Ok, so it is one week left to Christmas eve. Around this time, we usually talk a lot about the Christmas spirit, have you found it, or trying to avoid it? If you fall into category number two then you should stop reading now. Renew Magazine has picked up five movies that wallow in the Christmas spirit, with elves, gifts and fine messages, but also a little darkness and humor.
1. The Holiday
The story is about two women who trade homes ”only to find that a change of address can change their lives.” Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) is a workaholic who owns a company that produces movie trailers in Los Angeles. Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) is a society column editor for The Daily Telegraph in London.
Iris has been in love with Jasper Bloom (Rufus Sewell) for over three years, despite his unfaithful tendencies. When she finds out that he is engaged to the ”other woman,” Iris begins despairing over the state of affairs in her life. Meanwhile, Amanda discovers that her live-in boyfriend Ethan Ebbers (Edward Burns) has cheated on her with his 24-year-old secretary. She decides she wants to get away for the holidays. She visits a home swap website on which Iris had previously listed her ”quaint cottage in Surrey.” Amanda messages Iris about her interest. Iris quickly agrees and the two agree to swap homes for two weeks.
2. Love actually
The film begins with a voiceover from David (Hugh Grant) commenting that whenever he gets gloomy with the state of the world he thinks about the arrivals terminal at Heathrow Airport, and the pure uncomplicated love felt as friends and families welcome their arriving loved ones. David’s voiceover also relates that all the messages left by the people who died on the 9/11 planes were messages of love and not hate. The film then tells the ’love stories’ of many people:
3. Life of Brian
Brian Cohen is born in a stable a few doors from the one in which Jesus is born, which initially confuses the three wise men who come to praise the future King of the Jews. Brian grows up an idealistic young man who resents the continuing Roman occupation of Judea. While attending Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Brian becomes infatuated with an attractive young rebel, Judith. His desire for her and hatred for the Romans lead him to join the People’s Front of Judea (PFJ), one of many fractious and bickering independence movements, who spend more time fighting each other than the Romans.
4. Fanny and Alexander
The story is set during 1907–09 (with an epilogue in 1910), in the Swedish town of Uppsala. It deals with a young boy, Alexander (Bertil Guve), his sister Fanny (Pernilla Allwin), and their well-to-do family, the Ekdahls. The siblings’ parents are both involved in theater and are happily married until their father Oscar Allan Edwall suddenly dies from a stroke. Shortly thereafter, their mother, Emilie (Ewa Fröling), finds a new suitor in Edvard Vergérus (Jan Malmsjö), the local bishop, a handsome widower, and accepts his proposal of marriage, moving into his ascetic home and putting the children under his stern and unforgiving rule. He is particularly hard on Alexander, trying to break his will by every means, something Emilie had not expected. The children and their mother soon live as virtual prisoners in the bishop’s house until finally the Ekdahl family intervenes, urged by Emilie who has secretly been in touch with her former mother-in-law Helena (Gunn Wållgren) and told her of their dire situation.
(Fanny och Alexander) is a 1982 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. The film won four Academy awards in 1984 and was nominated in six categories including Best Director (Ingmar Bergman) and Best foreign language film (won). It was originally conceived as a four-part TV movie and cut in that version, spanning 312 minutes. A 188-minute version was created later for cinematic release, although this version was in fact the one to be released first. The TV version has since been released as a one-part film; both versions have been shown in theaters throughout the world.
5. The polar express
On Christmas Eve, in the 1950s, a young boy who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is hoping for belief in the true spirit of Christmas. He looks through magazines and encyclopedias for confirmation of Santa Claus and the North Pole, but to no avail. About an hour later, the boy goes outside to find a magical train called the ”Polar Express.” The conductor tells him that the train is headed to the North Pole to go to Santa, and that this is the year that he should board the train. The train route goes north, first through boreal pine forest, then across tundra, then across the frozen Arctic Ocean, to Polar City on an island, everywhere snowbound. In the tundra, the train had a difficult crossing of an area where flood submerged the track and then froze.
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