Romantic Christmas Movies

Ok, I’m a bit slow updating. Sorry! As we know this is a crazy, wonderful and very busy time of year. Then add study!

mistletoe

To kick off the Christmas movies I’ve compiled a little list of some lovely little romantic Christmas movies. Some titles you may be familiar with others are new discoveries.

I mean…Christmas and romance…what’s not to love!

Over the past couple of years I seem to have developed a love for cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies. Now don’t write them off straight away! The ones below are very good stand alone movies that just happen to have Hallmark branding (and a little cheese).

So if you are feeling the Christmas spirit and like a bit of love with your magic then have a look at my little list.

1. Love Actually (2003)

Love Actually

No Christmas is complete without at least one viewing of this popular British comedic gem. It has everything you could possibly want from a Christmas movie (including the all star cast) wrapped up in a pretty satin bow.

Recommendation: Watch this one with your family, some friends or yourself and a glass of bubbles.

2. Bridget Jones Diary (2001)

Bridget_Jones_Diary_RepUglySweaterParty_1920x1080_364061763887

Our next Christmas love story is the wonderful and crazy Pride & Prejudice modernisation that is the kookie Bridget Jones. Never mind the fact that you get to see the BBC’s own Mr Darcy as Mark Darcy in a Christmas jumper! But the movie is the ultimate Christmas pick me up when you need to deal with some stressful family situations.

Recommendation: Watch it by yourself with some chocolate ice-cream, mince tarts and wine the night before you head to the dreaded family gathering.

3. The Family Stone (2005)

family stone

Epic cast. Crazy family Christmas antics. Though really do you need a bigger pull than Diane Keaton? This family comedy/drama where two different families come together around a mismatched engagement is a sometimes over looked Christmas joy. Also, is there anything really quite as fantastic as an American house dressed up in all it’s glory for Christmas with a romantic downfall of snow?

Recommendations: This one is more for the adults in the family. A good film to watch with your partner as the romance is there but it’s not laid on too thick.

4. A Christmas Kiss (2011)A Christmas Kiss

Ok, so now we start my guilty pleasures. This little film is great. Yes, it is a made for TV movie and has a lot of the predictable Hallmark channel elements. What separates it from the others is it’s unique story, great script, well rounded and believable characters and balanced direction. Plus, there’s no escaping the feeling of magic with this one.

Recommendations: Watch this little one with some home made Christmas cookies. This is for those without a significant other during Christmas who want to believe in Christmas miracles. This is also a nice film for the teenage audience as well.

 

So, I hope this little list gets you started with your Christmas films. The big day is fast approaching! I will try to get my other Christmas films up this week.

Let me know your favourite Christmas films in the comments.

I hope you have been finding time to enjoy this most magical time of the year no matter your background or religion there is something for everyone this time of year.

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Countdown to Christmas!

Christmas is fast approaching and that means it’s time to start watching (or re-watching) Christmas movies. In a burst of excitement I started this countdown (read marathon) early November. What can I say – I love Christmas movies and Christmas.

So I’ve decided to do a Countdown to Christmas! Be prepared for a slew of fun and at times silly movie reviews.

For those of you that aren’t Christmas movie fanatics, relax, there will still be a mix of reviews as well.

Let the candy cane games begin!

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Non-Stop (2013) – Lifetime Movie Network

Non-Stop

Lacey Chabert in Non-Stop (2013) Image: Lifetime Movie Network 

I’ll admit it.

I’m a sucker for a midday movie starring my favourite TV actors. You know the ones…predictable script…sprinkle of romance…and originating from either the Hallmark Channel or Lifetime Network in America. These films are the magazine version of movies. They are light, non-thinkers, and created for pure escapism.

On Monday this week Channel 7 aired the movie Non-Stop in its midday time slot. Yes, you guessed it, I jumped at the chance to set the DVR for this one.

The Movie

Amy Nightingale boards a red eye flight to Switzerland to deliver important contracts regarding a controversial book release. During the flight she meets a handsome passenger who threatens the safety of everyone on the plane. 

