Saturday 31 December 2016

The Best Blu-rays of 2016

2016 was a fantastic year for Blu-ray releases. There were countless brilliant titles – both new and old – hitting shelves, and while some films are still strangely being ignored for Blu-ray release, 2016 still delivered plenty to choose from. 
Let’s look at 10 of the best releases of the year, and why each one deserves a place on this list. And no, this isn’t a list of the 10 best films of the year. In no particular order…


Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Oct 17th 2016
Starting with a rather traditional choice, Sony’s 3D release of Angry Birds boasted gorgeously colourful visuals, breath-taking 3D and truly immersive sound. This is the sort of release Blu-ray is all about, and it’s nice to still be blown away by Blu-ray ten whole years after the format launched. Oh, and it’s a damn fine film, too. No seriously, it is. Although the BBFC evidently thought the “pluck my life” line from the US release was too much for our delicate minds. They cut it. Unbelievable.

Check out the Angry Birds Movie HERE


Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Sept 26th 2016
It isn’t just new animation that shines on Blu-ray. No, this year also brought us the long-awaited high-definition release of 1999’s The Iron Giant – with a stunning extended cut of the film, and a beautiful set of special features. This was a rather magical release for the many fans of the film, and also the best way to introduce Hogarth’s adventure to the children of today. It just goes to show, some things are worth the wait.

Check out the Iron Giant HERE


Entertainment in Video, May 9th 2016
Quentin Tarantino’s latest in a long line of masterpieces, The Hateful Eight, received a superb release from Entertainment in Video – a label known, in the past, for subpar releases. Thankfully, they released the film in its correct aspect ratio of 2.75:1/2.76:1, and the film looked utterly gorgeous. And oh, that steelbook edition is a thing of beauty. If Kurt Russell’s facial hair in HD is your thing, check out Bone Tomahawk too – also available in stunning steel. Kurt Russell is love…Kurt Russell is life.

Check out the Hateful Eight HERE


Spirit Entertainment/Dazzler, Apr 4th 2016
“What on Earth is this?”, I hear the majority of you cry. Brian Pern was an utterly marvellous BBC mockumentary series from Rhys Thomas and The Fast Show’s Simon Day about the titular ageing rock star, former-frontman of the fictional prog-group Thotch. To me, this release deserves a place on the list because it shows anything and everything can benefit from the Blu-ray format – and too many gems are being shafted for release. If there’s a Blu-ray audience for this, there’s a Blu-ray audience for anything.

Check out Brian Pern HERE


Criterion Collection, Apr 18th 2016
Any collectors out there know why this is on here. I could’ve also chosen a few other films, but the point remains the same – it is from the first wave of Criterion Collection Blu-ray releases in the UK. A very historic moment. Arguably one of the finest labels in home entertainment history, I don’t think any of us ever expected Criterion to launch here. But their first handful of releases shows just how good they are. And It Happened One Night is a beautiful film. Fun fact, it’s the first film to ever win all 5 major Oscar awards – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor and Actress. Only two other films managed this...that should get you thinking!

Check out It Happened One Night HERE


Indicator/Powerhouse Films, Oct 24th 2016
But it isn’t just Criterion looking to shake up the Blu-ray format here in the UK this year. Powerhouse Films are here with their new Indicator label, delivering classic films with unfathomably good releases. Utterly breath-taking restorations and bountiful special features make Indicator one of the “ones to watch” going into 2017, with titles like Christine, Body Double and 10 Rillington Place already behind them. Absolute heaven for film buffs, and beautiful treatment by Indicator. I for one cannot wait to see how these guys grow – they could just become the new Criterion.

Check out Christine HERE


Fabulous Films, Oct 17th 2016
The brilliant Fabulous Films have been behind some incredible releases this year, and their focus on 80s television towards the end of the year was an utter joy. The A-Team, Knight Rider, Magnum PI, The Incredible Hulk and Miami Vice all received utterly stunning Blu-ray boxsets and watching these shows in HD is like seeing them for the first time. Simply phenomenal work from a small, passionate label. I love it when a Blu-ray release comes together…

Check out the A-team HERE


Universal Music, Jun 10th 2016
Here is a truly incredible release. To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Beach Boys’ seminal 1966 masterpiece, Universal Music released a beautiful 5-disc collector’s edition of the album housed within a hardback book. 4 CDs delivered the album in mono and stereo along with countless session outtakes and recordings, while the 5th disc was a marvel - a pure audio Blu-ray disc with the album in crystal-clear mono, stereo and 5.1. Audio bliss for music fans, and nothing short of orgasmic for Beach Boy enthusiasts. 

