*** A Perfect Christmas (2016)

Muse Entertainment,

Susie Abromeit, Dillon Casey, Erin Gray, Neil Crone, Rebecca Dalton, Siobhan Murphy, Randal Edwards, Rachel Wilson, Patrice Goodman, Romaine Waite, Peter DaCunha, Amariah Faulkner, Caleb Marshall, Chris Gillettm, Chris Farquhar


Newlyweds, Steve (Dillon Casey) and Cynthia Faber (Susie Abromeit) are spending their first Christmas together. Thought Cynthia is responsible for the town Christmas pageant, and Steve is an up and coming attorney, they pair have a definite desire to plan everything. They have a 10 year plan for their lives, and they are even planning to have the family home for A Perfect Christmas as well. But major things happen in their personal lives, just as the family begins to arrive. But once they start showing up, nothing goes as planned and the two are so busy dealing with one crisis after another that neither one tells the other what has happened to turn their lives upside down. As people arrive and things continue to go worng at every turn, it begins to be a huge dark cloud over their heads knowing that they are going to have to tell each other sooner or later.

The story goes that a department store in Australia “invented” the holiday Christmas in July. It was a no brainer there as in the Southern Hemisphere the seasons are opposite of the Northern Hemisphere and July is very cold and snowy and fits the season very well. They do celebrate the holiday on December 25th though, the same as the rest of the globe. It became very popular in the US in 1940 when the movie “Christmas in July” was released. The first time I heard of it was when I was a child, and my Uncle who lived across the country in Arizona came back to Pittsburgh in the middle of July and my Grandmother declared “Christmas in July and put up her tree and all the decorations. I can remember the fun of sitting around the piano and listening to everyone singing Christmas carols when it was 80 degrees outside. The Hallmark Channel every year shows their original Christmas films early every year when July arrives, and this year they rolled out a brand new premier film “A Perfect Christmas”. I am sure this film will be around again this December, so you’ll get a chance to see it if you miss it this summer, but I caught it. Hallmark has another reason for Christmas in July as well. That is the time the release next year’s 2016 Christmas Ornaments to the stores. A Perfect Christmas was a nice enough little Christmas film, and I was impressed with it. The acting was pretty good, and it was a really nice story. It had the fun of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation which is a staple being shown all year round on some channel or another, but also has the romance and love story of a newlywed couple where they are trying to build a life of their own, really want to share with their families, but need some time to work things out. There are problems everywhere, but they still show us how to come together and work things out and make the best of all the bad situations that arrive. It’s warm, cute, and very touching. This is just a little made for TV, but very well done, and worthy of the Hallmark label. Merry Christmas in July everyone, and see you after Halloween with the new Christmas movies for 2016.

Here is the web page for the Hallmark Channel for this film.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Anthem Productions, Paul Schiff Productions,

Finn Wittrock, Aaron Eckhart, Robin Tunney, Sarah Bolger

Based on the book “Courage Beyond the Game: The Freddie Steinmark Story” by Jim Dent this biographic film of Freddie Steinmark follows the history of his life as one of the best high school football players who was recruited by Texas and played in the Game of the Century against Arkansas in 1970. The film is pretty accurate in portraying Freddie’s life story. Being only 5′ 9″ and well under 200 pounds everyone told him he was too little to play defense. But he had been trained by his father very well and was really full of grit and able to play way beyond the level he should have been able to play. An inspiration to the team, Freddie motivated the team to win the SW championship and to be rated Number 1 in his final year. Freddie hid an injury from everyone and played through the pain in the final game until finally he had to go see the doctor and was given a very serious diagnosis. This is a heartwarming, tearjerker of a story showing the enormous fight in this kid.

This film got lost in the shuffle around all the other releases when it came out in the theater in late 2015. Many people have overlooked this film, but it is a very good retelling of the true story, and unlike most docudramas, this one seems to be very accurate on most all points. The research was thorough and it seems they really got it right. Starring Aaron Eckhart as Coach Royal and Finn Wittrock as Freddie, the performances are very good. The characters really look like the real people as well and the actual scene is presented at the end of the film, and it’s real, not recreated. This is a touching story, similar to a lot of the true sports tales, but since it is a true story of an amazing life and how he touched so many people, I was truly impressed with it and though many critics didn’t like the way it was portrayed, I felt it was done properly, with loads of respect, and though a sad story, told in a remarkably upbeat and uplifting way. This is a great football film with lots of sports action that is recreated very close to the actual history, and I highly recommend this film as a good film for all ages.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Lionsgate, Red Wagon Entertainment, Summit Entertainment,

