Combustible Celluloid
With: Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Will Sasso, Neda Margrethe Labba, Sergio Pablos, Norm Macdonald, Joan Cusack (voices)
Written by: Sergio Pablos, Sergio Pablos, Jim Mahoney, based on a story by Sergio Pablos
Directed by: Sergio Pablos, Carlos Martínez López
MPAA Rating: PG for rude humor and mild action
Running Time: 96
Date: 11/15/2019

Klaus (2019)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Santa Fray

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Origin-of-Santa-Claus movies and shows are nothing new, but the animated feature Klaus feels fresh and smart, providing oddly logical ideas for the beginnings of certain Christmas traditions. It has a great look — hand-drawn characters and backdrops with computer-generated texturing and lighting — and strong voice performances. Wealthy, spoiled Jesper (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) is punished by his father, and sent to be the postmaster of a remote, frozen island, where longtime feuds between the residents don't result in much need for mail. He meets old toymaker Klaus (voiced by J.K. Simmons), and gets an idea: to meet his quota, and perhaps return to his old life, Jesper encourages the children to write letters to Klaus, asking for toys. The movie sadly relies on some overly familiar plot twists as it goes along, but finally wins the day with its cheerful spirit. Sergio Pablos, who wrote the stories for Despicable Me and Smallfoot, makes his directing debut.

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