Author Archives: Steven Fritchie

StevenF Review of Christmas Inheritance

The film Christmas Inheritance was released on December 15, 2017. It is a romantic comedy starring Eliza Taylor (from The 100) as a party girl whose father sends her to a small town to deliver a Christmas letter. The town is where her father (Neil Crone) and his best friend (Anthony Sherwood) started up their Home and Hearth company.

Now, I am not really a fan of romantic comedies. Most guys would probably consider this as a “girly movie”. The story line was almost predictable, but it was tolerable and had some good comedic bits. Jake Lacey plays the town inn keeper who has been hurt romantically before. He is a very likeable character and was very believable. Andie MacDowell played Jake’s aunt and local cafe owner.  As for the bad guy of the film, Michael Xavier played Gray, Eliza’s fiancee. He was definitely a New York stereotype of arrogance and rudeness.

The look of the town was successful in that it was very picturesque. I am also glad to say that there was no foul language and only one kissing scene.  For a movie of this genre, I was surprised in that there was a good balance of romance and comedy. I would recommend people to watch, but as I stated earlier, I would not buy this film. I give it 4 stars out of 5.

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StevenF Review of A Christmas Star

A Christmas Star is an Irish film which was released on December 29, 2017, in the US. Noelle is a village girl who was born in a shed on Christmas night and throughout her life manages to stop people’s fighting just with a thought. When a former industrialist’s son returns to the village, he promises the village that the local industry, snow globe making, will remain. Noelle discovers that his actual plant to tear down the village and put in an amusement park.

Erin Galway-Kendrick plays 11-year-old Noelle who believes she can perform small miracles. Pierce Brosnan plays Mr. Shepherd, a land developer who sends the industrialist’s son and grandson to close the deal. I would like to say that I really enjoyed this movie, but there were some flaws that ruined it for me. The relationship between the industrialist and his teenage son was confusing and bordered on child abuse. The location and cinematography for the movie were excellent. The directing wasn’t horrible, just a bit uneven.

This was a decent enough Christmas film which I would recommend for viewing. I wouldn’t buy it for my collection due to the storyline between the father and son. The concept of faith and love in order to stop hate is expressed well enough without sounding preachy or sickening. I give this 3 1/2 stars out of five.

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StevenF Review of Pottersville

Pottersville was released on November 10, 2017. Maynard Greiger (Michael Shannon) owns a grocery store in a town which is on its last legs. When a friend tells him he has to enjoy life more, he takes the advice and goes home early only to find his wife and the sheriff dressed as furries. He ends up getting drunk, decides to put on a costume and runs around town only to wake the next day and find out that he is mistaken for Bigfoot.

Michael Shannon’s character was played very low key which I think gave his character a sense of humility. Ron Perlman played the sheriff and he had some very funny scenes. Thomas Lennon played Blake Masterson, a phony Australian monster hunter. His portrayal of an Australian was about as authentic as Shannon’s Bigfoot character. For the most part, I thought the movie was funny with an underlining of Americana. The director did a very good job and the actors were believable. This could be classified, I suppose, as A Wonderful Life meets Ghost Hunters. There were a couple scenes that were, how should I put this? Cringy, specifically when Lennon sings a song about hunting yetis.

I liked the movie overall. It wasn’t specifically a Christmas movie but it was a good holiday movie. I would watch it again and I would recommend it to others. I give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

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StevenF Review of 48 Christmas Wishes

The Hallmark movie 48 Christmas Wishes was released on November 2, 2017. When one of Santa’s elves accidentally burns a sack of Christmas wishes, she and a helper go to the town to recover the wishes. The main focus is on the Williams family, which consists of a widow, her 13-year old daughter and 9-year old son. Since it was shown on TV and is classified as a family movie there is no foul language used.

The story line was good if a bit too sugary. The child actors, for the most part, were decent. There were a couple of characters that could have used better actors or have been eliminated altogether. The directing was good as well as the cinematography. I was happy to see that child actors played the elves instead of the film makers using animated elves. There were a couple scenes that tugged on my heart strings, as these sort of movies tend to do. The elves ear makeup was done well and the children made their characters believable. At the end of the movie there are scenes from a blooper reel which almost always brings a smile to my face.

For the most part, I found this to be a very nice addition to seasonal films. Some of the story line could have been strengthened, but I would not say that its a horrible film. Some of the child actors may have been acting in their first film. I know that is true for the boy who played Blake, however he has been in commercials and plays since he was 6 years old. I would watch this again, I would recommend it, BUT I would not buy it. In spite of some of the film’s flaws, I give it 4 stars out of 5.

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StevenF Review of Bitch

Bitch was released on November 10, 2017 as a made-for-TV movie. It is a dark comedy about a woman whose life comes crumbling down due to her philandering husband and four demanding children. Due to all of the pressures of her family, she has a nervous breakdown and takes on the personality of a vicious dog. The rest of the film shows how this effects her husband and children.

This has a few physical humorous scenes, but for the most part it falls flat. Jason Ritter (son of late actor John Ritter) plays Bill Hart, a man who thinks that the women in his life are there for his own selfish needs. Marianna Palka (she also wrote and produced the film) plays Jill, a woman who is slowly sinking into mental oblivion. Since this is an usual story line, its difficult for me to say how believable the characters are. The child actors were good as well as the actress who played the sister-in-law. I wasn’t too crazy about the sound track which seemed to consists of experimental jazz.

I did watch this movie all the way through although at the point where the husband is left with the kids, I lost interest. The ending was, like the movie, up in the air. I don’t really plan to watch this again. Its like seeing something at a bakery that looks appetizing, but when you try it, you are sorely disappointed. Since there was some foul language, an irritating sound track and a disappointing story line, I can only give this 2 stars out of 5.

