Christmas Marathon Double Feature: Arthur Christmas (2011) & Happy Christmas (2014)

Christmas is here in only a few days and I have a TON of stuff (tentative) that I want to put on, so I’m going to do a double feature.  Now, Arthur Christmas really deserves its own post BUT I’ve already reviewed it once HERE when I saw it on a flight back in 2012.  Except, I felt that it deserved a rewatch because when I’m on the flight, at a certain point things just feel really blah because I feel really blah and I think that affected my view of the movie. And then, there’s the issue of the second movie Happy Christmas but I’ll go more in detail below.

Lets get this started!

ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (2011)

arthur christmas

Director: Sarah Smith & Barry Cook

Cast (Voice): James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Ashley Jensen

December 24th is a busy day for Santa and aside from popular belief, its not a one man show.  Santa (Jim Broadbent) has a whole group of support helping him be the most efficient possible to make sure every child isn’t missed. The biggest help comes from his older son Steve (Hugh Laurie) who is hopeful in being the next Santa.  Santa’s younger and much more clumsier son, Arthur (James McAvoy) is a full believer of Christmas and admires his father but is sent to take care of Letters.  When he realizes that a child was missed, he is determined, even though his father and brother believe it is impossible to deliver it on time to the child, to get the gift to there with the help of GrandSanta (Bill  Nighy).

arthur christmas gif

Arthur Christmas is a brilliant animation and believe me, its a lot more engaging and entertaining to watch it on a bigger screen than the plane screen (obviously). The dynamic characters and the fun approach of a modernized Santa versus the traditional Santa works out to be a lot of fun.  Its full of hilarious moments intertwined in some awkward but still funny ones. It takes what we believe and adds a new little twist and its completely believable.

arthur christmas

The voices are done so well. Arthur Christmas makes Arthur out to be so different, scared and abnormal in his family but also its him that makes this so heart-warming, fun and contributing to what makes this absolutely funny.  Arthur is a lovable character because he is unique as the clumsy worry wart who doesn’t believe that he can do anything other than worry and be scared. But he has the purest of hearts and that makes him awesome 🙂

I’ve already reviewed this once before but second viewing in a normal setting definitely accentuated the awesomeness in Arthur Christmas and in my last review, I said its not one I’d go to for Christmas every year, well, I take that back.  This one is definitely worthy for annual viewing 🙂

Have you seen Arthur Christmas? What did you think about it? 

HAPPY CHRISTMAS (2014)

happy christmas

Director: Joe Swanberg

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Lena Dunham, Mark Webber, Joe Swanberg

After a breakup, Jenny (Anna Kendrick) moves in with his older brother (Joe Swanberg), his wife Kelly (Melanie Lynskey) and child.  Jenny is irresponsible and not very trustworthy as they learn about it quickly but while she is getting over her breakup and moving forward, Kelly is also dealing with having a hard time finding the inspiration for her next novel.  With the help of Jenny and her friend, Carson (Lena Dunham), she starts finding that she needs to create a balance between her career, her family and her husband in order to feel more motivated and happy with her own life.

happy christmas

First things first, other than being set during Christmas, do not let Happy Christmas fool you with its title.  It has nothing to do with Christmas.  In fact, its pretty much an indie drama to the core.  Its a lot of low-key issues piling up together and moving in a realistic way of just watching a family interact with each other.  I’m not particularly a fan of movies like this especially since they always end in this somewhat weird abrupt fashion.

happy christmas

The cast did well with what they had and I could get on board with what the story was trying to say but in the end, it felt like I watched 82 minutes of really not much going on.  Maybe I’m too emotionally stunted to watch these things. Or maybe, I just don’t like to watch such profound movies with some deeper meaning to it, which kind of makes me feel really bad (like I have no depth) when I say that.  Except its the truth.  It just feels so meh.  The only thing I liked was the characters but the story itself didn’t have much going on.

I don’t know how to review something like this.  Reason for the double feature. I wasn’t exactly impressed with the movie but Anna Kendrick is fantastic in this so that kind of works out 🙂

(I’m kind of cheating to put this in Christmas marathon but it was part of my rundown and the title has Christmas in it, so it kind of works, right?)

Have you seen Happy Christmas? What did you think about it? 

