4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Meet me in St. Louis Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old film about lots of romance and drama. It’s not one of those old classics that has aged really well with a compelling story. On the contrary the characters can be a bit on the annoying side and most of them tend to make the wrong choices time and time again. In particular you’ll feel bad for one character who just wants to move to New York where everything will be amazing, but is being guilt tripped by everyone. The film definitely had potential and could/should have been better, but ultimately was not able to step up to the plate.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the various characters. First off we have Rose who is the eldest daughter and she is expecting a phone call from her beloved with an offer for marriage. Well, he does call but doesn’t really have anything to say which ends up hurting her day. Perhaps everyone was just too hasty in assuming anything important was going to be in the call though. That’s what happens when you let the assumptions rise with no real basis. Well, at least there is a big dance coming up so she can look forward to that.

Then you have Esther who has fallen for the next door neighbor. She isn’t really sure how to approach him though which mostly leads to a lot of scenes of the two characters not knowing what to do. John seems to like Rose at first, but eventually comes around. Their relationship gets put to the test when Esther’s little sister Tootie tells her that John hit her. Family should always come first, but would her next door neighbor really do such a thing? Meanwhile her father ALonzo has received a promising job offer in New York and so he plans to leave and of course the whole family would have to go as well. Can Esther really start fresh?

I think one of the main problems for this film is the fact that it’s a romance film that has a lot of weak romances spread together. For starters Esther falls for John almost instantly without even meeting him when he moves in. It feels quite superficial from the start and at least in their first meeting with turning off the lights he doesn’t even seem that interested. Then after she assaults him in retaliation for allegedly hitting her sister he takes it in stride almost too well. He has that “Things happen” kind of attitude about it and so they stay together.

Hey, it’s nice that he’s so cool about it I suppose, but you’d think he’d at least he asking some more questions as to why she came over and beat him up without a word. She didn’t even explain it when she came back. Where John drops the ball is at the final dance though. At the last moment he shows up and explains to Esther that he can’t go with her because he lost track of time playing Basketball and didn’t pick up the suit. Really? That’s one of the worst excuses I’ve ever heard. Look, if you’re taking a girl to the dance then you’ve got to actually take her. Cancelling at the last second is completely terrible. If he doesn’t have a suit then he should still go with her even if he’s in more of an informal attire. Maybe he’ll be embarrassed, but it’s the least he could do since otherwise he’s just wrecked Esther’s night as well. It’s not her fault that he isn’t good at managing time. John’s just not a good character. Esther may not always be the best, but at least she definitely wouldn’t pull something like that.

Lon gets one of the smaller roles from the group of kids. He’s the only son in the family and likes a girl in the town, but that relationship is barely even referenced until it happens at the very end of the movie. You could cut Lon out and nothing really changes. Meanwhile Rose gets more of a role, but definitely does seem more stuck up than the others. I think part of it is that she just has a hard time talking to the others and doesn’t always mean to appear arrogant, but it’s just how she keeps her guard up. Her character isn’t nearly as interesting as Esther’s. Then there is the old grandpa in the house who looks good. He at least arrives to help Esther when John ends up completely failing.

All right, now we’ve got the best and the worst characters left to talk about. Who should go first? Let’s start with Tootie. She’s the youngest kid and a chronic liar. Lying is already pretty bad, but when you’re lying to get someone else in trouble then it’s even worse. She makes up a story about John hitting her and everyone believes Tootie since I guess most people don’t know she tends to lie. After they find out Tootie basically gets away scott free as everyone comments how funny it is. I don’t see what’s so funny about really hurting someone’s reputation by saying that they hit kids. Tootie should have definitely been punished for that. Throughout the movie she’s also just generally annoying as she likes to say edgy stuff for no good reason.

The whole night party in the neighborhood was also a scene that started to drag on for quite a while. Nothing was really happening except Tootie ended up throwing powder in an old man’s face as part of a dare. Again, she is definitely the worst character without a doubt and the film started to get pretty mean spirited here. Some of these scenes seem to have been supposed to be funny, but they were far from it. The humor did not land in this film and I’d question the writing as well.

