The Hallmark Channel,

Bonnie Somerville, Brennan Elliott, Madison Brydges, Precious Chong, Richard Waugh, Graham Scott Fleming, Sadie LeBlanc, Andre Richards, Miku Graham, Derek Scott


Maddie Duncan (Bonnie Somerville) is a high powered east coast executive who is afraid to fly. She is invited to her biggest client’s wedding in Colorado, but fortunately is able to get her brother’s classic car to make the drive to Colorado in time. But unfortunately the car breaks down in the little mid-west town of Christmas Valley which is the most Christmas loving town of the century, much to Maddie’s chagrin. But as the problems pile up, she meets a really kind family who work hard to change her disdain for the Holidays.

This is another Hallmark Christmas movie for 2017. This one appeared during their Christmas in July celebration last summer. This is a very derivative, but exceeding sweet Christmas story that has it all. The town is called Christmas Valley as the founder’s last name was Christmas, but the citizens of this little town really embrace the season. This has the semi-gruff marketing executive who doesn’t belive in Christmas with the broken down car, stranded in a town full of Christmas Spirit. It has the Christmas loving Boarding House lady and the eclectic boarders. Most of all there’s the lovely family with a single Dad, Kevin (Brennan Elliott) and his extremely cute daughter who pushes her Dad into finding her a new Mom. Yes, this is the most common Christmas story of all, but it’s very well done with really fabulous acting, and so it’s a nearly perfect holiday film. They are all true to the genre, and it moves along like frosted egg nog and a slice or two of pumpkin pie in front of a crackling fire. Fortunately for us, cars never break down in a dirty smoky city with people who hate the holidays. Of course I guess this would be a horrible movie. Anyway, there’s nothing new here, but it’s still perfectly delightful, so who cares?

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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** Christmas Homecoming

Hallmark Channel, The, Kaufman/Plager Productions,

Julie Benz, Michael Shanks, Kirsten Robek, Toby Levins, Farryn VanHumbeck, Chilton Crane, Steve Makaj, Jay Brazeau, Daryl Shuttleworth


A war widow Amanda (Julie Benz) is still struggling with the loss of her husband two years ago when she meets an injured soldier Master Sergeant Jim Mullins (Michael Shanks) returning from Afghanistan. The town has cut the funding for the museum where Amanda works, The Pinewood Heritage Museum and Community Center, and it looks like it’s going to have to close when Amanda comes up with the idea of holding a fundraising event on December 23rd to raise the money to keep the museum open. Jim is anxious to help, but he notes that Amanda is grieving the loss of her husband while he, himself, is struggling with guilt that he is home and his men are still in Afghanistan. He wants to go back to the field, but cannot under doctors orders. The two help each other get to the root of the issues they have buried inside and help each other learn to live their lives again.

This 2017 premier movie is a war film wrapped around Christmas time, but I did find it very sentimental which made it a little bit unrealistic. The chemistry between the two go from zero to sixty in 5 seconds, and makes it hard to accept. It’s a interesting story, but not the most intriguing of the films I have seen this year. Overly sweet, I found myself getting bored pretty quickly. There are no real conflicts or really hard decisions and things are a bit easy. I’m sure this will resonate with those familiar with life in the service, but for civilians like me, things were a little bit too simplistic and resolved too quickly. I found this to be one of the weaker entries for this year, and an interesting choice to start out my Christmas reviews for this year!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Every year since November of 2010, I have reviewed as many of the Christmas films I am able to find on TV, Cable, Streaming, in the Theater, and anywhere else that I can find them. [Click here for the special page]“>This is the Eighth year and I am at it again!

Starting TODAY I’ll start sending the holiday film reviews, but there is a list of hundreds of Holiday films that have already been reviewed. You’ll see them on the “Ed’s Christmas on TV Project” page, and you can recognize them as the titles will start with two snowflakes “**” in front of the name of the movie. These are films that appear on TV, on cable channels like Hallmark, and Lifetime, and all over the place. Many are available on demand and on Watch Instantly. I hope that if you are a Christmas Movie fan like I am, that this special list helps you find the gems among the clinkers are you enjoy your holiday viewing. Every year lots of new ones are released, and believe it or not, there’s still a few out there that I still haven’t seen. I’ll be scouring the schedule for new ones to add to the hundreds I’ve already done. Hallmark has switched to Christmas Movies already and have several releases from Christmas in July five months ago, so I am going to get started.

Season’s Greetings, everyone.

Ed Goettman

 

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EMI Film Distributors, G.W. Films Limited,

Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Derek Jacobi, Tom Bateman, Marwan Kenzari, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Sergei Polunin, Miranda Raison

This remake of the 1974 classic film is based upon the Agatha Christie novel of the same name, a well known series of books about the notable investigator Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Barnagh). A number of passengers aboard the glorious Orient Express a train that crosses eastern Europe are stranded when an avalanche knocks the engine off the track and forces a team from the next station to send workers back to dig the train out. But during the night a passenger named Edward Ratchett (Johnny Depp) is murdered in his cabin, and Inspector Poirot is put to work to solve the case before the train is freed to move along it’s way. Set in the 1930’s this is a classic mystery tale of murder and suspense.

This is a really well done film, and the style and feeling of the movie really takes us back to the great mystery films of old, but with the newer technology making it look old, but sharp and spotlessly clear. The scenery and the train itself are dazzling, and the list of stars is mind boggling, just as the 1974 version was. The only problem I have with this remake is that I already knew the ending, so the who-done-it that makes the story so exciting is gone for me. But since it’s been since 1974, there are new generations that probably have never heard of this story or who Agatha Christie even was. For those folks this is perfect film with an opportunity to see a classic mystery story of old from a whole new perspective. However, the problem is that these kinds of stories are not big on action and adventure, but a close look at how the mind of Hercule actually works and a strong tendency to try to solve the murder as he does. But as someone who has seen the 1974 version and remembers the story, it was a different experience to watch the formulation of the movie and to see the baby steps along the way to presenting the mystery and rolling out the clues. And of course the final solution of the murder and the collection of suspects where Poirot unveils the killer is really classic cinema. This is an excellent film, and whether or not you’re familiar with the story or not, you should give this film a try to enjoy the entire experience.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Music Box Films,

Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, Renan Ozturk, Jon Krakauer

Meru is a mountain in India. Not the highest, but perhaps one of the most difficult. At the top is a place called the Shark’s Fin which is virtually straight up, and very smooth. It’s probably the most difficult because it has all kinds of climbing. Due to the extreme altitude, all the high altitude equipment must be hauled up, but you not only have to climb the wall, you have all types of climbing to cross, so it takes a lot of equipment with no Sherpa to carry your stuff. These three expert, world renown climbers made the incredibly intense climb and filmed it so we can experience everything along with them.

This is another breathtaking film on the mountain. This documentary also contains a lot of background information about the people involved including their families. This is a unique film because it was done by the climbers themselves and they bring their own personalities into the film. There is something unique about these folks that are constantly pulled to the mountain and have to test their survivor skills over and over again for no great compensation. They just can’t seem to stop. These are the very best, and this movie is really interesting. It’s the closest I’ve come to real climbing myself.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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