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Miracle on 34th Street (1994) Review


It’s time to look at another adaption of Miracle on 34th Street. It’s definitely a pretty well known story to have so many adaptions and it’s a story that doesn’t grow old so it’s always cool watching it again. This film does a good job of telling the story. There really isn’t a lot different from the others if you ask me, but it’s all executed well as expected. I dare say that it may even beat the original this time around. There are no real weaknesses here although Santa is a little more emotional than I’d expect.

The movie starts off with Kris (AKA, possibly the real Santa) noticing that the Santa who would be in the big parade is drunk. He’s pretty outraged about this and scolds the guy before going on his merry way. Dorey shows up and fires the guy before heading over to Kris and making him the new Santa. It all goes very well for a while with Kris helping the store’s reputation and making everyone happier. The villains don’t like this though so the rival store hires two thugs to bring the drunk Santa back and frame Kris. Kris will have to think quickly in order to turn things around or he may spend a long time in jail.

One change here I suppose is that corporate is more of an active villain. The CEO actually gets complete villain music accompanying him and his two lackeys are basically the villains from Home Alone. They’re not the brightest characters around and tend to make a mess of things, but they keep on trying. They actually do get some success in the end with their framing plan so I have to give them some props here.

I have to take props away from Kris though. He gets easily tricked and provoked by the villains pretty quickly as he takes his cane out and whirls it around like a weapon. It’s not very hard for the villains to make it look like he’s making an attack and the drunk follows him around outside to seal the deal. Didn’t anyone see this guy harassing an elderly citizen? It’s a shame that nobody on that block had the courage to defend him or to at least back up his story of being provoked. The thing is though, Santa shouldn’t have resorted to violence so quickly anyway. He needs to be the bigger man in this situation and in the end he just didn’t pull it off.

As for the other characters, we’ve got a good cast. Susan is better than the average kid character in most films. She is skeptical of Santa existing which is good because he is fake. I’m actually with Dorey here on not teaching her kid that Santa is real because it’s good to keep them honest from the start. Even if you let the kid choose for herself if she wants to believe in Santa or not, you shouldn’t be trying to convince her of something that’s not true. Dorey could let her be into more kid stuff, but she didn’t seem unreasonable and I dare say that Susan turned out pretty well from what we saw.

As a result I’m less on Bryan’s side here. He is really trying to push the Santa angle despite it not being what Dorey wants. He really shouldn’t be surprised when she turns down his proposal which also was a little bit out of the blue. He seems like a nice guy for sure, but given how long he’s been with Dorey he really shouldn’t have been quite as surprised as he was at her answer. It seemed to be pretty in character for her.

Then we have Dorey who is a pretty solid character. She is absolutely a facts person who has no time for Santa or things like that. She’s also handled the annual parade for so long that she doesn’t really care about it anymore. I suppose if I was doing the same parade year after year I probably wouldn’t care about watching it and would just take a nap too.

One of the best parts of any film with a court scene is the actual court scene and this movie was no different. It was a lot of fun to see Kris enter the stage and to have everyone making a ton of comments. Kris did almost ruin the whole thing again and proved himself to be a tough character to root for, but everyone else was ready to do the majority of the legwork. It’s a fun set of scenes and managed to stay entertaining all the way though.

Miracle on 34th Street has good pacing and is just a lot of fun. It’s a solid film to see on Christmas especially, but would hold up well at any time. The writing is sound and the character cast is good. Kris is weaker than in the previous adaption, but it countered by having a better kid and I do like how the villains were handled as well. It’s fine to have them get a little extra animated considering how much money is at stake. It’s reasonable for the villains to be trying anything they can.

Overall, What more needs to be said? This is a very fun film you can watch with the whole family and debate on if Santa is real in this film or not. The movie is fairly ambiguous on it and you could make the case that some things don’t make sense if he doesn’t have supernatural abilities. Personally I think that this version of Kris just was a bit insane. At the very least he seemed to take things literally a whole lot and didn’t notice when people were making fun of him or putting him in a bad spot. Being the real deal doesn’t mean he had to be smarter, but it would have helped his case. If he is a bit crazy then it’s fine for everyone to be tricking him the whole time.

Overall 7/10

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Getaway Review


It’s time to look at a thriller film from not too long ago. It seems like the kind of film that wouldn’t have really gotten all that well known but I’m sure people would take a second look at the posters and promotions. It’s got that Need For Speed kind of vibe right from the get go which is always fun. The plot of someone being kidnapped and the hero being forced to do everything the villain is admittedly not the best. I never liked the idea of the hostage situation much in part because there is really no winning in that situation. Once you’ve done everything they want there is no reason for them not to murder the hostage and the hero as well. Typically the climax involves a lot of plot hax to compensate for this as the heroes defy the villain but for some reason they don’t murder the hostage. That’s just how it is sometimes.

The film starts off with Brent driving away from some cops and after an extended race scene they crash and he escapes. We then find out through a bunch of quick cuts and time jumps from past to present that his wife was kidnapped and he is now following a bunch of demands from someone who has bugged the car. If he doesn’t follow the orders then the wife will be destroyed. Meanwhile a kid shows up to try and take Brent hostage but he stops her and now she must also stay in the car or the wife will be destroyed. This means that Brent is effectively forced to square off with two villains and that won’t be an easy thing to do. Ah well, looks like it’s crunch time for him!

Getaway does seem to underestimate the audience a bit though with how many times we see the flashback to show us that the wife was kidnapped. I thought it was pretty obvious early on but we get the flashback 10-15 times for good measure. Once the film actually gets started then the plot is able to move. At this point the movie does get pretty fun. Yeah the demands can be annoying as Brent keeps talking tough but ultimately has to follow the orders because there really isn’t anything else he can do. That bit can be a bit repetitive but for the most part the film’s about the chase scenes so you don’t have to worry about this too much.

Brent is first introduced as a mysterious character. Despite being the one forced to do the villain’s dirty work, he’s got the cool shades and doesn’t really talk much. He’s a total wild card and as the film progresses we learn more about him. He may not be a professional or something like the guy from Taken, but he’s a gruff individual who is a great racer so he adapts to the situation well. He’s a solid lead who is willing to do just about anything to get his wife back, but does draw the line at being told to destroy a kid or doing anything like that. He’s not going to turn into a villain. Part of what makes his character work is that we don’t know a lot about him. He’s portrayed as an average joe who’s stuck in this situation.

