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The New Serg Beret

Talking and Writing About Cinema Since 2012

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December 2013

Film A Week 52: Series Finale- The World’s End (2013)

Endings and conclusion were never my strong suit, even now where I have to end this series proper. They come and they wrap everything into a neat little package in order to leave a permanent mark that this is done with, you can always go back to it and it has to make an everlasting impact. In approaching the end, I knew one film I had looked forward to this year was also a film I knew ended something that made me love genre films. Readers, we are about to embark in an adventure to the Film A Week’s end with…The World’s End.

Week52

2013’s The World’s End closes off the beloved trilogy known as The Cornetto Trilogy, due to the appearance of the UK ice cream treat appearing in all three films in some form or another. Director Edgar Wright, a veteran on the Film A Week series with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, teamed back up with his old friends Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in order to close off the comedy trilogy that already conquered the horror genre with 2004’s Shaun of the Dead and the high-octane action genre 2007’s Hot Fuzz. The trio always goes in satirizing, spoofing and playing straight the cliches of the genre with references and creativity in order to tell its story.

With The World’s End, they tackle the only genre left to spoof or take a stab at with science fiction which had been promised. Edgar Wright had been given the idea when writing a script about teenagers at a pub crawl at age 21 aptly titled Crawl (not the most creative name, but I digress). The basic concept for this film was already in mind with the story first, genre later mentality Wright has with a majority of his film. Getting the band back together for one final film in the trilogy seemed ideal, but took a good five years to get started with production to have it released by this year. The time taken was well worth the effort as The World’s End is a fantastic closure to the trilogy.

The story begins with Gary King, played by Simon Pegg, a middle aged recovering drug addict hell-bent on reuniting with his old chums from Newtown in order to complete the “Golden Mile,” a famous mile of 12 pubs, 12 pints in hopes to reach the final bar, The World’s End. Gary sets out on his booze-filled quest for glory in search of his awkward pal Peter, played by Eddie Marsen, his former “band” mate Steve, played by Paddy Considine, the career focused and driven Oliver aka “O-Man,” played by Martin Freeman, and his best friend of the group Andy, played by Nick Frost. They all reluctantly go to attempt the famous drunken night and everything is going well and good until Oliver calls upon his sister Sam, played by Rosamund Pike, to come visit. Gary, obviously trying to recreate every moment with his selective memory, attempts to have sex with her in a handicapped stall in the restroom.

As the crawl moves on, they begin to notice similar personalities, personas and nothing truly changing. When they head to The Crossed Hands, shit truly hits the fan as they find out the town is crawling with assimilated robots that may not be robots, but might actually be aliens. Referred to as Blanks, the guys continue their quest to reach The World’s End by fighting swarms of Blanks, pretending to blend in, getting assimilated while having to come to terms with their own personal drama and changes from the past. Every pub in the film leads to moments of foreshadowing significant moments in their quests. For those curious to check the film out for themselves and what each pub means, avoid the next part because it is time to bring back for one last round…But For Those Not In The Know.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
BUT FOR THOSE NOT IN THE KNOW!

The First Post– Simply the first pub visited for the first pint where Andy does not participate as he has been quite sober.
The Old Familiar– Looks exactly the same as the first pub, but Sam returns to the scene. Steve had a thing for her way back when, but Gary was being a cock block which leads to…
The Famous Cock– Here Gary is recognized for his idiocy after being barred for life from the place, causing the men to simply question there choices about coming, yet continue on.
The Cross Hands– A bit of Peter’s backstory is revealed after running into his old bully from the past, but in the bathroom, Gary encounters the Blanks for the first time as the rest of the gang team up to battle the Blanks.
The Good Companions– Peter, Steve, Oliver and Andy are in misery as Gary has a ball in the midst of the town’s body-snatched identities while trying to blend in.
The Trusty Servant– They encounter an old weed dealer who is now under the trust of the Blanks, until Gary makes him reveal his secret. Also, Oliver is assimilated by the Blanks at this part, becoming the new servant and blends in with Gary’s crew.
The Two Headed Dog– They find Sam out with her twin friends, who turn out to be Blanks with Gary and his team taking them head on, pun intended, to defeat them and continue. Sam joins the group at this point.
The Mermaid– Andy, Gary and Peter are seduced by the Maramalade Sandwich, a group of admittedly hot individuals in order to become blanks via DNA as Steve discovers after conversation with crazy old Basil, played by David Bradley.
The Beehive Free House– The team find out that Oliver is officially part of the Blanks along with Mr. Shepard, their old teacher played by Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan, and find out about the hive mind they are working under.
The King’s Head– Gary loses his mind and his head after dealing with Peter getting assimilated in the park and everyone freaking out if he is the real Gary. Steve also decides to find The Beast, Gary’s automobile, in order to escape. Gary drinks to forget as it is all he has. Andy is disappointed by this fact, knowing Gary has not changed.
The Hole in the Wall– Steve comes crashing in to save Gary and Andy through, you guessed it, a hole in the wall, until he is taken away by Blanks. Gary and Andy head out to…
The World’s End– Gary tries to take his final pint while still wasted and Andy is done with his shit and finally dukes it out with him. He reveals that his wife has left him and his life is miserable as it is revealed that Gary has recently tried to kill himself and is still seeking help. Gary and Andy discover the Blanks plan with a cool voice appearance by bill Nighy, the return of Steve and then the world, well, ending. Really? You could not figure that out? The movie is called The World’s end for a motherfucki…

Well, thanks for that lovely final appearance from that segment.

The film actually captures something the other films had hints of and goes with it. The World’s End, while being a cleverly crafted film and arguably one of Edgar Wright’s best work to date, manages to convey the real human experience. As the characters have grown in the past, Gary is stuck reliving his only golden moment of his past. It is the last time he was happy and did not grow alongside his peers as they had their successes in life. Yet, even then, they had misery in their lives just as Gary did as change got to them, but even going back home, it did not change. It shows that while the place may have not change, the people certainly have or, in this film’s case anyway, Gary and his pals. The characters in the film are dynamic, have a reason for staying the course with Gary and never falls flat as the performances are greats

The film itself is one of the best of 2013 I have seen with great dialogue and smart wit that Wright and Pegg always manage to deliver, the aforementioned fantastic performances that are rich in heart and soul and direction that is fast pace and loose. Wright’s fighting direction is stepped up from previous efforts in the trilogy by being more slick and more well timed since directing Scott Pilgrim with giving a Drunken Master vibe to the fights in this film. The writing is great balancing the catastrophe of the Blanks at hand and the struggle of each character with emotion while delivering the humor we come to expect with these film. The World’s End is simply a triumphant conclusion to the series and one perfect film to end Film A Week on.

FilmAWeekFINALE

And so this series has come to a close. In the first post back on January 11th of this year, there was a clear set goal to explore new features, classics I have never seen before, and films you have probably never even heard about. From the great to the worst, the spotlight was open to any film I feasted my eyes on and share my experience with the rest of you all. After 52 weeks of continuous posting, we accomplished that goal. Not just me, we did. Those who read every post from the beginning and stuck around to the end, we did it and I was there to share the experience.

