This year Christmas with the Whitfields promises to be one they will never forget. All the siblings have come home for the first time in years and they've brought plenty of baggage with them. As the Christmas tree is trimmed and the lights are hung, secrets are revealed and family bonds are tested. As their lives converge, they join together and help each other discover the true meaning of family. Touted as a comedy but filled with its share of drama, This Christmas focuses on a middle-class African American family celebrating the holiday together at the matriarch's home. Ma'Dere Whitfield (Loretta Devine) lives with her youngest son Michael (singer Chris Brown) and her longtime boyfriend Joe (Delroy Lindo). Though all the kids know about her relationship, Ma'Dere insists that Joe temporarily move out every holiday season. Her kids don't care that they're cohabitating, but they play along. The Whitfield kids are a hodge podge of trouble: Eldest daughter Lisa (Regina King) tries to convince Ma'Dere to sell her home and business at the behest of her wandering husband; Claude (Columbus Short) is a Marine whose holiday leave actually is a euphemism for AWOL. And even sweet Michael looks like he might break his mama's heart by pursuing a career in music (a nice setup that treats viewers to a few songs by Brown). Ma'Dere's husband had left the family years ago to follow his musical dream and she's afraid her son will follow suit. The Whitfields definitely are a dysfunctional family with numerous skeletons stuffed away in the closet. Though not earth-shattering in terms of plot (one of them is having a relationship with a Caucasian!), the film touts a strong cast that makes some of the implausible elements relatable. King, who grew up on television on shows such as 227, does a superb job adding depth and emotion to a rather unlikeable and bossy character. While not warm and fuzzy, This Christmas is a welcome addition to any holiday viewing. Just make sure small children aren't included in the audience. --Jae-Ha Kim
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Bill Murray is at his wry, wisecracking best in this riotous romantic comedy about a weatherman caught in a personal time warp on the worst day of his life. Teamed with a relentlessly cheerful producer (Andie MacDowell) and a smart-aleck cameraman (Chris Elliott), TV weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities. But on his way out of town, Phil is caught in a giant blizzard, which he failed to predict, and finds himself stuck in small-town hell. Just when things couldn't get any worse, they do. Phil wakes the next morning to find it's Groundhog Day all over again... and again... and again. Bill Murray does warmth in his most consistently effective post-Stripes comedy, a romantic fantasy about a wacky weatherman forced to relive one strange day over and over again, until he gets it right. Snowed in during a road-trip expedition to watch the famous groundhog encounter his shadow, Murray falls into a time warp that is never explained but pays off so richly that it doesn't need to be. The elaborate loop-the-loop plot structure cooked up by screenwriter Danny Rubin is crystal-clear every step of the way, but it's Murray's world-class reactive timing that makes the jokes explode, and we end up looking forward to each new variation. He squeezes all the available juice out of every scene. Without forcing the issue, he makes us understand why this fly-away personality responds so intensely to the radi...
Manufacturer: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
One of the most iconic teen comedies of the 1980s, Sixteen Candles, returns in an all-new Flashback Edition with never-before-seen bonus features! Samantha Baker (Molly Ringwald) is ready to make the most of her sweet sixteenth birthday â€¦ if only someone in her family would remember it. Sheâ€™s your average teen, enduring creepy freshmen, spoiled siblings, confused parents and the â€œBig Blonde on Campusâ€ who stands between her and the boy of her dreams. From writer/director John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Weird Science), Sixteen Candles is a warm-hearted coming-of-age comedy that helped define a generation!
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Brand: Warner Manufacturing
It Happened on 5th Avenue (DVD)As he does every winter, hobo Aloysius T. McKeever (Victor Moore) moves in to a mansion on New York City's 5th Avenue while its owners are away for the winter and invites all his hobo friends in from the cold. But this Christmas, Mary O'Connor (Ann Harding) comes home unexpectedly after a quarrel with her boyfriend to find her house occupied by jovial street dwellers. To make matters even worse, her father (Charles Ruggles) disguises himself as a hobo to get an invitation to stay in his own home -- and keeps his identity secret in this perennial Christmas favorite about rediscovering family and the joy of being together.]]>
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Kirk Cameron (Left Behind) stars as Caleb Holt, a heroic fire captain who values dedication and service to others above all else. But the most important partnership in his life, his marriage, is about to go up in smoke. This gripping story follows one man's desire to transform his life and marriage through the healing power of faith and fully embrace the fireman's code: Never Leave Your Partner Behind. A feel-good drama, Fireproof has a strong agenda: stay married, lead an honest life, and let your faith in a higher power help guide you. A still boyish-looking Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) stars as Caleb Holt, a mercurial-tempered firefighter whose marriage is on the rocks. He clearly enjoys his status as a hero, but it comes at the expense of his marriage. His wife Catherine (Erin Bethea) is tired of the distance and wants him to make more of an effort at home, rather than surf porn on the Internet and hoard his earnings toward his dream fishing boat instead of helping out her disabled mother. Faced with impending divorce, Caleb's dad challenges him to follow the "40-day love dare," in which each task (cook her dinner, say nothing negative, etc.) is meant for him to better understand love and commitment and try and win his wife back. The third film by brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, Fireproof is the siblings' most polished feature. Cameron does a fine job of making Caleb real and believable, even when we're not always liking him. Though saddled at times with maudlin lines...