Archive for the ‘Advent Calendar’ Category

CFAC – Day 26: It’s Finally Fucking Over/I’m Too Drunk and Full of Food To Move.

Nanu Advent Day Boxing Day

After a glorious day, and an even more delightful month, boxing day has returned. This is the only hangover no one complains about – except for those unhappy that Christmas is over. Now perhaps you have to indulge some extraneous family – and for some this becomes a war of attrition. Whether you are at home, and hoping to catch a classic, or want something to reflect your inner experience, my recommendation for today is…



The Great Escape (1963)

John Sturges, 172 mins

This is the pinnacle of bank holiday movies. Steve McQueen (not that Steve McQueen, this Steve McQueen) leads the resistance in a prisoner of war camp. If you are a Brit you know this film like the back of your hand. Oh god, the end. I’ve just remembered the ending. But my, isn’t this a long one add in the inevitable adverts and you’ll need to plan for a day’s inactivity!

If this isn’t on – which rumours suggest it isn’t – then maybe try to hunt down…

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17 (1953)

Billy Wilder, 120 mins

Less of a classic this side of the Atlantic, the american Prisoner of War equivalent is a story

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that has christmas and war at its centre. Subterfuge and espionage add tension to the film in an enjoyable war film.


Alternative to this, stick on whatever Santa left in your stocking. There are no fucking rules any more, why are you even here? Go Fucking Home! Stop reading this right now – if you are reading this then you are to blame. I’m not even writing this – I wrote this weeks ago and set it to auto-publish on boxing day, so you are doing yourself no favours by reading this.

Seriously, fuck the fuck off and go and enjoy your family. Jesus (literally).

CFAC – Day 25: Christmas Day

Nanu Advent Day Christmas Day

Merry Christmas one and all!

You”ve made it here at last. Have you opened your presents yet? Has santa been? are you at home? are you sitting comfortably? Are you drunk? Tired? Full? Drowsy?


I DONT CARE. The doctor prescribes this…



It”s A Wonderful Life (1946)


Frank Capra, 130 mins

There is no two ways about it, this is the film to end all Christmas films, with James Stewart taking the lead as our suicidal protagonist. It”s a long, dark, bleak film and I make no apologies for this – nothing will make you feel better about yourself and every gluttonous sin you have achieved today alone than watching this film. More to the point, many of you reading this no doubt will not have seen this masterpiece, and would have instead watched some other buntless brokenfist of a film (n.b. these are not real words so don”t look em up). This is a great film that is a classic for good reason, and like Cassablanca and those that meet similar fates, deserve your time at least this once, and then again every year. Please watch this film, and bring you family round the screen to share in the glory that is It”s a wonderful life


But if you can”t do that for some reason, then I have begrudgingly permitted an alternative film for today which is…



Shrek The Halls (2007)


Gary Trousdale, 21 mins

If you aren”t going to watch it”s a wonderful life, then you want something so totally the other side of things and Shrek the halls is this. Where It”s a wonderful life has good performances, this has Eddie Murphy playing a donkey. I like Eddie Murphy, but this isn”t Eddie Murphy. This is a fucking Donkey. It isn”t a good film at all so I may as well have said “There online casino is no alternative film” today – I”ve made this alternative film so god damn awful that it is not an option. You have to watch It”s a wonderful life? okay? How dare you enjoy yourself n christmas day when one of themost beautiful and depressing films is playing in ther other room. And no, this does not allow your children to watch something other than it”s a wonderful life – i”ve even taken away the dvd from the box so there is only one film to watch.

Trust me on this, if you”ve never put yourself through it, go and fucking do this now.

Okay if you really do want to watch an alternative, I will only recommend this once – it”s another black and white film (hear me out) and it”s called “The Shop Round the Corner”. Don”t google it, don”t look it up – just find a copy and watch it. No peaking.

CFAC – Day 24: Christmas Carol

Nanu Advent Day 24

(sings) Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve, Christmas All The Way! Oh What fuan.. meh.. blin blurgh to.. a…. on a CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS DAY HEY!(ends signs)   We’ve finally done it – we are here, the end of this turmoil and heartache – Christmas is here to stay (for the next 48 hours at least). Relief spreads across your chin like the nutella from a knife you secretly licked and forgot to check in the mirror. There’s nothing left to do, except eat, drink and be merry. Classic Christmas begins here – and with that comes the last mention of Dickens… I promise.  

Christmas Carol (?)

