Author Topic: Yuletide 2013  (Read 3300 times)

Offline Danae Cassandra

  • Heavy Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Country: us
    • View Profile
Yuletide 2013
« on: December 06, 2013, 04:00:46 AM »
The Yule season is upon us!  Thought I'd get a couple of the concert DVDs out of the way quickly, as I will have company later this month that won't enjoy them like I do.

Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration
Overall: 4/5

A Kilted Christmas With Coyote Run
Overall: 4/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

  • Heavy Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Country: us
    • View Profile
Re: Yuletide 2013
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 05:08:58 AM »
Yesterday we watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - my personal favorite Rankin-Bass special.  I reviewed it last year, so you can read that here.

Then this morning we watched Frosty the Snowman - another seasonal favorite.  I wrote a brief review of it in 2011, so you can read that here.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

  • Heavy Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Country: us
    • View Profile
Re: Yuletide 2013
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 05:12:00 AM »


This Christmas
Year of Release: 2007
Directed By: Preston A. Whitmore
Starring: Delroy Lindo, Idris Alba, Loretta Devine, Chris Brown
Genre: Drama, Comedy

Overview:
This Christmas there's no place like family. For the first time in years, all the Whitfield kids have come home to spend the holiday with Ma'Dere (Loretta Devine) and her boyfriend Joe (Delroy Lindo). And each has brought plenty of baggage along with them. As the lights are hung and the tree is trimmed, secrets are revealed and ties are tested. But as their lives converge again, they join together to rediscover and celebrate the wonderful gift of family.

My Thoughts:
This is a pretty typical Christmas movie - a family who haven't all been together for quite some time comes together for the holiday.  Each of them have their own problems, and maybe their relationships with the rest of the family are kinda dysfunctional.  After all, nobody knows how to push your buttons like your family.  But in the end, family is what really matters and family are the folks that have your back.  Whatever the problems are, they can be worked out.

Yes, that's pretty cliche, but this is a bit more realistic a family.  I don't come from a big family (opposite of it, in fact), but I could still relate to these people.  The children, and their mother, and even the bookies pursuing the eldest son and the smarmy cheating spouse, all have good points and bad points.  Yes, some of them have more good points and some more bad points.  Yes, there is a happy ending, but this is a Christmas movie about a family coming together.  There wasn't not going to be a happy ending.  

I think anyone looking for a family drama (with touches of comedy) would enjoy this film.  I think anyone would relate to it.  I think it's a shame that a lot of folks won't look at this film, and will simply relegate it to being a "black film" rather than simply a "film."  I would recommend this to anyone - unless you're looking for something to watch with little kids.  Teens, sure, no problem, but little kids will be bored pretty quick.

Bechdel Test: Pass*

Overall: 3.5/5

*barely, there's one conversation between the women about food, but that's it - all the other conversations are about men or their relationships with men
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

  • Heavy Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Country: us
    • View Profile
Re: Yuletide 2013
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 03:36:05 AM »
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Ghosts of Christmas Past

Again, getting in the concert DVDs before I get my company over the weekend.

I reviewed this last year, so you can read about it here.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

  • Heavy Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Country: us
    • View Profile
Re: Yuletide 2013
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 03:08:57 PM »


Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage
Year of Release: 2007
Directed By:  Michael Campus
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Marcia Gay Harden, Peter O'Toole, Aaron Ashmore
Genre: Drama

Overview:
Returning home from college one Christmas, young artist Thomas Kinkade (Jared Padalecki) is dismayed to learn that attempts to promote local tourism have failed and his mother (Marcia Gay Harden) is dangerously close to losing the family cottage to foreclosure. Inspired by his mentor, Glen (Peter O' Toole), a famous artist who lives next door, Thom accepts a job painting a mural of his small, idyllic hometown. With Glen's help, Thom not only discovers his calling as the Painter of Light™  but also helps the town rediscover the true spirit of Christmas in this nostalgic, humorous and heartwarming true story destined to become a holiday classic.

My Thoughts:
I observed once that no one appreciates sentiment any more.  We have uplifted cynicism in its place.  I think perhaps that accounts for some of the reason this film has gotten poor reviews.  Yes, it's sentimental, and maybe a bit schmaltzy, but I enjoyed it and thought it was pretty good.  It's a Christmas movie, and one should expect sentiment in such a film.  The film and its characters felt very real to me, these small town eccentrics and their rivalries and friendships.  If Peter O'Toole is the standout, the entire cast did a good job with their characters.