Finally we have Alonzo who does his best to fix the film. From the start you feel bad for him since he arrives home after a long day at work and everyone wants him to skip his bath and eat dinner hours early. He’s pretty confused at this and asks why this is the case, but they all just lie to him. I’m glad he insisted on taking the bath and then came in later on. Likewise he gets the same treatment at the end as he gets a new job which will pay a lot more and comes home all excited…only for everyone to give him grief about this. Alonzo can’t catch a break throughout the whole film and it’s a shame because he just seems like a really nice guy who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. He doesn’t hold it against the others, but it does make for a lot of pretty emotional scenes.

Overall, Meet me in St. Louis is a film that had a reasonable premise, but ended up dropping the ball. You really need to drop Tootie and then the film could rise up to at least a 5 or maybe even a 6. She just holds everyone back, but in general was just the biggest issue here. I’d say that the writing was really at fault with characters making questionable decisions and the pacing wasn’t very good. It’s a fairly long film that feels long. The ending should have also just had them all go to New York. It would have been the perfect ending and then at least Alonzo would have gotten some kind of win. He earned that much.

Overall 4/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

A Star is Born (1976) Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

It’s time to look at another take on the A Star is Born story. Unfortunately this is the weakest one and it’s not even close. This version tries to take things on a darker path with the characters not being nearly as good as in the old ones. There’s not a whole lot of fun to be had here and the movie relies on edge over substance. Sometimes you just shouldn’t remake a film over and over because you’re going to be tempted to change things. Well, this one definitely changed things all right, but they didn’t do it for the better.

The film starts off with a bunch of guys waiting for the main singer to arrive so they can start the concert off. Unfortunately he appears to be late as always and is holding everything up. He eventually shows up, but is drunk out of his mind as usual and messes things up. He decides to go to a club at night instead of practicing for the gig the next day and meets up with Esther. He convinces her to come along with him to the next show and eventually she starts to get some gigs of her own. Before he knows it more people want to hear Esther sing than him. As John’s career continues to slip hers continues to rise and he doesn’t take it well. Can John clean up his act long enough to be a reasonable character or will he just keep on sinking?

One of the main differences here compared to the other versions is that John actually was still pretty popular at the beginning of the film. In the others John had already started to be on the decline. I’d also argue that this version of him was more irresponsible than the others. John is already doing drugs in his first scene and spends over half of his screen time drunk. It’s really hard to come back from something like that and you can’t blame anyone but himself for his falling out of the limelight. Every scene John is in is pretty annoying especially because he never even tries to improve himself. The guy is given tons of opportunities to do just that until those chances are finally exhausted. He even had more of a solid network of friends compared to previous versions of the character and he still blew it. I couldn’t deal with him after that.

That’s not even taking into account that he randomly cheats on her near the end of the film. This really felt like the writers were trying to make the guy as unlikable as possible and that wasn’t needed with how bad he was. The whole scene was just very mean spirited and I feel like there should have been no coming back for him from there.

As for Esther, she’s a reasonable lead although not quite as nice as the first two. Part of why her character isn’t as good is how quick she is to get together with John when they don’t even know each other. If anything you’d think that he would have made a bad impression on her since his first appearance is wrecking her show and getting into a drunk fight with some random guy. He also very quickly tried to get into her house. She seems to dismiss this as just being quirky and then they get together, but the whole romance plot made no sense. The romance happens very quickly and without any build up. At least the older films tried in this area.

Esther tries to handle the situation as best she can so she doesn’t do a bad job there. If she was dealing with a reasonable man then I dare say that she would have been quite successful. Unfortunately John is anything but reasonable. If he could have tried to work with her at all then this all could have been avoided, but at this point I’m just re-hashing the same point. John’s terrible, we get it. Lets move on. Esther does her best to get through all of this to the point where she is too forgiving and takes away from her strength as a lead. If anything her manager/John’s old manager is a more balanced character as he isn’t afraid to call John out each time and doesn’t reward his bad behavior.

Unfortunately the writing is also pretty bad here which doesn’t help matters. There’s a ton of language since John’s pretty vulgar most of the time. The characters aren’t written in a way where you can root for them. Some of the songs aren’t bad, but overall they’re weaker than the older versions as well. You can really see why John fell out of favor here even aside from the off the stage issues because his songs aren’t that interesting. Esther easily had the best tunes here and comparing their songs were like night and day.

