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  • The Santa Clause

    The Santa Clause

    ★★★★½

    Terrific Christmas classic with Tim Allen taking the lead role as a cynical advertising executive divorced father who finds himself in a precarious position as Santa Clause himself falls off the roof. Yes, it’s tacky and some of the special effects are laughably bad, but there’s a warmth and charm to it that’s irreplaceable. Allen’s performance as it evolves shows the dynamic range that he has an actor, and the chemistry with his son, played by Eric Lloyd (who seems to be overreacting a bit) is strong and noticeable throughout the film. Given it’s age, it can be easily added to the Christmas classic canon.

  • Elf

    Elf

    ★★★★

    Fun, congenial Christmas classic featuring Will Ferrell as the titular character who was an orphan, raised as an elf on the North Pole, and eventually lands in New York City to find his stodgy birth father (played wonderfully by James Caan). Ferrell does an excellent job conveying the childlike innocence of the character, and his positive character opens up the icy souls around him, including a lovely Zooey Deschenal. The film works beautifully as a fish out of water story and there’s no doubt as to why it has become a modern Christmas classic.

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  • The Founder

    The Founder

    ★★★★½

    Terrific “based on a true story” drama centered on milkshake maker salesman-turned-McDonalds “founder” Ray Kroc (played wonderfully by Michael Keaton), and his battles with the McDonalds brothers who created the first restaurant in San Bernardino, CA. The film evokes a good comparison to The Social Network in its overall structure, and its fast cuts work with the amount of material on Kroc’s life and the method to his madness. Kroc is portrayed as a salesman who is constantly looking for…

  • Beetlejuice

    Beetlejuice

    ★★★★½

    Fun, dark horror comedy oriented around a dead couple who are stuck in the attic of their own home after passing away in a tragic accident. They summon the help of the crude and rude antangonist titular character who has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. Don’t let the PG rating fool you, it’s not for kids but it’s not exactly “Saw” either. Michael Keaton does an excellent job of leading the all star cast with this terrifically cheesy, cartoonish horror comedy.