Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas Movie Reviews # 2


An enjoyable and humorous reworking of Charles Dickens well spun yarn of redemption.
This retelling of the story is of an ego-maniacal driven and heartless TV talk show host, Carol Cartman (Tori Spelling) who is determined to destroy the festive fun in the studio.
However on Christmas Eve she is visited by the ghost of her Aunt Marla (Dinah Manoff).
The story unfolds much as you might expect from then on but the late Gary Coleman is a quite excellent Ghost of Christmas Past and William Shatner steals the show as the Ghost of Christmas Present.
The use of the Star Trek tele-porter effect when he "moved" Carol from one location to another was quite inspired.
There are also very credible performances from Nina Siemaszko as ill-used assistant Roberta and Michael Landes as Roberta’s love interest Jimmy.


This is a “Groundhog Day” style Christmas Tale.
Calvin Carter (Steven Weber), is a very successful business executive who has it all, but he blatantly neglects all those closest to him.
But on Christmas Eve, all that changes when a large sign on his office building falls on him. He awakes in what appears to be a hospital bed, attended to by Angie (Molly Shannon), a nurse who soon lets him know he has 12 days (12 chances) to get his act together and achieve the "perfect" Christmas Eve.
As each subsequent Christmas Eve slips by he succeeds only in making perfect Christmas Eve’s for himself.
Finally he is told in no uncertain terms that if he doesn’t figure out what he is doing wrong there will be dire consequences.


George Billings (John Denver) is a successful New York City architect and his boss Thomas A. Renfield (Edward Winter) sends him on a business trip to look over a small Colorado town that he has earmarked for a possible real estate development.
One year earlier, at Christmastime, George’s beloved wife had died so what was meant to be a joyous season is a time of painful memories for George and his seven year old daughter Alexandra (Gennie James).
George decided he would take his daughter with him on the trip for a Christmas vacation and when he and Alex arrived in the small charming hamlet of Georgetown, they discovered that it was a place where everyone, from the very oldest inhabitant to the very youngest child, believed in Santa Clause.
It doesn’t take long for George and Alex to fall under the towns spell, or for George to do the same with the hamlets lovely postmistress Susan McMillan (Jane Kaczmarek).
Unfortunately, on the strength of George's glowing reports, his boss Renfield proceeds with plans to transform the town into a modern ski resort.
Soon everyone, Susan and Alex included turns against George, despite the fact he had already lost his job for protesting against it.
However he wins the inhabitants of the mystical Colorado town back with his daring plan to thwart Renfield and preserve Georgetown's old fashioned charm.
And just to make the whole tale even more special Santa pitches in with a few "miracles" of his own.
But Pat Corley as Taxi Driver Bud Sawyer and the ever reliable Mary Wickes as Henrietta are the icing on the very festive Christmas cake


King Nicholas XX (Charles Durning) is ready to retire and pass the throne to his son, Nick St Nicholas (Kelsey Grammer).
But Nick fails to turn up for the rehearsal of his coronation, preferring instead his lavish Florida seaside lifestyle and his sexy girlfriend.
So he falls out with his father and is enticed into portraying a fictitious Santa Claus for a charity ( by Heidi (Elaine Hendrix) and Hector (Luis Garcia).
His only remaining link to the North Pole is his butler Jasper (Brian Bedford) who then hires a new cook, Lorena (Ana Ortiz) who will prove to be Nick’s salvation.
While Nick begins to fall in love with Heidi and asks her to marry him, he is totally unaware that Hector and Heidi are transferring the charity's money into their own account in the Cayman Islands and leaving Nick as the patsy.
Only a miracle can save Christmas with the help of Queen Carlotta (Katherine Helmond).


Santa's daughter Annie (Maria Thayer) is to take her first trip away from the North Pole during the Christmas season.
The hope is she will find adventure and love in sunny California.
Annie arrives in Los Angeles and becomes friends with Lucy (Vivica A. Fox), the owner of the Candy Cane Inn and her daughter, Mia (Nay Nay Kirby).
Very soon she finds a job at Wonderland Toys and is persuaded to direct the Christmas Pageant at Mia’s School.
Wonderland Toy’s is an old fashioned Toy store selling old-fashioned toys in a digital world and the owner, Ted (Sam Page) is struggling to stay in business
All the while this is going on a plot hatched at the North Pole to have her fall in love with an unemployed actor named Dean so that her Uncle Chester can take over the business.
But Annie soon realizes that she wants Ted's business to thrive because she has feelings for this Christmas traditionalist.


When Adam Thornton (Ed Asner) learns that he only has a little time left to live, he decides that he wants to make peace with his family.
However that was easier said than done, due mainly to his stubborn nature, but walking out on his wife didn’t help nor did his estrangement with his youngest son after an argument.
When his doctor told him it wasn’t good for him to travel it wss suggested that he invite the whole family to spend Christmas with him.
Although most of them accept, Adam's attempts at reconciliation prove far from easy.

The Gathering is a wonderful holiday treat with just the right balance of sentimentality and saccharin.
Ed Asner is perfect as the estranged husband and father but Maureen Stapleton is simply brilliant as Kate and is by far the best of a very strong cast.


