Double Feature: Angela’s Christmas Wish (2020) & The Grinch (2018)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wrapping up this year’s Holidays marathon on Christmas day is how it usually works so the next double feature is the final 2 movies of the marathon, although I did have one more alternate Christmas movie but we’ll pair it up later after Christmas. This time, its a animated Christmas films double feature with a Netflix sequel, Angela’s Christmas Wish and 2018’s adaptation, The Grinch.

Let’s check it out!

Angela’s Christmas Wish (2020)

Director (and co-writer): Damien O’Connor

Voice cast: Lucy O’Connell, Ruth Negga, Moe Dunford, Brendan Mullins, Shona Hamill, Oscar Butler, Janet Moran

A sequel to the much loved Angela’s Christmas, Angela’s Christmas Wish is a heart-warming tale of a determined little girl who sets out to reunite her family in time for Christmas. – IMDB

There’s something so heartwarming about Angela’s Christmas Wish. It has that same type of charming little girl character for Angela that continues from Angela’s Christmas (review) where Angela’s imagination is one that makes it so beautiful to be a child because of the naivety to believe in the things that she knows probably isn’t true but also shows her big heart. Last year was keeping baby Jesus warm and stirring up a lot of commotion that the townspeople hasn’t quite forgotten as it still gets mentioned but this year, its running around trying to bring her father home. Being an adult watching this, its obvious that whatever she is thinking up is absolutely impossible to happen and the adults do bring it up, however its the persistence and the pure hope of bringing her father back home that makes this such a heartwarming tale, which takes her on an adventure and makes a new friend in the process.

Wrapping it up with a tale about a pauper and what he wished for that made him happy as a string between the conversation and a Christmas surprise to look forward to, Angela’s Christmas Wish is all about family, the meaning of happiness and the best intentions. The story is all about the kids and their shenanigans especially based on their simple minded ideas that kids have, liking digging to Australia. Its all the world that crafts up these cute funny moments that make up this story and makes Angela such a charming character who has this convincing enthusiasm that makes her brother and this other little girl to follow along her since her wish would make for her father getting involved and that would allow him to spend time with her. Its all these little desires from children to be close to their parents and yet, adults can see through those beyond the lines moment that make it so meaningful to watch.

Angela’s Christmas Wish is a fun and heartwarming story. One that has all the right values and such charming characters in a cute little town. The ending bit was so touching also that I got a little teary. Its one definitely worth a watch, especially since its less than 50 minutes in length.

The Grinch (2018)

Director: Yarrow Cheney & Scott Mosier

Voice cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, Rashida Jones, Pharrell Williams, Tristan O’Hare, Kenan Thompson, Sam Lavagnino, Ramone Hamilton, Angela Lansbury, Scarlett Estevez

A grumpy Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville. – IMDB

*Originally posted on Movies and Tea Friday Film Club*

Based on the 1957 Dr. Seuss book How The Grinch Stole Christmas and the third screen adaptation following the 1966 classic TV adaptation and the 2000 live action film, The Grinch is a computer animated film and the second Dr. Seuss by Illumination following The Lorax. Illumination is rather on point with these adaptation. For those who are unfamiliar of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, its about a green-furred Grinch who was born with two hearts too small who lives alone in the mountains with his dog Max above Whoville. The Whos are festive and love Christmas a lot which rubs The Grinch the wrong way that he decides to put a stop to it by disguising as Santa on Christmas Eve and stealing all their decorations, gifts and foods to stop them from celebrating Christmas however, he soon realizes that Christmas is more than the material things and that its all about the Christmas spirit which lives in them and ends up with this revelation making his heart grow two sizes and deciding to give back all that he stole to the Whos who in turn, take him in for their Christmas holiday.

