Reginald Gardiner

On this reel of COL:Movies the boys hop on Santa’s sleigh and take a nostalgic look at Christmas past by watching Miracle on 34th Street. Did this Christmas classic live up to expectations? Is it something that still holds relevance to today’s audiences? Next the boys Trade in Santa’s sleigh for Santa’s spaceship, you heard that right kids from Christmas past to a somewhat technologically advanced Christmas present we discuss the modern Christmas tale Arthur Christmas. Did Fuzz’s surreal theater experience soil his enjoyment of the movie? Did Justin Bieber ruin Christmas? Next we take a look at a film scheduled for next year, Pixar’s Brave. The boys give us their thoughts on this movie and what they think about what seems to be a slight departure from the normal Pixar formula? All this plus thoughts on Movie sequels, Chinese censorship, and what its like to make out with Patton Oswald on this Reel of COL:Movies number 83

News:

The Past: Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Fresh, 82% Audience

Miracle on 34th Street

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Director: George Seaton

Starring: Maureen O’Hara, John Payn, Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood

Trivia:

  • Despite the fact that the film is set during Christmas, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck insisted that it be released in May because he argued that more people went to the movies during the summer. So the studio began scrambling to promote it while keeping the fact that it was a Christmas movie a secret.
  • Maureen O’Hara was ultimately forced into her role against her will, as she had just returned to Ireland before being called back to America for the film. However, she immediately changed her sentiments upon reading the script.
  • There are 21 mail bags carried into the courtroom at the end of Kris’s hearing.
  • Thelma Ritter’s screen debut.
  • 20th Century-Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck was very much against making this film because he thought it too corny to succeed. He finally agreed to a medium-sized budget provided writer/director George Seaton would accept his next three assignments unconditionally. Seaton, who desperately wanted to get the picture made, agreed.
  • When Dr. Pierce explains Kris’ belief that he is Santa Claus, he offers for comparative purposes a Hollywood restaurant owner who believes himself to be a Russian prince despite evidence to the contrary, but rather conveniently fails to recall the man’s name. This was a reference to Michael Romanoff, owner of Romanoff’s in Hollywood, a popular hangout for movie stars at the time.
  • 2006: Ranked #9 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time.
  • Ranked #5 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Fantasy” in June 2008.
  • The scenes of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are of the actual parade held in 1946. As such, careful preparation was necessary for the shots as retakes were obviously out of the question. 20th Century-Fox had cameras positioned along the parade route at the starting line at 77th Street, on Central Park West, on the 3rd floor of an apartment building at 253 West 58th Street, in Herald Square and on 34th Street at 7th Avenue.
  • In the untranslated dialogue with the Dutch girl, Santa Claus asks the child what she wants for Christmas the girl says she wants nothing, telling Santa she got her gift by being adopted by her new mother
  • Both the actual Macy’s and Gimbel’s department stores were approached by the producers for permission to have them depicted in the film. Both stores wanted to see the finished film first before they gave approval. If either store had refused, the film would have had to been extensively edited and reshot to eliminate the references. Fortunately at the test viewing, both businesses were pleased with the film and gave their permission.
  • The scenes at Macy’s were shot on location at the main New York store on 34th Street itself. Shooting was complicated by the fact that the crew’s power needs exceeded the store’s electricity capacity and required additional power sources arranged in the store’s basement.
  • Received a ‘B’ rating (morally objectionable in part) from the highly influential Legion of Decency because Maureen O’Hara played a divorcée.
  • In 2011, Maureen O’Hara (Doris Walker) and Alvin Greenman (Alfred) are the last surviving major/semi major cast members.
  • The real R.H. (Rowland Hussey) Macy died in 1877, 70 years prior to the time of the film.
  • The house that Susan sees at the end of the movie that all three characters enter is, according to the Nassau County Tax Records, located at 24 Derby Road in Port Washington, New York.

Talking Points:

  • Did anyone else think Edmund Gwenn sounds like Michael Gambon
  • Colorization? Why do people pan the colorized version?
  • Does it hold up as a tale modern families would go for?
  • The trailer
  • So, was he or wasnt he?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Blitzen is always on the right
  • Donner’s antlers have 4 points not 3
  • A mans gotta do something to keep warm!
  • The Macy’s parade seemed a lot smaller in 1947
  • Kris Kringle is as old as his tongue and a little bit older than his teeth
  • Christmas isn’t just a day its a frame of mind.
  • Chewing gum and beards don’t mix!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Adorable movie and definitely a Christmas classic. Definitely welcome in my DVD collection.
Ray: A Christmas classic that I had never taken the time to watch due to my irrational aversion to films made prior to 1965 – I’m glad I did though, while not something Id watch every year it would definitely go into the rotation to break up the It’s a wonderful life / a Christmas story monotony
Steve: Classic. Love the old school acting and unrealistic characters. This is the first time I’ve watched this since I have worked at a Macy’s and visited the original one in New York. The questions raised are definitely interesting and warm hearted.