Non-Stop stars Party of Five and Mean Girls favourite Lacey Chabert. There are also some, presumably well known, American television male actors as well. I was excited to see that Amy Davidson was in a prominent supporting role. That is, till I watched the movie. Her character feels not only one dimensional but unfortunately not necessary.

This movie is a plane crash of a film! The dialogue is the first casualty. It is poorly written and there are characters spitting out words that just aren’t believable coming from a 27 year old male in this decade! The actors try their best with a script that feels like it hasn’t been through enough editing rounds.

The second casualty is the film itself. There are some scenes, largely the ones not on the plane, that seem to be anti-directed. What do I mean by this? That the obvious direction is ignored for sometime so stilted and jarring that the viewer is jolted out of the story.

Non-Stop

“What? You mean we are flying into a flop?” Lacey Chabert in Non-Stop. Image: Lifetime Movie Network

So what worked in this television mid-air thriller.

The plot twist. 

The plot of this movie started out feeling a little cliché. However, right until the last 10 minutes you are kept in suspense and don’t actually know what or who is the villain or why Lacey’s character is so important that she needs to be attacked.

Lacey Chabert works hard to keep this film in the air. She is the best element of a chaotic mess of a movie. Even when the script becomes unbelievable and corny she somehow makes it work.

It is a shame this movie wasn’t handled better. Whilst it is entertaining, we are left with a very cliché TV movie.

You will like this movie if you are a fan of Lacey Chabert and don’t like overly scary thrillers (like me) and enjoy a tiny bit of mystery. The perfect audience for this movie also needs to enjoy the cheese factor that is a midday movie.

If the plot interests you and these types of made for television movies aren’t your idea of fun I’d suggest you try the very creepy Anne Hathaway thriller Passengers or even the suspense filled Liam Neeson film of the same name Non-Stop (2014).  Liam Neeson’s Non-Stop is bound to please the general audiences and rented on high rotation during it’s DVD release.

  • Lacey Chabert’s Non-Stop is available only on Amazon streaming in the USA.
  • Passengers is available to buy on DVD through most retailers and can be streamed in Australia on Netflix.
  • Liam Neeson’s Non-Stop is available on DVD rental and through most retailers.

Recommendation:

For fans or midday movie fanatics only.

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TPP – Coming Soon to a Movie Pirate Near You!

This week you may have heard the terms movie piracy and TPP mentioned on multiple occasions due to the 70th annual Australian International Movie Convention (AIMC) held on the Gold Coast.

TPP? Is that a new sci-fi movie?

Well no.TPP stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership. This partnership is a free trade agreement between 12 countries, including Australia which is in its final stages of negotiation. Through the details have not been revealed it was revealed this week that sections would allow film distributors/studios the ability to track down illegal movie downloaders via their internet service providers (ISP).

Scared? Perhaps you should be.

The IP Awareness Foundation released a statement this week which confirmed that whilst movie piracy has dropped with the introduction of streaming services such as Netflix to Australia, 40% of those continuing to illegally download content have increased their practices!

How do you get through to the modern digital audience?

Imagine this scenario.

You go to your job, put in the hours and hard work and at the end of the pay cycle you get paid. Now imagine if someone came along stole your work claiming it as their own. They earned money from your work but you got nothing in return. You’d be pretty furious wouldn’t you? Why are they entitled to money for your hard work? This is what you are doing when you pirate movies.

Many hours of hard labour and creativity go into each cinematic experience. Small budget Australian film crews may not even be paid till the movie returns a profit. You avoid paying to watch a movie, chances are someone will either not be paid for their hard work.

Working in movie rentals I heard all the excuses.

“It’s already on the internet so it is ok.”

“I want to watch it now but I don’t want to pay for a movie ticket.”

For years I tried to inform customers of the harm illegal downloading and movie piracy has caused. Fighting against the freely available pirated copies when people increasingly don’t want to pay for their entertainment feels like desperately trying to climb a wall of slime.

I hope that this post makes you question movie downloading practices.

