Watched The Professor and the Madman (2019) from Netflix
Directed by Farhad Safinia. With Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, Eddie Marsan, Natalie Dormer. Professor James Murray begins work compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid-19th century, and receives over 10,000 entries from a patient at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, Dr. William Minor.

Rating: ★★★½

More dramatic than I remember the book being. Entertaining and dramatic.

Watched Old School (2003) from TBS | Slingbox
Directed by Todd Phillips. With Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Jeremy Piven. Three friends attempt to recapture their glory days by opening up a fraternity near their alma mater.

Rating: ★★★

I know I saw this in a rough cut, but don’t remember any of the ending at all.

Straight up puerile comedy. A little bit of heart, but could have been stronger. Great casting.

Watched Noelle (2019) from Disney+
Directed by Marc Lawrence. With Anna Kendrick, Shirley MacLaine, Bill Hader, Kingsley Ben-Adir. Santa's daughter must take over the family business when her father retires and her brother, who is supposed to inherit the Santa role, gets cold feet.

Rating: ★★★★½  

One more time while reading…

Watched A Wedding for Christmas (TV Movie 2018) from Hallmark Movies
Directed by Fred Olen Ray. With Cristine Prosperi, Colton Little, Vivica A. Fox, Lesli Kay. Haley escapes her small-town and builds a life in Los Angeles as a wedding planner. When her sister asks her to plan her wedding, Haley returns to her childhood town and reunites with a childhood flame.

Rating: ★★★  

Cute enough, but the main character wasn’t very likeable for way too long. 

The story of the city mouse and the country mouse reframed into a Hallmark Christmas movie.

Watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) from Amazon Prime
Directed by David Yates. With Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Brendan Gleeson. With their warning about Lord Voldemort's return scoffed at, Harry and Dumbledore are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts.

Rating: ★★★★
Watched Noelle (2019) from Disney+
Directed by Marc Lawrence. With Anna Kendrick, Shirley MacLaine, Bill Hader, Kingsley Ben-Adir. Santa's daughter must take over the family business when her father retires and her brother, who is supposed to inherit the Santa role, gets cold feet.

Rating: ★★★★½  

Yes, again. It’s great!

Watched The Christmas Pageant (TV Movie 2011) from Hallmark Movies
Directed by David S. Cass Sr.. With Melissa Gilbert, Robert Mailhouse, Candice Azzara, Edward Herrmann. When a temperamental Broadway director is fired from yet another job, she is forced to direct a community Christmas pageant.

Rating:  ★★★  

Could have been a bit more cheeseball, but not horrible.

Watched Elf (2003) from Google Play
Directed by Jon Favreau. With Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel. After discovering he is a human, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole decides to travel to New York City to locate his real father.

Rating:  ★★★★  

Need something to watch while trimming the tree. This never fails.

Watched Noelle (2019) from Disney+
Directed by Marc Lawrence. With Anna Kendrick, Shirley MacLaine, Bill Hader, Kingsley Ben-Adir. Santa's daughter must take over the family business when her father retires and her brother, who is supposed to inherit the Santa role, gets cold feet.

Rating: ★★★★½

Hilarious and sad. A new classic!

Someone cried a lot at the very end, but wanted to watch it again immediately.

Watched December 1, 2020 - PBS NewsHour full episode from PBS NewsHour
Tuesday on the NewsHour, a look at what President-elect Joe Biden and his team say about their plan to revive the economy, a CDC committee recommends who should receive the earliest doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and why the pandemic is forcing millennials to move in with their parents.
Watched Ella (2016) from Amazon Prime
Directed by Douglas Watkin. With Stephen Page, David McAllister, Ella Havelka, Suzanne Duffy. In October 2012, Ella Havelka became the first Indigenous dancer to be invited into The Australian Ballet in its 50 year history. It was an announcement that made news headlines nationwide. A descendant of the Wiradjuri people, we follow Ella's inspirational journey from the regional town of Dubbo and onto the world stage of The Australian Ballet. Featuring intimate interviews, dynamic dance sequences, and a stunning array of archival material, this moving documentary follows Ella as she explores her cultural identity and gives us a rare glimpse into life as an elite ballet dancer within the largest company in the southern hemisphere.
Started watching for the ballet, stayed with hope for mnemotechny. I was generally disappointed on the second count.

Either Ms. Havelka didn’t want to personally, didn’t have permission to speak of it via elders, or she didn’t know about some of the deeper uses of dance within her culture. It just wasn’t covered here at all. I’ve been fascinated by Lynne Kelly’s research programme and in particular I’m reading my way through her most recent text Songlines with Margo Neale about the uses of song, dance, and arts within indigenous cultures in Australia. I’m curious how much time she spent in country to learn what she did. Was it just a few weeks for some exposure, or was there a deeper learning experience? Is she passing that experience along to her students? Was some of it filmed, but lost in editing?

Presuming they’re not already acquainted, I suspect that Ella Havelka, Lynne Kelly, and Margo Neale might enjoy meeting and discussing dance, culture, arts, and teaching.

Ella Havelka did speak about the significance of her feather tattoo within her culture, so there was at least some representation of associative memory here. The comment was simply a passing one (and sadly focused on covering it up with makeup to hide it for ballet). The discussion of the feather just didn’t connect with the greater body of knowledge I’m sure is hiding just behind it.

I was a bit proud that my 9 year old ballet enthusiast wasn’t able to discern what made Ella different despite that being a large part of the story arc. Still she enjoyed the dancing and journey anyway.

Note: This film was renamed Ballerina for airing via Amazon Prime.

Rating: ★★★½