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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Nicely done, sincere and honest take on the holidays.

Author: Jake Papageorge from Joliet, IL
5 November 2009

As a fan of holiday movies, many run the gambit of being corny, and the exceptional ones rise above that by doing something original with the material.

This movie doesn't have a conventional "happy" ending, but it does have a hopeful one, and in that, I commend the filmmakers for having the guts to present a story that is slowly paced and realistic in tone.

I imagine many viewers can relate to this story in how its lead character deals with isolation during the holidays, without leaning on a religious message... although part of the ending takes place in a church, it has more to do with having faith in others and what's around us then putting all expectations in "God's hands".

I also like the director's use of Chicago's north side neighborhoods... I discovered "Night Before Christmas" after having seen his other movie "The Dark Knight Project", which also made great use of Chicago's downtown locations. As a native of Chicago myself, it's cool seeing parts of the city so well reflected in motion pictures shot here.

Merry Christmas Nitestar Productions! And to all a good night...

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Holiday Film!

Author: cmaltezos from United States
29 December 2011

This film has been a annual holiday favorite in my home since I first watched it when it aired on Lifetime channel in the mid 90s. Director Jerry Vasilatos does a fine job with this character study of a disillusioned and lonely young man named Nick searching for himself on Christmas Eve. I like how the film strays away from the usual clichés and instead examines how small moments that seem insignificant can really make difference in our lives. Mike Kelley finds the right moments of uncertainty and boyish charm as Nick and Mary Margaret McCloud is also good as his former girlfriend Kristine who is doing some soul searching of her own on this Christmas Eve. Kelley and McCloud have good chemistry together and their scenes are effective and touching. With the constant commercialization of Christmas and increasing expectations of the holiday, it's nice to see film that examines its characters without histrionics or false sentimentality. Like Nick, many people approach Christmas with disappointment or loneliness and the film is an important affirmation to look within ourselves and appreciate the small gestures of kindness we can share to better those around us and most importantly, ourselves. For that reason, I watch this film every year on Christmas Day.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

honest and sweet

Author: M DM from United States
29 December 2011

Good Christmas holiday watching, if you are a fan of low budget, independent movies. This movie was apparently the first movie most of the cast and crew ever worked on, and I think they did a splendid job for newcomers to the art of filmmaking.

There are definitely nods to "It's a Wonderful Life", a Hollywood movie made for nearly $4 million in the post-WWII era. Doesn't seem like a huge budget now, but it was the biggest budget at the time.

I've read that Stanley Kubrick would take one shot several dozen times. He had the budget, why not go for perfection? A small, indy film like this probably had more like a 4:1, 5:1 shooting ratio. Basically, everyone had to be at their best, and all together. On a shooting ratio like that, the best performance does not necessarily match up with the best shot, the best sound quality or the best directing.

I think everyone involved in the making of this movie did a great job, considering working in the trenches of low budget filmmaking, first-time filmmaking, etc. The result was a sweet and honest look at the symbiotic relationship between isolation and hope, at a time of year that brings forth the conflicting emotions of joy and despair.

It's sad to see slower paced and meaningful Christmas fare (like 'A Charlie Brown's Christmas') go to the wayside in favor of fast-fast-fast paced, corporate synthetic music, more-more-more glut that passes for art today. 'Solstice/The Night Before Christmas' is a return to that purity for me.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One of the best Christmas films I've seen

Author: photographer_dude87 from United States
28 December 2011

This is one of my favorite holiday films mainly because its magic is found in reality.. And the reality being pretty gloomy and straight forward... Which is basically the main character in this film. You don't have have Santa Claus.. No elves.. No talking snowman.. But you have Chicago in the winter.. You have this man's life during the holidays and how negatively meaningful it is to him.. And certain events wake him up.. And that is the true magic of Christmas.. Very well acted and directed.. Cast and crew did an amazing job indeed and it's quite simple in that sense that you find that magic right in front of you no matter how bad things can be.. And watching this film really shows that. I love it. What can I say. 10 out of ten .

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

What was that?

Author: wazhead1 from United Kingdom
15 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If I was a sadistic weirdo, I would recommend this to everyone this holiday season.

Here is a spoiler: You cannot spoil this film! There has to be something that happens for there to be a spoiler AND NOTHING HAPPENS IN THIS FILM.

Don't get me wrong, I am capable of looking for subtleties in a narrative but this is devoid of them (even if you take into account that the characters are badly acted and we care nothing for them).

I don't know if I watched a film or not. I might have just dreamt it. Not in a good way, for this film is the biggest, steaming pile of absolute nothing I have had the displeasure to witness.

It's only short, and that is a true Christmas blessing.

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1 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

If this were a dog you'd take it out and shoot it...even on Christmas Eve!

Author: llarian-3 from Ipswich, UK
12 December 2008

It says much when the most entertaining part of a DVD is the (single) blooper at the end. Is this possibly the worst movie ever made? Plot less, pointless, with acting that borders on sub-amateur and non-existent production values. It's trying to be 'It's A Wonderful Life' but fails miserably on every level. How this managed to have a cast and crew so vast is mystery as it appears to have been shot on a domestic camcorder with a mobile/cell phone used to record the sound. Of course, it's usually a bad sign when something is "Written, produced and directed by..." but this breaks all the boundaries of awful and self-indulgent. Bad, bad, BAD!

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