Category Archives: holiday

Ice Sculpture Christmas

Ice Sculpture Christmas DVD-fSometimes it is just nice to sit down and watch a new movie that is greatly appreciated by so many others who enjoy Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas” program. More than raising my expectations, I had a wonderful time watching Ice Sculpture Christmas as a whimsical movie. I found viewing the original ice sculptures in the movie was the most enjoyable part.

Directed by David Mackay, the movie follows a young woman, Callie Shaw, played by Rachel Boston. Her unwavering childhood dream is to be an accomplished chef. Trying to get her foot in the door, she nabbed a lowly job at a country club washing dishes with the hope of working her way up the ladder where the real cooking happens – in the kitchen. David Manning, played by David Alpay, is a well-off childhood friend, who works for his father. The two meet up again by chance, which is an entertaining scene to watch.

The movie cuts back and forth from their childhood friendship to their present budding romance, which makes the movie pleasurable and attractive. The well-rounded cast adds more to Callie and David’s story, and shows how David lives a much different lifestyle than Callie in regards to money and success. He never abandons his feelings for Callie even though she struggles with her own financial problems while trying to work her way into the country club kitchen.

Without her consent David enters Callie in a two person team competition for an ice sculpting contest. He knows she is more than capable to add her talents. Her self-esteem is heightened, yet David is not that talented or helpful with sculpting. Callie senses there could be a problem, particularly when Callie finds out who her direct competition happens to be.

Of course, the ending is predictable, but that makes Hallmark movies so much fun to watch. You can always count on a happily ever after ending.

‘Tis the Season for Love

Tis The Season For Love DVD-fHallmark movies usually have a holiday theme in mind when they tell a story. ‘Tis the Season for Love definitely warms up to the countdown to Christmas.

Directed by Terry Ingram, we meet a New York actress named Beth, played by Sarah Lancaster. She is vying to land a role in a David Mamet play. After the audition and not hearing anything final, she receives a perfect gift from a close friend. An airline ticket back to her small hometown she left ten years ago.

Feeling like she needs a good rest, she arrives and soon finds her mother planning all of the Christmas things that the two need to do together.  She rather not do so much stuff, but compromises and visits the town’s Santa Claus, played by Gary Chalk. This simple visit may seem unimportant, but he does have a secret that leaves Beth wondering what the mystery is.

Along comes and old friend, Dean, played by Brendan Penny. He had a crush on her in High School, but didn’t act on it because she was dating Barry, played by Andrew Francis. Dean never felt the two belonged together since they had different interests. Dean is now divorced from Melinda and has twins while working as a fireman. Beth now finds him even more appealing. He boosts her self-confidence from her lack of nabbing acting roles she desires. The town’s Santa Claus is up to something inexplicable and situations get a little out of kilter.

Beth gets involved with a local theater production and really enjoys herself. The seed has been planted, and she is pondering whether or not she should stay in her small hometown for good. Confusion is the end result of her indecision, and what will happen to her future.

You can’t go wrong with a Hallmark movie because they have a formula they follow for each production. Like ‘Tis the Season for Love, each movie is simple but direct, and a love story is sure to flourish.

Get Santa

GetSantaI knew I was in for a treat when I saw Ridley Scott as executive producer in the opening credits of Get Santa.  Jim Broadbent plays Santa who ends up in jail because he tried to release his reindeer from the animal shelter. How they got into the animal shelter is about as sane as the movie gets.

The movie is a bit crazy and fun to watch compared to most traditional Christmas movies that are about the meaning of Christmas. Some are set around Christmas but really have nothing to do with the holiday. On the odd occasion, Hollywood releases a movie about the spirit of Christmas like Miracle on 34th Street,  A Christmas Carol, or It’s a Wonderful Life. Get Santa touches on the spirit of Christmas, but presents the story in a refreshing, hilarious and playful way.

Written and directed by Christopher Smith, Get Santa is strictly a British movie. The tale is filled with dry humor where Santa requests the help of a young father named Steve, played by Rafe Spall, and his son named Tom, played truthfully by Kit Connor. Santa needs them to go to the North Pole, ask the Elves to help them get the reindeer back to his sleigh. Then, Steve, who just finished serving time in jail, can help Santa break out of jail and deliver the presents to all the boys and girls around the world before Christmas.

The movie is full of crazy offbeat characters that keep the story moving along.  I had a great time watching it with my family. Broadbent is a master at his craft. He plays the most believable Santa I have seen in a long time.  Not the usual Christmas sentiment but still the message is clear, believe in Santa, so get a copy or watch it on Netflix.

