Friday, December 20, 2019

Yule Logged: Clarence, Unlikely Angel, A Christmas Carol in Color, En Vogue Christmas, A Very Merry Toy Store, The Christmas Wife, The Christmas Trap

Clarence (1990)

Ill conceived follow up to It’s a Wonderful Life focusing on Clarence the angels future adventures. Not good at all.

Unlikely Angel (1996)

Not a huge fan of  Dolly Parton the actress and this tale of angelic redemption is only watchable thanks to co-star Roddy McDowall

A Christmas Carol in Color

Colorized version of the Seymour Hicks led adaptation from…

I’m not usually a fan of colorization but I’ve seen this film so many times over the years it sort of freshened it up and made this year’s watch a bit more interesting.

En Vogue Christmas (2014)

Never was a fan so I can’t say if this is the coolest thing En Vogue could have done or super cringe. It’s not terrible but an En Vogue infomercial doesn’t really do much for me. Bonus points for David Alan Grier though.

A Very Merry Toy Store (2017)

Competition between rival toy store owners gets complicated by a shared nemesis and, inevitably romance.

So it’s pretty good, for what it is, and works as a Sabrina reunion, hart family reunion and has great supporting players like Brian Dennehy, William Ragsdale, Billy Gardel and Mario Cantone.

The Christmas Wife (1988)

Jason Robards and Julie Harris star in this fine TV film about a lonely widower who hires a companion to spend Christmas with him. A simple story, not comedic, not too maudlin, limited histrionics, no cliches. Just a bittersweet tale told with compassion, acted with restrain and grace.

The Christmas Trap (2017)

This is the perfect Christmas TV movie. Ten minutes long. I can’t think of a single Hallmark or Lifetime that wouldn’t benefit from being condensed down to ten minutes. Heck, you could have every movie take place with the characters stuck in an elevator, it would be an improvement.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Jean Shepherd - Christmas Eve 1971 (Classic Radio Broadcast)

Jean Shepherd - Christmas Eve 1971

Fibber McGee and Molly - Christmas 1952 / 1953 (Old Time Radio Christmas)

Fibber McGee and Molly

Christmas 1952 / 1953

Fibber McGee and Molly | Christmas 1952 Two Classic Old Time Radio Christmas Shows

Fibber McGee and Molly Christmas 1953 | 6 Classic Christmas Comedy Old Time Radio Episodes

Yule Logged: Timepiece, Holiday in Your Heart, Mary, Mother of Jesus, George Gently, Mount Pleasant, Worst Week, Fresh Fields

Timepiece (1996)

How did they ever make movies over at Hallmark before they had their cadre of former child stars. soap stars and random local day players? How much better could this Richard Paul Evans adaptation have been if it had starred Danica McKellar, Lacey Chabret, some handsome guy from a random soap, another guy who's had guest shots on Supergirl and Law and Order SVU and that guy who used to play the dad in that show years ago who your pleased to see hasn’t died yet. Instead, back in the nineties they had to suffer with James Earl Jones, Naomi Watts, Ellen Burstyn, Kevin Kilner, and Richard Thomas.

Terrific period melodrama, a prequel to The Christmas Box. My only complaint, it’s not really a Christmas movie.

Holiday in Your Heart (1997)

LeAnn Rimes and Bernadette Peters star in this semi-autobiographical film set against a holiday background.Pretty good, though I never really bought Peters as a country star/

Mary, Mother of Jesus (1999)

Christian Bale likely felt typecast in his role as the Son of God in this imagining of the life of Mary. From the director of such diverse fare as Motel Hell, The Land That Time Forgot and Annie Claus.Also starring Shameless’s David Threfall.

Bale doesn’t show up until about halfway in the film and it's a pretty standard TV movie up until then. Even after the coming of Christian it’s merely a decent, workmanlike effort.

George Gently - Son of a Gun (2015)

A mediocre installment of an increasingly mediocre series.

Mount Pleasant - Christmas Special (2012)

Ensemble comedy/drama. Coming in cold I’m not sure who any one so it takes a while to get acclimated. It feels like one of those shows where everybody’s slightly horrible. Not a fan of the genre. Nice cast though. Happy ending, so that helps.

Christmas Episode or Special? Special

Am I familiar with the series? Not at all, odd for me considering it’s got seven seasons worth floating about.

Is it Christmassy? Sure

Would I Rewatch?  Maybe if I start at the beginning and warm to the characters...we’ll see.

Worst Week of My Life -  Two Days to Christmas / Christmas Eve / Christmas

Not a fan of the series, despite liking most everything else the cast has done.

Fresh Fields - A Dickens of a Christmas (1985)

A lovely slice of holiday comfort TV. Not, despite the tile, a Cristmas Carol parody.

Yule Logged: The Christmas Cottage, Holiday Hearts, Christmas at Grand Valley, The Christmas Club, Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy

The Christmas Cottage (2017)

Dull and predictable.

Holiday Hearts (2019)

Dull, predictable and the lead actress looks as if they’re holding her puppy at gubpint just off camera.

Christmas at Grand Valley (2018)

Dull and predictable despite Danica. And the fact that  Danica McKellar is the highlight of any movie, lovely and bright as she is, tells you how low the standards at Hallmark are.

The Christmas Club (2019)

Less dull, still predictable but with likable, professional, leads.

Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy (2019)

Inexplicable third chapter in the series opens with a conversation on a train shot in such an awkward manner that I couldn’t believe this wasn’t a student film, a high school student film. The rest is fine, workman like but fine, but that opening is so indicative of the lack of respect for the audience, and Christmas, that these films truly embody. No point trying to get a better shot, money’s tight, though profits are high, time is tight and our audience doesnt care, probbly wont even notice.

And they’re right. And I’m done with these holiday romnces. I’m burned out by the mediocrity, the cynisism behind the sentimentality. I hear Hallmark is moving to make thier films more diverse next year. That’s terific, unless it just means more crappy movies only with more politically correct casting. Bad movies are bad movies no matter who is kissing who under the mistletoe.

If the movies get better I’ll give them another shot, Maybe woke Hallmark will bring an infusion of new, better writers and directors which is what they really need, I don’t have high hopes though.