While the first adaptation in 1966 is the one that most interprets the original story, these adaptations all add their own twists to fluff up the full length. In this adaptation, it gives the Grinch a backstory that makes him less of the disagreeable character but one where he grows up suffering from being alone that he doesn’t know how it feels to have companionship whether as friends or family. At the same time, giving a lot of life to certain characters in Whoville and not just focusing on Cindy Lou Who. She still plays a big element but giving her more of a backstory, a ploy to meet Santa with her friends and a connection with her mom. Sure, maybe it does stretch far from the original but all this does add a lot of fun characters. Cindy Lou Who and her friends are very adorable in design just like Max and the addition of a buffalo and then there’s the very fun neighbor Mr. Bricklebaum.

Plus, there’s a decent cast of voice actors from Grinch by Benedict Cumberbatch, Cindy Lou’s mom by Rashida Jones, Cindy Lou by Cameron Seely and Mr. Bricklebaum voiced by Kenan Thompson. Of course, a big part of Dr. Seuss story is the Narrator. In this case, its narrated by Pharrell Williams who actually has some narration that strays away from the original text but still keeps the rhyming and creative elements.

This adaptation of The Grinch still has a lot of heart. Its light and fun and fairly entertaining. There’s no doubt that The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is its best without all the extra bits but as its straightforward story like the 1966 TV movie, however this version does an exceptional job at making it very entertaining. Its still full of the Christmas spirit and its a great effort as an adaptation plus in my opinion, its much more redeeming than the 2000 live action adaptation. This one might have some slight pacing issues but it still delivers as a family holiday animated film.

Double Feature: Operation Santa Drop (2020) & Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)

I’m super behind on these Christmas reviews going out so I figured that I’d double down to get all of them out. Back to the double feature reviews, we’re in for a Netflix Original double feature for holiday films.

Hope everyone’s having a Merry Christmas Eve and lets check out these two movies!

Operation Santa Drop (2020)

Director: Martin Wood

Cast: Kat Graham, Alexander Ludwig, Trezzo Mahoro, Bethany Brown, Rohan Campbell, Virginia Madsen, Jeff Joseph, Janet Kidder

Congressional aide Erica (Kat Graham) forgoes family Christmas to travel at her boss’s behest. At a beachside Air Force base, she clashes with Capt. Andrew Jantz (Alexander Ludwig), who knows her assignment is finding reasons to defund the facility. – IMDB

Operation Christmas Drop takes a tropic setting for Christmas, much like last year’s Holiday in the Wild (review). In this case, its about the Air Force base doing a good deed on their own means but the facility being on the verge of possibility defunded because of it. Its pretty much a holiday romantic comedy with a bigger cause at heart which has all the right intentions however also feels very familiar. Of course, if these types of movies are your cup of tea, its definitely going to work other than perhaps the computer animated gecko sitting on the wall that looks the most out of place. In the current state of pandemic across the world, it perhaps helps that this sort of destination is one to look forward to in the future when things get back to some form of normal.

Its hard to criticize Operation Christmas Drop. In many ways, the meaning of Christmas and the good deed makes this a rather feel good movie. However, putting it in the context of the romance at heart, it feels a little light. The chemistry is on and off between the two main leads and yet, the whole exploring the place and mostly the character Erica, played by Kat Graham does change her heart as she would have to for to movie to have to fight against her boss, the congresswoman played by Virginia Madsen. The charm is really in how it portrays the villagers and the people in it, plus the setting gives it a lot of extra points. The whole Christmas Drop scene might be the most fun to watch.

Operation Christmas Drop is an alright movie. Its pretty harmless overall and has a decent story to tell especially since its based on a true situation which it makes a point to highlight at the end of the movie. Nameless heroes are the best ones to talk about and possibly the most heartwarming stories. Its very fitting for a holiday film, even if it doesn’t hit all the notes for the romantic arc.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)

Director (and writer): David E. Talbert

Cast: Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose, Madalen Mills, Phylicia Rashad, Ricky Martin, Justin Cornwell, Sharon Rose, Lisa Davina Phillip, Kieron L. Dyer

An imaginary world comes to life in a holiday tale of an eccentric toymaker, his adventurous granddaughter, and a magical invention that has the power to change their lives forever. – IMDB

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a musical fantasy film. I’m all about Netflix putting together these musical films. I also caught up with The Prom shortly after this one but that’s for another post. While its not exactly a Christmas movie in the conventional way, it is one that’s full of magic: the magic of creation especially in terms of toy creations. Its about family and making peace. There’s a bit of silliness to the whole situation as well and some imagination elements but its a fun journey to say the least.