Robots (2005)

Its been a while (or so it seems) that I saw an animated movie.  My boyfriend picked up Robots the other day to replace the copy that was lent out and not taken care of upon return.

robots coverDirector: Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha

Voices: Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Robin Williams, Jim Broadbent, Mel Brooks, Stanley Tucci, Amanda Bynes, Greg Kinnear

Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) has always been used to being put together from birth from second hand parts but he isn’t scared to dream big because BigWeld Corporation’s owner Bigweld made him believe that “you can shine no matter what you’re made of.” As he grew up, he kept trying to make something that could be useful and then be able to show it to Bigweld (Mel Brooks).  When he finally succeeds in making a little gadget and decides to head out to the city, he meets Fender (Robin Williams) and his sister Piper (Amanda Bynes) who introduces him to the Rusties.  What originally starts out as a dream becomes a bit more complicated when he realizes that Bigweld is no longer running the corporation himself but rather it was Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) who with the help of his mom (Jim Broadbent) wants to turn the robot world to only have the choice of purchasing new parts and destroy all the spare ones.  With the Rusties, Rodney needs to find a way to change things back to how they were.

Robots is a super fun animation supported by awesome vocal talents. My favorite part of this flick has to be Robin Williams in the voice of Fender.  Robin Williams started his career almost on being able to do all these voices, at least thats how I knew him.  In this one, he is possibly one of the funniest component of it.  As much as the story is just a simple story, the fact that they try to incorporation puns and good dialogue pushes this story forward to be one of the better animations that I have seen.

Rusties

Rusties

On a visual, the characters are done very good. Also, the scenes and design of the Robot City is actually very nice to look at it.  There is one particular part that I always love is the roller coaster type and in this one its like a ride to get from point A to point B.  I would faint if technology ever got to do transportation that way, but it was fun to watch especially paired up with the vocal talents of Ewan McGregor and Robin Williams.  Plus, the Rusties had a range of different with very personable characteristics and personality traits.

robots villains

 

I always take a look at the villains to see if they are convincing.  In this one, it is an animation meant for children so they really make it fun and not completely in the evil zone. Ratchet was somewhat of a Mommy’s Boy where he was really a puppet for his mom, Madam Gasket’s evil plans.  I don’t know the deal with Madam Gasket and how she came to be so bitter, especially since her robot husband isn’t really in the best position (literally) probably thanks to her.  These villains brought a different vibe to the movie, maybe not completely evil but it gave us a few extra laughs as well!

robots birth

 

Robots is full of laughs, little puns, a lot of uplifting fun and entertainment, but aside from all that, it has some nice heartwarming moments involving Rodney and his parents. It also had some nice moments when the Rusties and Bigweld decided to join forces to get back the reins of the corporation to bring Ratchet to an end.  Another part that I really liked was the positive messages behind it to dream big and that it doesn’t really matter where you come from, its what you make yourself out to be. Very encouraging message! Thats always a plus in animations 🙂

This is apparently from the same creators of Ice Age and I thoroughly enjoyed this one more!

What about you? Did you see this? Do you think Ice Age is better than this one?

The Iron Lady (2011)

Who here agrees the Meryl Streep is an outstanding actress? I personally like her a lot.  Its taken me a while to get to watch this movie which earned her an Oscar in 2012 for Best Actress.

iron lady posterDirector: Phyllida Lloyd

Cast: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Alexandra Roach, Harry Lloyd, Olivia Colman

This drama is retelling the story of  Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep), the first and only female prime minister in United Kingdom.  It starts by showing the life that she is living as a old woman after her husband has passed away.  As she gains back her balance of being by herself, she flashes back constantly to herself as a young grocer’s daughter (Alexandra Roach) and her father who was a political figure where she grew up. We see her start from nothing, step by step to how she struggled through gender barriers in a male dominant society to become a political figure. A good part of this was with her husband, Denis (Jim Broadbent) supporting her.  Even after she became a political figure, we saw her how she remained tough and stuck to her principle of “Never Compromise” as she fought problem after problem.  She looks back at her life as she has to learn to slowly let go of her husband and his belongings while being trapped in her house under doctor and her daughter Carol’s (Olivia Colman) orders.

iron lady

Honestly, I don’t know much about Margaret Thatcher so I can’t really say if anything she did matched it up. I could research it and see, but part of this is entertainment to me.  I’m not big with politics, I’m actually really not interested with it.  I would still be able to express an opinion on the Canada politics but I try to keep that part private and separate from here.  So if you’ve seen this and you know extensively about this subject, and some of these events are FAR from the real thing, then you can share that with me.  I’ve love to know 🙂  With that said, I remained indifferent throughout the movie as a good part of the movie, I didn’t really feel like it resounded too much to me. Its probably because of its heavy political connotations.  I was able to connect it to the current government in Canada so…that had a certain effect on me as well.  But thats as far as I’ll say.

