Author Topic: Christmas 2016  (Read 8137 times)

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Christmas 2016
« Reply #45 on: December 21, 2016, 02:48:05 AM »


The Year Without a Santa Claus
Year of Release: 1974
Directed By: Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass
Starring: Shirley Booth, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, George S. Irving
Genre: Fantasy, Animation, Television

Overview:
From Rankin/Bass studios come three sparkingly remastered holiday favorites boasting delightful stop-motion animation, catchy songs and family-pleasing stories. Headlining the trio is The Year Without a Santa Claus, in which wearry St. Nick (voiced by Mickey Rooney) forgoes his holiday gift-giving journey, leaving Mrs. Claus (Shirley Booth) and two elves to revive the Christmas spirit in Santa and the world's children.

My Thoughts:
I think we can all agree the Miser brothers are the stars here. Their introduction songs are the most fun parts of the film, and they are the best characters. I always love the scene of "It's Gonna Snow Right Here in Dixie" as well. Mrs. Claus' "I Could Be Santa Claus" and the song around the table in Southtown, "I Believe in Santa Claus" are also good.

However, the parts with Jingle and Jangle are kind of painful. I know they're supposed to be silly characters, but the exaggerated voices come off more stupid than silly to me.

Those two aside, this is a Christmas classic for us, and the Misers make it worth seeing every year.

Bechdel Test: Fail
Mako Mori Test: Fail

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

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Re: Christmas 2016
« Reply #46 on: December 21, 2016, 02:51:55 AM »


A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa
Year of Release: 2009
Directed By: Kirk R. Thatcher
Starring: Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Rizzo, Pepe the King Prawn
Genre: Comedy, Television

Overview:
Celebrate the season with all your favorite Muppets in this heartwarming and hilarious holiday movie. Whoopi Goldberg, Uma Thurman, Nathan Lane and other sensational guest stars join our friends on a fun-filled Christmas adventure full of sidesplitting laughs and memorable music.

When Gonzo forgets to mail three letters to Santa, he convinces Kermit and the gang to help him deliver the notes to the North Pole. Along the way, they discover that Christmas is the time to be with those you care about most, as they dash home to make a friend's Christmas wish come true. Bursting with bonus material and never-before-seen footage, A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa is hours of holiday fun for the entire family!

My Thoughts:
This is a pretty average Muppets special. It's cute, Paul Williams puts together a couple of good songs, and the Muppet performers give it their all ... but the main story is fairly dull, and the human performers aren't anywhere near the Muppets in their performances. Yes, you watch a Muppet movie for the Muppets, but the humans could have been a lot better.

Not bad for Muppet fans, but not in the same league as The Muppet Christmas Carol. Not sorry I watched it, but it won't make the yearly rotation.

Bechdel Test: Fail
Mako Mori Test: Fail

Overall: 2.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Christmas 2016
« Reply #47 on: December 21, 2016, 02:58:44 AM »


The Heart of Christmas
Year of Release: 2011
Directed By: Gary Wheeler
Starring: Candace Cameron Bure, Jeanne Neilson, Christopher Shone, Nicholas Shone, Eric Beck
Genre: Drama

Overview:
Based on a true story of hope and compassion, The Heart Of Christmas will touch your heart and bring home the spirit of the holidays. Austin and Julie Locke are devastated when they learn that their young son, Dax, has been diagnosed with cancer. But with courage, determination and faith, they decide to give Dax a one last Christmas, even if it has to be in October. When the community sees the holiday decorations and learns the heartbreaking truth, what happens next is a miraculous outpouring of caring and support. Starring Candace Cameron Bure (Make It or Break It), Jeanne Neilson (Faith Like Potatoes), George Newbern (Father of the Bride), Erin Bethea (Fireproof), Anita Renfroe (Bless This Mess), and Matthew West (Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter). The Heart Of Christmas is the greatest gift of all.

My Thoughts:
This is a good story with a great message, done with competent actors who do their best with what they've been given. You can tell everyone had their heart in making the film, and really had a lot of empathy for Dax's story. It's quite the tearjerker, but it's also a heartwarming story, as all these people come together to support this family.

I just wish it was a better movie. I had some issues with the filmmaking choices. That's not to say that the film is bad ... but the technique could have been better. When I was working on my creative writing, I was always told "show, don't tell." Well, this film does a lot of telling. Most of the film is in flashback, and it has a framing story of a career mom reading the blog Dax's mom writes. I would have rather seen the film told linear, as the story of the family with their son. While I understand what they're going for with it, I really felt it was unnecessary. The message of cherishing each moment, and how the lives of one family can influence others, could come through just fine without the frame.

Still, I enjoyed the film and would recommend it if it sounds like one you'd enjoy. Be prepared for some tears, and some Christianity. I won't say it's a faith film, but it's close. It wasn't preachy, so it didn't offend this non-Christian. Your milage may vary.

