Review by PvtCaboose91:
Plot:An eight year-old, who is accidentally left behind while his family flies to France for Christmas, has to defend his home against idiotic burglars.
To state the obvious, the plot of Home Alone is hardly driven by the Christmas season. Nevertheless, the holiday - particularly its spirit and meaning - plays a crucial role in the film's tone and in establishing the heart & soul of the picture. Additionally, the hustle and bustle of the festive season acts as a driving force behind the plot, and there are a few touching scenes amidst the antics and gags which reflect on the true meaning of Christmas (particularly the importance of family).
It also helps that everyone involved with the film was at the top of their game - Chris Columbus' direction is competent, and Julio Macat's photography is pleasant and yuletide-soaked. Added to this, John William's classic score generates a playful holiday atmosphere, and this led to his umpteenth Oscar nomination. Produced for a mere $18 million, the movie effortlessly encapsulates the feeling of holiday bliss. Home Alone is exceedingly silly but inarguably enjoyable and often very funny, and its elevation to Christmas staple is deserved.
Home Alone is a generally fluffy instance of Christmastime filmmaking which is hindered by a very predictable narrative trajectory, a few absurdly cartoonish moments and a handful of uneven scenes, yet it remains an entertaining holiday classic. It still deservedly enjoys continued prominence as a Christmastime tradition due to its entertainment value and its well-integrated, effective message regarding the importance of family. It's just a shame the film was tarnished by three sequels of declining quality, beginning with Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
One of the rare sequels that is as good or better than the original. I remember seeing an interview with Catherine O'Hara where she was talking about how when kids heard about a sequel and talked to Macaulay Culkin, they were all excited saying "Oh that's awesome, you're going get the bad guys again? That's so great...etc." And when adults spoke to her the reaction of a sequel was "How could you possibly lose your child again?"
One of the best Christmas movies of the decade, even if it wasn't fully focused on Christmas. Quite possibly the best execution of a celebrity ensemble cast vehicle.
You can't help but love this film.
I absolutely cherish this movie. It's a true treasure that I've been watching since I was very young, and it's lost none of it's magical appeal. It's arguably Tim Allen's best film, and WITHOUT A DOUBT among the most heartwarming, magical and fun Holiday motion pictures ever made. It often ticks me off when people rate this so low. I mean, are you really too "cool" to enjoy something like this once in awhile? Ah, who cares, I love this movie.
What makes this such a great Christmas movie is the dynamic surrounding the seasonal get-together. The Stone family is like a modern day Norman Rockwell of a "good family" in this generation, and this movie is what Christmas would be like in their house.
It could be just me, but I have an easy time placing myself in that scenery and it just feels like what Christmas is all about.
How can you be human and not love Buddy the Elf? Will Ferrell is probably the only actor who could've pulled it off, which just shows how talented he really is. From a technical standpoint, 'Elf' is as potent as far as Christmas movies go. The script was clearly highly thought out, and actually makes 'Elf' seem like a very smart film. Some Xmas movies are great because of how silly, goofy, or cheesy they are. However, 'Elf' is one of those that pretty much satisfies in all areas. A highly recommended, hilarious piece of entertainment.
This became a staple in my house not long after it came out. It was recorded on a VHS from a TV broadcast using a good old VCR, and watched every year. A really great, often overlooked Christmas movie. And one of Jaclyn Smith's lessor known...
Review by PvtCaboose91:
Plot: When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.
Nothing says Christmas quite like the classics can. I don't care if they're old or black & white or dated... The classics are by far and away superior to the crap Hollywood dishes up on a regular basis. One picture which ranks highly in the category of Yuletide classics is the 1947 masterpiece Miracle on 34th Street. Anchored by a winning combination of warm, sincere performances, magical moments, and a screenplay that's both sentimental and smart, Miracle on 34th Street should be required viewing on Christmas Eve. Children will find it a rewarding fantasy about the existence of Santa, while older, more mature viewers will be rewarded with an intelligence often lacking in Christmastime entertainment.
The screenplay is very sharp; the tender drama is deftly combined with sly humour (this is actually a very funny movie) and a knowing, biting commentary on the commercialism of Christmas that grows more relevant with each passing year (I wonder what Kris would think about the state of Christmas commercialism today...). Miracle on 34th Street is not some cornball effort that uses the Christmas backdrop as a way to cheaply jerk a tear...it's a simple story of how decency and kindness will win over the most cynical of hearts. Here is a movie that doesn't push the materialistic aspect of the festive season (Jingle All the Way, anyone?) but rather the spirit of the holiday. It is, quite plainly, the Christmas spirit put on film.