There’s a lot to love about Jingle Jangle even if there are some small pacing issues perhaps and the story is rather predictable in where it will go. However, the musical numbers are really fun and I’m also a sucker for those big musical scenes which almost feels like flash mob. The music itself is good as well. The cast performs it very well. There are some memorable songs in the mix.

Perhaps one of the things that also stand out is that the cast is exceptional, at least to me. Forest Whitaker takes on the main inventor role Jeronicus that has lost his magic after his creation ideas are stolen from his apprentice and at the verge of losing his store that has now turned into a pawnshop, his granddaughter is sent over with the same type of inventive bone as him to warm his life up and also bring back his magic. With a new young boy that wants to be his apprentice in the mix and the postal service lady that wants to win his heart in the most entertaining way and so much personality, it also brings into the mix of Keegan-Michael Key as Gustafson, his apprentice that was actually mislead by Jeronicus’ invention Don Juan Diego who has so much of a human conscious that it doesn’t want to be replicated. Don Juan Diego is animated and voiced by Ricky Martin who does a fantastic job as well. Not to mention that the young stars including the main lead of the granddaughter Journey by Madalen Mills.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is really quite the fun spectacle. The magic and the music and the characters all are quite the charming. Not to mention the setting of the village is nice as well as the toy design that is in the making turns out to be this uber cute Wall-E-esque looking robot. There may be some flaws with this and it has some overacting here and there but then musicals always seem to have that sort of feeling to it and its those moments that blend well with the musical numbers and boosting the story elements.

The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020)

The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020)

Director (and co-writer): Chris Columbus

Cast: Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Darby Camp, Julian Dennison, Jahzir Bruno, Tyrese Gibson, Judah Lewis, Kimberly Williams-Paisley

Kate Pierce, now a cynical teen, is unexpectedly reunited with Santa Claus when a mysterious troublemaker threatens to cancel Christmas – forever. – IMDB

We’re big fans of The Christmas Chronicles (review) so suffice to say, we were looking forward to the sequel. The sequel takes place a year after the events of the first film again during Christmas season where the family is on vacation in the south with the mother’s new boyfriend and son. There’s resistance to both the new relationship and where they are by Kate who ends up scheming a way to escape but ends up falling into a trap that takes her to North Pole.

The Christmas Chronicles 2 is a bit of mixed feelings. On one hand, there are some very fun bits and the characters including the elves and exploring Santa’s Village plus Kurt Russell as Santa Claus and Goldie Hawn having a bigger part this time around as Mrs. Claus are all very entertaining bits for the movie. The animation of the elves and how they are designed is so cute that I went trying to see if somewhere sells these plush but with no luck.

Along with the pros, there were some cons. Most of it had to do with the plot and the whole revenge bit from Belsnickel, an elf that gets punished for doing misdeeds after Santa doesn’t pay attention to him that he act out and gets turned into human. The main issue is the Belsnickel character that is rather an annoying character design and feels a little disjointed in general. Perhaps, its supposed to fit with a child lashing out and being bratty but the execution just felt lacking on his development. The character is more of an issue in the first half and does feel better as it goes further although his character still just feels like the means of creating issues for Santa and his village.

Playing with tech a little as it moves through time travel a little and morphing through locations, The Christmas Chronicles 2 still had the adventure bit locked down and the young characters finally reaching Santa’s village as a means for Belsnickel turns out to get them involved which also brings on some fun characters and adventures. Starting with cameo characters, Tyrese Gibson plays the mom’s boyfriend which is pretty fun and the first time that I’ve seen him out of the Fast and Furious franchise. With Judah Lewis’s brother falling into a smaller role, Kate is paired with a tag along of the boyfriend’s son, Jack played Jahzir Bruno who ends up bonding the two but giving him a journey as he starts fighting his wide array of fears and finding his courage all with the help of Mrs. Claus. Probably the character everyone has been waiting for since the surprise appearance at the end of the first film is Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus, who turns up on quite the role. She creates this balance for Santa. Plus, the whole village’s elves going nuts was quite a hilarious turn of events in a brutally cute way.

