Dec 31, 2014

Review: Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

I've never seen Sleepless in Seattle which too surprising I guess. My girlfriend had never seen it either though and I've been poking fun at her these past few days with good reason. One of her favourite movies of all time is You've Got Mail which she will stop her life for if it is on TV. She adores Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan who also star in YGM and she even loves a few other Nora Ephron movies as well. You can easily see why she deserved every dig.

Maybe I should be made fun of too for being a movie guy and never seeing it? Maybe, but you could probably find better movies to laugh at me for if you ask me. After seeing Love Affair and An Affair to Remember which SiS is inspired by, I'm getting closer to having seen all of this series of films now. I'm just missing the 1994 remake as well as some particularly unappetizing Bollywood remakes.

Dec 30, 2014

Review: An Affair to Remember (1957)

There seems to be a fair amount of disdain for An Affair to Remember because of the role it plays in the 90's Nora Ephron directed Sleepless in Seattle with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. I haven't seen that movie yet, but apparently it's partially inspired by AAtR and it makes references to it multiple times. That's enough for it to have been given the ultimate chick flick moniker, but I'm not so sure that's really fair. There are definitely other movies I'd put ahead of it on that list, but that's just me.

I still find it pretty amusing that Leo McCarey directed a remake to his own movie. Eighteen years separate Love Affair and An Affair to Remember and there could be several reasons as to why he wanted to do a remake. Maybe McCarey didn't think he did the story justice the first time, or maybe he thought that it'd be cool to do the film in colour. Either way, I was interested to see what could be done with an updated version.

Dec 29, 2014

Review: Love Affair (1939)

Love Affair is one of those old classic movies that have been remade multiple times in ensuing years. One of those remakes was even by its own director, Leo McCarey. That would be An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr and it's definitely the more popular version of the two. Following that, there was a 1994 remake with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening as well as a Bollywood remake called Mann with Aamir Khan.

The reason why I'm watching Love Affair is because I want to work my way to Sleepless in Seattle which was inspired by An Affair to Remember apparently. Christmas is also part of the plot but not overly so, which should make these movies a good way to ease out of December before a short foray into New Year's movies. 

Dec 28, 2014

Review: Jingle All the Way 2 (2014)

Before even watching Jingle All the Way 2, one can't help but wonder why this movie was made at all. Why would anyone want to see a sequel to Jingle All the Way 18 years later without Arnold Schwarzenegger? Without even a cameo from Sinbad? I doubt they were tendered any offers anyway because that would just be insulting.

What I want to avoid doing with this review is rant about Larry the Cable Guy, so I guess I'll just get it out my system now. I'm not really all that familiar with his stand-up career, but I think I know enough. He's essentially created this on-stage redneck persona who'll say controversial things, but gets a pass because he's just an ignorant redneck after all. Oh, he's got his "git-r-done" catchphrase too. He's imported this persona and brought it into awful titles like Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector and Witless Protection. It's the same schtick all the time and I just can't comprehend how it was ever funny in the first place.

Dec 27, 2014

Review: The Borrowers (2011)

I've been waiting on seeing this version of The Borrowers for some time after having gone through the lot of adaptations some months ago. This is a Christmas-themed version put out by BBC, so I had no choice but to wait until December. With a couple of notables like Christopher Eccleston and Stephen Fry, it couldn't be all that bad right?

The 1997 version of Mary Norton's novel was a childhood favourite of mine. Watching it now made me realize that it isn't quite as good as I remember it being, but it still has its moments. The cast is of particular interest. The 1973 version from The Hallmark Channel has aged horribly and that leaves us with Studio Ghibli's The Secret World of Arrietty. Although it doesn't measure up to other SG productions, it's a really nice effort and is definitely the best adaptation at the moment. Can Tom Harper find a way to best it?

Dec 26, 2014

Review: The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale (2014)

It's not easy seeing a sequel when the predecessor was just so good at being unbelievably bad. Director Richard Rich who's been around since the beginning of The Swan Princess film series returns once again to pelt more eggs at something that was once halfway respectable. The original The Swan Princess wasn't quite able to measure up to its Disney peers, but there's nothing like a little competition and you had to respect Rich for that. 

