25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK

Starring

Macaulay Culkin (Saved)
Joe Pesci (JFK)
Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice)
Daniel Stern (The Wonder Years)
John Heard (Runner Runner)
Diana Rein (Dennis The Menace)
Anna Slotky (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Devin Ratray (R.I.P.D.)
Hillary Wolf (Sunday Drive)
Michael C. Maronna (40 Days and 40 Nights)
Gerry Bamman (Runaway Jury)
Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Senta Moses Mikan (My So-Called Life)
Brenda Fricke (Inside I’m Dancing)r
Tim Curry (IT)
Eddie Bracken (Oscar)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Dana Ivey (The Help)
Ally Sheedy (Short Circuit)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Abdoulaye NGom (My Name Is Earl)

Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)The McCallister family is preparing to spend Christmas in Miami, gathering at Peter and Kate’s home outside of Chicago. Peter and Kate’s youngest son, Kevin, sees Florida as contradictory to Christmas, due to the lack of Christmas trees in Florida. Later, at a school Christmas pageant, Kevin’s older brother Buzz humiliates him, causing Kevin to retaliate and ruins the pageant. Back home, Kevin storms to the third floor of the house after refusing to apologize to his family. During the night, Peter accidentally resets the alarm clock, causing the entire family to oversleep. At the airport, the family rushes to their plane.Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)Kevin stops to replace the batteries for his Talkboy, carrying Peter’s bag which contains the batteries (along with Peter’s wallet and large amounts of cash). Losing sight of his family, Kevin inadvertently boards a flight to New York City after mistakenly following a man wearing a jacket identical to Peter’s. Upon arrival in New York City, Kevin decides to have fun with his unexpected adventure and tour the city. While there, Kevin meets a homeless woman tending to pigeons at Central Park, which frightens him. Kevin goes to the Plaza Hotel, where he uses Peter’s credit card to check in. Meanwhile, the “Wet Bandits”, Harry and Marv, have traveled to New York City after escaping during a prison riot and now call themselves the “Sticky Bandits”.Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)On Christmas Eve, Kevin tours the city via a limousine and visits a toy store where he meets its philanthropic owner, Mr. E.F. Duncan. Kevin learns that the proceeds from the store’s Christmas sales will be donated to a children’s hospital, and provides a donation. As a token of appreciation, Mr. Duncan offers Kevin a pair of ceramic turtledoves as a gift, instructing him to give one to another person as a sign of eternal friendship. After a run-in with Harry and Marv, Kevin rushes back to the Plaza. The hotel’s suspicious concierge, Mr. Hector, confronts Kevin about the credit card, which has been reported stolen. Kevin flees the hotel after evading Mr. Hector, but he is eventually caught by Harry and Marv. They brag about their plan to break into the toy store at midnight, just before Kevin manages to escape from them.After landing at Miami International Airport, the rest of the family discovers that Kevin is missing. After tracking the whereabouts of the “stolen” credit card, they fly to New York to search for him. Meanwhile, Kevin goes to his uncle Rob’s townhouse, only to find the house vacant and undergoing renovations while Rob and his family are still in Paris. At Central Park, he encounters and befriends the pigeon lady. They go to Carnegie Hall, where the pigeon lady explains how her life collapsed when her lover left her. Kevin encourages her to trust people again, and promises to be her friend.Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)Kevin returns to the townhouse and rigs it with numerous booby traps. He later arrives at the toy store during Harry and Marv’s robbery and breaks the store’s window, setting off the alarm. Kevin then lures the duo to the townhouse, where they spring the traps and suffer various injuries. While the duo pursues Kevin outside of the townhouse, he calls the police before Harry and Marv catch him and discuss how they will kill him in Central Park. Before they can shoot him, the pigeon lady has her pigeons incapacitate them. Kevin sets off fireworks to signal the police, who arrest Harry and Marv. At the toy store, Mr. Duncan finds a note from Kevin, explaining about the robbery.Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)While searching for Kevin, Kate remembers his fondness for Christmas trees and heads to Rockefeller Center. After observing Kevin making a wish at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Kate meets him there and they reconcile. On Christmas Day, a truckload of gifts arrive at the McCallisters’ hotel room from the toy store. Kevin reconciles with the rest of his family, and goes to Central Park to give the pigeon lady the second turtledove, cementing their friendship. At the Plaza, Buzz receives the bill for Kevin’s stay and shows it to Peter who calls out, “Kevin! You spent $967 on room service?!” prompting Kevin to run back to the hotel.Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)Home Alone 2: Lost in New York was an absolute blast.  I love this movie and I’m always going to recommend it for a good watch, I think you’ll enjoy it if you give it a chance.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: HOME ALONE

