Christmas 2018: Movies to watch on demand over the festive season
So your tree is trimmed, stockings all hung by the bedside with care – at last, a little time to curl up on the couch and chill. But with so many on-demand offerings this December, the choice can be a bit overwhelming. Allow us to present a festive feast of adored Christmas classics and a few modern must-sees to keep you entertained whilst we all count down to Santa’s big scene.
Elf (2003) – Amazon Prime Video
Will Ferrell lights up the screen as Buddy, the little boy raised accidentally as an elf in the North Pole, who travels to New York to find his real father (workaholic businessman Walter Hobbs). As Buddy navigates his new life and relationships in the Big Apple the results are chaotic, comedy gold. This sidesplitting seasonal hit has already topped the tree as many people’s festive favourite and for just the racoon and Santa – “ I know him” – scenes, it’s easy to understand why.
Arthur Christmas (2011) – Amazon Prime Video
This delightful animation tells the story of Santa’s clumsy son Arthur, who – after learning that good little girl Gwen has been tragically missed from Santa’s military-style deliveries – sets out from the North Pole to deliver her present himself, with the help of his Grandsanta (voiced superbly by Bill Nighy). The dysfunctional family dynamic and the riotous adventures that the duo experience make this a marvellous must-see for all ages.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994) – Amazon Prime Video
When Dorey (Elizabeth Perkins) is tasked with finding a Santa for famed department store Cole’s she enlists a curious gent who claims to be the man himself. After these professions land crazy Kris Kringle in court with threats of being institutionalised, Dorey, her daughter – and former Mr Claus sceptic – Susan (Mara Wilson) and young lawyer Bryan Bedford must come to Santa’s defence. This seasonal remake written and produced by John Home Alone Hughes sees the late great Sir Richard Attenborough ideally cast as a simply sparkling St Nick.
The Christmas Chronicles (2018) – Netflix
This Netflix original has all the ingredients to become an instant Christmas classic. Grieving siblings Teddy and Kate hatch a plan to capture St Nick on camera. When they then accidentally cause him to crash his sleigh, the Pierce children find themselves on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, assisting a slimline, grizzly, straight-talking Santa to save Christmas. Kurt Russell is spectacular as a modern-day Mr Claus and his jailhouse jam is certainly a highlight in this fresh, festive fantasy.
A Christmas Prince (2017) – Netflix
A royal romance is the last thing aspiring journalist Amber has on her mind when she’s assigned to Aldovia, especially with a scandalous prince like Richard, but it doesn’t take our undercover tutor very long to realise that what’s been written about this Christmas Prince is by no means the whole story. This is a Cinderella-esque feel-good romantic movie that has all the vital elements to become a beloved modern-day fairy tale.
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018) – Netflix
Back once again to Aldovia, our royal lovebirds are this time preparing for their special day, but the course of true love – especially at this time of year – never runs smoothly. Amber questions whether she’s really ready to be a queen and Richard has to handle a political threat that may derail not only the wedding but his entire kingdom.
The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) – Netflix
Dan Stevens is engagingly frenetic as Charles Dickens, who is consumed by a ghost story (the stirrings of an as-yet-unwritten A Christmas Carol) and haunted by his characters and the past. A biographical film grounded in fact that’s both compelling and educational, the feature delves into Dickens’s mind, revealing how his little tale of redemption subsequently changed the way we would view and celebrate Christmas forever more.
Scrooged (1988) – Sky/ Now TV
Super successful TV executive Frank Cross is a modern-day Scrooge, but when he’s visited by three spirits (past, present and future), the cynic must learn to change his ways and keep Christmas in his heart all year long. Bill Murray is both heartwarming and hilarious as he gives new life to Dickens’s miser, surrounded by a brilliant cast. This festive favourite has now been putting a little love in our hearts every December for three decades.
Frozen (2013) – Sky/ Now TV
Snow Queen Elsa has cast a wintery spell over the kingdom, forcing her little sister Anna to join forces with loyal mountaineer Kristoff and his reindeer sidekick Sven. Together, they embark on a magical journey to locate her powerful sister and free their home from Elsa’s icy grasp. Heroic, witty, heartfelt and with a memorable musical score, it’s clear to see how this captivating sing-along story melts hearts every Christmas.
Die Hard (1988) – Sky/ Now TV
Is this a Christmas film? Well, in a recent 30th-anniversary trailer, they call it the “greatest Christmas story ever told”, settling a long-running debate and allowing Bruce Willis’s legendary action comedy into this must-see movie roundup. After being persuaded to visit his estranged wife and two daughters for the holidays (“come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs”), New York City cop John McClane gets more than he bargained for. Instead of an awkward family reunion at his wife’s office party, McClane finds himself in the middle of a lethal hostage situation, and must rescue his spouse and her colleagues from a sophisticated group of terrorists led by ruthless charmer Hans Gruber (played to perfection by a much-missed Alan Rickman). Though now possibly a little outdated, this is still a fantastically entertaining festive film.