Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 24: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

So here we are. The advent calendar has just one day left, and it’s time for the final film of Craggus’ Christmas Countdown. I like to think I’ve saved the best for last. “The Muppet Christmas Carol” isn’t just the last great Muppet movie, it’s also one of the best adaptations of “A Christmas Carol” … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 24: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

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Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 23: Elf (2009)

I know “Elf” enjoys a huge cult following and tops many people’s list of favourite Christmas films. The story of a human who is accidentally brought to the North Pole and raised as an Elf, the adventure really begins when Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) decides to go out into the world and find his … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 23: Elf (2009)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 22: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

There’s an episode of “Friends” where Phoebe learns that many of her favourite films from childhood have scenes she wasn’t aware of because her mother always stopped them at a certain point, notably “Old Yeller”. I’m pretty sure “It’s A Wonderful Life” would also have made the list. The question is, at what point would … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 22: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 21: Arthur Christmas (2011)

By the end of my first time of watching “Arthur Christmas” in the cinema, I’d already welled up a couple of times and my excuse of having ‘something in my eye’ was starting to wear thin. Essentially the story of one child’s gift being missed on Christmas Eve, most of the action focusses on the … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 21: Arthur Christmas (2011)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 20: Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)

It’s a wonder it took so long for someone to attempt to make a film about Santa Claus being a kind of super hero. It’s less of a wonder that the people to give it a try would be the same people behind the ailing “Superman” franchise, whose most recent film “Supergirl” had been a … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 20: Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 19: A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)

If stoner comedies are your kind of thing, crammed with inappropriate humour, festive dick jokes and gratuitously over the top antics, then Craggus’ Christmas Countdown has got you covered. Picking up six years after “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay”, this instalment finds the pair estranged and Harold established as a successful banking executive … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 19: A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 18: Rare Exports (2010)

Santa Claus is a being of immense and extraordinary power. He can visit every house on Earth in the space of one night, so has the ability to manipulate space and time. He is able to gain entry to any structure and knows whether you’ve been bad or good. He is near omnipresent and omniscient … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 18: Rare Exports (2010)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 17: Nativity! (2009)

Writer/ Director Debbie Isitt’s “Nativity!” is a bit of a curiosity. Although largely scripted, some of the scenes were improvised (an approach which was expanded in the sequel), which lends it a slightly meta amateur feel. Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman), a frustrated actor turned resentful primary school teacher, is tasked with producing his school’s Nativity … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 17: Nativity! (2009)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 16: Jack Frost (1997)

Psyche! If you were expecting a review of the ‘heart-warming’ Michael Keaton snowman comedy, you’re barking up the wrong yule log. However, if you’re finding all the holiday sweetness a bit much and the gathering family are getting on your nerves a bit leaving you pining for a bit of sharp holly amongst all the … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 16: Jack Frost (1997)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 15: A Christmas Carol (2009)

Robert Zemeckis returns to Christmas animation with his take on another popular festive tale. Thankfully, unlike “The Polar Express”, with “A Christmas Carol” he doesn’t feel the need to add a whole bunch of stuff that isn’t in the book to pad it out. It doesn’t stop him taking a “written for the screen” credit … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 15: A Christmas Carol (2009)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 14: Mrs Miracle (2009)

After the festive spirit-crushing of yesterday’s Christmas Countdown, warm, fuzzy feel-good salvation is at hand with today’s special Hallmark moment: “Mrs Miracle”. A made for TV adaptation of Debbie Macomber’s bestselling novel. Widowed architect Seth Webster lives with his boisterous twin sons in small town America. Overwhelmed, he tries to get a housekeeper to help … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 14: Mrs Miracle (2009)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 13: The Town That Cancelled Christmas (aka A Merry Little Christmas) (2006)

Even Craggus' Christmas Countdown isn't immune to the dark powers of Friday 13th which is why today brings us "The Town That Cancelled Christmas". I don’t think it ever had a theatrical release and I don’t know whether to call “The Town That Cancelled Christmas” (known as “A Merry Little Christmas” in the USA) made … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 13: The Town That Cancelled Christmas (aka A Merry Little Christmas) (2006)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 12: Love Actually (2003)

