Top 5 Christmas Movies

Top 5 Christmas Movies


Christmas is right around the corner! To celebrate, we’ve compiled a “Nice List” of our Top 5 Christmas movies to watch with your family during the holidays!


5) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Not feeling especially cheery this holiday season? Well, Tim Burton’s gothic, stunning, stop motion musical, The Nightmare Before Christmas is the perfect “anti-Christmas” Christmas film! The film follows Jack Skellington, “The Pumpkin King of Halloweentown,” as he stumbles from his world of ghouls and ghosts into the bright, lovely world of “Christmastown.” So moved by what he sees there, Jack recruits his fellow monsters and mayhem makers to recreate the wonderment of Christmas in their own horror-filled world (to hilarious results!)


4) Home Alone (1990)

When 8 year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left behind while his family goes on a Christmas vacation to Paris, Kevin must protect his house from a pair of boneheaded burglars (“The Wet Bandits”) who plan to rob it on Christmas Eve. Directed by Chris Columbus and written by John Hughes, Home Alone is classic, feel-good family film for the holidays.


3) Elf (2003)

The most contemporary movie on this list, Elf became an instant holiday classic when it came out in 2003. Starring Will Ferrell as “Buddy the Elf,” a human who, as a baby, was accidentally abducted by Santa Claus after crawling into Santa’s giant bag of toys. Once in the North Pole, Santa and his elves decide to raise Buddy as an elf. Thirty years later, Buddy discovers that he is actually a human, and ventures down to New York City to meet his real father, who is on Santa’s “Naughty List.”


2) A Christmas Story (1983)

This 1980’s Christmas classic, set in the 1940’s, follows 9 year-old Ralphie Parker and his quest to get a Red Ryder Range 200 Shot BB gun for Christmas, despite the fact that he’ll most likely shoot his eye out. A Christmas Story is filled with memorable moments: from the pink bunny onesie, a tongue stuck on a frozen flagpole, and the infamous leg-lamp, this Christmas film is truly one for the ages.

1) It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

After his business and financial situation deteriorate, George Bailey contemplates suicide. However, an angel named Clarence is sent down from Heaven to show George what life would have been like if he was never born. A true classic, It’s a Wonderful Life is an uplifting holiday tale about community, love, and sacrifice.



That’s our list of the Top 5 Christmas Movies to watch with your family this holiday season! If you have any other holiday favorites, add yours in the comments section, below!

Top 5 Films to Watch on Thanksgiving

Top 5 Films to Watch on Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is finally here! After the parade, the feast, the big game, and perhaps a match of touch football in the yard is over, what’s there left to do? Why, watch a Thanksgiving-themed movie of course! Thanksgiving is the only holiday where it’s acceptable to wear sweatpants at the table, stuff your face with a colossal amount of food, and gather ‘round the TV – so take advantage of it! Here is our list of the top 5 films to watch on Thanksgiving with your whole family!


5) Free Birds (2013)

It may feel a bit strange watching this film about lovable turkeys after devouring the feathered creature that same day, but Free Birds is a fun, animated film everyone in your family will love. Owen Wilson voices Reggie, a Turkey who finds himself the lucky spared fowl at the annual Presidential Pardon of the Turkey. He then meets Jake (Woody Harrelson), who takes him on an adventure back in time to exclude turkeys from the first Thanksgiving, thus saving their kind from mass slaughter each year.


4) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Although technically a Christmas film, Miracle on 34th Street begins at The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, where Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) notices that the man hired to play Santa Claus in the parade is intoxicated. After that, Kringle finds himself playing Old Saint Nick at Macy’s flagship New York store – but soon, he starts claiming he truly is Santa Claus, and his sanity comes into question. Miracle on 34th Street is a classic family film to kick off the holiday season!


3) Addams Family Values (1993)

The story of the first Thanksgiving has been fictionalized throughout the centuries to be a fairytale gathering of Pilgrim settlers and Native Americans breaking bread together for one glorious, peaceful evening. The real story about what happened before, during, and after that first “Thanksgiving” is nothing like the myth we tell ourselves as a nation, and Wednesday Addams in Addams Family Values is here to remind us that in true Addams Family fashion.


2) A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

This short, animated classic is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face this Turkey Day! Join Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they celebrate Thanksgiving with ice cream sundaes, buttered toast, and jelly beans. Good grief!


1) Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

Nothing is worse than traveling during the holidays. In this film, Neal Page (Steve Martin) struggles to get home to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Along his 3-day journey, he (reluctantly) teams up with Del Griffith (the late John Candy), an annoying, messy, shower curtain ring salesman. Martin and Candy are a legendary comedic-duo in this hilarious Thanksgiving classic, arguably the best Thanksgiving film to date!


We hope you enjoyed our top 5 films to watch on Thanksgiving. From Blackfire Research, have a wonderful, restful Thanksgiving and start to the holiday season!

Top 5 Horror Movies to Watch in Surround Sound

Top 5 Horror Movies to Watch in Surround Sound


It’s Halloween! Are you planning on dressing up to go trick or treating? How about visiting that creepy, abandoned Victorian at the end of your block, or contacting departed spirits via Ouija Board? Perhaps that’s a bit too spooky…If you’re looking for a fright this Halloween, look no further than your own living room! Here is our list of the top 5 horror movies to watch in surround sound this Halloween!


5)  The Grudge

The 2004 American remake of the Japanese film Ju-on: The Grudge was a box office smash. The Grudge is a curse that is born when someone dies in the grip of extreme rage (or sorrow), materializing, and killing those in it’s path. Therefore, the Grudge is constantly being reborn, passing from victim to victim in an endless train of terror. The Grudge makes a clicking/gurgling sound when on the prowl, and your surround sound system will pick up every chilling note. Not to mention, the piercing, high-pitched noises that pervade the soundtrack, as well as all the banging and crashing that goes hand in hand with fighting off an unstoppable force of evil.


