Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Black Christmas (I Gave Unicorn My Heart)

The Christmas Collab, truly the highlight of my December, has one last hurrah this week. Christa picked, so you know it’s going to be a good one.

The Film:

Black Christmas

Where to Watch:

Youtube

The Premise:

An unknown creep stalks and murders the members of a sorority house during Christmas in the 1970s. And it reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally looks like the ‘70s.

The Uncondensed Version:

So the girls of Made-Up Sorority X, the Real Name of Which I Can’t Remember are having the annual sorority Christmas party. And by that I mean standing around looking 30 and soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ‘70s.

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So ’70s.

Meanwhile, we’re getting a lot of weird camera angles/creepy breathing, so you know this party is going to end so very badly. Plus, I mean, this film is called Black Christmas.

It’s all fun and games until the sisters get an incredibly creepy phone call that sounds like dying/choking/masturbating, and quite possibly all of the above. The girl who picks up the phone, Jess, puts up with all sorts of rude suggestions and death threats until Barb, clearly the rebel of the group, responds sarcastically and hangs up.

That was an example of Barb using her sarcasm wisely; for an instance in which Barb is a sarcastic jerk who manages to piss off all of her friends, see the part where she makes fun of Clare’s alleged inexperience. Clare, who will be going out of town with her boyfriend, goes upstairs to pack. She never finishes packing (I mean, does anyone ever except by virtue of the ride leaving in 20 minutes?) as she is attacked and suffocated by the creepy murderer.

The next day, Clare’s father becomes concerned when she fails to meet him on campus as they’d planned. He asks the house mother, Mrs. Mac, (or whatever she is…I’ve never claimed to understand how sororities work) where Clare could be. Mrs. Mac is a cat lady who likes to swear. I connect to her on a spiritual level. STILL no one realizes Clare is sitting in a rocking chair in the sorority house, dead (honestly, might not have been a rocking chair, but that’s a much more effective image, isn’t it?).

With all of this shit going on, Jess has more to deal with as she is planning to get an abortion. She tells her boyfriend, Pete, as he is practicing piano? Even when you take into account the odd timing, Pete’s reaction is disproportionately jackass-y. He asks if she ever considers anyone but herself and asks if she has any idea how important his pending audition is. The moral of the story being fuck that guy.

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Shut UP, Pete.

Finally someone files a missing person’s report for Clare, Jess asks if Clare’s boyfriend has seen her (no b/c she’s dead AF), and Barb has a total meltdown over driving Clare away. I seriously think this film started “Go home, you’re drunk” as one of the girls says, “Barb, you’re drunk. Go to bed.”

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I’M NOT TIRED!

So anyway…the police and members of the community form a search party for Clare, which is just such a mistake. People start dying left, right, and center.

To remind us that it’s Christmas, Jess opens the door to kids sing carols, which personally would creep me out so fucking much. In other creepy news, Pete asks her to marry him so he and Jess can raise the baby together. Ugh, no.

AND perhaps the greatest moment of this film occurs when death by glass unicorn happens. They’re dangerous.

The police begin to suspect Pete b/c he’s a fucking psycho, but did he do it? Maybe you should watch the damn movie and find out.

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

Because I hated Pete.

And I know it was the ‘70s, but there was quite a lot of casual misogyny and offhand remarks about rape. However, this is quite a progressive horror film, esp. as there is frank discussion of abortion in a way that doesn’t attempt to demonize it.

I was also legitimately creeped out by this film at several intervals, which is impressive as I’ve watched so much bad horror as to be virtually immune to this kind of thing.

Does Christa agree or will there be a fight to the death with glass unicorns? Find out here!

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Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Christmas Collab: Icetastrophe

Guys, I would never claim to be brilliant at the sciences, but there are moments of this feature in the Christmas Collab when I had to make a concerted effort to turn my brain off. Absolutely none of this film makes sense and it hurts.

But what of it? Just another day in Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab 2015. This week was my pick, so I am entirely to blame.

The Film:

Icetastrophe; alternately, Christmas Icetastrophe

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

A meteorite’s collision with Earth causes an…ICETASTROPHE.  In Canada?

The Uncondensed Version:

I picked this film based on title alone (sorry, Christa) without realizing half of the cast of Continuum is in this movie. Let’s not pretend that makes up for how terrible this film is, but damn…Carlos (Charlie in this feature) is a really good-looking dude. His love interest is Betty from Continuum, who is kind of obsessed with him in the show, and his son is Julian, who will become the mastermind behind an international terrorist organization by 2077.

