Top 10 ‘not Christmas’ movies

Ok, a little odd, but this is basically a list of either films that are set around Christmas time, but aren’t full blown Christmas films. My picks below are rated in order of how Christmassy I deem them to be – in terms of scenes or references within them.

10. In Bruges (2008)
Even though Christmas isn’t a necessary part of this film, it just sort of sits there under the surface and kind of works. ‘Tis the season to be, er, jolly.

9. Die Hard / Die Hard 2 (1988/1990)
Both films take place on Christmas eve, one in a tower block and one at an airport, leading Bruce Willis’ cop John McClane to ask himself, ‘How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?’

8. Trading Places (1983)
Possibly one of my favourite Christmas yet not Christmas scenes, with Dan Akroyd’s character dressed as Santa down on his luck eating salmon through his beard.


7. Go (1999)
Got a bit of a soft spot for this film. It features a rave called ‘Mary Christmas’, has Timothy Olyphant in a Santa hat and Katie Holmes talking about the joys of the holiday season.

6. Lethal Weapon (1987)
With a Jingle Bells opening and a Christmas tree drug bust writer Shane Black knows how to weave Christmas into his film with style.


5. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Stanley Kubrick’s film is kind of odd, in that Christmas saturates the film, but for no obvious apparent reason. It starts with the ‘happy’ couple attending a party.

4. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
We start with Robert Downey Jr.’s character robbing a store on Christmas and the film also features Michelle Monaghan in a sexy Santa outfit.

3. Batman Returns (1992)
Tim Burton sprinkles this film with Christmas throughout, including a lovely Christmas tree sequence and a sexy kiss from Catwoman.


2. L.A. Confidential (1997)
Russell Crowe’s Officer Bud White pulls Christmas decorations onto a wife-beater, Kevin Spacey’s Hollywood cop attends a festive party and Guy Pearce’s ambitious cop loses control at a ‘Bloody Christmas‘ scandal.

1. Gremlins (1984)
Considering it’s not a Christmas film this holiday runs right through this film, from Gizmo wearing a Santa hat to Phoebe Cates’ character’s confession that her dad died in a chimney dressed as Santa.

Masks in movies: the weird, wacky and horrific

‘No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.’
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Masks are fascinating. We all wear masks – of a sort – every day. It’s rare to meet a completely open person. And in film, a mask is intriguing. It can serve a number of purposes. For example, they can be used to heighten or accentuate your personality, or give you a different one altogether. They can be used to hide or reveal, to confuse or mislead, and as armour in defence or offense (to coin an American phrase).

They come in many different shapes and sizes, some functional, some more flamboyant (as we’ll see from my list below). Here are some of my favourite masks, characters, and the actors who wore them.

Michael-Fassbender-as-Frank-p002Frank (2014) – Michael Fassbender
More a giant head but still a mask of sorts. Fassbender plays the enigmatic leading man of a band struggling to find their sound in this quirky yet tragic tale.

V for Vendetta (2005) – Hugo Weaving
Never once removing his mask, Weaving plays this anarchist crime fighter to the letter in this adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novel.

The Mask (1994) – Jim Carrey
Transforming from sad sack Stanley Ipkiss into the God of Mischief each time he donned the mask, Carrey firmly put himself on Hollywood’s A-list with this exuberant performance.

The Skin I Live In (2011) – Elena Anaya
The-Skin-I-Live-In-Review-The-Film-Pilgrim-Anaya-BanderasWhilst the actress named above wears the mask, this film is undoubtedly Antonio Banderas’s in terms of performance, teaming up with Pedro Almodovar in this creepy tale.

Vanilla Sky (2001) – Tom Cruise
Disfigured after a car accident Cruise’s character spends a large part of the film hiding behind a weirdly androgynous mask designed to heal his scars. Or does he?

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – Tom Cruise
Hands up, who’s in a troubled marriage and wants to attend a high society sex party? Tom Cruise’s character does that’s who. Sneaking his way in with a black robe and handy mask.

Batman Begins (2005) – Cillian Murphy
Intelligent and intense yet wildly unhinged, Murphy’s portrayal of the Scarecrow in Nolan’s first Batman outing was mightily impressive and firmly ticked the creepy box.point-break-mask

Point Break (1991) – Patrick Swayze
Charismatic surfer cum bank robber Bodhi’s modus operandi when on a heist involved him and his team donning masks of ex-Presidents.

Watchmen (2009) – Jackie Earle Haley
Rorschach’s mask was unlike most others, in that it reflected his personality, the inky lines shifting and swirling with his mood.

Baby did a bad, bad thing

As we head into the, ahem, steamy British summer I found myself having mini flashbacks to sexy dance moments in film (just the way my mind works). Scenes that were charged to the nines and loaded with… possibility. Here are a few of my favourites.
The-Rum-Diary-New-Stills-amber-heard-28112156-1280-852

Amber HeardThe Rum Diary
To be honest you could take any of her scenes from this film, however her dance in a blues bar was downright dangerous. A modern Hollywood siren, if ever there was one.


Nicole Kidman
Eyes Wide Shut
Right before Tom Cruise gets involved it’s just her swaying in front of a mirror, like a seductive serpent ready to strike. Perfectly scored to ‘Baby did a bad, bad thing’ by Chris Isaak.


Jamie Lee Curtis
True Lies
Demure housewife gets lured into a spy racket in one almighty mix up. Cue Arnie with a tape recorder duping Curtis into doing one of the sexiest on-screen dances on film in recent years.


Salma Hayek
Desperados
Not long into her Hollywood career Hayek got a break on Rodriguez’s monster flick, as a vampire queen giving Tarantino one hell of a sexy snake dance before eating him alive.


Eva Green
The Dreamers
In her debut film appearance she gets lost in the moment in an unforgettable dance scene, one which leads to Michael Pitt’s character momentarily passing out.
The-Dreamers-3