Maggie Q, Octavia Spencer, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Bill Skarsgård, Jeff Daniels, Naomi Watts, Miles Teller, Ray Stevenson, Theo James

After the devastating events of the previous film, the four escape outside the wall to discover what’s out there. Tris and her three friends find a world outside that may hold the answers to how she came to be Divergent in the first place, but naturally trouble looms from all sides, and they have to make some hard choices as to where to put their allegiance in the future. This is the final film in the Divergent series, oops, surprise! This is part one of the last film in the series. The last one, word has it is coming out as a TV movie without a theatrical release.

I wasn’t impressed very much by this film. Hopefully the last one, if it does eventually come out, will be a little bit better. I guess the dump at the box office has destined this to be finshed as a TV movie. I guess my disappointment in this one was shared by the rest of the world. Perhaps there have been so many similar series and all the hype has jaded us a bit, or perhaps there’s just too much special effects and too little story. This was step by step predictable from the start to the end. There’s no real tension as it’s easy to tell what’s going to happen each step of the way, and very little suspense. The characters in this story is not nearly as likeable, and not as easy to care much about. I don’t know if it’s a weakness in the story, the screen play, the actors, or what. Perhaps, as I suggested earlier, it just was too much pizazz and not enough story, I don’t know. But in any case, this is by far the weakest of the films so far, and each one has dropped a star as we through them. I had higher hopes for this film, as I haven’t had the time to read the books, but I was kind of let down by this one. Glad I waited for the DVD instead of paying top dollar to see it in the theater. There’s lots of better films out there. This is probably okay to skip unless you’re really a big fan. Sorry.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Amasia Entertainment, 3311 Productions, Circle of Confusion,

Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick, Tim Roth, James Ransone, Anson Mount, Michael Eklund, RZA

Martha McKay (Anna Hendrick) just caught her boyfriend cheating and is extremely depressed when she meets a guy named Francis who seems to be Mr. Right (Sam Rockwell). Mr. Right though has a secret. He’s a top notch hitman who has turned against those that hired him and now they are all rather upset with him and trying to kill him. Because Martha is now in the picture, the two of them have to try to survive as this relationship takes a very strange turn.

This is a very weird and quirky movie that is really so absurd that is it quite funny. Sam Rockwell plays the deadpan character who just shakes of his own actions with a shrug while the world is crumbling around him. Anna Kendrick’s character likewise is very complex. She goes through a range of emotions all across the spectrum. Yes, this is an absurd comedy, but like many others that came before, this one kept me very interested. This one is way off the beaten path, and I was really surprised at the quality of the performances in this little movie. I had never heard of it before, but found it quite enjoyable in a quirky way. It’s a strange story, but the irony of the situation is played out very well. This is a good little movie.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Amazon Studios, Bleeker Street,

Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville

Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon) had finished his stint in the Army. He was well established at this point, and needed something to keep himself occupied. Watching TV, he became obsessed by the troubles in the US, with civil unrest and rampant drug use. Elvis wanted a badge. He had a dream of becoming a CIA agent, and set off to Washington D.C. to deliver a handwritten letter to President Richard Nixon (Kevin Spacey). Surprisingly, the two had a famous meeting in the oval office, and this is the story of the events that led to that meeting and the results afterward.

This is a very interesting film. First, this is my first time (I think) viewing an Amazon Studios film. Yeah, that’s the Amazon.com people who like everybody else are jumping into content creation. This was the first feature film picked up by Amazon. Kevin Spacey was heavily involved in the production of this film, and does a hell of a Nixon impersonation. He was really superior in his portrayal of President Nixon. Michael Shannon does his best to try to be Elvis, but actually he doesn’t look or act much like Elvis and I have seen numerous Elvis impersonators (a few in this film, even) who can do Elvis better than he did. But that’s not a huge deal, as no one is really going to be Elvis. This is actually a fairly decent retelling of the what happened according to the folks who were there at the time. This is a small film, very low budget, and not even 90 minutes long, but still it’s an interesting story, one that I’ve heard tell of for most of my life since it happened in 1970, but something I was never really sure of what actually occurred. This was and interesting experience, and if you are interested, I certainly would recommend you watch it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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