Author: Sean W. Fallon

Is It Still Good?: Home Alone

Welcome to Is It Still? where we look at movies from years gone by and ask, is it still good? Is it still bad? Is it still funny? Is it still scary? Is It Still Good? Home Alone Home Alone was the biggest movie when it was released in 1990, retaining its popularity by becoming a Christmas season staple. It was a wonderful childhood fantasy: being left alone in the house with no siblings or parents, and no rules. No door locked, no BB gun out of reach, and no one to tell you what to do. I watched it eight million times when it came out. I thought it was funny, ingenious, a little scary, clever, quotable, and all my friends agreed. Flash forward to Christmas 2013. My wife and I were choosing our annual Christmas movie and decided that we wanted some nostalgia. The year before we had watched my family’s favourite Christmas movie (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), so we decided that year we would watch hers, which of course was Home Alone. And it was awful. It was an annoying, cheesy, predictable mess of a movie with grating performances, treacly emotions, and enraging scenes. The first hint that this wasn’t going to be a merry sleigh ride down memory lane was the pizza scene. Near the beginning of the movie, the McAllister house is full with the...

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The Five Best Soundtracks from 1990s Films

Born in 1984, I am what Buzzfeed calls a 90s kid. I have also at some point erased most 90s pop culture from my brain ala Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, so don’t find myself awash with nostalgia when someone says the words Tamagotchi or Saved by the Bell. With that in mind I pushed down my natural urge for cynicism, rolled up my sleeves, and dived into the 90s headfirst. First thing that struck me was the use of love ballads for movies that probably shouldn’t have love ballads as their signature song. Armageddon, an awful Michael...

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2014: The Year of the Pratt

I hated Chris Pratt when I first saw him. He was Andy Dwyer, Anne Perkins’ lazy ass boyfriend in the first season of Parks and Recreation. The first few episodes of that show (which would transcend a pretty poor first season to become something wonderful) had Andy positioned as the show’s villain – a slovenly idiot who was milking his broken leg to turn his girlfriend into his slave. He was in a crap band and didn’t care about anyone but himself. Somehow, though, this character managed to grow on me (and the rest of the world). Now, five...

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The 10 Best Comics of 2014 That Should be Made into Movies

I love comic books and I love movies, and most of the time I love comic book movies; however, the ones I like tend to be superhero ones while the comics not based on caped crusaders tend to be pretty bad (Watchmen, From Hell, Kick Ass, Wanted, R.I.P.D. etc). There are tons of properties that still could be adapted and done well, so here we present a list of the best comic books of this year, and how they could be turned into great movies. Southern Bastards (Jason Aaron/Jason Latour) Southern Bastards is, at the moment, only six issues...

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The Seven (and a bit) Best Soundtracks from 1980s films

The 80s are a big turning point for movie soundtracks and this can be attributed to one thing: In 1981 MTV premiered and studios realised that if their movies came with a signature song then MTV would play it in rotation and they would get free advertising. Seemingly every movie released in this decade has a song that comes with it and some are awful (that shitty Karate Kid song) and some are amazing. We’re going to talk about the amazing ones. Purple Rain “Dearly beloved…” this album begins with one of the best Prince tracks, Let’s Go Crazy,...

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The Five Best Soundtracks from 1970s Films

Musically and in cinema, the 70s were pretty amazing. Geo-politically, not super good, but the music and the movies being created at the that time would set the tone for the future. There are tons of movies being released now where the directors will say that they were going for a 70s aesthetic (I’m looking at you Winter Soldier) in an effect to recapture the most exciting period of cinema history. 1. Superfly Superfly by Curtis Mayfield asks and answers an interesting question: Can a soundtrack tell the movie’s story better than the movie? In Superfly’s case, yes. Superfly...

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5 Directors Who Should Direct Star Trek 3

When JJ Abrams left the Star Trek franchise to helm Star Wars VIII and he was replaced with Roberto Orci I was, to put it lightly, not filled with girlish glee. The new Star Trek movies had been hit and miss (Star Trek = hit, Into Darkness = miss) but they had retained a sense of style and professional execution. Star Trek 3 (Star Trek it Ralph?  Star Trekking Ball?) would have been Orci’s first movie as a director and though I am a fan of some of his writing credits* (Fringe, Star Trek) I did not think he...

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Terminator: Genisys Trailer Released!

