Category: Random Things


Christmas Films

With only a few days till the big day, I thought I would chime in with a selection of films that I usually watch at Christmas, some obvious and some not so, but all fit in with the festive period.

Scrooged (1988)

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It’s strangely become a Christmas tradition for me over the last few years and it wasn’t intentional. Every Christmas eve I now sit on my living room floor and wrap my presents whilst watching Scrooged. I love this film, there are many versions of A Christmas Carol, (I shall come back to that later) but this one always makes me laugh and feel festive at the same time. Bill Murray is great as the scrooge Frank Cross, the TV executive who has become a cold calculating TV executive who cares more about his big TV productions than his staff and family. Obviously he is taught a lesson by the Christmas spirits, especially the brilliant sadistic Carol Kane as the ghost of Christmas Present.  It looks a little dated, A VHS Player, but if you have never seen this film, watch it now.

Die Hard (1988)

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Right some of you are saying “That’s not a Christmas film”, well you are wrong! Think back to the film, where is John McClane going, his wifes Christmas party, there are decorations on the desk in the computer room that get obliterated by Grubers’ thugs, Karl’s dead brother in the lift with the Santa hat and HO HO HO, now I have a machine gun, written on his top.  The film even ends with ‘Let It Snow’. Have already watched it this Christmas, makes a good break from some of the more smultzy films.

Gremlins (1984)

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Another film not thought of as Christmassy, but this one couldn’t be more if it tried. The setting for the film, Kingston Falls looks like strangely similar to Bedford Falls the setting of the classic Christmas film, It’s A Wonderful Life. Again like Die hard it is set at Christmas, but this one even has snowmen, Christmas trees and even talk of Santa, though Phoebe Cates story of Father Christmas has a slightly darker end!  It’s a great film to watch any time of year but watch it at Christmas!

Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

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Okay, finally a proper nice Christmas film. I have to admit I have never seen the original version and it’s probably blasphemy not to have, but I was working at the cinema the year this came out, and watched it a many times, but even now I still enjoy watching it. Yes its a bit sacarine, but it’s Christmas and you need something a bit sweet as well, and Richard Attenborough is great as Chris Kringle.

The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)

muppets xmas

We have already had the Bill Murray version of A Christmas Carol, well of you want a more traditional version you can’t go wrong with this one. I say traditional, Ice Skating penguins and rats in hula skirts, yes it’s the Muppets, but they treat the main story with a great deal of respect and Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge is brilliant, when he see’s what he has become near the end his performance is heart breaking. In fact when I finish writing this article I am going to go on Netflix and watch it!

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

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Henry Selicks’ gothic Christmas classic is a film full of beautiful animation and amazing songs. Featuring Danny Elfman as the voice of Jack Skellington, you will have the songs, especially ‘What’s This?’ rattling round your head hours after you finish watching it. I have the 3D version ready to watch!

Bad Santa (2003)

bad santa

It wouldn’t be right at Christmas to not have a good laugh, and this film does just that. Billy Bob Thornton is great as safe cracker Willie, drinking his way through the annoying kids to get that big pay day on Christmas eve. It’s a film that is crude and very rude, but also manages to have a heart, the dynamic between Willie and Thurman is surprisingly touching. Also notable as the last film of John Ritter, good film to end a career on.

Elf (2003)

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I actually ended up watching this yesterday, hadn’t planned to but saw it has just started on Sky Movies so flicked over. Will Ferrell is so good in this film, his childlike innocence is perfect, then throw that into the cynical world of New York and you have a great film. The beautiful Zooey Deschannel always makes this another reason for me to watch it as well! Also people don’t realise this was directed by Jon Faverau who went on to make the first two Iron Man films!

A few other notable films,

Lethal Weapon, Iron Man 3, Long Kiss Goodnight and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. All the work of writer Shane Black, who always sets his film at Christmas.

Classics, Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, It’s A Wonderful Life.

oh The Family Man a nice alternative reality Christmas film with Nicolas Cage.

Well thanks for reading, let me know any I have forgot, which I’m sure I have, and Have A very Merry Christmas!

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I’ve been a fan of Simon Mayo And Mark Kermode’s radio film review show for a few years and listen to the podcast every saturday morning. To celebrate their 10 year anniversary they have been having a series of special programmes and last week they did a live music show on both Radio 5 Live and Radio 3. The show featured the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra playing a selection of famous and one not so famous pieces of film score music. It was a good mixture of films and sounded amazing. I always find it weird seeing film music being performed as you are used to hearing it coming from the speakers and it always sounds like something otherworldly to me.  They have now put up a 45 minute highlights show which is available on the BBC Iplayer and I can’t recommend it enough, wish I could have been there.  Just hearing Raiders being played by this amazing orchestra just put a huge smile on my face. You Can find it here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0126r7j/Kermode_and_Mayos_Film_Review_Great_Film_Scores_with_Kermode_and_Mayo/

While I am talking about them they brought out a Code Of Conduct for cinema goers which is great, shame the cinemas don’t adopt it (sorry on my Cinema Behaviour rant again!)

Wow!