Most people have a problem with remakes, but I actually enjoy this one. Even though it's the same story it still feels like a different film, and I think Mara Wilson brings a lot more cuteness to the role than Natalie Wood. And while Elizabeth Perkins is certainly no Maureen O'Hara, I do feel like Richard Attenborough was made for the role of Kris Kringle.
I think it's definitely a Christmas movie to be included, even if the original is already in your annual rotation.
This is another one that was recorded from a TV broadcast and viewed every year. I'm not even sure it was replayed on television after its debut.
A typical Christmas wish story, with a nice spin on it.
A really great film, and one Christmas movie that actually could work any time of the year. Well cast, and I'm not sure it could have worked as well with any other leads. Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack bring a cuteness and genuine feel to the story of extreme chance and coincidence.
Review by PvtCaboose91:
Plot: An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.
If you don't love It's a Wonderful Life, you're not human. It cannot be put any clearer than that. This is a wonderful movie, brought to life with a great cast, a sharp script and wonderful cinematic techniques. Capra's commemoration of the power of community and defiant optimism is orchestrated with consummate mastery; flawlessly combining laughs, poignant sentiment and exuberant allure with imagination and a beautifully rendered tone. Critics back in the 1940s may have blasted the film for the sentimentality that characterises a Capra film, but it has grown more beloved over the years.
It's a Wonderful Life is an endearing masterpiece that remains timeless in its messages and thoughtfulness. This sentimental and honest motion picture conveys a fantastic story of self-realisation and the significance of a single human soul. It's also amazingly uplifting. There's little doubt that Frank Capra's classic fantasy-drama has become practically synonymous with Christmas, and it's one of today's most popular Christmas movies.
They say suicide rates go up around Christmas. If this movie was shown 24/7 during Christmastime, however, no-one would want to commit suicide. Period.
I love this movie. I watch it countless times once the festive season is upon us.
As a side note, I saw this movie in a cinema in late 2010. The print was absolutely pristine and sharp, and it was presented on an enormous screen. It was a true experience. The crowd was enormous, and their response warmed my heart. They laughed at the gentle humour, they cheered at uplifting moments, and they stumbled out of the cinema teary-eyed. I can never think anything ill of this wonderful movie.
How could you leave out good ol' Ernest. Jim Varney's classic character probably had more movies than he should have, but each one just brings back so many memories, you can't help but love em.
Another one that's not exactly a Christmas-themed movie, but still just kind of feels like Christmas. Akroyd plays the perfect pencil-neck stiff whose friends all turn their back on him. Maybe this movie appeals because of the time capsule factor of the 80's business world too, but I just find it a classic.
Review by PvtCaboose91:
Plot: The Griswold family's plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.
Every single Christmas, I sit around the television with my family and we watch this movie. It has been a tradition for so long. We first watched it every year on an old VHS tape that contained a version taped from TV. Then we upgraded to that crappy DVD. Now we're onto Blu-ray. And there's a reason why we watch it every Christmas... It's brilliant!
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is my absolute favourite Christmas movie ever. No other Xmas movie has provided so many memorable laughs and such an accurate depiction of the troubles of Christmas we can all relate to. It's more enjoyable and charming than A Christmas Story, far jollier than It's a Wonderful Life, and far better than all those trite Hollywood holiday flicks unfairly unleashed upon the movie-going public each year.
In amongst the hilarity, Christmas Vacation conveys a strong message, as all Christmas movies should. It has nothing to do with the birth of Christ or the Three Wise Men, though - it merely speaks volumes about finding fun and laughter in the little moments that make life special (regardless of any mishaps). Without ever becoming mired in cringe-worthy sentimentality, it also reminds us that no matter what disasters befall us, familial relationships are what truly matter...and one should never light a match near a sewerage drain.
I love this movie. I love it to pieces.
Review by PvtCaboose91:
Plot: Jack Skellington, king of Halloweentown, discovers Christmas Town, but doesn't quite understand the concept.