Overall, The Christmas Chronicles 2 is alright. It still has the entertainment level and the tone especially with the comedy and family film is done pretty well. The real selling point is in Kurt Russell as Santa who holds up his role really well while expanding it to a memorable Mrs. Claus by Goldie Hawn. It takes on this message about discovering Christmas spirit and a bit like the story of The Grinch where it doesn’t matter so much about where it is but its in their hearts sort of deal. Not quite as outstanding as the first film but still a fun enough one to enjoy for the holidays.

The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020)

The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020)

Director: Mike Rohl

Cast: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, Mark Fleischmann, Nick Sagar, Mia Lloyd, Suanne Braun, Lachlan Nieboer, Ricky Norwood, Florence Hall

When Duchess Margaret unexpectedly inherits the throne to Montenaro and hits a rough patch with Kevin, it’s up to her double Stacy to save the day before a new lookalike, party girl Fiona foils their plans. – IMDB

The Princess Switch, while not exactly a fresh idea, was a fun one in its original release. Vanessa Hudgens is rather fun playing two different characters, playing around with accents and different background and identity swaps. Something like a version of It Takes Two for grown-ups. You can read my review of the first film HERE.

When Netflix announced that there was a sequel, it was hard to imagine what direction they would take. It didn’t feel like there was a whole lot of other stories to tell especially seeing as A Christmas Prince had already gone through 2 sequels by last year and each one feeling less and less entertaining. The Princess Switch: Switched Again hits much lower than the original. Its not exactly unexpected but having a third Vanessa Hudgens character, Fiona, a different sort of character of the prior two is still fun enough however, the plot as a whole is lacking. Because of so many Vanessa Hudgens, everyone becomes passing figures. The story falls really flat as this new scheme comes into play, there’s just more pieces that don’t fit together and its not exciting or entertaining to watch. Some of the new characters try to be funny but it all seems to miss a mark. Nothing seems to be out of the expected and just turns into a fairly disappointing sort of ordeal. Of course, like I said before, its not unexpected.

Much like the first film, Vanessa Hudgens holds up the movie and is definitely the highlight here. She plays these three characters with a different style and vibe. Margaret and Stacy both being different while Fiona is a much more outward character and brings a little more sass and silliness especially with her two minions. Adding into the equation a guy that wants to win over Margaret’s affections, it all boils down to a fairly predictable sort of movie and the characters all being rather one-dimensional. Not that anyone is expecting more (at least I hope not). Other than Vanessa Hudgens and some of the characters from the first film, the thing that gives this one a little more points is that it finally ties up the world that Netflix is building between A Christmas Prince and this one as the royal family from there makes a cameo appearance.

Overall, The Princess Switch: Switched Again is a fairly normal movie, nothing that’s unexpected and everything stays rather predictable. The whole three personalities for Vanessa Hudgens just feels like she works really hard. Everything else feels a little more normal like the relationship between Stacy and her prince while Margaret sorting out things with Kevin. In comparison, it seems to give more weight to Margaret’s character this time as its in her kingdom this time. The whole world that Netflix creates for their Christmas stories is pretty neat. As a finishing thought, seeing as I’ve had rather lackluster feelings to both A Christmas Prince 3 and this one, I really don’t know where Netflix plans to take these stories or this world.

Holidate (2020)

Holidate (2020)

Director: John Whitesell

Cast: Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, Kristin Chenoweth, Frances Fisher, Andrew Bachelor, Jessica Capshaw, Manish Dayal, Alex Moffat, Cynthy Wu

Fed up with being single on holidays, two strangers agree to be each other’s platonic plus-ones all year long, only to catch real feelings along the way. – IMDB

Netflix earliest Christmas/holiday themed romantic comedy was Holiday, released at the end of October. Bearing the talented Emma Roberts who has done quite a few quirky movies in her filmography, Holidate holds a decent premise revolving around the concept of being single during the holidays and the judging eyes of family and friends for not having someone in their life or simply life choices in general. Entering into a holiday contract plus these two people together. While the premise itself is fairly unique using the holiday angle, the whole concept of contractual relationships and the flow of the romantic comedy offers nothing too refreshing.