Then we’ve got the kid who probably got a name at some point but I can’t remember what it was. She starts out as a pretty tough character who has a gun and seems to be a bit of a hoodlum. This ultimately doesn’t seem to stick, but she is definitely a girl of many talents as she is also a genius. This character is probably the most “convenient” one to show up during the movie because what are the odds right? She really makes the difference in solving this film to a great extent. Well, convenient or not she looks good here and is a fun character. She does complain a lot at first and seems slow on the uptake for the given situation, but to an extent you can see why she is upset. The kid just wants her car back. (More like a teenager really but on Wikipedia they just refer to her as the kid so that’s what I figured I’d go with.

There are really no other big characters in this film aside from the villain. The villain has no character beyond the fact that he is always goading the heroes on and is one step ahead of any plans that they may have. He’s not bad, but I can’t really say that I thought about him all that much as a character. He’s more of a plot device and this does lead to a rather unsatisfying ending. This kind of ending can work out well sometimes in the right context, but here it’s more annoying than anything. I’d be down with a sequel to wrap things up though.

The make or break point here will be how much you like car fights/chase scenes. Do you like them or do you love them? Almost the whole film is a series of long car chase scenes. Some will go on for over 10 minutes at a time and you have to be ready for them. Personally I enjoy car fights a lot. They are better than underwater fights, airplane battles, or pretty much any other fights outside of human interactions. If it’s got to be a vehicle then I’ll take a car. I also thought that the car scenes in this film were particularly good. They were better than the ones we saw in Need For Speed or even the original Fast and the Furious film. In part this is because you could really feel the impacts here. When a car got crushed it got completely totaled. There was no coming back from that.

The scenes with the cop cars following Brent also felt more like the Need For Speed chases than the actual movie’s version did. So personally these scenes are what amplified the film for me. They were just a lot of fun and I didn’t get tired of them. I could totally understand how they could get repetitive though so it really does depend on how much you enjoy the chases. It’s really the whole point of the film and you could argue that the rest of the plot is really just a backdrop for it. The focus was and is clearly on the car scenes. As for the technical elements like the writing, it was okay. I wouldn’t really say it was that impressive, but it could have been worse. The special effects were great and so it all balances out into a pretty good film. There’s a lot of replay value here since the film isn’t all that long and the car scenes hold up to the tests of time.

Overall, Getaway is one of those films that is surprisingly solid. I wasn’t expecting anything amazing earlier, but as of now I would probably have this as my definitive car based film. It’s a simple, but effective movie that hits the right notes and keeps the momentum going strong. If you haven’t seen it yet and love a good car based thriller then you really need to check it out. See what you think on if the hostage situation is resolved through plot hax or not. Personally I would have expected the villain to take out the hostage as soon as the heroes begin to enact their plan, but maybe you’ll see why he didn’t do that.

Overall 7/10

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The Nine Lives of Christmas Review


Hallmark has returned once more and delivers one of the strongest Christmas films I’ve seen from them. This one has a plot that’s a little more unique next to the others and it was a fun way to wrap things up for Christmas. This one even has a bigger focus on the animals with the Cat playing a big role here. I’d like to see the Dogs take center stage, but cats are cool too of course.

The film starts off by introducing us to Zachary. He’s a firefighter who does a lot of good in the community. As a result everyone just loves the guy and he isn’t really a big fan of the attention. He’s together with a model at the moment, but doesn’t believe in long-term relationships. This in itself raises some questions, but at the moment his life is still pretty complete. That’s when he meets a cat named Ambrose who belonged to someone who recently died. The cat has grown attached to him so now they share a house. The problem is that Zachary’s girlfriend doesn’t like cats and he will now have to choose between them.

Meanwhile you have Marilee who is studying to be a vet. She is very close and is working on Finals in her last year. She has decided not to get into a relationship until she is graduated which is quite admirable. Unfortunately her sister and her husband do not want to wait that long and keep trying to pair her up with someone. Marilee quickly fibs that she and Zachary are going out and must now find a way to grab him before the big party. Can she pull it off?

The film has quite a lot of story. Even the two paragraphs of plot I put there isn’t quite the whole thing, but it’s hard to say much more without going into spoilers. If we’re being real here there isn’t a lot to spoil just due to the nature of what kind of film it is, but you should still discover as much of it for yourself as you can. In a way the plot is the flip side of a lot of the others. This time it’s the guy who already has someone but is about to get his head turned when the new girl on the block shows up.

From the start of the film Zachary is portrayed as a pretty nice guy. He’s a little on the humble side and prefers not to be the center of attention, but he’ll put up with it if it’s for a good cause like taking photos for the calendar. I don’t think he needed to be all that embarrassed about someone giving him a hug though considering he saved her life. That would probably just be a very happy moment for him since it’s a moment where he can see first hand the good that he’s done over the years.

Crunch time for Zachary’s character is with the cat though. It goes without saying that if he picked a person over a cat he was going to really sink as a character. Animals come first and usually the person who tells you to choose one or the other is the one who should lose out there. He was a bit slow on the uptake when looking for the cat though. I think Zachary should have suspected foul play from the start but he surprisingly didn’t even seem to consider it. Good thing Marilee was around.

Meanwhile you have Marilee who is a little more awkward than the other leads. She definitely tends to mess up a bit when talking to Zachary but is always ready with her pet skills. I think she had better reason to jump to conclusions than a lot of the other Hallmark leads and I think Zachary should have handled that situation better. Marilee stays professional throughout though and just seems like a nice enough person. Painting the whole wall definitely seems like it would have taken a great deal of effort.

I was glad her co-worker stood up for her later on when someone tried to find out her info. Marilee’s boss was definitely pretty weak willed so at least the store has someone who can be helpful. The whole situation at the pet store still feels like a big betrayal considering how well known Marilee was for being a great worker. It’s briefly mentioned that the owner is afraid, but I really don’t see why he would be. I suppose we needed the situation to happen, but it could have been done in more of a realistic way. Marilee’s sister was also a fun character. She was always very supportive. While she may have been a little pushy with getting Marilee together with someone, at least she was doing it for the right reasons. Marilee just needed to point out that having fun while alone is easy.