From the adventures of hoods fighting aliens to crossing the nation with Cary Grant, we conquered it all. We went to fantastical worlds killing a dark faerie dragon and catching a falling star to the apocalyptic sights of a zombie filled Philadelphia to the telekinetic Neo-Tokyo. We traveled to the galaxy with the crew of the Enterprise and the Power Rangers and went to the depths of the ocean to see Captain Nemo’s beloved kingdom. We went to the old West to hang with the Wild Bunch, headed to Rio to see the birds, embarked to Pagan Rome for lust and sex and visited the Shamouti Islands to save Pokemon.

We traveled through time with Doc Brown and Marty McFly, H.G. Wells and The Doctor and his TARDIS in 1999. We went to the 90’s to see the lives of the wallflower that was Charlie and were stuck in the harsh reality of the hood with Tre. We face the horror of witches, robots, radioactive monsters, a chainsaw wielding maniac, Lo Pan and Irreversible. There were underdogs like Rocky and top dogs like Michael Jackson and Brian, even if he was a naughty boy and not the Messiah. We fell in and out of love with benches overlooking Los Angeles, dancing the night away with a swing, documenting our experience in love, winning over a flower girl and erasing our minds to forget. We witnessed the real life tragedy of Zachary, the corruption of Toshiro and Thomas Jerome Newton and the mystery that surrounded Lumberton. Together, we made cinema ours, but like all good adventures, we have to end sometimes.

To tell you the truth, I really started this series to prove I can commit to something and stick with it. I was ready to give up at some point and ready to call it quits, but I kept it going and I could not have done it without any of you. From everyone who has appeared on Film A Week, I truly thank you for appearing on the site and would love to list you all here…which I will do.

  • Jenni Chante (The Prince of Eygpt), and also being the best sister I can ask for
  • Jesus Figueroa of Thisfunktional.com (Rio), and also giving this series a chance on his site and being one hell of a mentor and figure in my life
  • Erik Luna (Coroline, Love Actually), and also helped me carry on
  • Summer Gomez ((500) Days of Summer)
  • Megan Perry (Batman Begins), and also believed in this crazy idea
  • Veronica Hurtado (Roman Holiday)
  • Diego Olivares (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
  • Clarisse Casino Ilagan (Love Actually)
  • Lindsey Maeda (Love Actually), and along with Erik, kept me to keep going on my journey
  • Alex Aguayo (Love Actually)
  • Amanda Mayberry (Love Actually)
  • Jade Inglada (Love Actually)
  • Ilse Torres (Love Actually)
  • Maria Rodarte (Love Actually)
  • Rosaura Montes (Love Actually), and also meeting far away from home, yet being a closer friend than ever
  • Marisa Roxanne Brown (Love Actually), and also being the best online friend I could ever ask for
  • Anika Wilmore (Love Actually), and also being the kindest online friend I could have
  • Freddy Andrew Monares (Love Actually)
  • Dulce Carillo Compean (Love Actually)
  • Ruben Perez (Love Actually)

Off site, a thank you to Gerardo Monroy for being my best friend for the past nine years and not once giving up on me, even at my worst. To Danny Vasquez aka Dan for being a new best friend that I have grown to admire for his honesty and providing nothing but kind words to me. To my mother Gabby Guzman for believing in me, even if she does not read the site. To Antonio Uribe for showing me the world of anime and giving me insight into what exactly I can do to further myself. To my grandfather Salvador for being my idol, my rock and my king. To my uncle Ricky Guzman for giving me a new hero to look up to as he sails the world and explores. To my family for making sure I never once forgot where I came from. To my friends for standing the course beside me and not once looking back. Thank you all.

With that said, Film A Week is done and ready to be the beacon it always was. I loved doing this and I loved having to share this with you all, but when it is time to end it due to having a set time, it is always hard. There will be new ventures on the site and new ideas to explore, but there will only be one Film A Week and as long as I made you laugh, smile or even got a glimmer of your attention, I have done my job.

I am Sergio Berrueta and I end this series with a quote by the great Dr. Suess.

Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened.

FilmAWeekEND

Thisfunktional’s Top 10 Most Unexpected Film of 2013

Written By Jesus Figueroa of Thisfunktional.com
Some films are made to be blockbusters and then there are some that just sneak up and just are incredible films.

This list is some if the films that just surprised me. I thought most if these could not possibly be that good. Some just had bad promotions. Nonetheless they ended up being films I saw and film that were some of the best of the year. They are must see films of 2013.

10. The Baytown Outlaws
 
This film’s trailer didn’t do it justice. It’s incredible and I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it. It was a must see film I’ve seen multiple times through the year.
9. Struck By Lightning

Much like “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” this coming-of-age story is moving and incredible. Based on the book by Chris Colfer, who is also the star of the film.
8. The Last Stand
Who doesn’t like a good action film? This one had the amazing Arnold  Schwarzenegger come back. Not only was the action adequate but it had a cowboy feel to it that made Schwarzenegger even tougher.
7. Metallica Through the Never

The aged rockers show off just what has made them icons and legends. The story was brilliant and the music was spectacular. It took everything that a concert movie was and made it an adventure. The film pushed the limits of it’s genre and succeeded in making it appealing.
6. Now You See Me

This magic act is intense. The marvelous concept caught the audience’s attention from the start and never let it go. The plot is complex and the twist in the story is great.
5. Upside Down

This Romeo-and-Juliet-type story is cute, romantic and a tear-jerker. The breathe-taking scenery and contrast of worlds amplifies the powerful message of the film. The struggles of the main characters has a realistic feel although it is sci-fi.
4. Evil Dead

Surprisingly this was a great addition to the “Evil Dead” franchise. It’s gore and terror sticks long after the movie is over. Of course Jane Levy as the title role was incredibly as she made her deadite character hot and sexy.
3. Mama

Guillermo Del Toro presents “Mama” which scared the audience which watched it. In the theater where I watched it there were plenty of men and women screaming when they saw it. It was shot amazing and casted magnificently.
2. Quartet

Only a limited release but incredibly breathtaking. The performance by the entire cast was inspiring. There’s few movies that leave a lasting impression but this one touches some crucial subjects which make it memorable.
1. Despicable Me 2

The most shocking part is the manner in which Kristen Wiig comes back to voice an entirely new character in this sequel. It shocked me how well this animated film was hilarious even after setting the bar high with the first part.

200th Post! The Pilot Episode of Friendly Film Perspectives- Die Hard (1988)

Merry Christmas! As a holiday gift to you all on this 200th post, me and my good pal Matthew Reveles to record a commentary for the pilot episode of Friendly Film Perspectives, a new commentary series.

In this episode, we comment on Die Hard by talking about the dangers of hockey, the forgotten classic Blank Check, Argyle’s love of “Skeletons” by Stevie Wonder and random trivia about the film throughout. Best part? It’s free to download. Just click the picture below to be redirected to PodOmatic in order to download.

Note: This is the pilot episode, aka test run, and the film’s audio is integrated within the commentary track. In the future, the audio of the film will not be present and will only be commentary-based.

Synch up the commentary to the film after the 20th Century Fox logo disappears for the full experience.