With two middling sequels that followed in 1997 and 1998, Richard Rich thought it would be a good idea for some reason to make yet another Swan Princess sequel after no one cared anymore, make it a Christmas film and replace the traditional cel animation with CGI. If that's not selling out, I don't know what is. The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale is the follow-up to The Swan Princess Christmas and it looks every bit as bad as you'd expect.

Dec 25, 2014

Review: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

The last of my annual Christmas trifecta, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is children's entertainment at its finest. It's the kind of movie that for me as a kid, it strangely felt a whole lot longer than it really was because of how awesome and draining an experience it was every time it came on. I don't really know why that is, but I guess it's because of the excitement I felt while watching it, which would  then flatline at the end. Kind of like going through a time machine you know? Some kind of fun to unfun time machine.

What's weird is that I don't think I've ever even read Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, even as a kid. I've read some of his other books and it's honestly pretty difficult to pick a favourite. If I really had to narrow it down, I guess it would be between Green Eggs and Ham and The Lorax. Anyhow, back to The Grinch.

Dec 24, 2014

Review: A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

A Charlie Brown Christmas has to be one of the most amusing tales of film production. At the time, Peanuts had become a worldwide phenomenon and Lee Mendelson was looking to make a documentary on its success. Writer Charles M. Schulz agreed to take part in it, but unfortunately no TV studio wanted it. However, an offer came through for a thirty minute special that Mendelson agreed to immediately, thinking to use it as leverage to sell his Schulz documentary.

What followed was an animated production made on a shoestring budget, an unheard of Biblical reading as well as a voice cast totally composed of children which had never been done before. It went over budget and was rushed to meet the deadline. Pretty much everything pointed to it being a complete failure which is the exact opposite of what happened. Reception was overwhelmingly positive and it has become a staple during Christmas in North America.

Review: Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012)

I just don't get why anyone would think that people are still interested in a Home Alone movie anymore. Home Alone 4 is without a doubt one of the worst sequels ever put to film and it deserves every single bad thing ever said about it and everything that will be said about it. Although the goodwill of Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York continues to live on, the ship for new Home Alone movies has long since sailed.

I think that the producers of Home Alone: The Holiday Heist realize that as does ABC Family which broadcasted the film. There wasn't really a whole lot of hoopla made over its release in 2012, at least not anything that I really heard of anyway. This was just about ABC padding their 25 Days of Christmas TV lineup with an established franchise, nothing more.

Dec 23, 2014

Review: Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

2014 is the 50th anniversary of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and it's one of those movies that is a must see for me every year around Christmas. I'm not sure how old I was when I first saw it, but like a lot of people it's one of those movies that became a huge part of my childhood. It just doesn't quite feel like Christmas if I don't catch at least a little bit of Rudolph on TV. I'm a little bothered by all the merchandising I've seen for it this year, but I guess that's just the nature of the beast. You only turn fifty once after all.

My big three every year for Christmas are Rudolph, How the Grinch Stoles Christmas! and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Again though, I really don't think I'm alone in this at all. These are some of the oldest movies continuously played every single year on TV without fail and they're bound to have lots of fans. I'm just stating the facts here. Hopefully though, it's a Christmas trio that will live forever.

Review: Home Alone 4 (2002)

Home Alone 4 was at one point titled Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House. Personally, I like Home Alone 4: Wasting Your Time better, but I don't come up with titles for a living. I'm glad that at the very least this was released as a TV movie and not a theatrical film. It wasn't really that much of a favour though.

Want to know why? Because the plan was to turn this movie into a TV series. The producers even had the nerve to approach Daniel Stern to reprise his role as Marv from Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. All the principal actors of HA4 were locked into contracts that would have them return for the TV series that thankfully never came to fruition. I'm glad people had some sense to not watch this movie which should've been clear from Home Alone 3 anyway.

Review: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Despite seeing tons of movies and making a habit of watching nothing but Christmas movies for the whole month of December, I had never seen It's a Wonderful Life until two years ago. I'd seen snippets of it shown on TV and I'd even seen parts of it that were shown in other movies, usually Christmas ones of course. For me, it was definitely a long time coming for a movie that had become an undeniable holiday staple in North America.

