498) Santa Claus: The Movie (1985) Dir: Jeannot Szwarc Date Released: November 29, 1985 Date Seen: December 15, 2011 Rating: 1/5
RV!: Bad Santa (2003) Dir: Terry Zwigoff Date Released: November 26, 2003 Date Seen: December 15, 2011 Rating: 4/5
500) Cash on Demand (1962) Dir: Quentin Lawrence Date Released: May 16, 1962 Date Seen: December 16, 2011 Rating: 3.5/5
501) The Ref (1994) Dir: Ted Demme Date Released: March 9, 1994 Date Seen: December 17, 2011 Rating: 2.25/5
RV!: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) Dir: Shane Black Date Released: October 21, 2005 Date Seen: December 17, 2011 Rating: 4.25/5
Santa Claus: The Movie: Total non-starter. Lots of creatively stunted ideas, none of them developed to fruition. Bad acting, waste of John Lithgow and a lot of money thrown at the screen but nothing to show for it. Not fun.
Bad Santa: I remember liking this when I first saw it but not this much. Wow, this one is pretty funny. John Ritter and Bernie Mac are great and Billy Bob Thornton is terrific too, though I think my love for his performance has diminished somewhat (remember that this was the role that forced me to take him seriously as an actor). Only really flags at the very end during the mall heist. But by then, who cares? Very fun.
Cash on Demand: Very unusual heist caper that's loosely inspired by A Christmas Carol. Lots of dead air thanks to the film's laborious set-up but Peter Cushing is terrific and the plot is strange enough to keep me interested throughout. Reminded me of Kureyoshi Kurahara's Intimidation, in some ways.
The Ref: I wanted to like this one pretty badly as it gave me a John-Hughes-gets-bitter kind of vibe. But it's not very funny (ie: Denis Leary isn't very funny), the histrionic fighting between Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis is mostly annoying and the film's script is a mess. Still, cozy atmosphere for a film that's trying so hard to impress viewers with its cynicism.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: How wrong I was. I originally dismissed this film but man, is it terrific. The first Shane Black project, apart from The Monster Squad, that made me sit up and say, "Daaaaaamn." Great chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, great zingers and a fairly breezy and agile hard-boiled plot from Black. I dug it, oh yeah.