[VIDEO REVIEWS]Have yourself an eerie little Christmas

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[VIDEO REVIEWS]Have yourself an eerie little Christmas

As Christmas Eve approaches, so does the need to see a modern, merry yuletide movie. Hop a ride on a reindeer to your video shop and pick up one of these:



HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (1999)

Directed by Ron Howard. Starring Jim Carrey, Anthony Hopkins and Taylor Momsen.

Theodor Seuss Geisel delighted millions as Dr. Seuss, the author of 44 illustrated children's books. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" was one of those books, a distinctively rhythmic tale with a life lesson. For years, Mr. Geisel refused to sell any film rights to Hollywood; but in 1966 he assented to a 22-minute animated "Grinch," directed by Chuck Jones and featuring Boris Karloff as the narrator and voice of the Grinch. After Mr. Geisel died in 1991, his widow, Audrey Geisel, allowed Howard and his partner Brian Glazer to use "The Grinch" for a 104 minute live-action movie. Some called it sacrilege, but others delighted in seeing Carrey covered in green fur.

The Grinch is a Scrooge-like monster who lives in a mountainside cave. He detests the joy, happiness and togetherness of the citizens of Whoville, the town at the foot of his mountain. He's especially disgusted at Christmastime. So on Christmas Eve he disguises himself as Santa and creeps down to Whoville to snatch all the gifts away. A dastardly deed, yes, until he encounters little Cindy Lou Who (Momsen). The unsuspecting Cindy sees only goodness in the world, and helps the Grinch learn the real meaning of Christmas.

Though the dialogue is padded, it stays true to the spirit of Dr. Seuss's rhythm scheme, which is narrated by Hopkins. The cinematography verges on being strange and eerie, but Carrey pulls off some enchanting scenes.



THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)

Directed by Henry Selick. Starring the voices of Chris Sarandon, Danny Elfman and Catherine O'Hara.

Tim Burton, the director of "Beetlejuice," "Edward Scissorhands" and "Batman," started off as an animator for Disney. Before long, he was imagining strange worlds with misfit characters who try desperately to be loved.

"The Nightmare Before Christmas" is another of Burton's hauntingly beautiful creations. In this movie each big holiday has its own town, but Halloween town and Christmas town are the principals.

A bony skeleton named Jack Skellington (Sarandon when speaking, Elfman when singing) has just arranged the most devilish Halloween yet, but feels only post-holiday blues and emptiness. He wanders outside the town limits and stumbles into Christmas town. Instead of ghosts and goblins, there are jolly helpers helping Santa bring peace and goodwill to men.

He returns to Halloween town with a plan to co-opt Christmas. His scheme is to kidnap Santa Claus and take his place. Everyone loves the idea except for the ragdoll Sally (O'Hara), who has a tender spot for Jack and a hunch that his plan is doomed.


by Joe Yong-hee

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