Christmas Challenge Vol.2

Hah. Two years ago I made a deal with myself to watch 25 Christmas films during December. I think I ended up watching maybe four?! I can’t remember. But as Abbi is bold enough to tackle her Christmasathon, I can do my list. Possibly. Perhaps. At least I will try and obviously tease you with my reviews. And I actually started already by watching Netflix’s much talked A Christmas Prince. I’ll get to the review later this week.

Wish me luck! And if you have any great or not so great recommendations, they’re very welcome!

Christmas in Finland

P.S. My only Christmas reviews from two years ago were Bad Santa and The Ref...

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January films watched

Hello there!

I decided I will make monthly updates to my movie lists: 50/50 and IMDb Top-250 everlasting challenge.

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As  I mentioned in my review of 2015, I decided I will in reality challenge myself to read 12 books this year (I read eight the last, so it shouldn’t be too bad) and watch 150 films. And as mentioned on the page for 50/50, I will also continue my TV Challenge (although I seem to get lost all the time as I start watching something that is not on that list…).

This year actually started really well when it comes to movies. I watched total of 34 films. Yes, that many. I didn’t have much life in January. But it should change in a week or so, let’s see what kind of an effect it’ll have to my watching habits. I also saw 10 films in cinemas. A lot, huh? But it’s the Oscars time, so… I still need to review Creed, Joy, The Revenant and Spotlight before the gala and I need to watch at least Room and Brooklyn.

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Most of the films I saw in January were good or better or at least OK. Few turkeys like Damsels in Distress or Varsity Blues. Yeah, I lost few hours of my life for those ones but then again, I gave four or more stars to 14 films out of 34, I think that’s a lot! So good month indeed. The best of the bunch being Spotlight. Review coming later! The whole list you can see on the page.

Last year I managed to watch only two (!) films from IMDb’s list and I promised I’ll do better this year as most of those films are really good! And I started my year strongly as I watched Spirited Away that was on the list at number 43 when I froze it and also Pan’s Labyrinth on the same day (the 1st of Jan) that is #105. Btw, someone really should have warned me how awful that movie is. I mean how harsh, mean, sad, horrible (and yes, beautiful and so good) it is. It is not the film you should be watching when having a New Year’s hangover… I also added those three films that are now in Top-250 but weren’t then when I cemented my list. I want to watch them anyway and for sure will watch one of them, as that is Room, in this month.

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So far so good.

What you’ve been watching in 2016? Any recommendations that I definitely should watch?

Christmas Films #1: Bad Santa & The Ref

Bad_Santa_filmBAD SANTA (2003)

Directed by Terry Zwigoff

Written by Glenn Figarra & John Requa

Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Lauren Graham & Bernie Mac

Synopsis (IMDb): “A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid, and the security boss discovers the plot.”

Netflix estimates with the starring how much you will like a film. It gave me 2 out 5 stars for Bad Santa. Not bad; I ended up giving it 2. I would probably have given just one but the ending was surprisingly moving. Otherwise; not my cup of tea. I don’t like boozing in the films, I hate when people are playing victims of their own lives. I just hate it. To me alcoholism is not an illness, it’s a choice. And then addiction but not an illness and I detest people who ruin their own and especially lives around them because of drinking. And that is how the main character in Bad Santa is. Disgusting. Plus I’ve never really liked Billy Bob Thornton. He’s ok actor, I’m not saying that but there’s just something repulsive about him. And a black dwarf. Ha ha. Ha. Not funny. And I don’t really like Bernie Mac either and besides he’s role in Bad Santa is totally unnecessary. I love Lauren Graham as I love Gilmore Girls which is one of my all-time favourite series and I’m actually watching it again right now. And here she’s a stupid slut. How cute is that? Ok. I think you got the point. Not my cup of tea in general but they managed to pull some strings in the end because I was touched, I even had little tears in my eyes at some point. Well done. But in general, I will stick to believing those estimates of Netflix, they’re rarely wrong.

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Rating: ** (out of 5)

theref_movieTHE REF (1994)

Directed by Ted Demme

Written by Marie Weiss & Richard LaGravenese

Starring Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis & Denis Leary

Synopsis (IMDb): “A cat burglar is forced to take a bickering, dysfunctional family hostage on Christmas Eve.”

