Director: Kurtis David Harder
Writer: Colin Minihan, John Poliquin (Screenplay)
Starring: Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Ari Cohen, Jennifer Laporte, Lochlyn Munro, Chandra West, Ty Wood, Thomas Elms
Plot: A same-sex couple move to a small town so they can enjoy a better quality of life and raise their 16 year-old daughter with the best social values. But nothing is as it seems in their picturesque neighborhood. And when Malik sees the folks next door throwing a very strange party, something shocking has got to give.
Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Spiral starts as couple Malik (Bowyer-Chapman) and Aaron (Cohen), along with Aaron’s teenage daughter Kayla (Laporte) move to a small town for better quality of life, while the three look to get to know the neighbours, Marshal (Munro) and Tiffany (West), they don’t always feel as welcome as they thought, where Malik believes there is something strange going on.
Thoughts on Spiral
Characters – Malik is one half of the couple, he does have a past where he suffered a hate crime towards him, with his career being targeted at home with his writing, however his time alone away from the big city only starts to play into the paranoid nature he has been going through. Aaron is the grounded of the couple, he has the daughter and starts to worry about the change in Malik, he doesn’t worry if people are against them as a couple, he is happy with the life he has. Kayla is the 16-year-old daughter of Aaron’s she isn’t happy about the move, but is trying to get on with her own life like any other teenage girl. Marshal and Tiffany are the friendly neighbours, looking to welcome the three to the neighbourhood, even if Malik suspects them of something else.
Performances – Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman in the leading role is the man that keeps us wondering just what will be happening in the movie, he has a lot of scenes alone, with his reactions helping feel the unease he always goes through. Ari Cohen does everything right without needing to do too much. Jennifer Laporte does become one of the most interesting performances through the film. With Lochlyn Munro and Chandra West being the overly nice figures we need in the film.
Story – The story here follows a gay couple and one of their children move to a small town to start a quieter life, only for one of the couple to start to feel like he isn’t as welcome as they once thought. This does bring us a form of hate crime mixed with a town’s traditions, showing us how a former victim of a hate crime will always be haunted by the moment, always looking over their shoulder in fear it might happen again. The story does have a lot unease about what is going on through the film, slowly unfolding the truth about what is really going on, with Malik being the one learning the truth.
Thriller – The film does keep us feeling the unease of everything going on, keeping us wanting to know what is going on through the film.
Settings – The film gives us the small-town setting, which will add to everything that surrounds the mystery about what is happening, with the shots used for different moments of horror.
Scene of the Movie – Kayla’s bridge incident.
Final Thoughts – This is an eerie thriller that will keep you feeling uneasy from start to finish, leading up to a shocking conclusion.
Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)
Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, John Randolph, Diane Ladd
Plot: The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.
Tagline – Yule crack up!
Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: True American Christmas Film
Story: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starts when Clark Griswold (Chase) has decided his family, Ellen (D’Angelo), Audrey (Lewis) and Rusty (Galecki) are going to host Christmas for the whole family this year, as per normal for Clark he goes through a series of mishaps as the family reacts to his action.
Clark will soon learn that hosting Christmas isn’t going to be as easy as he once thought as the series of unfortunate events seem to be piling up.
Thoughts on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Characters – Clark is the ever-enthusiastic father, husband and son that wants to impress his family with his first Christmas as a complete family, this soon leads him to make a series of clumsy errors which only he could find himself in. Ellen is the ever-supportive wife of Clark that isn’t sure this will be a good idea, though she supports this decision through. Audrey and Rusty are the children that are seeing their father and his series of events, while we do get to see many of the family members through the year.
Performances – Chevy Chase was always the heart of the vacation movies, his performance shows a comic timing are perfect through the film, while the rest of the cast know how to let him get the most out of his moments.
Story – The story follows the events of the Griswold’s as they look to celebrate their first Christmas in Clark’s household. This continues the idea of seeing the holidays that the family go on and how they go wrong, while teaching the lesson about supporting your family no matter how different they are, because family is what is important at the holiday time. This doesn’t do anything to that we don’t already know and we have seen many movies try to do this since and failed. This is the one that the Christmas time will call for seeing once a year, at Christmas.
Comedy – The comedy here shows us just how brilliant at timing Chevy Chase is, because nearly every laugh comes from him, we do also get the set-up laugh moments which pay off well through the film too.
Settings – The film is set in the Gridwold household which shows us how everyone can come together for Christmas.
Final Thoughts – This is a brilliant America Christmas movie that can be enjoyed by the whole family for years to come.
Overall: True Christmas classic.