Romantic comedies aren’t exactly fresh nowadays and yet for those who like to watch it, a lot dwells on the chemistry between the main leads that at least give a reason to root for them. Here’s where some of the deepest issues do occur in the execution. The holiday premise causes the film to jump through the different holidays almost in montage speed giving them very little character build. The scenes that give these two characters the most backstory is in little pieces at the beginning for set-up before the contract, once or twice in the middle and then at the end, when they inevitably face up to their feelings. They have little moments like hooking up after a drunk rendez-vous or helping each other out of embarrassing situations or whatnot and yet, the connection between them is slightly lacking.

If we look at the comedy parts, that part might be a little more successful depending on what your comedy style is. For myself, some of the comedy does land. Embarrassing moments or some over the top bits are good. However, some of the over the top stuff mostly with Kristen Chenoweth’s character sometimes rides along the fine line between being funny and being too much. However, comedy is very subjective. In the comedy department though, Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey do land those moments fairly well.

With that said, Emma Roberts is a really good actress and with what she’s given here, her role is pretty fun. Holidate as a whole is a fairly lackluster and predictable sort of romantic comedy set up and yet, the premise here is fun. It makes sense that it didn’t go full Christmas movie selection since its more about the holidays than set solely during Christmas. Thing is, Holidate is somewhat of a middling viewing. If you enjoy romantic comedies, this one is okay and you can give it a shot. Its nothing super memorable but it has some fun and awkward moments.

Double Feature: Silent Night Deadly Night 2 (1987) & Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019)

So…I lied in the last double feature (HERE) about being the last Christmas lineup because we decided to watch another Alternate Christmas horror film on Shudder on Christmas day. Oops…haha! Pairing with this 80s slasher is this year’s uber cute movie, Pokemon Detective Pikachu. Lets check it out!!

Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)

silent night deadly night 2

Director: Lee Harry

Cast: Eric Freeman, James Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan, Jean Miller, Ken Weichert

The now-adult Ricky talks to a psychiatrist about how he became a murderer after his brother, Billy, died, which leads back to Mother Superior. – IMDB

I have never seen the first film so we could only hope that it would work out, seeing as Shudder only has Part 2 and not the first, it must work relatively well as a stand-alone. Starting from a sequel, no matter how much it doesn’t really need the first film’s knowledge and still is easy to follow is not too easy to accomplish but I wonder if some of the little questions of the character here would make more sense with knowledge of the first one.

Silent Night Deadly Night 2 is not too good. Maybe as a lets all sit around and make fun of it deal, it did have that entertainment purpose. The dialogue was pretty bad and then you pair it with the very exaggerated and trying really hard to be villainous acting of Eric Freeman with the furiously moving eyebrows and big eyes and that really did make it all the more ridiculous altogether. It didn’t matter that the movie went along to tell the story of how it began with the brother and that made more sense than how he had those triggers that made him vengeful because it wasn’t really about the brother more than it seemed like he also was triggered by certain elements that changed him. Some story elements didn’t make a ton of sense.

