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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Holiday > Sequel > Music > Melodrama > TV Movie > Faith > The Office: Complete Christmas Collection (2005 - 2012/*both Universal/all DVDs)

A Christmas Story Christmas/Dolly Parton's Mountain Magic Christmas (both 2022/Warner)/Lifetime 12-Movie Set: A Very Merry Christmas, Volume 5 + 6 (2019 - 2022/Lionsgate)/Love Actually 4K (2003/4K Blu-ray w/Blu-ray*)/The Office: Complete Christmas Collection (2005 - 2012/*both Universal/all DVDs)

4K Picture: B Picture: C/C/C+/B-/C+ Sound: C+ (Love: B & B-) Extras: D/C/D/C+/C+ Films: C/C/C/C+/C+

Now for a slew of Christmas releases...

Clay Kaytis' A Christmas Story Christmas (2022) is the 39-years-later direct sequel to the late, great Bob Clark's A Christmas Story (1983) and you can read about the new 4K edition of that classic and the first sequel to the film at this link:


Peter Billingsley is back as an adult, middle-aged Ralphie and this has some good moments in a project that seemed to be as good as time as any to do such a sequel. However, he has kids and a family and what follows is on the predictable side, though some might find that reassuring and safe. I thought it was worth a look for the big fans, though even the makers probably wondered what Clark would have done was he still with us. It really helps to watch the first film first.

There are oddly no extras.

Joe Lazarov's Dolly Parton's Mountain Magic Christmas (2022) is yet another special with the most successful singer/songwriter in Country Music history, and then some. This is simply a Backstage Musical about a TV music special being made at her Dollywood amusement park and to her credit, its not merely an 85-minutes-long advertisement for her company. Then Dolly (playing a variation of herself) starts to take her own magic fantasy journey. The rest is as expected and can be predictable, but her acting (she has that talent too) helps and this is fine for what it is. All in all, it is for families and fans only.

A Making Of featurette entitled A Holiday With Dolly is the only extra.

For more on Dolly, including a deluxe DVD set that has her back in the day on other's people's Christmas specials, try this link:


Lifetime 12-Movie Set: A Very Merry Christmas, Volume 5 + 6 (2019 - 2022) from the cable TV network show the de-evolution of the channel that has really become 'the holiday channel' showing endless, repetitive, predictable, sad such TV movies in July, which is as obnoxious as it may seem borderline sacrilege to more orthodox Christians, et al.

Save for a rare exception on Volume 6 with Kirk Franklin's The Night Before Christmas, these are so cookie-cutter at this point (and NO, not Christmas Cookie-cutter)

There are unsurprisingly no extras.

Richard Curtis' Love Actually 4K is a hit film with a following and on its 20th Anniversary, is back in this new, upgraded version. Not my favorite film by any means, the thing that does hold up is its cast, but the one-note passive-joke schtick and variants of the same sex jokes throughout only make this repetitive and almost annoying in its 2 hours, 15 minutes that have apparently captured a fan base, but it is just not for me.

The fun for some with this film is seeing starts then who were not as big or known at all, or the ones known looking younger, so some might find the following cast sample of spoilers by default, but the star power includes Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Billy Bob Thornton, Rowan Atkinson (in semi-cameo form,) Martine McCutcheon, Chiwetel Ejiorfor, Elisha Cuthbert, Denise Richards, Shannon Elizabeth, Claudia Schiffer and uncredited turns by Frances de la Tour and Jeanna Moreau.

Please note that I am a fan or big fan of many of those listed, but even they could not save this film from being repetitive, albeit on purpose for what they apparently were going for. I did not have a problem with the post-9/11 statement in the beginning of the film either, though it hardly dealt with that idea afterwards. In fairness, that would likely be an idea for a different film. Also, I thought Curtis, a longtime prolific writer, fared better with his next film, Pirate Radio aka The Boat That Rocked, reviewed elsewhere on this site. This just has too many meet cute moments and for em and many others, enough was enough. For fans and those interested only.

