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Christmas

Silent Night

Published December 27, 2021

Silent Night

So then, what is it? It’s a black comedy, for sure, and a lot of the humour lies in being at a tricky family gathering without the trouble of consequences, so there’s a big battle between British politeness and not giving a hoot about tomorrow. There are some great performances in there, particularly Keira who does frantic trying-to-keep-it-all-together host really well, and Matthew who gradually lets his frustrations show as the night wears on.

Deck the Halls

Published December 27, 2021

Deck the Halls

This is a reasonable Christmas movie, and a warring neighbours one - kind of the fictional version of the Fight Before Christmas. DeVito and Broderick make a good sparring duo, and it’s nice that they both have relatively good reasons for doing what they do. But ultimately, it is just two men having a competition for no good reason and the women being slightly more sensible and sorting it all out. Plus there are a couple of moments in the movie that haven’t aged so well, and it’s not even twenty years old yet! But mostly worth a festive watch.

Santa Claus: The Movie

Published December 26, 2021

Santa Claus: The Movie

Yea, this is two very poor Christmas movies in a row. The thing about this one is, it could be good. There are elements in there that are mildly entertaining but it has so many problems, it just doesn’t work. The most fundamental issue is this feels like at least three different films smooshed together. There’s the woodcutter learning how to be santa (that got off to a slow start, I will admit), there’s the dissatisfied elf heading down to earth (Dudley Moore is great in this, except for those GOD DAMN PUNS), and then the homeless kid learning the true meaning of Christmas.

The Polar Express

Published December 26, 2021

The Polar Express

Combine our run of Christmas films with our aim to work through Tom Hanks' back catalogue and you get this, The Polar Express. It’s not really been a burning ambition of mine to watch, this kind of mo-cap sets my teeth on edge a bit, but worth a go, anyway. It was what I thought and somewhat worse. I’ve read that the animation style was to get around restrictions on the rights of the book (the author didn’t want this to be animation even though it would be seven thousand times better if it was), so I can see they were being pioneering in their own way, but it’s not great and it’s only getting more dated.

Bad Santa

Published December 25, 2021

Bad Santa

It’s hard to describe this film. If you’re sick of the Christmas cheer and chirpiness then it’s the perfect antidote. I never mind someone being super grumpy about Christmas and/or being surrounded by kids but this does push the limit on occasion! Billy Bob is great though, at being a terrible human with just an inch of good left in him. The moments where you can see the boy finding chinks in the armour are great.

Five more Christmas specials

Published December 25, 2021

Five more Christmas specials

Last year, I wrote about the top five Christmas television specials, featuring such gems as the wonderful Vicar of Dibley, the ever-engaging Doctor Who and of course, my complete obsession with The Goes Wrong Show. Looking back at this now, I’m a bit annoyed that I called it the top five because… I don’t know how much thought I put into it actually being the BEST five. They were certainly five very good specials that were on my mind at the time, but the best?

8-Bit Christmas

Published December 24, 2021

8-Bit Christmas

Aw, this was a nice film. I wasn’t completely sure what to expect really, the title makes it sound like it’s going to be a bit Wreck-It Ralph and deep diving into tech nostalgia. There’s an element of that, but it’s more of a traditional ‘what I learned at Christmas’ story, with Neil Patrick Harris very capably and engagingly narrating the story.

'Twas the Fight Before Christmas

Published December 23, 2021

'Twas the Fight Before Christmas

This is such a good documentary, a really insightful look at both sides of a neighbourhood war, with one side coming out a bit snippy but mostly fine, and the other looking like an absolute madman obsessed with Christmas and also suing people - two things you wouldn’t think go hand in hand. The film is really neatly put together, gradually peeling away layers to reveal more and more the obsession and hatred that developed.

Putting a bow on top

Published December 23, 2021

Putting a bow on top

If we rewind six months of so, and ask my former self if the upcoming Hawkeye TV show would have been my most anticipated of the new MCU TV outings, I would have laughed long and hard. But then they signed up Hailee Steinfeld, then they set it at Christmas, and then they made all the artwork and superhero uniforms purple. Tick, tick, tick. The season finale was released yesterday, bringing to a close a six-episode arc that introduced a new character to Hawkeye’s life, as well as bringing in some returning faces both friend and foe.

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

Published December 22, 2021

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

I read this because we watched the film, and it was exactly what I expected - a really good children’s book with some excellent illustrations. It reminded me very much of Roald Dahl in the best possible ways. The film stuck very closely to the book to start with, just a few tweaks here and there, but the ending was quite different. In the book, Nikolas well and truly becomes Father Christmas with the big beard and belly and laugh and older. In the film, he’s still a kid when he has his big idea. The book makes more sense on that front, but I say it’s worth enjoying both!