“iZombie’s” Rose McIver is doing pretty well, at least commercially, on her offseason hiatuses, starring in 2017’s “A Christmas Prince” and this year’s “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding.” In these Netflix hits, she plays Amber Moore (a long-lost twin sister of Liv?), an American journalist who falls for the prince of Aldovia while on assignment covering the royal succession.
“The Christmas Chronicles” (Netflix) makes a strong bid to join the pantheon of holiday classics. Despite being a straight-down-the-middle yarn in a lot of ways, the earnest performances – especially a game Kurt Russell as Santa Claus – and top-flight special effects should make this a winner for all but the most Grinchy of viewers.
With “Gotham” returning for its final season next month, I’m looking back at past “Batman” projects from the perspective of someone who enjoyed “The Animated Series” as a kid and now enjoys “Gotham.” Next up is “Batman Returns” (1992).
Christmas movies have become a booming subgenre on Lifetime, the Disney Channel and now Netflix, so much so that even someone who wraps themselves in tinsel and holly starting at Thanksgiving couldn’t hope to watch them all. Despite the high volume of product, very few of these films enter the canon alongside classics like “Christmas Vacation,” “A Christmas Story” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
It’d be cool to read an “Angel” book of 12 short stories that each take place in one hour on the longest night of the year. “The Longest Night” (December 2002), unfortunately, isn’t that book. It claims to be that book on the back cover blurb, but the editors never told the writers. So the gang can be beat up or covered in demon goo the end of one hour and healthy and clean at the start of the next, for example.
I give a soft recommend to “Better Watch Out” – now available to stream for 99 cents on Amazon Prime – for anyone who hasn’t seen the trailer. The twist is great, and the rest of the film is unusual enough to be compelling. But those who have seen the trailer can skip it, as they already know the whole movie, just in condensed form.
I’m not as big of a Christmas movie guy as I am a Christmas TV guy, but I have settled on my answer – at least for now – when someone asks me my favorite Christmas movie: “Gremlins”(1984). Growing up, I was more familiar with the 45 rpm read-along record, which in many ways is actually scarier than the film thanks to the ominous narrator and the intense music from the Buena Vista library that can also be heard on “Star Wars” records like “Planet of the Hoojibs” (In another link, the voice actor for Billy also voiced Luke Skywalker).
Is “Die Hard” (1988) a Christmas movie? According to a new poll from Public Policy Polling, it is not. Sixty-two percent say it’s not a Christmas movie, 13 percent say it is, and the rest are undecided. The debate is more balanced (and heated) – perhaps with an edge toward those saying it is a Christmas movie – on sites that are likely to draw cinephiles, such as “Die Hard’s” IMBD page or the comment threads below this Entertainment Weekly article.
Ah, Christmas Day. For a “Star Wars” fan, that means listening to Chewbacca croon “Silent Night”and watching the “Star Wars Holiday Special” on YouTube, right? On second thought, Life Day (the GFFA’s Christmas equivalent) really should be observed on Nov. 17, the date the “Holiday Special” premiered 36 years ago, so I’ll skip the re-watch for now. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever made it through the entire “Holiday Special,” and honestly, I’ll have to be scraping the dregs of the “Star Wars” back catalogue before I ever do.
Although the four Turtle-based one-shots (or “one-issue micro series”) in Mirage “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” Volume 1 are all must-haves for fans, only one of them clearly succeeds at its presumable goal: Fleshing out the personality of the title character. That’d be “Michaelangelo.” “Raphael” is memorable due to the debut of a another character (Casey Jones), “Donatello” is a Jack Kirby tribute where Don is the audience surrogate, and “Leonardo” (which I’ll tackle in another post) is not a standalone story — it’s part of the main narrative and leads into Issue 10.