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#108: Red Hot Christmas

December 25, 2006

Notes from the Manager

There's been a bit of a fuss about Black Christmas -- not only because it's a Christmas horror movie, which is kind of retarded, because there have been plenty of those (including the original 1974 Black Christmas this new version is a remake of), but also because it opens on Christmas Day.

What I want to know is... so what?

How is this really more offensive than just any other blood and guts fest out there? I'm not a fan of the genre (although I must admit I enjoyed Nightmare on Elm Streets 1, 3, 4 and 5 as a teenager, because those films at least had a little imagination and some fun special effects), but shouldn't just the whole killing people thing be offensive enough to Christians, regardless of the fact that it's set on Christmas? Or have I just been blissfully unaware of the pro-Christian slasher flick genre all my life?

In more than one article I've read on the subject, they make special note that Christmas horror movies and other non-horror "anti-Christmas" films like Bad Santa never open on Christmas Day.

Well, no shit. It's not out of respect, folks. It's because by Christmas, people have already had their fill of Christmas: Christmas movies traditionally get a boost leading up to and on Christmas, drop a relatively normal amount for the next week, and then nosedive in January. (I'm basing this on a totally unscientific analysis of Christmas movies' weekly performances from the past several years at BoxOfficeMojo.com.)

By putting out a Christmas-themed horror movie on Christmas Day, I'm pretty sure the Weinsteins are either making a dumb move -- or, more likely, burying a film they know would bomb, while smartly going for broke at the same time, hoping for a huge opening week tally thanks to all the controversy this stunt release date has generated before it quietly disappears from theaters in three weeks.

I'd have done a strip about all this, if it wouldn't have been basically a rehash of the Da Vinci Code strip.


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Review: Coherence (2013)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

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Written and directed by James Ward Byrkit.
Starring Emily Foxler, Hugo Armstrong, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Lauren Maher, Alex Manugian, Lorene Scafaria, and Maury Sterling.

A new Patreon backer at the $50 level opted out of the usual reward of a plug in the “Become a Multiplex Patron” box (above, on the website), asking instead for me to plug the 2013 indie science fiction filmCoherence (with which he is not affiliated). I was happy to oblige, and so “A fan of Coherence” — a.k.a. The Patron, as I’ll refer to him from here out — is, for the duration of his patronage, among Multiplex‘s supporters. (And, yes, I will review just about any movie a $50 backer asks me to.)

What really got my interest in the film (aside from being asked very nicely to see it) was that The Patron compared it to Shane Carruth’s Primer, one of the best no-budget sci-fi movies ever made. I can definitely see the comparison: both are decidedly low-budget films with small casts and a science-fictiony premise. I feel like seeing the film fairly blind is probably the best, so I won’t summarize the plot beyond the premise of eight friends having a dinner party when a comet passes over and Strange Things Happen, but I don’t think I’m quite as enthusiastic as The Patron.

Unfortunately, the “go in as blind as you can” suggestion means I feel like I need to be pretty vague. Some clunky (and largely unnecessary) exposition gets spat out early on, which tried my patience a bit, but it gets fun as the plot gets rolling. And the plot is definitely the star of the film, not the largely forgettable cast of affluent, Southern California white people or the dialogue, which often feels improvised (in that it neither pushes the story forward nor reveals character, as good dialogue ought to).

Despite some genuinely terrifically creepy or suspenseful moments in the film, a handful of contrived plot points hold it back from being much more than a fun genre flick for me, but I found myself wondering what would happen next — almost up to the very end. A late turn in the film got more of an eye-roll from me than the shock that I think it was supposed register. As always, your mileage may vary, but the film’s merits make it well worth a viewing, particularly for science fiction fans suffering from blockbuster fatigue.

Here’s the trailer! If it piques your interest, please do check it out. It’s available for rent from Amazon Instant Video or for purchase from its official website, among other places. (I never recommend reading YouTube comments, but definitely on’t read the comments if you want to stay away from spoilers.)

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