and indifference is suddenly transformed into a winter wonderland. People give up Christmas at home to spend the holiday in New York, and for good reason. Ice skating in Rockefeller Center is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. While you’re there, you can marvel at the giant Christmas tree, too.

All the big department stores such as Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and Bloomingdale’s unveil their holiday windows. And the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has been a New York tradition for more than 75 years now. But if you can’t make it to the Big Apple for Christmas, you can enjoy it vicariously through one of my three Christmas movies set in New York:

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

homealone2posterThis is basically the same movie as Home Alone, only it takes place in New York. If you liked the first one, you’ll definitely want to watch Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Once again, Kevin McCallister’s absentminded parents embark on a vacation and through a series of mix-ups, Kevin ends up spending Christmas not at home, but alone. Lost. In New York. Actually, don’t let the title fool you — he’s not lost at all.

Kevin manages to con his way into the Plaza Hotel with his dad’s credit card. We should all be so lucky as to be “lost” in the Plaza. Then he finds out the two crooks he tangled with in the first movie have escaped from prison, and are in New York to carry out a heist. Obviously, Kevin is the only one who can stop them! And there is no other way to do it but with a series of booby traps! Ok, so it’s not realistic at all, but it’s a fun ride, and kids always get a kick out of characters their own age getting the best of adults, especially bad guys. Overall, it’s a fun Christmas movie that I’ve loved since I was a kid.

Scrooged

ScroogedFrom faithful adaptations like the classic with George C. Scott, to a movie populated by Muppets, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has been made and remade many times. But once in a while, a version comes along that is unique enough to really stick with you and become an annual favorite, like Scrooged starring Bill Murray and Karen Allen.

None of the characters in Scrooged have the same names as their Dickensian counterparts, but it’s easy to determine who’s who. Murray plays Frank Cross, a jaded executive of a television network headquartered in New York who is visited by three ghosts who show him where his embittered life is leading him. An all-star cast helps bring the story to life like never before, including a hilarious turn by Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present.

Elf

An original story, a magnificent cast, and the comedic antics that only Will Ferrell can get away with come together to create a new Christmas classic. Ferrell plays Buddy, a human who accidentally ends up in Santa’s workshop as an infant, and is adopted by an elf, played to perfection by Bob Newhart. He grows up an accepted member of the elf community, but doesn’t really fit in, and then discovers that he’s not really an elf as he’s been led to believe. He decides to connect with his real father — James Caan — who lives in New York City. And then the movie really gets good.

It’s a timeworn, fish-out-of-water story where Buddy must learn the ways of humans, and is again out of place for his customs and beliefs. But what’s not typical are the situations Buddy finds himself in while in New York, and the hilarious way Ferrell plays the part, perfectly straddling the line between comedy and sweetness. It’s worth it to watch Elf just to see James Caan break a couple of times, and keep an eye out for the cameo by Peter Billingsly, star of another classic holiday movie, A Christmas Story.

There are many other films that may mention Christmas, or have a scene or two in New York (like Sleepless in Seattle), but these are my definitive Christmas in New York movies. Don’t miss them!

Scene Spotlight: Great Winter scene in New York City – Serendipity

Greetings from New England, everyone! As it’s snowing last night in New Hampshire and we’re driving to New York City today, it makes me think of some great Wintry scenes in the Big Apple. Clearly the list is endless but for some reason one that I had in mind was the various Wintry scenes in Serendipity. It’s one of the more enjoyable rom-coms out there that still holds up with repeated viewings. Despite some of the inherent cliches and schmaltzy-ness, somehow John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale’s sweet chemistry just works. I didn’t even mind seeing Molly Shannon who’s kinda irritating at times as Beckinsale’s best friend. Jeremy Piven is pretty funny as Cusack’s BFF though, but one of the most enchanting co-stars in this movie is definitely the NYC setting.

From the beginning scene of their ‘meet cute’ during Christmas shopping (with Eugene Levy as the hilarious Bloomingdale’s salesman) all the way to the Wintry scene ending at an ice skating rink, New York City was nothing short of magical! No matter how cynical you are (and yes, you can predict the ending halfway through the movie), you’d be hard-pressed not to go ‘awwww’ watching these two finally being reunited with the gorgeous snowflakes all around them.

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Well, what are your favorite Winter scene(s) in movies?