Archive for 3 Star Rating

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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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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Lionsgate, Grindstone Entertainment Group, Gold Star Films,

J.D. Evermore, Joely Richardson, Bryce Romero, Aiden Flowers, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Whitman Groves, Carsen Flowers, Douglas M. Griffin, Dana Gourrier, Abigail Breslin, Jodie Moore, Raeden Greer, Laura Cayouette

A zombie apocalypse has struck the town, and tough father Wade Vogel’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) beloved daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) has been infected. She realizes the danger she is to her family, so she runs off, but is captured and being held in a quarantine facility. Wade sets out to find her, and is able to persuade the town leaders to allow him to bring her home to care for her, but if she gets worse and becomes a danger to the family, he has to either bring her in to the quarantine center where she’ll be killed, or take care of it himself. But Wade is unable to accept the truth, that Maggie is serious trouble, and spends his time in denial until everything comes to a crashing climax.

This is an unusual science fiction movie that cares more about the characters than the horror. Most zombie films are all about the danger and the gore, and the chase to keep away from the monsters. This film is quite different, as the zombie disease is secondary to the feelings and pain that the family goes through, and that Maggie goes through as she loses herself little by little, but is somehow aware of the tragedy that is falling upon her and her family. It’s very touching and very moving and a very different zombie movie than you’ve ever seen before. Done with a minuscule budget, if not for the backing of Arnold who once he saw the script, knew it was meant for him created sort of a new career for the former Governor of California. As he says in his interview, there is no way he would have ever accepted this role in his younger days when success was measured in the number of kills and the size and quantity of big guns. But he has changed too as he’s matured and has a family or two of his own. He was so touched by the script, that he jumped all in and without his backing this probably could not have been made. As it is, it’s a very touching story with great emotional scenes that make you go through a whole range of emotions. Arnold was good, but so was Abigail who played a very difficult role and nailed it exceptionally. This movie was well worth the time I spent watching it, and though it’s mostly unheard of, it’s well worth looking out for it. Excellent.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Just One More Productions, Exit Strategy Productions,

Joel Hogan, Megan Peta Hill, Josh Potthoff, Pete Valley

Three friends have a dream to be accepted for a survivor-like reality show, but they have to submit a video showing how well they work together, and that they are up for adventure. They decide to travel to Australia to visit a friend they haven’t seen since they were children, and to film themselves doing a dive in a shark tank surrounded by hungry sharks. But when a disaster happens to their ship, the three find themselves floating alone in shark filled waters waiting for some good luck in the way of a rescue from their dark situation.

This is the third, obviously, in the serious of Open Water movies. I have seen all three of these, although the only review I have written is for Open Water 2 [Click Here for Ed’s Review]. It’s hard to believe that the first one was in 2004, 13 years ago before Ed’s Review was even a thought. The first one was a very startling and interesting film, but actually Open Water 2 was even better. This third installment was one too many, perhaps, and I found a bit disappointing. After the successful suspense of Open Water 2, this one took to the “found footage” gimmick which doesn’t really work. That’s because they can’t possibly show everything from the point of view of one single camera, so they constantly cheat by throwing in other shots and we’re supposed to try to figure out who filmed it, and where the film came from. The whole back story of kids wanting to be on reality tv, and then ending up in a found footage flick is hard to swallow. The acting is not very solid, and the chemistry between these three is very ho-hum. Over in 80 minutes flat, it’s still plenty long for you to get bored with it and wish it to be over. IT does follow the format, somewhat, of the trilogy, but does come up a little short. Personally, I wish I had passed on this one as it wasn’t worth the time invested, and is especially a letdown after the last one. Choose “47 Meters Down” instead of this one, and you’ll enjoy it a lot more, in my opinion.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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2 Wolves Films, Strings of Films,

Josh Duhamel, Maria Bello, Laura Dern, Lucas Till, Kherington Payne, Tom Everett Scott, Jae Head, Sharlene Taulé

Very young, but popular N.Y.C. DJ Alex (Josh Duhamel) is on top of the world, but doesn’t realize how good he has it. Living with his single mom, Annie (Laura Dern) who has substance abuse problem herself, so Alex has the run of his life. But when an accidental overdose puts him in the hospital, his mother figures she can’t take care of him anymore, and has the court send him to live with his estranged father that he has never known in rural, very small town. He’s forced by the court to have a one hour weekly meeting with a local psychiatrist/parole officer. Alex doesn’t fit in very well, but finds he is a bit of a star to the local kids, and finds a way to fit in by assisting their school dance team with their music. In the meantime, he has to learn how to deal with his demons, and those that are out to get him while learning to fit in a whole new world much different that what he’s used to.

I found that this was a pretty decent film, and had the feel of a lot of the popular hip hop dance movies out there, crossed with the cheerleader movies, but with a mostly male point of view which made it quite a bit different. There are really good performances in this film. Josh Duhamel is very good as the troubled boy learning to be a better version on himself. Lucas Till is also very good knowing that he has his own demons, but trying to help in a most unusual way. Laura Dern is a good actress, but unfortunately doesn’t have much to do in this movie. That’s a shame, but she adds a lot to the part she is in. Perhaps the weakest part of the movie is that it is obvious where it is going, and there just aren’t many surprises, but it was still an interesting film to watch. The characters were well developed, the messages were loud and clear, and it was a chance to root for a stunning change in Alex’s life as he really deserved it. This film is rated R, honestly because of the drug use and one scene that was rather explicit, but was a good film for late teens and young adults who will identify with the characters in this story and will probably enjoy it very much. With the excellent cast, it’s worth giving it a whirl.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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