One thing that makes this film especially strong is how good the supporting cast is. I believe there were more of these characters around compared to usual and they gave sound advice throughout. Zachary certainly got to hear a lot of wise advice from the other firefighters and Marilee had her own support crew as well. These characters may joke around from time to time, but ultimately they are here to help and do a good job of it. Marilee’s friend helps her create a profile and takes her mind off of her current issues for example and I already talked about the others. A good supporting cast helps to propel the main characters to greater heights and that’s what happens here.

Overall, The Nine Lives of Christmas is definitely a nice film to check out. It’s a fun film as expected and there are no real weaknesses here. Adding in the cats was definitely a good idea since it’s always fun to have them around. Without the cats the film would lose a lot of what makes it unique in the first place. Films usually want to have some kind of hook to make it different from the rest and the cats were definitely a good way to do that. No worries, the film doesn’t feel like you’re watching nine movies back to back. The pacing is solid and the story is engaging from start to finish so I recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

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Christmas at the Plaza Review


It’s time for the third Hallmark film. This time we’ve got a big hotel to play with in terms of the decorations so it looks really nice by the end. The Hotel already looked good on its own so that doesn’t really come as a surprise anyway. It’s another good movie and while it does borrow a lot of elements from the others, that’s true for most of these titles. It’s all about how you use the elements and this one does a pretty good job I’d say.

The movie starts off with Jessica heading to the hotel as a historian here to do a piece. She finds out that this actually entails finding a theme for the hotel’s big Christmas anniversary. That’s not really her area of expertise as she prefers history to celebration but then she meets the guy in charge of the lights, Nick. Nick is all about Christmas and he loves putting on a good shot. He’s going to help her find her Christmas spirit and make this big showcase a success. The toughest part is going to be finding the missing ornament. See, every year the hotel always had a different tree topper for the Hotel except for one year where it seems to have been empty. The owner Amanda will not accept a blank spot in her presentation so Jessica is going to have to move planets to find this. Can she do it?

First off, I have to say that Amanda is definitely a little more unreasonable than the other Hallmark owners I’ve seen. She refuses to listen to a single thing that Jessica says. Now I know that she is hyped for the big celebration and there’s nothing wrong with that, but if Jessica does have an actual issue you’d think that Amanda would want to hear about it. Then you can also factor in the fact that Jessica almost did leave the project and Amanda really would have been in quite a bit of trouble there. I suppose she just likes to live dangerously.
Reginald is one of the main characters here, but he can be a bit on the annoying side at times. He has a past that really comes into play as the film goes on so you can give him some sympathy points. That being said, he could have been a little more helpful. Even if he didn’t want to actively help Jessica he could have at least given her a direct answer on what he knew and that would have saved them all a whole lot of time searching and everything. It’s one of those things that should have been simple, but he complicated the issue.

Nick’s a pretty good main guy. I was glad that he was very assertive compared to a lot of the others and also didn’t even entertain his ex’s proposition to show up once more. In this case he handled the situation perfectly even if Jessica did take things the wrong way. Nick was firm without being rude and didn’t let any of this psyche himself out of the job. He was professional at all times. Meanwhile Jessica is one of the weaker heroines. She jumps to conclusions pretty quick with Nick near the end of the film which didn’t seem all that reasonable. Additionally I feel like she was a bit rude to Nick at the start for no reason. Once he pointed out that he did have a sign up warning people not to get too close, Jessica seemed to take it personally. She was the one who bumped into him so I don’t see why she was so defensive. She even refused his help right away even though Amanda is the one who told him to help. Things worked out, but it was in spite of Jessica as opposed to being because of her at some points.

While she may not be as good as some of the others, it should still be noted that the character cast is still good. You don’t have to be perfect to be a great character after all and these two were able to hold their story up pretty well. We got our classic family Christmas party as well and this time we even got the “current boyfriend” character. I feel like it’s been a while since we got this guy to show up so that was nostalgic. He’s about as obvious as you would expect. The guy always loves talking about his job and barely seems to care about what Jessica does.
He’s quick to tell her to give up her job to work with him on his project which shows how dismissive he is. The guy was more eager to get his next drink than to hear what she was going to say. All of the warning bells were there from the start and the party was probably one of the last straws. That was a time where he openly said her job didn’t sound as important and he sent her off on her own. The cab driver helped to salvage the situation at least. It does mean that this romance is a complete rebound even compared to some of the others though so that part doesn’t work quite as well. Even if your current relationship didn’t work out, you’d think that it would take a few weeks or months until you move on to the next guy. If you can do it in the span of a day then the feelings may not be as serious as you think.

Overall, Christmas at The Plaza is a fun film. It’s a pleasant Christmas movie as you would expect. There’s a lot to look at with all of the Christmas lights and having one of the characters actually be an professional decorator was a good move so the film could really go all out. We get some nice Christmas movies as well and this one will have a lot of replay value as you’d expect. It’s true that after a while all of the Hallmark films start to feel the same, but I’ve never thought that was a bad thing. It’s like having a favorite movie and then you see everyone remaking it every year. It may be the same story, but it’s just as strong as it ever was. If you haven’t watched this one yet then it’s time to change that. The period from Christmas to New Year’s is still super festive outside and it’s never too late to check this one out.

Overall 7/10

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My Christmas Dream Review


Time for the next Hallmark title! This one definitely puts the lead in the toughest dilemma yet because you need a lot of creativity to get out of this one. I don’t consider myself a very artistic person for the masses. I’ll make things that look great to me which is really what I tend to focus on, but if I have to make something to impress someone else then it’s gonna be tricky. I take the same approach to things like cooking as well. I make things that I would love to eat but making things for someone else to find delicious is trickier. I figure if they don’t like it that means more for me….

The movie takes place at a McDougal’s store. They are celebrating their 50th anniversary and the store always has a unique Christmas display each year. As it’s their biggest one yet there is a lot of pressure to make a really good one. Unfortunately, the store had to let go of their main painter a few days before the display because he was missing deadlines and also ruined Christina’s outfit right before her meeting with the big wigs. Christina took this assignment for granted herself, but now Victoria has implied that if she does a good job of it then a promotion is at hand. Not just any promotion, but a promotion to Paris! Christina has always wanted to go there so now she is prepared to do whatever it takes to make this display a success!