Starring

Macaulay Culkin (Saved)
Joe Pesci (JFK)
Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice)
Daniel Stern (The Wonder Years)
John Heard (Runner Runner)
Roberts Blossom (Christine)
Angela Goethals (Spanglish)
Anna Slotky (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Devin Ratray (R.I.P.D.)
Gerry Bamman (Runaway Jury)
Hillary Wolf (Sunday Drive)
Larry Hankin (Breaking Bad)
John Candy (Spaceballs)
Michael C. Maronna (40 Days and 40 Nights)
Kristin Minter (Highlander: The Series)
Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Diana Rein (Dennis The Menace)
Senta Moses Mikan (My So-Called Life)
Hope Davis (Captain America: Civil War)

Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone (1990)The McCallister family is preparing to spend Christmas in Paris, gathering at Peter and Kate’s home outside of Chicago on the night before their departure. Peter and Kate’s youngest son, Kevin, is being scorned by his siblings and cousins. Later, Kevin accidentally ruins the family dinner after a fight with his older brother Buzz, resulting in him getting sent to the attic of the house for punishment where he berates Kate and wishes that his family would disappear. During the night, heavy winds cause damage to the power lines, which causes a power outage and resets the alarm clocks, causing the family to oversleep. In the confusion and rush to get to the airport, Kevin is accidentally left behind.Macaulay Culkin and Daniel Stern in Home Alone (1990)Kevin wakes to find the house empty and, thinking his wish has come true, is overjoyed with his newfound freedom. However, he soon becomes frightened by his next door neighbor, Old Man Marley, who is rumored to be a serial killer who murdered his family; as well as the “Wet Bandits”, Harry and Marv, a pair of burglars who have been breaking into other vacant houses in the neighborhood and have targeted the McCallisters’ house. Kevin tricks the pair into thinking his family is home, forcing them to put their plans on hold.Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci in Home Alone (1990)Kate discovers mid-flight that Kevin is missing and upon arrival in Paris, the family discovers that all flights for the next two days are booked. Peter and the rest of the family stays in his brother’s apartment in the city while Kate manages to get a flight back to the United States, only to get as far as Scranton, Pennsylvania. She attempts to book a flight to Chicago but again, everything is booked. Unable to accept this, Kate is overheard by Gus Polinski – the lead member of a traveling polka band – who offers to let her travel with them to Chicago on their way to Milwaukee in a moving van, which she graciously accepts.Meanwhile, Harry and Marv realize that Kevin is alone, and on Christmas Eve, Kevin overhears them discussing plans to break into his house that night. Kevin starts to miss his family and asks the local mall Santa if he could bring his family back for Christmas. He goes to church and watches a choir perform and meets Old Man Marley, who dispels the rumors about him. He points out his granddaughter in the choir, whom he never gets to meet as he and his son are estranged; Kevin suggests that he should reconcile with his son.Kevin returns home and rigs the house with booby traps to take on the bandits. Harry and Marv break in, spring the traps and suffer various injuries. While the duo pursues Kevin around the house, he calls the police and flees, luring the duo into a neighboring home which they previously broke into. Harry and Marv subdue him, but Marley sneaks in and knocks them unconscious with his shovel before they can harm Kevin. The police arrive and arrest Harry and Marv, having identified all the houses they broke into due to the latter’s habit of flooding them.564564465On Christmas Day, Kevin is disappointed to find that his family is still gone, and discovers that Santa is not real due to the untouched state of his cookies and milk. He then hears Kate enter the house and call for him; they reconcile and are soon joined by the rest of the McCallisters, who waited in Paris until they could get a direct flight to Chicago. Kevin keeps silent about his encounter with Harry and Marv, although Peter finds Harry’s knocked-out gold tooth. Kevin then observes Marley reuniting with his son and his family. Marley notices Kevin, and the pair wave to each other. Buzz suddenly calls out, “Kevin, what did you do to my room?” at which point Kevin runs off.lead_960All in all, ‘Home Alone’ is probably the best Christmas movie to rise out of the film industry in the last twenty years. It seamlessly blends humor, pain, emotion, human instinct and some great booby-traps all into one little bundle. This film has stood the test of time greatly.

