Top Christmas Movies for the Whole Family
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Canines and martians are among the stars of Christmas movies hitting home video formats this season. Canadian Press film expert John McKay looks at the good, the bad, and the ugly of this year's batch of festive family films.

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It's that time of year again. So let's look at some of the fresh titles available this holiday season.We'll start with Disney and its new live-action adventure Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups with those live-action talking pooches where only their mouths are animated. This is a sequel to 2010's direct-to-video The Search for Santa Paws in which four pups take it upon themselves to save a small town's Christmas spirit. Filmed in Vancouver, Cheryl Ladd stars as Mrs. Claus…who knew Santa's wife was such a knockout?Another wholesome adventure for the kids is Chilly Christmas (Anchor Bay), in which Chilly the dog must protect his California family from a dognapper. This one borrows heavily from The Dog Who Saved Christmas from a couple of years back, about Zeus the pooch who fights off some home intruders, which in turn was a rip-off, a canine version of Home Alone.Now, I'm not sure what to think about A Christmas Story 2 (Warner), a sequel nearly 30 years after what has become a perennial classic. The best bits are recycled. Ralphie is now a teenager who has forgotten that Red Ryder BB gun and now wants a car. I suppose if you're at all curious how Ralphie, Flick, Scutt Farkus and Grover Dill turned out you can forgive this generally bad idea.Finally, the ugly. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Kino) from 1964 is as awful as the title sounds and why anyone would want to re-release it on Hi-Def Blu-ray is beyond me. But if you're so inclined, knock yourself out.