One of the big impact moments here is when Christina allows Kurt to be fired in the opening scene. It’s sort of like a Peter Parker moment from his origin only this time I don’t necessary believe Christina handled the situation that badly. Sure, she could have spent a little more time discussing the situation, but her logic was pretty sound. The boss is the one who should be making the call about his subordinate particularly as she had never even met him before. The guy missed the deadline and while he gave his excuse about a second job (Which is a little sketchy because everyone guilt trips Christina throughout the whole movie, but it’s not like he’s out of jobs right?) you do ultimately need to pull through. If the organization is counting on you to get something done and on their 50th anniversary meeting as well, you’ve got to get it done. This would have been even worse if the owner Victoria had been the one to walk in there. She absolutely would have gotten rid of him in a snap.

Kurt’s a good guy otherwise. He mostly stops guilt tripping Christina after the opening scenes. The guy’s a little timider than some of the other guys though as he doesn’t really ask Christina out directly and instead uses his son as a shield the whole time. I don’t blame him for being a bit dismissive the first time they meet since he had literally just been fired, but after she helps his kid out he’s nice enough. The party they went too was also pretty neat. I’m sure I would have passed on the karaoke but it was a good way to get her mind off the deadlines.

The kid’s a little on the annoying side though. He escapes from home just to go to the mall and complain to Santa without thinking about how much it would make everyone worry. He gives Christina a hard time throughout the movie as well but she really handles the whole situation super well. The film treats Christina taking 30 minutes to an hour off from work as the end of the world, but that just means the rest of her staff are terrible at their jobs. I don’t care if she’s the best staffer in the store, they can’t rely on her to the point where she can’t leave for a few minutes.

Her second in command was very unreasonable to this effect. While she ultimately didn’t rat her out to Victoria, I don’t think there was anything to rat out. The whole point of being a second in command is that you have a lot of work to do so if you can’t handle it then it’s not the position for you. I couldn’t believe it whenever she would appear and start sulking. It seemed a little unreasonable to me personally. Meanwhile Victoria was mostly good although the one part I took issue with was her decision to use last year’s display over the one Christina presented. While I understand that you wouldn’t want to use a low quality one, you can’t just re-use the last design. For one thing, people would remember it since it just happened. If you’re going to use an old one then it has to be one from way back in the day. It also felt like she gave up a little too easily considering that she’s such a big business guru. What would have made more sense was to have a meeting with another employee and then promoting him or her if they came up with something.

You will feel bad for her in the end though. She’s about to have some good character development and has great Christmas plans only for Christina to walk in with a revelation. It’s a super happy ending for Christina but not a great one for Victoria. The ending is a little on the cheesy side this time since Christina really gets to have her cake and eat it too. It takes away from her decision a bit because it feels like both options could have worked. I am glad that the friend didn’t get the position though.

What I was expecting to be an option from the start is Christina inviting Kurt to come to Paris with her. He would bring his kid and could start his art business fresh there. It would have been a pretty ambitious ending and of course he might not want to leave at the drop of a hat like that, but I think it would have just made a lot more sense. Ah well. Christina is a solid lead although I think she probably should have started planning for the end of the year display a lot sooner. Considering that she was pretty obsessed with work at the start, I was surprised that she didn’t have it ready.

Overall, this is another really solid film to watch. As always the landscapes chosen here look really good. We also get some nice Christmas music which is always fun to listen to. The soundtrack is just on point and helps give the film a festive feel from the start. The writing is great as always so there’s nothing really negative here. Films like this are just a lot of fun to watch and they’ll leave you feeling happy as well. It’s perfect to watch around Christmas, but naturally I can recommend it at any point in the year. A good movie is a good movie no matter what day it is.

Overall 7/10

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Coming Home For Christmas Review


It’s time to look at a classic Hallmark Christmas film. I’ve actually seen quite a few of these as of late so expect for a mini marathon of reviews. First up is Coming Home For Christmas and it hits all of the right notes like most Hallmark films do. This one is a little weaker relative to their usual ones though due to the addition of a love triangle which really wasn’t all that necessary. Still, you can expect a wholesome experience as always.

The movie starts with Lizzie’s friend getting her a gig as the house manager for a rich family. She is eager to get to work, but unfortunately the lady of the house does not like her. This is an old lady named Pippa who is currently at odds with Robert, the executor of the estate who plans on selling the place. While they may be mother and son, they disagree on getting rid of the house. Lizzie has to find a way to get these two to open up to each other while also making this the best Christmas they’ve ever had. She has always loved a good Christmas party and hopes to get these characters to appreciate this as well. Meanwhile Robert has a brother named Kip who likes Lizzie so she will have to decide what’s more important, romance or her job.

It goes without saying but going out with your boss or even another co-worker is typically a bad idea. There’s a lot that can go wrong and there’s no real way it can help your job performance. Lizzie also isn’t all that interested in Kip from the start. If you’ve ever seen any romance film you know who she was going to choose. Interestingly though, the film doesn’t paint Kip in as bad a light as they usually do for the fall guy. The traditional formula for these films is that the girl is already with someone, but it turns out that he isn’t too invested in the relationship so then she rebounds with the first guy she meets.

In this case Lizzie wasn’t with someone at the moment so there are 2 new guys with one of course having to lose out. Kip is introduced as a bit of a flirt who can’t deal with a serious relationship so that means he is doomed here. He does try to say that this time will be different and while I’m not inclined to believe him, the film doesn’t send clear signals on this. I suppose it’s up to your interpretation, but either way Lizzie wasn’t interested so that was that.

This means that this film had a little more romance than the others although to an extent they all have a lot of romance with Hallmark. The film’s at its best when it’s not worrying about the tension here and instead focuses on how Lizzie makes a good party. With enough resources and time you can do a lot of creative things and these films will give you some good ideas.

The characters are also solid. Lizzie’s got a good attitude when working on the job and doesn’t let all of the antagonistic characters keep her down. She keeps trying to win over Pippa with her ideas until she eventually succeeds. She also doesn’t jump to conclusions the way that Robert does. There’s always one character who makes the leap but she stayed strong here. Lizzie really did her best to make Christmas special for everyone, but I think one important thing about her character is that she is a professional. Whether or not she became their friend you can’t deny that she did an amazing job setting up the party. The house looked a lot better than it had originally.