Despite a pretty unconvincing performance at the box office in 1946, It's a Wonderful Life was able to become the popular classic that is because of how much it was shown on TV during the holidays starting in the late 1970's. Capra has called it his favourite of his movies and even James Stewart has as well. One thing's for sure though, It's a Wonderful Life is a Christmas fixture just as much as Christmas trees, turkey dinners and socks as presents are.

Dec 22, 2014

Review: The Swan Princess Christmas (2012)

Richard Rich what have you done? Is this really how far you've sunk? Forced to take an existing series and milk it into oblivion? I didn't even like The Swan Princess very much to begin with, but at least there was an attempt there at making it into a decent animated film. Followed by two very underwhelming sequels in The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain and The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure that were made to be easy cash grabs, I don't know what good can come of The Swan Princess Christmas.

Were Swan fans even clamoring for another sequel, a CGI animated sequel at that? Eighteen years separate TSP and TSPC, so I doubt fans of the original were even paying attention when it was released. Oh, maybe it's the return of James Arrington to voice Chamberlain that got people excited. Doubtful eh? Money can be the only thing at work here and I don't even think there's any to be made. Too much time has passed and I think the cash grab ship has already sailed.

Dec 21, 2014

Review: The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure (1998)

I'm glad that Richard Rich at least had the decency to release this second sequel to The Swan Princess direct-to-video. Releasing The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain theatrically was a big mistake, even if it was quickly corrected. Like TSP:EfCM, The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure belongs nowhere else but in a bargain bin.

Funny how these sequels don't have a numerical designator right? It's not the first series to do it, but I'm pretty sure that this is done to make people think this isn't necessarily a sequel. That way, anyone can watch it if they want to even if they haven't seen the original. Also, the title is totally bogus anyway since there is no "enchanted treasure" in this movie. At least Escape from Castle Mountain had a mountain/volcano that doubled as a castle.

Review: VeggieTales: The Little Drummer Boy (2011)

Mike Nawrocki, one of the original creators and Mark Steele who's been around the series since 2009 did the script for this Christmas-themed VeggieTales entry. They've lifted the story directly from the 1968 Rankin/Bass TV special which sadly enough, I haven't even seen and I probably should've before watching this.

The Little Drummer Boy actually traces its origins back to a song written by Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941 which was then recorded by the Trapp Family Singers in '55. It's been re-recorded many times afterwards by pretty much everyone who's done a Christmas album. It's not really a favourite of mine as far as holiday music goes, but looking at the long list of different versions reminds me that I should really track down Christopher Lee's A Heavy Metal Christmas and give that a listen.

Dec 20, 2014

Review: Jingle All the Way (1996)

When I finally discovered Arnold Schwarzenegger, movie watching changed forever for me. I wanted to see every single movie he ever appeared in and I've come pretty close to doing that. Arnold oozes charisma, he's got some pretty solid comedic timing and he's the size of a tree. He's too cool for school and if I met him in person I'd probably turn into a thirteen year old or something. 

Jingle All the Way is the part of Arnold's career where he decided to mix it up a bit with the odd comedy role. It was definitely a risky decision given his action hero persona, but it's one that paid off for him as well as studios. This started with Twins in 1988 and Jingle is pretty much the ending bookmark to that chapter until his tiny cameo in Around the World in 80 Days in 2004 (which is hilarious by the way). I suppose you could consider Batman & Robin which came out in 1997 as a pure comedy, but that's a matter of opinion.

Dec 19, 2014

Review: The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain (1997)

I would really like to know who made the decision to release The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain theatrically. The first movie was a pretty big bomb with less than $10 million at the box office on a $35 million budget. Maybe TSP:EfCM didn't have a very wide release, but it predictably failed to make much of an impact and was released on video only two months afterwards. The numbers just weren't there to begin with and I don't know who could've thought a second try was warranted.

The Swan Princess: Escape from Castle Mountain was the absolute perfect movie to be released direct-to-video.You know, the kind that would've been found in plentiful quantities in video rental stores in the kid section? Michelle Nicastro was the only voice actor to return which I suppose is pretty nice since she has the titular role. Oh, there's Steve Vinovich as Puffin as well. The fact that no one else returned is a pretty bad sign though. The animation also suffered very visably from some downgrading and the movie is barely over an hour long. All the ingredients were there for that perfect direct-to-video release.

Dec 18, 2014

Review: Window Wonderland (2013)

I went ahead with another Hallmark Christmas TV movie, this time about two would-be-lovers who work as window dressers. It's a job that melds art and marketing together which speaks to me personally since it's my field. I was honestly looking forward to seeing the kind of work that would be featured in the movie actually. Christmas window dressing is a pretty cool subject for a movie if you ask me, so I was pretty impressed that a good idea like this could be found in a Hallmark original movie.

Store windows at Christmastime have actually always meant something to me. It's maybe a bit silly I guess, but I still remember looking at the awesome Ogilvy Christmas window display in Montreal that my mom would take my sisters and I to go see every year. People would all huddle around, looking at at the mechanized characters, usually animals, skating around in what was a beautifully detailed environment. It's an early Christmas memory of mine and although I don't go see the Ogilvy window every year anymore, I have fond memories of it.

Dec 17, 2014

Review: Home Alone 3 (1997)

Home Alone 3 was the final film that John Hughes was contractually obliged to do with Twentieth Century Fox and I'd like to think that he didn't really care too much about it. For a movie with a kid planting traps for bad guys, there's only so much you can do anyway right? He is the only returning cast or crew member of importance to return besides director Raja Gosnell who was originally the editor of Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Good for Raja I guess who went on to direct a bunch of mediocre to bad movies.

Home Alone 3 features a whole new story with a whole new bunch of characters. Is this a reboot before the word became so popular in Hollywood? One thing's for sure, Alex D. Linz definitely has some pretty big shoes to fill with the powerhouse performances that Macaulay Culkin was able to pull off. You got to sort of feel for him because there aren't many people who can succeed in situations like that.

Dec 16, 2014

Review: VeggieTales: It's a Meaningful Life (2010)

I'm feeling good right now because I'm one movie closer to being done with VeggieTales forever. I know that there's a lot more to go though but being finished with the Christmas themed entries would be a great Christmas present for myself. Of course, the real concern here is Big Idea continuing to make new films which does seem to be the case. They seem to be settled on making three films a year which is awful, awful news for me. It's sure to make lots of Veggie fans very pleased though.

Made in 2010, It's a Meaningful Life makes it pretty clear which movie it's inspired by. It's a shame that it's been pumped so full of references to God and being made special by Him. Talk about ruining a good story. All the same, seeing all these Christmas-themed VeggieTales movies has been great for me personally to get a good cross-section of the series as a whole.

Dec 15, 2014

Review: The Swan Princess (1994)

I'm sorry, but I never heard of The Swan Princess when I was younger. It was however one of the larger profile animated releases that wasn't under the Disney banner at the time besides what Don Bluth was putting out. With a lot of budget sunk into high quality traditional hand-painted cel animation, you got to give ex-Disney director Richard Rich credit for trying to compete with the giant that Disney was at the time though. From 1989-1999, this was Disney's Renaissance and a period of time where they could do no wrong.

It's a true David vs. Goliath story and one that didn't end well for David. It was competing with a lot of big movies at the box office as well as what some see as an act of sabotage by Disney. A re-issue of The Lion King was released at the same time, leaving The Swan Princess without much of a fighting chance to capture the family market. With only a little under $10 million earned domestically, The Swan Princess transitioned into nothing more than a cheap direct-to-video series.

Review: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

If I remember correctly, I believe that as a kid I actually liked Home Alone 2 more than the first Home Alone. Watching it now I can actually totally understand that. HO2 turns up the cartoony violence and adds a lot of things that make it super interesting for kids. We're talking an avalanche of room service desserts, one of the great toy store scenes in cinema history and a lot more. This is like a film buffet for kids with all the best Christmas treats.

Critical reception for Home Alone was already pretty cool and it's even cooler for Home Alone 2. All the same, for a movie that at times makes it a little too clear that it's probably only being made to capitalize on the success of the first movie, it hits a lot of the right notes if you ask me. Every important cast member from the first movie is back as are Chris Columbus and John Hughes which is key.

