What’s on Your Holiday Movie Marathon DVD List?

We could probably write a book about all of the Christmas and holiday themed movies that are available on DVD. This has been a popular movie topic since they first started making movies. There are some great ones of course and then a few good, and of course those that maybe just never should have been made. I am going to share with you my must see list of movies that propel me straight into the holiday spirit.

It’s a Wonderful Life

This is the granddaddy of must watch movies for Christmas. Have it on while opening your gifts or making dinner. You are always going to stop what you’re doing to see the iconic Jimmy Stewart in one of the most often watched DVDs in history.

A Christmas Carol

Taken from a Charles Dicken’s book, the story behind a Christmas Carol has been retold in a hundred different ways. The classic black and white version is good, but if you want to roll over belly laugh this Christmas, check out Bill Murray’s take on the story in Scrooged. This is one of the funniest Christmas movies ever made.

A Miracle on 34th Street

The only people not watching it’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas are New Yorkers, because their busy watching this classic film. There are remakes and adaptations of this story available, but in this case the original is the best.

Home Alone

Another movie great for laughs, about the little kid stuck by himself for Christmas fighting off bad guys. Joe Pesci as the bungling crook is casting genius as he is constantly being one upped by a 6 year old. There are a number of sequels to this movie, but none that match the original.

A Christmas Story

You can never get too much of this movie around the holidays. Just thinking about it makes me want to go outside and stick my tongue on aA Christmas Story lamp post. If you have never seen this movie, you have to. And once you do you are never going to forget it.

Now that you have your list, get set-up for your ultimate movie marathon for the holidays. Turn on the Christmas tree lights and turn off all the others. Light your holiday scented essential oil candles and place them strategically around the room. Essential oils come in all kinds of Christmasy scents, like cinnamon, pumpkin and even pine tree. And oh hey, ever notice that diffusers are an excellent Christmas gift idea?

Now of course pop the popcorn and make the egg nog because you are about to hit play and be thrown right into the Christmas spirit, whether you want to or not.

 

Movie Dentists Who’s Chair You Never Want to Sit In

Dentists are naturally scary, making them a great theme for thrillers. If you are getting ready to have some dental work done, we highly recommend that you stay far away from these movies out on DVD:

Little Shop of Horrors

As if the man eating plant wasn’t enough, this 1986 classic has Steve – ’cause I’m a funny guy- Martin as a black apron wearing dentist from the underworld. He steals this movie right out from under the other stars.

steve

Finding Nemo

Bet you forgot about Nemo’s first home inside of a dental office. This isn’t really a scary dentist per say, but it does set the stage for a scary story about a little lost fishy.

The Man Who Knew Too Much

After watching this 1934 treat from Alfred Hitchcock you are going to be finding the best electric toothbrush on the market and using it 15 times a day to avoid having to sit in a dentist chair again.

Marathon Man

Laurence Olivier and this movie are the reason why I bought a water flosser from waterflosserhq.com. This is an intense movie, whose overall subject matter revolving the Nazis and the holocaust may not be suitable for young ones.

Ghost Town

While this is technically a comedy, I don’t think I’d want my dentist talking to the ghost of his grandmother while drilling out a cavity. Just sayin’

The Whole Nine Yards

This is one of the funniest movies to come out of the year 2000. Matthew Perry is the dentist, but the scary stuff comes when the mafia hit man (played to perfection by the late Michael Clark Duncan) gets a hold of him, and his tooth extractor.

The Dentist

The first known portrayal of a dentist in film came in 1932. W.C. Fields is the villainous dentist who treats his patients without the benefit of any painkillers. No thanks, I’ll have my root canal with a nice side of novocaine.

In 1996, another The Dentist was released , based on the real life story of dentist turned serial killer Nick Rex. In this true dentist horror movie, a mild mannered dentist –played by Corbin Bernsen- goes on a massive killing spree after catching his wife doing the dirty with the pool man.

While a bit gory, even for a horror movie, this is a good parody of the idea behind a mad dentist. This movie has a large cult following, and has produced a sequel since the initial release.

Taking a theme that we already have a fear of, and working it into a movie is suspense genius. The next time you get a tooth ache, watching one of these movies will make you think twice about having it checked out.

Check out some other professions that make a big impact on the big screen

Out on DVD: The Slammin’ Salmon

The 2009 cult classic “The Slammin’ Salmon” has made it to DVD. If you have ever waited a table, washed a dish, or cooked a meal in a restaurant you have to see this movie.

The late Michael Clarke Duncan (The really big convict in “The Green Mile”) stars as an ex-boxer who decides to open up a seafood restaurant in Maine. To get his staff motivated, he offers a prize of ten grand to the waiter who makes the most tips in one night.

