Netflix Nourishment: Christmas Edition

Brandon Vick highlights a slate of Netflix holiday features on this edition of Netflix Nourishment!

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THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES

Being predictable to a fault with some super lame dialogue and creepy animal-like elves can’t kill this sweetly sugar-coated family story’s Christmas spirit. Kurt Russell as St. Nick is nothing short of cool, bringing a fresh bag of swagger to a role with a huge reputation. Director Clay Kaytis’s mushy holiday movie gets off the ground because his Santa doesn’t fail to deliver.

THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES: PART 2

As Santa and Mrs. Claus, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn glow with Christmas spirit, but this cheerless holiday sequel overstays its welcome. When you’re not busting a move to Russell belting out another tune then why even continue watching? In a story where insane elves are running wild, cookies are used as explosives, Saint Nick is time-jumping, and a naughty elf wanting to wipeout the North Pole, it’s busy but empty on magic and wonder. This time of year, audiences show real leniency for these types of movies, though when they’re this lazy and juvenile…Bah Humbug!

A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS

Henry Lawfull plays Nikolas, a boy who finds a map in his Santa’s cap made by his mother that will take him on an extraordinary expedition to find his father and Elfhelm – a magical village of elves. Blitzen the reindeer and a talking mouse named Miika (voiced by Stephen Merchant) are along for the magical ride that’s easy to predict, but we won’t mind where it’s taking us anyway. For being another Santa Claus origin fairytale, co-writer/director Gil Kenan handles it with heart and childlike wonder. With a stupendous supporting cast of Brits like Jim Broadbent, Toby Jones, Sally Hawkins, and the marvelous Maggie Smith, what we get is pleasant enough & imaginative enough to enjoy for the light holiday distraction that it is.

LET IT SNOW

Based on the YA book by John Green, this lighthearted yet lightheaded rom-com involving teenage romance, relationships, and friendships during a Christmas Eve snow storm doesn’t make you feel all warm and toasty inside. Young familiar faces fill up the screen; though, none of their performances are worth mentioning in this hollow holiday movie. If you have your snow-glistening story buildup to a party at a Waffle House rip-off, you should re-think some things, but director Luke Snellin doesn’t seem too bothered by it. He forges through the winter weather so he can complete his miserable millennial Love Actually.

KLAUS

“A simple act of kindness always sparks another” – the animated Klaus dropped on Netflix earlier in the month and is sure to become an instant holiday classic. 

Jesper is your run-of-the-mill spoiled, lazy son. When his father decides he’s not taking his postman training seriously enough, he basically banishes him to the town of Smeerensburg to open up a post office. If he doesn’t succeed, he’s cut off. What Jesper finds in Smeerensburg is a town full of people who are flat out nasty to each other, immersed in a blood feud that has lasted for generations. Jesper has his work cut out for him, but when he ventures off the beaten path, he encounters an old toy-maker named Klaus. From there, the two take to spreading holiday cheer throughout a town that needs it.

Call it an origin story for ol’ Saint Nick if you want to, but it’s a fun, heart-warming tale emphasizing the importance of developing friendships and doing good wherever you can. It’s a nice hark back to the days of hand-drawn animation, with color, ambience, and wonder bursting in every scene. If you’re looking for something to get you into the Christmas spirit, look no further. 

JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY

Writer/director David E. Talbert’s wonderful musical is an outstandingly original and inventive story of believing. From the set pieces to the costumes, everything on screen is big and bright, resulting in a dazzling holiday spectacle perfect for the season. Its exuberant energy is infectious, and the performances from Forest Whitaker as a dejected toy maker and Madalen Mills as his gladsome granddaughter will capture your heart. Talbert’s joyous fairy tale may not achieve Christmas classic status, yet he’s surely handcrafted a well-intentioned song and dance carried out by a delightfully diverse cast that’s praiseworthy.

THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

“If you’re hoping for some fun, heart-warming Christmas storytelling, this ain’t it, chief. 

The Knight Before Christmas is cringeworthy at every turn. The concept of being lost in time is farfetched enough, but when you see how our heroic knight reacts to it, it ruins all ability to suspend disbelief. I mean, this guy was flung hundreds of years into the future, and reacts to it with the befuddlement that I’d react to changing plans on a Friday night with – just a minor inconvenience. It’s absurd, even for a time travel movie.

Don’t even bother – just watch Klaus again…or stare at the wall…anything. I hate this movie.” -Stoney

Brandon Vick is a member of The Music City Film Critics’ Association, the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and the star of The Vick’s Flicks Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.

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