Overall, Silent Night Deadly Night 2 was pretty meh. I mean, it was pretty mockworthy fun as we sat around repeating the dialogue and the crazy eyebrows which sometimes were quite hard to do in general in its frequency. It did add a twist that we didn’t quite see at the end although how it was done is quite a mystery.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019)

pokemon detective pikachu

Director: Rob Letterman

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, Chris Geere, Suki Waterhouse, Josette Simon, Rita Ora

In a world where people collect Pokémon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective. – IMDB

I am going to be straightforward that I am not as big of a Pokemon fan as others. I know the basics and pop back into Pokemon Go every once in a while but I don’t think qualifies me as a “fan”. Detective Pikachu did some great promotional efforts though, with Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu and the trailers being so much fun to watch that it sold it to me right away. Plus, Pokemon is cute, REALLY cute so here we are…

Pokemon is Pokemon, its not meant to be deep or have some mega unexpected moment. In fact, keeping it simple might be its best execution and that is what this movie does. It blows you away with its comedy and the little bits of mystery and witty dialogue and just the sheer ability of being able to implement a variety of Pokemon types so well is quite the accomplishment. Its a fun time from start to finish. The ending did manage to squeeze in a little twist (about the father) that makes sense why something wasn’t done during the movie. Its a clever detail.

I didn’t have particularly any expectations for this one except to have a cute and fun time and I had that in spades. It was all that I had wanted and a lot more. Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu is brilliant. The dialogue packs in a lot of memorable moments. Plus, its all very witty and awesome. Sure, the danger of the whole situation and whatnot was pretty easy where they were going with the villain twist and who is behind the whole deal but I’m sure no one expected this one to be some deep story. Its simple and straightforward mystery and it ticks all the boxes of what you’d want from a Pokemon story. In fact, it does it a lot better than most video game inspired stories.

And for fun, here’s one of my favorite parts:

That’s it for this double feature! 
Have you seen these two films?

Music Obsessions – Christmas Special 2019

Music Obsessions (19)

Welcome to this year’s Christmas Special for Music Obsessions! We will be getting right down to business as we take a look at some Christmas song covers that I’ve found were pretty decent over the past month or so.

I’m going to not go and talk too much about any of these choices and just let you all listen to it and enjoy! Today’s a day to celebrate and probably not a lot of you are sitting by the computer or looking at the phone anyways. I just wanted to share some Christmas music and take it easy!

Silent Night – Boyce Avenue

Dueling Pianos Jingle Bells – Jon McLaughlin

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Voiceplay

Oh  Holy Night – Claire & Dave Crosby

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Pentatonix

That’s it for this Music Obsession Christmas Special!
Merry Christmas everyone!!

Double Feature: Christmas Evil (1980) & All The Creatures Were Stirring (2018)

DOUBLEFEATURE (82)

Welcome to the last holiday double feature for this year. Not double feature because that is staying, just before Christmas, no more holiday reviews. So we are ending with a nice change of pace to alternate Christmas horror found via Shudder: 1980’s Christmas Evil and 2018’s Christmas horror anthology All The Creatures Were Stirring.

Christmas Evil (1980)

Christmas Evil

Director (and writer): Lewis Jackson

Cast: Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn, Dianne Hull, Andy Fenwick, Marc Neville, Joe Jamrog

A toy factory worker, mentally scarred as a child upon learning Santa Claus is not real, suffers a nervous breakdown after being belittled at work, and embarks on a Yuletide killing spree. – IMDB

Christmas Evil is really a Christmas film as its not only set in Christmas but a horror story of a mentally unstable man who was scarred so deeply as a child that Santa Claus isn’t real that he chooses to make himself into Santa and takes revenge on all those who did him wrong. Being 1980 film, there is definitely that 80s slasher vibe that goes with it which actually is quite endearing to watch. However, the film does suffer from some issues of being rather slow in the first half of anything happening other than setting up all the bad things that happen to Harry and then his desire to become Santa.

Deal is, there is still this unsettling feeling with Christmas Evil especially in the second half when Harry loses it completely and from the moment that he commits to turning into Santa and starts all the actual killing spree parts, it gets rather fun to watch in an 80s horror way and as much as I don’t find them particularly scary, it has the entertainment element. This is pretty much where Christmas Evil fits in.

