Outhier: Offbeat Christmas flicks this weekend - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Outhier: Offbeat Christmas flicks this weekend

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Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2008 6:25 pm | Updated: 10:05 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Evidently, we moviegoers were naughty this year. Why else would Santa leave a nasty lump of cinematic coal such as "Four Christmases" in our collective stocking? Maybe it was punishment for not seeing "The Visitor."

Thankfully, there are a handful of yuletide alternatives currently in movie theaters. And none of them feature Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon as a pair of smarmy, Christmas-hating yuppies.


True, this mysterious Will Smith vehicle - new in theaters this week - isn't technically a Christmas movie. Starring the "Men in Black" star as a troubled aerospace tycoon who moonlights as an IRS agent so he can visit terminally ill or otherwise ailing regular folk, it's more like a lachrymose hybrid of "21 Grams" and "Pay It Forward." Still, Christmaslike themes are prevalent throughout (let's just say Smith takes the concept of "giving" to unthinkable extremes).

>> "Seven Pounds" is playing Valleywide. Click here for local listings and showtimes. To read the review, click here.


Greeted by lukewarm critical response when first released in 2004, this Robert Zemeckis-directed dream-fable has since carved a lucrative niche as a year-in, year-out seasonal attraction. Like some of the best Christmas movies, it's slightly trippy. Combine the recurring likeness of Tom Hanks with the surreal motion-capture animation and you have an immersive journey that somehow slips unnoticed into the cinnamon-scented depths of your Christmastime consciousness.

>> "Polar Express: An IMAX 3-D Experience" is playing at the Tempe IMAX at Arizona Mills, 5000 Arizona Mills Circle. Click here for screening information.


From the endearingly warped mind of space-rock pioneer Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips) comes this seasonal sci-fi treat about a group of stranded Martian colonists who discover the true meaning of Christmas while staging an out-of-this-Earth nativity play. Coyne serves as writer, director and lead Martian on this micro-budget production, which is playing this weekend only (alongside the slasher classic "Black Christmas") courtesy of cult cinema diva Andrea Beasley-Brown (aka the Midnite Movie Mamacita).

>> "Christmas on Mars" screens 11 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday at Chandler Cinemas, 2140 N. Arizona Ave. Tickets $7. Visit midnitemoviemamacita.com or click here for showtimes.

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