Archive for 4 Star Rating

** A Christmas to Remember

Crown Media Productions, Lighthouse Pictures, Storybox Entertainment,

Mira Sorvino, Cameron Mathison, Jesse Filkow, Bailey Skodje, Elle McKinnon, Brenda Crichlow, Steve Bacic, Kevin McNulty, Wendy Abbott, John Innes, Ona Grauer, Tanya Champoux


Jennifer Wade is a high strung TV personality chef, and she’s really in need of a break. Her friend offers her a cabin in the mountains for some skiing, but a blizzard and a car crash leave her wandering in a small town with no memory of who she is and where she came from. She meets John Blake (Cameron Mathison) who takes her in and tries to help, but even with the help of the whole town, they can’t seem to solve the mystery of who she is. John is a young widower raising small kids, and Jennifer just seems to fit in. But she can’t decide anything until she finds out who she is and where she came from.

This is a really nice little holiday film, and very well acted. The setting is really beautiful, and the acting of Mira Sorvino and Cameron Mathison is top notch, as are the children. The town is exactly where I’d like to wake up, and it’s a heartwarming story. Why is it mostly at Christmas we love to see the small town life in the movies.But this is a really warm and touching story and one of the best of this year’s class of holiday films. Be sure to watch this one.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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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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Herrick Entertainment,

Shelby Young, Chloe Bridges, Mitch Hewer, Taylor Ashley Murphy, Carter Jenkins, Kyle Fain

Covington Forest is a spooky place. The place is known for teen suicides and, of course, it’s the talk of all the younger folk nearby. Five teen friends decide to play flashlight games daring each other for dangerous games in the forest. But one of the people has a secret of her own which makes the night even more deadly and perhaps no one will survive the night.

This is an unusual horror film, and a nice surprise, especially for a horror buff like me. This film is a new take on the usual found footage films with nausea inducing shaky camera movements. This one, however, is told from the point of view of the flashlight, It’s an interesting take, and this, in my opinion, added a new twist to the story. There are times when the flashlight is shining in the wrong place, or not doing anything at all, which is a weird situation when you wish the camera was looking somewhere else. Like many films of the horror genre, it doesn’t give you all the answers, and is not going to wrap it up with a red bow. It will give you a lot to think about and will make you wonder, but that’s what makes it good. But the thing that impressed me the most was how terribly suspenseful it was. I was really riveted to the screen and found this little low budget horror flick very entertaining. If you’d like to see something way out of the ordinary, this is an excellent choice. Watch it in the dark, with the sound up, but it might be a good idea to bring a friend.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Lascaux Films, Latitude Productions, Revelations Entertainment,

Michael Cristofer, Diane Keaton, Morgan Freeman, Cynthia Nixon, Claire van der Boom, Korey Jackson, Carrie Preston, Sterling Jerins, Josh Pais, Miriam Shor, Alysia Reiner

Ruth (Diane Keaton) and Alex Carver (Morgan Freeman) have been married for over 40 years. Most of their married life they have lived in a walk-up apartment in Brooklyn, and the 5th floor, and without an Elevator. Alex is an artists, and loves his home, but Ruth is worried that they are getting older and sooner or later they won’t be able to climb five flights of stairs and need to find an apartment with an elevator. So with the aggressive help of Aunt Lily Portman (Cynthia Nixon) who is a realtor, the decide to put their apartment up for sale to see what they can get for it. That is Lily and Ruth put it up for sale, as Alex wants nothing to do with it. We’re blessed with Alex’s reminisces of their early life and how they met and fell in love in a series of flashbacks. But several unexpected events makes it as though fate is out to destroy everything. This is a touching “elders” film that is really well done and right on point.

This movie has the feel of a stage play in the way it tells the story. IT feels very unscripted, although it is based on a novel, but it’s the skill of the primary actors, Diane and Morgan and Cynthia Nixon are really talented actors, and they just work together in one of the most comfortable and believable stories I’ve seen in a long while. I would suspect anyone who like character driven films would love this movie and appreciate its charm, but it’s perfect for those of us around retirement age as we realize the problems and troubles they experience are very similar to our lives. Ruth was a free and easy flower child in her youth, and her decision to enter into an interracial marriage in those times was pure grit and stubbornness. It’s fascinating to see how it has morphed into today, when they’re both elderly and to see how it worked out and how much they care for each other, but still have issues today, even though much less that earlier days. There is a side story about their only child, their dog Dorothy who has grown old with them and has serious problems of her own. Facing her crisis and in turn facing their own mortality is a very pleasant and touching story in itself. This is a slow and steady character piece without a lot of action, and yet it’s very suspenseful at the same time and you can’t wait to find out how it’ll end up. This is a really wonderful story told in the charm of New York City, by terrific actors, and is well worth watching. What a nice experience it was to watch this story.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 


 

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Tashmoo Productions, Amber Entertainment, Belladonna Productions

Willa Holland, Amy Jo Johnson, Tatanka Means, Elise Eberle, Cynthia Stevenson, Lucien Dale, Forrest Fyre, Russell Means

Davey Wexler (Willa Holland) is a young lady still in school, and loves her life in Atlantic City with her parents and her little brother. But when her father is killed in a robbery, and her mother finds herself lost and in deep grief and taking too many pills, she decides to take Davey and her brother to New Mexico to live temporarily with her sister’s family. But her mother seems to be slipping further and further from reality and Davey is getting more and more frustrated and having a really hard time fitting in at the new school. Davey goes for a journey to the canyon, and meets a strange guy named “Wolf” (Tatanka Means) and they hit it off in a very beautiful friendship. Wolf is a secretive and has walls as high as Davey’s but he still manages to teach her to look at life from a different point of view and to face and overcome the many obstacles in her life and to change her point of view completely. This is a touching and classic book by world famous author Judy Blume and her husband Lawrence Bloom wrote the screenplay and directed this heartwarming story.

This is another of those films that I missed years ago in it’s release due to Netflix’s DVD throttling practices and it finally bubbled up to the top of my queue. What a wonderful story and very well done performances. A lot of it is filmed on location in the mountains of New Mexico. This is a perfect story for preteen and early teen girls, like most of Judy’s books, and is a perfect story for them, but the value of the softly told story, definitely not in your face, I found I really enjoyed it as well. It has much of the feel of a Wonderful World of Disney TV movie from back in the 60’s but is much deeper than those. Wolf is, of course, a native American who has a lot of love for his culture and heritage, and a few secrets of his own. He did a wonderful job in performing this role, and was perfectly cast. Willa is an amazing actress. I have to admit I was very impressed with her performance. She can portray pages of dialog with just her expression and when she’s wordless, is some of the best moments in the film. From shock, to pain, to frustration, to worry, to love and caring, it’s all there in the emotion her face can portray. She was superb in this movie and is building a large volume of work. The location and the majestic scenery is also stunning. All in all, this little film is an excellent hidden gem that I didn’t know about, but was very happy to stumble upon. It was a pleasure. This is one of those films, that, when it was finished, I went back and watched it all over again with the commentary by Judy and Lawrence Blume, which was every bit as good as the movie itself. The love and caring they put into this story, and the hard work and dedication the cast put into playing the part, makes this a very worthwhile film to watch. Look for it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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