I’ve always had a love of all things space. I think it comes from Primary School where one of my teachers also loved space and we had lessons about the planets and the space programme, I was even the planet Saturn in an assembly, which I recently found in a box in my parents loft!  When Professor Brian Cox’s show, Wonders Of The Solar System showed last year, I sat there in awe and felt like a kid again.  Yesterday I saw this video on the internet and was blown away, it’s both beautiful and awe inspiring. It’s from a Norweigan landscape Photographer called Terje Sorgjerd, who went up a mountain in Spain and used time lapse photography to try and capture footage of the Milky Way. What he got is so much more. Check it out and if you can watch it in HD as it looks amazing.

http://vimeo.com/22439234

Hello (echo echo)

Well is anyone still looking at this site, probably not. Even I haven’t been on here for at least six months. Been a bit busy at work and bought my first home as well! But today whilst surfing I went back to my blog to remind myself what was on here. Forgotten how much stuff I had written in the past and did have a giggle at some of the movie news that I reported on that never actually happened (Sub Mariner movie!) 

  Anway am thinking of writing some stuff on here again. Still not going to the cinema as much and might do a post about that, but shall try and put some stuff up more regularly. Also will soon be recording my first podcast with a friend. Won’t be a movie one, but a funny news story discussion one, in the mold of Smodcast. When we finally get round to recording it I shall hopefully put up a link on here for you to check it out.

Well if you are reading this then thank you and hopefully I shall have something for you soon.

Stuntgoat

Rock Band Rip Off

The Headline isn’t about over priced gig tickets, but actually about a game. As a gamer there has been one game that a lot of gamers in the UK have been waiting for, for ages. The game in question is Rock Band from Electronic Arts. Following on in the vein of Singstar and Guitar Hero, Rock Band has you trying to follow the song but this time is has a guitar contoller for doing guitar and bass, and also a drumkit and microphone, so you and three mates can play along together. After a long wait it was finally announced this week that it is getting a UK release on May 23rd, hurray you might think I was cheering. Alas no when I saw the price! In the US it cost about $90 for the pack containing the Guitar controller, Drumkit, Microphone and game. In the Uk they are charging £129 for the instrument pack which strangely doesn’t even include the game, which is a an additional £50. We are talking nearly £180 for the game, you can actually buy an xbox 360 console for that! How they can justify charging twice as much for this game in the UK, is beyond me. Another example of Rip-Off-Britian! Alos annoyingly it is only out on the 360 in the UK at first unlike the US where it is also available on the Playstation 3. Luckliy the Playstation 3 is region free so I am considering importing a copy from the US which still works out cheaper. I just hope no one buys it over here so EA realise we won’t be treated like this!

May The Forum Be With You!

Sorry thats a terrible pun! If you look up at the right hand side of the screen you will notice a new addition to the title bar, which is ‘Discussion Forum’. Until now one thing I haven’t had on here is a forum for you readers to vent you thoughts. Well now there is access to the forum on my mate James’s website forum, which includes an area for posts abount my site as well. If you want to add to the forum just click on the words at the top, or just check out James’s website directly, at www.jameswoodcock.co.uk  Hope to hear you’re thoughts.

santa.jpg

In a case of political correctness gone mad, and also the funniest thing I’ve heard in ages, Sydney’s christmas Santa’s have been told not to use the traditional Ho, Ho, Ho. Recruitment companies have told prospective Santas that they can’t use the term as it maybe offensive to women, due to the US slang Ho’. They have told them to use the term Ha, Ha, Ha instead. Of course the recruitment firms are denying it and say it up to the Santa’s own descretion! Next thing they will be saying they can’t wear red as it might be seen as a communist colour!!

Sorry

Just a quick apology to those few of you who read the blog, for the lack of  posts, just been a bit busy at work with a bigger  delivery and later start time I haven’t had much time to update it. I shall hopefully now get a few new posts in, also haven’t been to cinema for over a month either! Anyway hope you keep reading the site, many thanks for checking it out.

   Stuntgoat.

Free South Park

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When the Xbox 360 was launched by Microsoft it was hailed (by them) as the ultimate home entertainment hub, but so far it has really just been about the games. Recently Microsoft took a step in the right direction with the release of the HD DVD drive which uses the consoles power to run the movies. Having seen one in action, for only £129 it’s pretty much a bargain. The next step in making the 360 more than just a games console is the TV system being launched in the US. They are bringing Xbox Live users a sort of Sky+ system where the users will be able to download Hi Def programs onto the hard drive of their Xbox 360. As a taster for those of us in the UK, they have given us a taster with a free downloadable episode of South Park, in Hi Definition. Now South Park isn’t the sort of thing you wouldn’t think would look that good in Hi Def, but strangely it looks amazing, really colourful and crisp. It helps that the episode is a classic with Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Kenny buying Ninja Weapons at a fair and becoming Manga type warriors until Butters is on the painful receiving end of one!  If you have a 360 online it is definitely worth a download. Just for the record my Gamertag is, surprisingly STUNTGOAT if you fancy a game online!

A Big Thank You

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Wow I can’t believe that I have now had over a thousand hits on this blog, I know some sites get that in a few hours, but for me this big. When I started doing this blog back in May it took me ages just to get a hundred hits!  So i just wanted to say a big thank you to those of you who read my blog, for all I know it could just be two people looking at it a lot, but however many it is thanks. I shall keep finding stuff to put on here!  If you didn’t know under each post where it say comments if you click on it you can leave your thoughts which I would really like to hear, good or bad, just don’t be too cruel!  Just an extra note, I have got a Myspace profile as well if you wanted to know a little bit more about the Stuntgoat, its at www.myspace.com/stuntgoat. Again thanks. No that isn’t a real oscar, if only!