Posts Tagged ‘Klaus’

Top 5 Christmas Movies

December 21, 2020

I tuned in last week to watch the above video from one of my favorite YouTube channels to hear the thoughts of two of my favorite perfomers (Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara) and their guest. As with most lists of this kind, I disagreed with some of their choices. Instead of tearing their lists down, I decided to make my own. I decided to exclude a lot of what I consider joke answers to this question such as Die Hard, Batman Begins, and Gremlins. I also put Christmas Horror in a completely different boat. Also, even though I love the movie dearly, I do not think of A Nightmare Before Christmas as a Christmas movie even though it uses a lot of the assets.

  1. White Christmas

To be fair, this is the Bing Crosby Christmas movie without the blackface. I watched this with my mother a couple of years ago and we both really enjoyed it. Bing and Danny Kaye are army men who finish their tour of duty and head back to the States. They become successful performers as a singing and dancing duo. They meet up with two performing sisters played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. The four end up heading to the middle of nowhere Vermont to spend the holidays at an inn where the girls are booked to perform. However, the inn and the town are in trouble without any snow so the four of them decide to put on a show to save the day. It is an endearing story of four witty and artistic people who have such great chemistry with each other. The movie is full of great songs like “Sisters”, “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)”, and starts and ends with “White Christmas”. Bing Crosby became synonymous with Christmas and that is probably a big reason why this movie made this list.

  1. A Christmas Prince

This was the second movie that helped launch my getting back into watching Christmas movies. I chose this movie originally because it stars Rose McIver, an actress I loved so much in iZombie. In this, she stars as a reporter tasked with getting the scoop on a prince’s coronation in a foreign country obsessed with Christmas. She stumbles into a lie which gets her close to her subject but when feelings develop, she starts regretting everything. McIver really makes the movie as she is at times sarcastic, wide-eyed, clever, and just plain funny. She is paired with Ben Lamb who plays the titular role with such playful wholesomeness. His sister really steals a lot of scenes (played by Honor Kneafsey) walks the edge of what could have been an annoying character and makes it into a very smart and funny one instead. Theo Devaney is so great as the smarmy “villain”. However, the movie very well could have failed if they had not been given a really great supporting cast. The two sequels are even better though this is the one I kept coming back to.

  1. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol means a lot to me. When I worked professionally in live theater, we did the same production five years in a row and the story never got old. This is a story that I have experienced starting at a very young age and this version may have been the very first. It came out when I was nine years old at a time when I had already experienced The Muppet Show and Sesame Street. Seeing these familiar characters acting out this story was truly magical. Michael Caine as Scrooge is almost the only human character and that made it feel like an extended episode of The Muppet Show. Caine acts so earnestly in the movie and always reacts to the Muppets as if they were fellow performers which, in a sense, they were. The movie adheres to the original story very well but also adds in much needed laughs along with what is essentially a Christmas ghost story. The movie is also a musical which helps to keep the story bouncing along in what can be a very long-winded story. This was absolutely a marriage of three things I have loved since I was a kid: The Muppets, Horror, and Christmas.

  1. Klaus

I am a sucker for Santa Claus lore because I have been fascinated with (ahem) research about the man, the myth, the legend. This movie is a throwback to the more traditional two-dimensional animation comparable to the Disney Rennaisance period. It utilizes 2D drawings with a new 3D lighting software design which really produces a breathtakingly beautiful movie. The story follows a young mailman-in-training who is sent to an island town to reopen their post office. In order to do that, he befriends a hermit in the woods and basically invents the man we know and love. The movie is such a touching portrayal of a world similar to ours but with some invented politics and geography. It is also wildly funny at the same time. Jason Scwartzman plays the excitable Jesper, a young screw up who now has to make good. JK Simmons plays the titular character, an emotionally wounded man who just wants to make good. Rashida Jones plays the clever school teacher who gets sucked up into the madness. Joan Cusack and Will Sasso play the heads of two feuding families that has absolutely destroyed the town. Norm Macdonald basically plays his usual sarcastic self. The production also involved actual Sámi people with authentic Sámi language in a very touching manner.