All The Creatures Were Stirring (2018)

All The Creatures Were Stirring

Director (and writer): David Ian McKendry & Rebekah McKendry

Cast: Graham Skipper, Ashley Clements, Constance Wu, Jonathan Kite, Jocelin Donahue, Mark Kelly, Matt Long, Amanda Fuller, Catherine Parker, Morgan Peter Brown, Michelle DeFraites, Stephanie Drake, Peter Cilella, Makeda Declet, Megan Duffy, Brea Grant, Matt Mercer, Diva Zappa

When an awkward date on Christmas Eve leads a couple into a strange theater, they’re treated to a bizarre and frightening collection of Christmas stories, featuring a wide ensemble of characters doing their best to avoid the horrors of the holidays. From boring office parties and last-minute shopping, to vengeful stalkers and immortal demons, there’s plenty out there to fear this holiday season. – IMDB

All The Creatures Were Stirring is a horror anthology with five horror stories set during Christmas and revolves around the central story of two people going on their first date on Christmas Eve to see a play where these five stories are being acted out. As with more horror anthologies, its a hit and miss deal with a lot of the stories. There’s an obvious indie low budget thing going on here as well which for some does add to the charm. If anything, its a lot more about some of the interesting creative elements added into the scenes than the stories as a whole which at times were downright odd or hard to get into while there were two that did stand out.

Dash Away All and In A Twinkling are the two that definitely were highlights of the anthology. Dash Away All is set in a parking lot where a man locks his keys in his car and ends up asking two girls to borrow a phone and ends up having this really fun twist. In A Twinkling is about a bunch of friends going to visit for a surprise Christmas party and the night takes a turn for a worse when they enter into a black and white loop from outer space. These two were a tad funny and had a hint of creepiness.

The Stocking Were Hung was okay with an Secret Santa party at work which turns into a Jigsaw killer sort of thing. There are some clever bits here but it feels a tad familiar (especially with Saw having so many movies in that franchise already). All Through The House is a horror Christmas Carol sort of deal which is pretty much the same sort of stuff but they did have one thing that I remembered kind of gave me a little jumpscare. It just feels a tad weird in its pacing. The last one to talk about is Arose Such A Clatter which really was the least appealing BUT it had the whole “killer” point of view going on that kind of made it a little more unique in the way they executed it.

The central story which is generally called To All A Good Night is what links these pieces together. It does capture the awkward element well but then it seems to lack some substance to it as it does try to have a twist ending and ends up leaving it as an open-ended deal which is a good and bad thing, leaving the mystery but then makes it feel incomplete especially since this being the piece that connects the stories together means the story itself isn’t fleshed out in between the stories. Some good, some decent and some meh stories here making this one that I might not want to revisit considering it took me a few sittings to get through it this time already.

That’s it for this holiday double feature!
Have you seen these two films before? Thoughts?
Are Alternate Christmas films part of your holiday viewing?

DIY Crafts: Branch Wreath (Take #2)

Probably the last crafts post (although I am trying to squeeze in one more thing before Christmas comes around) for the holidays and its a Take 2 of Branch Wreath. We’ve been having some really crappy weather so its rather gloomy. To cheer up my in-laws, because I do that every once in a while when I have something fun to share, I decided to make them a new wreath, specifically a branch wreath (since that is apparently my new obsession).

This one is definitely more for my mother-in-law who likes angels (according to my husband) so we found the only angel decor and built the wreath around it.

Here’s our shopping haul at Michael’s:

20191207_195658.jpg

  • Gold Branch Wreath
  • 1 Mistletoe
  • 1 Fir and Pine Cones
  • 2 Angels
  • 2 Holly Leaves with Birds
  • 2 Eucalyptus and White Berries
  • 2 Snowy Branches (I don’t know how to describe them but its the long white ones)

After a lot of deliberation and moving things around and a floor full of gold sparkles and branches, this was the final result.

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In my opinion, I actually think this one beats my own (which I am not working on fluffing up a little to give it more volume). This is where this one has more of and works pretty well also. It feels more dimensional and has some depth with layers of different decors. I did hot glue the pieces into the wreath so that my in-laws can store it without anything breaking off.