Check out the Beach Boys HERE


Second Sight, Nov 28th 2016
Another stunning treatment of a Carpenter classic this year with Second Sight’s 40th Anniversary release of Assault on Precinct 13. Carpenter’s 2nd film looks and sounds brand new, while a plethora of special features offers a stunning insight into the production of the gritty film. If you haven’t got it yet, act fast – the Limited Edition boxset (includes CD soundtrack and art-cards, and housed in a beautiful digipak) won’t be around forever! 

Check out Assault On Precinct 13 HERE


20th Century Fox, Jun 6th 2016
Of course, we must end this list by looking forward. Blu-ray will be around a long time yet, but 2016 has really started pushing 4K releases. At this point, they’re more of a future-proofing sale – for a few quid more than the usual Blu-ray, you can get the 4K release which includes the Blu for watching while you save up your pennies for a 4K player. But anyone who has seen a glimpse of 4K knows why it has power. It looks absolutely gorgeous. The Revenant is one of recent years’ finest-looking films, so what better film to start your 4K collection with.

It goes without saying that this was a hard list to compile. Each week of the year brought more excellent releases, and to narrow a whole year’s worth of output to 10 releases was extremely difficult. These ten releases are important for different reasons, but all go to show the power of the Blu-ray format. See you by the Blu-ray shelf in 2017, folks.

Check out The Revenant HERE

Sam Love

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Friday 30 December 2016

Top 5 Blu-Ray Animations of 2016

Believe it or not 2016 is nearly over and, despite certain things not panning out as well as they could have done, there have been some excellent Blu-ray releases in the animation department (which totally makes up for it all!). Here are some of my personal favourites for a year – if you’ve not watched them, then what on earth were you doing all year?!

5. The Good Dinosaur:

‘The Good Dinosaur’ was the first Pixar movie of the year, and what a great one it was. There’s certainly not enough dinosaurs in the world of animation (sadly, ‘The Land Before Time’ is but a memory nowadays), and so this made a really nice change. It’s emotive, surreal at points and, above all, has a heart-warming story that will really make you smile.

Check out the Good Dinosaur HERE

4. Only Yesterday:

If Studio Ghibli release a film at any point, then I can guarantee it will be on my top list of animations for that year. Like so many before it, ‘Only Yesterday’ features a beautiful and harrowing storyline and wonderful animations and scores. Straying away from fantasy this time we’re presented with an increasingly relatable plot in the modern day that’s a poignant reminder to take a break once in a while.

Check out Only Yesterday HERE

3. Angry Birds:

‘Angry Birds’ could be on this list purely because they’ve managed to create a film out of one of the simplest concepts possible, but it’s even better than that. Filled with laugh-out-loud humour and a surprisingly likeable main character, it’s guaranteed to make you smile whether you’re a die-hard fan of the game, or new to the scene.

Check out Angry Birds HERE

2. The Secret Life of Pets:

This was the animated film that I was most looking forward to this year, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Highly relatable for anyone who owns a pet, ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ promotes friendship acceptance, and the idea of standing up for what you believe in, whilst also providing multiple laughs along the way.

Check out The Secret Life Of Pets HERE

1. Finding Dory:

‘Finding Nemo’ was an epic film when it came from, and certainly a beautiful animation. Pixar have done it again with ‘Finding Dory’ – the animation connects so well with the first one, yet is still its own film. Lovable characters both old and new grace our screens as we get to follow Dory, who’s got to be one of Pixar’s most endearing creations of all time, on an epic quest to find her long-lost parents.

Check out Finding Dory HERE

Hannah Read

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Thursday 29 December 2016

5 Underdog Games to Watch Out For in 2017

After a disappointing year of notable celebrity deaths and political disenchantment, gaming was one of the few bright lights in a dismal 12-month spell. It looks like 2017 will have some great games in store, so here’s five that shouldn’t be missed.

