Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dr. No 1962

    One of Britain’s secret agents is killed in Jamaica and James Bond (007) is sent to find out what who is responsible.  He joins forces with Quarrel and a CIA agent, Felix Leiter.  There have been unusual reports of fire breathing dragons on an island.  A trio of assassins known as the three blind mice are suspected as the killers.  Bond dodges the assassins and a tarantula in his bed.  Along the beach, he meets Honey Ryder collecting valuable conch shells.  They are taken prisoner by Dr. No so they will not get in the way of his efforts to destroy the U.S. space program.
     Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli produced this first James Bond film on a very limited budget.  There aren’t any gadgets and gimmicks like those featured in later films.  Vic Flick played the now famous guitar riff on the sound track on a 1939 guitar and he was paid a one time fee of 6 pounds.  I wonder if anyone involved in this project had any idea how many Bond films would eventually be made and how much money they would earn?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

110 min, Action directed by Terence Young with Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Bernard Lee, Joseph Wiseman, Jack Lord, Anthony Dawson, Zena Marshall, John Kitzmiller, Eunice Gayson, Lois Maxwell, Peter Burton.

Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 96% critic 82% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 486 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Jamaica and England.  Ian Fleming wrote the story of Dr. No in 1956 for an episode of a television series that was never produced.  He expanded the story into the sixth James Bond novel.  The Dr. No character was based on Sax Rohmer’s Doctor Fu Manchu.  Bond is driving a blue convertible Sunbeam Alpine 1961 Series II.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wish You Well 2013

     This book is based on a novel written by David Baldacci and published in 2000.  Amanda Cardinal’s husband Jack was killed in a car accident after a ceremony to give him an award for his writing.  He had been drinking before the crash at the party.  Amanda received a bump on her head but she has not mentally recovered from the accident.  Amanda and her daughter Lou and son Oz move from New York to a farm in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia.  They are going to live with Jack’s mother, Louisa Mae Cardinal.  Lou also wants to be a writer like her father and she begins gathering material from her experiences in her new life.  She starts off getting in fights with a boy at school.  She makes friends with another boy, Diamond Skinner.  A coal company is buying up as much land as they can in the area but Louisa Mae Cardinal will never sell.  The land takes care of her and she takes care of the land.  Cotton Longfellow is a local lawyer, he comes to read books to Amanda and help Louisa fight off the coal company.
     This movie is good, enjoyable and interesting.  The countryside is beautiful but some of the people are trapped in very harsh living conditions.  One of the men treats his family terribly and also Louisa and her family.  Louisa doesn’t mind getting out her gun if she needs to in order to show him she means business.  She won’t tolerate his bullying, meanness and prejudices.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

100 min, Drama directed by Darnell Martin with Ellen Burstyn, Mackenzie Foy, Josh Lucas, Ned Bellamy, JP Vanderloo, Alano Miller, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Antonio Ducrot, Laura Fraser, Dave Hager, Josh Murray.

Note:  Imdb 6.3 out of 10, 40% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 75 reviews.
Special Note:  Ellen Burstyn was born in 1932 and she was 81 years old when she made this film.  She was recently in the Age of Adaline as Flemming, Adaline's daughter that looks like her grandmother.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Begin Again 2013

     Dan helped to start a record label but he’s been through some rough times.  He’s separated from his wife, lives in an apartment by himself and he gets up early but goes back to bed.  He picks up his daughter from school and goes by the office ‘in case’ there is a meeting.  He gets into an argument with his partner and he’s fired.  He meets Gretta and he really thinks she has what it takes to be signed by the label but he’s no longer employed there.  He takes her to meet his partner and she doesn’t like the deal of 10/90%.  Dan and Gretta arranged for people to accompany her and they did the recording at different places in New York to capture ambient sound.  Violet, Dan’s daughter is also on the album with backup guitar.  Gretta has been dating Dave and he’s been touring plus recording a new album.  She finds out he has been cheating on her and they separate.
     There are a lot of complications in Dan and Gretta’s lives but I’m not sure they have chemistry together?  I’m not sure Gretta and Dave have chemistry either?  Maybe if so many people were not continually fawning over Dave?  Maybe if Dan was not so scruffy looking all the time, enough so that people mistake him for a homeless person?  Also, maybe if Dan was not a continual boozer who can’t pay the tab?  3* (This movie is OK)

104 min, Drama directed by John Carney with Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, Yaslin Bey, Catherine Keener, Ceelo Green, James Corden.

