The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Specials

Christmas TV specials, limited series and movies are bigger than ever these days from now until the New Year, you’ll be able to find some festive yule-tide programming every night of the week. From the traditional viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, the different versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to baking shows and live music specials, we’ve got them all listed on the new Christmas TV Specials page. (Since not all of the networks list their specials early, this list will be updated throughout the coming weeks, so check back often for new additions!)

Edgy ‘Prisoners’ will keep you guessing

Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) has a conversation with
Alex Jones (Paul Dano) Photos: Warner Bros.


Every parent has their own fantasies on how they would deal with someone who abuses their children. In Warner Bros.' Prisoners not only asks “what would you do,” but also, how far you would go to protect your family.

This riveting tale begins innocently enough on Thanksgiving Day. The Birch family have invited the Dover’s over for the holiday meal and everyone has a great time until they realize that their six-year-old daughters are missing. The causal looking for the girls soon turns to panic as the day turns into night. Where did they go? The only lead the families have is a mysterious RV that is parked down the street. 

Detective Loke (Jake Gyllenhaal)
 questions Nancy (Viola Davis) and
Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard).
After some strange behavior, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrests its' inhabitant, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), a scary looking guy with a little, creepy-sounding voice. His mother is played by Melissa Leo, in another incredible role for the actress. When Alex is released due to a lack of evidence, the fathers, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard) do what they can to assist the police, but frustration and paranoia mounts. Soon, Keller is taking matters into his own hands with Franklin reluctantly assisting.

The film is a unique study on how each other family members handle the crisis. Keller’s wife, Grace, (Maria Bello) has a nervous breakdown and their son Ralph (Dylan Minnette) is pressured to be the “man of the house” while his father is “helping” the police. Franklin’s wife, Nancy (Viola Davis), just becomes angry. As hours turn into days, tensions rise and relationships are strained.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman
Prisoners is a very somber movie. Everything in this movie looks depressing. The blue collar families live in modest homes, old shopping centers are turned into second hand shops and it is raining in almost every scene. There is a twinge of grey throughout.

The film will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.  Jackman and Gyllenhaal spar off each other very well. You can actually feel the tension between the two men as each believes that the other is in their way.

Melissa Leo and Paul Dano
More disturbing than the actual storyline is the focus on religion. Religious nut jobs are nothing new, but the film is trying to make a statement as if the Bible can be blamed for one’s bad behavior. Also disturbing is the idea that someone doing the wrong thing for the right reasons should be praised. One of the most disturbing lines in the film is “He is a good man” for behavior that clearly wasn’t.

Prisoners is an intriguing story that will keep you guessing until the end and even afterward, but the closer it gets to the ending the more unbelievable it becomes.

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