Christmas in July Blogathon 2019 Wrap-Up

Hello, friends!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the sixth annual Christmas in July Blogathon. If you missed any of the entries, here they are:

Allie’s Top 5 Non-Christmassy Christmas Movies (Allie)
Four Christmases Review (Rob)
Superheroes at Christmastime (Ashley)
Christmas Camp Review (Sally)
Gremlins Review (SG)
A Christmas Story Review (Damien)
Kim’s Winter Holidays Activities in Movies (Kim)
The Polar Express

Now for a look at the full guest list for our holiday party:

Gal GadotChloe BennetJessica ChastainKarina ArroyaveNaomi ScottMichael B. JordanRobert Downey, Jr.John BoyegaMike AngeloKeanu Reeves

This might be my favorite guest list we’ve had yet! I will be sure to leave plenty of mistletoe around. 😉

Thus concludes the Christmas in July Blogathon 2019. I want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated and joined in the blogathon this year! It’s always a good time seeing the fun and different entries you all come up with. And I want to give another thank you to everyone who read, liked, commented, and shared the posts throughout the blogathon this year. 🙂

But wait, I’m not done with parties yet! July 30th is DMR’s blogiversary and I will be celebrating as usual by reviewing a trilogy. Since this year saw the conclusion of the MCU’s Infinity Saga and of Fox’s X-Men series, this year’s theme is superheroes. Look for that to start within the next few days.

Until next time, cheers!

The Polar Express Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2019

Hello, friends!

Merry Christmas in July! I hope you’ve enjoyed the blogathon so far. I know I have! For the finale, yours truly will close out the blogathon with a review of the Tom Hanks-led animated holiday film that turns 15 this year: The Polar Express.

The Polar Express movie posterSynopsis
On Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express, while learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas. (via IMDb)

As long as there has been cinema, there have been Christmas films. Many struggle to become holiday staples. Some take a while (like Miracle on 34th Street) while others become instant classics. The Polar Express is the latter. It has the traditional holiday messages but it wraps them in an adventure unlike any other film. I’ve heard people say this movie’s animation is too far in the uncanny valley but I would disagree. While it is more realistic looking than many films around the same time, it has enough of a cartoonish feel to not go over into that territory. I really enjoy that this tells the story through a child’s eyes to really helps captures the movie’s sense of wonder. Tom Hanks plays five parts throughout the film. Despite being so prevalent, each of his characters feels different from one another, showcasing his talents. I forgot how musical this film is. Not in the Broadway musical sense, although there are some great musical numbers like “Hot Chocolate,” but how much the score complements what is going on on screen. Although I shouldn’t have been surprised once I learned the extraordinary Alan Silvestri was the composer.

I thought The Polar Express was GREAT 😀 Its sense of adventure is unlike any other Christmas film but with a message just as powerful. Accompanied by terrific animation, a great score, and Tom Hanks at his best, it’s no wonder that fifteen years later, this movie is still a holiday staple.

The Polar Express was the first “all-digital capture” film, where all acted parts were done in digital capture. The film used 3D motion capture techniques to digitally record the actors’ physical performances before “skinning” them with their animated forms. The children’s roles were acted by adults, using oversized props to get the movement right. (via IMDb)


Cast & Crew
Robert Zemeckis – Director / Screenplay
Wiliiam Broyles, Jr. – Screenplay
Alan Silvestri – Composer

Tom Hanks – Hero Boy / Father/ Conductor / Hobo / Santa Claus
Daryl Sabara – Hero Boy (voice)
Nona Gaye – Hero Girl (voice)
Jimmy Bennett – Billy the Lonely Boy (voice)
Eddie Deezen – Know-It-All (voice)
Andre Sogliuzzo – Smokey / Steamer (voice)

As for my guest, I have chosen none other than Princess Jasmine and Kimberly Hart (aka the Pink Ranger) herself, Naomi Scott.

