Arthur Christmas Plush Talking Santa (Toy Review)

I just posted another brief toy review (and I use that word in the loosest sense possible), this time for a plush Santa from the underrated holiday masterpiece, Arthur Christmas . Here it is, in case you're interested:

Stalag 17 (1953)

Stalag 17 is considered a classic. Along with It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story , it's on the IMDB's top 250 movies of all time (as a society, we really need to get A Christmas Story off that list). Between the IMDB and its 97% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it was pretty much a given this was going to be good. Well, this late in the season, we're ready for some good movies. This is, indeed, worth seeing, providing you're a fan of the era. The movie is well written and directed with a genuine sense of mystery and suspense broken up by occasional comic relief. The entire movie takes place inside a German POW camp during World War II. It's a few weeks before Christmas, and the Americans held there are continuously undermined in their attempts to escape or conceal information from their captors. The consequences aren't sugar coated, either: the movie opens with two of their number being gunned down in an escape attempt. It becomes apparent

Book Review: A Yuletide Universe: Sixteen Fantastical Tales

A Yuletide Universe: Sixteen Fantastical Tales Editor: Brian M. Thomsen, 2003 Crossposted from The Blue Fairy's Bookshelf Hooray! Despite opening with an epigraph/poem that made me cringe (it started out rhyming, and then… stopped?) this was a much better collection of holiday cheer than the others I've read this year. My favorite stories are starred( * ). The collection opens with three super-short pieces: “Nicholas Was . . .” by Neil Gaiman, 1989 “Cyber-Claus” by William Gibson, 1991 * “Holiday” by Richard Christian Matheson, 1982 The Gaiman and Gibson are brief and forgettable, but the Matheson (this Matheson is the son of the more famous author) is a nice, subtle piece about a guy who runs into Santa on holiday in the tropics. “Nackles” by Donald E. Westlake, 1964 Westlake is mostly a crime fiction author, and this little spooky story about the creative power of belief is well done, if not (in 2013) particularly original. “Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R.” b

Bluetoes the Christmas Elf (1988)

Gather round children, while I tell you the tale of Bluetoes, the Christmas Elf. Bluetoes was born different than all the other elves, who mocked him for his short stature and wouldn't let poor Bluetoes join in their elf work. Then one Christmas eve, Santa came say, Bluetoes, with your toes so blue, won't you become chief operator in charge of stocking preparation and distribution? Then how the elves all loved him, as the special ended mercifully, and Bluetoes the crappy elf, was forgotten by damn near everyone. Let me back up: I feel like I may have omitted some significant details. Bluetoes the Christmas Elf was created by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, who you've probably never heard of because they probably don't matter. Presumably, they wanted to produce the next Rudolph. They wound up with something that doesn't even have its own Wikipedia page. Information about Bluetoes' origins is difficult to uncover, due to two factors: first, as I m

Earthworm Jim: For Whom the Jingle Bell Tolls (1996)

Earthworm Jim was both a series of absurdist video games and a short-lived animated show. This was actually the last episode. The humor and style owes a lot to The Tick , although Earthworm Jim is more random, I think. In this episode, the cold opening shows us what happens if you write secret hideout on your roof with Christmas lights. The main plot follows The Evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed Slug-for-a-Butt, as she learns about Santa (from Earth TV) and decides to kidnap and brainwash him, so that he will help brainwash all the children of the world into doing her bidding. Jim, Peter Puppy and Princess What’s-Her-Name set out to save Santa This was hilarious. Highlights include the dark side of working for Santa (including a drunken rant from Rudolph in a bar for anthropomorphised concepts), and how Jim et. al. find out about the Queen’s plan (via the psychic beard link between Santa and all mall Santas) Sure, there was a joke here an

Fred Claus (2007)

Let me start by saying that we went into this not expecting much. We knew it was a Vince Vaughn vehicle about Santa’s brother, and that much made us wince. But it was time, so we put in the DVD, and were amazed at what we found. This movie is actually good. Not just good: in the scale of Christmas comedies it’s kinda…. great. But let me give you a few more caveats: There are bad, distracting, “zany” sound effects. They are a terrible choice. But except for a few scenes, they’re easy to ignore. Similarly: slapstick. The movie could have done with about 50% less slapstick. There are a few aspects that would be annoying if we had certain meta-knowledge. Who is playing this or that small role, for example. But we didn’t know, so it was just a small, somewhat amusing role. This movie is not exactly kind to its women. The female characters are almost entirely eye candy or shrewish or both. It could have been much worse, and it is possible to look past the jokes to see that there

Forever Fun Peanuts and Frosty Figures (Video Toy Review)

There's a new video review of three miniature toys I picked up at Toys 'R Us: