Tag Archives: holiday movies

The Guardians of The Galaxy Holiday Special

The Disney+ streaming service has allowed Marvel Studios ample opportunity to explore the lives and adventures of superheroes who otherwise haven’t nearly enough screen time. In The Guardians of The Galaxy Holiday Special, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) get their own little side mission as they visit Earth to find Peter the perfect Christmas gift.

What does one buy for an orphaned Celestial-Human hybrid raised by Ravagers to be a legendary outlaw, captain of the M-Ships Milano and Benetar, and leader of a ragtag team of criminals? Well, if you’ve been paying attention, the answer is pretty clear: Kevin Bacon.

On Earth, Mantis and Drax inevitably stir up some trouble while trying to kidnap a famous movie star.

  • Enjoy an incredible Disney meta moment as Drax and Mantis are mistaken for costumed characters on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard and get bombarded by tourists and have an altercation with a Go-bot.
  • Learn what it takes to get a couple of aliens drunk as they visit a bar and enthusiastically do shots.
  • Act surprised when the LAPD proves to be alarmingly trigger-happy.
  • Wonder how a candy cane can be mistaken for a man.

And then our two heroes will zip back to Knowhere on their newest ship, The Bowie, with a cargo hold full of decorations and ugly Christmas sweaters to make Peter’s holiday all merry and bright. Mantis has a big reveal, Chris Pratt has a terrible wig, and the soundtrack features every offbeat Christmas song James Gunn could scrape up, plus one he helped write himself.

It’s nice to see the Guardians settling and thriving on Knowhere, apparently respected members of the community. The special is bookended by animated flashbacks to Peter’s first Christmas with Yondu, so even Michael Rooker rejoins the gang, along with Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Kraglin (Sean Gunn), and even Cosmo the Spacedog (Maria Bakalova).

Set between Thor: Love and Thunder and and Guardians Vol. 3 (which comes out in May 2023), the holiday special is in fact canon to the MCU and has a few dishy winks to fans, including what Groot and Rocket might have on their own Christmas wish lists.

Picture Perfect Royal Christmas

Amanda’s boss was invited to the kingdom of Pantrea to even their famous Christmas festivities. Boss lady can’t be bothered but Amanda (Roxanne McKee) can’t pass up an all expenses trip, so she poses as her boss and starts clicking her camera.

Naturally there’s a handsome prince involved. Technically speaking, Prince Leopold (David Witts) is already engaged to Duchess Catherine (Sophie Vavasseur), but don’t worry, she’s a crown-hungry snob so you won’t feel bad when she inevitably gets overthrown.

Amanda is very bad at explaining why she’s traveling under a different name and why she doesn’t seem to know her own biographical details. Her hands are oddly shaky for a photographer (even for a photographer’s assistant), and despite the fact that she’s there to take photos, she actually starts competing in the holiday events, shirking the duties the royal family has for some reason flown her around the world to perform.

Feminists often have to push their quibbles aside in order to enjoy a holiday romance. Heck, humans often have to push their common sense aside, but if it’s all in good fun, many are happy to do so. Picture Perfect Royal Christmas, however, has a premise that can’t stand up under its own weight. It’s utterly ridiculous at every twist and turn, likely a movie that only the most diehard royal-romance devotees will be able to tolerate.

Christmas With You

Angelina (Aimee Garcia) is a pop star who hasn’t felt particularly inspired lately, but her label thinks she’s been reaching into her bag of hits a little too often lately. Their solution is to force her to record a Christmas single even though there’s only about three weeks left until Christmas!

Inspired by a fan video, Angelina decides to visit 15-year-old fan Cristina (Deja Monique Cruz) at her high school. They bond over their dead mothers and a freak snowstorm compels her to stay and have dinner with Cristina and her single dad, Miguel (Freddie Prinze, Jr.).

As a sentient human being, you can figure out what happens from here. There’s not a lot to recommend it, to be honest. It’s high cheese. But since it’s new this year on Netflix, at least you can rest assured you haven’t seen it yet.

A Midnight Kiss

Mia (Adelaide Kane) and her brother both work with their parents at the family business, a party planning company that’s just putting their last Christmas party of the season to bed. Whew! Mom and dad have actually worked their last party ever – they’re retiring, leaving the company to the kids, and off to Palm Springs to enjoy Christmas off their feet. Mia and brother Jake should also be enjoying some well-deserved time off, but a very big client, tech entrepreneur Kate (Pauline Egan), has had a new year’s eve party catastrophe and needs their help rather desperately, despite the late hour of her request.

The company is in no position to refuse such a big client, so Mia is going to work double time, no triple time, to make it happen, especially after a broken leg puts her stupid brother out of commission. Luckily his college buddy, jet-setting documentarian David (Carlos PenaVega) is visiting for Christmas, and they rather ruthlessly put him to work. He’s supposed to be just a warm body for getting the manual labour done but to Mia’s surprise (and annoyance), he starts interjecting with his own bright ideas. Mia’s not sure how she’ll survive this intensive week of party planning with a guy who’s quickly getting on her last nerve, but it’s not like she has a choice.