 

REVIEW: THE MOVIES THAT MADE US – SEASON 1

The Movies That Made Us (2019)

Featuring

Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Devin Ratray (R.I.P.D)
Daniel Stern (City Slickers)
Dan Aykroyd (Grosse Pointe Blank)
Ernie Hudson (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
William Atherton (Die Hard)
Reginald VelJohnson (Mike & Molly)
Bonnie Bedelia (Anywhere But HEre)
De’voreaux White (Trespass)

die_hard_prequel-2048x1152Following in the same vein as The Toys That Made Us, Netflix’s interesting and wholesome documentary series returns with a new flavour and four highly enjoyable episodes. With a mixture of comedy, face to face interviews and some really interesting film facts, The Movies That Made Us is another hit for the streaming giants, one that has plenty of scope to expand for more series.MV5BMTc1OTU5OTM1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTUxMDQ3NTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1502,1000_AL_From Dirty Dancing and Home Alone, through to Ghostbusters and Die Hard, The Movies That Made Us picks out an iconic film from different genres in the 80’s and dissects them from the concept through to production woes and final audience and critical reception. With each episode clocking in at around 45 minutes or so, there’s plenty of time to dive into the nitty-gritty of each film and anyone with a love of cinema or an enthusiasm to see behind the scenes material should absolutely check this one out.nvMjK1uiIN5PDHwA6BF7ij8SUFBEach episode begins with an introduction to each film, breaking down a basic synopsis of the plot before diving into the first draft of the script and early conceptual ideas. From here, the episode breaks down a mix of studio push-backs, budget problems, cast and crew woes and more on the road to creating some of the most beloved films from the 80’s. All of this culminates in a final 5 or 10 minutes that show how successful each film has been and what effect it’s had on the industry. The narration takes cues from The Toys That Made Us, injecting the same mischievous, comedic style to proceedings. The face to face interviews with the crew and cast offer a lot of insights into the making of each film too and as a self-proclaimed movie and TV geek, I love watching this sort of material and this show was right up my alley.MV5BMTY4MDA2ODcxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDUxMDQ3NTE@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_The archival photos, deliberately chosen segments from each film and unabated positive enthusiasm oozing through each episode make this a light and breezy watch, whilst offering a lot of educational content along the way.  Every facet of the film-making process is explored here too, including special effects, costumes, acting and even script-changes, combining to make a pretty comprehensive breakdown on how films are made. If you’re a fan of movies, The Toys That Made Us or even light and breezy documentaries, The Movies That Made Us is well worth a watch and a highly enjoyable effort from start to finish.

REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 1-3

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CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Christopher Collins (Transformers)
Jo Ann Harris (Most Wanted)
Marica Wallace (Full House)
Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Susan Blu (Transformers)
Miriam Flynn (Babe)
Ron Taylor (Trading Places)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley)
Harvey Fierstein (Mrs. Doubtfire)
James Earl Jones (James Earl Jones)
Tony Bennett (Muppets Most Wanted)
Tom Poston (Newhart)
Gregg Berg (Muppet Babies)
Alex Rocco (The Godfather)
Phil Hartman (Jingle All The Way)
Doris Grau (Babe)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Sab Shimono (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Larry King (American Crime Story)
Jon Lovitz (Rat Race)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Tracey Ullman (Into The Woods)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Audrey Meadows (The Honeymooners)
Ringo Starr (A Hard Day’s Night)
Dustin Hoffman (Hook)
Cloris Leachman (The Croods)
Daniel Stern (Home Alone)
Michael Jackson (Moonwalker)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Magic Johnson (She’shaving a Baby)
Jackie Mason (The Jerk)
Sting (Dune)
Steve Allen (The Player)
Beverly D’Angelo (Insatiable)
Christopher Guest (Best In Show)
Michael McKean (Better Call Saul)
Kimmy Robertson (Stuart Little)