Note:  Imdb 7.5 out of 10, 83% critic 81% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 1421 reviews.
Special Note:  Director John Carney also worked on Once which was about another music team with two singers.  This couple became a real couple after filming.  In the beginning, this film was titled Can a Song Save Your Life.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Any Human Heart 2010

     This film is adapted from a novel published in 2002 by William Boyd.  The film extends from the 1920’s in Paris to 1950’s in New York, the 1980’s in London and as an elderly man in France of the 1990’s.  Logan Mountstuart attends Oxford and he wants to be a novelist.  His first novel is successful but his second is a flop.  He marries, has a son and starts traveling on assignments as a journalist to make money.  His marriage is a farce and he meets Freya Deverell, she has a daughter and is expecting another baby when they are killed during WWII in London.  He works at a NYC art gallery and has remarried to a woman with a daughter.  In his later years, he moves back to London to an apartment he bought after his mother passed away.
     PBS Masterpiece Classics originally broadcast this film.  Three different actors play Mountstuart in order to advance his age from a university student to an elderly man.  I liked this series except for the ending?  It was like a ‘boom’ done ending?  No warning, didn’t see it coming, unexpected?  3* (This movie is OK)

240 min, TV Movie, Drama, four episodes with Jim Broadbent, Matthew Macfadyen, Conor Nealon, Hayley Atwell, Sam Claflin, Ed Stoppard, Samuel West, Julian Ovenden, Ken Bones, Flaminia Cinque, Emerald Fennell, Gillian Anderson, Tom Hollander, Kim Cattrall, Holliday Grainger, Hugh Skinner.

Note:  Imdb 8.0 out of 10, 50% critic 100% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 465 reviews.
Special Note:  Mountstuart encounters Ernest Hemmingway, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Ian Fleming during his travels.  The author, William Boyd, wrote the screenplay.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Project Almanac 2015

     David Raskin is trying to get a scholarship to attend MIT.  He does get a letter from them but the offer is for $5000.  His mother offers to sell their house to get the money for him.  He doesn’t want her to and he can't let her sell the house.  David gets together with his friends and they find a time machine left behind by David’s father who passed away.  They jump together in time and change things about their lives they don’t like.  They also jump to do things that happened before they were able to do them.  The one thing they didn’t count on is a ripple effect of changing the past that also changes the future. 
     This film reminds me of The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity.  You can come up with an idea and make your own movie.  Everything gets very confusing with the back and forth time changes and then the trying to change the changes.  They agree on certain rules for jumping but then they don't follow them?  So many changes there isn’t any way to keep track of anything!!  A good idea but you need a graph to follow the movie.  3* (This movie is OK)

106 min, Sci-Fi directed by Dean Israelite with Amy Landecker, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Virginia Gardner, Jonny Weston, Allen Evangelista, Gary Weeks, Michelle De Fraites.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 34% critic 46% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Atlanta and Clayton County, Georgia, Grant Park, Downtown, Chicago, Illinois.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Vicki 1953

     This movie is based on a novel written by Steve Fisher titled I Wake Up Screaming. Vicki Lynn was working as a night shift waitress when Steve Christopher spots her.  He is a publicist and he thinks Vicki has a chance to make it big in modeling.  Seemingly overnight, Vicki is modeling, she’s on billboards, her picture is in the paper and she’s singing in a nightclub.  Everything is going very well until she announces she has tested in Hollywood and she is leaving New York. 
     This film is in black and white.  There is a mystery and a lot of good cop bad cop.  Also a lot of pressure is applied questioning family and friends.   I liked the clothing, hairstyles and the cars.  3* (This movie is OK)  
85 min, Crime directed by Harry Horner with Jeanne Crain, Jean Peters, Elliott Reid, Richard Boone, Max Showalter, Alexander D’Arcy, Carl Betz, Aaron Spelling.

Note:  Imdb 6.6 out of 10, 22% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.6* out of 5* with 25 reviews.
Special Note:  A remake of the 1941 movie I Wake Up Screaming starring Laird Cregar, Victor Mature and Betty Grable.

