Matchmaker Santa is only one of many cornball films in which Santa (Donovan Scott) helps a woman (Lacey Chabert) find a boyfriend (Adam Mayfield). This is the one where the vanilla extract was key. Carin Baer/Hallmark Channel hide caption

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Monkey See

The High And The Low In Holiday Movies

A discussion of highbrow holiday movies collides with admissions of gorging on cornball Christmas fare where Santa brings people love and magic happens.

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Otelo (Jafta Mamabolo, right) and his best friend, New Year (Thomas Gumede), grow up in South Africa during the violent years toward the end of apartheid. Indigenous Film Distribution hide caption

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Donnie Yen stars as Liu Jinxi, a quiet mountain-village family man who turns out to have a complicated past, in Dragon. Radius/The Weinstein Co. hide caption

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Flying 'Solo': Robert Carlyle plays a burnout Britpop veteran drinking his way through a second career among the farmers markets of Southern California — until a DUI bust sends him into a tailspin. Matthew Barnes/Strand Releasing hide caption

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Brad Pitt's Jackie Cogan is a midlevel mob enforcer in Killing Them Softly, adapted by Andrew Dominik from the 1974 novel Cogan's Trade. Melinda Sue Gordon/The Weinstein Co. hide caption

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Denzel Washington stars in Flight, the latest film from writer-producer-director Robert Zemeckis. Robert Zuckerman/Paramount Pictures hide caption

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In 1955's Daddy Long Legs, Leslie Caron plays a French orphan who goes to college thanks to help from an anonymous, American benefactor (Fred Astaire). Cat's Collection/Corbis hide caption

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In Rust and Bone, Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard plays an orca trainer who loses her legs in a freak accident. Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

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North and his Yetis lead the ensemble of immortals fighting off an assault from the malicious Pitch. DreamWorks Animation hide caption

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Keira Knightley and director Joe Wright have worked together on three film adaptations of period novels. Laurie Sparham/Focus Features hide caption

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In the first act of Les Miserables, factory worker Fantine (Anne Hathaway) loses her job and is forced first to sell her hair and then become a prostitute in order to support her daughter, Cosette. Universal Pictures hide caption

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