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Oh, Carlos. Is there a man in existence with more perfectly groomed facial hair?

BTW, there are some Continuum spoilers in this review, so you may want to stop reading if you plan to watch any or all eps of the show (if you have, PLEASE FREAK OUT WITH ME).

Everyone is basically playing the same role as in Continuum, except maybe Julian (though he does still like to blow things up in this film). He’s also in a really stupid forbidden romantic relationship that somehow still matters even amidst the, uh, icetastrophe. TBH, their families are probably just sick of how insufferable their relationship is—they’re 17(?) and they use the L word. Who does that???

Betty (Alex in this film, but I can’t not think of her as Betty), meanwhile, is a nerd working on her dissertation when she discovers a meteorite heading towards Earth. Her douchey male coworker says it’s probably nothing. Famous last words.

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ICETASTROPHE.

So the meteorite hits the small town where Carlos and his son live, which causes everything to freeze immediately and exploding ice crystals to erupt from the ground (seriously). As it turns out, the meteorite split in half and changed colors, which means…Carlos and Betty have to find the two halves and put them back together?  What the actual fuck. I’ll be honest—I wasn’t paying the most attention ever to the plot of this godawful film.

I was trying really, REALLY hard not to over-analyze the science of this film, what with:

  1. The meteorite causing instantaneous freezing that everyone had to outrun
  2. Meteorite/ice storm causing a bizarre snow volcano/snow vortex
  3. Ice crystals exploding from within the Earth
  4. Dynamite being used to blow up the snow vortex?
  5. Each half of the meteorite having a different effect and balancing each other out
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New meaning to the term “polar vortex.”

I KNOW it’s not supposed to make sense, but I needed it to have a teensy bit of logic. IT’S JUST WHO I AM.

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

Scientific flaws aside, plot/characterization/special effects were all pretty terrible.

Plus all of these Continuum characters made me sad that Alec and Kira were absent and also drove home yet again that Carlos and Kira are never going to hook up.  And he didn’t even hook up with Betty either.

I’m sorry this is less of a review of Icetastrophe than me obsessing over Continuum. Whatever, it’s my blog and I’ll cry about Continuum if I want to.

BTW, there’s also a film called Snowmageddon, which is not available for streaming on Netflix. Sadly, that will not be Christa’s next pick unless the gods of Netflix love us (hate us?). The next best thing is to read her review of Icetastrophe here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Christmas Collab: The Mistle-tones!

Second feature in the Christmas Collab, and I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping. I will do that…eventually. THANK GOD Christa brought made-for-TV movies into our holiday theme. It makes me wonder why we don’t watch bad TV movies all day, every day b/c I could. I really, really could.

See if Christa is in agreement on her blog!

The Film:

The Mistle-tones!

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Tori Spelling and Tia Mowry are in this and it’s an ABC Family original movie. This immediately appeals to you or repulses you—there is no in between.

The Uncondensed Version:

Tia Mowry has the cringe-worthy name Holly, which is, coincidentally, the name of all women in made-for-TV Christmas movies. So Holly is auditioning for the Snow Belles, a sort of holiday glee club(?). IDK, guys, this film made me realize how limited my knowledge of song-and-dance group terminology is.

Biggest point of interest at this point is that Holly has a cat who is, naturally, an asshole.

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Okay, but as we learned from Meet the Parents, it is actually impossible for a cat to flush a toilet.

Due to cat-related obstacles, Holly is late for auditions, and Tori Spelling is not an understanding Snow Belle. You know she’s going to be a bitch because she has a tiny dog and winks a lot.

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See also: Cruella DeVille-esque hat.

On a side note, it’s really weird to see Tia without Tamera. At this point I Googled the Mowrys, and holy shit, Tia and Tamera are 37?!??!? They look half that age. And apparently Tamera is too busy hosting a talk show to do made-for-TV Christmas features.

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Thought: If Tia and Tamera Mowry decided to switch lives, how would anyone know???

So Holly gets rejected from the Snow Belles and decides to start her own holiday-themed group so she, too, can feel that sense of fulfillment when she and her group get to perform at the mall. It’s somewhat refreshing that this is a film about, among other things, setting achievable goals.

Except the part about dating your boss (which I’ll get to later).

Holly asks the manager of the mall for the honor of singing in the mall, which leads to his brilliant idea of holding American Idol-style auditions in ONE WEEK. This sounds like an absolute nightmare to coordinate, especially if he already has a group booked for whatever holiday event this is. I just feel this is probably a misrepresentation of mall leadership and really any leadership, which takes the path of least resistance when at all possible.

