Saturday, November 25, 2023

Christmas in Notting Hill: Movie Review

An adorably cute romantic pairing.

This is what a cute Christmas rom-com looks like. Georgia (Sarah Ramos) is visiting her sister Lizzie in London and meets cute stranger, Graham (William Moseley); but there’s a few things she doesn’t know about him: that he’s a famous professional footballer and that he’s the brother of her sister’s boyfriend. He also doesn’t know her connection. So when he accidentally tells her that his brother’s proposing this Christmas, she doesn’t know the significance.   2023

Directed by: Ali Liebert

Screenplay by: Alex Yonks

Starring: Sarah Ramos, William Moseley

Saturday, November 18, 2023

A Merry Scottish Christmas: Movie Review

Lacey Chabert and Scott Wolf have been reunited as brother and sister in A Merry Scottish Christmas. And when you have TV royalty with their adorableness, you might as well make them duke and duchess, almost. Estranged siblings Brad (Scott Wolf) and Lindsay (Lacey Chabert) have been invited by their mother to a castle in Scotland. They don’t know why, she’s acting weird, although given the references to their childhood, I don’t know how you identify what’s weird with her.   2023

Directed by: Dustin Rikert

Screenplay by: Andrea Canning, Dustin Rikert, Andrew Gernhard

Starring: Lacey Chabert, Scott Wolf

Friday, November 17, 2023

Navigating Christmas: Movie Review

A Hallmark Christmas on a cute island.

Navigating Christmas is set on a remote island off the coast of Washington state. It’s a small island with a lighthouse, a diner and a few people who all wear plaid. It is a fictional place, but it’s a lovely set and not overdone unlike most of Hallmarks fictional small-town settings. Recently divorced single mother Melanie (Chelsea Hobbs) takes her teenage son on a last-minute Christmas vacation after his father bailed on him.   2023

Directed by: Peter Benson

Screenplay by:

Starring: Chelsea Hobbs, Stephen Huszar

All-Time High: Movie Review

Stupid on all levels.
All-Time High, as translated from the French title Nouveaux Riches, is an action comedy about small-time scam artists. The movie is just as stupid as the main characters are. Youssef (Nassim Lyes) is a fast-talking scoundrel; he’s at a club trying to hit on a girl by talking himself up, and when she points out that he’s tried to hit on her in the past and doesn’t remember, he doesn’t care and keeps trying.   2023

Directed by: Julien Hollande

Screenplay by: Julien Hollande

Starring: Nassim Lyes, Zoé Marchal

Dashing Through the Snow: Movie Review

Off-kilter but adds something new to Santa Claus.
Dashing Through the Snow is weird and off-kilter for most of it, but it also has a sense of fun and something for the whole family. Eddie (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) is separated from his wife, has a daughter, and is a social worker who spends his time helping others who are less fortunate. He’s spending Christmas Eve with his daughter until he catches a guy breaking into his neighbor’s house.   2023

Directed by: Tim Story

Screenplay by: Scott Rosenberg

Starring: Lil Rel Howery, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Best. Christmas. Ever!: Movie Review

A messy comedy filled with cynicism, jealousy, loss and depression.
Best. Christmas. Ever! is not intentionally using that title ironically even though the first half is a cynical mess and the second half uses grief and depression to make everything worse. The premise fulfills the first half of the movie, two jealous friends who want to bring down the other person no matter the cost. It’s a common cynicism in comedies which I hate; this is not good-natured ribbing, this is jealousy and animosity wrapped up in forced laughter.   2023

Directed by: Mary Lambert

Screenplay by: Todd Calgi Gallicano, and Charles Shyer

Starring: Heather Graham, Brandy Norwood, Jason Biggs

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

EXmas: Movie Review

A comedy first rom-com.
A predictable rom-com, EXmas provides plenty of laughs, some well-earned emotions and the right amount of Christmas. Ali (Leighton Meester) loves the holiday but has nobody to celebrate it with, until her ex-fiancée’s family invites her to their house. A few Christmas movie reviews ago (for The Christmas Classic), I mentioned that my favourite trope is the ex who is still friends the family, and now we get a whole movie of that and it is exactly as delightful as expected.   2023

Directed by: Jonah Feingold

Screenplay by: Dan Steele

Starring: Leighton Meester, Robbie Amell

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Christmas Island: Movie Review

Well-balanced Christmas cheer.

