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Jim Skelton
Jim Skelton

The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two

Casting Russell as Santa Claus was a great reference to Russell's star persona, and that continues with casting Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus. She has a much bigger part here than her finale cameo in the first movie, and she maintains that affable holiday spirit, even if she's on the sidelines throughout. There's something warming to how the presence of Russell and Hawn is like a celebrity cameo in a holiday special, in which the line-reading is certainly not very fussy, and it's more about smiles and moving the story along.

The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two

Much like the first one, Kurt Russel is the best part of this movie. But unlike the first one, there is literally no other redeeming factor. The acting is terrible, the story is terrible, and those stupid ass elves having a huge part in this movie was horrendous.

Director of Christmas Chronicles 2, Chris Columbus, decided to film some scenes from his movie on Fairmont Mayakoba. We were very excited to be part of this new adventure. During 40 days, the crew created an incredible ambiance full of joy at the beach. With more than 100 people working every day, they transform our beach into a magical place. We never imagine the effort, discipline, and organization required to film a movie, all the people involved, the scenography, even monitoring the weather, and the incredible teamwork and communication between the crew and the Fairmont staff.

The naughtiest part of this film is its refusal to use the stellar cast of characters as a cohesive ensemble. Not only is Teddy left out of the fun entirely but Mr. and Mrs. Claus spend the majority of the story on separate journeys with our two leads.

Of course, bragging rights only go so far, so there's more at play in Gibson's Christmas Chronicles 2 involvement. It was also about bringing some positive energy to a world in which it's been in short supply lately. "I'm very grateful to be a part of the Christmas spirit," Gibson says. "That's always positive, and warm, and fuzzy, and food and family. And the amount of people around the world that's going to be sitting in their couches and living rooms, eating food with pajamas, hugged up on the couch after the year we've just had, what a blessing it is that our energy is going to affect their energy around the world via Netflix... I've never worked with Netflix and to get this phone call was very amazing for me personally."

Russell: The really fun parts about it are you're driving to work together most of the time in the morning. You're bringing it home at night. When you go out and have a drink afterward before supper, you still kind of talk about the day a little bit. It's very rare for us, obviously. Sometimes even we'd run lines for a few minutes because we've got the day coming up. That's something we never get to do. I miss that part of our life.

Hawn: I'm more of the singer around the house, by the way. He finished out the movie doing that and I was already gone. But I did hear a lot about the anticipation of that particular event. He was getting prepared for it, but it turned out to be pretty fabulous. You did a great job. You surprised me.

It shows his life, his apartment, his relationship with Camila Cabello, his family and the things he loves. Featuring performance footage and behind-the-scenes looks, Mendes pulls back the curtain here.

This Christmas, of course, the big focus is Super Mario Galaxy - and rightly so. The critically acclaimed return of Nintendo's favourite son is not only a wonderfully balanced and nuanced game, it's also absolutely perfect for a target market that encompasses both young and old - and both hardcore and casual. The addition of functionality for a second player - turning casual observers into active participants - is a stroke of genius, and one which will make Mario Galaxy into an entertainment staple in many households this holiday season.

Looking past the Wii, our next stop has to be the PlayStation 3 - a console whose status in the past year has been described as embattled, but whose line-up for Christmas 2007 does a great deal to endear it to family buyers. The key title here, of course, is Singstar. Sony's karaoke franchise has been a backbone of strong ongoing sales of the PS2, and its PS3 iteration - embracing the concepts of social networking as well as the idea of a vast online music store rather than regular song-disc updates - is the most appealing yet. Singstar is going to sell PS3 hardware, of that I'm certain; people will go home from karaoke-fuelled Christmas parties and pop into town for a console the following day, just as happened with the PS2's social gaming line-up.

Finally, this list wouldn't be complete without one major cross-platform titles - and that's provided for in the form of Guitar Hero III, a product which may well surpass the success of its predecessors as we roll towards Christmas. Demo pods on major retailers across London last weekend attracted large crowds of spectators, which is always a fantastic sign of sales to come - and with EA's Rock Band delayed to next year in Europe, Guitar Hero III stands almost alone in this particular, Christmas-friendly market segment. Franchise veterans may be feeling the fatigue a little, but there's still a huge market out there which hasn't had enough Guitar Hero - and they'll be getting their dose in the coming weeks.

There are also redemptive glimmers of life, laughter and love. Daniel Gluck makes a welcome and surprising reappearance fairly late on. As in Autumn, Smith threads passages of delicately observed natural beauty throughout the ephemera. She often lets the language itself lead her (hence her love of puns), and the intricate narrative rolls back and forth smoothly in time: shifting, sliding from thing to thing, or moving sideways into wordplay, often nudging us towards some reapprehension of reality, whether political, natural, lexical or technological, and forging satisfying links between the two parts of the series so far, now shaping up as a larger collage of its own. Autumn closed with a reflection on "a wideopen rose, still", a gasp of wonder in November: "Look at the colour of it". And in a memorable set piece in Winter, there is another exhortation to look, when Art is startled by a chunk of coastline, or "slab of landscape", "roughly the size of a small car", which suddenly--and quite bafflingly--appears out of nowhere in his vision at the Christmas feast, hanging impossibly over the table and scattering grit. Art exclaims: "Look.... Everyone. Look". But no one else seems to see it. 041b061a72


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