The Present: Arthur Christmas
Rotten Tomatoes: 92% Fresh, 82% Audience

Director: Sarah Smith

Starring: James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy

Trivia:

  • The second consecutive film written by Peter Baynham to have the name Arthur in its title, the first being Arthur starring Russell Brand.
  • Arthur Christmas was first announced in 2007, under the name Operation Rudolph. It was the first film made by Aardman in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment and its subsidiaries
  • Has already been nominated for 11 awards, mostly for best animated feature – and won 1 to date (San Diego Film Critic’s Society Award).

Talking Points:

  • This was one of the most bizarre.. and annoying theater visits (fuzz)
  • Good lord did anyone else have to sit thought the Justin Bieber Video?
  • Updating the Christmas myths

What We Learned:

  • Santa’s house does not show up on Google Earth
  • Milk and Cookies can be used as Biofuel
  • A whack on the head, and a dab of whisky on the lips will keep any child quiet
  • Christmas is not a time for emotion
  • Santa wears Designer suits
  • Reindeer can smell fear
  • Santa cuts through Canada because no one lives there
  • Make sure that auto save is on!
  • There’s always time for a Bow!
  • AMC Theaters really need to upgrade their computers!

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Very cute movie and glad I went. The 3D wasn’t necessary though, but at least it wasn’t bad. Definitely worth taking the neice and/or nephew too. Oh, and if you do have kids, them too.
Ray: Besides my theater annoyances, I really enjoyed this. It does a great job of updating the Santa Mythos and is generally entertaining. Not only do I think you should watch this, this one will be in my collection.
Steve: Thought it was clever and cute. I haven’t always been a British cartoon fan, but actually got the humor in this one. Really enjoyed the references to how Christmas is celebrated in different countries.

The Future: Brave

Release: June 22, 2012

Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman

Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson

Summary:

Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, “Brave” features Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty. Merida makes a reckless choice that unleashes unintended peril and forces her to spring into action to set things right.

Trivia:

  • Reese Witherspoon was originally announced as the voice of Princess Merida, but scheduling conflicts prevented from taking the role. Kelly Macdonald replaced her.
  • This film marks the first time a Pixar produced film has a female protagonist.
  • The original title of the film was “The Bear and the Bow”.
  • Originally 80% of the film took place in snow. When director Brenda Chapman left the project so did much of the white stuff.
  • The Pizza Planet truck, a fixture of every full-length Pixar film, can be spotted in the Witch’s Hut.
  • None of the footage shown in the preview trailer is in the finished film.
  • Kelly Macdonald, Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Craig Ferguson and Billy Connolly have all been in movies based on book series. Billy Connolly was in “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” based on “The Bad Beginning”, “The Reptile Room”, and “The Wide Window” the first 3 books in the book series “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. Kelly Macdonald, Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson, and Julie Walters have all been in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″ the final installment in the Harry Potter movies, based on the 7th and final book “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” from the Harry Potter series.
  • Four of the cast members (Kelly Macdonald, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, and Emma Thompson) have worked on Harry Potter. Thompson and Macdonald have both worked on Nanny McPhee and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, however, in the latter they have no scenes together. Brave will be their 3rd film together.

Talking Points:

  • Pixar’s mostly human movie vs. animating toys, cars, fish, monsters, etc?
  • Female lead character?

Trailers:

Excitement:
Jeff: It’s another Pixar movie. I’m sure it’s already on the list or will be. I’m not super excited about it, but always know I’ll be satisfied when I go see a Pixar movie.
Ray: Um.. It’s Pixar.. yeah I’m excited DUH
Steve: Looks like it will be good, but kind of seems like a departure for Pixar. Not 100% sure I’m excited about it.

Coming Attractions

The Past

A Christmas Story (Two-Disc Special Edition)

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The Present

The Future

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In this reel of COL Movies, the guys head into the way back machine to review 1945’s “Christmas In Connecticut”. After spending some time with the old school, they head to the theater to see Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo”. After surviving…I mean sleeping through…I mean getting through that film, they check out the trailer for the highly anticipated…and by highly anticipated we mean spent almost 80 years in development hell…Pixar live-action film, “John Carter”. All this and more info on The Dark Knight Rises, Angelina Jolie and Luc Besson’s potential partnership, Robocop going boldly where no man has gone before, and a spoof trailer for the Angry Birds movie – you know you want to see it! It’s the 82nd reel of COL Movies – the things a girl will do for a mink coat!