Extras include Digital Code, while the 4K disc adds a new anniversary Making Of featurette and the olde disc (per the press release) adds:

  • Deleted Scenes with Introductions by Richard Curtis

  • The Music of Love Actually with Introductions by Richard Curtis

  • The Storytellers

  • Kelly Clarkson "The Trouble With Love Is" Music Video

  • Billy Mack "Christmas is All Around" Music Video

  • and a Feature Length Audio Commentary with Director Richard Curtis and Actors Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy and Thomas Sangster.

The Office: Complete Christmas Collection (2005 - 2012) is a collection of the annual holiday shows from the hugely successful U.S. version of the big British TV sitcom hit. So big, the remake is sometimes remembered more than the original version. I am not massive fan of either version, but they are very good shows and I totally understand why they were hits. If you are not familiar with the show, you will not know the characters as well as fans do.

In any event, the episodes (per the press release) are...

  • Christmas Party: Holiday cheer is in short supply when Michael insists on doing a last-minute swap of Secret Santa gifts, and Jim becomes alarmed that his sweet and sentimental gift for Pam will end up in Dwight's hands.

  • A Benihana Christmas: It's a time for joy and goodwill toward others, but the staff is feeling none of it as Michael deals with a broken heart and Angela and Pam create rival Christmas parties.

  • Moroccan Christmas: It's time for the annual Christmas party and a drunken Meredith gets into the holiday spirit by setting her hair on fire.

  • Secret Santa: Michael is outraged when Jim allows Phyllis to be Santa at the Christmas party, where holiday spirits are dampened by the company's troubles. Meanwhile, Andy's Secret Santa gifts to Erin backfire and Oscar has a secret crush.

  • Classy Christmas: Toby takes a leave of absence and corporate sends Holly to cover for him; Michael forces Pam to hold a second Christmas party on the day Holly arrives; Dwight challenges Jim to a snowball fight.

  • Christmas Wishes: Andy tries to make this year's Christmas the best ever by granting each person's holiday wishes; Robert California tries to drown his sorrows at the office party.

  • and Dwight Christmas: When the party planning committee drops the ball on the annual Christmas party, Dwight gets everyone to celebrate with a traditional Schrute German Christmas.

They hold up well enough and are not bad, possibly even making new fans for the show. Cheers to the cast for keeping up such consistently good work.

Extras include Deleted Scenes, Audio Commentaries and a Producer's Extended Cut of the Secret Santa episode. You can read more about the series in these reviews of DVD season sets as follows:







Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Love Actually 4K is better than the old 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the older Blu-ray repressed fort this set, with its motion blur and detail limits. However, there is still some odd blur on the 4K edition and maybe it is an older HD master Universal thought was good enough for the upgrade? Still, it is an improvement enough that fans will be happy, but I was not as impresses. As for sound, the new lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) upgrade of the original 5.1 sound is better than the often flat-sounding and limited DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix from the older Blu-ray. The film was obviously a quiet, dialogue and joke-based film, with all kinds of music, but never any kind of sonic wonder. The Atmos brings out as much of the original soundmaster as we will ever hear, albeit professional at best. The combination on the 4K disc is the preferred way to view the film, but default if nothing else.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on all the discs are trying to be 'Christmas colorful' and the like, but the Story and Dolly releases are surprisingly softer than they should be and to be blunt, than clips I have seen of them otherwise. The lifetime telefilms look better, when they should not and The Office episodes look the best by a narrow hair.

All releases feature lossy Dolby Digital 5.1, save the 24 Lifetime films in lesser, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, but they are about on an even keel. However, the Lifetime films are always finished and mixed to push their sound up in artificial ways that cause some harmonic distortion and other sonic issues that you can hear if you listen to enough, so be careful of high playback volumes. Maybe this is why they do not do lossless sound and HD discs.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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