3 posts categorized "Christmas"

January 07, 2021

HAPPIEST SEASON

Happiest_seasonAwesome. Move over “Home For The Holidays” (Jodie Foster’s 1995 holiday favorite); there’s finally a better family holiday movie for audiences to rally around.

Director/co-writer Clea Duvall creates an hilarious holiday comedy with modern sensibilities relating to sea-changes in American culture. The LGBTQ movement gets proper recognition through the lens of lesbian couple Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis), whose relationship reaches a crisis of familial truth-telling over Christmas. The movie brims with and undercurrent of humanity. Oh but for benevolence, that long ignored value in American culture. 

Happiest season

Harper’s gay-closet status comes up for inspection when she invites Abby to her high-powered family’s Christmas reunion. Dad (Victor Garber) is a local politician with a wife named Tipper (Mary Steenburgen); you can guess how judgmental mom and dad are about who, how, and why their daughter Harper is dating.

Happiest-season

Chewy plot twists come at regular intervals via inspired characters delightfully fleshed out by the likes of the always awesome Dan Levy, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, and actor/co-writer Mary Holland. There isn’t a scrap of fat in this exquisitely paced holiday comedy that plays to Kristen Stewart’s strengths as an icon of sexual freedom. The times are changing faster than ever. It might already be time for Clea Duvall and Mary Holland to start work on a “Happiest Season” follow-up for Christmases yet to come.         

Rated PG-13. 102 mins.

Five Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Every bit helps keep the reviews coming.

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November 09, 2007

FRED CLAUS

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

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ColeSmithey.comBetter than it has a right to be, this holiday confection takes a coasting sleigh ride in Vince Vaughn’s humbled charisma as Santa’s goof-up older brother.

Fred Claus’s days as a thieving Chicago repo man end when he calls his jolly brother to bail him out of jail.

In return for his freedom, Fred agrees to move to the North Pole and help our Santa (beautifully underplayed by Paul Giamatti) in the busy days leading up to Christmas.

ColeSmithey.com

Santa has his own economic pressures with a business efficiency wolf threatening to take over his toy-building town.

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Director David Dobkin ("Wedding Crashers") stays the course on the straight-line story before settling Santa’s night of gift giving on an appropriately somber note indicative of our troubled times.

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Sure it’s all about the performances of Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti, and there isn’t a trace of the cynicism of "Bad Santa" or the dippy romance of "Elf," but that’s the point.

Rated PG. 104 mins.

3 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

November 05, 2007

THIS CHRISTMAS

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

 

ColeSmithey.comAn unusual blend of well-balanced comedy and drama, writer/director Preston A. Whitmore II’s Christmastime movie effortlessly weaves multiple storylines of family members reuniting for the first time in four years.

A solid cast that includes Delroy Lindo, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Mekhi Phifer, and Regina King embody full-blooded characters keeping personal secrets at bay until perfect plot points allow their disclosure.

ColeSmithey.com

Dramatically impressive musical performances from Idris Elba ("American Gangster") and Chris Brown ("Stomp the Yard") accompany a distinct musical score of holiday songs to underscore the overflowing story.

ColeSmithey.com

Ma'Dere Whitfield (Loretta Devine) and her recent husband Joe (Delroy Lindo) host a whirlwind of family activity and airing of personal issues that culminate in a satisfying if bittersweet finale that captures the mood of our times.

"This Christmas" is this year’s best holiday movie.

Rated PG-13. 117 mins.

4 Stars“ColeSmithey.com”

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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