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Christmas Time: Review The Christmas Chronicles (2018) and Review Trapped in Paradise (1994)

Originally we had planned to watch at least three Christmas films. Because of circumstances we only got to watch two. One that was completely new to me and an older one I have seen from time to time. I am talking about The Christmas Chronicles and Trapped in Paradise.

The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

To be honest I was a little hesitant to watch The Christmas Chronicles. I simply did not know what to expect. It being distributed by Netflix and all. However I had faith in Kurt Russel. He very rarely makes bad films. And turns out that The Christmas Chronicles could very well become a classic. It has all the ingredients that make a good Christmas film. From start to finish it's a blast. Sure it's filled with clich├ęs. It's predictable to a tee and super sweet. But in these kinds of movies that is what you expect. There is just enough doom and darkness to make it seem things go bad to then turn it around. The film has a message. One that most people could learn from especially these days where most are too pessimistic and cynical for their own good. 

Visually The Christmas Chronicles does look like a high budget blockbuster film. Most of the CGI is done well. For example the reindeers look like the real deal. Except they are magical of course. The elves are a little more cartoony but it makes sense since they are obviously intended to appeal to the kids or adults like me who still are very much in touch with their inner child. They are fun, wacky and very dangerous. They reminded me of the minions with their attitude and demeanour. Like them they were also very much in tune with pop culture and current memes. 

So did I buy Kurt Russel as santa? Oh yes. He managed to tap into the traditional representations of Santa Clause and add his own unique style to it at the same time. A man on a mission who cares about all, young and old. The kids were great too. They had good chemistry with each other and Russel and that is always a big plus. 

Overall The Christmas Chronicles is one I can wholeheartedly recommend. 

Trapped in Paradise (1994)

Trapped in Paradise might be an oldie and perhaps not have enough to be classified as a classic. It is one that is genuinely funny in places. The town Paradise is like a play on Bedford Falls from It's a Wonderful Life. Almost unreal and fantastical. Do people from that town really exist? More than ever that will be the question you are asking yourself. Main character Bill Firpo played by Nicolas Cage and his brother also are heavily confused about the people in this town. Although Bill is the one who suffers the most. He has to deal with his criminal brothers who keep dragging him into old nasty habits. He is trying to do good. But then gets discouraged by his own mother. His brothers played by Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz have no intention whatsoever to better their life. Even while just having been released from prison they waste no time to engage into criminal activities. The three brothers are successful in robbing a bank but then find themselves in real trouble. Because no matter what they do, they can't seem to escape this town. 

For some reason Trapped in Paradise is underrated. Even Roger Ebert disliked the film heavily. Seems to me just like many he failed to see that the whole film was a parody on It's a Wonderful Life. Granted they could have made it a little more obvious. Then again even the people in Bedford Falls weren't as trusting and good as the people in Paradise were. That is the whole joke. This doesn't mean the film is perfect. Far from it. It easily could have been improved on many plot points and characterization. There is a whole background we are missing about the main characters. Why is Bill Firpo so adamant on turning his life around? I mean it's easy to blame others for all your problems. His brothers are a handful for sure. But enough for him not to change his fate? I missed some of those details that could make me understand him a little better. Although Nicolas Cage managed to do that with his expressions of desperation and hopelessness. You do root for him and his crazy brothers. Except Jon Lovitz. He is downright evil. 

Above all there is a certain charm to the film that is felt throughout. How can you not identify with the crooks when temptation is coming at them hard? Would you remain good or would you cave and commit sin? Trapped in Paradise also doesn't really have a moral or message. Other than that you should be a little more caring and social. That message if you ask me is quite logical and reasonable.  But like I said in the beginning the film is actually quite funny in certain scenes. And that is because of how the characters are portrayed. The events themselves aren't really that remarkable. Combined with the portrayal though it's comedy gold.

So watch it when you get the chance. It's a good Christmas film.

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