Dec 14, 2014

Review: All About Christmas Eve (2012)

So, is All About Christmas Eve some kind of homage to All About Eve or something? I haven't seen the 1950 classic, but a really quick glance at the story seems to indicate that it jumps around a bit to different time periods. AACE on the other hand is a parallel universe story that presents two sides at the same time. I guess whoever titled this movie just liked the Christmas play on words that could be had with a main character called Evelyn.

All About Christmas Eve stars Haylie Duff, the less famous sister to Hilary Duff. At the same time, Haylie does deserve some credit for always having work and keeping herself busy with different projects even if most of her work is composed of TV movies these days. It's also kind of unfortunate that she's pretty much started doing two Christmas TV movies a year since 2013. Not sure if she'll continue that pace but if it pays the bills right?

Dec 13, 2014

Review: Home Alone (1990)

So a warning here, Home Alone has been a childhood favourite of mine for a long time and I know that I'm far from the only one in that regad. It's difficult to critically evaluate a favourite movie, but I'll try my best anyway. I make no promises to not throw logic out the window though.

The teaming up of Chris Columbus and John Hughes feels like a match made in heaven if you ask me. The work these guys have done meshes together quite nicely and the proof is in the pudding when you look at the success that Home Alone had during its box office run. People loved Home Alone. People continued to see it long after Christmas was over, making it not just one of the most successful Christmas movies, but one of the most successful comedies of all time.

Dec 12, 2014

Review: Veggietales: Saint Nicholas - A Story of Joyful Giving! (2009)

There are a whole lot of things about VeggieTales that brings out the worst in me. The preachiness is always a problem, the animation is usually an eyesore but probably it's the combination of voice acting and writing that gets to me. I understand that VT is for kids, but even kids deserve better entertainment than this. Yeah there are good messages and all that but if you need movies to teach your kids how to be good citizens then that's a parenting problem if you ask me. Let the kids have fun for crying out loud!

Dec 11, 2014

Review: Hitched for the Holidays (2012)

It's exactly two weeks to Christmas now and here I am still watching TV movie tripe. I definitely want to up the quality the closer we get to Christmas, but I'm having a pretty good time laughing at this stuff anyway. For my sanity though I probably want to think about moving on to some other stuff pretty soon.

I don't know anyone in the cast of Hitched for the Holidays except for Marilu Henner, very loosely anyway. She's mostly known for the TV series Taxi from the late 70's, but I personally know her from some random talk show that  I saw my girlfriend watching. Apparently she has this super crazy memory or whatever which must make memorizing lines quite easy. Too bad it doesn't take a genius for anyone to memorize the lines in HftH.

Review: The Wishing Tree (2012)

I don't know what I expect to find by going so deep into Christmas TV Movieland, but I'm guessing it won't be a deeper understanding of the true meaning of Christmas. Hallmark certainly likes to think that it has the answer in its 90 minute productions, but I think we can all agree that it has a better chance of doing that with its cards. It's doubtful that The Wishing Tree is any different.

The only actor I could recognize in The Wishing Tree was Richard Harmon who I remembered from the awful sequel Grave Encounters 2 which spoiled everything the first Grave Encounters accomplished. Harmon's character is pretty much just as annoying this time around too. He plays a rich emo kid who refuses to be anything else but negative at all time. All he needs is a good dose of Christmas spirit eh Hallmark?

Dec 10, 2014

Review: A Christmas Wedding (2006)

You got to hand it to the main characters of A Christmas Wedding. I can actually see the draw for non-traditional wedding dates, but Christmas Day?!? People make plans for Christmas, some people even go away for Christmas. Some people don't want to do anything on Christmas Day, like me. Personally I like to spend all day in my pajamas with all my new loot. It sure is lucky that the extended families of Emily and Ben plan their Christmases around this wedding. I'm glad it never even posed a problem.

A Christmas Wedding proves that you cannot get away from Trailer Park Boys if you film in Nova Scotia. I didn't know that this movie was even filmed there at all until I saw Cory Bowles playing a car rental agent. I knew it was only a matter of time before I'd see another familiar face which ended up being Jeremy Akerman, the second time I see him in a Christmas TV movie this year.