1. Get Even (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Get Even is a first-person survival-horror game that has been in the works for a while. It was first announced way back in 2013, and despite the development hell, it looks to be a polished offering. 
Both graphics and gameplay have been refined in recent months, and it could be a sleeper hit if it launches smoothly. It'll have to contend with the release of Resident Evil 7 aiming to be the dominant force in the market, but there’s no reason why Get Even can’t be one to watch out for in 2017. Let's hope that the extended development time was well spent. It’s scheduled for release in March 2017.

2. South Park: The Fractured But Whole (Multiplatform)

South Park’s satirical style tends to divide opinion, but it translated into one of the best turn-based RPG’s of recent times in the form of The Stick of Truth. It stayed true to the formula of the show, but the style and theme will always leave a section of gamers unwilling to make the plunge in the first place. The sequel is due for release in the first quarter of 2017, and it promises to expand on the original with new classes and features. It was originally supposed to come out in December 2016, but was pushed back to “improve the game experience” because of the “high expectations of fans.” Will it be able to gather a wider audience the second time around?

3. Fear Effect: Sedna (Multiplatform)

The original Fear Effect was released on the PlayStation One back in 1999, spawning a sequel just 12 months later. It’s known for being a third-person shooter with interesting camera angles and art direction, as well as a reliance on the allure of the lesbian protagonists as a USP. (It was a different time.) Thought to be consigned to the history books, it was kickstarted successfully in April 2016, although it only just managed to reach the £100,000 goal. It’s more of a spiritual successor, with a 10-man team working on bringing it back to life. It’s a small-scale operation, but there’s clearly a lot of love for the source material. It might not be an AAA title with bundles of marketing moolah, but it could breathe new life into a series that many thought was gone for good. If you remember the originals, it could be worth it for the nostalgia alone.

4. For Honor (Multiplatform)

If you're looking for something that's a little different when it comes to multiplayer action, For Honor could take up the next few months of your life when it releases in February 2017. It's a melee-action game that features some of the most exciting troops in history, pitching Vikings, Knights and Samurai against one another with duels and realistic melee combat. Additional maps will be added free of charge to ensure that the player base isn't split, and it has the potential to be the next big thing in multiplayer gaming. thing. Recent reports have surfaced highlighting numerous connection issues, and they’ll have to be sorted quickly if it wants a fighting chance. 

5. Vampyr (Multiplatform)

Vampyr is an action role-playing title that centres around the mythological creatures of the night. The monsters themselves have been heavily overdone in films and TV over the past decade, but they haven't featured frequently in video games. There's a gap in the market, but Vampyr looks to be more than a cash In fact, there’s been a noticeable lack of fanged content on consoles over recent years, and this could be the one to spark off a host of clones if it’s commercially successful. It seems more like a work of art, and when it comes time to explore Victorian London the E3 trailer showed off the Victorian London backdrop and story driven gameplay. It focuses on the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic that gripped the city in real life. Recent demos have confirmed that it could live up to the hype, even if the subject matter has been passed up by everyone else.

James Ashmore

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Tuesday 27 December 2016

Don't Breathe

If there’s one thing that is getting boring in cinema, it’s home invasion thrillers. I am sick of nasty bastards breaking into homes with the intent of violence or theft – it’s just getting a little tedious. The Purge, You’re Next, Hush, The Strangers, Home Invasion, Intruders…It’s too much. Don’t Breathe, however, does something a little different. This time, the delinquent home invaders are the ‘heroes’, while the antagonist of the film is the homeowner – an old blind chap. How can an old blind man be the villain to a group of thieves breaking into his house? It’s quite simple really. He’s an absolute fucking nutter. 

