Tag Archives: Movies

Top 5 Alternative Movies to Watch This Christmas

Are you sick of the typical holly, jolly, good-natured Christmas movies?  Tired of Charlie Brown and his dopey tree, the antics of Ebenezer Scrooge, and Bing Crosby tap dancing with Danny f’ing Kaye? Are you rooting for that dumb kid to shoot his eye out, ready to cook Rudolph on an open fire,  and finally see Jimmy Stewart take the plunge off that bridge?

Check out our Top 5 alternative movies for you to watch this Christmas!

Bad Santa (2003)

Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox play a Santa/Elf duo who get work at a mall each year during the holiday season only to rob it on Christmas Eve.  The only hitch is that Thornton is a vulgar, alcoholic degenerate who can barely see straight most of the time, let alone interact with children.  The movie is as mean-spirited as it sounds but underneath it all, it probably has the most heart of any film on this list.  It’s also playing at the Enzian for free on December 23rd.

bad-santa-movie-image

Black Christmas (1974)

Every year some channel plays A Christmas Story for 24hrs and leaving it on all day is even a tradition in some households.  It may come as a surprise to some that its director, Bob Clark, made another Christmas movie.  Only instead of being about children and their Christmas wishes, its about a sorority house whose members are tormented and murdered one-by-one during their Christmas party. It’s a great early slasher film with a creepy atmosphere and even creepier killer.

black-christmas-claire

Die Hard (1988)

I’ve had a number of arguments over the years about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie. But it takes place on Christmas Eve during an office Christmas party.  I’d even argue it’s more of a Christmas movie than something like It’s a Wonderful Life. Everyman John McClane is thrust into the role of badass action hero when a criminal group takes the Christmas party hostage, including McClane’s wife.  Over the top, and yet somehow grounded by Willis’s performance, Die Hard is not just one of the best action films of all time, but also one of the best Christmas movies of all time.

Die Hard

Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins comes from the wonderful era of where the line between films for kids and adults was blurred.  Billy gets a Mogwai for Christmas and has three simple rules to follow: Don’t get them wet, don’t feed them after midnight, and keep them away from bright lights. Of course all three are broken, causing Gremlins hatch and bring mischief and mayhem wherever they go.  It’s a Christmas horror comedy that manages perfectly blend its fun and humor with the mean-spirited hijinks of the little green monsters.

Gremlins-Gizmo

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

This is probably the least well known movie on the list.  A boy, Billy (a different Billy from Gremlins) witnesses his parents being raped and murdered by a man dressed as Santa Claus.  Years later after getting a job at a toy store, he’s forced to dress up as Santa, causing him to snap and go on a killing spree. It’s a lesser known slasher flick that’s gained a bit of a a cult following (and four sequels) over the years.  There was plenty of controversy around the film when it was released due to it advertising a killer dressed as Santa. Silent Night, Deadly Night is honestly the worst film here, but if you’re in to cult, 80’s slashers, you’ll want to give it a watch.

silent_night_deadly_night 9

Krampus (2015)

Krampus is technically an honorable mention but I felt it deserved a little more attention.  The only reason it didn’t make the list is because of how new it is and I’d like to see how much yearly rewatchability it has.  It’s the newest film from Michael Dougherty, the writer/director of Trick ‘r Treat (which made out Top 5 Halloween Movies).  If you aren’t aware, Krampus comes from Alpine Folklore about a sort of Christmas Devil who kidnaps and punishes misbehaved children.  Dougherty’s Krampus focuses on a stereotypical dysfunctional Christmas family gathering where everyone’s forgotten the reason for the season. It’s falls into the same vein as Trick ‘r Treat in that Krampus is  about respecting Christmas and keeping its traditions alive. It’s not exactly an over the top, laugh-out-loud horror comedy like Evil Dead 2 or Dead Alive but is ultimately a very fun, light, and twisted Christmas horror film. It’s currently playing in theaters and is one you’ll want to see this month.

Krampus copy

 

Honorable Mentions:

1. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

2. Lethal Weapon

3. Trading Places

Top 5 Movies to Watch on Halloween

Over the course of the month, Central Florida Top 5 has shown you a lot of fun places and events to attend for the fall and to get into the Halloween spirit. But what about those of us looking to spend the holiday with a relaxing night on the couch?  So for such people (like myself), I’ve compiled a list, in no particular order, of the top five movies to watch on Halloween.

