(*homocinematically inclined)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

2019, A Film Odyssey: Bleak Christmas

Noelle, coward

This year's hits you may have missed, flops that you should avoid, hidden gems to discover and more, plus where to watch 'em...

Two big streamers deliver a couple of pieces of coal this holiday season:

Noelle (now streaming on Disney+):
This Anna Kendrick vehicle was originally earmarked as a theatrical release before it was decided to go straight to streaming (the 21st century version of direct to video) and, judging by their "how did I get here?" expressions, nobody told Bill Hader and Shirley MacLaine until they showed up for filming. With its cheap effects, schmaltzy sentiment and questionable acting, Noelle has all the hallmarks of, well, a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. Bless her heart, Anna tries her darnedest to elevate the material but even her many merry yuletide ensembles (leggings, lots and lots of leggings) can't save it from landing on the naughty list. (4/10)

Klaus (now streaming on Netflix):
There have been several versions of the origins of good ol' Saint Nick before, from the beloved Santa Claus is Coming to Town to the campy Santa Claus: The Movie, but none of them involved a town filled with feuding families and a selfish, spoiled protagonist that is even more unlikable than the Grinch. And no, that's not the title character (voiced by J.K. Simmons because it's about time), who is oddly relegated to supporting player in his own origin story. Credit is due for going the hand-drawn animation route, but the character designs are nothing you haven't seen before and, save for a surprising, emotionally effective ending, so is most of Klaus. Blah humbug. (5/10)

Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.

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