Don’t Breathe follows Rocky, Alex and Money – three thieves who make a living by breaking into homes. Our main hero, or heroine, is Rocky (Jane Levy) – a conflicted young woman whose delinquency is almost justified in that she’s trying to make a better life for herself and her young sister Diddy, both trapped under the wrath of their neglectful mother and her alcoholic boyfriend. After learning of a big stash of money in the home of a blind war veteran, Rocky and her fellow crooks decide to ‘rob the joint’. He’s an old blind man, how hard can it be?
Very hard. Very hard indeed. The villainous blind man, known only as ‘the Blind Man’, is in fact the last person you want to be trapped in a house with. With sound his only ally, the film’s title comes from the fact our heroes cannot even breathe –  if the Blind Man hears you, he will kill you. Of course, the house has creaky floorboards and creaky doors and, hell, creaky everything. Bloody typical. 
Just because he’s blind, it doesn’t mean he’s a fucking saint, bro”, Money (Daniel Zovatto) says. Indeed. Stephen Lang, known to most audiences as Avatar’s Colonel Miles Quaritch, is an absolute marvel as the sightless villain. He is silently intimidating in the same way Hardy’s Bane was, y’know, before he spoke. Big and intense. Terrifying, and yet almost sympathetic - this hardened war veteran’s past trauma almost makes us side with him. And hey, our ‘heroes’ are thieves, breaking into his home. But as we enter act 3, we learn that Money might’ve been right all along…He’s batshit crazy. Despite learning some things about him that might just make him deserving of a twatting, you do often think to yourself “guys, if you hadn’t tried to rob the bloke, you wouldn’t be in this mess…”.

Director Fede Alvarez noted that making the film was, in a way, a response to the reception of his debut film, 2013’s Evil Dead remake – mainly, the criticism that the film was too focused on shocking the audience with excessive violence. Fun fact; his Evil Dead holds the record for most fake blood ever brought onto a set! Buster Bluth would approve - “Unlimited juice? This party is going to be off the hook!”. Anyway, Alvarez decided here to make a film that contained less blood and focused more on suspense over shock tactics, and in doing so, made an exceptionally effective horror-thriller. Largely silent, the film’s power comes from Fede Alvarez’s intentional choice – there is very little violence or cliché shocks. This is an exercise in Hitchcockian tension. You’ll find yourself following the film title’s instruction, but not by choice. On the edge of your seat, you’ll hear your own heartbeat.

In conclusion, Don’t Breathe is something fresh in the genre – which is enough to earn it a high recommendation. It’s scary and unbearably tense, yet doesn’t rely heavily on shock tactics to scare the viewer. Stephen Lang puts in his best performance yet and Fede Alvarez proves himself a force to be reckoned with in modern thrills. Turn out the lights and enjoy. Despite being rather shit life advice, Don’t Breathe makes for a compelling thrill-ride. 4/5


Sam Love

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iPhone 7

Another year, another iPhone from Apple. Let’s take a quick look at it, and don’t worry non-techies – I will use small words! Funnily enough like almost all phone reviews, I’m not going to delve into the actual phone features – but don’t worry, texts and calls work a treat with a Nano-SIM. What a relief! Promising advanced new camera systems, the best performance and battery life ever in an iPhone, immersive stereo speakers, the brightest, most colourful display yet and splash and water resistance, does iPhone 7 deliver? Or is it just more of the same?

