Surviving Christmas (2004) Movie review; Could have been good if…

This Xmas film is a weird one, never heard of it before so I went into it open-eyed expecting the worse, a guy who is rich decides to pay a family he has never met before to be his family for Christmas.

It’s an original idea for an Xmas film but there are too many things wrong with it -

First off, you are not aware that Ben Affleck’s character is a millionaire, so when he starts to throw $50,000 around like he was giving away a dollar you start to question when this information was explained.

Ben is good in parts but I feel that he turns off in moments throughout, the audience can always tell (most of the time) when someone is coasting, by this I mean they are just churning out the lines and forgetting that they are supposed to be acting a certain way.

The editing in the first twenty minutes is quite awful, it feels really choppy and does nothing to get the story going.

As a positive, when Ben arrives at James Gandolfini house the comedy is pretty good, Ben and James actually make a decent comedy duo,I think James brought out the best in Ben, when the film is based in the house you have a good movie on your hands, whenever the production team shot anything outside the house it just feels cheap and takes away from the film.

70% bad – 30 % good.

4/10

Here is some background information to explain why this movie is such a mess -

The production was shot without a completed script. As a result, there were many delays and arguments over what to shoot. Actor James Gandolfini admitted in behind the scenes interview that most of the film was “improvised”.

Jon Favreau was offered a chance to direct, but made Elf instead.

James Gandolfini was only 10 years older than Christina Applegate, who plays his daughter in the film.

KO

Killing them softly (2012) Movie review – A real treat of a movie that reeks of class! 8/10

One of best starts to a movie I have seen in a long time,you land right in the middle of the action,there is no introduction to characters,just straight to the meat of the movie; without any starters.

If there was competition for creating cool dialogue and super cool scenes Tarantino and the Coen brothers would be up there,well I can safely say that this director(Andrew Dominik – Chopper 2000) is following nicely behind.

The special effects used in this movie are truly outstanding, people can rave on about the matrix which gave you a licence to fly around a room, in this film they have effects that blow your mind because of the attention to detail,from a bullet leaving a gun,to the bullet hitting the window and exploding into pieces while some poor guys brain is being torn apart by the impact,all this made even more impressive as it is shown in slow motion.

There are so many good performances in this movie,but I have to single out James Gandolfini, he plays a hitman who suffers with many emotional problems,one being his denial to admit he’s in love and secondly his jealousy, which is tearing him apart,you truly feel his pain and at one point he made me shudder as he performance went straight past good and stopped at pure genius.

Brad Pitt is his cool self,but the key to the originality in this movie is the fact there is no lead characters, each person gets roughly the same screen time and you are never quite sure what is going to happen which is a treat for a film nut like me who is very rarely surprised by the outcome of most modern-day films.

A real treat of a movie that reeks of class.

8/10

KO