In The Spirit Of Christmas

Giving the gift of holiday family fun: Bosque Film Society offers free double feature by presenting Christmas movies “The Polar Express” and “Elf” Tuesday, Dec. 21 at The Cliftex Theatre in Clifton

CLIFTON – In the Christmas spirit of giving, the Bosque Film Society will be delivering the gift of movie-going to the public with its Christmas Free Double Feature on Tuesday, Dec. 21 by presenting the classic and unique THE POLAR EXPRESS, followed by the comedic and much-loved ELF at the historic Cliftex Theatre.

Sure, both of these modern Christmas classics can probably be watched at home, but they remain so much more fun and fittingly larger than life on the silver screen. And to add some holiday cheer while passing the time between the movies, the audience will be treated to a Christmas Carol Sing-A-Long led by local vocalist/pianist Miriam “Muther Mirm” Wallace. After all, what better way to spread the Christmas Cheer than for all to hear.

The newly-established Bosque Film Society organized their first themed film festival during the Halloween weekend, featuring six different spooky and fun films over four days. It was a great success with over 440 people coming through the movie theater’s doors during those days. The Bosque Film Society hopes to extend this success with this free Christmas double feature event.

"It gives all of us involved with the Bosque Film Society great joy to be able to bring something like this to the community at Christmas," Bosque Film Society founding president Brett Voss said. "This is just another example of the kind of events we want to provide in hopes of doing our part to reinvigorate the movie-going experience. There's nothing else quite like seeing a film on the big screen in a theatre filled with a responsive audience. And we couldn't do it without the outpouring of support we've received."

Sponsored by Leon’s Floor Covering in Clifton, the 4 p.m. show features THE POLAR EXPRESS, which follows the journey of a young boy from doubting Santa Claus’ existence to fully embracing Santa Claus and the Christmas Spirit. The movie is magical, but not sugar sweet. It’s an exciting adventure with a profound message. Like the boy, climb aboard and rediscover the spirit of Christmas.

As an entertaining and special Christmas treat, THE POLAR EXPRESS is a 2004 American computer-animated adventure film co-written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, based on the 1985 children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The film was made with a production budget of $165 million, a record-breaking sum for an animated feature at the time.

THE POLAR EXPRESS has wonderful messages about the importance of believing, the value of friendship, respect for leadership and courage, and the beauty of being kind to others. It stories a journey to believing in Santa Claus and the true Christmas spirit. With Allsburg also served as one of the executive producers, the film features human characters animated using live-action motion capture animation.

The film stars Tom Hanks as the jovial conductor and multiple other distinct roles, while also serving as one of the film's executive producers. Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett and Eddie Deezen shine in supporting roles. THE POLAR EXPRESS has the quality of a lot of lasting children's entertainment: It's exciting.

“Thanks to the animation technique, the characters in THE POLAR EXPRESS don't look real, but they don't look unreal, either; they have a kind of simplified and underlined reality that makes them visually magnetic,” renowned film critic Roger Ebert said. “THE POLAR EXPRESS is a movie for more than one season; it will become a perennial, shared by the generations. It has a haunting, magical quality because it has imagined its world freshly and played true to it, sidestepping all the tiresome Christmas clichés that children have inflicted on them this time of year.”

Sponsored by Joanne & Tom Blossom, the 7 p.m. showing will feature ELF with comedian Will Ferrell shining in his first feature film role as Buddy. Buddy is a human raised by Santa and his elves as an over-sized elf, who is terrible at toy making and literally does not fit in. He travels from the North Pole to New York City to meet his biological father Walter – played by James Caan – who doesn't know he exists and is in desperate need of some Christmas spirit.

In Santa’s workshop, Buddy’s size offers many comedic moments. Once in the city, Buddy displays his naïveté and disconnect with the modern human world, adding some hilarious moments.

“This is one of those rare Christmas comedies that has a heart, a brain and a wicked sense of humor, and it charms the socks right off the mantelpiece,” Ebert had to say about the movie.

He thought the unexpected casting is on the money, with deadpan-faced Bob Newhart as Buddy’s adoptive elf father; Zooey Deschanel as the girl who works in a department store and falls for his elfin charm and Peter Dinklage, who has a brief but sublime scene in which he cuts right to the bottom line of elfhood.

Director Jon Favreau was a virtually unknown director in 2003 when the movie came out. ELF was a major critical and commercial success, grossing $220 million worldwide against a $33 million budget. Favreau has since become one of the top 10 grossing directors of all-time in Hollywood.

Rather than use CGI, the film uses forced perspective. Many of the sets were built twice, once much larger for the actors playing elves and once slightly smaller for the normal-sized actors. In the scene where Ed Asner as Santa addresses his elves, he is standing on a platform on a smaller version of the set. The elves were standing on another platform far behind him. 

As can be expected from a Will Ferrell movie, there is some mild rude humor and language giving it a PG rating. But ELF benefits greatly from Will Ferrell's funny and charming performance as one of Santa's biggest helpers is a spirited, good-natured family comedy. Don’t miss your chance this holiday season to discover your inner Elf.

So, be sure to come to Clifton on Tuesday, Dec. 21 to enjoy the free double feature at the historic Cliftex Theatre. Bring the kids, bring the grandparents and get into the Christmas Spirit with these special holiday movies.


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