This film is from Broken Lizard, the same group that brought us Beerfest in 2006. Expect the same type of slapstick comedy and smart ass one liners that Broken Lizard has become known for.

duncan

The plot of this movie is a bit silly, but watching the antics that typically take place in a restaurant are hilarious. If you were a fry cook for example, then you can completely appreciate the hemming and hawing of having to clean the fryer every night. Deep fry cooks all around the world applaud the trick of just topping off the deep fryer with fresh oil to make it look clean.

The same banter between cooks and waiters you see in the movie also are going on while you wait for your dinner.  Even the young hostess screaming at the dishwasher for clean silverware is a common occurrence.

Plot aside, the jokes are solid and the cast is great. Duncan is much more believable as a tough guy boxer turned restaurant owner then he was a teary eyed death row inmate. Other actors included Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme and Jay Chandreasekhar.

There are a few surprise cameos in the restaurant crowd, including Morgan Fairchild and Vivica A. Fox. It was fun to see these two normally straight ladies let loose a bit in a silly comedy.  All of the customer-server interactions are hilarious to watch, especially if you have ever waited on tables before.

The movie did not get the best reviews, but that is usually the case with this type of campy comedy. Crude jokes and funny pranks don’t normally make reviewers jump up and applaud. If you work or have worked in a restaurant, it is my suggestion that you call of your work buddies and have a restaurant themed movie night. There is this one of course but there is also the gut wrenchingly funny “Waiting” that you can add to the list. These both take a look at the workings of your typical home town restaurant, which unknown to the customers, managers and owners, is really being run by a bunch of adolescent waiters and cooks.

Go grab the jiffy pop and maybe throw on your old apron. With this addition of restaurant antics out on DVD, people may never want to eat out again. Now click here for more movie reviews!

The 5 Best Movie Remakes of All Time

There are just some movies that can never be replicated, or never should have (think Psycho). Then there are those that manage to take a beloved movie and make it better. Here are our picks for some re-makes that are worth watching over and over again:

Cape Fear

Put Bobby De Niro in any movie and you have a instant hit. This Martin Scorsese master piece puts Bobby as the bad guy, going after the man who had locked up and his family. Eerily suspense filled, this 1991 film put Juliette Lewis on the star map as Nick Nolte’s daughter and the target of DeNiro’s terror. What makes it even better is the cameo appearances of Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck, who had starred in the original. We love when they do that!

Down and Out in Beverly Hills

Another remake with Nick Nolte in the lead (what happened to him anyway?), this is a remake of Boudu Saved From Drowning. Combing the dry humor of Nolte against the vivacious Bette Midler and understated Richard Dreyfuss was casting genius. This is a hilarious movie that can be watched over and over just for the scenes with Little Richard.

Ocean’s Eleven

It would seem impossible to remake a brat pack packed flick that had all the greats of the ‘60’s pulling off the heist of a lifetime. Yet not only did Steven Soderbergh pull it off, he made a franchise out of the deal, with not one, but two sequels. Both surprisingly as good as the first. The cast is fantastic with too many stars to name and the soundtrack perfect. This is a class act movie that makes you laugh, cling to your seat and end up scratching your head wondering how the hell they just did that.

Scarface

Not many people even realize that this is a remake, it is that good. If you have never seen Al Pacino as Scarface, put the kids to bed early with earplugs and get ready for a very bloody and very exciting ride. This classic movie about the rise and (big) fall of Cuban drug lord Tony Montana in Florida is one of those movies that will never leave you. In fact, I bet you’ll be heard telling the kids in the morning, “Say hello to my little friend”.

say hello to my little friend

say hello to my little friend

Robin Hood

The worlds most famous outlaw has made so many movie appearances that it is hard to keep track. The latest, in 2010, is a standout with Russell Crowe taking the lead. The only key element missing from this version was the infamous archery match where traditionally Robin shows up in disguise, pulls back his bow, and shoots his arrow for a perfect bulls eye. This is where he wins the money and the heart of the maiden Mary. Other than that obvious non-inclusion in the 2010 version (maybe they hadn’t checked out the latest and greatest over at http://www.fastflightarchery.com yet?), the story telling and imagery make this a remake worth making popcorn for.

For some, the first is always the best. Yet there are those times when a strong cast and great videography can make what was already good, even better.

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What qualifies as a good outdoor movie?

outdoors treesThere are so many types of movies out there, but we’re going to focus on just one today – the outdoor movie.

I’m talking specifically about manly outdoor hunting and adventure movies. They’ve all got that sort of clear quality to them that you only get with a film that’s shot mostly outside in the woods.