Die Hard Comentary

Film A Week 51: Christmas Special- Love Actually (2003) With Friendly Guests

My favorite holiday of all time is finally upon us. It’s Christmas and the warmth of the season is wrapping us all together be it with family, a close friend or even a significant other. When I think of Christmas time, I think of the joy that is spread and the look on the faces of family members gathering around to take time out of their lives to reconnect, the couples that hold hands in winter coats as they walked around the winter wonderland and the friends that get together to share gifts and swap new stories with introductions to others.

This concept can be explained as the simple notion and emotion known as love. Everyone has a different ideas and perspective on what exactly it is. Luckily since it is Christmas, I have gathered a couple of friends to step in and help better explain this while also taking a look at the modern Christmas classic, Love Actually as we try to discover what is love actually?

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“I think his name was Robert Sternberg (who said it), but I agree with his definition. He calls it the “triangular theory of love,” so each point of the triangle represents a different “component” of love. And they are….intimacy, passion, and commitment.” – Clarisse Casino Ilagan

Directed and written by Richard Curtis, Love Actually gave a unique perspective of the romance concept by telling an anthological story focusing on many unique romances throughout Christmas time in England, somewhat like the theory Clarisse believes, but goes a bit beyond a mere theory. The concept was relatively perfect till Garry Marshall fucked it all up with Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, but that is neither here nor there. This review is going to take a look at each story individually in order to help get the points across better (and not to confuse readers) on each subject at hand, so for those wanting to see the film, this will help better explain.

Billy Mack & Joe

“Some of the best love comes from family in almost all cases. Our immediate family member are the ones who know us best. They watch us grow and still accept us no matter how much we change. When our family doesn’t accept us, we find friends who become our family.”
– Lindsey Maeda

Being an old school rocker without anyone to call family must be upsetting, unless you are the former heroin addict Billy Mack, played deviously by personal favorite actor Bill Nighy, forced to re-record the song “Love is All Around Me” as “Christmas is All Around Me” in order to make a quick buck and get the comeback he deserves. The only lot he has around to support him is “fat manager” Joe (his words, not mine), played by George Fisher. As Billy Mack goes on television and the radio parading his “festering turd of a record” in order to be the Christmas Number One single, the British equivalent of being the number one song of the year in the States, Billy is up to his old antics of being a douche, but being hilarious at the same time. As the record eventually gets the number one, Billy Mack gets invited to Elton John’s Christmas party only to realize that Joe is the bloody love of his life.

Billy finally realizes he loves his friend for giving him years of support as Joe feels honored to be an integral part of his career. Of course, as one would celebrate such a moment, they get pissed and watch porn. As Lindsey above said, friends become a family when family is no longer accepting of our path. With Mack, I always felt he never got real time with his family as the sad lonely individual, but Joe stepped up to the plate to help ease the pain.

Juliet, Peter & Mark

“Love is an emotion that I feel and show for people who have a certain level of closeness. It means mutual respect, empathy, and caring.”
– Alex Aguayo

Sometimes though Alex, that form of love is hard to get across to someone on that level and you can let them slip away in a single moment. Take Mark, played by Andrew Lincoln, for example and his admiration for the wife of his friend Peter, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, named Juliet, played by Keira Knightley. Mark at the wedding prepares a giant musical performance of “All You Need is Love” to the surprise of Peter and Juliet. Mark has a tendency to videotape everything, so when Juliet comes over to see Mark’s video of the wedding, she is in shock to see that Mark practically took the time to record a majority of her moments to see Mark as unrequited love for her. Obviously, Mark never quite warmed up to her and it causing him to leave in embarassment for not admitting his feelings soon.

“Love is beautiful and it’s this thing I let get away from me that I’ll probably never get again.”- Amanda Mayberry

Peter finally decides to make the hard decision to move on, but before hand, he harnesses his inner Bob Dylan to tell Juliet in silence how much he cares for her. Like Amanda, he knows that he may never get to experience this wonderful feeling again

Personally, I’ve been in Mark’s position before and it is not fun at all, but to anyone in that situation, it is always difficult to get the proper time and words out to express affection. When we feel that we are putting enough effort as we would like, we have to admit it is time to give up.

Harry, Karen & Mia

“Love is not perfect, because let’s face it the people who are in love aren’t. Love is about putting yourself in a vulnerable position, well aware that someone might take a Jackhammer to your relationship. It’s about trust in someone else and trust in yourself.”- Erik Luna

Possibly the most realistic tales in terms of love comes in the form of the story involving Harry, played by Alan Rickman, Karen, played by Emma Thompson, and the person coming in to step on the marriage Mia, played by Heike Makatsch, playing quite close to what Erik is talking about. Harry is tempted by Mia’s intentions as she is the secretary and intends to play her cliche role of entitlement to pumping the boss. As Harry embarks on his foolish mind and desires, Karen starts to notice a disconnect between herself and Harry, knowing that Mia is trying to lure Harry. Harry unfortunately falls into one of Mia’s trap and buys her an expensive necklace in an admittedly funny appearance by Rowan Atkinson.

Karen believes the gift is for her, but Mia gets it instead. Karen ends up with a CD of her favorite artist Joni Mitchell that leads Karen to question the fallacy of her relationship at hand in silence in arguably the best scene in the entire film.

“Love is even when they’re not in their best mood, when you both get into a argument over something like money or in-laws, they drive you crazy with their annoying habits, or they say the wrong things, but at the end of the day you can’t imagine them being anyone else.”
– Jade Inglada

Karen confronts Harry about it and Harry admits he was a fool to do so, but in the end, she still admires his honesty and his efforts much like Jade points out. My friend Ilse describes this love in the best way I could think of.

“Love is a roller coaster experience because a real relationship that is ‘love’ is not a real relationship. It is finding one person’s flaws and making them beautiful in one’s eyes. It’s a beautiful feeling that hurts.”- Ilse Torres

Jamie & Aurelia

“Love is sacred. It is very hard to find. It’s being with someone you not only show affection with, but can be your complete self with. It’s being able to reveal things about yourself that you wouldn’t share with anyone else.”- Maria Rodarte

After a painful and awkward reveal that his girlfriend is sleeping with his brother, author Jamie, played by Colin Firth, heads to a French cottage in order to write his latest murder mystery novel. While there, he is greeted by his new housekeeper Aurelia, played by Lucia Moniz, who like Jamie, cannot speak a lick of French nor English for that matter and only speak Portaguese. Jamie and Aurelia have a very hard relationship with the whole language barrier being a major issue, especially when Jaime loses half his novel in the water with Aurelia trying to figure out what he is writing. Jaime grows affection for her as they both somehow discover and reveal to each other their likes and dislikes despite not sharing the same language. After leaving France, Jamie ends up learning the language in order to race back on Christmas Eve and reveal his true love for her.

Sure, it began a little awkward, but these two manage to define each other and their faults. It’s a beautiful moment between the two and a lesson in love being truly limitless as they break the tension and open more to each as Maria stated.

David & Natalie

“Love is when you can’t escape one person. You think of that person all the time, waiting for the moment when you two will be with each other. The butterflies on your stomach get to you, that sometimes, you feel like throwing up for excitement. When you’re close to them, you feel different.”- Rosaura Montes

Even the Prime Minister is powerless under the weight of love as David, played by the always charming Hugh Grant, falls a bit head over heel for a member of his cabinet at 10 Downing Street named Natalie, played by Martine McCutcheon. She is the newest member on staff and captures his intention as he befuddles his way to her heart until President of the United States, played by Billy Bob Thornton, comes to visit and starts to flirt with her as U.S. President are wont to do. David sees this as an opportunity to basically put America rightfully in its place and become one hell of a prime minister.