I’d never even heard of The Ref before checking “the best of lists” of Christmas related films. Not a bad one. Especially after bad Bad Santa.

The Ref is a small film that has nice dialogue and quite capable pair in the lead roles (Spacey and Davis). Leary is basically the main character but these two totally overrides him. I don’t really know what else to write about it? The story is simple, everything that happens, happens between the family mentioned in synopsis. And mainly it happens in talk not so much in action. The Ref is clever little film that entertains you enough but there’s nothing spectacular. It’s ok. And it’s not too long and basically there’s nothing wrong, no unnecessary scenes or stupid music or anything like that. It’s funny and it’s enough. Although, I hate that dark look of 90’s. It is just ugly. And the clothes and hair. Ugh.

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Rating: *** (out of 5)

25 Days of Christmas

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Another challenge! Because I seem to like them even though I’m not doing too well with them. 😀 Oh well, who cares, right? So, this time, I’ll be tacking CHRISTMAS! Yesterday I made a list of over 25 Christmas/holiday related movies that I’ll be watching during December ending it on a Christmas Day. I will not be watching everyday because I have a life but then it means I will be watching sometimes three in a day. So, if you have suggestions of some films that are not so mushy, they’re very welcome! All in all, any suggestions are welcome. The list can be longer, I need to have variations and alternatives in case I can’t find some of them. So, let me know if there’s a holiday I should definitely check out!

My list at the moment:

  1. It’s a Wonderful Life
  2. Love Actually
  3. Rare Exports
  4. White Christmas
  5. The Holiday
  6. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  7. Bad Santa
  8. Hi-Life
  9. Remember the Night
  10. The Ref
  11. Meet Me in St. Louis
  12. Miracle on 34th Street
  13. Happy Christmas
  14. Planes, Trains & Automobiles
  15. Trading Places
  16. While You Were Sleeping
  17. Batman Returns
  18. The Bishop’s Wife
  19. Lethal Weapon
  20. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  21. Arthur Christmas
  22. The Apartment
  23. The Shop Around the Corner
  24. Fitzgerald Family Christmas
  25. Krampus
  26. Joyeux Noël
  27. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  28. 8 Women
  29. Edward Scissorhands
  30. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
  31. Elf

wonderfullife

There’s also another challenge from a fellow-blogger at Silver Screen Serenade who have series called Resolutions where you should watch films that you’ve been meaning to watch some time already. There are four of them on this list: The Nightmare Before Christmas, Bad Santa, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Apartment, so one of them or more will end up my Resolutions-list as well.

And lastly, there are some obvious absences on the list and that is because I’ve either seen them not so long ago (Gremlins, Die Hard) or I don’t really like them (Home Alone and MANY more!).

TV Challenge

Tv challenge Samara in The Ring

This should probably be labeled as “series challenge” because I’m hardly going to watch any of these from TV… Anyhow. Last Christmas I asked recommendations from my Facebook friends for TV series. I wrote then that I will watch five episodes from first 10 recommendations. To me five is amount of episodes that either entice you or you just don’t care. It’s a fair deal, if makers can’t convince you in that time, it’s their loss.

I have now watched maybe one series, so I think I’ll challenge myself now to actually do it. Here is the list:House of Cards Francis Underwood

1. Masters of Sex
2. Silicon Valley
3. Newsroom
4. Archer
5. The Affair
6. House of Cards
7. Breaking Bad
8. Orphan Black
9. Orange Is the New Black
10. HomelandStephen Amell hot in Arrow
11. Sons of Anarchy
12. Fringe
13. Under the Dome
14. Marco Polo
15. Arrow
16. Vikings
17. Looking
18. The Wire
19. Louie
20. Skins
21. Gotham

EDIT. The ones that were suggested afterwards:

22. Outlander
23. Daredevil
24. Scandal
25. The Wire
26. Agent Carter
27. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Ok. That was four that I’ve watched. But not finished though, so I want to finish them. And review in future posts of TV challenge. I would also like to get recommendations from you, what series I should definitely take a look on? I can add them to my neverending list. 🙂