As for Robert, he’s a decent character. He takes a while to come around but for the most part he was still pretty cordial. He didn’t get upset every time he happened to show up and Lizzie was taking a break. He was reasonable there since he knew she was doing a good job and that’s how a boss should be. I do think he could have done a better job explaining to Pippa and the others why they had to sell the house though. Due to how the plot twists go and why they need to sell, I don’t see how everyone was so aggressive towards him. Surely at least Kip and the sister should have understood.

As for Kip, he wasn’t as good as Robert mainly because he was trying to be with Lizzie from the start. She brought up the valid point that effectively she works for Kip since he’s a part of the family so that dynamic was never going to work. Kip really should have given up at that point. Meanwhile Pippa is definitely not the nicest character, but she’s not too exaggerated or anything. She may not be all that kind to Lizzie, but she’s not slamming doors in her face or anything like that. She also does go along with the lead’s idea when she acknowledges that it is sound.

As mentioned earlier, this film is just solid all the way around. The writing is good and I enjoy the scenery we get in the various shots. The characters are all written well and the movie’s pacing is on point. There’s time for a lot to happen, but it never drags on. Romance movies really aren’t my thing, but the Hallmark Christmas films consistently deliver so maybe this is the winning formula. The ending surprisingly isn’t quite as happy as most of the others when you think about it. Of course Lizzie and Robert get a happy ending, but Lizzie’s sister and some minor characters we didn’t know the name of had to lose a bit. The sister should be okay since I think the agent keeps money no matter what but the other guys were ready for a new experience. Naturally Kip lost out as well. Still, the positive parts of the ending outweigh the sadder parts as no character should be particularly crushed with how this turned out.

Overall, Coming Home For Christmas is a solid film. It does remind you that you gotta be careful not to let business get in the way of enjoying Christmas and spending time with everyone. Without Lizzie at the ready Robert probably would have completely lost touch with everyone in the end. The setup is more old school with everyone arriving for several days at a large mansion to do all these traditions, but you can certainly do the same in a smaller set-up as well. The only thing this film was missing was more Christmas food as we didn’t get to see the cast eating all that much.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review


It’s time to take a look at the final Star Wars film in the main saga. It’s been a long road so we’ve been waiting quite a while for this one. This trilogy has definitely had a checkered history with the first film being pretty much a 1-1 remake of episode IV and V destroyed any semblance of Luke Skywalker’s character, but did give us some of the first fight scenes we had in a very long time. This one is definitely better than the last two films. It may not take the series to the next level, but it certainly has more positives than negatives and I would easily recommend it to anyone who wants a good action film.

The movie starts off by with the group scattered once again. The Empire is on the offensive as always and Kylo Ren is searching for even greater power. He has found a new spark of life for his army and they threaten the very universe. Rey has been training so that she would be ready for the next big battle and is closer to being a Jedi Master. This has caused her to not be as available to the resistance which does bring some apprehensive feelings from the other characters. Finn and Poe have done their best to locate more intel but they are heavily outgunned and need some kind of backup support. Can the resistance rise up to overthrow the empire or have they finally hit their limit?

Right away one positive in the film is that it has a very fast pace. Something is always happening and we get to cover a lot of ground. There aren’t a whole lot of action scenes or at least it feels that way, but the ones we do get are very good. Whenever Rey and Ren face off against each other you are sure to have a good fight. The series still isn’t nearly as good at the battles as in films II and III which is a little odd since those are so old, but the battles still hold up. I always like hearing the lightsaber effects and how they are designed as well. The Force abilities are also pretty versatile and can be used in many ways. The film did a good job of incorporating them into the action scenes.

Luke Skywalker actually didn’t look terrible here which is already a point above the last film. He seemed like his old self and I was glad about that. It’s always fun to have cameos from the older characters through their force ghosts although some of them can be a bit much here. One character in particular was a bit iffy since he really shouldn’t have the ability to become a force ghost compared to the others. We can assume that they let him in and it’s not like the rules are totally set, but it did feel a bit cheesy. It does help make this finale feel a little more special though. We get to see almost every important character and location in the series.

One of the film’s weaknesses is that it’s a long movie that does feel long though. In part this is because the cast can’t hold their own scenes as well as the original characters. Rey does a good job as the lead, but Poe and Finn aren’t quite as exciting in the B plot as Han Solo was back in the day. We get to see a lot of nice backdrops in various scenes, but the scenery does add up which also gets attributed to the feeling that the film’s lasting a while. It’s probably a tradeoff that is unavoidable to feel like a LOTR epic, but I think the film could have shrunk the length down a bit or maybe focused more on Rey and thrown in some more fight scenes.

As always Rey is a great lead. In this film she is really struggling with her past a lot and trying not to go to the dark side. It’s a good internal battle and Rey tends to make the right decisions. I do think her friends had a point that she was taking too long training when they could use her on the front lines, but the training did allow her to stay on par with Kylo Ren so without it I wonder how she would have fared. Rey not come out on top every time, but she always fights hard and it’s nice to have a Jedi who is trained so well for a change. It feels like a long time since we’ve been to this point. The scene of her dragging down a ship was impressive the likes of which we haven’t seen since Starkiller.

This is one of the best parts about the film in general. It’s great to see Rey as a Jedi Master who is pretty confident and knows what she is doing. I’d like to see her go rogue a little more and just wreck the enemy, but she shows us enough so we know what she is capable of. We haven’t seen someone as powerful as her since episode III so it’s been a considerably long time. The fun part is when you think about it she is way stronger than even someone like Darth Vader just going by the films, but his appearances came before the effects got to this point so it’s not totally an equal comparison.

Unfortunately Finn didn’t bring his A game this time. I found him to be pretty annoying in a lot of scenes where he acts like he knows Rey better than Poe. Whether that is true or not he comes across as pretty obnoxious. One scene in particular is when he accuses Poe of not understanding Rey and when Poe asks him to help get this understanding, Finn just doesn’t bother helping out. It’s like telling someone that they don’t know the right answer and you do, but then not giving it to them when asked. In general I thought Finn was giving Poe a hard time throughout the film when it wasn’t really deserved. Poe was actually quite solid here. He got the shaft in the first two films compared to the other two so it was nice to see him take more of an active role here. Poe is probably the closest we would get to Han Solo so it’s nice to have another hot shot pilot like him.

