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2004 Holiday Movie Reviews
Rental Recommendations

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A Miracle on 34th Street Colorized

A Miracle on 34th Street is a fantastic film, and the colorized version brings out the brilliance and life of the story better than the black and white ever could. Of course, the black and white is a wonderful classic, but I prefer the colorized version during this colorful holiday season. The same goes for the colorized version of It's A Wonderful Life.

Reviewer: Molly B of Saint Paul, MN (January 2, 2005)
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Hidalgo

First, it's based on the true story of Frank T. Hopkins, a man lost between two Races of people, the Whites and Indian Americans.

Second it begins, like all great stories do, with a lost boy (in this case a man) a companion (a Horse) and a journey, through the treacherous Arabian Dessert where only 5 out of a hundred men return from the compition alive.

Now that's a great story. Not only does it denotes the strength of the Human spirit, but the power of unsean forces.

I'm not only recomending it as a rental, but as a BUY!

Reviewer: Uzziah Rahman of Ocala, FL (January 2, 2005)
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Evelyn

This heart-warming story of a father's struggle to get custody of his children and in the process change an 'unsympathetic to fathers' law in Catholic Ireland ends at Christmas time. Pierce Brosnan and Aidan Quinn are in it, sort of an unlikely role for the former. Five stars.

Reviewer: Kay Emel-Powell of Edina, MN (December 29, 2004)
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A Christmas Story

The true Christmas classic. It makes me wish I had cable, just to be able to catch part of the marathon on whichever cable channel runs it over and again.

The father gets credit as probably the best Christmas-movie parent ever.

Reviewer: Mike Menner of Minneapolis, MN (December 27, 2004)
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Christmas in Connecticut

This is a great movie from the 1940s with Barbara Stanwyck and a wonderful supporting cast. She hosts her boss for a Christmas in the country, the whole time putting on an elaborate farce to save her job, while falling in love with a handsome soldier. Its a family tradition to watch while staying "Up North".

Reviewer: kate scheffler of cannon falls, MN (December 26, 2004)
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Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas

The brilliance of Jim Henson is best-captured in this warm holiday masterpiece. I never knew puppet animals could bring forth so much genuine emotion without sentiment. The Otter family is a poor family, struggling to get by after the death of the patriarch. The warmth shared between Emmet and his mother, along with some great songs makes for a true holiday classic.

Reviewer: Scott Storbakken of Waseca, MN (December 26, 2004)
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Faster

Hands down, the best documentary I've ever seen (regardless of subject) is Mark Neale's "Faster." The subtitle is "Two wheels. 200MPH. Every man for himself." That pretty much tells the story of what this movie's subject matter might be. However, the real story is the people who ride, maintain, and write about these machines and riders.

Neale incorporates the current war on wheels between kid-phenom Valentino Rossi and his near enemy, rival, Max Biaggi, as a vehicle for examining how vicious and unreal the battle at 200mph can be when it's done at a world class level. As a side show, riders like Gary McCoy and John Hopkins demonstrate the character traits/flaws that create super riders in the world's most dangerous sport.

The incredible insight offered by past-greats, Mick Doohan, Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts and Barry Sheene, provides something between sports commentary, personal insight, and some of the funniest dry humor ever put on screen.

I've watched "Faster" a half-dozen times and I still get something new from on each viewing. I own very few videos, but this one is an absolue necessity for anyone who drives ANYTHING and can imagine motorsports as "sport."

Reviewer: Thomas Day of St. Paul, MN (December 24, 2004)
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Bad Santa

Hey, my son is with his dad in another state every year at Christmas & I tend to get depressed. So last night I rented Bad Santa, had never seen it before... it will definitely be a holiday tradition in future. How can you go wrong with those crazy Coen brothers!? This is definitely not a family movie, tho, lots of foul language & politically incorrect humor. Billy Bob Thornton plays such a great bad boy! What could be funnier than a drunken, horny, child-hating department store Santa!? The great thing about this movie is even with all the dysfunctional interpersonal dynamics, Thornton's Santa actually makes some human connections that transform him (well, a little bit anyway!) Bad Santa is a great antidote to Christmas time depression - I highly recommend it!

Reviewer: Julie Hartmans of South St. Paul, MN (December 24, 2004)
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Japanese Story

The movie is about love between two people from very diverse cultures. It brings out the differences and the responses that the main characters have towards each other based on the differences.

When the people are able to accept the cultural differences and respect each other a powerful love developes. The end scene really brings home the dire consequence of the inflexibility of cultural ways.

Reviewer: Lisa Hayes--Burt of St. Paul, MN (December 24, 2004)
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Christmas Vacation

We watch this movie every year because it reminds us of relatives who shall go unnamed. Hilarious.

Reviewer: Naomi Schlecht of Fargo, ND (December 23, 2004)
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