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Christmas Wedding Tail 2011

     Susan and Jake meet in a park while walking their dogs Cheri and Rusty.  Susan and her three boys have moved in with her mother after Susan’s husband died.  Jake’s wife also passed away last year and he has two daughters.   Susan’s mother owns an antique shop and Susan is helping her run the shop.  Jake is operating a winery that has been in his family for 40 years.  The dogs fall in love at first sight but Susan and Jake take a little longer.  They are both a little nervous in the beginning to reveal they have children.  Jake proposes to Susan, the children are in agreement for the wedding and they decide on a Christmas Day ceremony.
     This film follows the usual romance pattern.  Couple meets, they decide to get married, there is a complication and the wedding has to be saved.  There is little bit of a different twist here with two dogs in on the action.  They really like cake too and manage to go to a bakery for wedding cake tasting.  Tom Arnold doesn’t offer much except on-the-phone acting.  3* (This movie is OK)
90 min, Comedy directed by Michael Feifer with Jay Mohr, Jennie Garth, Nikki Cox, Brad Rowe, Tom Arnold, Catherine Hicks, David O’Donnell, John Colton, Miles Elliot, Riley Thomas Stewart, Ellee Jo Trowbridge.

Note:  Imdb 4.5 out of 10, 14% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 36 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Santa Ynez, California.  Nikki Cox is the voice of the dog Cheri, she is married to Jay Mohr who plays Jake and also voices the dog Rusty.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Christmas Gift 1986

     George Billings is an architect working in New York.  Alex is his young daughter and they are both feeling sad for Christmas because they lost their wife/mother last Christmas.  George works for Thomas Renfield and he’s being sent out on a job over the Christmas holidays.  George and Alex decide to get away from New York and spend their Christmas in Georgetown, Colorado.  Renfield wants to buy property in Georgetown to build an apartment and condominium community.  When George stays at the town with Alex, he sees how bad this new business venture will be for this community.  He tried to talk Renfield out of the proposal but he wants his company to move forward with or without George.
     Everyone in Georgetown knows everyone else and they all believe in Santa Claus.  They have a ceremony with the retelling of a legend that happened in their community.  They have ‘letter’ day on Sunday at the Post Office and everyone in town mails a letter to Santa.  They have a Christmas program every year featuring the children and with singing afterwards.  George doesn’t want to see any of this wonder and belief change.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)
120 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Michael Pressmand with John Denver, Jane Kaczmarek, Edward Winter, Gennie James, Pat Corley, Mary Wickes, James T. Callahan, Kurtwood Smith, Anne Haney, Harvey Vernon. 

Note: Imdb 7.5 out of 10, 86% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 276 reviews.
Special Note:  There is another movie with the same title released in 2015 with Michelle Trachtenberg, Sterling Sulieman, Rick Fox.  This movie was filmed in Beaver Creek, Rocky Mountains and Georgetown, Colorado.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Northpole 2014

     The Northpole is shaped like a snowflake and it has grown into a huge city where Santa and Mrs. Claus live with the elves and reindeer.  The Northern Lights are made up of sparks of happiness that come from the holiday cheer of children.  The sparks float down as magic snowflakes and the elves use this to create toys for Christmas.  This cycle of happiness powers the village.  This year there is a lot of cynicism and less togetherness in the world.  The Northern Lights are flickering and the elves are worried that they may not be able to make enough toys.
      Chelsea is Kevin’s mother, she makes a lot of mistakes with Kevin and with her job as a reporter.  They are trying to get the Christmas lighting ceremony in the park to take place this year but there is opposition everywhere.  If they can get the town and the people to gather together this year, they hope to repower the Northpole?  There is a lot of fantasy in this film but this is an interesting concept.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

84 min, Fantasy directed by Douglas Barr with Tiffani Thiessen, Josh Hopkins, Bailee Madison, Max Charles, Candice Glover, Robert Wagner.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 45% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 123 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Old Port, Portland, Maine.  There is a follow- up film to this one titled Northpole: Open for Christmas 2015. Tiffany-Amber Thiessen has been on Saved by the Bell, Beverly Hills 90210, Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, Just Shoot Me, Fastlane, Good Morning Miami, What About Brian, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and White Collar.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Silver Bells 2005

     Christopher Byrne works on his the family's tree farm.  His son Danny and daughter Bridget help him get the trees ready to take to New York to sell for Christmas.  Bridget doesn’t mind doing the work but Danny doesn’t see his future as working on the tree farm and he longs to escape.  He breaks away from the family during the tree sales and he goes to a photography gallery.  Catherine O’Mara works there and they see her every year at the tree stand but she never buys a tree.  Catherine looks at examples of Danny’s photography and she encourages him to pursue a career in this field.  When the trees are sold and the family is ready to return to the farm, Danny tells them he’s not going back with them.  Christopher is really angry and they get into a fight.  Danny runs away and his dad spends the next year trying to find him in New York.
     This film is a different take on a Christmas movie and Christmas tree sales.  Christopher and Catherine don’t know they have more in common than they know.  She has an important reason why she never gets a Christmas tree.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