I did like the film's message, so I had to go listen to "Another Day" from Rent after watching this film. There is no future / There is no past / I live this moment as my last / There's only us / There's only this / Forget regret / Or life is yours to miss / No other road / No other way / No day but today

Bechdel Test: Pass
Mako Mori Test: Fail

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

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Re: Christmas 2016
« Reply #48 on: December 22, 2016, 03:10:03 PM »


The Polar Express
Year of Release: 2004
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Tom Hanks, Leslie Zemeckis, Eddie Deezen, Nona Gaye, Peter Scolari
Genre: Fantasy, Animation

Overview:
All the enchantment, all the joy of The Polar Express — all in amazing 3-D**! This instant holiday classic filmed in performance-capture animation by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks now delivers a whole new dimension of coming-at-you Blu-ray magic. And there's more: a two-dimenson Blu-ray version for you to enjoy without your 3-D glasses. Twice the adventure, many times the fun — all aboooooard!

My Thoughts:
A personal favorite, and just about my favorite modern (post 1980) Yuletide film (the other being Tokyo Godfathers). This is a film that really puts me in the Yuletide spirit.

The animation falls into two categories: absolutely stunning visuals and somewhat off-looking people. I expect the people problem is because of the limits of early mocap, and I find that each year I watch the film I notice less and less that the people don't move right. The environment, however, is brilliantly realized and absolutely magnificent. When we saw this at the IMAX in 3D, the sequences where the train goes downhill on the tracks are fabulous.  The use of movement in the film always strikes me, even watching this in 2D.  I'd love to see it up on the big screen again.

I also really enjoy the characters, especially the girl in the group. She's refreshingly different from most female characters in American animation, breaking stereotypes and being the leader of the group that she is. But all of the main child characters are portrayed rather realistically, which I like.

A modern holiday classic - recommended without reservation.

Bechdel Test: Fail
Mako Mori Test: Pass

Overall: 3.75/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Christmas 2016
« Reply #49 on: December 23, 2016, 07:19:04 PM »
Dear Santa (2011/Canada)
IMDb |Wikipedia |Trailer |
Image Entertainment (United States)
Director:Jason Priestley
Writing:Barbara Kymlicka (Writer)
Length:92 min.
Video:Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Audio:English: Dolby Digital: 2-Channel Stereo
Subtitles:NONE

Stars:
Amy Acker as Crystal
David Haydn-Jones as Derek
Emma Duke as Olivia
Patrick Creery
Gina Holden

Plot:
Shopaholic Crystal's (Amy Acker, Alias) wealthy parents give her an ultimatum: change her irresponsible ways by Christmas or they will cut her off without a cent. With no job or romantic prospects, what's a girl to do? Fate intervenes when she finds seven-year-old Olivia's (Emma Duke) letter to Santa asking for a new wife for her widowed dad, Derek (David Haydn-Jones). Crystal tracks them down and vows to win over father and daughter before the fast-approaching holiday deadline. Only Derek's jealous and calculating girlfriend (Gina Holden, Harper's Island) stands between her and her newfound happiness. Share the gift of love and laughter with this heartwarming romantic comedy directed by Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills 90210).

Extras:
  • NONE


My Thoughts:

I first watched this one on Netflix last year. I enjoyed it so much that I got a copy on DVD for this year. I liked all the characters. It is a fun storyline. And I do think the entire cast did a wonderful job. Sure the entire movie was predictable. Especially if you are a fan of romantic comedies. But sometimes it isn't all about the ending... it's the journey that matters. I recommend checking it out if you like romantic comedies.

Rating:
« Last Edit: December 23, 2016, 07:21:43 PM by addicted2dvd »
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Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Christmas 2016
« Reply #50 on: December 24, 2016, 05:05:46 AM »


Creature Comforts: Merry Christmas Everybody!
Year of Release: 2004
Directed By: Richard Goleszowski
Starring: the voices of the great British public
Genre: Comedy, Animation, Television

Overview:
How do hamsters cope with indigestion? Why do dogs hate wearing Christmas hats? What happens when a partridge is chased out of its pear tree, and why do dogs find Christmas unbearably emotional? Join in the festive fun with our furry friends.

My Thoughts:
This is a short Christmas special from the show Creature Comforts, and it's the only episode of the show I've seen.  This is the third year I've watched this little special, though, so I should probably check out the rest of the show at some point.  I'd recommend it if you like British humor, because I find it really funny, but it is very British.