 

1. Halloween (1978)

Probably the most obvious film on this list, John Carpenter‘s original Halloween still remains a staple of the holiday and the genre. Before the sequels and convoluted backstory, Michael Myers was a purely evil entity with zero motive.  He was pure evil, terrifying, and didn’t need the darkness to stalk you.  It’s such an iconic film that holds up to this day, making it essentially required viewing to properly celebrate the holiday.

Halloween

2. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

This horror anthology from Michael Dougherty (from the upcoming Krampus) was originally dumped at its release but has since gained a large cult following.  We’re lead through five intertwining stories on Halloween night by Sam, the embodiment of the holiday and enforcer of its traditions. Part of what makes this film so great is how well it captures the spirit of Halloween and blends it’s horror roots with a dark sense of humor.  This is one of the few horror films in the last decade to root itself into my yearly viewing tradition.

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3. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

One of the great things about this one is that it serves at both a Halloween movie and a Christmas movie.  Well, until recently anyway when director Henry Selick confirmed that it’s specifically a Halloween movie great . When Jack Skellington stumbles on Christmas Town, he and the other residents of Halloween Town decide to take over Christmas and put their special Halloween twist on it.  This is not only one of my favorite Halloween movies but my favorite Disney movie.

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4. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

It can’t exactly be considered a movie at only 25 minutes long, it’s absolutely required Halloween viewing.  This one is such a no brainer that there’s not a whole lot to say about it.  Every year I look forward hanging out in the pumpkin patch with Linus to wait for the Great Pumpkin.

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5. The Evil Dead (1981)

This is my favorite horror film of all time.  While its sequels added quite a lot of humor to the mix, this one is a mean, nasty horror flick that never lets up.  Five friends go to a cabin in the woods and unleash evil spirits.  There’s plenty of gore throughout so it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.  Not only is this a relentless and terrifying film for Halloween, but its sequel series Ash vs Evil Dead premieres on Starz Halloween night.

cheryl-cellar

Honorable Mentions

1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

2. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

4. Poltergeist (1982)

5. The Monster Squad (1987)

Review | The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

A few months back, I learned that Guy Ritchie was directing a film version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I was obsessed with the show as a teen when I discovered it in re-runs, so I was thrilled when publicity stills of Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as the iconic secret agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin hit the internet. With new trailer I got more and more excited.

Alicia Vikander, Armie Hammer, and Henry Cavill in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ((c) Warner Bros. Ent.

Alicia Vikander, Armie Hammer, and Henry Cavill in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ((c) Warner Bros. Ent.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was wildly popular when it aired from 1964-1968. At the time, David McCallum (the original Illya, now a regular on NCIS) received more fan mail than any actor in MGM’s history. A certain comic book creator named Stan Lee was a fan of the show, and the agency U.N.C.L.E. (an acronym for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) inspired him to create his own organization for Marvel. You might have heard of it. It’s called S.H.I.E.L.D.

The original show didn’t take itself too seriously, and wouldn’t lend itself well to a gritty, Daniel-Craig-as-James-Bond reimagining. I didn’t want to see a Mission: Impossible-style reboot. I wanted to see Solo and Illya in the the swingin’ Sixties where they belonged. And that’s exactly what I got. Not quite a serious spy movie, not quite an Austin Powers-style parody, U.N.C.L.E. has always been something in between, and the movie was no different.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzYRlISYE8Y&w=560&h=315]

It’s not necessary to be a fan of the show to follow the plot. If you’re familiar with early James Bond films (Ian Fleming was consulted on the original show and even contributed the name “Solo” to the project), you’ll be good here. It’s an origin story, depicting how a CIA agent (Cavill) and a KGB operative (Hammer) on opposite sides of the Cold War come together in 1963 to stop an international criminal organization, made up of former Nazis and led by the deliciously evil Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki, who is outstanding in the villain role), from developing a nuclear bomb. Our guys team up with Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander, whose character is every bit as strong as the men she works with), the daughter of a kidnapped scientist suspected of helping the bad guys, to stop them.

Strap in, it’s a fun movie, with the same light-hearted, caper-y, almost bordering on silly fun the show was known for. (There’s an action sequence involving powerboats, a truck, and a sandwich. You’ll know it when you see it.) It’s also one of the more stylish films you’ll see this year: the 1960s costuming and set decoration details are worth the ticket price alone.