95 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Dick Lowry with Anne Heche, Tate Donovan, Michael Mitchell, Courtney Jines, Max Martini, John Cunningham, John Benjamin Hidkey, Lourdes Benedicto, Margo Martindale, Mike Colter.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 69% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* with 88 reviews.
Special Note:  There is another movie released in 2013 with the same title starring Bruce Boxleitner, Denton Duty and Antonio Fargas.  It's about a sportscaster driven to win.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Santa Con 2014

      Nick DeMarco is a small-time con man and he's released from prison.  He's ordered by his parole officer to work as a department store Santa during the holidays.  He's making minimum wage and he hates this job.  His sister Rosemary overhears him promise a young boy that he would get his parents back together by Christmas.  Rosemary gives Nick an earful about making empty promises to a child.  Nick decides he’s got to track down the boy and his parents to try to get them back together.  What he doesn’t know is that the father has started drinking again and that’s all he cares about.
    Finally, Nick finds a good use for his con man skills.  If he can make good on this promise he can help himself turn around and help a family too.  What kind of job did he expect to get at Christmas, fill in for a rocket scientist on vacation?  3* (This movie is OK) 

87 min, Comedy directed by Melissa Joan Hart with Barry Watson, Selissa Sagemiller, Scott Grimes, Melissa Joan Hart, Jaleel White, Tucker Meek, Wendy Williams, Alimi Ballard, John Ratzenberger, Matthew Porter.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, Amazon 4* out of 5* with 7 reviews.
Special Note:  There is an annual pub-crawl before Christmas with everyone dressing up like Mr. or Mrs. Claus.  This happens in New York and also in San Francisco.  It’s not popular except for the participants because there are many drunken people on the street and in cabs!!
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Bridgeport and Stratford, Connecticut.  Some scenes were filmed in the Christ Episcopal Church that was built in 1743 and this was their second structure.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Snow Globe Christmas 2013

     A television executive trying to film the perfect Christmas movie is struck on her head by a snow globe when she was shaking and looking at it.  She envisions the perfect town in the globe and she wants to translate this into her movie.  Meg is knocked unconscious by the blow and she dreams about this perfect town, husband and children. 
     This follows the theme of two other Christmas movies (Comfort and Joy 2004, Snowglobe 2007) with waking up with a husband and children that you’ve never seen before.  Meg makes mistakes but since this is a dream, she can correct them and remember.  3* (This movie is OK)

89 min, TV Movie Drama directed by Jodi Binstock with Alicia Witt, Donald Faison, Christina Milan, Trevor Donovan, Art LaFleur, Damoni Burkhardt, Hayden Faraday, Francia Raisa, Logan Binstock, Jackie Moore.

Note:  Imdb 5.9 out of 10, 42% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 44 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Sylmar, Sunland, Valencia, California.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Very Married Christmas 2004

     This movie is based on a novel in a series by Erika Marks.  Ellen Griffin tells her husband Frank that she’s been seeing someone else and she wants a divorce.  Frank is surprised but he says he is not moving out because of their young daughter Zoe.  Ellen begins sleeping on the couch and Frank takes a training class to be a Santa for Christmas.  He meets a lot of nice people and it does help with his depression.  He meets Donna, she takes pictures of the kids with Santa for the parents.  They are just friends, her husband went to prison and she doesn’t know where he is now.  Her young son is confused and he wants his dad back.  As it gets closer to Christmas, Zoe starts to have problems but her mom still moves out to her own apartment. 
     This plot was unexpected for a Christmas movie?  Everything seems like a regular marriage drama except for Santa and the decorated Mall.  The problems make for a downer movie.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

85 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Tom McLoughlin with Joe Mantegna, Jean Smart, Kari Matchett, Charles Durning, Jordy Benattar, Rod Wilson, Andrew Chalmers, Rosemary Dunsmore, Tannis Burnett.