David sings the praises of his new found victory by dancing to the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump,” but in the wake of what happened, sends Natalie off to another job. David soon finds a Christmas card from Natalie giving a apology for what happened and David heads out to the dodgy end of town in order to get her back on Christmas Eve, even if it means meeting her whole family.

From here, David and her are off to the school’s Christmas Eve pageant to embrace in a kiss, but more on that later. Love seems to come from unlikely places such as the work place for David and Natalie as Rosuara above said that they could not escape one another, but even then, work place romances do not always end up in the way we think they should be.

Sarah, Karl & Michael

“Love is just being comfortable around someone and showing affection to anyone such as your significant other, friends, family, etc.”
– Marissa Roxanne Brown

Yet, with that said Marissa, sometimes love of another can interfere with others, but the lesson to accept negative aspects of being comfortable is a hard one to learn. Sarah, played by Laura Linney, is madly in love with Karl, played by Rodrigo Santoro, and is ready to take the next step, but her mentally unstable brother constantly interrupts any chance she gets. Then comes the night she has waited for while at Mark’s art gallery party when her and Karl finally get close to each other and even attempt to engage in sex.

Her brother Michael calls during the beginning of the act, causing Karl to leave in dismay and effectively end any chance of it happening. Sarah learns the lesson that the comfortably of love and unconditional love is not all that it seems, but even then, the love for her brother shines through and prevails.

Daniel, Sam, Joanna & Carol

“Love is…timeless. Special and rare. Cherish it.”- Anika Wilmore

Daniel, played by Liam Nesson, is dealing with the grief of his wife’s death and is left to take care of Sam, played by Thomas Sangster, who has been in his room and not wanting to get out of it. Daniel talks to Karen about his attitude and she suggest to take him out and figure out if the pain of his mom’s death has him feeling down. As they hang out by the Millennium Bridge, Daniel discovers that Sam is not in total sadness his mom, but rather the fact that he is in the total agony of love with a girl named Joanna, played by Olivia Olson, who happens to have the same named as his mom.

Sam finds that Joanna will be singing in the school Christmas Eve pageant and takes up the drum in order to play alongside her as she is “the one” for him. Sam learns that Joanna will be leaving back to America soon and wants to do everything in his power in order to be with her. It all comes to a head at the pageant as Joanna sings the Mariah Carey classic “All I Want for Christmas.”

 


SIDENOTE: That’s Marceline the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time singing.

After the performance and David and Natalie steal Joanna’s thunder with a kiss for all to see, Sam is down on his luck for not making a proper impression on her. Daniel sees this and decides to send him off to the airport in order for him to catch her and win her over. What follows is one hell of a cheery and adorable sequence of young love.

Sam finally gets the girl and even Daniel manages to get a woman for himself in the form of Carol, played by Claudia Schiffer, who Daniel mentioned in passing that he would want a woman like Claudia Schiffer. It’s a tale of love, like Anika said, is truly timeless and can come at any age.

Colin, Tony & the American Girls

“Love is stupid.”- Freddy Andrew Monares

You are not wrong on that front, Freddy, as love does have its fair share of stupidity as with Colin Frissel, played by Kris Marshall, has no luck with English woman and telling his friend Tony, played by Abdul Salis, he has grown too used to the stuck up ways of British women and must go to America to become “Colin, God of Sex.”

Colin believes he can get by on being British and nothing more with Tony skeptical on his decision to head stateside and calls him an idiot. Colin, determined to continue on with his mission, books it to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and suddenly his theory is proven correct by wooing and bedding three American girls named Jeannie, Carol-Anne and Stacey, played by January Jones, Elisha Cuthbert and Ivana Milicevic respectively.

Stupidity wins this round, as does meaningless sex, but Colin ends up a much happier man for his idiocy.

John & Judy

“Love is carrying that unexplainable happiness for that special person. Once you love someone and you are able to talk to them as if they were your diary, you found that person.”- Dulce Carillo Compean

The simplest story is also one the makes the largest impact as Dulce said talking to them can lead to finding someone. John, played by Martin Freeman, meets Judy, played by Joanna Page, while being body doubles for sex scenes on feature films as the two develop an adorable and somehow comfortable ‘meet cute’ story. Having to see the one you have a crush on every day naked on the job could lead to awkwardness, but these two prevail in taking it in stride.

“Love is waking up every morning thinking of that special someone.”- Ruben Perez

Both are awkward individuals, but do eventually go out with John trying to steal a kiss, but back off. Judy, on the other hand, lays one on him by kissing him causing John to jump for joy at his new found romance.

It is the start of something new and us as the viewer see the start of what very well be a beautiful relationship.

One Month Later…

“Love means comfort, understanding and protection. By comfort, you’re absolutely comfortable to be yourself with this person and you can trust the person with expressing your every emotion. You can trust them to understand how to comfort you through your hard time. They undertstand who you are as a person and don’t judge or try to change you in any way. And protection, in every sense but most importantly, they hold you and you feel so safe, nothing in the world could hurt you.”- Angelique Enos

One month passes by and everyone is arriving at Heathrow Airport with our pal Billy having a successful comeback with Joe waiting to greet his pal. Juliet, Mark and Peter are there welcoming the arrival of Jamie and his new wife  Aurelia as the two now understand each other. David arrives as Natalie kisses him with press watching showing the single Prime Minister is now off the market. Karen is ready to greet back Harry, who has returned from a business trip and remain in love. Sam sees his new girlfriend Joanna arrive with Daniel moving on from Sam’s wife with Carol while Colin returns to greet Tony with Harriet, played by Shannon Elizabeth, and her sister Carla, played by Denis Richards, who is ready to take a chance on Tony. Tony also gets wind of John and Judy who are now engaged to be married. In the end, love rules all and prevails.

The film is fantastic by balancing all these stories and characters with sharp comedy, tight knit writing. Richard Curtis paints a portrait of love with remarkable and memorable moments that help explain in terms the love that is all around at Christmas time.

But the question remains, what is love actually?

As you see, we all have different answers to this simple yet complex question and we all have a concept of love. To me personally, love is this universal concept that cannot really be explained nor described, going beyond the stars and spreading around. Love is something me share with everyone from a simple best friend, a dysfunctional family and the one true person we love, but it is up to us ourselves to make the effort to show our love as they would so there. As the wizard Merlin in Disney’s take on The Sword in the Stone said, “You know lad, that love business is powerful thing” to which Arthur questions “Greater than gravity?” and Merlin simply replies with “I’d, uh…Yes, I’d say its the greatest force on Earth.”

An old wizard who can go into time and space to figure out every answer in the book could not even begin to describe it without seriously thinking about it, but he was right in his own way. Love is greater than gravity as it weighs us down and makes us grounded in the reality. Yet, I believe it is unconditional love that binds us all together for without love, we would be mindless beings wandering around. Even those who are single and without someone understand the concept of love because it is still held with family and friends. Love is boundless, limitless and infinite, so there is never going to be a right answer nor a wrong answer. Every answered listed in this review is our own answer and one we rest on to keep us going. If there is one thing to learn this Christmas is, to quote the film itself, love actually is all around.