In fact, if you’ve ever seen a Hallmark movie before, you know that Mia and David’s real job is to fall in love, and the party planning is just an excuse to throw them into the same room together a whole bunch to facilitate the process. How long will Mia’s brother milk the broken leg? Will David stick around long enough to actually help, or will he be off to China, leaving his new love in the lurch? What was the gold paint for? Who will secure the fireworks permits? How many staff members can attend a party they’re supposed to be working and kiss at midnight without sacrificing professionalism? Hint: far fewer than actually do, but I guess you’ll have to head on over to Hallmark to figure out the exact number for yourself.

Royal New Year’s Eve

Oh you thought the Hallmark coverage had ended? Shame on you! Hallmark oozes romantic schmaltz all year round.

Caitlyn (Jessy Schram) quit her teaching job to work in fashion, but a year later she’s still just the assistant and her magazine editor boss Abigail (Cheryl Ladd) still hasn’t noticed her. Abigail is helping with the new year’s eve royal fundraising gala where it is rumoured that prince Jeffrey (Sam Page) will propose to his girlfriend, lady Isabelle (Hayley Sales), as per family tradition. She’s hoping that lady Isabelle will choose one of her daughter Leighton’s (Nicole LaPlaca) designs for the occasion, but her eye is drawn to Caitlyn’s design instead, wouldn’t you know it?

Meanwhile, prince Jeffrey has been “acting regular” and “dressing casual” and introduces himself simply as Jeff on the numerous occasions he and Caitlyn run into each other before they’re finally introduced in an official capacity. Ice broken, Caitlyn and Jeffrey are going to be working together rather closely – not only is Caitlyn designing Isabelle’s dress, Abigail is forcing her to plan that new year’s eve party too, hoping of course that Caitlyn will be overwhelmed and one of Leighton’s designs will sub in last minute when Caitlyn fails to produce a dress.

As per Hallmark rules, all this tête à tête-ing should have Caitlyn and Jeffrey falling in love. Except Jeffrey, as we’re all aware, has a girlfriend he’s just days away from proposing to. He is fully off the market. So that leaves…his man servant Barnaby, maybe? Is that a thing? No, no, it’s definitely Jeffrey. Which is awkward, because it means their romance is starting with an emotional affair at the very least, which isn’t normally Hallmark’s style, and a little scandalous besides, not exactly their wholesome best. Will Caitlyn’s dress be ready in time? Will she successfully steal the prince? Will the king dare to intervene? Will a former Charlie’s Angel fire her ass for the audacity? Guess you’ll have to watch to find out. Happy new year!

Christmas In Evergreen: Bells Are Ringing

Just a reminder: Evergreen is not just a Christmas-forward small American town, it’s also the setting of one of Hallmark’s shared universes. The Evergreen series tells different townspeople’s stories, but you’ll almost always see some familiar faces in town.

Michelle (Holly Robinson Peete) is busy putting the finishing touches on her upcoming Christmas Eve wedding and hosting her family from out of town, who are shockingly Christmas-averse. She’s grateful to be able to lean on Hannah (Rukiya Bernard) for the last details of the new museum launch. You won’t be too surprised to find out that Evergreen is indeed opening a Christmas museum (gotta attract that year-round tourism!). Slight hiccup though: Jenny and Josie Cooper have donated their family’s old hat making factory to house the museum, but suddenly their brother Jeb shows up in town to foil the whole thing.

Okay, that’s not exactly the only hiccup. There’s also the fact that Michelle’s fiance seems to be snowed out of town. It’s seeming increasingly unlikely that he’ll make it back in time for his own wedding! Meanwhile, Hannah’s starting to question her own future. She and fiance Elliot (Antonio Cayonne) are one of the town’s romantic success stories, but it seems that he’s got ambitions leading him away from Evergreen – and thus, from her.

Will Michelle be alone at the altar? Will Hannah be alone forever? Will Jeb’s shame about his hat making failure prevent the town from enjoying its museum? You can probably guess the answer to these questions but if you’d like to have your hunches confirmed, be sure to visit the Hallmark channel and watch Christmas in Evergreen: Bells Are Ringing.

A Joyous Christmas

Self-help author Rachel Kennedy (Natalie Knepp) is in town to promote her new book. After her previous effort’s lackluster sales, her manager is eager to keep her on-brand and brings on event planner Jack (Michael Rady) to help focus their launch. Soon, however, it will be Rachel’s focus that’s wavering, after a kind stranger named Joy (Bonnie Bedelia) saves her life from a brush with death.