Bechdel Test: Fail
Mako Mori Test: Fail

Overall: 3.25/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Christmas 2016
« Reply #51 on: December 26, 2016, 04:12:51 PM »


Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve
Directed By: Bart Perry
Starring: Ossie Davis, Allie Sheridan, Jewel, Michael Crawford, Tony Gaynor, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Genre: Music

Overview:
The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, is a timeless holiday story of a young runaway who has broken into an old movie palace, looking for shelter on a snow filled Christmas Eve. Closed for decades, the building is filled with countless discarded artifacts from the past. There she is discovered by the old caretaker who uses the ghosts and spirits that inhabit this long abandoned world to turn her life around. This enchanting tale featuring Ossie Davis, singer/songwriter Jewel, and Broadway superstar Michael Crawford is highlighted by the performances of Christmas favorites as well as Trans-Siberian Orchestra's own unique arrangements of holiday classics.

My Thoughts:
Beautiful music, with the video for "Christmas in Sarajevo" in the center, my only complaint is that it's so short. I really wish TSO would put together another video; I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Bechdel Test: Fail
Mako Mori Test: Fail

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

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Re: Christmas 2016
« Reply #52 on: December 26, 2016, 04:50:40 PM »


A Charlie Brown Christmas
Year of Release: 1965
Directed By: Bill Melendez
Starring: Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Tracy Stratford, Bill Melendez, Chris Doran
Genre: Comedy, Animation, Television

Overview:
Christmastime is here. Happiness and cheer. And for Peanuts fans everywhere, it just wouldn't be Christmas without this classic holiday delight. Lights may twinkle red and green, but Charlie Brown has the Yuletide blues. To get in the holiday spirit, he takes Lucy's advice and directs the Christmas play. And what's a Christmas play without a Christmas tree? But everyone makes fun of the short, spindly nevergreen Charlie Brown brings back – until the real meaning of Christmas works its magic once again.

My Thoughts:
One of the few true pieces of Christmas perfection.  Everything about this little special is made of win.  The music is now part of the canon.  We can see a bit of us in each of the kids.  Who hasn't been depressed about this time of year, wondering with all the commercialism what the true meaning is?  Who hasn't been upset that they don't get what they want?  Or that they aren't going to get their fair share? 

It's also the innocence of childhood that makes this a perfect piece of Christmas.  Dancing just for the joy of it, catching snowflakes on your tongue, ice skating.  Snoopy is the embodiment of this.  He celebrates every moment, has fun and enjoys himself, and only stops when the others eye him disapprovingly (dancing on the piano).  We should all be more like Snoopy.

Bechdel Test: Fail
Mako Mori Test: Fail

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

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Christmas 2016
« Reply #53 on: December 26, 2016, 06:02:47 PM »


It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown
Year of Release: 1992
Directed By: Bill Melendez
Starring: Jamie E. Smith, John Christian Graas, Marnette Patterson, Phillip Lucier, Lindsay Benesh
Genre: Comedy, Animation, Television

Overview:
As the holiday season rolls around and all the Peanuts gang are getting ready for it. Whether it be Charlie Brown struggling to raise money for his girlfriend or Sally and Peppermint Patty struggling to rehearse and memorize their one word lines for the Christmas pageant, these kids try to keep with the Christmas spirit while Snoopy has his mischief to do.

My Thoughts:
Despite the amusing bits and a bit of sharp dialog - and Peppermint Patty as the sheep is pretty funny - this special doesn't come close to the original's classic charm. Then again, nothing really can. It's still a cute Peanuts cartoon, though.

Bechdel Test: Pass
Mako Mori 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

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Re: Christmas 2016
« Reply #54 on: December 26, 2016, 08:25:35 PM »


A Christmas Carol
Year of Release: 1999
Directed By: David Jones
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Joel Grey, Ian McNeice
Genre: Drama

Overview:
Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek: The Next Generation) stars as Scrooge, the mean-spirited miser who gets his terrifying comeuppance when he imagines he's visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, and taken on a life-altering journey. Spellbinding special effects, a star-studded cast, and a timeless holiday story make this brilliant presentation of Dickens' classic the most heartwarming, compelling and powerful adaptation ever filmed.

My Thoughts:
This is as fine an adaptation of A Christmas Carol as any in this old world. If I still prefer the 1951 Alaister Sim version, this is my second favorite. Patrick Stewart is an excellent Scrooge, and I actually prefer the Cratchets here over the '51. The ghosts are very well done, and the story adapts closely. I'd have liked to see more of Scrooge's relationship with Fran, since her death is so crucial in his story. Still such a good retelling of this familiar tale, very much worth the time put in to watch it.

This was a wonderful breath of fresh air after the exceedingly mediocre Magoo Christmas Carol we watched earlier in the month.  Still falls a bit shy next to Sim's.  It might be the nostalgia of Sim's version, since that was the one we used to watch on TV when I was a kid.  I really need to watch them both back to back.  I also really wish I had this on blu-ray.

Bechdel Test: Fail
Mako Mori Test: Fail

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