Happy Holidays from VOH

The holidays are finally upon us!  VOH wishes you and yours a joyful holiday season, filled with happiness, good health and of course, fabulous moviegoing experiences.

As we reflect upon the joys of the season, we’d like to share our favorite holiday treats with you.

Late Night goes rogue with the modern classic, Children of Men, while Mr. Ridley stays traditional and reminisces about the British children’s animated short, The Snowman.

Late Night

Can I get a “Bah humbug!” up in here? Now, I’m not a total Grinch, but I’m not the one that gets all misty-eyed about seeing the standard Christmas movies… again. But the holidays are great for film buffs because there are always so many good films released to take advantage of the holiday vacation schedule. One of my absolute favorites is Children of Men, which hit theaters during Christmas of ’06. Superbly directed by Alfonso Cuaron, beautifully lensed by Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life, The New World, Sleepy Hollow) and featuring excellent performances by Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Caine, this film was nominated for three Oscars (Cinematography, Editing and Adapted Screenplay) and won a Saturn award for Best Sci Fi film.

Director of Photography Lubezki cleaned up the cinematography trophies, winning the American Society of Cinematographers top award, the Austin Film Critics award, the Australian Cinematographers Society award, the Chicago Film Critics Society award, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society award, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association award, and the Golden Osella award for outstanding technical contribution at the Venice Film Festival.

In other words, this film is visually amazing. Here is a particularly strong sequence, the car attack:

There’s nothing like a good end of the world sci-fi flick to get me in a holiday frame of mind!

Mr. Ridley

A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of my all-time favorites for the holidays, but if I had to choose just one film for the holidays, it would be Dianne Jackson’s adaption of The Snowman (1982).  This is a delightful 26-minute animated short, adapted from Raymond Briggs’ children’s picture book of the same name.

The Snowman was bestowed several accolades, including an Academy Award Nomination for Best Animated Short Film.  Since then, the film has become a perennial classic in many circles.

Director Dianne Jackson creates a unique, almost magical, experience in The Snowman.  It’s a beautiful story, told through its uniquely textured, pencil-like animation, and an exquisite soundtrack by Howard Blake.  But Jackson’s film works its considerable magic by keeping its entire presentation without any words (save for the opening monologue and the centerpiece song, Walking in the Air).

In a time of literal explanations for everything, it’s wonderful to leave just a little bit to our imagination! 

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