CHRISTMAS VACATION – My Own Personal Christmas Classic

If you ask someone what their favourite Christmas movie is, you probably won’t get a unique answer from every single individual you approach. In fact, if you ask enough people, you will be able to pool the answers into sub-groups because some will list classics like It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street, some will go with the TV staples of the days of yore like Die Hard, Home Alone or Lethal Weapon, some will go with Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings movies as their go-to comfort picks, while others will try to look edgy and cool by telling you Eyes Wide Shut is actually a Christmas movie and they will insist on religiously watching Tom Cruise going to orgies right after their family dinner.  

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On the Cultural Insignificance of AVATAR

Around this time thirteen years ago, many were asking if the meteoric success of the long-awaited Avatar would herald a new era in cinema or at least if it would reverse the post-recession blues of declining ticket sales, shrinking budgets and an increasingly risk-averse sequel-heavy slate of upcoming releases. After all, it was a true marvel of audio-visual craftsmanship, a spectacle to end all spectacles.  

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Is Jordan Peele The M. Night Shyamalan of This Decade?

Despite a relentless marketing campaign running up to its long-awaited release, Nope came and went. Sure, it endeared a good cross-section of the critically-inclined viewership (here’s my take on this movie), but it somehow failed to leave a lasting mark on general audiences, thus disappearing from the collective cultural consciousness within a span of a few short weeks, and at this point it might be a good idea to ask why that is.

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PIRANHA 2, Italian Horror Movies and the Case of Sequel Superiority

Columbia Pictures

One of the age-old pub quiz questions from the movie trivia pool is the famous “name a sequel better than the original”.

Aliens“, shouts Billy.

T2“, adds Chris.

“I got it, by the way. I got it! The Godfather Part II“, adds Nancy while imitating the smug sense of superiority oozing from Timothy Olyphant’s character of Mickey in Scream 2, from which she just quoted.

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Universal Pictures

It goes without saying that John Carpenter’s Halloween was never envisioned to sustain a sequel, let alone an entire franchise. It probably was a bit surprising when the film became iconic and gave birth to one of the most – if not the most – recognizable villains in history of cinema, Michael Myers. Therefore, the question of following up the unexpected success of what became one of the most profitable independent movies of all time was both inevitable and challenging given the strong possibility that John Carpenter wasn’t that interested in exploring this world any longer. 

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How THE MATRIX Became STAR WARS of My Generation

I wasn’t around in 1977 to witness how George Lucas’ Star Wars took the world by storm. I was born a bit too late and in the wrong country to experience the queues, the hysteria, the toys, or the sudden emergence of the hardcore fandom that not only has persisted to this day, but grew into a self-sustaining part of the modern popular culture. Star Wars came into my life when it was already established as a trilogy, in fact just a few short years before the release of its then-anticipated-but-now-widely-reviled Special Edition. So, even though I thoroughly missed out on the cultural germination, I grew a part of the Star Wars phenomenon; moulded and surrounded by it. What I did get to witness first-hand was the inception of another worldwide juggernaut, as I was a teenager with an impressionable mind – in the cultural ‘Goldilocks zone’, so to speak – when The Matrix was unleashed upon the world in 1999. And I have to say that those two movies have quite a bit in common.  

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The Ingenious Unsettling Ambiguity of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN

Some movies scare you in the moment. Some startle you. Some disturb with graphic imagery. Truth be told, a good majority of movies that actively set out to do such things and succeed, suffer from diminishing returns in this regard because once we adjust to what they are trying to achieve, attune ourselves accordingly and allow our brains to turn down their sensitivity, they lose their magic touch. We can anticipate when the jump scares are coming and over time graphic violence or gory imagery makes less and less of an impact.  

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The Principal Bond Question

Who was the best James Bond? Who was your favourite? These two questions, often rolled into one, have been on the lips of everyone and their mother in the recent days owing to the release of No Time to Die. As a result, a flurry of listicles has been deployed from all corners of movie fandom and seemingly every online publication – big or small, doesn’t matter – added to the veritable ocean of pieces ranking the actors who portrayed Ian Fleming’s iconic superspy and tried to give an answer to this everlasting Bond question which seems ever more pressing now because Daniel Craig’s tenure in the role has come to an end.

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