To clear up the first bit of confusion, this Christmas Island is a real town in Nova Scotia not the Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. Don’t worry, they’re not doing something silly like flying from the US to Switzerland by way of the south Pacific. The only silly thing this film is doing is having a massive storm over the Atlantic Ocean which is so severe that all flights have had to be grounded for almost a week.   2023

Directed by: David Weaver

Screenplay by: Samantha Herman

Starring: Rachel Skarston, Andrew Walker

Friday, November 10, 2023

Anatomy of a Fall: Movie Review

Questions of truth or justice in a trial about guilt or innocence.
High in the French Alps, Sandra lives with her husband Samuel, their 11-year-old son Daniel and their dog Snoop. That is until her husband is found dead at the foot of their multi-storey chalet. The police question her, naturally, since she was the only one home with him at the time. She calls a lawyer once she suspects she’s about to become a person of interest. The question becomes whether she killed her husband or not.   2023

Directed by: Justine Triet

Screenplay by: Justine Triet, Arthur Harari

Starring: Sandra Hüller, Swann Arlaud

The Dirty South: Movie Review

Slow but compelling tale of dirty criminals in Louisiana.
Set and filmed in Louisiana, The Dirty South is a tale of a small town populated by criminals. It’s a very brown and gray movie, everybody except one family is dirt poor, almost every scene takes place at night so it’s consistently darkly lit. It’s a premise you’ve seen before, and the beginning is slow and dark, but there’s also a humanity to these characters and an almost hidden sense of style that can keep audiences watching.   2023

Directed by: Matthew Yerby

Screenplay by: Matthew Yerby

Starring: Willa Holland, Dermot Mulroney and Shane West

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Priscilla: Movie Review

Female empowerment in the shadow of Elvis Presley.
I wasn’t expecting the romance between Priscilla and Elvis Presley to be a tale of female empowerment and women’s liberation, but here we are. Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla features Cailee Spaeny as the young Priscilla (fourteen years old to be exact) smitten in love and over the years, almost imperceptibly at first, grows to be a woman who stands up for herself and gets out of the stardom of Elvis Presley and an abusive relationship before it destroys her.   2023

Directed by: Sofia Coppola

Screenplay by: Sofia Coppola
Based on the book by Priscilla Presley and Sandra Harmon

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi

Friday, November 3, 2023

The Christmas Classic: Movie Review

Every Christmas rom-com rolled into one ridiculous but funny story.
The Christmas Classic is every Christmas cliché wrapped into a ski competition to save the chalet. But the story is also told with tongue firmly in cheek and having as much fun with it as possible. Elizabeth (Malin Akerman) works for her fiancé’s father’s real estate company and has been tasked with buying a ski resort in her small hometown in New Mexico.   2023

Directed by: Shane Dax Taylor

Screenplay by: Shane Dax Taylor, Austin Nichols

Starring: Malin Akerman, Ryan Hansen

Flipping for Christmas: Movie Review

All of Hallmark’s worst characteristics.

Flipping for Christmas is yet another one of Hallmark’s big city girl travels back to her small hometown, falls for the local handyman, and rediscovers the meaning of family and Christmas. And I would love to say, that at least one of those things got switched up, but only barely: she actually rediscovers the meaning of family, Christmas and community. It’s a very low budget production with overdone characters that it’s impossible to get wrapped up in the romance.   2023

Directed by: Katherine Barrell

Screenplay by: Brett Heard

Starring: Ashley Newbrough, Marcus Rosner

Helen's Dead: Movie Review

Helen’s Dead has assembled a lot of half-famous actors in a comedic murder mystery that has a hard time juggling the comedy with the crimes. Married couple Leila and George are hosting a fancy dinner party for one guest, a magazine editor who they are going to convince they’re famous successful people so they can become influencers. Until beautiful and alcoholic sister Helen crashes their party and one by one all of her boyfriends invite themselves over.   2023

Directed by: K. Asher Levin

Screenplay by: Amy Brown Carter, K. Asher Levin

Starring: Dylan Gelula, Anabelle Dexter-Jones, Emile Hirsch and Matilda Lutz