For those who have said this isn't a "family movie" because of some very brief, and very mild, language, and the portrayal of the town hussy, you are missing the forest for the leaves.  The film is filled with the value of love and community, of putting aside those things that hold you back from others and coming together.  And that makes it a good Christmas film.  Recommended, unless you're a total prude living under a rock, or too-cool for old-fashioned sentiment.

Bechdel Test: Pass

Overall: 3/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

  • Heavy Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Country: us
    • View Profile
Re: Yuletide 2013
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2013, 02:49:44 PM »


Prancer
Year of Release: 1989
Directed By:  John Hancock
Starring: Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, Rebecca Harrell, Rutanya Alda
Genre: Drama

Overview:
A wounded reindeer and a precocious eight-year-old girl form an everlasting bond in this tender holiday drama about true devotion and friendship. An enchanting film full of "heart and gumption" (Roger Ebert), Prancer will set your imagination aflight!

Jessica Riggs (Rebecca Harrell) plays an angel in her school pageant ... but she becomes a real guardian angel when she finds an injured reindeer in the forest. Convinced that the deer is Santa's very own Prancer, Jessica vows to nurse him back to health and return him safely home. But before she can carry out her plan, Jessica discovers that her father (Sam Elliott) has made another — very different — plan of his own! Will Jessica be able to help her antlered friend find his way back to Santa in time to make their deliveries on Christmas Eve? The magical final scene is sure to make your heart soar!

My Thoughts:
There's an old country song with a line that goes "you've got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything."  That might equally be about faith.  If you don't believe in something, what is left?  Jesse believes in Santa - but equally, she believes in God and Heaven, because otherwise, what about her mother?  Her father has lost his faith, and his harsh demeanor is the result of the despair inside - having lost his wife, facing the hard reality of poverty and the potential loss of his farm and breakup of his family, he has nothing left.  This is a beautiful little movie about Christmas, and about how the spirit of a child, in its hope and optimism, can shine a light into a dark heart and bring people together.

Rebecca Harrell's performance as Jesse is spectacular, one of the best child actors in a film I've seen in a while.  Sam Elliot is also very effective as her father - at no time did I doubt that he loved her, even if his approach is harsh.  Not to say the movie doesn't have a couple issues.  The subplot with Cloris Leachman's character is never fully developed (or perhaps over-edited), and the ending would have been better if left more subtle.  Those complaints aside, it's still a good movie and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a Christmas drama.

Bechdel Test:  Pass

Overall:  3/5
« Last Edit: December 22, 2013, 12:33:01 AM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

  • Heavy Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Country: us
    • View Profile
Re: Yuletide 2013
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2013, 02:52:08 PM »
Also watched Arthur Christmas again, which I reviewed last year - so you can read that here.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline DSig

  • Heavy Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1094
    • View Profile
Re: Yuletide 2013
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2013, 05:52:07 PM »
Saw Prancer when it came out with my daughter who had just turned 5 at the time.  She was mesmerized.  Great family movie ... and with Sam Elliott in it it can't be bad .. well mostly :)
Thank you
David

Offline Danae Cassandra

  • Heavy Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Country: us
    • View Profile
Re: Yuletide 2013
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2013, 04:39:09 AM »


12 Days of Christmas Eve
Year of Release: 2004
Directed By: Martha Coolidge
Starring: Steven Weber, Vincent Gale, Patricia Velasquez, Molly Shannon
Genre: Comedy

Overview:
Calvin Carter is a hard-charging, high-living guy who runs a hugely successful chain of discount stores. On the road to business success his family life fell apart, some associates got burned, and his employees fear him. But to play in the big leagues, you have to take some big bumps.

On Christmas Eve, while everyone else is spending the holiday with family and friends, Calvin is at work closing deals and keeping his priorities straight...money first. But on his way home later that night, Calvin meets destiny when he is hit by a falling sign. When he awakens in the hospital he is met by a no-nonsense nurse who gives him 12 days to relive Christmas Eve and find the true meaning of the holiday. With the clock ticking Calving tries to reconnect with the family and friends who give meaning to his life and recapture the true spirit of the season.

My Thoughts:
This was a pleasant, enjoyable movie with a number of funny parts. No, there was nothing particularly original about it, but it's anchored by good performances and has a warm seasonal message. It's also a nice family movie for those looking for such a film. It's a fun watch.

Bechdel Test:  Fail

Overall: 2.75/5
« Last Edit: December 22, 2013, 04:45:06 AM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

  • Heavy Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Country: us
    • View Profile
Re: Yuletide 2013
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2013, 04:40:59 AM »
We also watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon), but, again, reviewed it last year, so read that here.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield