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Reviews of Rebel Moon (2023), It's a Wonderful Knive (2023), Thanksgiving (2023), The Ref (1994), Black Friday (2021) and There's Something in the Barn (2023) which I watched during my traditional christmas film marathon!

This first day of Christmas, I watched the following:

- Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire (2023)
- It's a Wonderful Knive (2023)
- Thanksgiving (2023)

Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire (2023)

Let me first start by stating that I am not the biggest Zack Snyder fan. Actually, I have been very critical towards his films. I certainly don't agree with, for example, his attitude towards the 4:3 aspect ratio in the Snyder Cut of Justice League especially since it didn't make sense to put it out on HBO Max when the majority of people have widescreen TV's and don't own an IMAX screen. Don't get me started on his treatment of Superman. But I have to acknowledge that in general you can say he has a good eye for action. 

And in essence, that is exactly what you should be focussing on in Rebel Moon. Now, the film definitely is immensely flawed. But even with those flaws, you can't really say it's bad. It's competent enough. The biggest problem of the narrative probably is the fact that this entire first part is about gathering a team of warriors who will help out a bunch of farmers in trouble. So it's rather obvious you won't have a satisfying conclusion to the story. Yes, the characters should have been fleshed out more. The characters also should have had more (meaningful) interactions with each other. Certain characters like Jimmy, the Robot, did have some nice moments. But considering the number of team members, it might have been quite the task to do everyone justice. Especially given the relative short duration of this first part. Three or four hours would have been better. Quite puzzling is the fact that Netflix and Snyder have opted for this format and not make a series instead. With multiple episodes, you could have had proper character development and even better world and lore building. At times, it does feel like there was more to a certain scene, but things got cut for whatever reason.

I don't get the complaint that there was too much slow motion. May I point out to you that some filmmakers don't know how to use this effect properly. Like director Pete Travis with Dredd. Zack Snyder is one of the few who achieves a lot with it in dramatic sense. The action does feel more intense because of it. But I guess some people think otherwise. I would argue that it's not the slow motion, but the lack of connection to the characters that destroys the excitement. Charlie Hunnam very rightfully deserves to be chastised for his horrible Irish accent. There is no reason for him to have one. Shame on him.

Also, don't fall for the trap set by Snyder and Netflix. Ask yourself if there was a better version of Rebel Moon, then why not just show that version? Why was it held back in the first place? The only reason that makes sense is to create a buzz. Yeah, in case you don't know, I wasn't on board with the Snyder Cut of Justice League. For me, it did not improve much. I doubt this director's cut will suddenly improve things tenfold. Snyder might be ambitious, he does lack vision. 

That being said, overall I enjoyed Rebel Moon. No, I didn't have to shut down my brain. I just didn't have super high expectations. Of course, I have hope that the second part will provide the things that this first part lacked. But I do begin to question the honesty of many supposedly reviewers.

It's a Wonderful Knive (2023)

Many of you will undoubtedly be familiar with the Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life. I love that film. So the slasher spin on the classic is what sold me initially. In my mind, this was going to be similar to Scream where you would be on the edge of your seat to figure out who the killer was and that the title was nothing more than a play on the words.

Surprisingly, there is more to this. I think the approach was sincere and heartfelt, but some elements did seem to hinder my viewing experience somewhat. A real eyesore, was the woke agenda. It's so in your face, which serves very little to no purpose to the overarching story. Unless, I missed some subliminal message. Then there is the notion that a whole group of people will give up fighting. If I have to believe the conspiracy theories concerning the illuminati, one of their goals is to limit people's freedom to a large extent but at the same time these people will be happy and docile. I think these illuminati mistake complying for the greater good with subjection. Just because people subject because they believe it will help mankind, doesn't mean they won't be critical or not fight back when it's warranted. Just try to push me into a direction I don't want to be steered in and see what happens.

The real let down is that the slasher element is just a plot device. It doesn't really matter who the killer is, but more what that killer represents. If you were hoping for some horror goodness, then this won't be for you.

Thanksgiving (2023)

Last but not least. I enjoyed every second of this horror flick. Eli Roth, probably, has made one of the most accessible horror films to a general audience. I think most of the films he has made so far are a required taste.

Where It's a Wonderful Knive failed miserably, Thanksgiving gave me all the wonderful delights one could expect in a slasher / horror film. Blood, gore, tension and dread. The opening sequence for starters is pure craziness. Of course, too far-fetched. Then again, have you ever seen people waiting for the doors to be opened on Black Friday? People literally trampling each other to get a discount on some stupid product they want. One year later, some of the people who acted questionably are getting murdered one by one. I have to say that it was real gratifying to see some of these characters get what they had coming. The first victim for example was truly despicable. You would think or expect for a person like this to have some self reflection after a high number of people have died. But no, this person acted without a care in the world and misbehaved like there was no tomorrow. Naturally, I couldn't help but laugh to witness her demise in full glory.

Thanksgiving is not perfect. Not all the red herrings are successful. Although, for a large part of the film, you do keep guessing. Still, I guessed it. One could argue that some events are too bloody, violent and gross. Well, that's the point of a horror film, no? One I can recommend wholeheartedly!

The second day of Christmas, I watched the following:

- The Ref (1994)
- Black Friday (2021)
There's Something in the Barn (2023) 

The Ref (1994)

Burglar Dennis Leary has to put up with a disgruntled couple (Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis) after he gets stuck due to his partner in crime leaving him stranded.

This might not be a Christmas classic, but it's one I regularly watch and enjoy. The couple is so at odds with each other that they impact everyone around them, whether those people like it or not. I think most of the interactions in this film are relatable and therefore comedy gold. Not super on the nose, but also not too subtle. Just right. Still, at one point, you are beginning to wonder why the couple haven't divorced already. 

The ending is a little abrupt and too positive, but hey, it's a Christmas film and very fitting if you ask me!

Black Friday (2021)

A Christmas horror comedy with many highs and lows.

The big names involved like Bruce Campbell and Michael Jai White have minor roles, undoubtedly to draw a crowd. A real shame if you ask me. Because I would rather watch them than Devon Sawa or the other actors. Another problem is the pacing. The film has a short duration but feels like a long film. I guess this is due to not that much happening. There is no real threat present. Don't get me wrong, I did like the special effects and the monsters. Very creative, especially if you consider this is basically a low budget flick. However, the interactions between the characters could have been funnier.

In general, I liked it, but it's a pretty forgettable flick that I can't recommend.

Also check:

There's Something in the Barn (2023)

The first hour of the film suffers from some pacing issues. But then events start to kick in high gear and once that happens, it's incredible fun. I liked it that they took their time to let you get acquainted with the American family and the immense, beautiful Norway and they way Norwegians carry themselves.

It's a pivotal element once things start to get bad for the family. Most of the humour is superficial and slapstick. But most surprising is how topical and clever some of the jokes are. It's not something you would expect in a horror / fantasy tale.

From all the films I watched today, this one was the funniest and one I can recommend.

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