Note:  Imdb 5.1 out of 10.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Christmas Consultant 2012

     Maya Fletcher is a workaholic mother with three children.  Her husband is an attorney and he is also very busy.  They have just moved to a new house and their youngest daughter is struggling with the change.  Jack Fletcher wants Maya to hire a Christmas Consultant to help her with the details of the season.  Maya is struggling to balance a new perfume account at work and the demands of planning for Christmas.  The couple meets with Owen and decides to hire him to help them with the holidays. 
     I wouldn’t classify this film as a comedy even though Caroline Rhea is a comedian.  I thought this film was stressful because of the countdown of the number of days until Christmas and the amount of work needed to be accomplished.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

87 min, TV Movie, Comedy directed by John Bradshaw with David Hasselhoff, Caroline Rhea, Barclay Hope, Eliza Faria, Jessica McLeod, Darien Provost, Lanette Ware, Aleks Paunovic, Ken Camroux, Linda Darlow.

Note:  Imdb 5.3 out of 10, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 66 reviews.  
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Maple Ridge and Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Deck the Halls 2005

     Jack and Laura Hall are the owners of Dreamland.  It’s a very large toy store and they have stores in 15 different towns.  Jack has hired Nickolas St. Clair to take over their Christmas campaign.  Holly Hall, their daughter has moved back to town with her son Ben.  Holly and Ben are still hurting after Holly’s husband/Ben’s father was killed in a car accident.  A new neighbor has moved into the house next door.  He’s parked on the wrong driveway plus he makes a lot of noise with power tools.  Holly will be starting to work at Dreamland as the Chief Financial Officer.  She finds out her new neighbor is Nickolas St. Clair and he also works at Dreamland.  Holly will need to rein Nick in on his spending in every area of the Christmas campaign.
     This is interesting and different.  Ben gets the idea to send an email to his mother as a secret admirer.  Holly writes back but she doesn’t know she is writing to Nick.  They meet for lunch on a park bench and they find out what is going on.  Things may begin to change for Holly and Ben?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

87 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by George Mendeluk, Gabrielle Carteris, Steve Bacic, Jocelyne Lowewen, Ken Pogue, Maureen Thomas, Steven Culp, Josh Hayden, Jonathan Hill, Penny Blake, David Mylrea.

Note:  Imdb 5.8 out of 10, 38% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 42 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  In 2006 there was another Christmas movie with this title starring Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Dad for Christmas

     This film is also titled Me and Luke.  Matt is nineteen years old and his girlfriend goes to the hospital to deliver a baby boy.  Emma has refused his marriage proposals.  Emma and her mother arranged to have a family adopt the baby.  Matt doesn’t want them to do this but they won’t listen to anything he has to say.  Before the mom leaves the hospital, Matt sees a chance to walk out the door of the hospital with baby Luke.  This is his only chance to stand by the baby.  Matt knows what it is like to have people run out on your life and he doesn’t want this for Luke.  Matt and Luke go to Matt’s grandmother’s house in Pennsylvania and she agrees to let him stay with her until he can figure out his life.
     This is very good, Matt really steps up to the plate and he takes very good care of Luke.  Glennie, his grandmother has a friend who is an attorney and he agrees to help Matt obtain legal custody of Luke.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

90 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Eleanor Lindo with Lousie Fletcher, Kristopher Turner, Jack Shepherd, Lindsay Ames, Emma Taylor-Isherwood, Catherine Disher, Daniel Kash, Lachlan Murdoch.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 73% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 5* out of 5* with 4 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Christmas Hope 2009

     Patricia Addison is a social worker for children and Christmas is a busy time of the year for her job.  There is a four-month-old baby needing to be immediately placed in a foster home.  Most of the homes are full but Patricia finds a woman to take little Mia.  Emily Adams is nine-years-old and she is waiting for her mom to come home from work so they can decorate the Christmas tree.  Her mom is hurrying to her job, she walks in front of a car and the driver doesn’t see her.  Patricia stops by Emily’s apartment to pick her up and explain that her mother isn’t coming home.  Patricia decides to take Emily to her house because she probably can’t find another place for her.  Patricia and her husband Mark are still trying to recover from the loss of their son Chad in a car accident.
     The Addison’s have a big decision to make this Christmas.  Are they going to let their marriage dissolve or will they make changes that could keep them together.  They can put hope back in their lives or they can continue to grieve and go their separate ways.  I thought this was good and heartwarming.  3 1/2 * (I liked this movie)

