The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland (2020) Movie Review

Director: Wes Llewellyn

Writer: James M De Vince, Reuben Evans, Billy Falcon, Better Sullican, Bob Saenz (Screenplay)

Starring: Corbin Bernsen, John Schneider, Natasha Bure, Kurt Yue, Jenn Gotzon, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Jenn Gotzon, Jim E Chandler

Plot: Sparks fly between a famous model and a farmer with a young daughter when she visits her childhood home. The town is in danger of losing their beloved Santaland festival, but miracles can happen with a little love, family, and faith.


Tagline – Where do you find your value? Enjoy this Christmas miracle.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland starts when an aging model Belle Winters (Gotzon) goes in search for a bracelet she once lost at Santaland when she was a child. This will see Belle learn that her old pen pal Josh (Chandler) is still running the farm, but this might be the last year they are open.

As Belle spends time on the farm, she starts to look at life in another light, one where she could be happy out of the spotlight she had craved for her whole life.

Thoughts on The Farmer and the Belle: saving Santaland

Characters – Belle Winters is an aging fashion model, she is trying to hold onto the last few years of the spotlight, which is seeing the jobs dry up for her, her partner had just moved on, leaving her aimless in her life, until she decides to return to Santaland, a place which was big for her childhood. Belle will learn a lot with her time spent on the farm, learning about the life that Josh had without her. Josh is a widowed father who never left Santaland, he runs the church and is giving Belle the welcome return, showing her more about how life is about enjoyment not material fame. Adele is the daughter of Josh, she loves have Belle around, as she has been dealing with losing her mother in her own way.

PerformancesJenn Gotzon in the leading role is great to watch, she brings the laughs in the film, where her character most go through the self-discover arc through the film, getting to have plenty of fun in the diva side of the role. Jim E Chandler is great too, with her much straighter, calm down the middle character, he shows his character keeping things inside during the problems they are facing. The supporting cast get their moments of impact, through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a famous aging model who returns to a childhood holiday camp of Santaland in search of discovering something from her past, only to see that not much has changed and the place needs saving, facing her past and searching for her future. This story does bring to life the idea of showing us how life can take you on strange journeys, but the ones you make are always for a reason, you can find hope in a location you never imagined and learn that life will always have a plan for you. We get to see how people will have sides to them that will be filled with good and bad before you are a major part of their life, they will need moments in their life when your weren’t around that will define them, along with having the good old fashion message about how important Christmas can be for bringing people together.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film is firmly involved in the Belle role, be it how she has a diva mentality at times or finds herself petrified of the animals. The romance comes from seeing what might well have been for the two if things had stayed the same in their lives.

SettingsMost of the film is set on Santaland farm, where we get to see more of the old-fashioned style of life which will show Belle more about life.


Scene of the Movie – The games begin.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough is made of the fact models age out.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful family Christmas movie that will bring love and joy to the people who watch and see just how love can come from anywhere.

DVD/VOD Release Date:11/17/20

Head Over to the Website to learn more about the movie Here

The Elfkins (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ute von Munchow-Pohl

Writer: Jan Strathmann (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jella Haase, Louis Hofmann, Leon Seidel, Detlef Bierstedt, Elke Heidenreich

Plot: The legendary Elfkins (Heinzelmännchen) of Cologne were gnomes secretly helping craftsmen at night until they were ousted by a tailor’s malevolent wife 200 years ago. This is the story of their return.

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Elfkins starts as we meet the Elfkins, a society of gnomes secretly living under the city, where they once help humans secretly, now they hide from them, Helvi wants to prove herself as a craftsperson, only her inventions always fail causing trouble with her people, which sees her turning to her best friend Butz, to escape and discover a human to learn a craft.

When Helvi, Butz and Kipp find themselves in a bakery, Helvi decides she wants to help the baker Theo who is about to lose his bakery, learning her true skill here once and for all.

Thoughts on The Elfkins

Characters – The Elfkins, Helvi is the one that has always wanted to fit in, have her own craft, but she is ends up causing trouble more than helping her people, she leaves up the community in search for her skill, wanting to break the traditions and learn of a human, which sees her looking to do the right thing, helping a down on his luck baker. Kipp is the smartest of the Elfkins, he will always invent thing to help them, one that Helvi will turn to for help. Butz is the best friend of Helvi, he will follow her on her adventures. Theo is the down on his luck baker, that is about to lose his bakery, he is the man that the Elfkin are drawn towards to help, with his brother Bruno being the one that wants to take his bakery.

StoryThis story follows a group of Elfkins that go against what they are expected to do, by staying away from humans, by visiting the surface and doing what they always thought they were meant to do, help people. This is a feel good movie showing us that you need to believe in myths and legends, despite the modern world wanting us to ignore the important parts of life. Regardless of the species, the idea that someone will want to fit in, is still strong in this story and the biggest message looking to be sent to the audience.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film does rely on how the Elfkins need to try and escape trouble, or make things happen in the bakery, with the fantasy elements of the film coming from seeing how the Elfkins are part of this world.