Meanwhile we’ve got Kylo Ren on the villain side. I still can’t take him all that seriously without his helmet because of how beat up he always looks. The guy can still fight though so ideally this should be enough to get you on his side. While I can’t go into detail on his character too much, I thought his portrayal here was pretty good. I consider it to be an improvement over how he looked in the last two films. His first scene in the movie is probably his best one though even if he made the wrong call in the end.

Part of why most of the characters are at their best here is because the writing is pretty solid. We get a good script with some nice humor included. Most of the characters make the rational choices time and time again. The villains are constantly in-fighting while the heroes keep using their bonds to get through tough times. It helps their resistance feel a little more realistic even if they probably should have been completely wiped off the map by now. I already covered the fights, but the effects in general are really great as well.

Princess Leia is one character who I felt had no real purpose in this film. She was one of those characters who was just here for nostalgia along with a bunch of cameos. We got a flashback scene with her and I feel like it should not have been included because it just makes her look terrible. The reason why she gave up something boils down to her being scared of the future and that’s always one of the worst reasons to abandon something. She also made some wrong calls with regard to certain secrets so overall she really didn’t help the troops much at all.

One interesting concept that the film dabbles with is how the force can allow you to be in multiple places at once and transcend space/time. It seems like an interesting take on the astral plane because in a way that’s how the characters are connected. It was cool to see how they would effect different places at the same time. One point where I don’t see how it worked is how both characters got a lightsaber at the end and you’ll know what scene I’m talking about when you watch the film. It’s possible one was on the ground, but if the force duplicated it then that might be stretching things a little bit. Otherwise I think this ability still makes sense and is effectively a further demonstration of the usual force ghost abilities.

It does always make you wonder why the heroes don’t use this more often to mess with the villains. It opens up an interesting can of worms since the heroes could have easily ruined the villain’s plans a lot sooner if they would act in the real world more. One of the novels explained why they do not, but most of those are not canon anymore so I’d like the films to address it at some point. The power levels are pretty good for the most part though so I don’t really have any issues there. The soundtrack is good as well even if a whole lot of it is really just re-used from older films. I’d like to start seeing some new music in any future films going forward.

It’s hard to pick what the best scene in the film is, but mine is possibly when two characters are struggling for control over a ship in the distance. It’s a really nice scene showing how persistent both characters are and was one of the best portrayals of their individual strength as well. It was also the right move for the hero to do there instead of retreating or following. Just grabbing the ship made the most sense so long as it was a feasible option and that’s exactly what happened. One scene where a character made the wrong move is when someone rightfully mentions that they should consider a potential counter and as he is going into detail on why they should think about it he gets silenced. I guess some people just don’t want to win….

This film has a little romance although fortunately not much. Unfortunately it wasn’t handled well at all. This doesn’t feel like a natural progression considering how much animosity was between the two characters. It’s great that they could move past this so quickly of course, but jumping to the next step was a bit soon. Time was of the essence I suppose so it might have been more of a gesture of friendship with one person feeling bad for the other, but no matter how you slice it I couldn’t really give this part a thumbs up.

Rise of Skywalker has a pretty satisfying ending that deals with everything more or less. There is one missed opportunity in my opinion though. One character gets one last line to end the film with and if it was one word different it would have been amazing. It would have probably been pretty controversial as well, but sometimes you gotta take some big risks. This isn’t a negative though as it’s a purely subjective change and either way it works well enough.

So, where does Rise of Skywalker rank overall? Well, I’d put it above pretty much all of the films except III which ages better each time and IV. It’s tough with V, Rogue One, and VI, but I may have to actually put this one above those. Here’s the thing, those films had a more interesting setup and better characters, but I would call this the stronger film. I’d sooner rewatch those in part because it’s been a while, but if we’re comparing initial viewings then I would have to pick this one. So initially I thought this was around middle tier, but this would actually put it near the top.

All in all, this third trilogy is the strongest one. It may have had a slight dip with the middle film, but it didn’t have any bad installments either. I still think the worst thing it did was basically make all of the old films pointless with the reveal in VII that the Empire is back, but after that it recovered well. I think it’ll definitely live on as a nice trilogy for new viewers who don’t necessarily want to go back to the older days. I am interested in seeing new films come out with a fresh cast and all though. One thing I still really want is more Jedi and Sith battles. I’d like some high end battles like in Episode III. This one had some good battles, but there was still nothing even close to the level of those.

Overall, Rise of Skywalker is a solid way to wrap up the Star Wars series. I think I covered about as much as I could without heading into spoiler territory. I won’t call it a great movie because despite the fast pacing it wasn’t always super engaging. I think in part this is because the big emotional moments don’t really land. Seeing some guest stars and throwbacks to the past is always fun and all but I wouldn’t call any of these scenes particularly powerful. The action and effects should still keep you busy though and the film is technically sound. The writing is good and at the very least you can see how there was a lot of effort put in here. I’d recommend checking this film out whether you are a Star Wars fan or not. You should be able to jump in and quickly understand what is happening thanks to the helpful opening text and the fact that the basic plot (large scale) is easy enough to understand. It’s a war and the empire is the evil side.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Bishop’s Wife Review


It’s time to look at a film that takes a very different look at what it could be like if an angel showed up to help you out. It’s an ambitious take on this and one that makes for a pretty entertaining adventure even if it doesn’t seem like it would be all that accurate. The ending gets awfully close to wrecking the movie but fortunately it is left to interpretation so I can interpret the ending to not be a total film wrecker.

The movie starts off with Henry having yet another fight with the funders for the new cathedral he wants to create. In particular the main lady wants a lot of the credit for the church like her husband’s name to be written inside. Henry is determined not to compromise on this issue as he rightfully feels like this would be a bad move. Having anyone’s name inside or altering the illustrations is just taking attention away from God. The last place where you want to have symbols and statues honoring an investor and capitalism is in a Church. So now the bishop is in a rough patch and it is affecting his marriage. He keeps choosing the church over his wife and cancelling their plans at the last second. He then prays for guidance, which causes the angel Dudley to show up.He claims he is here to help, but it seems like he is causing Henry nothing but trouble. Is it possible that Henry summoned someone from the wrong side?

