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.
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.
Acts of Vengence (October 2017) rated R, Antonio Banderas plays a lawyer who is too busy for his family. The police are too busy to find his family’s killer. This is a gritty movie with some blood, no guts, and a little foul language. The blood is very minimal and mostly deals with a boxing ring. The movie moves forward quickly and Banderas luckily doesn’t speak much in it. I and others find his accent as true as it is, hard to understand. On the other hand, this gave Banderas a vehicle to show of his acting, and he was amazing.
Karl Urban (Star Trek) plays a cop and I didn’t recognize him at all. This is acting! Forget Dr. McCoy, this guy is a real action man! and makes Jason Bourne look like the woose he is. Although the acting was great I can only give this movie 4.5 stars
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.
I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore was released on February 24th, 2017 and is the story of depressed nurse Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) who returns home to find that she has been burgled. She reports the incident to the police and all they do is give her advice to not leave the property unlocked. She decides to find the perpetrators herself and starts to ask her neighbours if they had seen anything. This is when she meets her rather weird neighbour Tony (Elijah Wood) who becomes enraged with the incident and together they decide to find her stolen property. The story then descends into what can only be described as blood, guts, comedy and a sense of wanting her to get justice for what has happened to her.
I really enjoyed this movie and can safely say that after the first half hour I was not expecting it to turn into such an enjoyable movie. Lynskey and Wood play off each other well and along with the supporting cast they make the story believable in a weird kind of way. The police officer however must have been completely stupid or couldn’t care and I would hope that real ones were not as inept as this one was. I would give this a high rating of 4.5/5 but as I have watched it once I don’t think a second time would be as much fun. Consequently, I will not be adding it to my collection.
Barely Lethal (April 2015, PG-13} As usual Hollywood puts adults in the roles of teenagers with this one, however, for the most part, it works, except for the band. This is a fun girly romp where the bad girls want the overaged ‘teen’ bandleader in high school. This is one movie where all the seniors in school look like they graduated from college years ago. However, it is a fun romp into the girly side of life and shows us how deadly girls can become. The girls come from an assassination school and don’t worry boys if you are an orphan ninja, then they will take you too!
An assassin that wants to have at least some sort of semblance of normality has a chance to change her life and takes that chance. But being raised in a killers orphanage and put in a high school environment is not as easy as you might think. After all, the poor girl has no idea how teens act out. This is the funny side of the movie. Unlike some movies where girls fight and die over shoes, this one is about boys. Yes, they will die for the right boy, but really they will kill first for that right boy. imagine that.
I enjoyed this movie and the cast was almost perfect, but the ages of the cast ruined it, as all movies like this do. I give the movie 3 out of 5 stars and it is still worth watching. If you are a girl buy it and watch it a lot, maybe you can learn a few things. If you are a guy, buy it for your girl, she will remember you.
Movies made for the holidays tend to be either cartoons or faith-based, not that there is anything wrong with that but they don’t interest me. Get Santa (released December 12, 2014) does not fall under either of these categories. It is a fun movie about an ex-convict father and his son who help Santa save Christmas. Why Santa needs their help is the crux of the movie. It is a British film, so if you find reindeer farts and reindeer pellets funny, you’ll be sure to like this film.
The acting was very good. Santa is played by Jim Broadbent, a famous British actor whose films I enjoy. Kit Connor (Tom) is a decent child actor and plays well with Rafe Spall as his father. Some people may feel that the story isn’t very logical, but it is only a Christmas story that doesn’t necessarily require logic, just entertainment value. Get Santa, as far as I am concerned, appeals to children and adults. The one thing that is a bit unnecessary is the British obsession with farts. Its funny the first time, but it has limited appeal. At least the elves weren’t animated as they were in another Christmas movie which was reviewed earlier this week.
This may not be a perfect Christmas movie, but it is one of the better ones I have seen. Most of the actors did a good job and the story line was well-paced. This definitely has my recommendation as worth watching with the whole family. I give this 4 stars out of 5 and may consider buying it for my collection.
In Order of Disappearance is a Norwegian film which was released on February 21, 2014. Stellan Skarsgard plays Nils Dickman, a village snowplow driver whose son is murdered by gangsters. He decides to get revenge when the police refuse to do anything. As he makes his way up the ladder of the crime syndicate, things take an unusual turn when a Serbian mob gives involved.
There was plenty of action and gore in this film. The photography was excellent and with all those snow scenes, I almost felt like I would get frostbite. I can’t fault any of the acting because they were all believable. There was one character who I laughed at. He played “The Count”, the cocaine kingpin. I found it hard to take seriously a gangster with a ponytail. The story line was very good and I was captivated by the action.
With so many positive things, you probably think that I would give it five stars. Well, you would be right. I did see some minor faults either with the story line or a character, but they were so minor and not repeated that I can’t go down to a four or four and a half. I can recommend this movie. It has been dubbed so you don’t have to deal with subtitles. I would consider getting it for my collection.
Terminator Salvation was released on May 21, 2009. In 2003, Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) is scheduled to be executed, but before he is, he signs his body to Dynacorp. Fifteen years later, the war between Man and Skynet is in full fire. Marcus stumbles across Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) in the ruins of Los Angeles. Reese is John Connor’s future father (Christian Bale) who is a leader of the Resistance.
There were a couple of points in the movie that didn’t make sense. I don’t always care for sequels, but this is one of the better ones that I have seen. The story line was comprehensible and there was plenty of action scenes. The three main actors were very believable and they played their parts very well. The CGI was also very good.it kept Helena Bonham Carter and Bryce Katherine Harris were good in their roles, even though they didn’t have a lot of screen time.
Over all, this was a good movie. There was plenty of action without any gore. I would watch it again, but I probably wouldn’t buy it for my collection. I give this 4 stars out of 5, mainly for the story line and how it kept my interest. The acting was also commendable.
The fantasy film The Golden Compass was released in the United States on December 7, 2007. It stars Nicole Kidman as an evil and influential woman who has children abducted in order to separate them from their familiars (daemons). Dakota Blue Richards is an orphan (Lyra) who is taken in by her uncle (Daniel Craig), a professor who goes to the North to investigate the link between humans and the daemons. Freddie Highmore voices Lyra’s familiar Pantalaimon and Ian McKellan voices the bear warrior Iorek Byrnison.
If a story is well-written in this genre of fantasy, then I have no problem with the book or the movie. The Golden Compass, however, is a film that has a troubled past. Part of the problem stemmed from pressure to create another Lord of the Rings style movie. This is a film that had high hopes that, unfortunately, failed. The acting, CGI, and photography were all good, but the story line is weak in some parts. It is obvious from the ending speech by Lyra, that this was supposed to be part one of a trilogy, since the original books were a trilogy. It seems there may have been conflicts between the director and the studio, I’m not sure, but a Golden Compass 2 or 3 doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
It has been 11 years since the original Golden Compass came out and I’ve seen it only two times. Its a good enough film for children and some adults may enjoy it, but its not good enough for me to want to add it to my collection. In spite of the good acting, the weakness of the script was the major flaw of this film. I give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5.