When I decided this would be the day for watching a Christmas Carol properly, I could imagine how many – but perhaps I did not envisage how many would be contenders for the crown of the best adaptation. Do you choose the Patrick Stewart version in the made for TV wonder, or perhaps let Mickey and pals shore up your xmas eve?

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Some of you may even prefer to give Jim Carrey his due for the recent animation hybrid Christmas Carol thing or else have a punt with a more recent Disney animation with Simon Callow and Kate Winslet which can’t be that bad. Kelsey Grammar even gave it a punt. Regardless of which you choose, please tell me you will watch one – and I think I’m going to stick my neck out and recommend you watch… this one, from 1951 with Alistair Sim, because it’s dark. Fucking hell there is even a Henry Winkler one. AND one with William Shatner in it, with co-star Gary Coleman as a spirit and all. Christ alive, you have so much choice!   But let’s suppose for a second that you don’t want to watch a Christmas Carol. Then why not check out our alternative Christmas film for today which is…    

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988)

  Richard Boden, 43 mins Listen, you are watching some version of A Christmas Carol tonight if it’s the last thing I fucking do. And as you’ve already seen the Muppets earlier in the month (and even if you missed our original post no one can last this long without seeing it, surely?) then you may as well watch something equally joyous and brilliant. Blackadder it is then. Rowan Atkinson’s character sits perfectly into this Dickensian world, and suitably sends up the story while at the same time adhering to it’s principles, of a man without Christmas in his heart in a world that demands it. Curtis and Elton make this script something to be adored, and a real treasure for those who throughout the year endlessly watched repeats of the four short series of the show.   Although that Henry Winkler version does sound tempting..

CFAC – Day 23: Nightmare Before Christmas

Nanu Advent Day 23

We’re almost there everyone! By now I hope most of you will be near home, and the family is together. Tonight’s films are designed to be seen by everyone, to keep adults and children as entertained as the other, and to indulge in Christmas spirit where one can. And so to our first film… what’s this!?




The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)


Tim Burton, 76 mins

The delightful stop motion animation is a favourite to me, as it should be to you. Jack Skellington, a gangly monster, enters an alternative world in which, unlike his own horrific reality, there exists Christmas and joy. A dastardly plan is conceived to change this injustice.  If you enjoyed Monster’s Inc., you really must see this – a connection before that I had not thought about. Danny Elfman’s catchy soundtrack  means that the film will linger in the mind far beyond the final credits.

Already seen this recently…? Then give this alternative family film a go



The Family Stone (2005)


Thomas Bezucha, 105 mins

I’ve heard it rumoured that this film is adored by some. The gentle premise is that a highly strung business woman spends her Christmas with her boyfriend’s family, who enjoy a much looser, more outgoing lifestyle – this is your usual,  fish out of water comedy with a Christmas twist, and a romantic thread throughout. Will they find love? Possibly, but more importantly, you won’t find anything untoward that the wee bairns can’t handle. Not for everyone.

CFAC – Day 22: Jingle All The Way

Nanu Advent Day 22

Yesterday’s bleak apocalypse out of the way (hopefully), we are downhill to Christmas, and this is the Saturday before Christmas – and chances are you will be out today to grab whatever presents you can while the shops remain open. Shopping Centre’s, roads and buses will be packed today as a thousand or so poorly prepared, hard working individuals take to the streets to grab a bargain – and even hope to catch that must have toy. In celebration my gift to you is…    

Jingle All The Way (1996)

  Brian Levant, 95 mins Is this the perfect film? God no. But Sinbad (yes, him) and Arnold Schwarzenegger play dads struggling to get the must have toy for their sons –

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the Turbo Man dolls – that elude Now, in terms of casting, never has a man so large played a role of someone so small – an office suit who appears to care more about his business (was it selling mattresses? or something else strange?) than his family. It’s a very light hearted and enjoyable breeze of a movie that will rest your mind as you rest your feet. The spectre of Phil Hartman – the comic actor that voiced Troy McCluire and others in The Simpson’s before his unfortunate demise in bizarre circumstances – hangs heavy in the film as a creepy next door neighbour hoping for a taste of some divorcee action. Oh, and Arnie punches a Reindeer. Pretty much unprovoked too. Quite, quite odd – but a delight nonetheless. You forget he since became the Governor of California. So, suppose you don’t fancy watching – and today has instead let you witness the horror that is Commercialism at Christmas. Then, may I point you towards today’s alternative film choice…    