Design & Hardware
Let’s start with….that. You know what I’m talking about. The iPhone 7 does not have a 3.5mm earphone jack. The fuckers have removed it, meaning all earphones now must go through the lightning port. But settle down, Apple-haters! If you want to use your trusty old earphones, or ya Beats bruv, don’t panic. Apple have kindly included a nifty adapter. Isn’t that nice of them, including a fix for their own stupid design. And of course, you get a pair of Apple’s rather average sound-quality lightning EarPods in the box. Most people these days are using Bluetooth headphones but still, this was a stupid idea and will go down in history as such. But hey, they’ll learn from it. They won’t do it again. Like, they won’t remove old-school USB from the new MacBook or anything. They’re not idiots…
The first thing iPhone enthusiasts will notice is that, besides the earphone jack-lack, the design is largely unchanged from the 6 and 6s. It’s now available in black and jet black for all you dark souls out there, along with the 6s rose gold, gold and silver from last year. It’s a nice solid build, and of course again it’s a closed unit so no expanding the memory or changing battery, which is standard with iPhones of course. With a weight of 138g, it finds itself 5g lighter than the 6s. Good for you, iPhone 7. We knew you could do it – now maintain a healthy diet, and keep that weight off. The handset is now waterproof too, up to 1m deep for up to 30 minutes. That means all you toilet-phone droppers can relax. This baby can take it. It even encourages it. “Drop me in the toilet”, it says. Dirty bugger.
Switch the little guy on and you won’t exactly be blown away by any advancements the LED-backlit screen may have had. If you’ve used any high-end phone from the last couple of years, you know exactly what you’re in for. Still, it’s technically better than the 6 and 6s, so…boom. Take that, 6 and 6s. Colours are vibrant, lines are sharp – if you’re the sort of person who likes to watch a lot of videos on your phone, you’ll be happy. HD videos look nice on this Retina display. The pixel resolution sits pretty at 1334x750 at 326 ppi, for anyone interested in that sort of thing…Not me! I’m a caveman. I’m more like “SCREEN GOOD”. And the 4.7” screen means the handset isn’t uncomfortably large like some others on the market, and only requires one hand to use so you’ll have your other hand free for innocent pursuits.
The iPhone 7 boasts Apple’s latest processor the A10 Fusion which has four processing cores split into two pairs – one a high-performance pair of cores, the other a pair of energy efficient cores. The idea behind this is simple – most of the time, only one pair will be required to run the phone, which should theoretically extend battery life without sacrificing performance. The high-performance pair handle your big apps, gaming and photo-processing, while the energy-efficient pair handles your texting and emailing. This processor is a beaut, the phone runs like a charm and can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. It feels fast and smooth…
Until the battery dies, which unfortunately, isn’t as uncommon as you’d probably like. This is an iPhone though, and so we’re kind of used to this. So, the iPhone 7 may look pretty, it may have a nice processor and it may come with 32GB-256GB for loads of music and films – but this is all irrelevant when, even now on their 7th main model, Apple can’t even make a phone that gets through the day. This weak little guy will need a lot of charging, and because of the silly earphone jack removal, you can forget listening to your music in private while the phone is getting its beauty charge. How silly.
But it’s not all bad. The iPhone 7’s changed home button is rather nice. The fingerprint scanner, or let’s face it, thumbprint scanner, is the same – but now, rather than pushing a button here it’s a pressure sensitive pad – pushing it feels like the whole bottom end of the phone depresses…Apple first used this technology on the MacBook’s solid-state trackpad – it didn’t move but the Taptic Engine made it feel that way. The Taptic Engine here, for home button feedback and other things such scrolling the timer wheel is a charming little feature. It’s worth noting the home button does require skin contact to work, though – so gloves are a no no, which is a pain as the home button has to be activated to even unlock the phone. Not the best phone for the winter, perhaps!
It just wouldn’t be a new iPhone without a new iOS. iOS 10 is here with subtle yet significant changes to the software, mainly where notifications and widgets are concerned. This all offers an increased feeling of connectivity, and improves the ease of use. There isn’t a huge amount to say where this is concerned – it’s still very much iOS, and so anybody with the slightest bit of familiarity with the operating system will know it back-to-front. AirDrop, AirPlay, AirPrint, Handoff, HomeKit, iCloud, etc. – the gang is all there.
We’re getting there folks…almost done. Next up, the camera! Here, we have an improvement of the 6s. It’s faster and brighter with optical image stabilisation for a sharper result. The 12MP rear-facer isn’t the best on the market but is still pretty sexy, especially with 30fps 4K video recording. The front-facing 7MP selfie camera is one of the best out there. Beautiful. Those double-chinned selfies look even more grotesque with such a high resolution. I should know.