I’m thinking burly dudes, beards, tons of plaid, backpacking and sleeping under the stars, and maybe some guns.

There are some incredible classics out there, but also some that miss the mark and make you wonder who on earth would have funded the making of the film. The ones that are good tend to have a few things in common…so if you’re a producer reading this, you’re welcome! ;)

1. Imminent Danger

There’s always a threat of danger when you’re in the woods, isn’t there? There are a few good movies featuring large bears that are intent on taking out the main characters, so bears are usually good. Add to that the fact that there are usually men with guns hunting each other, massive rock faces to fall off of, and various ankle-breaking crevices to fall into, and you’re always stressed out while watching the film because they could be hurt or die at literally any second.

2. Good Actors

OK so most movies need this to be great. But outdoor movies can be really cheesy really fast if they don’t have a serious dude who can pull the whole thing back to reality. Because there are fewer effects and ‘staged’ things out doors, it is more raw and you need actors that can keep up with the more honest surroundings.

3. Real Situations

It’s so hard to watch a movie where they get the outdoor stuff wrong when it’s based outdoors. Survival techniques that are ridiculous, basic things that normal outdoorsmen would do being overlooked, that kind of thing – I just hate watching those as even a modest lover of the outdoors. How unrealistic is it that someone can put up a tent easily in just 5 minutes? Get a grip folks, it’s impossible! (I kid, I kid, but seriously)…Get your facts straight, talk to the experts, and don’t try to force it. Make it natural, come on now!

 

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Top 10 Pregnancy Movies

Babies are fun and a lot of work in real life. But on film they can be hilarious to experience without all of those pesky parental responsibilities and morning sickness. These are some fun movies to watch when you want to get pregnant–or are trying to avoid it!

1. Knocked Up

Accidentally pregnant from an unfortunate one night stand, Alison and Ben discover that they have nothing in common but are going to give their relationship a try as they are having a baby together. As an irresponsible “loser”, Ben follows a rocky path to discovery that he needs to, and wants to, take responsibility for his child while Alison goes through her own process of learning to trust the father of her child.  This 2007 American film was a box office success and well received by critics.

2. Juno

This 2007 drama-comedy combination stars Ellen Page as a teen, Juno, who is pregnant and decides to give the baby up for adoption. In the meantime, the father of the adoptive couple shows emotion for Juno and reveals that he’s leaving his wife, Vanessa. Juno’s relationship with the baby’s teen father is complicated as they explore their affections for one another and ultimately admit their feelings. The father of the adoptive couple leaves, and Juno gives birth to s baby boy whom she turns over to the Vanessa as a single adoptive mom.

3. Baby Mama

Kate (Tina Fey) hires a young woman, Angie (Amy Poehler) to be a surrogate mother when she finds out she cannot carry her own or adopt a child. The woman’s fertilization process is a failure but she fakes pregnancy in order to still get paid, but ultimately becomes pregnant by her own boyfriend and has to explain to Kate that the baby is not hers. Eventually Kate is pregnant by her own boyfriend even though her doctor told her it was impossible when she was not ovulating. When do I ovulate?, was her hilarious response. Comedy and chaos ensue as the women eventually raise their children together in this popular 2008 film. Continue reading

Top Five Movies About Hair

From heads to toes, whether there is an excess of it or a shortage of it, whether it is in the “right” places or the wrong ones, hair is a topic that has been obsessed about throughout history. Grooming hair, styling hair, facial hair, removing hair, and transplanting hair are all topics of conversation in homes, at work, at school, on television, and in the movies. Some of the top ranking movies about hair are creative, funny, poignant, and even significant with topics such as war and racial integration.

1. Hairspray

The movie Hairspray follows Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) in 1962 as she auditions for The Corny Collins Show, which is a fictional teenage television dance party. Tracy’s popularity on the show leads to a plus-sized modeling gig and she begins to bleach and tease her hair into a new style, which lands her in the principal’s office at school for what her teacher called a “hair-don’t” instead of a hairdo. It’s apparently obvious that certain kinds of shampoo for frizzy hair had not been introduced to the market yet.

An interracial romance begins with Tracy’s white friend and a black boy, while Tracy enters into a beauty pageant where a bomb is planted in a bouffant hairdo as an act of rebellion against racial integration. Ultimately Tracy wins the crown and stands up for her black friends.