Merry Christmas and have magnificent New Year’s as Film A Week comes to a close by going back to the genre that kicked off FAW with the end of the Cornetto (Blood & Ice Cream) Trilogy The World’s End to mark the conclusion of a year of film reviewing. Prepare for hilarity, returning jokes and a neat thank you this New Year’s Eve.

The Film A Week Finale
Week 52: The World’s End (2013)
New Year’s Eve, Tuesday December 31st

Now to leave you with the song that ends the film and is my favorite song of all time that encapsulates everything written, “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys.

Serg Beret’s 25 Best Songs of 2013

The year of 2013 was quite the year in music in general as pop continued to follow its new steps into electronic infused sounds by diving deep into sound echoing the ’70s flair. This year also brought twerking to the forefront for better or worse, gave unique and original artists a voice in the mainstream, saw the return of a true rebel of the industry and, by unforeseeable force, rap was actually listenable (unless your name was Kanye West). The best part about this year is I am finally breaking the rule of the song having to have charted and opening it up to more than just the mainstream pop songs, so prepare for some much needed surprises and a change of pace from the previous year. Truly this was a wonderful year in music, so let’s not waste anytime and dive straight into the 25 Best Songs of 2013.

25. “Pompeii” by Bastille

Finally, they made a song for all of us history nerds who love music. Bastille creates a simple yet gorgeous balance of chaos and heartbreak in a short time frame. Taking the tragedy of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, the song explains how not even optimism can look past this as nothing more than a disaster while the settling sets up for an allegory of a romance falling apart. It also serves to show that the end is just routine and something both have experienced that. From the booming chorus that leads the song to the bridge breakdown toward the end, “Pompeii” hits it just right. Last year, Walk the Moon was in this same position, so let’s hope Bastille does not end up as a one hit wonder like those fellows.

24. “Now I’m All Messed Up” by Tegan & Sara


The duo responsible for curing young hipster hearts from breaking in two, Tegan & Sara returned with full force in 2013 with their album Heartthrob and giving ballads about the aftermath of the relationship. “Now I’m All Messed Up” is one of the deeper cuts on the album as they dive deep into wanting the former partner out of their life for good and that there is no reason for them to try and enter their lives again. It is a beautiful blend of keyboards and guitars by capturing the melancholy in the wake of the conclusion with both of their voices shining bright in the track.

23. “Walks Like Rihanna” by The Wanted

The UK Boy Band scene has decided to come across the pond and deliver a kick in the pants to pop by having another *NSync and Backstreet Boys rivalry with Harry Styles and the boys of One Direction against Nathan Sykes and the boys of The Wanted. On this list however, The Wanted win hands down with the infectious pop anthem that is “Walks Like Rihanna.” One Direction had a great year as well, but this song was in my head longer than a majority of their songs with a thumping crush tribute to a girl who may not have the best talents, but she has it where it counts on crush terms. Okay, so the song is a bit vapid in the lyrics and mostly relying on the beauty of her rather than character, yet the musical arrangement is where it kicks in with a thumping breakdown section and a chorus worth singing along to, even if you dislike them.

22. “Fine China” by Chris Brown

Christ Brown the man has always been a controversial figure in my mind with his cases of domestic violence, random outbursts and being kind of a prick, but he has calm down considerably to bring out his finest work since “Forever” with the Michael Jackson inspired “Fine China.” Brown’s vocals are as sharp as ever hitting the highest of highs with the best of them and clever lyrics saying the woman of his dream something that just cannot be irreplaceable, but her man can be replace with himself. I am also aware of the hilarious in hindsight lyrics of “I’m not dangerous,” but let’s ignore that in order to test the fine arrangement of modern beats Ne-Yo would be jealous of and strings that help carry Brown’s voice along. Not bad for a guy I wanted dead years ago.

21. “Rap God” by Eminem

Eminem has become more than rap royalty and increased into biblical proportion by taking down would be mainstream rappers without creativity or honesty in his sermon in “Rap God.” Marshall Mathers hits every verse and hook with such insanity looking back on his career and using it to his advantage to boast, brag and even give some inspiration to new rapper, even if he says homophobic slurs at that (something about that actually pisses me off, but the rest of the song is superb). The key moment is when Shady decides to claim his supersonic rap speed and proceeds to do just that by breaking the rap rhyme barrier by surpassing even Twista. Eminem is back to his roots and we would not have it any other way.

20. “Do What U Want” by Lady Gaga ft. R. Kelly

There cannot be a year without Lady Gaga, right? Actually, in the wake of her wildly mediocre album ARTPOP, Lady Gaga managed to get out one hit song and that song made an impact bigger than half that album wishes it did. “Do What U Want” is a sex anthem worth getting a bit naughty and down on the floor to with Lady Gaga always seductive voice going with a smooth pulse-pounding electronic club beat ready for the next guy in line to show her one hell of a night. Luckily, that next guy is R. Kelly who happen to go back to his early ’90s era self by luring Gaga into the sheet with him because only he has the pleasure she wants. It’s not overly raunchy, gets to the point and has R. Kelly singing the word “fuck” so beautifully in the most un-ironic way, it’s a delight that this single even made it to the pop charts.

19. “The Way” by Ariana Grande ft. Mac Miller

Ariana Grande has been taking over the world and being more overexposed as time goes on to the point it becomes exhausting, but before any of that nonsense happened at the second half of the year, she released the gorgeous pop track known as “The Way.” The spirit of ’90s Mariah Carey was sucked out of Mariah and put into Grande to give her a booming voice, but also an old-school vibe to the song with breathy vocals and a almost seducing sound. Of course, the only gripe I have with this song is Mac Miller, well, sucks. Luckily, he is underplayed in the song and does not destroy it to the point the song collapses. “The Way” is a great throwback track from an artist and actress that needs to take a long break for awhile to give her praise again.

18. “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities

Armed with a hipster vibe and perfect production work, Capital Cities take us on a musical adventure with “Safe and Sound” as styles rapidly change on one hell of a roller coaster ride. Combining the sounds of horns, synths and the drum machine beat is no easy task so thank God these boys know how to sing to back it up. It is one of those rare songs where you hear it and automatically want to dance to it armed with gorgeous lyrics about wanting to be alone and embrace the love of someone, but ever has two lovers alone sounded this awesome. the other plus to this track is that the video is amazing with great editing, use of visual effects and delivering the dance vibe in full force.

17. “Still Into You” by Paramore

By now reading the list, readers may notice I am kind of a softie when it comes to love songs, so the fact Paramore decided to make a poppy love song makes me smile. With Hayley’s gorgeous vocal and a bombastic rock sound, “Still Into You” is encapsulates the whirlwind feeling of being in love with someone for an extended period of time It’s a beautiful melodic work of pop-rock and it is great to see Paramore grow away from their “emo” roots, even if the new album was very hit and miss. This track stands out by being fun, dreamy in the bridge to the final chorus and perfect for the lover in all of us.

