Saturday, November 26, 2022

A Tale of Two Christmases: Movie Review

Limited comedy, overplayed romance and an uneven main character.

Two Christmas romances are not necessarily better than one, especially when the film wants to be this unsubtle about which one is the right one. A Tale of Two Christmases features Emma an architect in Chicago and when she over-sleeps her alarm and runs into a Santa Claus-type person in the airport, her life splits into two directions: one if she makes her flight home to Vermont for Christmas Eve, the other where she spends Christmas Eve in Chicago.   2022

Directed by: Jason Bourque

Screenplay by: Cylin Busby, Nanci Katz

Starring: Katherine Barrell, Chandler Massey, Evan Roderick, and Keith MacKechnie

Friday, November 25, 2022

Merry Kiss Cam: Movie Review

Hockey and love and comedy in an indie rom-com.
Shot and set in Duluth, Minnesota, Merry Kiss Cam is a hockey movie for rom-cam fans, or maybe it’s the other way around and is a rom-com for hockey fans. Either way it’s the perfect coupling of comedy and romance in a college hockey town setting. The team in question is the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, a real team, but don’t worry you don’t need to know anything about them, just that they lose a lot.   2022

Directed by: Lisa France

Screenplay by: Maya Boudreau, Evan D. Watkins

Starring: Katie Lowes, Jesse Bradford

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Holiday Harmony: Movie Review

Uplifting and sweet tale of music and romance.

Holiday Harmony is an uplifting and sweet tale of music and romance, and in equal measure. Gail (Annelise Cepero) is an aspiring musician who lives out of her van and plays music in dive bars and on Instagram to all her friends in her phone. A real-life friend helps her apply for iHeart Radio’s Christmas show for her big break on national TV; however, on her way to LA she runs into van trouble in Harmony Springs, Oklahoma.   2022

Directed by: Shaun Piccinnino

Screenplay by: Lauren Swickard, Christopher James Harvill

Starring: Annelise Cepero, Jeremy Sumpter

The Noel Diary: Movie Review

A Christmas romance in sullen drama form about death, grief, and forgiveness.
The Noel Diary features Justin Hartley as Jake Turner, a famous and successful author returning to his childhood home after his mother passed away; and Barrett Doss as Rachel, a woman on search for the identity of her birth mother. It’s a subdued drama about two strangers connecting with one another as they deal with past traumas. Which then of course turns into a romance.   2022

Directed by: Charles Shyer

Screenplay by: Charles Shyer & Rebecca Connor,
and David Golden
Based on the novel by Richard Paul Evans

Starring: Justin Hartley, Barrett Doss

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Christmas on Mistletoe Farm: Movie Review

For the love of animals only.
A widowed father, Matt Cunningham (Scott Garnham), who has a full-time job and five young kids to take care of, then inherits a farm from his estranged father and decides to juggle his job plus raising his kids plus running a farm, and needless to say it doesn’t go smoothly. Mistletoe grows on Mistletoe Farm but the farm is a regular farm with animals, and eggs for sale, and minimal other revenue sources.   2022

Directed by: Debbie Isitt

Screenplay by: Debbie Isitt

Starring: Scott Garnham, Scott Paige

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Inventing the Christmas Prince: Movie Review

Wrong in almost every possibly way.

Inventing the Christmas Prince is definitely on the children’s movie end of the Hallmark spectrum, but the comedy isn’t cute, more nonexistent, and the romance is inappropriate. This is very poorly written with uneven acting and messages that make no sense. Considering Hallmark’s other choices are better, this should be a last resort.   2022

Directed by: Paul Ziller

Screenplay by: Kim Beyer-Johnson

Starring: Tamera Mowry-Housley, Ronnie Rowe

Saturday, November 19, 2022

She Said: Movie Review

In 2017 when the story of Harvey Weinstein broke and #MeToo flooded headlines, I think we all knew that the Hollywood dramatization would soon becoming. It’s finally here. She Said recounts the story of the two New York Times journalists Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) investigating the decades of abuse by Weinstein and finally getting the ground-breaking article published.   2022

Directed by: Maria Schrader

Screenplay by: Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Based on the story by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan

Friday, November 18, 2022

Sugar: Movie Review

A story of stupid criminals on a cruise ship.
Sugar is based on the true story of two Canadian Instagram models/influencers who find themselves as mules in the middle of a cocaine smuggling ring. There’s the obvious potential for a movie right there, and it’s not so much that the movie fails, but that it doesn’t understand its two main protagonists. These are not innocent girls who got caught up in drug smuggling. These are the two most materialistic morons on the planet and they’re not more complicated than that.   2022

Directed by: Vic Sarin

Screenplay by: Ben Johnstone, Annelies Kavan, Vic Sarin

Starring: Katherine McNamara, Jasmine Sky Sarin

Thursday, November 17, 2022

The People We Hate at the Wedding: Movie Review

Funny chaos leads to a more typical family dramedy.
The People We Hate at the Wedding are the embarrassing uncouth Americans at an upscale posh British wedding, and one thing that the film does well (at least at the beginning) is play with sympathies for protagonists vs antagonists. As an audience we’re programmed to hate the rich snobs and feel sorry for the messy people who just can’t help but make mistakes in their life, and there were a few times this film makes you question that.   2022

Directed by: Claire Scanlon

Screenplay by: Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin, Wendy Molyneux
Based on the book by Grant Ginder