Henry spends a great deal of the film being really skeptical of Dudley. I think it should be apparent pretty early on that he is a supernatural being at the very least since he can teleport and opens locked doors. Henry then switches his story to thinking that maybe Dudley is a demon. I’ll give him some credit here, at least that’s a better theory than Dudley being some random joe. The theory also gets a little stronger when he starts actively sabotaging Henry. Henry makes the wrong choices for pretty much the entire film, which is why Dudley keeps taking him down a few pegs. The idea seems to be to make sure something bad happens to Henry every time he makes a mistake and in theory then he will stop making mistakes. While an effective plan, it’s another one that you may not expect from an angel.

Henry is a hard character to root for here because of how often he makes mistakes. I think the most telling scene is when he meets with the old lady and decides to put her husband’s name in the church. By doing this he betrayed both the Church as well as his wife in missing the recital. It’s the worst of both worlds because now he couldn’t even stand by his ideals. At least by the end of the film he has seen the light and will start to be a good person again, but it certainly took him a while.

So let’s talk about Dudley because he is certainly the most important character here and the film will live or die based on how much you enjoy his character. He is a very confrontational angel and one who isn’t above using intimidation to get what he wants. His first scenes show him helping out around town which was good. He also has a chat with a professor which I feel like was just him intentionally trolling the poor chap. It’s once he meets Henry that he really begins to get intense. He stares the guy down a lot and goes as far as to completely sabotage him when Henry makes the wrong decision. Dudley will not let you have it both ways. Henry wanted to do everything but often times you can only make one choice which is what Dudley wanted to prove to him.

While Dudley is a lot of fun, there are definitely times where he can be a bit much though. The scene of him forcing Henry to give him money was a bit shady.It’s practically robbery since the bishop couldn’t refuse. Then there is the possible hintings of a romance plot with him and Julia. The film leaves it up to interpretation to an extent but even just leaving the hints and such isn’t a good idea. The film humanizes the angel to the point where it comes awfully close to making him human. By the end he is saying that he wishes he was a human and I just doubt that an angel would ever want to take such a step down like this. Was it all an act? Perhaps, or part of it at least but the film did give him the extra scenes of being sad at the end which hints that he was genuine about part of it.

It’s also a shame because it goes back to the whole “A man and a woman can’t just be friends” argument that films try to shove in your face. Not only is this a completely wrong statement, but it makes it harder for people to actually try and be friends in the real world. You’ll always be weary that the other person actually likes you. The film would have been so much more wholesome had they just stayed good friends. I think all of Dudley’s early gestures could be seen as just a nice guy trying to help everyone out. He could be a bit heavy handed with the complements, but that was it. However, the ending really ruins the nice intentions and puts all of his scenes in a different light. It was enough to take a star off the film.

Meanwhile Julia is a great heroine. She does her best to keep everything in order as Henry goes through his phase. She’s pretty patient considering everything she has to put up for with the bishop. She even feels guilty about having fun for a while since it’s so out of the norm, but gradually gets used to it. She also proves to be faithful in the end by not entertaining any kind of affair which is always great to see. Then you’ve got her mentor, the aspiring writer who shows up now and again. He was a fun character and I’m glad he got a happy ending with the endless wine. He was getting trolled quite a bit in the beginning so this helped him get the last laugh.

Romance plot aside, the film’s writing was quite strong. I think it had more humorous scenes than I’ve seen in quite a while for a film. The characters all looked really good and every time Dudley would stare someone down it was epic. The gag of something happening every time Henry would try to out Dudley as an angel was handled really good as well. The writing being so strong is part of how the film managed to survive the climax.

Overall, The Bishop’s wife is a pretty good film. The message of the movie is pretty good. It’s all about having priorities in your life and if work gets ahead of your family then you’ve done something wrong. Dudley certainly did help Henry realize this even if the film came close to slipping off the boat towards the end. The important thing is that it ended up sticking the landing. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then I’d recommend checking it out. You’ll have a good time.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus Review


Time to look at a drama film that takes place on Christmas. It’s based on an editorial from a while back, but since basically the whole film is fictionalized I figured I’d still give it a review. It’s a pretty nice film that reminds you how even if everyone around you can be mean spirited you shouldn’t stoop to their level. The main character gets jaded at times, but ultimately stays strong.

There are a few plots going on in this movie. One of them is with James who loses his job after defending himself from a few brutes. As it usually tends to be, they’re the ones who get away with it while he and his friend get booted out. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of jobs at the moment so James is working hard to try and find anything that could work out for him. He’s starting to think that doing things the right way may be more of a hindrance than it’s worth. Meanwhile his daughter Virginia gets teased for believing in Santa Claus. James advises her to write to the paper about it.

This leads us to the second plot. You’ve got the writer Francis who is currently dealing with depression. He’s been one of the best newspaper reporters in the business but it has cost him a lot of time away from his family. Now he finds himself all alone and blames himself for not being there for his wife. His boss gives him the assignment on Santa Claus hoping that it will give the writer something to live for again and to hopefully get him back into his groove.

There are other plots along the way like the aspiring writer in the newspaper, a sick mother, and a corporate news guy trying to get a story. So we’ve got a lot of story here and the film is relatively short at around an hour and a half so everything has to move pretty quickly. The writing is good so it’s able to hold up and the character cast is solid. I don’t expect you will have any real qualms with the film. At most some plots just don’t feel as interesting as others. I was more invested in the James plot than any of the others ones after all.

He was definitely in the right with defending himself from the attackers in the opening scene. I know they sometimes tell you to look the other way but if someone’s literally attacking you and hampering your abilities on the job you have to do something. It wouldn’t be reasonable to expect James to do anything else. That’s personally how I see it at any rate. Likewise I was glad he jumped in to help his friend in the bar even if it put his job at risk. You have to help your friend in these situations. Part of why James is my favorite character here is that he always made the right choices even when it was dangerous for his career. He’s the kind of friend who has got your back. He definitely starts to doubt himself at the end, but it was a trying day for sure.

It’s not to say that Francis’ plot wasn’t good. It’s just not quite as interesting. I thought the boss was actually the standout character here. He really thought things through and made sure he was there for his reporter. The scene of him putting out his cigarette in the ash tray was also very important because if the gas had been on with the windows closed then Francis would have died too. He was betting everything on the fact that Francis hadn’t totally given up yet. The interesting thing is that Francis had seemingly been about to do just that, but opened the window just in time. The boss showing up ended up saving his life.