What’s really great about the first season is that you get to see the writers trying to figure out what direction the show should take, this provides some interesting experiments as well as some classic episodes. Season 1 does not have a lot of amazing scenes or laugh out loud moments but it does have a sense of realism to it and can actually tackle some pretty dark themes, such as Lisa having depression or Homer trying to commit suicide.kalasIt really does feel great when there’s a happy ending because you do want to see these characters succeed, especially when you can relate to their problems and empathise with them. I really liked Homer’s characterisation here, he is just an average man who just happens to make a few honest mistakes and I think that he has a genuine charm to him. He never does anything hilarious but some of his one liners did get a chuckle out of me.The episodes revolving around Bart were probably the funniest. Although this season proves you don’t always need a lot of jokes to tell a good story, “Life on the Fast Lane” is a fantastic Homer and Marge episode that treats the audience with a lot of maturity and though I personally do not find it very funny, I am still invested in the plot.MV5BMzk4ZDU2OTMtZjM0NC00ZWIyLWFmNmQtMjcyZGQ1OWE0ZWMyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_Even though the plots and characterizations are a lot more subtle when compared to later seasons, there is still a sense of wackiness to it, the best example being “The Call of the Simpsons” where Homer is mistaken for Bigfoot. Obviously in the first season of any show not every episode will be a success but when Season 1 does things right, it can be a pretty damn good season with just a few hiccups here and there.

Season 2 is basically a new and improved version of season 1, the tone is still very similar but now the characters are more developed and the plots have started to become a lot more intelligent. One of the best things about this season is the way it portrays Homer and Marge’s relationship, you never doubt even for a second that they truly love each other.MV5BZGY0N2RmNDYtNzIwNy00YTcxLTk3Y2YtMTAwNjVlMGRmODdhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_Even something so simple as Marge singing to Homer to cheer him up in “Simpson and Delilah” is very effective and I really do have to give credit to Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner for the amazing vocal performances. The voice acting in this season is brilliant and it does make the emotional scenes are a lot more powerful. This season also starts to develop the secondary characters, whenever Mr. Burns appears in an episode you know it’s going to lead to some very good moments and even Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner have a chance to shine.MV5BZDFiZGMxOTctZjNiZS00NzAzLTg0MjMtNjFjN2Q0MGY4ZDZmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_The wide variety of different characters and personalities was one the main reasons that the show was so good. The storylines are also great, tackling mature issues such as censorship or the corruption of government politics and the show never talks down to its audience. These writers are so talented that not only can they make us laugh, but they can also make us think as well.

This is my personal favorite season of The Simpsons. The first disc has it’s moments, Homer Defined”, “Bart The Murderer”, “Stark Raving Dad” and “When Flanders Failed” are all great episodes.MV5BOWJlYTI5NmEtY2NmZS00YTcwLWExZTYtNjExMzRjNjFlYTcxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjI2OTgyNTE@._V1_The Second Disc has classic such as “Treehouse Of Horror” which is almost as incredibly well written as the first, “Lisa’s Pony” and “Saturdays Of Thunder” are also great. “Flaming Moe’s” is on a different level altogether to all episodes mentioned previously. It is one of the best written, funniest episodes this show has ever produced and will remain an all time classic.From Disc 3 onwards, especially after “Lisa The Greek”, the episodes seem to run into each other, you can’t put the remote control down, you simply have to keep watching. For you are viewing classic episode after classic episode after classic episode. First you have “Homer Alone”. David Stern decided to use a “deeper vein in comedy” in this episode by focusing on Marge rather than Bart or Homer, as most of the other writers were doing. It’s a fantastic episode with lots of humour and lots goes on, it seems more than 21 minutes.MV5BMTY5MDI4MjE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQwOTQ2MjE@._V1_“Bart The Lover” is another fantastic episode. I love hearing the letters that Bart writes to Mrs. Krabappel. “Homer At The Bat” is probably the episode that made me laugh the most in the entire season. My favourite part was when Ken Griffey Jr. had gigantism. “Separate Vocatians” Is a very interesting episode and another one that you can’t fault. It’s as good as every one of the episodes mentioned in this paragraph. There’s so much great humour in this episode. As for the other episodeson Disc 3, “Radio Bart” is a very cleverly written episode and is one of the best to watch. “Lisa The Greek is also as good as everyone of those episodes. One of my favourite episodes of all time, “Colonel Homer”. I think it’s one of the only episodes where Matt Groening wrote the entire thing.Then there is “Black Widower” in which Sideshow Bob marries Selma, which is a great episode, with a hilarious ending. And then, there is my favourite Simpsons episode of all time, The Otto Show. Disc four has “Bart’s Friend Falls In Love” and “Brother Can You Spare two Dimes”, these two episodes are good episodes but not classed as classics compared to the other episodes in the season.MV5BMTY5MDI4MjE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQwOTQ2MjE@._V1_Season 3 was when the Simpsons hit it’s stride and became the animated juggernaut it is today.