Christmas DayAs Christmas Day wears on, one eventually arrives at the veritable minefield of family games. Being no longer a resident I neatly sidestepped the problematic issue of game selection, but this still left the perplexing challenge of the games themselves. I can never quite remember the prescribed etiquette: does one reflect on Christmas as a time of charity and let others win, or does one use this family occasion as a rare opportunity to put them in their respective places? There is also my mother’s scarily competitive streak to be considered, should one wish the building to remain standing. To cheat is to take one’s life into one’s own hands.

Christmas DayIn the circumstances I ended up winning all of them, though in my defence one was a word game and another was Scene It?, full of film and pop culture trivia. I do feel somewhat guilty for ruining Jehan’s perfect record of victory in the latter and promised not to rub it in too much, at which I suppose I’ve rather failed by broadcasting it across the web. If people feel like brushing up on their trivia, I may pick up the Xbox version of the game for visitors. If not, there’s always next year…

The more I hear about I Am Legend, the more its position on my radar has shifted from casual indifference to really ought to see. At first I wrote it off as merely a Will Smith vehicle (I like him, and roles like this generally highlight a range which we do not credit him with, but mediocre choices like I, Robot mean I rarely get excited) but the background, the existence of the novel and atmospheric trailers have all played a part in winning me over. That my dad wishes to see it too means that we’ll be seeing it tomorrow. It will be refreshing to see a big budget Hollywood film for which I have no expectations, following a year of generally disappointing results.

Meanwhile with the writers’ strike continuing in the States, next year’s film fare looks decidedly uncertain. Looking through trailers reveals a throng of underwhelming, largely derivative offerings. The standout is undoubtedly (and unsurprisingly) Wall•E, Pixar’s next effort which looks better suited to my taste than their last few releases. Also intriguing are Tim Burton’s vision of the macabre musical Sweeney Todd (again right up my alley), though Johnny Depp’s seemingly understated performance may not gel well with the extravagance of a musical. Finally, a sequel to Harold & Kumar, a film people are always surprised to find I love, looks like a worth comedic contender if only because it promises “it’s gonna be exactly like Eurotrip only it’s not gonna suck.”