Henry Cavill is a smooth Napoleon Solo, with a performance that seems completely in line with Robert Vaughn’s portrayal on the TV series. Purists may be a little startled, however, by Armie Hammer’s portrayal of Illya Kuryakin. The original Illya was an enigmatic and brilliant figure. Where McCallum’s Illya was brains, then Hammer’s Illya is brawn: a 6’5” wall of muscle who is used by the KGB as a blunt weapon. But Hammer is nearly a foot taller than McCallum, so adjustments are understandable, and Illya in the film is still just as compelling a character.

While the film version isn’t performing as well as expected (only a $13.5 million take its first week), I’m hoping that word of mouth will give the film some legs and commission at least one sequel. My inner teenager was thrilled to see Solo and Illya again, and I’d love to see more.

Fork & Screen Tix
(As a Central Florida-centric aside, my current favorite place to see a film is the AMC Downtown Disney. Especially the Fork & Screen. Sure, you have to dodge tourists and Disney traffic, but you get enormous comfy chairs, a table, and your very own waitress who brings you theatre snacks, full-on entrees, or even cocktails. I had the bistro mac & cheese and some kind of blue drink while I was transported back to 1963 with this movie, and had a wonderful time.)

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – rated PG-13
Runtime: 116 minutes
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Grant

(Photo credit, featured image: Photo by Daniel Smith – © 2014 – Warner Bros., All Rights Reserved)

Review: Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’

*this review contains possible spoilers*

*but it’s Dragon Ball Z so you can probably guess what happens anyway*

 

Resurrection ‘F’ is the second film since series creator, Akira Toriyama’s return to the franchise. It begins some time after the events of Battle of the Gods, opening with Pilaf and Co. still hunting the dragon balls. But they’re being watched and are quickly accosted by what’s left of Frieza’s army on their quest to, as the title suggests, resurrect their leader back from the dead. Once restored, Frieza learns that he’ll need to train in order to stand a chance again Goku, who’s grown much stronger since their last encounter.

Cut to about six months later and the Dragon Ball gang are living fairly peaceful lives while Goku and Vegeta are off training with Whis. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman (an inclusion from Toriyama’s other work) shows up to warn Bulma that Frieza is on his way to Earth. The DB gang, minus some unfortunate exclusions, gather to meet Frieza and his army to stall until Goku and Vegeta arrive. Fighting ensues. Fighting continues. I’m pretty sure we get at least an hour-long fight scene.

The latest DBZ film is fan service in the best possible way. The stalling fight with Frieza’s army serves to give all the attending fighters some great moments. Even Gohan, who’s mostly given up fighting to live a normal life, has some time to shine and prove he’s still got moves. But there are some noticeable absences as Goten and Trunks are left out by Bulma so they can be kept safe. Android 18 is also left out to take care of her daughter but there is some fun dialog between her and Krillin before he leaves. However, the inclusion of Jaco is a lot of fun and his character jives well with the rest of the cast.  I’m hoping to see more of him in Dragon Ball Super.

One of my big complaints with Battle of the Gods was overly silly direction it took. What Resurrection ‘F’ nails is that balance between the gravity of Frieza’s return and its humor between characters. It feels like it’s choosing its punchlines better which ultimately makes them more effective.

dragonballz.com

dragonballz.com

The fight sequences between Goku and Frieza are great but its use of CGI feels distracting at times, similar to Battle of the Gods where the two opponents would be superimposed over a clearly CGI backdrop. Resurrection ‘F’ sometimes takes it a step further where a 2D animated Goku and Frieza would briefly look CG, like they were pulled from a recent DBZ video game.

Resurrection ‘F’ has some story issues too, including the ending being pretty obviously foreshadowed at the beginning of the film. The movie has opportunities to take some unexpected turns but ultimately plays it safe, even stealing away Vegeta’s moment glory. I even wonder how much (if any) impact this will have on the continuity of the series, as reports from Japan are already saying Dragon Ball Super is basically redoing the events of Battle of the Gods. 

