JUMPCUT ALL THE WAY: Netflix and Chill-mas

Written by Sarah Buddery

Christmas movies are just a click or a tap away and in a year where the Netflix original films have really kicked up a notch, the streaming service is bringing us four fresh festive offerings this year.

JumpCut All The Way is celebrating some of the best and most beloved Christmas movies and the big question is, can any of the Netflix offerings join this pantheon? Here’s how I have them stacked up, from worst to best, to help you make the best choices this Christmas…

 

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6. Christmas Inheritance (2017)

Full disclosure on this one, I was not able to get through this film. I was invested in its trashy and predictable vibes initially and just when I thought it would start wrapping up, I made the mistake of pausing it and seeing that there was, unfortunately, another 75 minutes left. I persevered for a little while, but honestly, this film is unwatchable. It struggles in particular with having a central character who is so inconceivably stupid and borderline detestable, that it is impossible to feel anything for its attempts at schmaltz. A character going on some kind of magical transformation is what we would expect from a film such as this, but this character is so unlikeable, you can’t help but think that she really doesn’t deserve to inherit anything. The pace is so slow it feels like it is moving backwards, and it lacks the charm and warmth of many of the other Netflix offerings. Avoid.

 

 

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5. The Holiday Calendar (2018)

In a film about an enchanted advent calendar, you know the schmaltz is going to be ladled on thick, but whilst there is still an odd charm to The Holiday Calendar the contrivances outweigh this. There is absolutely no doubt, from the moment the film starts, how it is going to end, which makes much of the film feel like a wasted exercise. The performances are okay, and if you know exactly what type of film you are going to see going into it, then there are still things to enjoy.

 

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4.  A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018)

Just like the first film, this sequel is cosy nonsense, as indulgent as a giant mug of hot chocolate with mountains of whip cream and all the marshmallow trimmings. Its faux attempts at drama and plot are all inconsequential in the grand scheme of things as we’re really just here to see the magical Christmas nuptials, and they do not disappoint. The original was bafflingly brilliant and fans who have been eagerly anticipating this sequel will not be disappointed.

 

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3. The Princess Switch (2018)

Anyone who thought A Christmas Prince had the most confusing location logic, you’re in for a treat with The Princess Switch. Continuing the trend of adding “via” onto the end of a random word to make a European sounding country, The Princess Switch takes place in the fictional country of Belgravia (actually an affluent district in London, but definitely not a country) centred around a baking competition that takes place at Wembley. No, not that Wembley, just a large building called Wembley, because of course any of the naming conventions of these films are decided by throwing a dart at a map of London. Aside from the fact it makes absolutely no sense, The Princess Switch is a rehash of The Parent Trap and as long as you can switch your brain off, this film is kind of fun. It’s ludicrous of course, but the dual performance from Vanessa Hudgens is charming, and the picturesque scenery will certainly make you feel warm and festive.

 

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2. A Christmas Prince (2017)

Its placing at second on this list should not fool you, A Christmas Prince is still absolute trash, but boy is it wonderful trash! Again, the logic is absolutely baffling, and you’ll know how it ends from the moment it starts. It’s a slightly more modern take on Cinderella but it has a lot of the same story beats and is the closest a film has come to recreating the magic of Disney with a live-action offering. The locations are again beautiful and as a film, it could, of course, exist without the Christmas element at all, but it’s all part of the odd charm. Like mince pies and Christmas cake, A Christmas Prince is the indulgent treat that you should only have to endure once a year.

 

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1. The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

Home Alone, Die Hard, Elf…everyone has their go-to Christmas movie, whether it is one of those mentioned here or one of the countless other classics. Hopefully, this is not overstating the mark, but The Christmas Chronicles genuinely feels like it could be one of those ones. It’s endearing and sweet enough to give you all the warm festive fuzzies that you need, but it also has plenty for the adults with the legendary Kurt Russell playing a (rather dashing!) Santa Claus. There’s a couple of jokes in it which are not going to age particularly well but it still has all the ingredients of a Christmas classic. It’s funny, heart-warming and has all the magic to make you laugh and cry. This is far and away Netflix’s best original Christmas film and one which will hopefully endure for many years to come.

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Reel Women: November UK Releases

Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights the films being released in the UK that are written and/or directed by women. The clocks have gone back, it’s dark and cold outside, so what better way to spend the dark evenings than in the cinema?! This month there’s dramas, rom-coms and the start of the Christmas-themed releases. Oh, and there’s a little film about wizards and another small animated film featuring well-known Disney characters.

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2 November

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston
Written by Ashleigh Powell and Tom McCarthy

When Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is transported to a magical world of her mother’s making, she’ll do anything to protect it.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is Ashleigh Powell’s first produced screenplay. She’s attached to adapt the books The Paper Magician and The Hazel Wood into screenplays.

 

Juliet, Naked

Directed by Jesse Peretz
Written by Evgenia Peretz, Jim Taylor and Tamara Jenkins

After Annie (Rose Byne) breaks up with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd), she embarks on an unlikely romance with a famous singer-songwriter who happened to be Duncan’s favourite musician.

