The Grinch (2018)

After 1966’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and 2000’s “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” we now have 2018’s “The Grinch” (I assume the next reboot will be titled “Gri”). Illumination Studios continues being the C grade Disney Strudios, adapting the Dr. Seuss tale if, for no other reason, than to have their own holiday title out for the market and appeal to a younger audience. There’s not a lot of reason for this adaptation, as Illumination doesn’t offer a new twist on The Grinch. Except for obviously omitting “Christmas” from the title, “The Grinch” is an amalgam of Ron Howard’s live action movie, and the original Chuck Jones short movie–except bland.

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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)

Disney re-visits their staple of public domain tales with another visit with “The Nutcracker,” a ritual that’s annual for most movie studios. No matter what year it is, some studio thinks they can offer an artistic, original, or hip take on “The Nutcracker,” and every year it’s terrible. Even with Disney injecting the classic ballet with the spectacle of Robert Zemeckis, the eccentricity/whimsy of Tim Burton, and a vague cribbing from 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” (bordering on plagiarism), “The Nutcracker and The Four Realms” is a hollow effort to turn the musical composition in to a hit holiday movie. And perhaps a hit holiday movie franchise. You know they’ve focus grouped it and are planning parts two to seven, right now.

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Casper’s Haunted Christmas (2000)

Less budget, and less stars, this time Casper’s adventures are reduced to a pretty crummy animated feature where Casper teams up with another spunky young girl. She’s a girl facing a crisis about Christmas and she needs the help of… Casper. Makes sense, I guess. “Casper’s Haunted Christmas” is a noticeably bargain basement style production compared to the previous movies, all the while the animation is often weird and the narrative nonsensical.

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Santa Jaws (2018)

If you think “Santa Jaws” sounds bat shit nuts and bonkers, then you’d be correct. I don’t typically check out Syfy original movies anymore but what with “Santa Jaws” I had to give it a fighting chance. It’s not often we get a Christmas themed killer shark movie, that’s also a movie about reclaiming the Christmas spirit. No seriously, that’s what “Santa Jaws” is about. “Santa Jaws” has its large tongue firmly planted in its cheek and at no point considers itself a serious horror movie in the vein of “Jaws” or even “Piranha.”

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Christmas Dreams (2017)

Andrew Repasky McElhinney, the critically acclaimed underground filmmaker responsible for such offbeat gems as “A Chronicle of Corpses” (2001) and “Georges Bataille’s Story of the Eye” (2003), has created a whimsical holiday season feature.

Told without any dialogue, this feature presents a series of inventive dance sequences linked to the simple tale of a contemporary Little Drummer Boy (Conrad Sager) trying to win the heart of a pretty girl (Francesca Flamminio). A magical toymaker keeps an eye on this youthful pair as their dreams spin into vibrant fantasty detours before settling in a delightful reality.

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My First Christmas with “The Simpsons”

I was first introduced to “The Simpsons” on December 17th, 1989 at the age of six, when I spent all day with my dad and brother visiting my grandparents for the Christmas season. After arriving in the evening to my aunt’s house, my dad ensured we’d be there a while and I sat down with my big cousin to watch “The Simpsons” special “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.” Little did I know this simple yellow skinned family of underdogs and losers would become one of the biggest comedic and creative influences of my life. It’s a show that’s stuck with me well in to my thirties, and it all started “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.”

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The Bootleg Files: Julie’s Christmas Special

BOOTLEG FILES 617: “Julie’s Christmas Special” (1973 television production starring Julie Andrews).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube and Vimeo.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell through the cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It’s possible.

In 1972, Julie Andrews sought to re-energize her career by focusing on television. This migration from big screen to small screen followed a string of big-budget flop films that damaged her viability as a movie star. But she still had name value, and the less expensive and more intimate parameters of a television variety seemed perfect for her distinctive talents. “The Julie Andrews Hour” was produced in England by ATV and distributed internationally by Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment, with ABC picking up the U.S. rights.

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