I was raised on Arnie movies. When I was young (too young to be watching hyper-violent 80s movies) I constantly watched Running Man, Total Recall, Predator, and, the crème de la crème, The Terminator and Terminator 2. I fucking love those movies. All of those movies, but especially the Terminator films. As a pair they are like the Godfather Parts One and Two of urban Sci Fi. They fit together perfectly and show that James Cameron has such a film grasp on how sometimes the best way to do a sequel is through sheer escalation (for further reading watch...

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The Five Best Soundtracks from 1960s Films

A good soundtrack can give a movie a much longer life. If you find a movie you like with a soundtrack you like then the movie is there with you in your iPod all the time. For this feature I have chosen the top five soundtracks of the last five decades and this year. I have only looked at albums featuring predominantly songs (forgoing albums of scores for a future feature). The 1960s 1. Easy Rider The opening lines of this album are “I’ve smoked a lot of grass…” and that pretty much sets the tone. This album is...

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The Mule

Overview: A first time drug mule is caught by law enforcement. Cherub Films; 2014; Not Rated; 103 minutes. Comedy?: The Mule is a crime movie about a man who doesn’t want to take a dump, the men and women who think he should or shouldn’t take that dump, and the situation that led him to the point where a dump would be so important. Based on that description and the poster for this movie you would not be remiss to expect a comedy in the vein of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch. And while there are funny...

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6 Sci Fi Movies from Around the World

Science Fiction is such a malleable genre that it works anywhere in the world. Ideas like alien invasions, time travel, robots, dystopias, cloning, genetic mutations, and space battles are not locked into a certain country or time. For this piece I have chosen five sci-fi movies from five different countries that stand out as some of the best. They are sometimes violent, always thought-provoking, and never boring. Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru) – Japan 2000  Students on a field trip are gassed and wake up on an island where they are told to fight and die. The last one standing gets to go home. So far, so Hunger Games, right? Where Battle Royale differs from The Hunger Games is that the teenagers on the island aren’t from post-apocalyptic dystopias. No, they are from Japan in the not-too-distant future, and they are school children. The best thing about this movie (and the book it is based on) is that the teenagers act like teenagers. They are still embroiled in their high school rivalries and unrequited crushes, only now they are armed to the teeth and given carte blanche to murder each other. It is a tragic, bloody, violent, actually pretty funny, and exhilarating movie. It has become popular again in recent years because people like to cite it as the movie that rips off The Hunger Games. But then, Battle Royale is...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #17: Heathers

Heathers Director: Michael Lehmann. Genre: Dark Comedy. New World Pictures. Heathers is the original “popular girls in school get what’s coming to them” movie. Without it there would be no Mean Girls, and a world without Mean Girls is not a world that I want to live in. I don’t really know where to start with this movie. It’s like coming downstairs on Christmas morning and deciding which gift to open first. Let’s start with story. The plot of the movie is that Veronica (Winona Ryder) used to be uncool until a clique of the coolest girls, The Heathers,...

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Open Windows

Overview: A jilted fan is pulled into a a world of cat-and-mouse danger after accepting an invitation to spy on his favorite actress via computer. 2014; Cinedigm; Rated R; 100 Minutes. Found Footage: There are two genres of movie that annoy me whenever I see them. One is found footage and the other is movies where computers are scary and frantic typing equals hacking. This movie is sort of both. All of the action takes place on a computer and we are guided from window to window to watch the action. Lengthy skype calls mean we can see the actors...

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The ABCs of Scorsese, A – E

Martin Scorsese will be 72 on the 17th of November. His impact on cinema is huge, his style is constantly copied but never perfectly replicated, the amount of Joe Pesci we have watched is largely due to him. Age has not mellowed him nor has success jaded him. Whenever a work bears his name, it’s usually going to be something a bit special. So here’s to you, Marty.  For your birthday, we put together the ABCs of your career, themes, movies, and collaborators. Many happy returns.  A is for Academy Awards: Unfortunately, any talk of Scorsese and the Oscars...

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Further Reading: Things That Aren’t Horror Movies but Are Just As good.

Horror movies are great, but sometimes you need to do other things than watch movies (Don’t listen to him, he’s a madman – Ed) so I’ve compiled a list of other media you can explore if you want to get your thrills and scares from somewhere else. But when you’re done go straight back to movie watching. Book: The Terror by Dan Simmons The Terror is based on the true story of the Franklin Expedition. The expedition involved two ships trying to find the Northwest Passage in 1845. The two ships, The Terror and The Erebus, quickly became trapped...

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