REVIEW: The Muppet Christmas Carol [1992]

“Heeeeyyy. You’re not Charles Dickens.” Not having seen The Muppet Christmas Carol in over a decade made me forget how effective an adaptation it is of Charles Dickens‘ classic tale. It helps that I’ve seen other iterations in the meantime, especially the one from 1951 starring Alastair Sim which Brian Henson‘s version works hard to […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Hellions [2015]

“Blood for baby” There’s a lot I like about Bruce McDonald‘s latest horror Hellions. Just as much also has me scratching my head, though. While this sometimes enhances the experience by cajoling you into wanting to watch it again to catch any little details you may have missed, I’m not sure this is one of […]

REVIEW: Toy Story That Time Forgot [2014]

“Limitations are the shackles that we bind to ourselves” Following the success of last year’s Toy Story of Terror special, Disney and Pixar have presently tackled a holiday more on the nose: Christmas. Toy Story That Time Forgot opens two days after the presents have been torn apart and each new addition to the posable […]

REVIEW: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation [1989]

“Look around you, Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell.” While I enjoy A Christmas Story‘s 1940s holiday aesthetic like the rest—when it’s not on 24-hour TBS repeat—I prefer my dysfunctional yuletide spirit to hit a little closer to home. This is where Christmas Vacation comes in, National Lampoon’s 1989 classic continuation of the Griswold […]

REVIEW: Bad Santa [2003]

“Fraggle-stick car?” I tried to put a decade behind it and me, but not even that could turn my opinion on Bad Santa around. It’s just a mean-spirited, way-too-random account of a stereotypical alcoholic populated with other characters as ruthless as him or worse. The only role with a modicum of humanity is a borderline […]

REVIEW: Scrooged [1988]

“Cupid’s arrow, right between the eyes” While there have been countless iterations of Charles Dickens‘ seminal novel A Christmas Carol—with the 1951 Alastair Sim starrer proving the best and modernized retreads like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past supplying the worst—one sometimes overlooked comedic gem from 1988 has always been this writer’s personal favorite. Titled Scrooged, screenwriters […]

REVIEW: Cold Turkey [2013]

“It’s like a Jewish girl’s version of subtle” The lesson to be learned from Will Slocombe’s Cold Turkey is that you should never confide family secrets with the uncontrollable loose cannon of the bunch. Because no matter how many stupid things you’ve done, or how many times Dad saved your bacon by bailing out your […]

REVIEW: Hocus Pocus [1993]

“Winnie, do you want to hit me? Will that cheer you up?” What began as a script for a made-for-TV Disney Channel movie, Hocus Pocus found its way onto the right desk at the right time for the increased level of support necessary to transition it into a bona fide theatrical release. Sadly for all […]

REVIEW: Toy Story of Terror [2013]

“And if something does happen to the potato—I don’t want to miss it!” While Disney/Pixar has dove into children’s television with Cars-centric offerings and a Buzz Lightyear spin-off, it’s surprising it’s taken this long to craft a primetime special. With what used to be a flawless feature film enterprise bolstered by award-winning shorts, perhaps they […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: Labor Day [2013]

“I understood who my real family was: her.” If anyone questioned whether or not Jason Reitman was truly a great director or merely someone with excellent luck at choosing projects—I remember thinking his Best Director nod for Juno was premature myself—Labor Day should set the record straight. And that’s despite his introduction before its third […]

REVIEW: Rise of the Guardians [2012]

“Merry Christmas! Happy Easter! Don’t forget to floss!” It was only a matter of time before someone turned our favorite holiday-bound mythical creatures into superheroes. Unsurprisingly it’s William Joyce who did. By no means a household name, he isn’t a stranger to the world of youthful fantasy with credited work as a conceptual artist (Toy […]