Richard Curtis’ “Love Actually” is often misunderstood as an ensemble romantic comedy, intertwining numerous criss-crossing plots in the run up to Christmas. It is, in fact, an avante garde adaptation of a grand British Christmas institution: “Love Actually” is the cinematic adaptation of a tin of Cadbury’s Roses (or Quality Street if you prefer, but … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 12: Love Actually (2003)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 11: Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

I know it’s not fashionable to praise or approve of remakes, but sometimes – every once in a while - they’re actually pretty good. Now I’m not saying that this is better than the original 1947 version but I put it to you that it’s every bit as good. John Hughes (“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 11: Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 10: Home Alone (1990)

Like the previous year’s “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, “Home Alone” was written by the prolific John Hughes and although they’re set in different parts of Illinois, it’s a nice thought that the Griswolds and the McAllisters actually only live a few doors down from each other. When a power cut causes the family to oversleep … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 10: Home Alone (1990)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 9: Fred Claus (2007)

The idea of Paul Giamatti as an exasperated Santa Claus is such a delightful one, that it makes you wonder why it took until 2007 for it to make it to the screen.  Of course, he’s not the title character, but he’s an important part of why “Fred Claus” works better than it ought to. … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 9: Fred Claus (2007)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 8: The Polar Express (2004)

The award winning book “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg is a charming tale of a magical train which takes a boy who has begun to have doubts about Santa Claus to the North Pole where he meets the man himself and is rewarded with a special gift, forever preserving the magic of Christmas. … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 8: The Polar Express (2004)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 7: Bad Santa (2003)

A Christmas movie to watch once the kids are safely tucked up in bed, “Bad Santa” is not for the easily offended. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Willie Soke, a washed up, bitter con man who spends his Christmases working as mall Santa so that he and his heist partner Marcus (Tony Cox) can rob … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 7: Bad Santa (2003)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 6: White Christmas (1954)

‘Paramount Pictures Proudly Presents’ this film, which instantly made me smile. I mean, studios these days still present films, but when was the last time they proudly presented one? It makes me think of your children bringing home a macaroni and glitter picture and showing it to you as if it’s the new Mona Lisa … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 6: White Christmas (1954)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 5: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

It was a bit of a coin toss as to whether I included this in the countdown. Is it a Christmas film about Halloween or a Halloween film about Christmas? Tricky one, but I decided it qualifies as a Christmas film as it’s ultimately about Jack Skellington discovering ‘the true meaning of Christmas’. Way back … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 5: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 4: The Grinch (2000)

Ron Howard, you’ve done it again. Hollywood’s most chameleonic director transforms his style once more to give us a vividly realised world of Whoville and its nearby mountain dweller, The Grinch. Adaptations of Dr Seuss are tricky things as much of the joy of his books is from the rhyme and metre of the verse … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 4: The Grinch (2000)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 3: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Sweeter and more whimsical than its two bawdy predecessors, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” sees the long suffering Griswald family actually staying put for once while the chaos comes to them. This time, Clark is determined to deliver his dream of a big family Christmas with all of his loved ones under one roof and, at … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 3: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 2: Scrooged (1988)

Reinterpretations of Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” are almost as old as the original story itself. Indeed, it’ll crop up in various forms three or four times before The Craggus’ Christmas Countdown comes to an end. By lucky dip, we’re starting with one of the best riffs on the theme, 1988’s “Scrooged”. Bill Murray stars as … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 2: Scrooged (1988)

Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 1: The Santa Clause (1994)

In the grand tradition of Christmas TV repeats, I'm going to re-run last year's again, although I'll throw in the odd Craggus Christmas Cracker here and there as I manage to take in some new festive features. So, every day from the 1st of December to Christmas Eve, I'll be (re)delivering The Craggus' Christmas Countdown, … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 1: The Santa Clause (1994)