But despite its shortcomings, Resurrection ‘F’ manages to be a ton of fun and is certain to please fans both old and new. It delivers on exactly what it promises: the return of Frieza and a grand fight between him and Goku, both with new forms to show off. And while the film never quite reaches the impactful level of the final battle on Namek, getting to see the show’s most iconic villain back, duking it out with Goku on the big screen, is a real treat.

Final Score: 8/10

 

20 New Items on the Enzian & Eden Bar Menu

Enzian and Eden Bar have added twenty new food items to their existing menus, and as long as there are still truffle fries to be had, we’re supportive and pumped to try the new dishes.

“We are excited to provide new food items for our guests and the new items offer a broad range of delicious and affordable dishes,” said Veronica Jaramillo, Food & Beverage Manager. “We always aim to locally source our ingredients and make everything in-house, which is what we’ve done with these new items.”

So, head over to the Enzian to see “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” then check their calendar and pencil a few more films into your schedule (“The Human Centipede III,” anyone!? Maybe “Annie” is more your speed…), then make a few dates to meet at Eden Bar so you can try all of the new offerings. Appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, main courses and desserts are all getting an update.

We’ve got the scoop on all of the new items for you, so you can plan ahead. It’s hard to decide what to eat under the pressure of the lights dimming in the theatre. Enjoy!

APPETIZERS:

Pickled Beet Hummus

Pickled Beet Hummus

Cream Cheese Stuffed Pretzels – Served with spicy mustard and raspberry sauce (or nacho cheese sauce for a little extra)

Pickled Beet Hummus  – Topped with bleu cheese crumbles & pine nuts, served with pita

Fried Oysters – Breaded and fried served with sweet and spicy sauce, tartar sauce, and hot sauce

 

 

SALADS:
Turkey Artichoke Salad – Spring mix, sliced turkey, pine nuts, black olives, banana peppers, marinated artichokes, smoked gouda, basil, & grape tomatoes, served with oil and red wine vinegar

Beef Taco Salad – Mixed greens, beef chili, black beans, grapes tomatoes, mixed cheese, salsa, & sour cream, served in a crispy tortilla shell

Margarita Shrimp Salad – Mixed greens, margarita shrimp, Monterey jack cheese, grape tomatoes, red onion, & cilantro lime vinaigrette served in a crispy tortilla shell

 

SANDWICHES:

Turkey Club B.L.T – Sliced turkey, smoked gouda, Applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, & pepper mayo served on Texas toast

Pecan Chicken Wrap – Fried chicken, smoked gouda, peach glaze, lettuce, tomatoes

Country Beef – Roast beef, caramelized onions, basil roasted tomatoes, thousand island, & coleslaw, served on a butter roll

Braised Pork and Slaw Sandwich

Jalapeno Tuna Melt – Tuna salad & pepper jack served on jalapeno cheddar bread

Braised Pork & Slaw – Palmetto Creek Farms pork, coleslaw, & BBQ on ciabatta

Oyster & Shrimp Shorty – Fried oysters, & shrimp, lettuce, tomato, & sweet and spicy sauce

Herbivore – Button mushrooms, spinach, red pepper, basil aioli, Swiss, 3-year aged cheddar, & pepper mayo

 

PIZZAS:

Antipasto – Banana peppers, black olives, artichoke hearts, red peppers, salami, balsamic glaze, mozzarella, provolone, & marinara

Chicken Bacon Ranch – Marinated chicken, alfredo sauce, ranch dressing, bacon, diced tomatoes, mozzarella, & provolone
ENTREES:

Blackened Mahi Tacos – Served on corn tortillas with coleslaw, & avocado, with beans, & rice

Steak Diane – Sliced steak topped with mushroom & onion gravy, served potatoes au gratin and broccoli

 

DESSERTS:

Raspberry Beignets

Raspberry Beignets

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich – Peanut butter ice cream served between chocolate chip cookies dipped in chocolate

White Chocolate Bread Pudding – Served with bourbon cream sauce

Raspberry Beignets – Dusted with powdered sugar, & drizzled with raspberry sauce

 

 

 

Enzian is Central Florida’s only full-time, not-for-profit cinema for first-run independent and international film, classic revivals, documentary features, and select family entertainment. Enzian, a member-supported organization serving the community for more than 30 years, is home to the Florida Film Festival and Eden Bar. For additional information, visit Enzian.org or call general information at (407) 629-1088.

Photos by Andres Casallas