December 15, 2011

25 Days: The Shop Around the Corner

The Shop Around the Corner (1940) James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, Frank Morgan

One of the joys of The Shop Around the Corner is that it is a Christmas film that doesn’t seem like a Christmas film. So, unlike White Christmas or Miracle on 34th Street, it actually occurs to me to watch The Shop Around the Corner at other times of the year. Almost the whole movie is set around Christmastime, so when you are actually watching The Shop Around the Corner it seems like a holiday film, but the plot of this romantic comedy really could have been set in any season. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 13, 2011

25 Days: Nativity!

Nativity! (2009) Martin Freeman, Jason Watkins, Ashley Jensen, Marc Wootton, a bunch of British kids

Nativity! is, like Arthur Christmas, a movie I watched for the first time this year. It’s the story of Paul (Freeman), a primary school teacher who hates Christmas but gets roped into directing the school’s nativity play, despite having done a miserable job of it five years before. When a former-friend-now-rival who directs the lauded nativity play at a nearby posh school each year is needling him, Paul tells a small lie that quickly takes on a life of its own. The next thing Paul knows, the whole town thinks Hollywood is coming to see his play. Now he has to come up with a stellar production and find a way to get his ex-girlfriend (Jensen), who works in Hollywood, to come see it. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 12, 2011

25 Days: Gremlins

Gremlins (1984) Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton

You may not remember it as such, but Gremlins is a Christmas movie. Not a movie that briefly mentions Christmas, no, an actual Christmas movie. I know that aspect tends to get overshadowed by the whole killer-gremlins-on-a-rampage aspect, but the fact remains: Gremlins is a Christmas movie. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 10, 2011

25 Days: The Snowman

The Snowman (1982)

Based on the children’s book by English author Raymond Briggs, The Snowman has no dialogue, and yet it is the Christmas movie most likely to make me cry every year. Like the very best silent films, it achieves through music and facial expressions nuances of emotion that other films can’t do with a full script.

The plot is a simple one. A young boy builds a snowman. At midnight the snowman comes to life and the two of them explore the boy’s house before flying off together to attend a snowman party with Santa. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 9, 2011

25 Days: Arthur Christmas

Arthur Christmas (2011) voices of James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy

Arthur Christmas is the first movie on my 25 Days of Christmas list that I’d never actually seen before. That’s because it’s new this year, so Larry and I ventured out to see it at one of the local cinemas that would let us watch it in boring old 2-D at a reasonable hour. (Someday I will rant at length at you about the scam of 3-D movies. But not today.) Read the rest of this entry »

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December 8, 2011

25 Days: Christmas in Connecticut

Christmas in Connecticut (1945) Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet, Reginald Gardiner

Elizabeth Lane (Stanwyck) is the author of a popular magazine column called “Diary of a Housewife,” in which she describes her picture-perfect life as a wife, mother, and excellent cook in the Connecticut countryside. But the reality is that she’s a single, New York apartment-dweller who can’t cook. When her magazine’s publisher (Greenstreet), invites himself and a handsome war hero (Morgan) to her house for Christmas, Elizabeth has to scramble to find a way to fake her ideal life or lose her job. Hilarity and romance ensue. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 7, 2011

25 Days: Scrooged

Scrooged (1988) Bill Murray, Karen Allen, Alfre Woodard, Robert Mitchum, Carol Kane

This modern take on A Christmas Carol finds heartless TV exec Frank Cross (Murray) preparing for a major live broadcast on Christmas Eve and generally being a Scrooge to everyone around him. Cue Frank’s life-changing visitation by a series of Christmas ghosts. Hilarity ensues. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 5, 2011

25 Days: Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) voices of Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey

There are some Christmas films, like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, that I watch in spite of the fact that I think they’re rubbish. The Nightmare Before Christmas is not one of those films. In addition to being one of my favorite Christmas movies, it is, hands down, one of my all-time favorite films. I think everything from the sets to the songs is impeccably done, and it is certainly one of the most original holiday films out there. Read the rest of this entry »

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