Although it received mediocre ratings with its original release in 1988, this video cult classic has been praised for its theme of racial integration. The original film brought in about $8 million upon its original release, but was adapted into a Broadway musical in 2002, which won eight Tony Awards. An adaptation of the stage musical was then released in 2007 and in 2008 was ranked on Empire magazine’s at #444 of the 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. Continue reading

Top Action Films

SpeedOf all of the best and top grossing films, it seems that action films are the ones that gets high sales and ratings most of the time. In addition to that, many of us seek the thrill that this genre brings and it’s somewhat very captivating. Furthermore, we love spending movie time with our friends, relatives and other people as this can be a great time to bond together. And of course, after a heavy day of work, isn’t it great to watch someone get stabbed, blown up or undergo through seemingly impossible obstacle from the comfort of your living room?

So now, we’ll bring you ten of the best action films that you can watch in no particular order. Ready? Let the show begin!

Speed (1994)

Though it’s about a decade old, it still earns a place to our best ten as it is one of the best action films ever made. Feel the adrenaline rush as you watch the young cop try to stop a bomb explosion attached to a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph.

The Transporter (2002)

The story revolves around an Ex-Special Forces operator Frank Martin which calls himself as the transporter. He moves goods from one place to another and there’s no questions asked, be it a human or other thing and he must adhere to the strict rules.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

This is the conclusion of an epic action trilogy, which centers on the main character Jason Bourne. He is a CIA assassin suffered from extreme memory loss who needs to figure out who he is. All he knows he’s totally badass and could probably kill someone with nothing but a wicked tactical pen. I recommend watching the trilogy.

Taken (2008)

A retired CIA agent got his daughter kidnapped while on a Paris trip and he must rely on his skills to save her. Kim, Bryan’s daughter travelled to Paris only to get kidnapped by human traffickers. Now, the kidnapper wished Bryan good luck to look for her daughter in Paris.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

If you are an Arnold Schwarzenegger fan, you certainly knew this, but for those who haven’t seen it yet, I recommend that you watch this. The story revolves around the Connor family which the Terminator is set to kill.

Aliens (1986)

If you love sci-fi action with a mix of horror elements, Aliens is your best bet. From thrilling suspense and action, Aliens delivers excellent horrific action to your screen. Bring a flashlight if you’re going to watch it alone. This thriller can get pretty spooky!

The Dark Knight (2008)

Packed with action, suspense, crime and drama, The Dark Knight tells the story of Batman in a fascinating way. Watch as Batman struggles against his enemies, including himself.

Commando (1985)

Another Schwarzenegger film, the story revolves around an elite Black Ops Commando who launched a one man war against a group of South American criminals. Packed with violence, fun and endless action, it’ll surely bring you pure action awesomeness.

13 Assassins (2010)

An epic story about feudal Japan, it unravels the story of the 13 assassins grouped together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord. This brilliant film will captivate you from beautifully crafted story to action packed scenes.

Die Hard (1988)

This film by Bruce Willis has been a talk for decades. Die hard will bring you an action packed thrill ride that’s one of the best in the genre.

Our Picks: The Best Movies About Animals

Although it is that much more difficult to make a film about an animal, a family movie that involves animals is a guaranteed box office hit. Most such movies involve dogs because they are more accessible and are easier to train. However, there are popular films about a number of animals such as horses, like ‘The Black Stallion’ released in 1979, marine mammals, like ‘Flipper’ released in 1996 featuring a dolphin, and primates, such as ‘Gorillas in The Mist’ released in 1988. Which of those are really the best is a matter of personal taste. Nonetheless, popularity can be measured in gross revenue.

One of the most popular, thus one of the most profitable movies involving not one but over a hundred dogs, is the ‘101 Dalmatians’ released in 1996. An incredible feat of training, it’s likely that many training tactics were employed, and we thank the team at k9fencereviews.com for letting us know about some of the methods they likely used to keep the dogs in check while between takes. They may very well have used PetSafe products to keep the dogs from running about when the film wasn’t rolling.

The movie was written and produced by John Hughes, based on the homonymous novel by Dodie Smith published in 1956. It was the second adaptation of the novel by Walt Disney Pictures. The first was an animated film released in 1961. It was directed by Stephen Herek and grossed over 300 million dollars worldwide.

The film is about an American video game designer Roger (Jeff Daniels), who lives in London with his pet Dalmatian, Pongo. Roger and Anita (Joely Richardson) meet and marry when Pongo goes after Anita’s female Dalmatian, Perdy. Anita is a fashion designer at the House of de Vil. Her boss, Cruella de Vil (Glenn Close) is inspired to make a coat out of Dalmatians. She instructs two of her henchmen to pay for or steal Dalmatian puppies, together with Perdy’s 15 newborns and take them to her country estate. The men are outsmarted by other dogs and animals and the puppies manage to escape, whereas Cruella is arrested while trying to retrieve them.
Another very popular animal film is ‘Free Willy’ released in 1993. It features a captive orca whale and its bond to a 12-year-old troublesome boy. This family drama film, made Warner Bros over 150 million dollars worldwide, so they decided to go ahead with three sequels (The Adventure Home, The Rescue, and Escape from Pirate’s Cove), as well as a brief, animated tv series, none of which was as profitable though. The theme for the film was produced and performed by Michael Jackson and won the best movie song MTV award.

