UP

Wow! What a difference 5 years can make!

I didn’t like Up the first time I saw it. But recently, I was craving a good animation. Tired of all my Disney Pixar regulars like Inside Out and Monster’s Inc., I decided to give Up a second chance. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it.

UP tells the story of an elderly man, Carl Fredricksen, who spirals into depression and bitterness upon the death of his wife, Ellie. Ellie and Carl dreamed of and went on many adventures over the course of their marriage. However, there was one adventure they never took, and that was Ellie’s dream trip to Paradise Falls. Feeling as if he failed his wife, Carl resolves to take Ellie, even if only in spirit, to Paradise Falls. Spurred to action by the threat of entering a retirement home, he attaches balloons to his house, causing it to rip from the ground and sail away.

Unbeknownst to Carl, one of the neighborhood kids, Russell, is on his porch when the house is ripped from the earth. Now, not only is Carl on a journey to South America, Russell is joining him. Russell’s enthusiasm and incessant chatter are not exactly what Carl had in mind when he set-off on this adventure. Russell is annoying, an obstacle in Carl’s path to fulfilling his wife’s dream. It is not until the end that Carl realizes dreams change, and sometimes, living with the one you love is the greatest adventure of all.

The Knight Before Christmas

I didn’t actually watch this Netflix movie (actually, I walked in at the end of it – twice!), but my sisters did. They said it was extremely cute and innocent. They liked it so much they watched it again with our cousin.

The story is about a British knight who goes on a quest and finds himself transported to present day New York. On his journey to become a true knight and return to England, he touches the lives of everyone in the town, helping to spread joy, happiness, and Christmas spirit.

In terms of quality, this is akin to a Hallmark film. So if you need a light-hearted, kid-friendly, holiday movie to veg out to, you might want to give The Knight Before Christmas a try.

Klaus

Christmas isn’t over yet! Not until January 5! So, there is still time to catch up on some Christmas movies.

Klaus is the best new Christmas movie I’ve seen in a long time! It was cute, funny, very clever, and in my opinion, a unique telling of the origins of Santa Claus.

The story focuses on a young man, Jesper, who has grown up (well, that part is debatable), in the lap of luxury, thanks to his father’s prosperous postal business. Disgusted by his son’s lazy, spoiled behavior, Jesper’s father sends him to the town of Smeerensburg with instructions to mail 6,000 letters in one year or he will be cut from the family fortune.

Upon his arrival in Smeerensburg, Jesper discovers a depressed and unfriendly town whose two major families are engaged in a bitter feud (not unlike the Hatfields and McCoys.) This family feud puts Jesper’s dreams of returning home in jeopardy as no one writes letters. Determined not to remain in this frozen-dung-heap of a town forever, Jesper concocts a clever scheme to reach his postal quota, and consequently, Santa is born!

Definitely worth a watch, this film is full of laughs and family fun!

P.S. It is going on my “favorites” list.

The Christmas Chronicles (Netflix)

ChristmasChronicles

The Christmas Chronicles (PG) is one of the recently released Christmas films produced by Netflix. It tells the story of two kids who startle Santa (played by Kurt Russel) causing him to wreck his sleigh and lose the presents and the reindeer in the process. Together the kids and Santa must find a way to ensure all presents are delivered or calamity will strike – the Christmas spirit will disappear, leading to all sorts of unpleasant things. (According to Santa, the Dark Ages and almost every war in history is a result of him not being able to complete his Christmas deliveries.)

The Christmas Chronicles is one of the best newer Christmas movies I’ve seen. There is something in it for kids and adults. It is just an all around fun, relatively clean (only a couple of instances of profanity “hell” and maybe a “damn” – I can’t remember.) Christmas movie that families can enjoy together. The show is well acted, even by the child-actors, and what I would consider about 4 steps above your stereotypical “Hallmark” Christmas movie. So, check it out!

When Calls the Heart (Hallmark)

When Calls the Heart

When Calls the Heart is a Hallmark channel TV series (which can currently be viewed on Netflix). This show reminds me of Little House on the Prairie, just in a different time period and atmosphere.

The show follows the adventures of a wealthy, young lady, Elizabeth Thatcher, who moves to the small mining town of Coal Valley to serve as a teacher for the children there. While there, she experiences many challenges as she gets used to the lack of “modern” conveniences in Coal Valley. Yet, she throws herself into life in Coal Valley with enthusiasm and does her best to assist the children and families of the town.

While the show is a little slow at times, you soon find yourself enjoying the relationships between the characters, particularly the relationship between Elizabeth and Constable Jack Thornton, a Canadian Mountie, who doesn’t think very highly of Elizabeth.

What I like about the show is this:

1) It is clean, and the grudging romance between Elizabeth and Jack is entertaining.

2) The show is entertaining to watch, but not so good that I can’t turn it off part way through an episode if I have responsibilities to get to.

3) It is interesting to see what life was like for miners and their families. This is a time period in history that I’m not familiar with, so it is interesting to watch how different life was in a mining town.