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

  George Romero 127 mins Set in an American mall, Dawn of the Dead is, in my mind, the definitive zombie film of all time. As most of these horrors tend to do, it reflects the horrors of the day, and the near dead hoardes perform thoughtlessly the moronic acts of a consumer driven economy. This satire on the culture of consumption is ladelled with humour, and seems to both create and defy convention. Now this film is technically on the wrong day – when I first

saw this it was Christmas Eve, and the hour was turning past midnight. Snuck in my room, I knew that this would be on – and this was my first experience of horror. But even so, this is a delightful watch for those that can stomach it, and the perfect introduction to . Fans of Shaun of the Dead too will do well to catch up with this historic film to add appreciation to Pegg and Wright’s tremendous spoof.

CFAC – Day 21: The Road

Nanu Advent Day 21

Today is the final day for humanity. As such, it seemed appropriate to let Christmas have a day off and share with you two of my favourite apocalypse films. These are great recommendations any day of the week – but tonight may be, literally, your last chance to share in this…



The Road (2009)


John Hillcoat, 111 mins

Adapted from a best selling novel, The Road is an endearing story of a man, played by Viggo Mortensen, struggling to survive in the end of days along with his son. Never before has a film managed to capture the bleak reality of what it would be like, and heed my warning – this is not the kind of film to make you feel good about yourself. Struggle and horror are metered with some devastating twists that render the entire experience exhausting. But incredible.

Now I know what some of you are saying – “it”s Christmas, I can”t watch The Road! I need something far more bleak” well if that”s the case, then I have the perfect

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Turin Horse (2011)


Bela Tarr, 146 mins

This was the final film of the superb director Bela Tarr, a real legend in world cinema, and a very dark, nihilist piece of cinema to end on. Strangely set up off the back of a possibly apocryphal story of Nietzsche”s demise, Tarr”s vision shares the life of the horse of the tale. Taken back to the farm, the inhabitants of the countryside are forced to encounter horrendous conditions that match their unfortunate mundane existence. Beautifully shot, the role of repetition and slow, powerful shots mean that you will experience every minute of this like it is 10 times its length – and for good reason. Not for everyone, as very little is explained, but wow. I guarantee few artists in any medium will ever express the reality of bleakness as powerfully as this masterpiece. I do not dare watch it again.

You can check out my original review of this on when it was part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2011.

CFAC – Day 20: Scrooged

Nanu Advent Day 20

Marley was dead. Or something. Either way, today is the last postal day if you want to hope to get presents delivered for Christmas (well through the Royal Mail at least). Now I’m telling you this for one reason and one reason alone – you have not sent those gifts because you never bought them. To help you grow into your character of Scrooge, enter the second Dickens’ adaptation in the list, but is it the last…? Probably. I can’t remember, I wrote these ages ago.    

Scrooged (1988)

  Richard Donner, 101 mins I don’t need to explain this film to you – it’s the classic Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol (an excellent read on the train home if you’re interested, the perfect length for a long journey) re-imagined with the superb Bill Murray in the role. What makes this film even more wonderful are the sorts of revelations about Bill Murray’s life that have emerged over the last year. Things like very few people know how to contact him, and directors hoping to cast him just leave a message and if he’s interested in the project, he turns up on the day. Things like he does whatever he wants. He’s a party animal. He’s a legend. Now watch this film and laugh your buttocks into oblivion. But let’s say for arguments sake, you are sick of Charles Dickens. Hold the phone, we got an alternative film for you… and it is a fucking doozey…      

Jack Frost (1997)

  Michael Clooney, 89 mins No, not that Jack Frost. This isn’t the schmultzy pathetic dead dad snowman cry-fest that you think you should be watching. No, this is the

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story of a convicted murderer killed ona snowy day by an accident involving a truck transporting mysterious chemicals, and whose spirit melts into the snow, for him to return as ice. Yes, possessing the magic ability of water, this is a cheap horror that is as funny as it sounds, and twice as brilliant than you imagine. It’s an awful film, no worries about that, but if you are in

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the right mood, this will no disappoint. And yes there’s a sequel. Fun fact, it’s the first appearance, who later gets her kit off in American Pie. Oh look, here’s the whole BLOODY FILM. Merry Fucking Christmas.

CFAC – Day 19: Sissi

Nanu Advent Day 19

With one week to go, Christmas has never seemed so close, and yet so far away. As such, I thought I would share with you something from the traditions of other nations. Today’s effort, is a German classic, that is essential cinematic viewing for some of our fellow Europeans.