4) The Orphanage

This Spanish horror film is as beautifully shot as it is creepy. Filmed on the rocky coast of northern Spain, The Orphanage chronicles the story of Laura, a former child orphan, her husband, and adopted son. Together, they move into the orphanage where Laura grew up to reopen the facility and cater to disabled children. But her son begins to act strangely, claiming to see a masked child, and soon goes missing. The film features an exceptional soundtrack and lots of mysterious banging noises that will keep you on the edge of your seat.


3)  The Babadook

Jennifer Kent’s 2014 masterpiece about a widowed mother and her young son who are tormented by a monster known simply as “The Babadook,” was a commercial and critical success due to the actors’ performances, Kent’s screenplay and direction, and the overall thrilling, yet heartfelt story, loaded with symbolism. The film features “a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that is layered with creepy sounds, atmospherics, and great surround activity…The overall presentation does so many things right, setting the stage for a story that is sure to send chills down your spine.” (Home Theater Shack)


2) Alien

Sure, “in space no one can hear you scream,” but your surround sound system will pick up every eerie note in this 1979 Sci-Fi/Horror classic. With a musical score composed by Jerry Goldsmith (Planet of the Apes) and performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Goldsmith envisioned a score filled with romanticism and lyrical mystery that would build throughout the film, culminating in suspense and fear. Nominated for numerous awards including a Golden Globe for Best Original Score, a Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album, and a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, we’d say that Goldsmith’s score was out of this world.


1) The Cabin in the Woods

The horror-comedy film, The Cabin in the Woods, follows five friends who travel to an isolated cabin deep in (you guessed it) the woods. Their relaxing vacation soon turns nightmarish when they fall victim to zombies and two technicians who manipulate the ongoing events from an underground facility. From the audio side: “Footsteps thump solidly from every direction, a whirling chain scythes through the air splitting from front to rears with exceptional clarity, and the drip drip of falling water in the forest is heard with pinpoint accuracy…There is no generic 70’s sounding mono music to warn us that a bad guy is creeping up behind the unsuspecting teens, but rather the score floods its way into the audience, creating a mood of suspense and horror without coming right out and giving everything away, as can be so common.” (Home Theater Review)


You’re favorite horror film didn’t make the cut? Share yours in the comments section below!

New to Netflix in September

New to Netflix in September


Fall is coming upon us fast! And once that chilly weather hits, who wants to go outside, anyway? Instead, why not stay cozy and warm at home watching the latest Netflix Originals? From Colombia to “Hollywoo,” here’s what’s coming in September to our favorite streaming service!


Narcos (Season 3)

With the demise of Pablo Escobar last season, Narcos is shifting its focus to the Cali Cartel, Escobar’s former rivals and the most powerful Cartel in Columbia. Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) will be returning as DEA agent Javier Pena. Start streaming it on September 1st!


Bojack Horseman (Season 4)

The critically-acclaimed animated series, Bojack Horseman, returns on September 8th with Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), and Amy Sedaris (Strangers With Candy) returning to voice the lead roles. The series follows the life of a beloved 90’s sitcom star, Bojack Horseman (Arnett), 20 years after his sitcoms ends – struggling to to make a name for himself (again) in “Hollywoo.”

Strong Island (Documentary)

From Netflix: “Strong Island chronicles the arc of a family across history, geography and tragedy – from the racial segregation of the Jim Crow South to the promise of New York City; from the presumed safety of middle class suburbs, to the maelstrom of an unexpected, violent death. It is the story of the Ford family: Barbara Dunmore, William Ford and their three children and how their lives were shaped by the enduring shadow of race in America.

In April 1992, on Long Island NY, William Jr., the Ford’s eldest child, a black 24 year-old teacher, was killed by Mark Reilly, a white 19 year-old mechanic. Although Ford was unarmed, he became the prime suspect in his own murder. A deeply intimate and meditative film, Strong Island asks what one can do when the grief of loss is entwined with historical injustice, and how one grapples with the complicity of silence, which can bind a family in an imitation of life, and a nation with a false sense of justice.” Strong Island debuts on September 15th.


Fuller House (Season 3 – Part 1)

Fuller House, the reboot/sequel of the popular show, Full House, is returning for Part 1 of it’s third season on September 22. Fuller House is the story of D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron-Bure), a recently widowed mom of three. After realizing she is unable to handle the demands of a full time job as a vet and raising three kids herself, her sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and childhood best friend Kimmy (Andrea Barber), who is also a mother, offer to move in and help her bring up her children.


What Netflix Originals are you excited for in September? Tell us in the comments section, below!

Throwback Thursday: The iTunes Music Store Catalogues Over 1 Million Songs

Throwback Thursday: The iTunes Music Store Catalogues Over 1 Million Songs


On this day in 2004, The iTunes Music Store announced that it had become the first online music service to have a catalog of more than 1 million songs. Launched in late April of 2003, The iTune Music Store quickly became the largest music vendor in the world and revolutionized how people purchase and experience their music. In its first 18 hours, the store sold about 275,000 tracks, and more than 1 million tracks were sold in its first 5 days. On December 15, 2003, Apple announced that it had sold 25 million songs. Before it’s debut, most online music was downloaded illegally off of sites like Napster or Limewire. Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, sought to create a service that allowed people to access music legally, so in 2002, he made an agreement with the five major record labels to offer their content through iTunes. Originally, all songs on the service were sold at the same price, but Apple introduced tiered pricing in 2007. At the Macworld 2008 Keynote, Steve Jobs announced iTunes movie rentals. Today, the iTunes Store has expanded from just music downloading to a music and app store, as well as a place to rent or purchase movies and TV shows.