25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: DONKEY’S CHRISTMAS SHREKTACULAR

CAST

Mike Myers (Austin Powers)
Eddie Murphy (Dr. Dolittle)
Antonio Banderas (Puss-In-Boots)
Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher)
Jon Hamm (The A-Team 2010)

7691544cfca7c27ef4There’s little to be said about ‘Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular’, as it is merely a swift celebration of the ‘Shrek’ universe. Unlike the films, which have an emotional tie for Shrek’s character, this short is lacking a sense of story progression, which is a small shame in some way because ‘Christmas-tacular’ marks a return to eccentric, unrelenting humour in the manner of the original film and the first sequel; that is, a constant barrage of visual and verbal puns that the producers behind the third and fourth movies could not quite replicate, despite their best efforts.

Every one is catered for with screen time shared equally between Shrek’s ever-popular family and friends, the joy of which is found in discovering the festive season through the perspective of a flea-ridden cat, or a living party snack. It is characterisation like this that contributes to the endearing nature of the series. ‘Christmas-tacular’ doesn’t quite hit a home run like ‘Shrek the Halls’ before it, as that short successfully intertwined a simple plot that added the necessary weight to contain the sheer madness that punctuates nearly every moment of this franchise. However, Donkey’s festivities are a great way to kick-start your own Christmas season.

25 DAYS CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SHREK THE HALLS

CAST

Mike Myers (Austin Powers)
Eddie Murphy (Dr. Dolittle)
Cameron Diaz (Knight and Day)
Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro)

The special is set shortly after the events of Shrek the Third (and before the events of Shrek Forever After), as Shrek and Fiona’s children are still infants. Shrek (Mike Myers) is quietly living in the swamp with his family when the Christmas season arrives. Under Donkey’s (Eddie Murphy) urging, Shrek reluctantly promises Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) a special Christmas surprise. Shrek goes to the local bookstore in Far, Far Away to try to find a present for Fiona, but since he does not know what Christmas is all about, the shopkeeper (Marissa Jaret Winokur) gives Shrek a copy of Christmas For Village Idiots, a step-by-step guide to celebrating the holiday. Shrek proceeds to follow the book’s advice by decorating the house and getting a tree so he can spend a quiet Christmas Eve with his family, but Donkey brings the entire “family” to the swamp, ruining Shrek’s plans.
As Shrek tries to tell his own version of “A Visit from St. Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas)”; Gingy (Conrad Vernon), Donkey, and Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) interrupt and each tell their own version of a Christmas story. Donkey tells of floats coming to the swamp. At the end, Donkey tells of licking an enormous Santa figure that is made out of waffles, but in reality he accidentally starts licking Shrek’s leg. Puss tells his version of the story of Santa Claus, but ends up playing with the ball point of his Santa hat, while in reality he is playing with one of the baubles from the christmas tree. However, Gingy’s story is not happy, but horrifying, as he tells about how his girlfriend Suzy got eaten up by Santa Claus. To which Donkey finds it unbelievable, with Gingy screaming “You weren’t there!”. Donkey finds Shrek’s Christmas for Village Idiots book, and the ensuing fight over the book destroys all of Shrek’s decorations, furniture and the tree. Shrek then loses his temper and ends up ejecting his friends from his house.

With the Christmas spirit ruined, Fiona and Shrek have a talk, after which she takes the children and leaves the swamp to go and apologize to their friends. Shrek feels downhearted that Christmas Eve did not go as he hoped it would, and he looks at one of Donkey’s Christmas cards that says, From Donkey & family. Fiona catches up to their friends and explains to Donkey what Shrek had wanted for Christmas. Shrek catches up with the group, and apologizes for losing his temper. Donkey is shocked to learn that this is Shrek’s first Christmas, because “ogres don’t celebrate anything.” Donkey also apologizes for being annoying, and explains that Christmas never goes as planned and according to his mother, “‘Christmas ain’t Christmas until somebody cries’, and that’s usually me.” After a snowball fight, the friends return to the swamp, and Shrek tells his story, featuring Ogre Claus. Soon they hear bells and go outside to see Santa and his reindeer, although Gingy runs back inside screaming in terror.It’s a must for Shrek fans and anyone who just wants a different Christmas film to watch at xmas. I should also say this Dvd has loads of special features on it aswell as the film

