Movies We Like

Want to get into a “Christmas-y” mood?  Here are some ways to do it–alone or with family and friends– courtesy of the silver screen…

  • Noelophile™’s Favorite Classic Christmas Movies December 25, 2013

    Christmas popcorn 3

    OK, you already know all about It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.  Want to see some other great classic Christmas movies?  You might like:

    “Holiday Inn”, with Bing Crosby

    A fun evocation of Christmas the way it probably never was, in the 1940’s!

    Sure, you’re going to have to suspend disbelief (would the two main-character vaudevillians really want a permanent relationship with a woman that fickle?  And even if they did, and one of them “won” her, would the trio still be even on speaking terms?  Here, they all seem to remain great friends throughout!).

    But, after all, it is a Christmas fantasy–and the plot line gives ol’ Bing a great lead-in to sing that all-time, warmly-imagined Christmas classic–with a Christmas tree to help him out!

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    “Christmas in Connecticut”, with Barbara Stanwyck.

    As a good feminist, my first reaction to this one is, “Thank goodness things have changed!”

    This classic 1945 “oh-what-a-tangled-web-we-weave” comedy manages to be a lot of fun, though.

    Let’s see if I can keep all the subterfuge straight here.  A hospitalized veteran is on strict orders–no solid food.  To get a thick steak, he turns on the charm for a nurse–who begins hearing wedding bells in the distance.

    Meanwhile, a single and completely undomestic magazine columnist passes herself off, every month, as “Mrs. Lane”, the go-to authority on cooking and home economics.  Then, fate throws veteran and columnist together–at a Connecticut farmhouse owned by the columnist’s would-be fiance.  Their meeting happens just as the columnist’s boss invites himself to visit her and her “husband”, for Christmas.  (Yes, it’s convoluted–and enough to leave any twenty-first century career woman shuddering with “was-that-really-how-it-was” horror.)

    But, it also manages to be a great time–and worth seeing just for S.Z. Sakall’s hilarious and down-to-earth “Felix”, who plays the role of favorite uncle/benevolent meddler to the hilt.  His pithy comments at one “luncheon” scene are classic!

    Dickensian flowers1

    “Scrooge” with Albert Finney

    An imaginative, musical retelling of Dickens’ masterpiece.  The cast has lots of fun with the Victorian world at Christmastime, as local boys taunt Albert Finney’s sour-faced Scrooge and an exuberant Spirit of Christmas Present shows him the error of his ways over a Christmas drink.

    Scrooge’s journey to a merrier Christmas–and life–is stage-managed with the help of rousing songs like “I Like Life” and “December the Twenty-Fifth”.  Be warned, though–like any good Christmas Carol, this one may have you reaching for tissues, especially during the courtship sequence or the later scenes with the Cratchits.   And I’ve always found the first “Thank You Very Much” number to be a little chilling–but it’s very effective, and Scrooge’s naive reaction provides excellent dark humor.

    There’s also one, very well-imagined scene during the Ghost of Christmas Future’s visit that I wouldn’t dare spoil here by telling you!  Suffice it to say that no other Carol interpretation I’ve seen has ever explored this aspect of Scrooge’s possible future–and it winds up being a lot of fun!

    Merry Christmas–grab the popcorn and enjoy!

     

  • An “All-American” Reimagining November 5, 2013
    Photograph courtesy of August Heart Films, and used with permission.

    Photograph courtesy of August Heart Films, and used with permission.

    Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol  is 170 years old, this Christmas.

    And director Ron Carlson has found a new way to present it.

    With his new movie, “All-American Christmas Carol”, which premieres today, Ron gives us a female protagonist, Cindy, who lives an uninspired life in a trailer park.   Before the arrival of three 2013-updated ghosts, Cindy could not care less about her family, her future or the consequences of her actions.

    But it’s Christmas…and there’s supernatural magic afoot…

    Ron, who is the founder of August Heart Films, talked about the making of “All-American Christmas Carol”, and his experiences with re-creating Dickens’ classic in a new and unconventional setting.

    August Heart Films’ “All-American Christmas Carol” is available today on On Demand, Amazon.com, iTunes and in major DVD outlets.

  • Ron Carlson Interview, Part Two November 5, 2013
    Photograph courtesy of August Heart Films, and used with permission.

    Photograph courtesy of August Heart Films, and used with permission.

    Ron Carlson, director of “All-American Christmas Carol”, shares a favorite story from the set.

    August Heart Films’ “All-American Christmas Carol” is available today on On Demand, Amazon.com, iTunes and in major DVD outlets.

  • Ron Carlson Interview, Part Three November 5, 2013
    Photograph courtesy of August Heart Films, and used with permission.

    Photograph courtesy of August Heart Films, and used with permission.

    So, what’s it like to make a Christmas movie at Christmastime?   Ron Carlson, director of “All-American Christmas Carol”, shares some insights!

    August Heart Films’ “All-American Christmas Carol” is available today on On Demand, Amazon.com, iTunes and in major DVD outlets.

  • “So This Is”…A Movie To Watch October 1, 2013
    Photograph courtesy of Deborah and Richard Foster/Foster Entertainment, and used with permission.

    Photograph courtesy of Deborah and Richard Foster/Foster Entertainment, and used with permission.

    Getting a movie into theaters is a challenge for independent filmmakers.

    Husband and wife filmmakers Richard and Deborah Foster, of Foster Entertainment, are taking on that challenge.

    Their Christmas movie, So This Is Christmas, gets released today on DVD.  Deborah also says there will be a TV or cable release coming in December–and that she and Richard are in the process of finalizing the film’s release in some independent theaters.   So This Is Christmas has racked up eight awards, so far–including Audience Choice for Best Feature Film, at the Bare Bones International Film Festival,  last spring.

    In an earlier interview on this site, Richard and Deborah talked about the experience of creating this special project.   As soon as we have more information on where and when you can see it–in California theaters or on TV/cable–for Christmas season 2013, we’ll let you know!


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