16. “Treasure” by Bruno Mars

“Baby squirrel, you’s a sexy motherfucker.” Any song beiginning with a Speak N’ Spell cursing definitely gets on this list, but all joking aside, “Treasure” gives back the ’70s cheese and sound of the era with a modern twist as only Bruno Mars can provide. With his killer vocals and stellar production work, this track hits all of the trademarks right from the disco flip drumbeat, a pratcially perfect bassline and chimes kicking in left and right. It even has a bit of Kool & the Gang and Earth, Wind & Fire thrown in with a whole group getting down on the boogie and singing with Mars. If this was the ’70s, this song would kill on the roller rink with everyone ready to celebrate.

15. “Wake Me Up” by Avicii

The first and certainly not the last producer/Dj on the list, Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” gave everyone a new song to set as their alarm clocks around the nation. The song works on both the technical aspect of sampling a great acoustic riff and melding it with a front and center synth riff alongside it with the unfortunately uncredited Aloe Blacc delivering a tremendous voacl range to help carry the song from obscurity. It is as if Mumford & Sons and Deadmau5 hooked up at the Ritz, made love and formed a delicate and precious baby from the wake of the drunken evening and that is a strange compliment to give a song. “Wake Me Up” gives a great song to jam to and deliver on every front as to why it is as popular as it is.

14. “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus

Much like the aforementioned Chris Brown, Miley Cyrus has grown in controversy with her tongue sticking out, twerk heavy and wild and out there antics, but like Brown, the music matters in the end and Cyrus’ heart is out on the open in “Wrecking Ball.” Cyrus’ singing has gotten better than her Disney days and her lyrics have become more powerful and dramatic (well, on this track at least) as time went on by comparing her breakup to a massive demolition with true integrity and crushing blows. “Wrecking Ball” captures what Cyrus can really do music wise in between all the manufactured and dismal singles put out before this song and shows even though someone has a bad reputation doesn’t mean they are not broken from the inside. Cyrus is really coming along and I hope that she can make a name for herself in a positive light, rather than the negative.

13. “Youth” by Foxes

The video is so hipster, I think a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon appeared in my hand, but with that said, Foxes is a relatively new artist that already packs quite a punch by making her own beats and sounds in order to amplify her message, especially her in “Youth.” Like Lana Del Rey but without the superbly ’emo’ style, Foxes has a unique style and vocals by giving a song capturing the concept of exploring and the nature of youth with a “anthemic” sound, a sample close to an siren going off in the distance and a massive build up to a dramatic grand closure in the song’s climax. Foxes has been a hit in the UK and only now got exposure here in the Sates, but take a look at her previous work and one may be pleasantly surprised by a new original.

12. “Brave” by Sara Barielles


Sara Barielles has had a great year going from her coffeehouse singwriting roots from 2007’sLittle Voice into a neat little star with her recent release The Blessed Unrest, now nominated for the major Album of the Year award at the Grammys, but Sara’s hit song this year shows her journey was worth it. On “Brave,” the always gorgeous Barielles sings about how going out there, taking your talent can lead to great places and stnading up for yourself with honesty without being stuck in a shell. Barielles hits it out of the park and knows what she is singing about with a killer chorus, dynamic change of pace midway thriugh the second chrous and a thrilling drum beat next to the piano riff, being “Brave” seems like a great choice. As a long time fan, I am glad to see the respect she deserves finally happening.

11. “Holy Grail” by Jay-Z ft. Justin Timberlake


Along with the return of Eminem to the rap game came Jay-Z’s return, yet instead of rapping about better than the other rappers and boasting about fame, Jay-Z takes the opposite rapping about the pressures and dark places of fame. Despite liking the concept of fame that surrounds him, Jay-Z samples Nirvana and original beats to tell his tale of the seducer of fame. Even Justin Timberlake takes a stab by making fame take the form of a woman that loves him one fay, but would willingly toss him in the trash for the next. To me, that is more powerful than boasting about your tight game and flow, and proof Jay-Z still knows who he is.

10. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake


Drake is always known for his rap, but personally, Drake always shines the brightest in his R&B stylings. Not to say he is a bad rapper as his album Nothing Was The Same has Drake rapping with the best of them, but “Hold On, We’re Going Home” stands out by not only being catchy, but being an ’80s throwback as well. Armed with a slick drum beat and sleek mysterious ambient use of synths, Drake delivers an romantic ode with simplicity and heartfelt vocals with Mijad Jordan giving a entrancing breakdown section that takes the song to a greater level than it would have listeners believed. The song itself even got covered recently by the Artic Monkeys and the cover was just as good, if not better than his track, proving Drake’s worth as an artist both in R&B and rap genres.

9. “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Kendrick Lamar


Last year’s savior of the rap game is still riding high off the success of his album good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar is still on his mission to bring an underground sound to the mainstream and brings it to the front on “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe.” Lamar raps about how he is rising in the game, how the change is making the one that adores change for the worst while essentially telling them not to kill the mood being created and be something more than just the others version of fame. Lamar still has his sound that elevated his career to the stratoshpere and he, along with three others on the list, are up for the Album of the Year. It seems that no one intends to kill Lamar’s vibe anytime soon.

8. “Just Give Me A Reason” by P!nk ft. Nate Ruess


This is one of the rare times where I had this song on my mind for the list since it was released as a single this year. P!nk’s best track from arguably one of her best albums comes in the form of the duet “Just Give Me A Reason” as we find out about excepting the fact that a relationship is falling apart. Nate Ruess of fun. appears as the other voice of reason wondering exactly where all of the complaints are coming from as P!nk tries to figure it out as well and there is no clear reason as to why it seems the end is near. Most relationship end in unexpected ways and these two come together powerful vocal ranges nd styles to capture the bittersweet moment where both parties feel it should end. P!nk set out on her recent album to uncover the truths of love and this song lives up to one of those sad truths.

7. “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton


If Kendrick Lamar is out to be the savior of modern rap, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are helping to keep that trend going by bringing an indie vibe to the mainstream game and coming up in it with “Can’t Hold Us.” The final rap song on the list that also deals with fame as Macklemore rises in popularity, especially after the inescapable “Thrift Shop,” while still holding it down on being himself without fame totally changing him. With Ray Dalton booming voice and Macklemore raspy way of rapping, the moment of success and glory is perfectly captured rather than boast or show the darkness as Macklemore wants to live in the moment. Luckily, being in the same category of Lamar and Barielles shows that his moment has came.

6. “Man” by Neko Case


Alternative country rocker Neko Case has made herself known in the indie world as singing the truth and sticking up for herself and all of that is made clear in her song “Man.” Case is having nothing of anyone’s gender defining roles and bullshit and ramps up her personal views as a straight white woman to tell the men so. She knows exactly what she is, who she wants to be and what she was raised on by making a strong and intellectual message for all of those suffering from identity issues or those who just want to find out what exactly our purpose is. Neko Case is one impressive singer and makes a case, no pun intened, for the impact indie still has in the industry by saying something most artists are still afraid to pay any mind to.

