Based on the novel by best-selling author Richard Paul Evans, the master of Christmas carols known for The Christmas Box, The Noel Diaries is a romantic melodrama that stands out from other December 2017 movies with its depth of detail. Justin Hartley doesn’t just play a “writer.” He is Jake Turner, the best-selling spy author who is handsome, funny and stubborn. And Barrett Doss is not a simple positive shock sent to shake up the leading man. She is Rachel, a woman looking for her mother, Noelle, who was Jake’s nanny when he was young.
More complicated sacrifices emerge when Jack and Rachel take a Christmas road trip to settle an old deal while reading a journal Noel left at the Turner home decades before tragedy destroyed the family. Master director Charles Shearer (he also wrote the screenplay with Rebecca Connor and David Golden) allows this story and its people to unfold naturally without forcing their conflicts or overdoing their everyday tactics. For the most part, it’s a kind of holiday romance about good people who are a little broken inside.
Noel’s diary finally bends to convention when Jake belatedly meets his estranged father and Rachel learns how her awkward fiancé has complicated her love for Jake. But overall, this film is a refreshing alternative to the typical, synthetic Christmas movies this time of year. Take away the mistletoe and the tower and this is still a well-crafted and balanced character sketch that follows two lost souls as they discover what they’ve been missing.
“Noel’s Diary”. TV PG for light subjects. 1 hour 40 minutes. Available on Netflix
“Reading for Christmas”
There’s only one real reason to watch the Christmas rom-com Falling for Christmas, and it’s not an unimaginative rehash of the “selfish elite” premise that follows a vain influencer who develops dementia and returns to learn how to be. Like a real person while recovering his memories. Given that it’s set in the same winter, a ski town that’s the setting for most films in the genre, there’s no reason to ignore the holidays either.
No, it’s about the star of Falling for Christmas, Lindsay Lohan, who brings all her extraordinary charisma to her rare lead role. She plays Sierra, an heiress with a low-key boyfriend/manager Tad (George Young). When they both fall off a cliff during a cute engagement announcement for Instagram, Jake (Accord Overstreet), a widower who runs a quaint little farmhouse and fights in the shadows, finds her lost in the woods. Find out. From Sierra’s father’s nearby luxury hotel. Unable to remember who she is, she becomes Jake’s employee and mother to his young daughter.
The film is also predictable by Christmas movie formulaic standards, with characters racing along 34th Street with plot points borrowed liberally from It’s a Wonderful Life and Marvel. But the overall vibe is warm and upbeat, and Lohan brings spontaneous sincerity to even the funniest scenes. The foil case is shiny and plastic, but the star quality is real.
“Reading for Christmas.” TV PG is scary. 1 hour 35 minutes. Available on Netflix
‘Christmas with you’
Like most Christmas-themed TV movies, Christmas With You is carefully crafted with various plot twists that take the protagonist out of his everyday life and into a place where he can regain the Christmas spirit. But once the story gets real, it’s a simple charm, aided by Angelina’s performance as Miguel, the small-town music teacher who helps you channel your creativity, and Aimee Garcia as Freddie Prinze Jr., the mentally ill middle-aged pop star. Block and write a Christmas carol.
Angelina finds Miguel when her 15-year-old daughter, Cristina (Deja Monique Cruz), covers one of his songs on a fan site. In need of an ego boost, Angelina meets Christina, who has fled New York without telling her panicked record label or needy ex-boyfriend. He is ultimately spiritually refreshed by spending time with a happy family and reconnecting with his Latin roots.
Christmas with you works hard to create complex and intimidating one-dimensional villains that none of them can make sense of. From the moment Angelina meets Miguel and Cristina, it’s clear that all their problems (romantic, creative, professional, whatever) have just been solved. Still, Garcia and Prinze are so likable that it’s a joy to watch them spend an hour or so in front of the screen and learn what the audience already knows.
“Christmas With You”. TV-PG for pieces. 1 hour 30 minutes. Available on Netflix
“A Christmas Carol”
The 1983 Christmas classic “A Christmas Story” is a hearty but hard-to-repeat collection of warm nostalgia, restrained social satire and visionary farce drawn from the memories of radio humorist Gene Shepherd. The sequel, A Christmas Story Christmas, doesn’t quite reach the heights of the original, sometimes trying too hard to replicate what worked the first time, but it tries the unexpected by following Ralphie Parker more than 30 years later. A family man from the start. . Since the 1970s.
Peter Billingsley (who produced the film and wrote the story) returns as Ralphie, an unpublished, unpublished sci-fi writer living in Chicago, when he receives a phone call that his father has died and he must return to Hohman. . , Indiana, working to help his mother (Julie Haggerty) lack of money and a series of accidents lead Ralphie and his wife Sandy (Erin Hayes) to give their children the perfect Christmas as planned, but with the help of their old friend Hohman, who Played by the same actor who appeared in the film. Everywhere 1983 Movie: He manages to control his father’s emotions and takes advantage of what they have.
This sequel may be more rooted in 1973, as it draws heavily from 1940s pop culture, but like its predecessor, it’s episodic fun and jumps from one comedy sketch to another. Some of them fused, and others fell to the ground in the explosion. But it’s Christmas. Not all awards are won.
PG ‘A Christmas Story Christmas’ for language and some coarse material/behaviors. 1 hour, 41 minutes. Available on HBO Max
“Camp Santa Claus”
When it comes to ancient fantasy characters, especially those beloved by children, fans can stubbornly resist attempts to modernize, reinvent, or represent these icons to the general public. The documentary “Santa’s Camp” is about a dispute at a mall or social event when a Santa who does not have the “traditional” appearance: white, chubby, bearded, old and male is wanted. But director Nick Sweeney really covers little of the story, focusing more on Santa’s training agent’s efforts to diversify his senior year. Sometimes outrageous and often disturbing, the film explores the deeper reasons why Santa Claus has inspired people historically and today, reminding viewers that a tradition is only a tradition because someone else repeats it over and over again. We can always create new ones.
‘Santa’s Camp.’ TV-MA, for language. 1 hour 32 minutes. Available on HBO Max
Also on VOD
“One Delicious Christmas” is part of the Discovery+ series of Christmas movies featuring guest appearances by respected personalities from HGTV and the Food Network. In this film, the cable staple stars food critic Bobby Flay, whose strict opinions about Vermont tavern food cause trouble for its new owner, Abby (Vanessa Marano), who inherits the business and gets the old menu after the passing of her beloved father. and friends Available on Discovery+
Now available on DVD and Blu-ray
“Planes, Trains and Automobiles” is one of the funniest, sweetest films ever made about an oft-forgotten holiday in pop culture: Thanksgiving, a land trip of people across the United States (John Candy plays a shameless ad and Steve Martin plays a heist salesman) lives with nightmares. The new Blu-ray edition includes deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes documentary and a tribute to the late writer-director John Hughes. most important
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.