How I spent my winter vacation, part 1 (what I watched)

Did you miss me while I was away? If not, that’s OK. Although it commenced with a bout of the stomach flu, winter break ended up being the perfect blend of family/spouse/self time.

With the extra days off, there was plenty of time to catch up on watching new and classic movies, as well as TV.

I had a chance to catch a couple of movies at the theater — “Krampus” and “The Hateful Eight” (in 70 mm, no less). Both were excellent — “Krampus” was a fun throwback to the days of Full Moon. Plenty of practical effects, dark humor, and even a few good scares.

“The Hateful Eight” was outstanding, and the 70 mm presentation was worth the extra effort for the overture, extended cut and rich depth that film provides. The film is classic Tarantino, with lots of dialogue, larger than life characters and plenty of ultra-violence. The score, by Italian legend Ennio Morricone, is beautiful. The actors, Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, to name a few, represent some of the best in Tarantino’s stable.

The last movie I watched in 2015 was “Dracula Has Risen From the Grave,” and the first on the docket for 2016 was “Bone Tomahawk.”

"Draculahasrisen". Via Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Draculahasrisen.jpg#/media/File:Draculahasrisen.jpg
“Draculahasrisen”. Via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Draculahasrisen.jpg#/media/File:Draculahasrisen.jpg

There’s something transcendent about Hammer Horror in high def. Christopher Lee’s (RIP) eyes are redder and more soul-penetrating than ever, and the blood just seems to jump from the screen.

“Bone Tomahawk” was a wild ride. 80% Western and 20% horror, this flick is not for the weak-willed. It’s masterfully shot and completely brutal. The story is simple, the acting is great, and the song created for the movie, “Four Doomed Men Ride Out,” is a fun homage to Western themes of a bygone era.

Last, but not least, I joined the rest of the world in watching “Making a Murderer” on Netflix. Anything I would say about it would be redundant of the multitude of conversations going on in my Facebook feed regarding this show. So instead, I will recommend 2 other things you should watch if you liked it: “Capturing the Friedmans,” available in its entirety on YouTube here, and “The Jinx,” available on HBO Go.

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