Overall, A Star Is Born is a story that has had some good adaptions, but this is not one of them. I’d recommend staying far away from this film as it’ll just wind up being a big disappointment if you liked the older ones. This film focuses too much on making the characters unlikable and not enough on actually telling a good story. Even the “little” things like everyone doing drugs sets the characters back quite a bit. It’s certainly trying for a gritty look at the story, but that combination doesn’t work. It’s a lot harder to try and forgive John when he is unlikable and gritty. I’d say that the film had potential but it didn’t even start off on a good note so that idea dried up pretty quick. Definitely just stick to watching the original adaptions instead, you’ll be glad that you did.

Overall 3/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September Review


It’s time to look at one of those films that is pretty terrible. The very premise should clue you in to this though so at least it won’t come as any surprise. The whole plot basically revolves around cheating with none of the characters being strong enough to leave the house. That would have been the best way to avoid the drama. It drags on and on so by the time you walk out of the theater (Or more realistically walking out of the TV room since nobody is seeing this in theaters right now) you’ll just be ready for a good meal and to act as if the film never happened.

The film starts with Lane and her friend Stephanie meeting up at Lane’s place. For some reason I thought they were sisters, but they’re just best friends. They’re joined by Lane’s parents Diane and Lloyd as well as a guy named Howard and Lane’s boyfriend Peter. Having this many people around the house definitely ensures that there will be drama, but things get a little worse than that. Peter decides that he wants to start going out with Stephanie even though she is currently married. Howard wants to be with Lane, but that plot is so pointless that the film doesn’t care about it either so it gets almost no screen time. Meanwhile Diane just wants to have her book written but everyone is too selfish to help her out with it. What cane Lane do about all of this?

Whenever a movie is all about cheating it’s just not going to be good. The whole premise is pretty mean spirited and none of the characters are good. Stephanie is pretty guilty for even giving Peter a moment of her time. She claims that she was trying to get him to notice her for a while so she started the whole thing even though she’s married. That’s already a pretty big strike against her character. There are some things you just don’t do and trying to have an affair once you are taken is a big one. She also gets pretty defensive at Lane afterwards for this even though she is the one in the wrong. It’s a common reaction and one that doesn’t help her case.

Meanwhile we have Peter who is also terrible. Whether he was encouraged or not it doesn’t change the fact that he knows Stephanie already has a man as well. He is also quick to ditch Lane and blames it on being overly emotional. That’s not even remotely a good excuse and short of being mind controlled I can’t think of any that would have saved him either way. The guy is just quick to use people.

Then there is Lane and she’s not a good lead either. For starters she is never around and doesn’t try to confront Peter all that much. She’s too cautious and keeps her emotions grounded which doesn’t let her face up to what is happening right under her nose. She doesn’t handle any of the situations in the film well. Her hand in life is definitely a tough one here since nothing goes her way, but it would have been nice if she could have done something earlier.

Diane is the most enjoyable character in the film although she still makes mistakes of her own. Her decision to move back into the house when Lane was going to sell it was pretty selfish. It was probably the only time in the film where she appeared to be super unreasonable. Her decision to have a book made isn’t quite so bad because it is still her life. At the end of the day if she wants her story to be told then I don’t really think the other characters can object all that much. Also lets face it, Peter wasn’t going to finish his novel anyway.

Then there’s Howard, but there’s still nothing to say about him. He is pointless in the film as his plot gets the least amount of screen time and it doesn’t amount to anything. He’s way too old for anyone to be going with him here and he seems to realize that as he just walks out pretty silently. If the other characters could have just walked out like that rather than sticking around then maybe the film would have ended up with a happier ending. As it stands I can’t see the group getting together for a nice dinner anytime soon. The whole business probably left them pretty sore with each other.

Beyond the fact that the plot is lousy with a terrible cast of characters, the film is also pretty boring. It all takes place in one setting at the house so there is no variety. The plot is small enough for a 30 minute special so it has to be stretched out quite a lot with random plots to be a full movie. Nothing eventful happens here and you’d probably learn more just watching the news for a little while. The film makers weren’t able to succeed in getting any kind of emotion from the audience with the scenes found here. It’s all just darkly lit possibly in the hopes of saving on the budget.

Another part of the problem is really how half heartedly the characters resist making the wrong choices. If they were villains then at least you’d expect them to travel down these dark roads without remorse. By half heartedly saying that they won’t do this thing and then cheat a few minutes later it makes the characters look even worse. They couldn’t have been very serious if the situation would flip so suddenly. The only sympathetic characters here are the ones trying to buy the house and after the way they were treated I’d be surprised if they still wanted to make the sale.

