Released just this past September, All Is Bright stars two of my favourite actors, Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd, as two Canadian ex-friends trying to sell Christmas trees in New York. The characters are a little more complicated than that, but the story is pleasantly simple and there's a dark humour that I found refreshing in a holiday film.
People like to hate on Ed Burns sometimes, but I've always liked him and his movies, and The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is no exception. It's a touching story of the dynamics between seven siblings struggling to come to terms with the return of their estranged father on Christmas. Similar to All is Bright, it is somehow both melancholic and uplifting at the same time and thankfully doesn't stoop to sappiness like a lot of family dramas do.
Arthur Christmas: this title is unfortunate — we had always dismissed it, thinking it was about Arthur, that educational TV series about an Aardvark. I'm so happy it's not. (Sorry, Arthur). It's a truly fantastic animated film that had these two adults giggling like little elves. I thought it was beautifully animated, smart, funny and touching (I'll admit I shed a tear at the end). I can only imagine its effect on kids!