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REVIEW: The Santa Clause

December 4, 2015 2 comments
The Santa ClauseDirected by: John Pasquin
Produced by: Robert Newmyer, Brian Reilly, Jeffrey Silver
Written by: Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick, Karey Kirkpatrick
Edited by: Larry Bock
Cinematography by: Walt Lloyd
Music by: Michael Convertino
Starring: Tim Allen, Eric Lloyd, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, David Krumholtz, Paige Tamada, Peter Boyle, Kenny Vadas, Chris Benson
Year: 1994

 

It occurred to me while watching The Santa Clause that the film, thematically, has a surprising amount in common with another holiday classic (albeit a film dealing with a far more tedious holiday than Christmas) that was released just the year prior: Groundhog Day. No, really, think about it. Both films center upon a self-centered jerk who alienates those he would otherwise get along with and even grow to love if only he would give into the spirit of the holiday. Both films also feature comedians who were incredibly popular at the time the movies were made. And both films feature some kind of inexplicable supernatural/magical device which is foisted upon them, to their comedic chagrin, throughout their daily lives until they get the lessons right and embrace it. Both films obviously differ quite a bit in terms of their respective target audiences (though there is a surprising amount of adult humor in Disney’s film that will supposedly go over the kids’ heads), but, as with most holiday films, both are also about the importance of not becoming jaded with life and use their holidays as metaphors. Read more…

REVIEW: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

December 4, 2013 4 comments
Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerDirected by: Larry Roemer
Produced by: Arthur Rankin, Jr. (producer), Jules Bass (co-producer)
Written by: Romeo Muller, Robert L. May
Animation supervised by: Tadahito Mochinaga
Music by: Johnny Marks
Starring: Burl Ives, Billie Mae Richards, Paul Soles, Larry D. Mann, Stan Francis, Paul Kligman, Janis Orenstein, Alfie Scopp, Carl Banas, Corinne Conley, Peg Dixon
Based on the story and song written by Robert L. May
Year: 1964

 

I’m going to allow for my first 2013 Christmas movie review to make me out to be a Scrooge.

A 1964 TV special done in the medium of stop motion capture, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has become one of the most beloved and influential examples of the medium – if someone doesn’t know what the term “stop motion” means, you could undoubtedly point to Rudolph or one of its other Rankin/Bass Christmastime siblings as an example that nearly everyone will then immediately understand. It’s arguable that even the likes of The Nightmare Before Christmas owes its aesthetic style to these holiday productions, albeit with the obligatory Tim Burton-esque macabre twist, not to mention the countless spoofs, knockoffs, and affectionate references that followed across TV and film. Beyond the aesthetics and styling, however, this short TV movie also stands as one of the longest running TV traditions, airing annually each Christmas season since it was first shown. Read more…

Review: “The Polar Express”

December 7, 2011 6 comments
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Produced by: Robert Zemeckis, Gary Goetzman, Steve Starkey, William Teller
Written by: Robert Zemeckis, William Broyles, Jr. (screenplay)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Peter Scolari, Chantel Valdivieso
Music by: Alan Silvestri (score), Glen Ballard (lyrics)
Based on: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Year: 2004

The Polar Express… What a divisive film this has been. Look at its ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, and it looks as though it’s almost torn down the middle as to how many people actually liked this film. Many marveled at its technical wizardry, while on the other end of the spectrum others were left disturbed by the character models and their “dead” or “doll-like” eyes. Read more…

Review: “Elf”

December 2, 2011 9 comments
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Produced by: Jon Berg, Todd Komarnicki, Shauna Robertson
Written by: David  Berenbaum
Starring: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Ed Asner, Daniel Tay, Amy Sedaris
Music by: John Debney
Year: 2003

The 21st century hasn’t been kind to the Christmas genre. The signs were there from the very near-beginning when in late 2000 (which is not the 21st century) Ron Howard delivered his misguided attempt to make a live action adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Brett Ratner’s pale imitation of It’s a Wonderful Life, the Nicolas Cage-starring The Family Man, and on from there we got the endless barage of cynical actor cash-ins like Christmas with the Cranks, Deck the Halls, Fred Claus, and the terrible sequels to The Santa Clause. Perhaps the worst of these was Surviving Christmas, a miserable, annoying, and rage-inducing film starring Ben Affleck making a nuisance of himself to James Gandolfini. Read more…

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