Naomi Scott

And that’s the final post for the sixth annual Christmas in July Blogathon! If you’ve missed any of the entries or you can’t wait to see the full guest list, the wrap-up post will be posted later today, so be sure to check that out.

Until next time, cheers!

Kim’s Winter Holidays Activities in Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon 2019

Hello, friends!

This is the final guest post of the 2019 edition of the Christmas in July Blogathon. Many of you should be familiar with the next guest. She has been on my site many times before, even co-hosting the annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon in February/March. That’s right, it’s none other than Kim from Tranquil Dreams! She shares the happenings of her life, her favorite recipes, and posts movie and game reviews. There is a variety of content on her blog so be sure to check it out. Kim always has unique entries for the Christmas in July Blogathon and this year is no exception. This year, she is talking about her favorite winter holiday activities in movies. Let’s get to it!

Christmas in July is here! After a really long deliberation between what to talk about, the heat in town has made think a little of some cooler days and what makes Christmas for myself in the more North, is snow and all that goes with it: snowball fights and skating, etc. That was some nice inspirations to sharing some Christmas activities during the holidays. Some of the winter activities aren’t exactly unique to Christmas but to keep in the blogathon theme, all of these scenes are from Christmas movies.

Snowball Fight – Elf (2003)

Elf is a staple of Christmas movies. Its like wrapping up Christmas themes in a nice little bow tie, at least at my home it is. The snowball fight here was pretty one sided. It was more like a retaliation against bullies.

Tobogganing – A Christmas Prince (2017)

Netflix really hits it out of the park with A Christmas Prince as a Christmas holiday romantic comedy. It embraces the Hallmark style films and this one works (the sequel not as well) but there are some really fun scenes and this tobogganing one is really nice. I swear there was also a snowball fight or something but I might be wrong. It had a ton of Christmas elements.

Snowball Fights – The Princess Switch (2018)

Last Christmas, Netflix came out with another romantic comedy which I loved a lot. Vanessa Hudgens as two roles was pretty hilarious in a It Takes Two adult version set during Christmas. Plus it had baking (in retrospect, I should do a Christmas baking in movies list). However, one of the best scenes were these two breaking out in a snowball fight.

Caroling – Gremlins (1984)

Nothing like some Gremlins caroling to bring out the Christmas spirit. But then, Gremlins are cute until they aren’t.

Snowmen – Krampus (2015)

I can’t remember how these snowmen showed up in the film for the life of me right now. However, the only other snowman building scene I could remember was either Gilmore Girls (which is TV) or Frozen, which isn’t exactly a Christmas movie. Stretching it just a little but still, creepy snowman is better than no snowman. Krampus might be an alternate Christmas movie, but it is full of darker takes on Christmas elements which is so much fun to watch.

Thanks again to Drew for bringing a little winter holidays reminder during the peak of summer!

For our holiday party, Kim is inviting Mike Angelo, a Thai actor popular in China and is part of the upcoming film The Misfits directed by Renny Harlin.

This has truly become an international holiday party. Fantastic invite, Kim!

And that does it for the guest entries of the sixth annual Christmas in July Blogathon. Tomorrow, I will wrap-up this year’s blogathon with review of another film off my list of favorite Christmas films.

Until next time, cheers!

A Christmas Story Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2019

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the penultimate day for the sixth annual Christmas in July Blogathon and last day of guest reviews! Up first today is Damien of Riley on Film and The Damien Riley Podcast. Damien reviews a variety of film genres on his site and podcast but as a particular affinity for horror films. Go give his sites a read and podcasts a listen, especially if you like horror movies. While there are several Christmas horror films, for this blogathon, Damien chose to review the comedy classic A Christmas Story.

A Christmas Story movie posterA Christmas Story – Electric Sex in the Family Room Window

It’s hot outside and I am thrilled to be able to cool off imagining Christmastime for this movie challenge. Whatever time of year it is, I can always get into the spirit of Christmas by rewatching “A Christmas Story” directed by Bob Clark. It has just enough off-color humor to not bore and still accent the nostalgic visuals of a boy and his family humorously living in the 1940’s.