Think you won’t get caught? Guess again! No longer will my beloved industry sit and watch you like a B-grade heist movie.

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The Friendly Video Clerk Goes Digital

As of October 2015, the Australian film industry has received the long anticipated news that our cinema box office has broken existing records to gross over $64 million. Movies, it seems, are still a popular form of entertainment in the modern media world.

But how do you find a movie to change a bad mood? Or one that is right for you? Does this movie actually exist?

In my varied experience, audiences suffer from ill-informed viewing choices. Movie selection should not be entered into lightly. Nor should you be forced into a commercially accepted demographic box. In order to enjoy your film of choice you need to first understand if it suits your current mood. Just because Sam Feely down the street loves The Fast and the Furious movies does not necessarily mean you will. Sometimes we just need a little bit of help working out what to watch next.

With the move to streaming services we are fast losing the under rated video clerk. The humble clerk was crucial in aiding movie selection, discovering new titles and topical information. Most streaming sites do have a recommendation bar based on your viewing habits though this does not take other factors into account and relies heavily on genre.

Then there was the sad end of At the Movies which has lead to even fewer locations for good quality film reviews. With big studios grappling for investment return, paid or bias reviews can mislead audiences, prompting higher box office returns and dissatisfied viewers. All these avenues lack one vital element. They cannot establish (or help you define) your mood on the day you choose the film and rarely do they break down their reviews to situate them in specific audience needs other than family-friendly or standard genres.

Movies are an important cultural and entertainment format. We are fortunate to have such a wide variety of platforms available which has opened up a larger window to view that exciting new film you may have missed during its cinema run.

So, get ready to delve into my site find your next movie adventure. Find movies by topic, theme, mood, along with a whole range of unique suggestions. Because what is the point of having all this movie knowledge and not being able to share it with you. What are you waiting for? Let’s go to the movies.

 

 

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My Life in Movies

Movies are life for me.

I have studied, watched and lived all things movies for three decades.

My passion extends so far as that I am the guilty owner of almost 2,000 DVD’s and Blu-ray discs from The Breakfast Club to cult classics such as Prayer of the Roller Boys. There are even a few lingering VHS in roll away tubs.

One of my favourite memories is when I was taken to see my first movie at the cinema. The movie was Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. I remember sitting in anticipation between my father and grandfather watching the pre-show movie. At four years old I was more interested in Bugs Bunny than some space movie. What endures for me is the excitement I felt staring at the ominous screen that would allow me to escape to a far off land. This early excitement developed into an enduring passion for all things film.

As an adult my favourite way to de-stress is to head to the old art deco cinema down the road. This trip for me is not just about the movie but the sensory adventure that takes place once you reach the blue front door. With the beach across the road the sea spray and popcorn combines into an inviting salty aroma hinting at what else may lay beyond the foyer. The click clack of the projector, smell of the film reels, the chocolate freckle on my choc top, original lights, even the crazy local advertising combine with anticipation and evoke what it is to go to the movies.

Whilst not quite the same sensory experience I feel the same about watching movies at home. However, with the slow erosion of the local video store the full sensory experience has become limited to vending machine offerings and streaming services. I miss the joy of wandering down the aisles of the local video store looking for a hidden gem. Those bulky VHS stacked high in my arms racing to the car so we could get home faster to watch Christian Slater. I should go and watch Heathers again…

My beloved video store closed a year ago and I still miss helping people find the right movie for their mood. I love inspiring people to watch a movie that they may never have come across before, to share my passion and seek out their own movie adventure.

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About Me

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Welcome to Movie Tête-à-Tête a blog dedicated to my enduring love of watching film. I watch a diverse range of films so there will be something for everyone. My brain is filled with movie trivia. Challenge me if you dare!

I hold an Advanced Diploma in Film and Television production and have almost completed my BA Internet Communication. Having worked in vanishing video stores for two decades I enjoy helping people find the right movie and bringing old classics to new audiences. I hope I can do the same for you.

So grab a choc top and let’s get viewing.

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