So with all that said, what’s our verdict? Apple lovers – I know you’re out there – will adore the iPhone 7 no matter what. But honestly, this could’ve been better. The camera, the home button, the OS, the performance, the screen, the waterproofing, the solid build itself = all great. Not “wow” great, but great. I’ve no major complaints. The earphone jack scandal, ehhh, it’s a rather stupid and very Apple decision but we can get over it. Although small and easy to lose, an adapter is included so we can’t grumble too much. So what is the big issue? As always, it’s the battery. Apple’s white whale. One day they will find the key to a long lasting battery but this bugger doesn’t even last as long as the previous model, the 6. And it takes a long time to charge. If you’re an iPhone lover, you’ll love the 7. And there is a lot to love here. But a few slip-ups stop the iPhone 7 from getting the highest recommendation. 4/5


Sam Love

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Monday 26 December 2016

Don’t Think Twice

‘Don’t Think Twice’, Mike Birbiglia’s second feature-length film, follows a year in the life of a tight-knit improve group based in New York in both their acting lives as ‘The Commune’ and their not quite so desirable lives outside. When Jack (Keegan-Michael Kay) finally gets his big break with The Weekend Live, the show they’ve all been vying for, the group slowly starts to tear at the seams as they also have to deal with their theatre being sold and the reality of what they haven’t achieved in their lives dawning on them.

It was actually quite weird watching a film about actors – especially because of how similar it felt to a documentary at the beginning. Parts of it felt real, and it did make me wonder if any of the scenes were actually improvised. The filming style was noticeably intimate, and so it was easy to feel part of the group, and relate to their lives despite only watching from the sidelines. There were also some beautifully symbolic shots (such as the stage chairs representing members of the group) which reinforced that feeling of creative performance.  
The element that I found most impressive about the film was how well the actors worked alongside each other – there was this chemistry there that is often not quite so noticeable in other films. Gillian Jacobs, who played Sam, was star of the show (it was easy to see the range of her acting skills throughout, and particularly towards the end), yet the other characters all added something as well – Birbiglia himself played an arrogant yet still likable Miles, and Chris Gethard was great as the self-deprecating Bill who struggles to deal with his relationship with his Dad. Kate Micucci and Tami Sagher also complemented the team wonderfully as diffident Allison and pothead Lindsay, and Kay needs a special mention for his wonderful portrayal of that friend we’ve all had that puts himself before the rest. The film just wouldn’t have been the same if one of them were missing.
As a non-actor I can’t tell you how accurate this is regarding the acting world (although many other reviews seem to suggest that it is), but I still took a lot away from it, as the concept is just so transferable. Seeing a group of friends fall apart like that will resonate with many, as will the feeling of failure and wasting of time. It’s a bittersweet film, as it’s both comedy and drama at the same time – the comedy is hilarious, yet the drama is increasingly tragic. What started off as heart-warming and amusing eventually became poignant and heart-wrenching, and it was quite something to experience all of those things at once. Birbiglia certainly pulled this off, with the depth of emotion something that I couldn’t pull myself away from.

The premise is really simple, and yet the result of it is so powerful it really does make you think (thus breaking the third rule of improv). It’s enjoyable to watch, yet also painful if you can relate to it. If you want something that’s clever and reflective, rather than just a few laughs, then ‘Don’t Think Twice’ should be next on your list. 5/5

Hannah Read

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Sunday 25 December 2016

Top 5 Christmas Films

Ah, Christmas. What NOT to love about it, folks? Food, presents, Christmas films. Rinse and repeat.

 However, if you're like me you're probably sitting here on Christmas Day thinking, "I've too many films to watch- TELL ME WHAT TO WATCH!". Chill. I can help you out. OK, go fix yourself another Turkey sandwich and lets get into the Top 5 Christmas films. 

5- Home Alone

What do you get when you put a two unsuspecting victims in a house of horror, full to the brim with death traps set up by a shadowy sinister mastermind? No, you don't get Saw, you get a little film called Home Alone. Home Alone is basically a staple of Christmas at the point, right? It stars little boy wonder of the 90's Macaulay Culkin, long before he turned to a life of shitty bit parts and looking like he smells of old eggs.

It still stacks up today too, but now more than ever I watch the film with a keen sense that Kevin is kind of a murderer in the making. Seriously though, look at the traps he sets for these guys? If this where real life, Kevin would be collecting what's left of Harry and Marv in a paint bucket. Broken heads, smashed chests, tarred and feathered, burnt noggins. Shocking! Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Harry and Marv are a bunch of scumbags, but still.

4- Jingle All The Way

Ah, Jingle All The Way. How can you NOT love this film? Arnie making noises like he wants to be let outside to go potty, Anakin Skywalker pulling yet another punchable face, Sinbad clutching onto the final remnants of his career outside until he found himself cleaning the floors of Pizza Hut, the lamest action figure of all time TURBO MAN and, very honestly, yet another great performance by the late Phil Hartman as the next door neighbour with that shit eating grin.