REVIEW: DREAMGIRLS

CAST
Jamie Foxx (Collateral)
Beyoncé Knowles (Austin Powers 3)
Eddie Murphy (Dr. Dolittle)
Danny Glover (Earthsea)
Jennifer Hudson (Empire)
Anika Noni Rose (The Good Wife)
Keith Robinson (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Hinton Battle (Buffy)
Loretta Devine (Crash)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
John Krasinski (License To Wed)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Ivar Brogger (Andromeda)
Dawnn Lewis (Veronica Mars)
Jaleel White (Family Matters)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Sharon Leal (Supergirl)
Backstage at an amateur talent show at the Detroit Theatre in 1961, young car salesman Curtis Taylor Jr. meets a girl group known as “The Dreamettes”: lead singer Effie White and back-up singers Deena Jones and Lorrell Robinson. Curtis presents himself as The Dreamettes’ new manager and arranges for The Dreamettes to become backup singers for popular R&B singer Jimmy ‘Thunder’ Early.
Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls (2006)
Curtis soon starts his own record label, Rainbow Records, out of his Detroit car dealership, and appoints Effie’s brother C.C as his head songwriter. When their first single fails after another pop group releases a cover version, Curtis, C.C, and their producer Wayne turn to payola to make Jimmy and The Dreamettes pop stars. Offstage, Effie becomes infatuated with Curtis, while the married Jimmy begins an affair with Lorrell.
Jimmy’s manager Marty grows weary of Curits’ plans to make his client more pop-friendly and walks out. When Jimmy bombs in front of a Miami Beach audience, Curtis sends Jimmy out on the road alone, keeping The Dreamettes behind to headline in his place. Feeling that Effie’s curvy figure and distinctive voice will not attract audiences, Curtis appoints the slimmer and higher-voiced Deena lead singer and renames the group ” Deena Jones and the Dreams”.
With the aid of new songs and a new more glamorous image, Curtis and Marty transform The Dreams into a top selling mainstream pop group. However, Effie begins acting out, particularly when Curtis’ affections also turn towards Deena. Curtis eventually drops Effie (who has just learned she is pregnant with Curtis’ child) from the group, hiring Michelle Morris, a young intern, to take her place, which Effie finds out before anyone can tell her. Despite Effie’s defiance at being ousted, and her last-ditch appeal to Curtis, he, C.C., and The Dreams leave her behind and forge ahead to stardom.
Effie has now become an impoverished welfare mother, living in inner-city Detroit with her daughter, Magic, and struggling to return to music. One day, Marty appeals to Effie to let him help her rebuild her career and compels her to use her struggles as motivation in her music. Meanwhile, Rainbow Records has moved to Los Angeles, where The Dreams have become superstars. With Rainbow the biggest pop business in the country, Curtis is now attempting to move into film production with a film about Cleopatra starring an unwilling Deena, who is now his wife. Meanwhile, Jimmy Early has descended into drug addiction, his career neglected due to Curtis’ preoccupation with Deena. When Early has a breakdown onstage at Rainbow’s tenth anniversary TV special the following year, dropping his pants in front of the audience and live TV cameras, Curtis drops him from the label, and Lorrell ends their long affair. Later, Jimmy is found dead in a hotel room from a heroin overdose.
Angered over Curtis increasing control and remixing over his music for a new sound, and his lack of sympathy upon learning of Jimmy’s death in which Curtis calls it a “bad bad scene” after watching it on a breaking news bulletin, C.C quits and returns to Detroit to find Effie, who has been rebuilding her music career with Marty as her new manager. The two siblings reconcile, C.C meets his niece Magic for the first time and he writes and produces Effie’s comeback single, “One Night Only”. Just as the record begins gaining radio play in Detroit and climbs the charts, Curtis becomes furious when he learns about C.C helping Effie out in rebuilding her career. Out of desperation and spite, he uses payola to force radio stations to play a disco cover of “One Night Only” by The Dreams instead. His plan falls apart when Deena, angry over Curtis’ control of her career, finds evidence of his payola schemes and contacts Effie and C.C, who arrive in Los Angeles with Marty and a lawyer.
Deena and Effie reconcile, while Curtis, wanting to avoid being reported to the FBI for payola, agrees to give Effie’s record national distribution. Inspired by Effie’s victory, Deena leaves Curtis to make it on her own.
As a result, The Dreams give a farewell performance at the Detroit Theater. At the conclusion of the concert, Deena invites Effie to join the group onstage and sing lead for the final performance of the group’s signature song, “Dreamgirls.” As the concert ends, Curtis notices Magic in the front row, walks down the aisle, stands next to her without speaking and realizes that he is her father.
An absolutely wonderful movie with great music and performances. Jennifer Hudson is incredible