A Bennett Song Holiday (2020) Movie Review

Director: Harley Wallen

Writer: Nancy Oeswein (Screenplay)

Starring: Corbin Bernsen, Dennis Daskins, Calhoun Koenig, Bryce Xaiver, Harley Wallen, Aphrodite Nikolovski

Plot: The unique Bennett-Song family learns the true meaning of the holidays as they solve a community crisis and adapt to big changes. Everything you want in a holiday film: love, the power of belief, laughter, tears, and new music classics.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: A Bennett Song Holiday starts one year after the events of the first Bennett Song movie, Pearl (Koenig) has been seeing her band rise to fame at college, where she does work to help the local community with music lesson, back home Susan (Nikolovski) and Cole (Wallen) are expecting their first child together, with the family facing a new battle against Aiden Neville (Bernsen) that wants to take the community learning centre away from them.

The family comes together to show the meaning of Christmas to try and raise the money to save the community school from closure, showing however big the family is, they each will have a talent which will help the family give back to the community.

Thoughts on A Bennett Song Holiday

Characters – Pearl has seen her band gain attention in the year, one which has seen her get the attention of sensation Logan French. Pearl is still helping in the local community school for less fortunate children, with her needing to run a campaign to try and save it. Cole and Susan are the parents who are now expecting their first child together to add to their massive family already. Aiden Neville is the man that wants to takes the community school away from the children for his own profit, he will do any tricks to make sure he achieves this. We might not see as many of the children this time around, but with what little we do see, they show us what they can bring to the family dynamic. This does also suffer from the fact we have too many characters, so certain moments don’t get the time they deserve to give the full effect.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are strong throughout, with such a large cast, we get to see such a diverse cast, from different backgrounds, we see different disabilities represented here too, it gives us a community feeling with the cast’s joint performances.

StoryThe story here continues the adventures of the Bennett Song family, we see how an upcoming Christmas will see them needing to come together for the community to show their ability to work as a unit to help people around them. This is a feel-good story, that will mix the different holiday traditions to try and show that people need community over greed. The story might struggling with the pure number of arcs going on, with some not getting as much attention as others, but deep down it is all about the family dynamic.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from the different situations the characters might find themselves in through the film, it is more light hearted style, rather than playing for laughs.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the home setting, the community school they are trying to save and how together it will be important to everyone involved.

Scene of the Movie – The Christmas letter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get enough of the family, which were the charming part of the first film.

Final Thoughts This is a charming family film that continues to get the positive message of community and diversity across in a way that shows us that the world works better, when people work together.

DVD/VOD Release Date:11/10/20

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – Y – Black Rain (1989) Movie Review

This is going under Y because of the involvement of the Yakuza.

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Craig Bolotin, Warren Lewis (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, Kate Capshaw, Yusaku Matsuda, Shigeru Koyama

Plot: Two NYC cops arrest a Yakuza member and must escort him when he’s extradited to Japan.

Tagline – An American Cop in Japan. Their country. Their laws. Their game. His rules.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gritty Drama

Story: Black Rain starts when bad boy cop Nick Conklin (Douglas) and his partner Charlie Vincent (Garcia) look to clean up their own problem, they stumble into a Yakuza gangster killing the godfather of the Japanese mafia.

Nick and Charlie find themselves needing to escort the killer, only for them to hand him over to an imposter, the pair need to work with the locals to try and recapture the killer in a country that has a battle between two deadly gangs.

Thoughts on Black Rain

Characters – Nick is the bad boy detective that doesn’t always play by the rules with how he gets the job done, this has landed him in trouble on countless times, his latest hearing ends up with his catching an international killer and needing to escort him back to Japan, only to find himself needing to investigate the gang war raging on in the country. Charlie is the by the book cop that knows how to keep Nick in line when he starts going too far, he is willing to be more open about the difference in culture, even if he doesn’t agree with everything, being the good cop to the bad cop attitude to Nick. Masahiro is the local Japanese cop that is assigned to show the detectives around, he ends up working with them to try and get deeper into the bigger case going on within the city. Joyce is an American living in Japan, she does fill in certain parts the locals don’t want to give up.

PerformancesMichael Douglas does do his best at trying to be more of a bad boy figure within the film, he has the attitude required for the role, Andy Garcia does bring a more relaxed approach which works well for the film, with the rest of the cast working well with what they need to bring to their roles.

StoryThe story here follows two New York detectives who travel across the world to escort a prisoner only to lose them and need to find themselves in the middle of a war for power in Japan, trying to understand the bigger picture. We are given a story here that shows how the change in culture will change how an investigation might well be addressed, it does seem to focus more on how Nick is more aggressive at times than he needs to, he is a shady cop. The investigation doesn’t seem to get into the intense level it should because we don’t focus on any of the criminal activities through the film though.

Action/CrimeThe action is simple enough, with most circulating around the motorbike usage of Nick and how controlled he is behind the world, with the criminal side of the film focusing on how everything will be different for the American cops in a new land.

SettingsThe film uses the Japan setting to show the cops with a new setting, which will operate in a different manner to what they are used to dealing with. It does show us how the world will feel darker to the criminal world they have come from.

Scene of the Movie – The motorbike riding sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough focus on the criminal’s actions.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book crime drama, it has a cop that isn’t a smooth around the edges forced into a world he knows nothing about.

Overall: By the Book.