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Spirited streaming on AppleTV+ (starring Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds)

SPIRITED

  • By RICH ANDREW
  • Photo Courtesy of APPLETV+

This holiday season, writer and director Sean Anders (Instant Family) has gifted audiences with a modern musical retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol. And this version is chock full of charm because the story is now told from the ghosts’ perspective. Donning the titular trait of yuletide spirit is the ultimate jokester Will Ferrell (Barbie), who plays the ghost of Christmas Present. Every Christmas eve, the ghosts of Past, Present, and Yet to Come choose one unfortunate soul to undergo a positive transformation, and this year they’ve picked Clint Briggs, a high powered businessman and insufferable jerk, played by the always lovable Ryan Reynolds (The Adam Project). As Clint makes these ghosts’ jobs a living hell by refusing to be haunted or reevaluate his life choices, the ghost of Christmas Present embarks on his own journey of redemption, proving there’s still some good left in humanity. The extravagant musical numbers boost the film’s festive cheer to infectious levels with Ferrell and Reynolds front and center as the legendary showmen they have always been. With a star-studded cast that also features Octavia Spencer (Truth Be Told), Patrick Page (Schmigadoon!), Sunita Mani (Servant), Tracy Morgan (The Last O.G.), Joe Tippett (Alaska Daily), Rose Byrne (Physical), Jimmy Fallon (Marry Me), and Dame Judi Dench (Allelujah), Spirited does Charles Dickens proud.

For more, click here.

Disenchanted streaming now on Disney+ (starring Amy Adams and Maya Rudolph)

Disenchanted

  • By Kenne Hoffman
  • Photo Courtesy of Disney+

Will it be a fairytale ending or a happily never after for Giselle in Disenchanted, the Disney+ sequel to Walt Disney Pictures’ Enchanted of 2007? Enchanted is the tale of Giselle (Amy Adams) and her handsome Prince Edward (James Marsden). Exiled by Edward’s evil stepmother from her animated world to modern day, live-action New York City, a place with no happy endings, Giselle tries to make the best of her circumstances. She meets and falls in love with cynical divorce lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey). In the end, Giselle remains with Robert in New York and Edward returns to Andalasia with a new Princess-to-be (Idina Menzel).

Disenchanted director Adam Shankman embraces its fairy tale core with song lyrics referencing various versions of other Disney fairytales. Fifteen years later, the fairy tale ending isn’t quite so. Giselle and Robert move their family from New York to Monroeville. Giselle’s (again played by Amy Adams) hopes for her fairy tale castle home and idealistic small-town life are not the fantasyland she had hoped for. Nothing good ever comes from the clock striking midnight and Giselle taps into her dark side (reference to another Disney franchise), becoming the evil stepmother to Robert’s daughter (Gabriella Baldocchino). But there is only room for one villain and Giselle battles with the town’s baddie-in-residence, Malvina (Maya Rudolph) for the title of Queen of Mean before the evil spell is broken.

“Disenchanted” dropped on Disney+ on November 16. Click here.

Violent Night hits theaters December 2 (starring David Harbour)

VIOLENT NIGHT

  • By KENNE HOFFMAN

He sees you when you’re sleeping! Just in time for the holidays, Violent Night premieres in movie theatres this month. The Christmas fantasy-dark-comedy (directed by Tommy Wirkola (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Dead Snow) looks like a refreshing take on classic holiday movies. But this Nick is no saint!

David Harbour (Stranger Things) as Santa Claus encounters a naughty robber. All the Jolly Old Santa wants to do is drop off gifts for those on his nice list, but the robber (clearly on the other list) provokes him. Santa delivers a season’s beating before returning to the rooftop only to realize his reindeer and sleigh have vanished. If you like your Christmas movies with plenty of explosions and blood, (like, say, Die Hard), Violent Night may just be for you. The movie is based on an original idea by Pat Casey and Josh Miller (Sonic the Hedgehog). Rounding out the cast is John Leguizamo (John Wick, Moulin Rouge),Cam Gigandet (Twilight, Without Remorse), Alex Hassell (Cowboy Bebop), Edi Patterson (The Righteous Gemstones), and Beverly D’Angelo, who has some experience with Christmas movies having starred in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. 

Violent Night is a dark and thrilling take on the joyful season as a bad-ass Father Christmas slays bad people. Twisted as a candy cane, it’s all in the Yuletide spirit.

For more, click here.

Welcome to Chippendales is streaming on HULU (starring Kumail Nanjiani)

WELCOME TO CHIPPENDALES

  • By PAIGE PETRONE
  • Photo Courtesy of HULU

It was immigrant Somen “Steve” Banerjee that founded the famous club phenomenon that was Chippendales. The new Hulu series, Welcome to Chippendales, tells how it all happened. Set in the 80s with fabulous vintage fashion and including a murder (who knew?!), the tale is amazing as Banerjee (Kumail Nanjiani) absorbs everything he can from the wild personalities he encounters along the way. 

Chippendales was originally planned to be a backgammon club, not a dance club. But when it didn’t take off as planned, Banerjee needed to get creative to salvage the project into which he had poured his life savings. He transforms it into something which, at the time, had never been seen before — a cabaret show featuring men taking their clothes off for women! It turns out that a mix of sex, drugs, alcohol, and disco dancing was a recipe for runaway success. And then there was the merchandising! This type of synergy was before its time as well.

Created by Robert Siegel, the series is jam packed with talent, including Murray Bartlett (Emmy Award-winner for The White Lotus) as Nick De Noia, the choreographer extraordinaire who created the signature moves for male exotic dancing, Juliette Lewis (Yellowjackets, Natural Born Killers, Cape Fear) as Denise, designer of the legendary breakaway pants, and Tony Award-winner Annaleigh Ashford (B Positive, Impeachment: American Crime Story) as Banerjee’s wife Irene.

Now streaming on HULU, click here.