It always happens around the same time, where I notice uncharitable acts on the rise. The first one I saw was a couple of weeks ago in the parking lot of the shopping mall. I was driving around looking for a space when I drove up behind a car that had its turn signal on; they were waiting for someone to pull out of a space just ahead of them. As the parked car was pulling out another car came barreling down towards us from up ahead. Due to the direction the parked car was backing up, they blocked the car in front of me from taking the space immediately. The new car cut off the reversing car and whipped into the now empty parking spot. The poor driver in front of me could only glare at the driver as they drove off looking for another space. Welcome to the holiday season! I see such craziness around this time of year, where people seem to have been programmed to take no prisoners while they are on their shopping missions for gifts. Once I saw two people fighting over a flat screen TV, each trying to grab the last box from the other person. They looked like maniacal warriors in their tall stocking hats with their single pom-poms jousting in the air. Looking in from the outside I am curious where this whole idea of gift giving took on the attitude that the bigger present always win. It seems as if more and more people every year go through the season at a higher level of stress, complaining about a multitude of things from food prices to relatives. Don’t they know who may come and visit them? WHEN the young son of Sarah and Tom, played by Toni Collette (Miss You Already, The Way Way Back) and Adam Scott (Black Mass, Sleeping with Other People), became disgusted with how the holidays were turning out, he unwittingly invited an unwelcome guest to visit his family. This comedic horror story surprised me. I was not familiar this fantasy was based on German/Austrian folklore. The opening scene was the perfect way to start out this story in my opinion. With David Koechner (Anchorman franchise, Get Smart) as Howard and Conchata Ferrell (Erin Brockovich, Edward Scissorhands) as Aunt Dorothy, the whole cast worked well together even though they were close to being stereotypes. The script kept things moving along; some scenes were predictable, others were fun in that sort of creepy way for a horror flick. This is not a movie for young children; there were some scenes that would I think be scary for them. Since I had never heard of Krampus, this picture was enjoyable for me. I actually liked the idea behind the story and felt it could be a reality check for people like the ones I have already encountered out shopping at the stores. There were a couple of scenes that showed blood.
2 1/2 stars
My version of scouting and the scouts has not been updated for many years. So please understand I mean no disrespect or ill will towards them. When I think of the scouts, images form in my mind of boys and girls helping elderly people across busy streets or carrying grocery bags out to shoppers’ cars. The other thing that comes to mind is scouts sitting around campfires that were started by rubbing two sticks together or a single scout tying intricate knots out of a piece of rope. During my childhood I was asked at one point if I would like to join the scouts and I remember replying no. There was something about their uniforms that creeped me out. I did not like the idea of everyone wearing the same outfit like a military unit. Now you would think that is odd for someone who loved playing with toy soldiers, but my soldiers were not only trained for combat but they had the ability to fly. Scouts to me just looked like an ordinary group that enjoyed camping which I never liked even as a small boy. The idea of sleeping on the ground in a bag in a tent used to gross me out. So you can imagine how digging a hole and covering up my waste products, whether it was true or not, would make me feel. Putting these memories aside, what remains are wholesome scenes of exploring forests, canoeing down streams and making s’mores. It is because of these thoughts I especially found the idea for this comedic horror film funny. WITH their small town being taken over by zombies childhood friends and scout mates Ben, Carter and Augie; played by Tye Sheridan (Mud, The Tree of Life), Logan Miller (Deep Powder, I’m in the Band-TV) and newcomer Joey Morgan; would have to use what they learned in the scouts to defend their town. This film festival nominee appeared at first to be a fresh take on the zombie genre. I thought the actors played their roles perfectly to reflect the feelings and antics of teenage boys. There were a few scenes that produced a chuckle or smile in me; however, shortly into the film the story fell apart and became a cliched run of the mill zombie story. Sarah Dumont (Don Jon, Playing it Cool) was the female eye candy as Denise and David Koechner (Get Smart, Paul) played nerdy scout leader Rogers who had a secret; they were standard characters in my opinion. I really wished this movie would have taken more risks because I think it could have been fun to watch, though there wer several gross scenes filled with blood and violence. In addition, I understand the movie studio is testing a new formula by releasing this picture early for home viewing. Maybe they would be better off not resurrecting it. Lots of blood shown in this film and the R rated trailer.
Credit has to be given to a person who believes their own convictions. Their dedication does not waiver during the low points in their life. When I was auditioning at several health clubs to teach aerobics, I still remember the reactions I got from several fitness directors. The most negative comments came from the director of one of the more prestigious health clubs in the city. As I drove home I went over everything I did in the audition, looking for something that I could have done differently, wondering what caused the sourness on that director’s face. Knowing my style was different with its choreographed movements; by the time I got home I decided I would not change, believing there was a place that would take a chance on me. The following week I had an audition where I did the same routines and this time the director not only had a smile on her face but joined in on the routines. I was hired on the spot. Since then whenever I applied to teach at another club I would insist the director come to my class to see what I was doing instead of me performing in their empty aerobic studio. Understanding a person’s dedication, I have to commend Will Ferrell (Elf, The Other Guys) in his desire to entertain audiences by bringing back his character, newsman Ron Burgundy. In this sequel a television station decided to launch a 24 hour news channel, looking at Ron Burgundy to be one of their announcers. Assembling his former news team Brick Tamland, Brian Fantana and Champ Kind, played by Steve Carell (The Way Way Back, Get Smart), Paul Rudd (Role Models, Wanderlust) and David Koechner (Thank you for Smoking, Balls of Fury), the news team came to New York City to make their mark with their own style of reporting. This comedy film had been hyped for so many months by the time I sat down to watch it I have to admit I was already a bit tired of it. The film trailers had the better jokes from the script because what I saw was not all that funny. Sure there were a couple of chuckles, due more to the outrageousness of the scene, but I did not find much creativity being used throughout the film. I did enjoy the variety of celebrity cameos, surprised by the actors who agreed to be in the movie. For those looking for some mindless fun, this would be the film to see. There was a brief extra scene at the end of the credits.