Overall, September is definitely a pretty terrible film. Whenever the main characters are involved in an affair like this it’s just not going to go well. It’s a pretty big betrayal to say the least and with none of the characters getting a satisfying ending except possibly for Diane you can’t end the movie on a high note either. There’s nothing particularly positive about this film so I’d suggest staying as far away as possible. Hopefully if they make a film called October someday it will be a lot more impressive.

Overall 0/10

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

The Love Bug Review


It’s time to look at a film with a car that is actually sentient. I’ve seen a few films with a similar premise but they tend to all be horror titles. This film looks at what would happen if the car was actually quite wholesome. The film definitely hits some bumps in the road, but overall it’s a pretty fun adventure that will grab your attention more than Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ever did.

The film starts with our lead Jim losing yet another race. He used to be a big race car driver but is now considered to be washed up. Jim tried to deny this but is slowly losing confidence. That’s when he has a fateful encounter with a car at a very pricey shop. The hero can’t afford this car but it shows up at his door the next day which does lead to the police getting involved. One thing leads to another and Jim uses the car on the track. He is finally winning again but is it his skills or the car’s?

Now the idea of a car being alive is pretty far fetched so you may cut the guy some slack for not believing that he is real…at first. The problem here is that Herbie proves himself many times with airtight maneuvers. Jim is pretty sure of himself with the whole “science can explain anything” routine but Herbie is too over the top for that to be true. I guess Tennessee’s plan backfires here as he should have let Herbie go wild after the upgrade to really prove that there was more to him than meets the eye. Even so, you’d think Jim would notice that the car was controlling the speed and always suddenly breaking records at the last second. Jim was nice to the car at first and then ditched him at the first possible moment.

It definitely makes Jim hard to root for and he goes from being a pretty reasonable main character to practically being an antagonist by the end. It may be a bit much to call him a villain here, but you’ll miss how he looks early on talking tough to corporate. His window shopping scene may have been foreshadowing for his character’s fall though.

The film is pretty long though and you could say that we get two full acts here. The bridge scene actually felt like the climax but really it was just the halfway point. The rest of the film is a very long cross country race as the heroes try to defend their honor and take home the gold. They all look quite terrible here though. For starters they somehow didn’t think to watch the car before the race. By this point they had already been duped and sabotaged several times so what’s the deal here? The villains had time to slash the tires, empty the fuel line, and substitute their extra tank with water. I dare say that the main characters deserved to lose after such a showing.

They basically left Herbie out to dry by not protecting him. We’ve also got the coffee scene where Tennessee allows the villain to walk in and pour a ton of coffee and whip cream into the car. Fortunately it lived through this but there shouldn’t have been this many close calls. If not for the sponsor looking out for them with his crew it really would have been game over at this point.

Herbie also seems to get nerfed towards the end of the film as somehow the main villain’s normal car is able to keep up. Keep in mind that Herbie was cartoon levels of fast in the beginning of the movie and that was part of the whole point of the film. Herbie is alive so he’s the fastest car around. I guess t just goes to show that a modern car can still keep up with a sentient one but I was surprised at how he kept getting passed over and over again during the race. He would get bumped off the road, lose a tire, etc.

I do gotta give the main villain Peter some props here because he’s a very solid character. His plans to get Herbie are really solid and the guy never gives up. He has plan after plan. Ultimately Peter is a businessman and just wants to be rich and famous. What adds an extra layer to his character here is the fact that he is a race car driver. He doesn’t mind getting up close to the action and putting his life on the line to win. Now that’s a solid villain right there.

The heroine Carole is also pretty solid. She doesn’t put up with Jim’s nonsense in the beginning as she turns him down at every corner and also does her best to prove that Herbie is a solid car. She worked hard to build up her professional reputation and wasn’t going to let some random joe get in the way of that. We get quite a few yelling scenes between the two characters and ultimately she definitely shows quite a lot of spirit. Carole’s also a talented mechanic and helps out when Peter tries his sabotage.

The writing is pretty solid here. The banter is great as always with just about all of the characters being extremely confident. Aside from the main hero and villain both constantly having a smirk at the ready and yelling out their sides in the debate, you’ve even got a cop running around with the same energy. He’s extremely sarcastic to the main character right away to the point where you have to assume that they’ve had some previous history. The scene is rather bizarre otherwise.