Meanwhile we have the assignment and I’d say that Francis’ answer was good. He didn’t totally lie about Santa being real, but kept the response vague enough so that a kid could interpret it that way. It’s always a debate on if you tell your kid that Santa is real or not. Nowadays a lot of parents say they just tell their kid right away so there’s no disappointment later on. Personally I would also establish early on that the parents are getting the gifts and there is no Santa. Even if it’s pretty harmless, telling a kid that Santa is real is a lie. There are ways you could imply it without actually lying, but it’s just so much easier to not mislead the kid here. Also it helps to start informing kids about the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ rather than letting them grow up thinking it’s about gifts and Santa Claus.

The film definitely tackles some pretty serious themes here with suicide and struggling to find work. It handles these themes well without making the film overly depressing. The movie still has enough happy scenes to keep things going well and so you can have a good time by the end. I think the only character who got a raw deal here was the corporate reporter who was trying to get the aspiring writer from the Sun. Now, maybe I’m missing something here, but was the guy that bad? He recognized that the lady was the one writing some of the articles lately and was prepared to offer her a real salary as a writer. I get that the girl didn’t want to ruin Francis by going away but she could have tried her luck without throwing him under the bus. I guess his approach was pretty over the top and maybe I’m missing a moment of him acting more sinister, but on the surface it didn’t seem like a bad deal.

Overall, This is a good film. The character cast here is well rounded and it’s impressive how they based a whole film around a pretty quick editorial. The kids did a good job of looking after their parents and supporting them through this tough time. Virginia go the magazine which was pretty inspiring at the end and the other kid helped her sick mother by getting the soup ready and generally helping out around the house. We don’t get to see her all that much, but it’s made apparent that she is being very responsible. Aside from the bullies running around a lot of the characters just seem like good people. If you haven’t seen this film yet I’d recommend changing that.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Roman Holiday Review


Time to look at a pretty classic rom-com. It’s certainly a movie that just about everyone should be familiar with at this point. That being said, I didn’t know much about it beyond the title so it was a new experience. I would consider this to be one of the best films in its genre. It does a good job of capturing the positives of both genres without dragging itself out or taking things too seriously. The ending is also well done.

The movie starts with Ann going through yet another boring event of having to shake everyone’s hands. Given how many people there are in attendance she has to stand for hours just doing this. Ann does a good job of putting up with all of it, but she wants a day to herself in the town. After trying to ask politely she escapes on her own and has a merry time. Unfortunately the sleeping drugs end up knocking her out. This leads to the other main character in the film, Joe. Joe sees that Ann isn’t in her right state of mind on the bench so he hails a cab and tries to get her home. Unfortunately she is unable to really explain where her home is and he doesn’t believe that it would be the castle so he takes her with him. The next day he wakes up too late and misses his official meeting with the Princess, but realizes that she is actually Ann. Now he is determined to write a big undercover scoop to give to the press so he’ll pretend to be her friend for a day. Can he really go through with such an underhanded plot?

When the movie starts Joe isn’t portrayed as the nicest of guys. It’s not that he’s antagonistic or anything, but the guy just wants to get a good night’s sleep and doesn’t really want to bother with a super tired/possibly drunk person right away. He doesn’t even offer Ann the bed and has her take the couch. After he learns she is a princess he is a lot nicer of course, but eventually it goes from playing a role to actually being a nice person since he likes her. They hit it off as good friends, but with their social circles it won’t really work to stay together. It depends on the kingdom of course, she could possibly pull it off depending on how much pull she has, but it would be a lot for Joe to hope for.

Joe’s plan to expose Ann by pretending to be her friend may be rather standard fare for someone in his line of work to get such scoops, but it’s still good that he abandoned that idea before it was too late. I think that’s the kind of plot that would have made the film a little too mean spirited. Even if he apologized afterwards it would be too late since the damage was already done. By not actually going through with this it makes the film a whole lot more enjoyable to watch. It still brings tension into the film, but without overdoing it.

Meanwhile Ann is a fun character. The sleeping drug may have been a little too effective for the sake of the humor scenes at the beginning, but when she’s in her right mind Ann is a very reasonable character. Really her goal isn’t so bad. She just wants to be normal for a day and that’s something her kingdom should have let her accomplish as it would have saved them a whole film of worry. As long as you have bodyguards undercover it shouldn’t really be much of a problem. Ann isn’t overly oblivious to normal customs so she’s handled realistically.

It’s also a fun dynamic of lying as she and Joe are lying to each other throughout the entire film. Even if it’s not direct, all the time they both have to live out the lie once they started it. Neither one of them wants to spill the beans or the day could be over in a flash. Of course it’s difficult to keep a lie up forever so little chinks in the stories eventually start to appear. Since Joe knows the truth from the start it’s a lot more obvious from his point of view though.

Then there’s the friend Irving who is definitely given a tough time here. Joe ruins quite a few of his outfits and the guy even takes some hits. Irving can be a little oblivious to why he is being attacked though and especially the second time it happens. Both of these scenes are definitely a lot of fun though and easily some of the best moments in the film. He was a good supporting character and ultimately a good guy as well. He didn’t get to hang out with Ann quite as much as Joe but was still able to toss aside his financial dreams to do the right thing.

As for the romance, it’s considerably better than the average ones you see in a film. It’s still on the rushed side when you take into account that they’ve only known each other for about a day though. So I won’t give it a pass, but it doesn’t take away from the film all that much and isn’t a huge focus. Most of the time it’s really just the two characters hanging out as friends and checking out all of the sites in Rome. We even get a nice action scene with the guards where Ann gets to land some hits as well. They were considerably outnumbered, but still took down a lot of the enemies and it was a pretty nicely handled action scene.

The writing is part of what makes this movie shine. The dialogue is quite strong with a lot of fun little jokes hidden in the conversations. All of the characters are realistic and even ones who only appear for a few minutes get to be quite likable. One example is Joe’s boss who sees through the lead’s bold lie and strings him along for a while. I was impressed that the boss was portrayed to be so smart here as half the time they tend to be oblivious.

Overall, Roman Holiday is a film I would recommend. Certainly if you’re looking for a nice romantic comedy this is a movie that fits the bill. The plot of a member of royalty deciding to see how the citizens live is always a premise with a lot of potential. This one really did a good job of handling it and the movie is really over in a flash. I don’t really have any complaints with the movie. The character cast is strong and the blend of humor/serious moments is just right. The ending is also good since it’s pretty happy without being unrealistic or too cheesy.

Overall 7/10