Beverly Hills workaholic banker Jennifer (Tatyana Ali) returns home to her small Northern California home town just before Christmas, after her dad, Ted (Bill Cobbs), falls badly while putting up Christmas decorations.
Much to her father’s annoyance Jenny moves into her old room to look after him.
And while she’s at home, Jenny begins getting romantic Christmas cards from an unknown admirer, who turns out to be her old next door neighbour and the unrealized love of her life, Jack (Lamorne Morris).
Which would be perfect but for one small problem, Jack died in a car accident three years earlier.


On Christmas Eve Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby), prepares to give his last performance as part of a musical act popular in the New York City nightlife scene with Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire), and Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale).
After the show he and Lila were going to marry and then retire to a farm in Connecticut.
At the last minute, Lila decides she is not ready to stop performing, and says that she has fallen in love with Ted and plans to stay on as Ted's dancing partner.
Heartbroken Jim follows through with his plan and bids the act and the treacherous pair goodbye.
On Christmas Eve one year later, Jim is back in New York City, farm life had proven more difficult than he expected and he was planning to turn his farm into an entertainment venue instead which will only be open on holidays called "Holiday Inn.
Ted and his agent Danny Reed (Walter Abel) scoff at the plan, but wish him luck.

While ordering flowers for Lila, at the airport flower shop, Danny is accosted by employee Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds) who recognizes him as a talent agent.
Danny brushes her off and refers her to Holiday Inn and gives her a pass to Ted's club.
That night, Linda sits with Jim and they spin each other a yarn, he says he owns a big club and she says she’s a celebrity friend of Ted Hanover.

Linda arrives at Holiday Inn on Christmas morning where she meets Jim and they both realised they had been fooling each other the previous evening.
They take to one another immediately as Jim is preparing the place for New Year's Eve, and he sings her his new song, "White Christmas".
In New York City Meanwhile, Ted learns that Lila is leaving him for a Texas millionaire.
He gets completely drunk and turns up at Holiday Inn to talk with Jim but ends up performing a dazzling dance with Linda to great acclaim.
Over the following months Jim and Linda fall in love while Ted tries desperately to find his mystery dance partner.
Jim is determined that he should not and as one Holiday follows another he becomes more and more desperate in his attempt to keep Linda for himself that he ends up pushing her into Ted’s grasp.

He spent a lonely Thanksgiving with the Inn closed and was deeply depressed, Linda was in California with Ted making a movie based on Holiday Inn, unable to eat the turkey dinner prepared for him by his housekeeper Mamie (Louise Beavers).
In the end Mamie begged him to travel to Hollywood to win Linda back by telling her exactly how he felt about her.

Jim arrived at the studio on Christmas Eve, there was just one scene left to film and then Ted was taking Linda away to get married.
Jim confronted Ted in his dressing room the pair of them locked him in a closet but he managed to turn the tables on them and locked Ted and Danny in.

The final scene for the movie featured a faithful recreation of Holiday Inn,
Jim is shown around the set by the director when he is left alone Jim leaves his pipe on the set's piano and hides nearby.
When Linda entered the room she sat at the piano, and performed "White Christmas" but when she noticed the pipe on the piano, her voice faltered, and when she continued Jim's voice joined hers.
Jim appeared from his hiding place and Linda ran to him.
As the director yelled "cut" Ted and Danny burst onto the set, but they are too late.

On New Year's Eve, at Holiday Inn, Ted is reunited with Lila and they reprise their partnership.
While Jim and Linda prepare to stay together and run the Inn.


This is the perfect merging of two separate stories that together make a third.
In the first, a young music teacher, Maggie Andrews (Kimberly Williams), discovers she is dying of a heart condition.
When it becomes obvious there is no hope, her son Nathan (Max Morrow) decides he wants to get a pair of Christmas shoes for her before she dies.
In the second one, ambitious workaholic lawyer Robert Layton (Rob Lowe) and his wife Kate (Maria del Mar) find they are slowly drifting apart.
During the run up to Christmas she baulks at his constant nagging for her to return to work and she decides to take over from Maggie with the school choir and declines a job in Robert's firm.
Things come to a head when Robert's mother passes away, which forces him to reconsider things and his and Nathan's paths cross on Christmas Eve as Robert tries to get a present for his daughter and Nathan finds he doesn’t have enough money for his mum’s Christmas shoes.


Rob Marino (Joey Lawrence) is a commitment-phobe so when he breaks up with his girlfriend before Thanksgiving, his big Italian family criticized him for his inability to keep a relationship through the holidays.
Desperate to prove them all wrong and also to fulfil his grandmother's (Paula Shaw) dying wish to see him happy and in love, Rob goes online and finds Julie (Emily Hampshire).
She is another single New Yorker who's meddling Jewish mom (Marilu Henner), who constantly tries to entangle her with unsuitable partners, drove her to seek a temporary boyfriend.
Rob and Julie agree to pose as a couple through the holidays to get their families off their backs.
Things get complicated when Rob's Catholic clan and Julie's Jewish family get too involved.
But as Christmas comes ever closer they discover their fake feelings may be a little too real.

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