Director Bob Clark was a true visionary. He is ironically also well known for his horror film “Black Christmas.” Clark takes familiar American settings and visits sarcasm upon them. The result is a hilarious film that pulls no punches. A lot of us guys were “Ralphie” at some point, wanting a bee bee gun and asking every Santa on the street we saw for it. Our teacher, our parent, in like fashion all said “You’ll shoot you’re eye out.” Ah the humanity..

Besides having relatable characters like Ralphie, the film has symbols that everyone can identify with. Ralphie’s middle class dad strains after the daily crossword every night in order to win a “Major award.” It ends up being a tawdry and kitsch leg lamp that he emblazons from the window. Ralphie’s narrator calls it “Electric sex in the front window.” This much to the chagrin of Ralphie’s mother who has all the charm of every mother among us combined and then some.

There’s a famous scene here where Flick, Raplhie’s friend, Puts his tongue on a frozen pole on a bet. Most of us can recall similar dares which is why so many people love this movie. We aren’t laughing at Flick, we’re recalling our own childhoods. Bob Clark is truly in touch. We get to know so many characters here: the father, mother, little brother, Flick, the teacher, Scott Farkus, the “bully,” and a few other core ones. Interspersed between tales from Ralph’s youth, we get the traditional trappings of Christmas like Santa and the classic carols. The cinematography is also great, bringing us back to the 40’s.

This is one I’ve seen countless times and I look forward to watching it this year a few times as well. I highly recommend it, I give it a 10/10. Merry Christmas in July.

I am a Guest Author: Damien Riley

Follow my reviews at

Listen to my podcast at

For our holiday party, Damien is inviting the fiery vixen Jessica Chastain.

Jessica Chastain

Excellent invite, Damien! Great to have a fellow redhead at the party. 😉

The final guest entry for this year’s blogathon comes from someone I have worked with many times here on DMR and whom you all should be familiar with.

Until next time, cheers!

Gremlins Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2019

Hello, friends!

We have now crossed the halfway point of this year’s Christmas in July blogathon! SG from Rhyme and Reason is going to wrap-up day three. SG combines his two passions, film and poetry, to create truly unique reviews. He also loves a good list so you will find plenty of them on his site. Have a look after checking out his review of the non-traditional Christmas classic Gremlins.

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the town,
Small creatures were stirring and scurrying round.
They once had been furry;
They once had been cute,
But now they were scaly, and evil to boot!

Because of one snack
After midnight had chimed,
The work of one boy who had gravely mistimed,
These creatures were rampant
And running amok,
And now the whole town had the awfulest luck.

The stop lights were blinking,
Car brake lines were cut,
The streets were replete with indulgence and smut,
And no one could stop them,
These little green men,
Who terrorized Christmas, resistless, and then…

They suddenly vanished,
A mess in their wake,
A warning to follow the rules, no mistake.
So be on your guard
Should your Christmas Eve stir,
Lest similar holiday havoc occur.

MPAA rating:  PG (definitely more of a PG-13)

It’s good to be back with Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon! After much deliberation on what to review, I finally opted for a film that has become one of the most classic unconventional Christmas movies. Along with the original Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” Gremlins’ tale of small, seemingly harmless creatures running amok has become an oft-imitated plotline, but Gremlins stands out through its hostile critters and, of course, its Christmas setting.

Aside from the blogathon reason, I mainly wanted to rewatch Gremlins because I only had a vague memory of the first time when I was a kid. Certain scenes definitely stuck out, but I couldn’t recall the connective tissue. The beginning is a classic horror set-up: dad stumbles upon a cute mogwai in a Chinese antique shop and brings it home to his son Billy (Zach Galligan), along with some very specific handling rules that you just know won’t be followed. While the cute creature named Gizmo (voiced by Howie Mandel) and his more rascally spawn are clearly puppets (except for one larger stop-motion scene), that only adds to the film’s status as a minor ‘80s classic. I’ve no doubt that a modern version of this film would use CGI instead, and that very datedness is part of the movie’s charm. Plus, I liked Billy’s inventor dad and his disastrous inventions, which reminded me of Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