All in all Jingle All The Way is one of those guilty pleasures at Christmas. Yes, technically it's a bit shit, but so is Skyrim, but we all played that, right?

3- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Sure, it's not the best National Lampoon's film. Then again, it's not even the best comedy of 1989. But hey, it IS the best film Chevy Chase had coming out that year. Sorry Fletch Lives, you're crap, mate.

So yeah, it ain't perfect, but it's a quintessential Christmas film to pop on while shamefully making your way through the best sweets from a Quality Street tin. You know the ones, right? The ones in the purple wrappers that are filled with caramel and a HUGE nut. Hell yes. Anyway, it may not be amazing, but you simply MUST watch this over Christmas. It's like a law. Seriously.

2- The Muppet Christmas Carol

Ah, now I can't be ragging on this one, I think. This is possibly the only Christmas film from my list that is, quite literally, the PERFECT Christmas film. Based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, this adaptation stars Michael Caine as the old mean Ebenezer Scrooge. Starring alongside a bunch of Muppets (just like in Jaws: The Revenge), Caine plays the role of Scrooge with both a sense of humour and honesty.

Filled with a bunch of Muppet gags and topped off by tender, beautiful moments, The Muppet Christmas Carol is a must-watch for the entire family.

1- Die Hard

What else? Die Hard isn't technically a Christmas film...but I'm saying it is because it takes place at Christmas. I mean, what makes a film a Christmas film?  Sure, there are no smile or good feelings here, but there are bad dudes getting shot in the face, Alan Rickman playing a German badass, Bruce Willis being sarcastic and an epic soundtrack by Michael Kamen.

Seriously, this is the Christmas film you need to watch with some grub and a few friends around. So check out these films and enjoy! Oh and Merry Christmas!

Den Murphy

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Saturday 24 December 2016

Top 5 Animations to Watch at Christmas

Christmas movies are a pretty big part of the festive season, and there’s nothing quite like snuggling under a duvet with your family and a plate of mince pies to watch your favourite Christmas film. If you’re stuck for what to watch this year, here are five wonderful animations that will get you into the Christmas spirit.

The Snowman:

Made all the way back in 1983, ‘The Snowman’, animated by Diane Jackson, proves that animations don’t have to be new to be magical. Rather than words it features the famous vocal piece ‘Walking In The Air’ by a young Aled Jones that all we know and love, and a heart-warming story to make you feel all fuzzy inside.

Check out The Snowman HERE

Arthur Christmas:

‘Arthur Christmas’ is another magical animation from Aardman that shows how Santa manages to deliver so many presents in so little time (great for those parents who really struggle with that question!). The storyline is clever and the humour abundant, and with entertainment for both children and adults alike it’ll amuse even the Scrooges amongst you.

Check out Arthur Christmas HERE

Rise of the Guardians:

For those of you that aren’t so much into the happy, sing-song side of Christmas, ‘Rise of The Guardians’ is sure to keep you entertained over the festive period. Threatened by Pitch Black, the four guardians of the children – Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and the Easter Bunny – enlist the help of Jack Frost to save the world from darkness. Santa’s even got tattoos in this one, so it’s pretty darn cool.

Check out Rise Of The Guardians HERE

The Polar Express:

Based on Chris Van Allsburg’s beloved book of the same name, ‘The Polar Express’ tells the story of the magical train ride to the North Pole that our young hero finds himself on one day. This is one of my favourites purely because of the beautiful animation that’s far more realistic that a lot of others, meaning you’ll be enchanted every time you watch it.

Check out Polar Express HERE

The Nightmare Before Christmas:

Now, I’m not sure whether ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ counts as a purely Christmas film as it’s also really a Hallowe’en film as well, but it’s so awesome that I’d recommend watching it on both holidays. Recognisably Tim Burton, the animation follows the wonderful Jack Skellington as he tries to introduce the concept of Christmas to the spooky Halloweentown.

Check out Nightmare Before Christmas HERE

Hannah Read

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