5. “Clarity” by Zedd ft. Foxes


Zedd went from being some DJ only us electronic fans knew and loved into someone everyone wants to know and love and, boy, I am happy to see Zedd get some time in the limelight. Teamed up with the aformentioned gorgeously voiced Foxes, Zedd makes bombastic anthem of devotion to a lover and the feeling they provide, even the ending is looming. Funny, there seems to be a pattern of fame, love and breakups on this list that somehow all make sense when put togeher, yet “Clarity” gives clear focus on the end with a outstanding choir, modern “synth-phonic” beats and Foxes voice carrying on a collage of near-pop perfection. Zedd continues to delight with his signature sounds with “Stay the Night,” but this song remains his calling card for the year as it continues to get people on singing along.

4. “Where Are We Now?” by David Bowie


To the surprise of everyone, David Bowie decided to come out of his hiatus of music a deliver his new album The Next Day that is up there with the best of his work. It was hard to choose one song that encompasses the essence of the album, but one track that sticks out in my mind was the gorgeous and hauntingly beautiful “Where Are We Now?” recounting a lost love. Bowie’s epic ballad shows how the man who was the Thin White Duke and Ziggy Stardust seems to be broken from the pain of a romance from the past he could never recover from and, judging by Bowie’s years in the industry, it must be a long internal pain to deal with. Along with this concept, Bowie deals with the wasted time and his older self reflecting on everything leading up to now until the climatic and fragile ending where the song gets more broader in terms of the somberness created by the rest of the song. Bowie is an artist I admire and influence has crept into my personal written work and luckily he still remains as wonderful as ever.

3. “Royals” by Lorde


New Zealand native Lorde gave a hip-hop inspired pop song about not being in the life of luxury and how everything is better to not be, but rather live in the fantasy rather than the reality. “Royals” decides to take fame and look at it without really wanting to dive into it thanks to the pressure and reputation that comes along with it. It drives that point home alongside 17 year-old Lorde’s gorgeous vocal and truly know how to create a stellar pop hit backed up by great double-tracking and one hell of a drum beat alongside it. Fortunately, Lorde is growing in popularity allowing more of her music to get exposure to audience who otherwise would stray away from artists like her.

2. “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake


JT has had a year of hits and misses with average to just okay song on first part of The 20/20 Experience. Yet, “Mirrors” is the magnum opus of the entire experience by creating a powerful and gorgeous love track that shows the maturity of Timberlake’s romantic lyrics with a beat unique to its own. With swelling violins, a thumping bass and symphonic synths, “Mirrors” gives Justin a return to form while assembling something new for us. Timberlake creates a vision of being someone’s equal and wanting to protect no matter what and nothing from the past matters while the future is going to be a mystery for them both. In about eight minute, Timberlake devotes his time well to explain true emotion and true passion unlike his tracks on FutureSex/LoveSounds and defines what makes Timberlake such a memorable figure. Just don’t listen to “Strawberry Bubblegum” after. It will ruin the taste buds.

1. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams


Like the legend of the phoenix, Daft Punk rose from the ashes of the abysmal Human After All and decided to head back to the lab or their Discovery days to create not just one song that oozes classic ’70s style and electronic roots, but a whole damn record focused on it while mixing, bending and blending genres with Random Access Memories. From the instance I heard that album and heard the lead single, I knew they had it in the bag for best song of 2013 and the best album, so “Get Lucky” is number one for rebooting the French robotic duo to life and finally giving Daft Punk the pop respect they deserved their entire careers. Teamed up with the soulful voice of Pharrell and co-written and performed with disco/funk legend Nile Rodgers of Chic, “Get Lucky” made song that is both sexy, fun and a delight to jam out to as Daft Punk provide their signature electronic vibes with the soul of pure funk and dancehall riffs. It brings the true essence of classic and memorable pop music by making everything else in the pop world seem like the same manufactured crap we get on a weekly basis. Daft Punk take classic samples of obscure pop sounds and create new sounds with it to bring on a new hit on every song and every song on Random Access Memories follows the same trend. “Get Lucky” is 2013’s best song of the year and will remain a classic song for years to come.

XMAS 25 Day 20| Film A Week 50: The Spooktacular Seventies XMAS Special- Black Christmas (1974)

Oh, you thought Christmas was safe from The Spooktacular Seventies? Well, you thought wrong. Luckily, I have my own Christmas carol to set the mood.

Now an excerpt from Spooktacular Serg’s “Slay Ride
♪ You’re snuggled up by yourself, like the victim of a killer would be
See the knife before you and scream for the heavens for a few
Come on, it’s frightful weather, for a “slay” ride waiting for you ♪

Week50Variant

Christmas is a season for giving, being with family and those with love, spreading good will to men. Others would think otherwise such as this 1974 classic titled Black Christmas. Before delivering the seminal Christmas film A Christmas Story showing off the childhood wonder, director Bob Clark opened up a more vicious and cruel vision in this feature and also gave us what many consider the first slasher film of its kind.

At a sorority house by a local college,  a group of young collegiate women live while in the middle of the holiday season. The girls that make up the house are the foulmouthed drunk Barb Coard, played by Margot Kidder, simple girl Claire Harrison, played by Lynne Griffin, Phyl Carlson, played by Andrea Martin, and smart British gal Jess Bradford, played by Olivia Hussey, who all receive a call from a mystery man they call “the moaner.” Barb, being the drunken mess she is, pisses off the caller causing Claire to leave to her room. Unfortunately, Claire is killed by an unknown assailant that lurks within the house.

She got a little wrapped up in things

None of the sorority girls notice due to the loud celebration and Mrs. Mac, played by Marian Waldman, arriving to join in on the festivities. The day after celebrating, Claire’s father shows up to visit Claire only for her to not be anywhere near the meeting place. He heads to the sorority house in order to find out where Claire with, but all the girls are clueless that Claire is upstairs dead. As that happen, Jess informs her boyfriend Peter, played by Keir “Dave from 2001: A Space Odyssey” Dullea, that she is with child and wants to abort it against his wishes. Of course, this relationship is quite rocky, but who cares, there is a killer in the house and no one knows it.

The sorority girls report Claire missing to the police, but the dumbass Sgt. Nash, played by Douglas McGrath, assumes that Claire may be staying over at someone she slept with’s house. Claire’s boyfriend Chris, played by Art Hindle, comes into play to prove to Nash what an idiotic shit Nash was being and the story goes from typical slasher to an interesting psychological thrill ride. The mystery of who the moaner is and what the killer intentions are start to come into play as Lt. Kenneth Fuller, played by John Saxon, helps with the case. Of course, everyone, save for possibly Jess, get killed before the true end comes. And, because I am nice, here are two famous deaths.

 Mrs. Mack got a hook up on the season

Barb really got ‘iced’

As they murders continue, only Jess and Phyl are left to defend the beloved house as the police attempt to trace where the calls from the killer are coming from. Phyl soon gets a taste of the chilling death from the unknown kill and it leaves Jess ready and willing to defend herself. The police trace the call and realize the truth us as the audience knew all along.

Jess gets a fire poker and is ready for action and comes eye to eye with the killer…literally.