As was the intent, I was surprised then at how dark the antics got at times, the evil gremlins being much more malicious than the mischief-makers I thought I remembered. I mean, it’s not just pranks; people die, a fact which, along with the more gruesome deaths of some gremlins, directly contributed to the institution of the PG-13 rating. I also distinctly remembered a gremlin popping out of a medicine cabinet, which gave me a mild fear of medicine cabinets when I was a kid (I haven’t been able to find a scientific name for such a phobia); and of course, seeing it again revealed that the scene in question involved a normal school cabinet. Ah, what a fool I was…

But the best thing I found I had forgotten was how enjoyable a film Gremlins is, as well as how Christmas-y it is. It’s not merely set at Christmastime with some yuletide trappings in the background. The little devils embrace the holiday black-heartedly, attacking Santa Claus, pouncing from Christmas trees, suspending Billy’s dog in Christmas lights. And let’s not forget the horrific holiday story/urban legend that explains why Billy’s crush Kate (the lovely Phoebe Cates) doesn’t celebrate Christmas, an aversion that the events of this movie no doubt strengthened.

As both a dark family-ish film and a horror-comedy, Gremlins isn’t on the level of E.T. or Ghostbusters, but I doubt its well-worn plot has ever been done better. The creatures themselves are well-crafted meanies, though their ever more ridiculous antics in a bar scene go past parody into annoyingly silly territory. Otherwise, it’s a perfect scary-lite film to watch any time of year, but especially at Christmas.

Best line:  (Chinese boy, describing the rules to Billy’s father) “First of all, keep him out of the light. He hates bright light, especially sunlight; it’ll kill him. Second, don’t give him any water, not even to drink. But the most important rule, the rule you can never forget, no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs:  never feed him after midnight.”

Rank:  List Runner-Up

© 2019 S.G. Liput

P.S.  And for my Christmas guest, I think I’ll invite the lovely Chloe Bennet (aka Skye/Daisy of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), with mistletoe in mind. Thanks again to Drew for hosting a great Christmas party!

Chloe Bennet

It’s my pleasure to, SG! As an Agents of SHIELD fan, I applaud your guest choice. 😀

Tomorrow is the second to last day of my annual Christmas in July blogathon and you won’t want to miss it!

Until next time, cheers!

Take 3: Christmas Camp Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2019

Hello, friends!

Day three of the sixth Christmas in July Blogathon has begun! To get us started today is Sally Silverscreen from 18 Cinema Lane. She reviews all kinds of movies on her blog and participates in as many blogathons as she seemingly can. Go give her site a look and you’re sure to find something you like. Sally has a particular fondness for Hallmark films, which she brings with her to the blogathon today. Here’s her review of Christmas Camp.

Christmas Camp movie poster

For the Christmas in July Blogathon from Drew’s Movie Reviews, I knew that I wanted to review a Hallmark Christmas movie. However, I was originally going to talk about Hallmark Hall of Fame’s A Heavenly Christmas. Because I forgot to record that movie and because I have a lot of movies stored on my DVR, I chose to review Christmas Camp instead. This is the latest Christmas movie from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Having a new Christmas film air in July is not a new concept, as this has been done on both of Hallmark’s channels in the past. What makes this film sound interesting is the idea of a Christmas-themed camp. This idea has never been featured in a Hallmark movie before, so I wanted to see how it would be executed in the story. Did this movie make me a “happy camper”? Take a sleigh ride through this review of Christmas Camp to find out!

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I was not familiar with Lily Anne Harrison’s acting abilities before watching Christmas Camp. In fact, this was the first Hallmark movie that Lily had ever starred in. Despite this, she did a good job with the acting material she was given! Because of her performance, her character, Haley, came across as a very pleasant individual. Another character that was a pleasant person was Jeff. Bobby Campo also did a good job at bringing this character to life, providing the charm and likability that made his performance enjoyable. The rest of the cast was talented! They complimented one another’s acting abilities and shined on their own merits!

