Peter Jackson returns to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit: An… MorePeter Jackson returns to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The story follows a young hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who is recruited to join a band of dwarves that are on a quest to reclaim their ancestral home in the Lonely Mountain from a dragon named Smaug. Unfortunately, Jackson veers significantly from the novel in an attempt to expend the material to include elements from The Lord of the Rings appendices, and as a result several parts of the film feel superfluous. However, the film's able to remain engaging through intense action sequences and strong performances. Additionally, the special effects and musical score are excellently done, and really help to enhance the film. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey isn't at the level of The Lord of the Rings, but it's a well-craft film with an epic feel to it.
A faithful adaption of the biblical account of Jesus Christ's birth,… MoreA faithful adaption of the biblical account of Jesus Christ's birth, The Nativity Story is a powerful telling of this classic tale. Director Catherine Hardwicke does a remarkable job at creating a visual style that feels authentic to the time period; with detailed costumes and sets designs. Additionally, Keisha Castle-Hughes gives an impressive performance as Mary that's subtle yet conveys volumes through looks and movements. Also, the script is quite good, with a strong focus on characters. A well-crafted film that honors the true meaning of Christmas, The Nativity Story is emotionally compelling and spiritually uplifting.
A provocative and introspective World War II drama, A Midnight Clear… MoreA provocative and introspective World War II drama, A Midnight Clear explores the complexities of war. While on a recon mission in the Ardennes forest in the winter of 1944 an American intelligence unit comes upon a German platoon that wants to surrender. Starring Ethan Hawke, Gary Sinise, Peter Berg, and Kevin Dillon, the film has a strong cast. The performances however, aren't that good; but then neither is the writing. Still, the plot addresses some interesting issues of morality, along with the challenges faced by soldiers. Additionally, the sets and costumes create an authentic World War II look and feel. A Midnight Clear has some problems, but even so there's something compelling about the characters and their story.
While You Were Sleeping is a delightful romantic holiday film that's… MoreWhile You Were Sleeping is a delightful romantic holiday film that's whimsical and fun. One lonely Christmas a Chicago toll worker saves the man of her dreams (but has never met) from being run over by a subway car, and when she's mistaken for his fiancee at the hospital she's welcomed into his family. Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman lead the cast, and have great chemistry together. Bullock in particular is especially charming as a down to earth, girl next door type character. And the comedy is incredibly well-written, pulling off the farcical humor almost effortlessly. Lighthearted and full of laughs, While You Were Sleeping is a good, heartwarming family comedy.
The heartwarming romantic comedy Serendipity is a fun and enchanting… MoreThe heartwarming romantic comedy Serendipity is a fun and enchanting tale. The story follows a couple that was separated after a fateful meeting one night in New York, but tries to reconnect years later by following their destinies. The film's cast is quite good, and includes John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Bridget Moynahan, and Jeremy Piven, who all deliver strong performances. However, Cusack and Beckinsale don't have very good chemistry; which is partially the script's fault; as it does more telling than showing and keeps the couple apart for most of the film. But the comedy is charming, and there's a sincerity to the story that helps to overcome the film's weaknesses. Though it has some issues, Serendipity is a delightful and whimsical film with an uplifting love story.
Harold and Kumar have another wild and raunchy adventure in A Very… MoreHarold and Kumar have another wild and raunchy adventure in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. But the question is; do we really care? The film is a complete train wreck that lacks focus and doesn't know what to do with these characters. And the comedy relies mostly on crude, vulgar humor that has no cleverness or originality to it. Additionally, the filmmaking is quite poor; everything from the makeup to the 3D effects comes off as cheap and lazy. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is a pathetic and desperate attempt to get some extra mileage out of a dead franchise.
He-Man and She-Ra unite to save the holidays in the animated feature… MoreHe-Man and She-Ra unite to save the holidays in the animated feature He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special. When two Earth children are accidentally transported to Eternia, Horde Prime sends Skeletor and Hordak to capture them before they're able to spread the Christmas spirit. The story is contrived and nonsensical, and does a particularly poor job at bridging the He-Man and She-Ra universes. Additionally, the animation is weak and the character designs are substandard. Uninspired and lazy, He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special is a lackluster feature that has nothing to say.
Mickey and his friends deliver a whole new series of Christmas tales… MoreMickey and his friends deliver a whole new series of Christmas tales in Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas. The film features five stories, including an ice skating competition between Minnie and Daisy, Huey, Dewey, & Louie sneaking into Santa's Workshop in order to put their names on the Nice list, and Pluto running off to join Santa's reindeer. Some of the segments are little more than musical montages and don't have much of a plot, but a few of them come through with interesting holiday carols. The computer animation quality is also pretty mixed, working better in some parts than in others. But despite its rough patches, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas is an entertaining and fun Yuletide celebration.
The Muppets are back for another holiday special in A Muppets… MoreThe Muppets are back for another holiday special in A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa. When a mishap at the post office causes several letters to Santa to go undelivered, Gonzo, Fozzie, and Kermit take it upon themselves to deliver the letters to the North Pole. As usual there are a number of enjoyable celebrity guest cameos,including Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Krakowski, Nathan Lane, and Uma Thurman. The musical numbers however, are a bit underwhelming and not quite up to the usual Muppets standard. But the Muppets are still able to bring the comedy, and deliver a lot of fun and amusing sketches. While the Muppets may not be in top form, A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa is still an entertaining and amusing adventure with heart.
Elf is a magical Christmas tale that's fun for the whole family. The… MoreElf is a magical Christmas tale that's fun for the whole family. The story follows one of Santa's elves named Buddy who, after finding out that he's adapted, goes looking for his human father in New York City. The film stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, and Bob Newhart, who all give great performances. Ferrell in particular is good at this kind of physical comedy, and there's a certain charm to his performance. However, the film is unable to avoid falling into the usual cliches and stereotypes that Christmas films usually follow. But despite being a tad formulaic, Elf still delivers a wondrous adventure and is sure to become a Christmas classic.