Dec 9, 2014

Review: The Star of Christmas (2002)

So I'm skipping ahead some more with the VeggieTales series because I honestly I want to get them out of the way. If I finish all the Christmas entries now then I'll be a step closer to being done with this unbearable series as a whole. I honestly felt like I hit a brick wall when I saw that the run time for The Star of Christmas was 50 minutes. That's 20 minutes longer than the usual VeggieTales short which is 20 minutes too much. You could also say that it's 50 minutes too much anyway.

Dec 8, 2014

Review: Recipe for a Perfect Christmas (2005)

It's pretty amazing just how many Christmas TV movies there are out there. Between Hallmark, Lifetime and ABC there's enough out there to satisfy all tastes I would think. Well actually that's probably not very true. Most of these movies all follow the same general storyline which is usually someone disliking Christmas or having the wrong idea about Christmas, later finding the true Christmas spirit within themselves come Christmas morning.

I'd like to see something different for a change but I doubt that'll happen any time soon. People seem to like their candy cane coated, family romantic comedies that always have a happy ending. Smart businesses give people what they want, so there's no reason for Hallmark, Lifetime or ABC to change their course.

Dec 7, 2014

Review: Alone for Christmas (2013)

I always thought The Asylum had a pretty good thing going on with their mockbusters. It basically entails riding the coattails of a major blockbuster with a similar title and plot and then tricking people into watching their movies. It's all pretty low, but makes at least a little bit of business sense. I think they're realizing that people are wising up to their scheme though and it looks to me like their releasing more "original" movies with some trademark mockbusters thrown in for good measure too.

Alone for Christmas is one of those "original" movies. Kevin Sorbo who's been in some garbage of his own somehow was convinced that being in this movie would be worth his while. Most of the budget probably even went to him. It's a good thing that he took the role though and I should probably write him a Christmas thank you card for doing it. I honestly don't know what I would've done without him.

Review: Så som i himmelen [As It Is in Heaven] (2004)

As it turns out, As It Is in Heaven isn't as much of a Christmas movie as I was expecting. I'm not sure what made me lump it in with the holiday movies, but besides a couple of times where the choir sing a couple of Christmas songs, there's not much that makes it a movie to watch at Christmas. Even if I didn't really realize it, I probably needed a break like this from all this Christmas stuff anyway.

As It Is in Heaven is a perfectly good movie to watch in December though. After all the setting is cold, wintery and the story is about people being brought together by music. Mikael Nyqvist who is best known for his role of Mikael Blomkvist in the Swedish Millennium series of films stars in this one. It made history at the Swedish Guldbagge Awards by nabbing a nomination in every category, but also by going empty handed by the end of the night. AIIiH was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.

Dec 6, 2014

Review: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (2008)

So continuing on with the worst that TV has to offer, we got The Most Wonderful Time of the Year up next courtesy of The Hallmark Channel. This is the movie that has single-handedly turned director Michael Scott into a Christmas TV movie zombie. Since directing TMWTotY he's made a slew of other holiday TV movies such as Mrs. Miracle and its sequel Call Me Mrs. Miracle. I vividly remember sitting through both of these movies last year and not in a good way.

Henry Winkler of Happy Days fame is along for the ride in a role where he plays a goofy retired cop. I remember Brooke Burns from the awesomely awful Titanic II that The Asylum put out, but that's pretty much it for actors that I know in this one. I wonder if the song It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year will be part of the soundtrack...

Dec 5, 2014

Review: The Toy That Saved Christmas (1996)

What is there to say really? Another day, another VeggieTales. Is that the expression? Sure feels like it anyway. There's just too many of them. I'm skipping some entries because I want to get through the Christmas ones before the month is out. The sooner I'm done with this series, the better because only VeggieTales could make thirty minutes feel like four hours. Only VeggieTales could make me want to become a complete carnivore.

Review: One Magic Christmas (1985)

I've been stuck watching some pretty bad Christmas movies these past few days. Not that I'm complaining. After all, I expected them to be bad. It was no surprise to me when The Christmas Shoes and An All Dogs Christmas Carol didn't end up being Christmas classics. It's all in good fun anyway. I still needed a good movie to break up the pattern though and I hoped that One Magic Christmas would be just what the doctor ordered.

