Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
A unique Christmas movie that’s one part demented and one part charming father and son story. While I can’t recommend this for children as there are some very dark elements that might scare them, maybe if parents give a watch through first they would better be able to decide what to do. The darkness however is diluted thanks to the sense of humour, in fact I would go so far as to think that this movie could be a kid’s movie, but only for those kids that aren’t that sensitive. Also the father and son dynamic is very heartfelt and also goes along way to make the dark themes palatable.
So what’s the movie all about? Killer Santa Claus. You see the real truth about Santa is that if you get put on his naughty list you are doomed. Unfortunately some stupid miners unleash the real Santa Claus and it’s up to the father (Jorma) and son (Onni) to find a way to save the kidnapped children. From the names of the main characters you can probably tell that this is also a foreign film, so if subtitles are not your thing avoid, but if you after a dark Christmas film then go for it. As for me I can see myself watching this movie on an annual basis when Christmas comes around, especially back to back with my two other Christmas movies; Die Hard and Gremlins.
I’m not sure how this movie came to my attention, but it arrived in the mail one day and my girlfriend and I went about watching it. With no expectations I was actually really happy with what I saw. Set in the Antartic, Kate Beckinsale plays US Marshall Carrie Steko. With the sun due to set for six months, she stumbles upon a murder mystery and needs to find out who the killer is before it’s too late. As much as I did enjoy the film I will admit that it’s a standard who done it, just placed in a very interesting setting. That setting does lend itself to some interesting scenes, and nasty scenes come to think about.
This movie won’t ever be on the top of people’s movie lists, but it should at least deliver a competent story that will kill two hours. Kate also plays her typical hero role; there are some complexities to the character, but nothing to stressing. Honestly I like Kate as the strong female hero and wish she got more offers for more high profile movies, maybe with the Total Recall remake I might get my wish granted. If you’re after a decent murder mystery, with some unique ideas you could do a lot worse than this movie.
Shortcut to Happiness (2004)
Let me role out the list of some of the actors in this movie. Alec Baldwin, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Dan Aykroyd, Kim Cattrall, Amy Poehler. With a group like that I thought that this would be good, I was wrong. This is a really bad movie. Bad acting, bad direction, bad script, bad pacing, with maybe the only thing that made it at least somewhat bearable was there was at least some money behind it so it didn’t look like crap.
Based on a stage play, Alec Baldwin is the brain behind adapting this movie to the big screen. Not only is he the main star, but he is also the director of this monstrosity. I should also point out it’s his first and last movie he directed. Personally I think a lot of the blame has to go to him as this is such a mess of a movie, it’s obvious he has the passion for this movie, but he just doesn’t have the discipline or real vision to be an apt director. It doesn’t help that most of the actors seem to be phoning it all in. Avoid this movie; don’t even watch it for the its so bad its good factor.