Overall, The Love Bug is an entertaining film. A talking car will never not be cheesy in this kind of context but it’s nice to have one on your side. It’s a shame that it can’t talk because that would make it a lot easier for the characters to actually establish a dialogue with it but I guess things would be too easy for them that way. If you haven’t seen this film yet then it’s a good one to check out. Watch the villain steal the show here.

Overall 7/10

1 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ski Party Review


I’ve seen most of the old beach party films from this crew so I may as well see their skiing version as well right? It’s certainly not much better than the rest and makes all of the same mistakes. The characters may not be at the beach but they certainly dress as if they are. I would make the case that there is a little less fanservice here than in the beach versions, but I’m not invested enough into the series to do so. You certainly wouldn’t catch me defending this film. Well, let’s take a look at what we got.

The film starts off with Todd and Craig being down in the dumps because they are still single. They joined a bunch of sport programs but it was no use. Then they notice that Freddie is the star of the party and everyone is only interested in him. Perhaps the trick is that he is always skiing. The two leads quickly decide to go to the next big skiing event and are determined that this will put them on the radar. Will such a shallow plan really work or will the film test our intelligence by continuing to make the plans crazier and crazier?

There are a lot of issues here so it’s always hard to know where to start. I guess we should tackle the romance first. Romance was always a hard genre for films to really pin down and that can be especially true for this one. Part of the reason why the film kicks off is because both of the girls don’t seem to love the two guys straight away. They did go with them on two dates though so this is more about the main characters not being very patient. They want to immediately go further in the relationship while the girls are waiting. The guys are Freddie all the time and that really warps their expectations. You also can’t feel any sympathy for them because they would cheat on the two girls in a heartbeat. We have many scenes where they try to go after other girls so there is absolutely no loyalty here. They’ll simply go after the first one who accepts them.

They also use rather underhanded methods in order to complete their mission. One such tactic is to dress up as a girl and sneak into the dorms. This is a pretty bad move for many reasons. It’s also one of the largest gags in the film and it gets old very quickly. Naturally Freddie falls for one of them in this form and nobody can put the pieces together. I think if you cut away this whole sub plot the film will still be pretty terrible but it would certainly have improve. This plot line just didn’t do anything to really help the film rise up. It drags on and on.

It goes without saying that there is a lot of fanservice here even though they are in the snow. Characters just don’t care about the storm at all. They’re dressed for the beach and they aim to keep it that way for most of the film. We get a lot of zoom ins and crazy dances reminding yo that the plot was not the movie’s first priority. At least the singing isn’t too bad, the series has certainly had worse songs at any rate. Then you’ve got the beach scene at the end just to mess with the audience even further.

There are moments in the film that can be reasonably funny. It’s not like the whole duration is one failed joke after the other. While a good chunk of the jokes don’t work, the surreal nature of the movie helps at times. The scene of the main character floating like a balloon was fun. Additionally I liked the Polar Bear scenes. It’s a pretty nice gag to have that guy running around. The problem is that the movie beats this joke into the ground by having the same joke show up around 5-6 times. You never want to spam a joke that often because it will inevitably get quite old. It’s going for the running gag approach but that works better in a series. If you cram it into a single movie then you are bound to have some issues.

There aren’t any characters to root for here either so you won’t be as invested in the film as you could be. The two main guys are chronic cheaters. The two heroines are too passive and ultimately try to say that the guys were right even though that is definitely not the case. Freddie starts out as a pretty intense guy but by the end he is total comic relief to make the other characters look better. The movie definitely could and should have had more restraint. Maybe make it so the heroes get a win but Freddie still keeps his dignity. The parental figure here literally goes insane by the end of the film and I couldn’t give him any consolation points either. It was rather mean of the main guys to mess with him the whole time, but it’s also partially his fault for falling for their gags. They absolutely should not have worked on him. I prefer the guardians who at least talk tough the whole time. This guy was a punching bag so you’ll sooner feel bad for him than find the scene overly funny.

Overall, Ski Party is definitely everything you expect it to be. The film is pretty straight forward on delivering everything it is advertised to be. If this is your kind of film then you’ll enjoy it. However if you want a film with good writing and an actual plot then I’d recommend staying far away from this movie. It will have nothing to offer you. At least the gang sub plot isn’t around to get dragged out forever. The car chase at the end is actually a little better without those guys around to slow the pacing.

Overall 1/10