The plot is touching. A young boy, Jesse (Jason James Richter), stranded by his mother at the age of 6, is wandering the streets of Astoria, Oregon and gets caught by the police vandalizing a water theme park. After finding a foster home, he is obligated to clean up after himself at the park. At the process, he becomes close with an orca whale name Willy and decides to set him free. At the end, with the aid of his new parents, he manages to do so. The film received much criticism, as the irony is apparent in the finale. The star was far from being actually free and would be kept in a tank for a considerable number of years, until its actual release in 2002.

Documentaries depict animals much more accurately than any other film; however, very rarely a documentary becomes a huge box office hit. The ‘March of the Penguins’ is a 2005 French production, which grossed almost 130 million dollars. It was directed by Luc Jacquet and co-produced by the National Geographic Society. The documentary is about the annual journey of Emperor Penguins of Antarctica and their extreme breeding practices. It took the cinematographers two years to film it under severe conditions. It won an academy award in 2005, as it took audiences by storm on a global scale.

 

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Why Did Blu-Ray Beat HD-DVD in the Race to Replace the DVD?

blu ray vs hd dvdThere were a number of factors that contributed to the prevalence of Blu-ray technology over HD-DVD in the battle of the high definition video disc that would replace ordinary DVDs. This battle lasted for almost a decade, involving all major electronics companies, film studios and production companies and of course consumers, who were caught in the middle of the ongoing fight.

It all started in 2000, when the innovative technology of blue lasers, instead of red, was utilized in optical disc systems. The wavelength of blue laser beam is much shorter than red. Because of this, data can be stored in much less actual space, providing a disc of the size of a DVD with at least three times its regular capacity. This additional space is used to store high definition video.

So, in 2000 Sony and Pioneer revealed DVR Blue, which was the cradle of Blu-ray discs. Two years later, Sony introduced the Blu-ray Disc plans. A few months later, Toshiba and Nec propose a new disc format that would later become the HD DVD. In October 1st 2002, at Japan’s Ceatec exhibition, Toshiba demonstrated the predecessor of HD DVD, AOD (Advanced Optical Disc). At the same time, Sony, Pioneer, Sharp, Panasonic and JVC unveiled a prototype Blu-ray Disc recorder. A year later, Mitsubishi Electric joins the Blu-ray Disc team, which is getting ahead by commercializing its products and releasing the first Blu-ray recorder at the price of almost 4,000 USD.

In 2004, Toshiba introduces to the market the first HD-DVD player, which is also compatible with DVDs. It gains support by HBO, Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures. However, the Blu-ray format is growing and gaining recognition. Hewlett-Packard and Dell advocate in favor of Blu-ray, together with Walt Disney Pictures.

The following year was rather confusing. Having two formats was pointless, so Toshiba and Sony discussed the possibility of an integration, however their talks were inconclusive. Lions Gate Home Entertainment and Universal Music Group decided to back Blu-ray, while Microsoft and Intel decided to support HD-DVD. Paramount and Hewlett-Packard revised their decision of an exclusive support. A little later in 2006, LG, which was thought to be a Blu-ray supporter, announced that it is developing an HD-DVD drive. At that point, things were very ambivalent.

The two following years were turbulent. In 2007, LG introduced a dual-format player, while Warner Bros unveils a disc holding both formats. These were unsuccessful attempts to preserve both formats since this was not cost effective. One after the other, movie production studios dropped one of the two formats. There was a price plummeting of Toshiba products through 2007. At the early beginning of 2008, Warner Bros announced that will drop HD-DVD format. Within the next few days, Toshiba tried to sell out. Major retailers in the US gradually phased out HD-DVD. Best Buy and Netflix announced their intention a few days before Wal-Mart. And on the 16th of February 2008, it was broadcasted that Toshiba discontinues the production of HD-DVD players.

The Blu-ray preceded the HD-DVD and had built a stronger foundation. The Blu-ray team consisted of a great number of companies, many of which participated in the original projects. The Blu-ray does offer some advantages over the HD-DVD format. As a result, when Toshiba lost the support of Warner Bros, merely lost the fight.