Jess sees Peter and proceeds to kill him after him being a suspect to the case at hand. After the madness is over, Jess is alive, well and tired as the police arrive to see her before they leave to clear up the case. Yet, something strange still lurks as the killer was not Peter, but still remains with Jess. And the rest, as they say, is left up to your own conclusions. Did the killer finally decimate her? Did she run away? We may never know, but it appears that even the merriest season of all can bring on the blackest of macabre tables.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Black Christmas, as my Spooktacular persona described above, is actually one hell of a psychological thriller. The build-up to the kills and the suspense as the girls try to figure out who exactly killed Claire is perfectly executed and engages you in the story despite knowing the killer is in the house. Clark’s directorial decision on the killer never being shown is quite creative. By giving the audience the point of view of the killer, Clark allows the viewer to make their own conclusion and see what exactly the killer see while also showing us the victim’s perspective. Funny enough, Clark does use some wide angle shots in those moments that appear again in A Christmas Story during the Santa Claus sequence of that film.

The acting is pretty great with John Saxon and Olivia Hussey coming out on top treating the story with the seriousness it calls for. Hussey is great and becomes a strong person in the process knowing that shit is about to hit the fan, but even then, she stays courageous throughout. Saxon does a great job as the cop on hand to make sure everything goes right and commands his role with ease. Then again, John Saxon is pretty awesome all around and a delight when he turns up in a classic horror flick. The effects work is quite dated, but the blood effect still make the skin crawl especially during the scene in which Barb is killed with a glass unicorn. The scene itself, which is posted above, is a perfect blend of effects work, editing and direction that is both beautiful and defies what slashers can do on celluloid.

It may be an unlikely film to play around Christmas time, but the thrills and chills created by Black Christmas is enough to warrant a place in regular rotation due to stunning direction and providing a unique Christmas film experience. Word of caution though, stay away from the 2006 remake. It’s more of a shock fest rather than a well-thought out film.

On Christmas Eve, prepare for the regular format of Film A Week as we celebrate not only the penultimate film of the Film A Week, but our second Christmas special as we focus on the true meaning of Christmas: love. Richard Curtis brought the world the anthology romantic comedy with the modern Christmas classic, 2003’s Love Actually. Film A Week teams up with countless friends in order to see their take on love while examining the romance scattered throughout this charming cinematic romp with romance. With only one film left after, this one is going to be the one readers may not want to miss.

The Final Month of Film A Week
Film A Week 51: Christmas Special- Love Actually (2003)
Christmas Eve

 

XMAS 25 Day 19- XMAS Videos FROM AROUND THE NET: The Cinema Snob ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’

The Cinema Snob, played by Brad Jones, reviews the Christmas slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night after reviewing all the sequels that came after.

Please visit TheCinemaSnob.com for more of Brad Jones original content, including Cinema Snob episodes, and do not forget to donate.

XMAS 25 Day 18- Xmas Movie Wednesday: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

It’s a Wonderful Life is a rare Christmas classic that manages to go beyond that and become a true cinematic masterpiece. I remember first watching this film back in 5th Grade and it completely changed my perspective on storytelling and the magic of Christmas. Frank Capra tells a beautiful story with such simplicity and direction that has captured generations and Jimmy Stewart as the down on his luck yet heroic George Bailey sticks with viewers as we triumph for him to succeed. Personally, this film means the world to me and I love watching it every year. Luckily, it is on YouTube, but I strongly advise those watching it to pick it up, share it with the family and enjoy a warm classic together.

Remember: Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.

XMAS 25 Day 17- The Stream Machine: Six Christmas Favorites to Stream

NOTE: As always, this is for Netflix in the US. Hopefully the international choices fair a bit better.

The weather is outside is frightful, but watching Netflix inside is so delightful. And when there is no place to go, The Stream Machine’s picks make it snow, make it snow, make it snow. That’s right, Christmas is right around the corner ready to make families come together to unwrap gifts, sit around the table at dinner telling stories of Christmas’ past and watching a couple of classic. The glory that is Netflix has blessed the Holidays with some classics worth watching on the Holiday, so let’s not delay with these six Christmas picks.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Families can be dysfunctional, but the Griswolds see that statement and follow through with it Christmas Vacation. Not so much a vacation as they stay home this time around with Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold having to deal with Cousin Eddie’s family, a cat that won’t shut the hell up, Christmas going down all around him and his boss being a complete cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit of a person he is. If you have seen it, then do not be afraid to watch it once more. If you have yet to see it, prepare for the happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

A Christmas classic that is also a Halloween classic that many do not forget to watch every year, this Henry Selick directed masterpiece takes the story written by Tim Burton and brings it to life in beautiful stop motion that Ray Harryhuesen himself would deem worthy. It still is a marvel 20 years after it’s intial release with music that makes you sing as Danny Elfman’s booming voice echoes the walls. Personally, not only is it one of my favorite holiday films, but one of my favorite animated films. Do not forget to watch as Jack Skellington of Halloween Town takes on the holiday of Christmas to become jolly old Saint Nick and delight (or is it terrify?) local children on Christmas night.

Jingle All The Way

First off, this movie is in no way a great movie, nor is it a bad movie. In fact, it’s quite juvenile, but why does it still get watched every year on Christmas? Because it is an over-the-top and goofy as hell ride with everyone’s favorite action hero of the 80’s and 90’s, Arnold Schwarzenegger taking on the jerkass mailman of mediocrity known as Sinbad. Whether Arnold is fighting a band of kung-fu Santas, getting harassed by a reindeer or flying through the air as Turboman, the cheese is laid on thick trying to win the love of a son while being a unique satire on the modern consumerism that plagues the holidays every year. If you feel like killing a good 90 minutes, this is worth watching to experience the goofiest Arnold has ever been.

White Christmas

Speaking of Bing Crosby and Danny fucking Kaye, White Christmas is also available for streaming and, sadly, I have never seen it. I do not know whether that is a good or a bad thing, but it’s considered a holiday classic with the music of Irving Berlin setting the tone. The only thing I know about this one is the title song and the fact that Bing Crosby is one hell of a singer. The duo of Kaye and Crosby sing along side a sister act in order to save an inn from failing miserably or at least that is what I got from IMDB. Maybe I will give it a watch alongside you readers this year.

Nutcracker: The Motion Picture

It would not be Christmas without seeing a performance of the magnificent ballet that is Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in the aptly titled Nutcracker: The Motion Picture. Yes, I am a bit of a sucker for the work of Tchaikovsky and enjoy a great performance set to the beauty of his masterpiece with the imagination of sets and costumes created by illustrator and author Maurice Sendak of Where the Wild Things Are fame. Those familiar with the story of The Nutcracker would be delighted by this darker telling of the tale by the Pacific Northwest Ballet and is a feast for the eyes for the whole family and music lovers.

The Polar Express

Like most viewers watching this film, I was quite skeptical at first of the borderline uncanny valley animation and taking the beloved children’s book and stretching it out to feature length. Luckily, my skepticism was proven wrong and one gorgeous as hell movie was born. The Polar Express manages to capture the wonder and joy many of us experienced reading the book growing up by taking the wonderful illustrations of Chris Van Allsburg to a whole new level and giving a true heartwarming and profound experience. Tom Hanks as The Conductor seems to be having a ton of fun and it shows in his characters he plays. Seriously, give this film a chance and you will be taken on a trip to the North Pole you won’t soon forget.

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