90 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Norma Bailey with Madeleine Stowe, James Remar, Ian Ziering, Tori Barban, Phillip Jarrett, Jayne Eastwood, Devon Weigel, Rebecca Gibson, Daniel Boiteau.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 78% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 90 reviews.
Special Note:  This film is based on a series of books written by Donna VanLiere.  A reviewer on Amazon said she thinks the books are better than the movies.  There are three books and movies in this series, The Christmas Shoes, The Christmas Blessing and The Christmas Hope.  This movie was filmed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas on Chestnut Street 2006

     A store clerk makes a mistake and 2 truckloads of Christmas lights are ordered by mistake.  The total of the lights comes to 60,000.  The store manager tries to shield the employee by saying he made the order but the store owner comes up with an idea to turn everything around.  He proposes a Christmas light-decorating contest with customers using their Christmas lights to decorate the homes in the town.  This idea will sell all the lights in their inventory and the prize will be a shopping spree at the store.  The homeowners on Chestnut Street make this a contest between the houses on this street and they go all out to decorate.  The store owner has enlisted his daughter as the judge to make sure the store manager wins the free shopping prize.  All the prize goods can be donated to charity for as tax deduction for the store.
     The store owner’s daughter, Dianne has her life completely planned out with a year divided into quarters.  Management, marriage and two daughters with options for their names already selected.  She doesn’t count on real life getting in the way mixing up her plans?  As you can tell by his plans, her father is a ruthless businessman who will boost store sales in any way he can.  Interesting twists on stores, neighbors and decorating.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

89 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Anne Wheeler with Kristen Dalton, Robert Moloney, Garry Chalk, Tom Heaton, Donna White, Michael Kopsa, Jane Sowerby, Ellie Harvie, Rob Bruner, Mackenzie Gray.   

Note:  Imdb 5.4 out of 10, 40% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 5* out of 5* with 3 reviews.  
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Twelve Trees of Christmas 2013

     Cheri Jamison works at a local library in her Manhattan neighborhood.  She really loves her job and she also teaches literacy for children.  She loves that part of her job too.  Cheri finds out the library is going to be torn down for a development.  Originally, the library was the home of a wealthy family and they donated the building to be used as a library.  Now, the grandson of the builder is the one planning to tear it down.  Cheri comes up with the idea of having people who use the library decorate 12 Christmas trees with a theme of their choice that reflects their feelings about the library.  She is hoping the display will change what is going to happen and change the mind of developer Tony Shaughnessy.  Cheri has asked Tony’s grandmother Rosaleen to judge the contest.
     This is interesting and enjoyable, I liked it and I think it presents a good message for Christmas.  Cheri and Tony go back and forth with their spats over differing ambitions and choices.  Plus, there must be a double cross in the plot that causes one of them to mistrust the other.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

TV Movie, Romance directed by Michael DeCarlo with Lindy Booth, Robin Dunne, Melanie Brown, Casper Van Dien, Shauna MacDonald, Joe Pingue, Dawn Greenhalgh, Matt Baram, Naomi Snieckus, Ace Hicks.

Note:  Imdb 6.2 out of 10, 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

An Accidental Christmas 2007

     Vicki and Jason have two children.  They have separated and they are concentrating on their careers.  Their daughter and son want to try to get their parents back together over the Christmas vacation.  The children want them to work on their marriage so they can be a family again.  The family has a beach cottage that belonged to Vicki’s parents but now it is their cottage.  They did a lot of renovations and they have had many happy times here.  The children arrange to change their own plans, the plans of their parents and they all end up at the beach cottage. 
     Everything flips back and forth and the kids don’t know how this will end up.  Sometimes Vicki and Jason are getting along and other times they want to be permanently apart.  Jason does turn around and he does want to align with the kids on wanting them to be together.  Vicki wants to keep going forward and not looking back.  3* (This movie is OK)

90 min, TV Movie, Family directed by Fred Olen Ray with Cynthia Gibb, David Millbern, Jason Connery, Stuart Pankin, Austin Majors, Cassidy Freeman, Alison Woods, James Hong, Mark Costello, Lynn Milano.

Note:  Imdb 3.7 out of 10, 38% audience on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed at Malibu, Santa Monica and Valencia, California.