Rachel feels drawn to Joy and wants somehow to repay the kindness, but Joy thinks Rachel’s message is rather anti-Christmas and not in the spirit of giving. Joy is, unsurprisingly, quite a charitable soul herself, but her saintly ways don’t impress Rachel’s manager, who thinks Joy is an unwelcome distraction. Jack, however, is quite drawn to Rachel’s orbit and her new zest for helping others. They’ll get to know each other through the usual gateways – decorating gingerbread houses and the like. It’s the Christmas equivalent of putting Ikea furniture together. If your relationship can survive, it, you’re solid gold.

Will Rachel reconnect with the only family she’s got left? What kind of gigantic bug is up her manager’s ass? What sort of tragic back story is Joy hiding? Will Rachel’s book fly off the shelves? Who put the red-headed guy in an orange sweater? And if Jack’s allergic to chocolate, is his life truly worth living?

At Christmas, all things are possible, including forgiveness – forgiving others for their trespasses, and forgiving ourselves for ours.

Christmas Under Wraps

Lauren (Candace Cameron Bure) has worked very hard her whole life to be able to walk in her father’s footsteps, following him in a surgical fellowship that she ends up very narrowly losing – and of course it was the only one to which she’d applied. Not keen to delay her career by 6 months, and determined to show her mother she’s capable of living outside of her meticulously planned box, she accepts the only fellowship still vacant at such a late date. It’s at a hospital in a small town in Alaska.

As it turns out, she won’t merely be a doctor serving the town’s hospital, she’ll be the sole doctor in the entire town. Her office hours are overrun with people who’ve been saving up their ailments in the absence of a doctor. Good thing the hunky town handyman Andy (David O’Donnell) is so helpful. He’s really showing her the ropes!

Two things, though: 1. although Lauren seems to be settling in quite well as the town’s busy and beloved only doctor, her father keeps pursuing the fellowship back home, so she’s always got at least one foot out the door, and 2. this small Alaskan town seems to be hiding some significant secrets. Will Lauren hang around long enough to find out what it is? Can her new relationship with handy Andy survive if she goes back home? Does doctoring even count if it’s not the kind of doctoring her dad did? Is the only kind of scarf that counts the kind that’s made of wool? These burning questions answered and more when you tune in to the Hallmark channel for Christmas Under Wraps.

A Godwink Christmas: Second Chance, First Love

I love that Hallmark has developed some shared universes within its catalogue; we discovered it first with the Evergreen series, but the Godwink one has even more entries. Godwinks, just so you know, are those coincidences in life that aren’t coincidences, they’re God pushing you toward something, if only you take the time to listen.

After 15 years away, Pat (Sam Page) moves back home, and in with his mother, with his two young sons. Divorced and having sold his business in Hawaii, he’s a little untethered, looking for a new job and somewhere to put down roots. He does not expect God to intervene, and put him repeatedly into the path of his high school sweetheart, Margie (Brooke D’Orsay). Margie and Pat parted ways after high school because they wanted different things – he wanted adventure and travel, she expected to follow a more traditional and stable life path, college and then committing to a company you could spend the rest of your life working for. Now that they’re being nudged back together, can they possibly find a way to make it work, or are they still too different?

Well, it’s Hallmark, so we already know they’re getting together, but if there was any question, know that her biggest personality quirk is constantly losing pieces of jewelry, and he’s the guy who seems to find it. So it’s practically ordained. It’s just too bad she’ll have to discard a perfectly good boyfriend to do it. Hallmark usually makes the current boyfriend at least a little villainous so we don’t feel bad when she inevitably dumps him, but Scott (Zahf Paroo) seems like a pretty stand-up guy. It almost had me wishing that just this once, Hallmark would surprise us by chucking out the formula and having the leads not magically fall in love with each other in a matter of three short days, but stay with their respective respectable partners and agree to remain very good friends. Just once, Hallmark. Make it happen.

Christmas On Wheels

Ashley (Tiya Sircar) thought she was fine if her uncle got rid of some of her dead mom’s stuff, but learning that her Mom’s cherry-red vintage convertible, affectionally known as the sleigh, has been sold fills her with unexpected regret. So she does the only thing that makes sense. She enlists the help of her uncle’s attorney/estate appraiser, Duncan (Michael Xavier), to track it down and get it back.

The path toward the car has exactly one twist and one turn, but they’re inspiring enough for Ashley to remember why the car was so special to her and her mother in the first place. As a kid, her mother would fundraise and buy gifts for all the families in need, and make a special delivery on Christmas Eve, the convertible loaded down with cheerfully wrapped presents. Ashley decides to honour her mother’s memory with her own present ride. But with only a few days to raise the money and buy the gifts, how will she make it work? Ashley and Duncan put their heads together not to mention their mutual love of antiques to make this Christmas season one the community won’t soon forget.

Of course there’s never any real danger that the couple won’t fall in love or the kids won’t get their gifts. There is, however, some question as to whether the car is haunted or if it’s just sentient and bossy. It is quite beautiful though. Sircar and Xavier are likeable leads and the film has a nice message about communal giving and caring for others, which is always a bonus at Christmas.