Sissi (1955)


Ernst Marishka, 102 mins

A period drama in which a young princess follows her mother to an Austrian court for the announcement of her sister’s engagement – but while there, the fiancee instead falls in love with the young Sissi. The first in a trilogy of films,

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this one touches the heart of those that a period film like this would touch. It isn’t going to be for everyone, but it still is worth a look for something a little different for your Christmas choice.

If you don’t fancy this period piece, then why not treat yourself to our alternative film

Just Friends (2005)

Roger Kumble, 96 mins

This one may be a little more accessible – our protagonist comes home for Christmas, only to come face to face with his high school crush. This has been highly rated by a number of people – particularly women who may have a Ryan Reynolds based crush – but regardless, is something well worth your time for a quick, easy to watch Christmas film that would not already be in your xmas canon.

CFAC – Day 18: Serendipity


Today is when people will be at their final ebb, the final midweek meltdown away from the big day. Christmas is so close, but the working week is no nearer finishing than it was starting, and caught between these two, one does not know whether to celebrate or fear that tomorrow is just another, boring day – and worse still, a fucking Thursday. Today, you need a Christmas miracle.


Serendipity (2001)

Pete Chelsom, 90 mins

Some of you may groan at this choice, but by gum is this not one of my favourite films of all time. Yes, my relationship with this masterpiece developed in  much the same manner as a victim develops Stockholm syndrome, but the result is the same – familiarise yourself with this film several times over a 24 hour time period, and perhaps you too can share with me in this joy. The basic premise is fate, and love. This is a fantastic film for so many reasons. Firstly, it’s John Cusacks finest performance in a Romantic Comedy for a role in which he is phoning it in. Secondly, it’s a wedding film that doesn’t make you want to throw up – something which even the fantastic Bridesmaid’s struggles to do (for different reasons – if you’ve seen it, then maybe you’d understand). Finally,  it is probably the only feature film to prominently features a Shenai. A mother flipping shenai – a man’s greatest weapon – and yet every man’s Achilles heel. This film is as close to perfection as you can get.

Fine, you want something else? Maybe you don’t believe in fate, maybe you believe in what can be found in our alternative film


The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

Henry Koster, 109 mins

Cary Grant stars in this peculiar film that reeks of being old. The always charming Grant plays an angel sent by God to earn his wings at Christmas time, and to do this he must prove his worth by helping people – or does he? With some religious undertones, it’s quite a fascinating juxtaposition which forces religion against itself in a manner that many might find more provoking than a film which is just about an angel sent to help on Christmas – something which wouldn’t be done now for various reasons. It isn’t particularly funny or engrossing, and wastes Grant’s talents, failing to include a moment where he can raise an eyebrow with such magnificence, but regardless, it’s something new to watch that may keep you entertained and make you believe in the miracle of humanity once more.

CFAC – Day 17: Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Nanu Advent Day 17

So, today is about the time that you really need to make sure you have your travel plans sorted. Everyone loves the time off work and going home for the holidays – but getting home can be a real nightmare! Today’s films help to contextualise your own woes – whether you are afraid of being stuck in traffic for a million miles, have a fear of flights, don’t trust walking through ice or have any one of a million completely viable fear for the trains, today I want to share a film with you which you can say out loud – well at least it won’t be this bad…



Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

John Hughes, 93 mins

If there was a comic actor who was taken from us too soon, it was John Candy. He is a staple figure in a lot of the films I remember watching when growing up, and this film is a great example of him at work. Steve Martin plays the everyman, stuck away from where he needs to be thanks to a situation which conspires against him. In a similar position is the overly caring John Candy, who through an excessive display of affection and other more annoying habits, frustrates and prevents Martin without realising. P,T&A is a film which makes you groan out load “oh no!” more than any other, but still is never uncomfortable to watch. If you have any qualms at all about getting home then this will relieve your worries.

But if you fancy something that won’t make you squeal with discomfort, why not try our alternative film

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)

Chris Columbus, 120 mins

Older and wiser, the sequel to the classic Culkin kids film splits the room – some think it refines the formulae,and other finds the premise stretched too far. I personally admire this film, and having seen it potentially more than the first, it still fills me with joy. Once again, on re-viewing, there is much

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to be found in this film that is bizarre, but a firm Christmas film that plays on the fears of getting home, is the perfect way to while a way your worries – althought at two hours, it could perhaps do with a little cut here and there – hence why it doesn’t get it’s own day to itself!