Tamara Jenkins is a writer-director who was Oscar nominated for her original screenplay The Savages (2007). Her latest film, Private Life, is a new Netflix Original. Evgenia Peretz is a writer and producer, Juliet, Naked is her second produced screenplay.

 

King of Crime

Directed by Matt Gambell
Written by Linda Dunscombe

The biggest player in British cyber-crime goes head to head against some Islamic extremists by playing the biggest scam of his life.

As well as writing King of Crime, Linda Dunscombe was also a producer on the film, and the films casting director.

 

 

6 November

Widows

Directed by Steve McQueen
Written by Gillian Flynn and Steve McQueen

Four women whose dead husbands’ criminal actives leave them in trouble, conspire to come together to survive the forces that are out to get them.

Gillian Flynn is an author and screenwriter who adapted her own novel, Gone Girl (2014) to critical acclaim earning her a Golden Globe nomination.

 

 

9 November

Wildlife

Directed by Paul Dano
Written by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan

A boy witnesses his parents’ (Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal) marriage fall apart.

Zoe Kazan is an actress and screenwriter whose acting credits include What If (2013), Meek’s Cutoff (2010) and The Big Sick (2017). Her previous screenplay was Ruby Sparks (2012) in which she played the titular role.

Our review

 

Outlaw King

Directed by David Mackenzie
Written by Mark Bomback, Bathsheba Doran, David Harrower, James MacInnes and David Mackenzie

The story of how Scottish Robert The Bruce (Chris Pine) fought to defeat and repel the much larger occupying English army.

Outlaw King is Bathsheba Doran’s first feature film, but she’s written episodes of multiple TV shows including Broadwalk Empire and Masters of Sex.

Our review

 

The Other Side of Everything

Directed by Mila Turajlic

A documentary about Serbian filmmaker Mila Turajlic, who learns more about her family history and her country’s tumultuous political inheritance after opening a locked door in her mother’s apartment in Belgrade.

Mila Turajlic is a producer and director who was also the cinematographer for The Other Side of Everything.

 

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16 November

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Directed by David Yates
Written by J.K. Rowling

Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) tasks Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to take down Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) who believes wizards are better than muggles.

J.K. Rowling needs no introduction. After writing the Harry Potter book series that turned into a global phenomenon, Rowling is now the writing the screenplays for the Fantastic Beasts series.

 

The Princess Switch

Directed by Mike Rohl
Written by Robin Bernheim and Megan Metzger

Netflix’s first Christmas themed film of the year, The Princess Switch is about how one week before Christmas, Margaret, the gorgeous Duchess of Montenaro, switches places with Stacy, a “commoner” from Chicago, who looks exactly like her.

Robin Bernheim is a writer and producer of films and TV shows including Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Voyager. The Princess Switch is Megan Mertzger is first produced screenplay.

 

Hell Fest

Directed by Gregory Plotkin
Written by Seth M. Sherwood, Blair Butler and Akela Cooper

A masked serial killer turns a horror-themed amusement park into his own personal hunting ground.

Blair Butler is a writer, director and producer. Hell Fest is her first feature film. Hell Fest is Akela Cooper’s first feature film screenplay as well but she has written multiple episodes of the TV shows Grimm, Luke Cage and The 100.

 

 

23 November

Back to Berlin

Directed by Catherine Lurie-Alt

Documentary about eleven motor bikers have a mission to take the Maccabiah torch from Israel to the site of the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics, for the first Jewish Olympic Games on German soil.

This is Catherine Lurie-Alt’s first film.

Nativity Rocks!

Written & Directed by Debbie Isitt

The fourth film about St Bernadette’s Primary School in Coventry and the staff and students there who audition for a coveted place in a spectacular Christmas rock musical competition.

Debbie Isitt has written and directed all four Nativity films – the first two films, starring Martin Freeman and David Tennant, are on Netflix if you fancy getting into the Christmas spirit early.

The Judge

Directed by Erika Cohn

Documentary about Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih, the first woman appointed to a Shari’a court in the Middle East.

Erika Cohn is a producer and writer and The Judge is her second feature-length documentary.

 

 

30 November

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Directed by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore
Written by Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon

Ralph and Penelope discover the internet and go on a whole new adventure.

Pamela Ribon is an actress, producer and writer whose previous screenwriting credits include Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017).

 

Disobedience

Directed by Sebastián Lelio
Written by Sebastián Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz

Ronit (Rachel Weisz) returns home to her Jewish community after being shunned by them years before for her attraction to a female friend. When Ronit and Esti (Rachel McAdams) meet again their passions reignite.

Disobedience is Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s second feature film. Her previous film was Oscar winner Ida (2013) and her next film is Colette starring Keira Knightley which is released in the UK early next year.

 

The Wild Pear Tree

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Written by Akin Aksu, Ebru Ceylan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan

An aspiring writer returns to his native village, where his father’s debts catch up to him.

Ebru Ceylan is a writer and director whose debut short film Kiyida (1998) was nominated for the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at Cannes Film Festival. The Wild Pear Tree is her third feature-length screenplay.


And that’s it for this month’s Reel Women. That’s 16 films from a wide range of genres that are released in the UK that are made by women in November. Do let us know what you think of any of these films if you get a chance to see them – some might be easier to find than others!