Another Christmas tradition in my household is to watch this stunning piece of stop-motion animation. Everything a movie-goer has come to expect from the imagination of Tim Burton is presented here in stop-motion form: it's bursting with visual majesty, populated with lovably morbid creations and filled with ornate Danny Elfman compositions. It's an instant classic which bears the esteemed title of being the first feature-length stop-motion animation picture. Certainly paving the way for other greats like Chicken Run and James and the Giant Peach, The Nightmare Before Christmas manages to capture the undeniable Christmas flavour which is blended perfectly with the maudlin imagination of childhood.
Every frame bursts with visual splendour. Every song is remarkable and memorable. Every character is a wonder to behold. It's also imbued with a strong sense of the Christmas spirit as well. And plenty of heart. This movie is simply brilliant. If you haven't viewed these 75 minutes of timeless animation, you're missing out.
Parents wondering if The Nightmare Before Christmas is suitable for their children should know that the frightening aspects of the picture are nicely blunted by humour and Elfman's music. Jack Skellington isn't the frightful creature one would assume him to be...he's just a misunderstood hero. There are so many enchanting sights and sounds to behold within this cinematic tour de force that there's not enough room for anxiety and fright.
Review by PvtCaboose91:
A grumpy hermit hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville.
1966's How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is not just a charming yuletide classic and a perennial Christmas staple, but also a smartly-written and sharply-narrated masterpiece.
This adaptation of Dr. Seuss' classic story remains a model of economy. Within the movie's sleek 25-minute runtime, Jones and co-director Ben Washam managed to generate humour and develop a deep moral of the meaning of Christmas that in no way feels underdone.It's another bonus that the animation is superb. The moving parts are eye-catching and lively, and the imagery is marvellous. The animation was hand-drawn, too.
Not only does the movie boast rich animation, but it also benefits from Seuss' terrific writing. The story touches on the dangers of consumerism, and explores the nature of human compassion and goodwill. It also helps that the film is so genuinely entertaining and charming - Jones and co-director Washam used everything at their disposal to reproduce the heart and soul of Seuss' tale. Additionally, Boris Karloff nailed his performance here as both the narrator and the Grinch. Karloff really understood Seuss' style, and he was able to make the oddball words and rhymes sound perfectly natural. To back up Karloff, there's Thurl Ravenscroft (voice of Tony the Tiger) who sung the "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" song, and veteran voice actress June Foray (The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle) who voiced Cindy Lou Who.
Review by PvtCaboose91:
Plot: A cynically selfish TV executive gets haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.
It was only a matter of time before A Christmas Carol was modernised for contemporary viewers. Luckily, Scrooged is fresh, ingenious, black and hilarious. Instead of repeating old traditions (the source material has been adapted for countless movies, after all), the filmmakers behind Scrooged tried something new and pulled it off with aplomb. The dark storyline was transformed into a darkly humorous comedy whilst still retaining the signature plot points as well as the message "Do unto others as you would expect them to do unto you".
Scrooged was directed by action-comedy specialist Richard Donner, of all unlikely people. Even more unlikely is that this film nestles into his résumé directly between Lethal Weapon and Lethal Weapon 2. Yet, the most unlikely thing of all is that the film works not just as a comic revision of Dickens' story but also as a Richard Donner picture. A number of impressive special effects are scattered throughout the movie, and Donner maintained a brisk pace from beginning to end. By no means is this the definitive retelling of the tale, but it is an excellent '80s high-concept comedy (and there were lots of high-concept comedies during the 1980s).
Bill Murray clearly had a blast playing the character of Frank Cross. The guy is a genius no matter what movie he's in, and he dominated this film with his loud and maniacal performance. Murray has always possessed the ability to exude a combination of smarm, demented charisma and impudence, and he was therefore perfect for a 20th Century Scrooge. Everything he says appears completely natural, and Murray was able to fire off a bunch of brilliant one-liners to great effect.
If you're a child of the 80's you no doubt remember seeing this not only at home on TV, among commercials for Mylanta and Tide, but also in school...in those last few days before Christmas break, when grades are already turned in and there's nothing for teachers to make you do.
For some reason people seem to like to rag on this one, but I don't really see why. They complain about the animation and the story and a host of other things, but I thought it was pretty enjoyable...especially because of the familiarity with Chris Van Allsburg's book.
I find the animation is quite good, and the cinematography really captures the world of the story in the way you imagine it.
Definitely worth seeing in the IMAX.
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