The cinematography: For some of the scenes involving natural landscapes, the cinematography was really good! Anytime a snowy forest was featured in the movie, it looked beautiful on-screen. What stood out to me was a shot of a sunset behind a snowy forest. This was captured very well on film! There was other good cinematography inside the Christmas Camp. In one instance, a close-up of a gorgeous Christmas tree was shown before a scene began. This was a great way to showcase some of the facility’s Christmas decorations!

What I didn’t like about the film:

A pointless plot: The premise of this movie is a businesswoman being sent to Christmas Camp in order to find inspiration for an upcoming business project. But within the first ten minutes of the film, Haley’s boss gives the coveted business project to another employee. This made me wonder why she would entertain the idea of giving Haley the project if she already gave it to someone else? During her time at Christmas Camp, Haley discovers her idea for the aforementioned business project. This idea was found at the local community center, not at the Christmas Camp. It made me ask why she was forced to go the Camp when she was able to find inspiration elsewhere?

A hypocritical message: The overarching message of Christmas Camp was to uphold Christmas traditions. However, this message ended up coming across as hypocritical. Earlier in the film, Haley shares that her Christmas tradition is taking a family vacation to the Caribbean and watching Christmas movies in the hotel room. Her boss thinks that she needs an “attitude adjustment” because her traditions aren’t “traditional”. Throughout the film, Haley is guilted into changing her Christmas traditions to align more with those of the Camp. Another guest of the Camp shared that one of his Christmas traditions was opening presents on Christmas Eve, due to his father being a professional basketball coach. Shortly after sharing this, the guest’s wife is critical about this particular tradition. Everyone has their own unique and special way of celebrating Christmas. So, for this story to look down on that is very frustrating.

Christmas Camp as an afterthought: The idea of a Christmas-themed camp is something that has never been shown in a Hallmark movie before. Because of this, I was curious to see how this concept would be incorporated into the story. Unfortunately, the Camp itself was treated as an afterthought. The activities associated with Christmas Camp seemed so interesting. Yet, most of these activities were barely shown in the film. One example is when the campers are required to pick out a Christmas tree and decorate it. However, the only person the audience sees doing this activity is Haley. Also, for a place called Christmas Camp, Haley’s bedroom was poorly decorated. It barely featured any Christmas decorations, which made the room look less than festive.

My overall impression:

After watching this movie, I’m starting to understand why Hallmark Movies & Mysteries aired Christmas Camp in July and not during their “Miracles of Christmas” line-up. This film had so much potential to do something different from other Christmas movies on the network. There was also potential to share a message that would have been relatable. Unfortunately, all of this potential was not taken advantage of by Christmas Camp’s creative team. Instead, I ended up getting the worst Hallmark movie I’ve seen this year, so far. I’m hoping that during Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ “Miracles of Christmas” line-up and Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” line-up, movies as disappointing as Christmas Camp will be a rarity.

Before I end this review, I would like to add a name to the invitation list for Drew’s Christmas Party. The actress that I would like to see get invited to Drew’s Christmas party is Karina Arroyave. I’ve seen several of her acting work in various television shows and movies, including two Hallmark Hall of Fame films (Blind Spot from 1993 and Missing Pieces from 2000). I think she’s a very talented actress. But, at the same time, she is also very underrated. By suggesting Karina’s name for Drew’s invitation list, I’m hoping that she can, sooner or later, receive the recognition she deserves!

Overall score: 5.1 out of 10

Have you seen Christmas Camp? Do like watching Christmas movies in July? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Thanks for participating in the blogathon, Sally! I’ve seen Karina Arroyave in the television series 24 but none of her films. Her name is on my radar now!

You won’t want to miss the next entry of the blogathon from the movie blogasphere’s poet reviewer so stop back in a few hours.

Until next time, cheers!