Produced by Disney, OMC seems so far away from the kind of movies that Disney makes now. It seems like everything they release has to be that next billion dollar movie at the box office. While their movies are still good for families, One Magic Christmas really fits the bill a lot better if you ask me. It's about a regular family trying to make ends meet during the Christmas holidays which is a very real concern for families all around the world.

Dec 4, 2014

Review: An All Dogs Christmas Carol (1998)

With An All Dogs Christmas Carol, MGM was willing to sink to new levels in order to get an easy Christmas-themed direct-to-video out there. The original All Dogs Go to Heaven was flawed in its attempts at trying to be a Disney animated movie, but it did succeed in creating a dark and seedy world for its characters. A lot of what happened in ADGTH wasn't even suitable for kids, but that's where its charm lies.

With MGM taking over production of All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, you could really tell that they were going for a more straightforward kids movie. Losing Burt Reynolds was huge though and in no way is Charlie Sheen able to replace him. There are a lot of other things that were wrong with this sequel and An All Dogs Christmas Carol just makes things worse.

Review: The Christmas Hope (2009)

I've finally and thankfully arrived at the final movie in this sappy Christmas trilogy which began with The Christmas Shoes and was followed by The Christmas Blessing. To be honest, my first question was (Spoilers) who is going to die this time? (End Spoilers) TCS and TCB seem to love that topic. Mixed in with some inspirational moments and sprinkled with just a little bit of Christian values, it's clean family entertainment.

There are some returning crew members like Lawrence Shragge for the score and Wesley Bishop for the teleplay, but not much more beyond that. There are however some returning characters from The Christmas Blessing which is standard practice for this series, but not a single returning actor. So yes, I kid you not when I say that Neil Patrick Harris' character has been re-casted. He has pretty much no incentive to return anyway, but why the Nathan Andrews character wasn't written out is beyond me.

Dec 3, 2014

Review: The Christmas Blessing (2005)

Did we really need a sequel to The Christmas Shoes? Although I don't have any numbers in terms of viewership, I think the film did quite well. Judging from the popularity of the song by Christian group NewSong as well as how the book became a best seller, TCS probably did exceedingly well. A sequel was probably predestined before production had even started for The Christmas Shoes.

Neil Patrick Harris plays the returning character of Nathan Andrews who was the young boy from the first movie. It's kind of weird to see him in a role like, this but taking a quick look at his filmography reveals that besides some important TV roles, he was in quite a few TV movies for whatever reason. The Christmas Blessing was pretty much his last real TV movie experience and no surprise there. In 2004 he had had his big cameo in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle where he famously played himself. He's moved on to better things now, like hosting the Emmy Awards and of course the upcoming 2015 Academy Awards.

Dec 2, 2014

Review: The Christmas Shoes (2002)

Oh boy, I just knew it wasn't going to be long before I was stuck watching a corny Christmas TV movie. It just had to be a movie based off one of the worst Christmas songs ever made didn't it? If you can believe it, the song The Christmas Shoes which was released in 2000 inspired a book in 2001, followed by this movie a year later. What you got to admit though is that it's quite the production from just one dumb song. I'd probably do the same thing if I could if I wrote a bad song that became popular.

I never actually heard this song by Christian group NewSong before, but it's very featured in a pivotal scene in The Christmas Shoes. You won't need to hear it more than once though because once is more than enough. That's just me anyway. That's because there seem to be a lot of vocal fans of the song as well as the movie even. I don't really understand it myself, but everyone is entitled to their opinions I guess.

Dec 1, 2014

Review: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1948)

Today is December 1st and that marks the beginning of my annual Christmas movie marathon until the end of the month. It might go on a bit longer with New Year's still pretty much being part of the holiday, but we'll see. It's a month where I get to see the best and the worst of the Christmas movies that are out there as well as also testing my patience. Let's hope I can live through this and still hold onto at least a smidgeon of Christmas spirit by the end.

Pretty much anyone who celebrates Christmas and watches TV is familiar with the Rankin/Bass Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer from 1964 right? You can practically forget the existence of any other Rudolph movies all because of it, which is a bit unfair. It would appear that this 1948 version is the very first Rudolph adaptation and that makes it a pretty good reason to see it. Wikipedia and IMDb list different release years though and I'm not sure who's right or wrong. Internet Archive also lists 1948 so I'm going to side with IMDb on this one.