iron lady denis

The best part of this movie is Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher and Jim Broadbent as Denis Thatcher.  They really carried this movie and I felt that they really brought out the good of this movie.  Their story was possibly a lot more moving to watch than the political life that Margaret Thatcher had.  Most politicians will win some and lose some and hers was exactly the same.  However, Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent had a very good connection in this as husband and wife.  As she became more elderly, we could feel her struggle to let go of him and therefore, she talked to him and kept him as a companion even if he was just a ghost.

iron lady problems

Was I extremely impressed with the movie? Not very much as a whole.  However, I was very amazed with Meryl Streep’s performance.  She portrayed a strong woman who rose up very well. She was tough, and the way she changed the way she looked to fit her character left me in awe.  For a moment, I doubted that it was actually her.  I also learned a bit more about Margaret Thatcher, whether or not its the complete truth I will find time to read up on it, but Meryl Streep played a fantastic role. Jim Broadbent helped relax the tone of the movie with his dialogue here and there and it gave the movie a slight balance.  Because I really enjoyed Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent, I would recommend this.

I find it hard to review history and political movies, mostly because my knowledge is limited.  Although, these movies are also ones that open up the horizon to understand more about other countries and their stories.

What historical or political movie do you like the most?

Arthur Christmas (2011)

image

Arthur Christmas is a pretty alright animation.  I had not intended on watching this in advance but it seemed like my brain after 8 hours straight in a plane really couldn’t watch anything else.  I had started then left 15 minutes into the movie Seeking a Friend For The End of the World.  It just wasn’t doing much for me.  So I figured maybe a Christmas movie would do the job. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.

The plot is quite straightforward. Arthur(James McAvoy) is the son of the current Santa(Jim Broadbent) and he is clumsy and dysfunctional most of the time so he is just responsible of  replying to Santa’s  mail.  He also has the Christmas spirit that most of the family seems to have lost.  He just simply praises what his father does.  On the other hand, Steve (Hugh Laurie)is Santa’s other son and he is very competent as he has now upgraded the Santa mission into a modernized way with the help of technology and space ship and the elves are all there to help make the mission flow smoothly.  It’s pretty impressive how they set it up.  What causes problems is when one of the elves realize that one of the gifts was not delivered but Steve and Santa both don’t feel the need to do it and if anything, would do it later. However, Arthur disagrees and with through help of grandsanta(Bill Nighy), Arthur’s grandfather, they run through the night filled with obstacles to try to get the gift to the leftout child.

This one is a fun adventure. The first half was a bit slow and generic but the second half was fun.  On top of that, the voices for the characters are amazing. I have never heard any of them do voice over in animation but have huge respect for Bill Nighy and Jim Broadbent.  These are decent actors to get to do this, so the movie has a good foundation.  James McAvoy in my book is pretty cool as well. I”ve seen him in Atonement and more dramatic movies, but as a teenage comedic boy, I’d say it was a good change.

I’m not sure it’ll be my top 10 of Christmas movies but I really liked it in the second half.  Generally, I like most Christmas movies, so already this one won some points before it started.  The main turnoff is the fact that Justin Beiber sang the theme song and I really don’t have much love for it, so I just skipped the credits. Problem solved!

All in all this is a modernized Christmas movie which reminds us that Christmas spirit doesn’t change and shouldn’t change with time. It’s like in the part where they all want to be Santa. Grandsanta wants to prove that being Santa the old way was the way it’s supposed to be, current Santa is just tired and enjoying the glory and praise, Steve wants to be the next in line and take over his father and not just be behind the scenes taking care of operations. They all want their own and goal but no one really kept the spirit that Christmas and beliefs need to be kept that no child is left out on Santa’s list. I’m paraphrasing Arthur here but he says, it doesn’t matter how it gets there, what matters is that it gets there in time.

It’s a nice animation and tis full of talented voices and a really good plot. Of  course it cant compete with all through Christmas classics out there, but it certainly does alright overall. I would definitely stop on the channel to rematch if it was on TV.

I haven’t heard much about this movie before seeing it on the plane. Has anyone seen it? Did you like it?