A Year in Film: December 2020

The final post in my Year in Film series. I’m not sure whether to continue into 2021. What do you think? Should I continue reviewing films on here or find another challenge? Let me know your thoughts below.

Even though I blogged daily for 24 days with my Christmas film advent calendar, David and I still had time to watch a further 16 films. Here’s what I thought about what I watched.

Christmas with the Kranks ✩✩✩

The Kranks scandalise everyone when they declare that they won’t be celebrating Christmas. But, when their daughter decides to visit home, they get off on a mad rush to organise a spanking Christmas.

David’s hairdresser suggested this Christmas film to us. So on a quiet weekday we snuggled up and gave it a watch. I enjoyed it more than David but it got us in a more festive mood.

Oceans 13 ✩✩✩

Danny and his gang of thieves have to pull off their most risky heist to defend one of their own. However, they are going to need more than luck to break the ruthless Willy and his casino.

A sequel to Oceans 12 but with a more star studded cast. Was an enjoyable heist and less confusing than the first movie.

Honest Thief ✩✩✩

Hoping to cut a deal, a professional bank robber agrees to return all the money he stole in exchange for a reduced sentence. But when two FBI agents set him up for murder, he must now go on the run to clear his name and bring them to justice.

Liam Neeson is back terrorising criminals in this revenge movie. Watchable.

Four Christmases ✩✩

Lovers Brad and Kate plan to go on a vacation to Fiji to spend the holidays. However, when their vacation plan is foiled, they are forced to visit all four of their divorced parents for Christmas.

David and I saw this film when it was released in 2008, when we where holidaying in Louth, Lincolnshire. I recall there being an interval and the cinema selling ice creams. The film was less memorable.

Ant-man ✩✩✩

Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

A watchable super-hero film. We only tuned in because Cinema Therapy on YouTube reviewed the movie. If you’ve not seen their channel, give them a go. They review films from the standpoint of a film maker and a therapist, look out for lots of emotion.

Zootopia ✩✩✩

When Judy Hopps, a rookie officer in the Zootopia Police Department, sniffs out a sinister plot, she enlists the help of a con artist to solve the case in order to prove her abilities to Chief Bogo.

Another Cinema Therapy review, this time with the implicit bias that is in Zootopia. I hadn’t heard of this movie before, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Carry on Camping ✩✩✩

A pair of likely lads trick their girlfriends into accompanying them to a nudist colony, but it turns out to be a family campsite. After they are persuaded to stay, the boys manage to find more mischief to occupy themselves when a coachload of teenage schoolgirls arrives at the site.

David suggested this film, I think it was in response to the passing of Barbara Windsor whose iconic bra bursting scene is so memorable. It was one of the better Carry On films.

The Great Outdoors ✩

It’s vacation time for an outdoorsy Chicago man and his family. But a serene weekend of fishing at a Wisconsin lakeside cabin gets crashed by his obnoxious brother-in-law.

David said that Kevin Hart was starring in a remake of this 1980’s John Hughes film, so we ended up watching the original. It wasn’t as funny as hoped. Perhaps the remake will be better?

The Holiday ✩✩✩✩

Two girls from different countries swap homes for the holidays to get away from their relationship issues. However, their lives change unexpectedly when they meet and fall in love with two local guys.

At the core of this film is the theme of love, in all it’s guises. I enjoyed the movie more than David and with a funky score by Hans Zimmer, it couldn’t possibly fail to entertain.

Runaway Train ✩✩

Two escaped convicts head full-steam for their freedom and inadvertently jump aboard a freight train. To their dismay, they discover that the train is barreling out of control without an engineer.

This film could have been so much better if the acting was any good, but it wasn’t. Forgettable.

The Switch ✩✩✩

An unmarried woman uses a sperm donor to conceive a child, much to the dismay of her best friend Wally. She remains in the dark for many years unaware that Wally had replaced her sample with his own.

How many films has Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman done together? Maybe five? Either way, you can see the friendship and respect they both have for one another. The Switch may not have been the greatest movie, but it was fun to watch.

Get a Job ✩✩

After college, Will is having problems getting a good, lasting job, as are his roomies, his girlfriend and his just fired dad.

This film irked me somewhat. I like Anna Kendrick but this film didn’t really showcase her talents. Perhaps one to miss?

Wonder Woman 84 ✩✩✩

Rewind to the 1980s as Wonder Woman’s next big screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah.

A bit of a confession to make. In the 1980’s I wanted to be Wonder Woman! As a six or seven year old, I watched reruns of Lynda Carter battling criminals! I used to prance about the house in shorts and boob-tube, wearing a paper tiara and bracelets. A skipping rope acted as my lasso of truth. The world stretched as far as my imagination, and I could be anything I chose to be.

Watching the new Wonder Woman films sadly to me are not the same. I preferred the 2017 film to this 2020 release but not by much.

Soul ✩✩

Joe is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn’t quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz — and he’s good. But when he travels to another realm to help someone find their passion, he soon discovers what it means to have soul.

In the run up to Christmas I saw billboards advertising Soul. I like my Pixar films so managed to get to see the movie. Again, I enjoyed it more than David. I liked the message of the film, life is worth living, even just for the small things!

Circle ✩✩✩

Fifty strangers facing execution have to pick one person among them to live.