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride 2008

     Roxanne is in her forties and the widowed owner of a bridal shop that she runs with her twenties daughter Rose.  Roxanne goes away on her regular shopping trip to Paris to buy the latest wedding gowns.  She returns but she's not alone.  She has met Jack and they have quickly fallen madly in love.  Rose is not very happy with this new turn of events and an addition to this family.  She begins planning a Christmas wedding for her mom but she is secretly hoping to sabotage both the wedding and marriage plans.  Jack’s son would like to keep his full share of his inheritance and he doesn’t want to see this wedding take place either. 
     There is a lot of behind the scenes negative work going on with Rose and Jack’s son both trying to stop this marriage.  Roxanne and Jack just want to be happy and start a new life together.  They are both tired of being alone and they are planning on moving to Jack’s place in Seattle.  3* (This movie is OK)

89 min, TV Movie, comedy directed by Leslie Hope with JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Helen Shaver, Kenneth Welsh, Lucas Bryant, Chantal Perron, Luke Perry, Lorette Clow, James D. Hopkin, Myrna Valiance.

Note:  Imdb 5.6 out of 10, 35% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 58 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Luke Perry and Jason Priestley previously worked on Beverly Hills, 90210 beginning in 1990.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Merry In-Laws 2012

     Peter and Alex have been very happy together and Peter asks Alex to marry him just before Christmas.  There are two problems, Alex hasn’t met Peter’s parents and Alex’s parents aren’t very happy about Peter as a son-in-law?  Peter’s parents come to visit just before Christmas and they are leaving on Christmas Eve.  What Alex doesn’t know is that Peter’s parents came by sleigh and it landed on the roof.  Peter’s father brought along his Naughty and Nice Book.  They need to leave by Christmas Eve because they will have a lot of gifts to deliver all over the world on that night.  Alex’s parents aren’t very happy with Peter’s parents and now even less happy about Peter.
     There are a lot of funny moments in this film!!  Alex and her son Max want to believe Peter’s parents are Mr. and Mrs. Claus but her parents are very forceful in their belief that this is impossible.  Mr. Claus demonstrates to Peter’s students that a large round man can fit down the chimney!!  Mysteriously, Max discovers the very large Naughty and Nice Book under the bed of Mr. Claus!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

90 min, TV Movie, Family directed by Leslie Hope with George Wendt, Shelley Long, Lucas Bryant, Kassia Warshawski, Jabov Thurmeier.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 50 reviews.
Special Note:  This film is also known as Beau-pere Noel.  George Wendt and Shelley Long worked together on the sitcom Cheers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Country Christmas Story 2013

     Desiree Ross is 14 years old and she lives in the Appalachian mountains.  She would like to become successful playing guitar and writing songs.  Her mother is trying to discourage everything about this idea.  Desiree's dad tried to make it in country music but he's always done just OK.  

     This film has a slightly different and updated plot with a singing contest like American Idol.  I would’ve liked a little less fighting between the daughter, mother and grandmother.  Plus, a little less fighting between the mom and dad too.  They can have their differences but this is a Christmas movie after all!!  3* (This movie is OK)

120 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Eric Bross with Desiree Ross, Megyn Price, Mary Kay Place, Preston Bailey, Brian McKnight, Dolly Parton, Ross McCall, Dillon James, Camille Sanders, Kevin Flood.

Note:  Imdb 7.2 out of 10, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 21 reviews.
Special Note:  Dolly Parton is a multiple Grammy Award winner and Brian McKnight is a R&B producer and singer nominated for a Grammy Award.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

All About Christmas Eve 2012

     Evelyn Wright, is a party planner in New York City.  At the last minute, Eve learns that one of her agency’s top clients is throwing a HUGE Christmas party in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve.  There is a BIG problem, Eve already has plans to go on a romantic vacation with Darren, her boyfriend.  Elizabeth, Eve’s boss, lays it on the line, take this job or she doesn’t get the promotion she was expecting.  Of course, Darren is not happy that Eve is choosing work over their plans.
     There is an aspect of this film that I didn’t like.  It doesn’t just stick to one story but it splits into two stories that alternate.  In one story, she makes her flight, in the other story, she misses the flight and gets fired?  3* (this movie is OK)

120 min, TV Movie, Comedy directed by Peter Sullivan with Haylie Duff, Chris Carmack, Connie Sellecca, Patrick Muldoon, Stephen Colletti, Bianca Lawson, Gib Gerard, Mark Lindsay Chapman, Diana DeGarmo.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 40% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Special Note:  There are two songs sung by Diana DeGarmo and she was on American Idol.  There is a surprise performance by another singer from American Idol.