News:

The Past: Christmas In Connecticut (1945)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88% Fresh, 77 % Audience

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

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Director:Peter Godfrey

Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet, Reginald Gardiner

Trivia:

  • The Connecticut home is the same set used in Bringing Up Baby,
  • The character of Elizabeth Lane was loosely based on the then popular Family Circle Magazine columnist Gladys Taber, who lived on Stillmeadow Farm in Connecticut.

Talking Points:

  • Man..who WASN’T getting married in this film..
  • Favorite Line? Or Scene?
  • The portrayal of African Americans from this era of film (waiter)

What We’ve Learned:

  • The ol’ MaGoo is different than baloney!
  • Nobody needs a mink coat except a mink!
  • The Sanctity of Marriage was alive and well in 1945
  • Babies like to eat soap
  • Its the woman that leads the man astray

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I couldn’t get through this movie, I kept starting and stopping, muting. It’s not a bad movie in any way shape or form, it’s just not my thing. If you like a movie with constant embarrassing moments and classic movieness, watch it. I just can’t anymore.
Ray: It’s a cute little look at a 1940’s screwball comedy. I liked it even if the whole marriage thing annoyed me. I’d say watch! If only for Uncle Felix definitely not a catastrophe!
Steve: I will admit wholeheartedly that I screwed up.

The Present: Hugo
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Fresh, 84% Audience

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen

Trivia:

  • Martin Scorsese’s first feature film in twelve years not starring Leonardo DiCaprio. His last feature film without DiCaprio was “Bringing Out the Dead”
  • After a screening that James Cameron attended, he called the film a “masterpiece” and told Martin Scorsese it was the best use of 3D he had seen, including his own films.
  • The cam mechanism in the automaton is heavily inspired by the machinery in the Jaquet-Droz automata, built between 1768 and 1774.
  • Martin Scorsese directed the 3D cinematography by wearing clip-on 3D lenses over his prescription glasses
  • The train station depicted is the Gare Montparnasse. The real life Georges Méliès did in fact work as a toymaker at that station after World War I. The derailment scene during Hugo’s dream is a reference to the famous 1895 derailment at the station

Talking Points:

  • The Cinematography “Crazy Long shot at the beginning”
  • 3D? Anyone see it?
  • Will this really appeal to children
  • Was this what you thought it was going to be about?
  • Melodramatic character “Kingsley”
  • Anyone else feel like this was some ham-handed plea for film preservation?
  • Sacha Baron Cohen & all the older actors – pretty much a star cast (all from Harry Potter…lol)

What We Learned:

  • There are a whole lot of English people living in Paris (accents)
  • The secret is in the clockwork
  • The Library is the best place on earth, like Never-land, Oz and Treasure Island all wrapped in one
  • Everything has a purpose, lose it and you’re broken
  • Old Films make wonderful rubber heels
  • Happy Endings only happen in the movies.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: This movie has some serious pacing issues. I thought the story wasn’t so bad and twisting it into something different then what I expected was nice. The cinematography was great, lighting, coloring, but just paced wrong. Maybe a worth see on rental, but seeing it on the big screen for some of those shots were great. Loved the shout out to the beginnings of movie making.
Ray: Ugh, totally bored me. Nodded off a few times. Felt like this was Scorsese just masturbating on film….If I was a kid I would have found this film extremely boring, My one shining star of the film..was only in it for 5 minutes, and for 2 of those he was dead.
Steve: Was snoring by 15 minutes in…and was out for at least 20 minutes. But once I woke up, I didn’t mind the story after it got to the part about filmmaking. However, definitely not my kind of movie and I wouldn’t see it again. I honestly thought it was going to be completely something else.

The Future: John Carter

Director: Andrew Stanton

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Defoe

Summary:

Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.

Trivia:

  • The first live action film that will involve Pixar
  • Probably holds the record for having the longest period of “development hell” for any movie, at 79 years, but would have been the first animated film ever made had it succeeded to be developed in 1931

Talking Points:

  • Trailer Music
  • Development Hell!

Trailers:

Excitement:
Jeff: Damn, this trailer got me excited to see this movie. I was luke warm hearing about it before but definitely changed my mind. I think it was John leaping a couple of stories into the air that helped hook me.
Ray: Man, I’ve been hearing about this film for at LEAST 17 years… yes that long. Hope its worth the wait. I am looking forward to it.
Steve: Looks really cool! I’m looking forward to it. I have no concept of the back story, but the trailer really pulled me in.

Coming Attractions

The Past

A Christmas Story (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Price: $17.98

(0 customer reviews)

158 used & new available from $0.01

The Present

The Future

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Coming Attractions

The Past: For Your Eyes Only

The Present: Skyfall

The Future: World War Z

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