My brother suggested this film for us to watch. Circle is a study of human psychology, for better or for worse. I enjoyed the experience and wasn’t really surprised at the finale.

The Platform ✩✩✩

In the future, prisoners housed in vertical cells watch as inmates in the upper cells are fed while those below starve.

Another film my brother suggested. This Spanish sci-fi, subtitled film really made me feel sad for the protagonists. The premise; in this vertical prison, there is enough food for everyone. However the greed of those on the above levels means that the ones further below have less and less to eat. Another film on the human condition. I enjoyed it none the less.

Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?

Thanks for reading!

Christine x

A Year in Film 2020: Advent Calendar – Day Twenty-four

It’s day twenty-four of my Christmas film advent calendar. The final film tonight is:

Elf

Christine’s rating: ✩✩✩ David’s rating: ✩✩✩✩

Buddy, a human, is raised amongst elves at the North Pole. When he discovers that he is not an elf, he travels to New York to search for his biological father.

Christmas fun on the streets of New York in this 2003 film starring Will Ferrell.

Do you like Elf? What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Thanks for following my advent calendar of Christmas films!

Merry Christmas!

Christine x

A Year in Film 2020: Advent Calendar – Day Twenty-three

It’s day twenty-three of my Christmas film advent calendar. I can’t believe how fast this month has gone. Tonight I’m watching:

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Christine’s rating: ✩✩✩✩✩ David’s rating: ✩✩✩✩

One year after Kevin McCallister was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself stranded in New York City – and the same criminals are not far behind.

I love this Christmas movie! I don’t know which is best, the first or the second Home Alone film? We visited New York last year because of this movie. It was nice to see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

Do you rate this movie?

Thanks for reading!

Christine x

A Year in Film 2020: Advent Calendar – Day Twenty-two

It’s day twenty-two of my Christmas film advent calendar. Tonight’s film is:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Christine’s rating: ✩✩ David’s rating: ✩✩✩

Grinch lives in solitude just outside Whoville. He hates the townsfolk and despises Christmas. Cindy Lou, a six-year-old girl who believes in the spirit of the festival, sets out to reform him.

Not my favourite Christmas movie. The Grinch I feel was clinically depressed. He needed a hug.

Have you seen this Christmas movie? What did you think?

Thanks for reading!

Christine x

A Year in Film 2020: Advent Calendar – Day Twenty-one

It’s day twenty-one of my Christmas film advent calendar. Tonight’s viewing is a beloved 1982 Christmas short:

The Snowman

Christine’s rating: ✩✩✩✩ David’s rating: ✩

On Christmas Eve, a young boy builds a snowman that comes to life and takes him to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas..

The music and art direction of this short animated film carries the message of loneliness and loss in this timeless tale by Raymond Briggs.

What do you think of this short film?

Thanks for reading!

Christine x

A Year in Film 2020: Advent Calendar – Day Twenty

It’s day twenty of my Christmas film advent calendar. Tonight I’m watching:

A Christmas Horror Story

Christine’s rating: ✩✩✩✩ David’s rating: ✩✩✩✩

Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.

I love this film from 2015 which has three interlinked creepy stories. The best thing though is seeing a different side to Santa as he faces zombie elves!!

Have you seen this movie? What did you think of it?

Thanks for reading! Christine x

A Year in Film 2020: Advent Calendar – Day Nineteen

It’s day nineteen of my Christmas film advent calendar. Tonight’s film is:

Krampus

Christine’s rating: ✩✩✩✩✩ David’s rating: ✩✩✩✩

Krampus

Frustrated by the constant quarrel between the members of his dysfunctional family, Max loses interest to celebrate Christmas, awakening Krampus, a demon who will punish his entire family.

My favourite Christmas film has to make a show in this Advent calendar. Krampus has just the right amount of sarcasm and scares to make this a true horror tale for Christmas.

What is your favourite Christmas movie?

Thanks for reading!

Christine x

A Year in Film 2020: Advent Calendar – Day Eighteen

It’s day eighteen of my Christmas film advent calendar. Tonight’s film is:

Miracle on 34th Street

Christine’s rating: ✩✩✩ David’s rating: ✩✩✩

When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.

A dated but still enjoyable Christmas film with a lovable Kris Kringle.

Have you seen this movie? Did you prefer this or the 1994 remake?

Thanks for reading!

Christine x

A Year in Film 2020: Advent Calendar – Day Seventeen

It’s day seventeen of my Christmas film advent calendar. Tonight I’m watching:

Noelle

Christine’s rating: ✩✩✩ David’s rating: ✩✩

Santa’s daughter must take over the family business when her father retires and her brother, who is supposed to inherit the Santa role, gets cold feet.

I thought this heartwarming film wasn’t bad. Noelle discovered her trur self and place in the world.

Have you seen this movie? What did you think?

Thanks for reading!

Christine x

A Year in Film 2020: Advent Calendar – Day Sixteen

It’s day sixteen of my Christmas film advent calendar. I can’t believe how quick this month is going and I am not prepared at all! Tonight I’m watching:

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Christine’s rating: ✩✩ David’s rating: ✩✩

Clark Griswold is really into Christmas and promises to make it a good one until he turns everything completely around, causing a domino effect of disasters.

Nothing goes right for the Griswold family as mishap after mishap happens when the family get together for Christmas. I didn’t find this movie particularly funny.

Have you seen this film? What did you think?

Thanks for reading!

Christine x