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StevenF Review of Death Note

This movie is apparently a remake of a Japanese film by the same name, which was taken from a manga comic book. This version was released on August 25, 2017. I have not seen the Japanese version, so I cannot compare the two even if I wanted. Light Turner (Nat Wolff) is a troubled student who mysteriously comes across a book with the title “Death Note”. It also comes with an apple-loving demon who kills those the book owner writes in it.

I personally liked the story, but the fact that over aged actors portrayed teens seemed silly. Ryuk the demon (voiced by Willem Dafoe) looks like a cross between Groot and a porcupine. Lakeith Stanfield as L, a sleep deprived agent who has a huge sweet tooth, was good. Margaret Qualley as Mia Sutton, Light’s girlfriend, was believable up to a point, then she just became pure evil. The directing and CGI were very good. There were some bloody scenes, but they were not the main focus of the film. I liked the demon Ryuk’s weird sense of humor and Jason Liles did a good job portraying him.

If I had to make any criticism of this movie, it would probably be the cliche of teen (sort of) horror movies. In some cases it gave me the feeling of watching Final Destination. On the whole, this was a decent film and I would recommend it to others. I would also be interested in seeing the original Japanese version. I give this version 4 stars out of 5.

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StevenF Review of Kong: Skull Island

The film Kong: Skull Island was released on March 10, 2017. It stars Tom Hiddleston as a tracker, John Goodman as a scientist who investigates a mysterious island, Brie Larson as a photographer, and Samuel L. Jackson as a hard-core military officer. The year is 1973 when Goodman talks a senator into allowing an expedition to a strange island in pursuit of a giant gorilla. The expedition is joined by Jackson’s helicopter unit who are to be their transport to the island.

The special effects were done by Spielberg’s Industrial Light and Magic. They did an excellent job as far as I’m concerned. Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, and Samuel L. Jackson were all great portraying their characters. My only complaint is that Jackson seems lately to be always cast as a half-sane authority figure. The story line was excellent in that it did not seem to have any glaring inconsistencies. There were one or two minor technical inaccuracies, but unless you were knowledgeable about WWII airplanes, it wouldn’t affect the believability of the story. There was enough action in the film to keep the viewer’s interest and the fight scenes between the creatures (no spoilers) was exciting.

I was impressed with this version of a story that has been filmed at least three different times since 1931. I have only seen the original King Kong (1931), so I was a bit leery about whether I would care for this version. I was pleasantly surprised. It was far and away better than I had thought, and it didn’t hurt that Goodman, Hiddleston, and Jackson were in the movie. I did buy the movie and I recommend it to everyone who likes a good adventure story. I give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

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StevenF Review of The Adventure Club

This family film was released on February 10, 2017. It concerns three kids (Sam Ashe Arnold, Jacob Davies, and Delila Bela) who have formed a club called The Adventure Club. Ricky’s grandfather was an adventurer and Ricky hopes to be like him. This comes true when the kids discover the grandfather’s secret club and a magic wish box. Langley (Billy Zane) plays the bad guy in this film.

The story is a good family film which does not have any foul language. The child actors are engaging and you root for them all through this adventure. Kim Coates as Jane, Ricky’s mother and the director of a museum, is fairly believable. Billy Zane was just the right amount of evil without going over board. The director did a good enough job on the film, but there were some inconsistencies in the story, i.e. Ricky has dinner and its daytime, but a few minutes later his mom tells him its late and he has to go to bed. There were others if the viewer pays close att6ention.

I did review this before, but it was lost when the site crashed. It is a decent story, and worth watching if you haven’t seen it before. I, however, would not rate it high enough to say that it is worth buying. I give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5, most of that going to the child actors.

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StevenF Review of The Monster

The Canadian thriller The Monster was released on October 6, 2016. Zoe Kazan (Kathy) is a divorced alcoholic mother with a daughter who is basically her caretaker. The daughter is played by Ella Ballentine (Lizzy). While driving Lizzy to her father’s place, apparently across country, the two are in an accident when they hit a wolf crossing the road. While waiting for a tow truck and ambulance, their lives take a horrifying turn.

While watching some of the trailer for this film, I was a bit skeptical about this film. I wasn’t sure if it was a werewolf or alien movie. Since it was rated R, I did expect some bloody scenes. There were some, but the thing that sold me on this movie were the jump scares. Now, normally I am not affected by scenes meant to scare people out of their seats, but this movie had me jumping at least three times. The beginning was a bit slow, but once the two got on the road it got better. The director did a good job and the editing of the film between the past and the present was well done.

The only complaints that I have about this film deals with the foul language and the somewhat cheesy appearance of the title character. The music was good and fed into the tension of the film. I would watch this again and give it 4 stars out of 5.

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StevenF Review of The Lobster

The film The Lobster is a multinational production which was released in the US on May 13, 2016. It is described as a dark dystopian comedy which takes place in a world where being single is a crime. Singles are rounded up and put up in a hotel for 45 days. If they do not find a suitable mate within that time, they are transformed into animals.

The lead characters of the film are David (Colin Farrell) and a woman simply referred to as Nearsighted Woman (Rachel Weisz) who form an attachment and escape to the forest with the other singles. Their acting was passable considering the drabness of their characters.  The choreography was good, directing was bad. The story line, I suppose, would make sense if you were on drugs. I guess there was a touch of surrealism to the scenery, which I normally would like, but it was obscured by the dullness of the sound track.

This film was 2 hours, 3 minutes of sheer boredom. I really wish that I could be more sympathetic to the director/screenwriter, but I can’t. Unless someone had insomnia, I would not recommend this movie to anyone or buy it. If you’re someone who is into Art House type films, you’ll probably enjoy this. I can only give it 2 1/2 stars out of 5. 





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