But let’s put that aside. Holly recruits all of the office nerds to join the group, but they are missing that certain je ne sais quoi. Luckily, she stumbles across a karaoke bar, where she discovers serious boss man Nick embracing a free-spirited karaoke persona. It’s like a really tame version of Coyote Ugly with comparable levels of shame—Nick fears anyone at work ever knowing his terrible karaoke secret.

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BUT REALLY.

Holly blackmails Nick into becoming the group’s…project manager, essentially. All he really tells them is that they have to work together and sell their performance. Basically things you can take away from watching Wall Street for 10 minutes.

This part of the movie is like watching Glee with worse dancing but a more believable plot. As indicated earlier in this review, there is a developing relationship between Holly and Nick, which if not in violation of policy is probably frowned upon by the company.

All of this is complicated when Tori offers Holly a spot in the Snow Belles, Holly and Nick make out at the staff Christmas party, Nick receives a promotion to the Southeast Asia division, and the Snow Belles perform a rather convincing rendition of “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

In terms of the ending, it’s approximately 30x cheesier than you are imagining. If you made a grilled cheese entirely out of cheese slices, and put more cheese on those slices, it could not be cheesier than this film’s conclusion.

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

It’s like any high school movie ever made except no one stops drinking wine.  Which pairs nicely with cheese, so I’m not complaining.

Undoubtedly Christa’s review would make the Snow Belles. Read it here!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Christmas Collab: A Very Murray Christmas

I promised Christa and Hayley Christmas films would happen even though I am, in my heart, a thoroughly Grinchy human being. We’re shaking things up a bit with the Bill Murray Christmas special, which is not exactly a film but is really the only way to kick off the Christmas Collab.

For a potentially less Grinchy review, see Christa’s blog!

The Film:

A Very Murray Christmas

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

I feel the concept here is self-explanatory. Bill Murray. Christmas. Merriment ensues.

The Uncondensed Version:

We set the tone on this one with Bill Murray singing about the Christmas blues with accompaniment from Paul Shaffer. I like to think this is basically what an ordinary day looks like for Bill Murray (from here on, referred to as BM even though, confusingly, those are also my cat’s initials).

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Also approximately as thrilled about wearing festive headbands as my cat.

 

BM is, of course, super misanthropic—as if he’s stepped right out of Lost in Translation. Since this Christmas special is directed by Sofia Coppola, I suppose that’s not altogether surprising. What is surprising is how nice his voice is. I can’t recall any film roles in which he sings, at least?

So BM’s managers arrive at his apartment to psych him up for the live Christmas special he will be starring in despite NYC being shut down due to a blizzard. However, none of their cheer catches, and BM goes on stage weeping, abruptly walking off stage.

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This is my face every time I have to get up early.

Just before getting stuck in one of those nightmarish revolving doors, BM runs into Chris Rock, and persuades him to perform an incredibly awkward turtleneck-ed duet with him in the special. BM is soon off the hook for the special, though, when the studio loses power. Paul and BM are free to lounge around a bar and drink.

At this point I got distracted when my sister dropped this bomb: “I’m not sure how much of a fan I am of Bill Murray.” We almost got into a fist fight.

I had to list off all of the American classics BM has given us: Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Tootsie, What About Bob?, Lost in Translation and essentially every Wes Anderson film.

Also my mom thought he was Canadian. The shame consumes me.

To return to the matter at hand…there’s not a whole lot of plot in this special. There are more cameos than you can shake a stick at, and we get a subplot with BM trying to save a wedding. Mostly there are Christmas songs. Lots and lots of Christmas songs, but I can deal since it’s BM.

After the singing, there is drinking, followed by song-and-dance dream sequences.  I forgot to screenshot this part of the special, so I apologize.

There are a few numbers with George Clooney and Miley Cyrus, which we’ve been building to for the duration of the special.

What I like about this special is BM being a bit of a Scrooge and pulling himself out of it. It’s quite admirable.  He has a bit of prompting from Ghost of Christmas Past-type figures with a modern twist, and he finds meaning for himself.  Plus as a Grinch type, misanthropic Bill Murray is the Bill Murray I most identify with.

The Rating:

4/5 Pink Panther Heads

I could’ve done without so many goddamn Christmas songs, but overall I liked it.

Is it just me, or do you really feel like watching Tootsie now? Just me?

Christa? You should probably find out for yourself what Christa thinks about this one here.