Starring: Kristen Bell, Ben Platt, Allison Janney, and Cynthia Addai-Robinson

Christmas with You: Movie Review

Familiar Christmas rom-com with Latin flair.
Christmas with You is another Netflix Christmas romance but this time with a Latin flair. All of the main characters and actors are Latino-American and the story is centered around a girl’s quinceaƱera, but otherwise it’s a movie you’ve seen before and in typical Netflix fashion, very exaggerated. Angelina (Aimee Garcia) is a pop star, and supposedly one of the most famous pop stars on the planet.   2022

Directed by: Gabriela Tagliavini

Screenplay by: Paco Farias, Jennifer C. Stetson,
and German Michael Torres

Starring: Aimee Garcia, Freddie Prinze Jr.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Stay the Night: Movie Review

Stay the Night stars Andrea Bang and Joe Scarpellino as two lonely people facing rejection in their professional life and turning to strangers for a night out in their personal life. Like many romances that have come before it (notably Before Sunrise) this is just about two people meeting and getting to know each other over the course of one night. A cool winter night in downtown Toronto.   2022

Directed by: Renuka Jeyapalan

Screenplay by: Renuka Jeyapalan

Starring: Andrea Bang, Joe Scarpellino

Saturday, November 12, 2022

In Merry Measure: Movie Review

Nice music and a whole lot of sweetness.

This is my second Hallmark Christmas romance of the season and it’s not a bad decision. The first half of In Merry Measure carries the movie with some nice singing, and a very enjoyable – almost relatable – relationship forming. It’s sweet and then just gets sickeningly sweet, so be ready for a sugar rush, since the movie never dials it back.   2022

Directed by: Paula Elle

Screenplay by: Russell Hainline

Starring: Patti Murin, Brendan Penny

Ask Me to Dance: Movie Review

A lot of questionable decisions in an unfunny rom-com.

Jack and Jill, two strangers, separately meet a crazy old lady who tells them that they’re going to find the love of their life by New Year’s Eve. Ask Me to Dance is a movie I wanted to like a lot more than I actually did. But here’s the thing, Jack and Jill, two grown adults, supposedly sane adults, both take this crazy old lady seriously, like dead seriously. Suddenly they’re both signing up for every dating service out there, and more than half of the movie is two people going on really bad dates.   2022

Directed by: Tom Malloy

Screenplay by: Tom Malloy

Starring: Tom Malloy, Briana Evigan

Friday, November 11, 2022

Dive (AKA: La Caida): Movie Review

Captivating, compelling and important.
Mariel (Karla Souza) is an Olympic diver. She won the bronze medal when she was 15 and now almost a decade and a half later, she’s trying to get back there for her last chance at gold. Injuries and self-sabotage have plagued her career previously, but now the rest of the world might come crashing down with her. Dive starts with a very minimalistic feel but builds to a compelling and important story.   2022

Directed by: Lucia Puenzo

Screenplay by: Monica Herrera, Samara Ibrahim

Starring: Karla Souza

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Falling for Christmas: Movie Review

Light on laughs and romance, but it is sweet and charming.
Falling for Christmas is Netflix’s first Christmas movie of the season, and it’s also their first entry into the Lindsay Lohan renaissance (with the romantic comedy Irish Wish expected in 2023). It starts as an immature comedy about a spoiled brat acting like a spoiled brat, but the charm eventually wins over as it becomes a sweet comedy about a girl who doesn’t know who she is.   2022

Directed by: Janeen Damian

Screenplay by: Jeff Bonnett, Ron Oliver

Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Chord Overstreet

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Lights, Camera, Christmas!: Movie Review

A self-aware delight of a Hallmark Christmas romance.

Lights, Camera, Christmas! is a self-aware Hallmark Christmas movie, and is exactly what the genre needs. A Christmas romance that takes place on the set of a Hallmark-style Christmas romance movie featuring one lead character who hates the genre and her co-lead who makes a living off them and loves it. It has all the necessary ingredients to succeed, and it does.   2022

Directed by: David Weaver

Screenplay by: Gary Goldstein

Starring: Kimberley Sustad, John Brotherton

Friday, November 4, 2022

Deborah: Movie Review

Today’s politics in a blender accelerated by a technological glitch.
Deborah is an AI or a virtual assistant, not unlike Amazon’s Alexa, who decides to wreak havoc on a dinner party because society is just too dumb. Ada (Deborah Ann Woll) and Albert (Kevin Bigley) are hosting their childhood friends for a weekend get-together. Albert’s the tech genius who created Deborah; she – or rather IT – composes songs, recites feminist literature and can find sales on ED medicine. She can even pause or rewind time.   2022

Directed by: Noga Pnueli

Screenplay by: Noga Pnueli

Starring: Sophia Bush, Deborah Ann Woll, Scott Michael Foster and Kevin Bigley

The Minute You Wake Up Dead: Movie Review

A potentially interesting thriller that takes silly turns instead.
Russ (Cole Hauser) has returned to his small hometown. A stockbroker who made it big in the city has started a finance practice in town. His recent tip however went south and lost a lot of money for a lot of people, including himself. And then he starts receiving a mysterious anonymous phone call with the simple question, “Where will you be the minute you wake up dead?”. And then his girlfriend’s father is shot dead.   2022

Directed by: Michael Mailer

Screenplay by: Timothy Holland, Michael Mailer

Starring: Jaime Alexander, Cole Hauser,
Morgan Freeman, Darren Mann