  1. The Christmas Chronicles

This movie absolutely caught me off guard. It felt like an entirely different kind of Santa Claus tale which managed to shine a spotlight on Santa while making him a supporting character in his own movie. The movie follows two kids played by Darby Camp and Judah Lewis. They are a brother and sister who have grown apart due to the death of their father. Lewis plays a teenager who has grown cynical too early and is annoyed by Camp’s optimistic and sunny character. A chance run-in with Santa Claus sets the two on a whirlwind adventure that will teach them about themselves and realign both of them on the right path in life. Santa is played by Kurt Russell and it is the coolest portrayal that has ever appeared in a movie previously. This is a Rock and Roll Santa who absolutely loves his job. The lore building that they created in this was absolutely a draw for me. They explained a lot of the Santa stories without explaining too much or getting too detailed. The spotlight remains on the two kids as they learn together and separately the true meaning of Christmas. The movie is an exciting rollercoaster from start to finish while still allowing for a lot of heartwarming moments that directly confront the dysfunctionality and bonds of family.

Honorable Mentions:
The Year Without a Santa Claus
The Knight Before Christmas
Shop Around the Corner
Let It Snow

Media Update 12/12/19

December 12, 2019


Klaus

When I saw the first stills from Klaus, I knew I was going to watch it. I am a huge animation fan and any studio that is going back to 2D art is going to raise my eyebrows. Sergio Pablos and Aniventure took traditional 2D animation and applied newer computer-generated lighting effects which make for an entirely new look. The animation is so pretty but that is also because the art design is so good. The movie is an account of the origin of Santa Claus. It takes place in a beautiful but remote island in Denmark. The key lesson of the movie is “A true selfless act always sparks another.” I felt whiffs of Disney, early Tim Burton, but also so much more. The movie stars JK Simmons as the title character. He is gruff but with plenty of good drama and a little bit of awkward comedy. The character the movie actually follows is Jason Schwartzman who does a great job at keeping the energy going by constantly talking but being endearing even when he is an asshole. Rashida Jones is really good as the local schoolteacher, gruff and smarter than anybody else in the film. They also went out of their way to cast real Saami people to be included in the movie and their culture was treated with respect. I definitely recommend the movie.


Noelle

When I saw Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader together on a poster for the movie, I was sold. Bill Hader has quickly become one of my favorite actors/comedians. Anna Kendrick is somebody who I like but I am not as familiar with her work but she always seems fun to me. Besides, I just got Disney+ and it seemed like the perfect first Christmas movie to watch this year. Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader play Santa Claus’ kids who must deal with responsibility after his death. Kendrick is so good at the realistically naive but jolly title character. Hader is delightfully neurotic as Nick. Kingsley Ben-Adir is so likable as the down to Earth but still slightly clueless private detective. Maceo Smedley plays his incredibly insightful son. I was also really glad to see great supporting roles from Shirley MacLaine, Julie Hagerty, and Billy Eichner. The show is really sweet and funny and definitely not too much in any direction. I really enjoyed it and, true to Disney form, I cried near the end. It is a great story about finding your place in the world and growing up and into who you want to be and who you need to be. I definitely recommend it a lot.


Santa Girl

This was an interesting movie to pair with Noelle. It is about Santa’s daughter feeling restless and rebellious about having to take over the family business and an arranged marriage. She decides to go to college to experience life before she has to settle down. It is a fun movie with a lower budget that does not get in the way. The movie basically boils down to scenes between four characters. Jennifer Stone plays Cassie Claus, a somewhat spoiled and naive girl who just wants more substance in her life. Devon Werkheiser and Joshua Cody play the two guys she meets and becomes friendly with at school. Werkheiser is casual and funny with a big heart. Cody is stern but with a good heart. McKayla Witt plays Cassie’s personal elf and she is so cute and fun and she steals a lot of the scenes she is in. The movie started off slow but, like many Netflix Christmas offerings, really hit its stride and felt really good. A big part of it is the chemistry between the characters. I definitely recommend it as it seems like it went under the radar because it was released during August of this year.

 

Music of the Week:
Set It Off – This Christmas (I’ll Burn It To The Ground)

Kessiah and Maya ft. Kai – Donde Esta Santa Claus

Akim and Teddy Vann – Santa Claus Is a Black Man

Run The Jewels – A Christmas F*cking Miracle

The Killers – Don’t Shoot Me Santa

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Santa Claus’ Family”
– I finished Charmed Season 1
– I watched more Brooklyn 99 Season 3
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 7
– I watched more Carmen Sandiego Season 2
– I watched more The Crown Season 3
– I watched more The Gifted Season 1
– I watched more Runaways Season 1
– I watched more Justice League Action Season 1
– I watched more Penn and Teller’s Bullshit Season 3
– I watched more Scream Season 1


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