Improvements to this one (because what crafting wouldn’t have that in my opinion):

  • I’d have added another angel to give it a row which would make it an obvious centerpiece.
  • Would have gotten some wire to tie down some of the stems that are embedded in the wreath as I had to twist it forcibly and then glue it to the wreath and hopefully it won’t come out

Other than that, I’m pretty happy with this one. It highlights the theme I’m going for and adds the greenery and the color scheme works pretty well. I like the symmetry but also the parts that stand out are the ones where its subtle changes with the mistletoe on one side and the fir and pine cones on the other, giving it subtle differences. Its an improvement in my opinion from the previous one because it adds some three dimensional feeling to it.

I’m not quite sure that I’d work with a gold wreath again though because its a very dominating sort of backdrop color palette that very few things seem to work with. Maybe I’ll try out the silver wreath next time (or maybe the red which is the remaining option, I think, but that might also be hard and not easy to decorate the house with).

Future wreath themes to think about: North Pole or Rustic Woodland

You can check out my previous wreath post HERE.

Double Feature: Super Monsters Save Christmas (2019) & My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever (2018)

The next double feature is a holiday themed children features! I don’t know when I started to get into the Super Monsters specials as I don’t watch the normal series anyways but they are a decent 20+ minute long. As for pairing it with My Little Pony, I actually do like My Little Pony, the old stuff and watched some of the newer specials as well so here we are (plus its pretty slim pickings for Christmas kids films that I haven’t reviewed on Netflix…).

Super Monsters Save Christmas (2019)

super monster save christmas

It’s Christmas Eve in Pitchfork Pines, and the Super Monsters are joining forces to deck the halls, find Santa’s missing reindeer and save the holiday. – IMDB

Super Monsters is honestly geared towards kids. Whether its the characters and their cutesy appearances to the dialogue that revolves around emphasizing the good values to have through the consequences what happens, its all about delivering a positive message (similar to a lot of other kids shows). Its a harmless movie this time about a neighbor (who we learned is related or friends with Santa Claus from last year’s special) who gets overzealous about his Christmas decorations and blows the power for everyone but of course, the Super Monsters try to fix it to soon realize after Santa finally stops by that someone has detached the reindeer and they run off to play hide and seek of all things. Of course, Super Monsters to the rescue again.

There is nothing essentially wrong with this one. It directs its attention solely to its intended audience. Its not quite the entertainment for parents perhaps but it does offer some nice lessons on Christmas and friendship and working together. It has a little bit of singing and music and stays pretty colorful and cheery with lots of Christmas-y things. I’m not a parent but for its length and its quick-paced plot points, it should grab a kids attention.

You can check out my review last year of Super Monsters and the Wish Star HERE.

My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever (2018)

my little pony best gift ever

Director: Denny Lu & Mike Myhre

Voice Cast: Tara Strong, Andrea Libman, Ashleigh Ball, Cathy Weseluck, Tabitha St. Germain, John de Lancie

In this one-hour Christmas-themed special, the Mane Six and Spike are each hoping to find the best gift ever for Hearth’s Warming. – IMDB

While I’m not a huge supporter of this new My Little Pony designs with giant heads and such instead of the sleeker design when I was a kid, these My Little Pony movie specials are actually pretty. It does feel like perhaps its geared kids a little older than Super Monsters above.

The movie feels like an actual story with the ponies changing tradition and deciding to do a Secret Santa gift swap. They obviously call it something else but I never quite realized how fun all the ponies have and its not some dumb down dialogue but it does work pretty well even if they do play with some movie references like their take of meshing Sleeping Beauty’s fairies with The Christmas Carol or whatnot. That’s just one example. Its all about the value of gifts and of course the best gift ever is defined here. If you watched some other My Little Pony shows or movies then you might already know what it is because its a big focus all the time.

This one was surprisingly fun to watch and pretty entertaining. Its still not exactly geared towards parents but more to keep kids attention but this is not for young kids so it has more complete dialogue and the music is pretty catchy. I wouldn’t mind watching more My Little Pony movies if its like this one (but then maybe I’m a bit biased).

That’s it for this kids double feature for the holidays!
Have you (or your kids) seen these two? Share your thoughts in the comments below to give a more accurate kids perspective on this one.