What We Did on Our Holiday

whatwedidThere are several things that I really liked about What We Did on Our Holiday. It is a Scottish comedy, and it takes place in the Scottish Highlands. The subtle jokes are funny, but you have to be a Scot or familiar with the culture to really understand them. The movie follows three children of estranged parents.  All played wonderfully by Emilia Jones, Bobby Smalldridge, and Harriet Turnbull.

The movie has two directors, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin. After their notable success of their BBC series Outnumbered, they weave an unsteady story about a family visiting their children’s grandfather, played truthfully by Billy Connolly. He is dying of cancer, so his whole family is celebrating his 75th birthday with a huge weekend bash as a final good-bye.

The parents of the three children, Doug, played by Harry Potter’s (David Tennant), his wife Abi, played by Gone Girl’s Rosamund Pike, are divorcing and hope to keep it a secret from the rest of their family. They tell their children not to let anyone know about their pending divorce while visiting them over weekend. Keeping a secret or lying about one’s parents has an effect on the children, and they end up telling their grandfather the truth.

The parents are constantly battling over issues such as telling the truth even if the truth is sad or shocking.  It is not just Doug and Abi who are having a rough time.  The children’s aunt and uncle (Doug’s brother and sister-in-law) are going through some rough times in their marriage as well.

The story really gets interesting when the children go to the beach with their grandfather and he passes away on the beach. Before he passes away, he tells them he is a descendent of the Vikings, and he wants to be burned out at sea like his Viking ancestors did long, long time ago.

So, the oldest daughter goes back to the house to tell the parents that grandfather passed away. But, their parents are arguing as the rest of the family is too. They are so busy arguing that they don’t even know the daughter is there and needs their attention. She decides to go back and handle the remains of grandfather instead. The children honor his wishes and burn him at sea like a Viking, which has repercussions in the 21st Century Scotland.

Other theatrics involving the repercussions of the Viking funeral and other family problems are quite funny. The fast-paced editing keeps the story moving and ties together nicely like the ending of a Scottish tale.

Christmas Trade

christmastradeDirected by Joel Souza, Christmas Trade is similar to 18 Again or Freaky Friday. Only this time it is during Christmas.  Mitch Taylor, played by William Baldwin, is a workaholic attorney and widowed with a 12 year-old son, Robbie, played by Michael Campion.

Of late, Mitch is having a hard time balancing his life as a dad and as a bread winner. He is really trying to be a good dad, keep his demanding, hard nose boss happy while struggling to make partner of the law firm.  Even his impatient girlfriend is a great effort for him to maintain the relationship. He feels he can’t keep up with it all.

Add to the fact that Robbie has troubles of his own with the school bully. Robbie has become the bully’s most recent target.  That is not all. There is a girl he likes while trying not to be a complete geek in front of her.  There is nothing he can do as he has unwillingly been cast as lead role in the Christmas Pageant.

Robbie hopes his dad will celebrate Christmas they way they should celebrate the holidays, but he didn’t last year and isn’t certain about this year. They both think the other has the best life, being grown up and independent to being young without any responsibilities. Then, a strange toy mysteriously causes them to switch bodies. The father and son are required to experience what it’s like to spend the holidays in each other’s bodies.

This was an amusing, family friendly movie in tandem, yet the acting was not impressive. The story was pleasing and produced bit of fun for my family.

Paper Angels

paper angelsDuring the holidays we will notice Christmas tree displays with paper angels hanging from their boughs. If you look closely you will see a name of a child. Below the child’s name is a list of items the child wants or needs for Christmas.  The idea is for you to take one and buy the items on the list.  You, then, return the gifts to the location of the Christmas tree display.  The heartwarming tradition has been done for at least a hundred years.

Directed by David Winning, Paper Angels is based on the book of the same name by author Jimmy Wayne, also known as Billboard Top Ten charted country music artist.  The movie is a gorgeous look at what happens to an abused wife, played by Josie Bissett, who leaves her alcoholic husband and moves with her children to another town.

The story follows her son Thomas, played by Rustin Gresiuk, as his mother tries to build a new life for her and her children.  Thomas see her experience many challenges that the whole family faces.  That is where the paper angels come into play. Salvation Army enables a child to enjoy a blessed Christmas with the traditional paper angels program they do every year.  Thomas fills out a paper angel in hopes of making life easier for his mother.

Thomas encounters a disillusioned businessman, played by Mathew Settle, who picked his name from the tree.  As the story unfolds we see through Thomas that there is more to know about a person than the way they look on the outside.  The story gives us hope, resolve, love, commitment, and thoughtfulness. Sure, Thomas experiences disappointment, hurt, and anger. In the end is an uplifting story that draws attention to the spirituality of the season.

Paper Angels is one of the best Christmas TV movies I have seen in a long time.  It is well worth your time to watch and share with your family and friends.