SettingsThe film is set in a German city, which you can tell from certain architecture we see around the city.

AnimationThe animation in the movie looks beautiful, bringing to life the different colours, where we see the bright positive side of Helvi, contrast with the darker side of the world where Theo is.


Scene of the Movie – The grand opening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more from the Butz character, he seems to be caught between best friend and comic relief and not completely either.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family animation that has a big heart that will get the biggest message across.

The Elfkins is in Cinemas from 2nd October

The Key to Christmas (2020) Movie Review

Director: Jason Mills

Writer: Jason Mills (Screenplay)

Starring: Sadie Silcock, Kiana Passmore, Samriddhi Singh, Sarah Houghton, Katherine Aplen, Camryn Macdonald

Plot: When a disgruntled elf takes over the North Pole, she turns time backwards and Santa Claus begins getting younger fast. It’s up to a loyal elf, a little girl with a magic key, and the now-teenage Santa to save the future of Christmas.


Tagline – Unlock the Holiday Spirit

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Key to Christmas starts when Santa (Osbourne) is on his latest rounds for Christmas, only to discover the labels have been mixed up on the presents, returning to the North Pole, he turns to Winnie (Singh) to take the blame because of her past mistakes.

When Winnie decides to take revenge on Santa for firing her, it is up to a loyal elf Lovey (Alpen) and a little girl Kirra (Macdonald) to save Santa from being taken away from Christmas forever.

Thoughts on The Key to Christmas

Characters – Santa has always relied on his elves to do the work to make Christmas the best time of the year, when he notices a mistakes from the Head Elf, he fires her, leading to her using magic to make him go backwards in time, getting younger stuck away from the home unable to change the events. Winnie is the head elf that gets fired, she isn’t taking this lightly and decides to plan her revenge by sending Santa away and taking over operating in the North Pole, refusing to give out any presents. Lovey is one of the most loyal elves in the North Pole, one that will try to bring Santa back to the North Pole, risking everything along the way.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances, we do have a few actors portraying Santa due to the de-aging side of the story, which will give us different laughs along the way. Camryn Macdonald is good as the young girl caught in the middle of everything. Samriddhi Singh as the elf that wants to destroy Christmas brings us a menacing performance, with Katherine Alpen bring all the joy of Christmas with her elf.

StoryThe story here follows Santa after he fires his head elf, only for the head elf to look to get revenge by making Santa de-age stranded away from the North Pole, with one loyal elf being the only one that can save Santa and Christmas for the whole world. When it comes to Christmas stories it is always hard to find an original one, here we have a new original take on a Christmas film, seeing how an elf turned evil with their desire of power, with the idea that Christmas is now at risk with a de-aging Santa, going through different ages, which will add to moments of humour. We still get the message of Christmas over, being friendly, nice and treating each other with respect too.

FamilyThis is a family film that could be enjoyed by whole family, it has the meaning of Christmas all over it.

SettingsThe film uses two main locations, the North Pole where Winnie has taken over and the everyday world in which Santa finds himself needing to deal with de-aging and it not being Christmas.


Scene of the Movie – De-aging gets good laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The calendar doesn’t come off as clean as it could.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family Christmas movie, it will get laughs and brings us a brand-new original idea for Christmas Movies.

DVD/VOD Release Date:11/10/20



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



Paul Walker Weekend – Eight Below (2006)

Director: Frank Marshall

Writer: David DiGilio (Screenplay) Toshiro Ishido, Koreyoshi Kurahara, Tatsui Nogmai, Susumu Saji (original Film)

Starring: Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Moon Bloodgood, Wendy Crewson, Gerald Plunkett, August Schellenberg, Jason Biggs

 

Plot: Brutal cold forces two Antarctic explorers to leave their team of sled dogs behind as they fend for their survival.


Tagline – The Most Amazing Story Of Survival, Friendship, And Adventure Ever Told

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible Survival Story

 

Story: Eight Below starts as we meet our Antarctic research team, with dog handler Jerry Shepard (Walker) who has 8 Siberian Huskies and knows the lay of land, while Charlie Cooper (Biggs) has mapped the land. When scientist Davis McClaren (Greenwood) wants to head towards dangerous territory in the wrong season, Jerry reluctant agrees to take him with the dogs.

When an accident occurs on the expedition, Jerry must get Davis back with a storm breaking out, the team need to evacuate and as the weather continues to turn, the dogs are left behind. Jerry does everything he can to get back with everybody refusing to let him.

 

Thoughts on Eight Below

 

Characters – Jerry Shepard is the dog handler and guide for the Antarctic post, he has a connection with the dogs where he has earnt the respect from them who will do anything to help him, following his instruction, we do get to see his experience as a guide shine through and after saving his guest he learns the dogs were never rescued. He does get filled with guilt and tries everything he can to get back to them believe the worst will happen. Davis is a scientist that is headed to Antarctic in search for meteors, he does push the limits with his last minute changes to the plan, but his determination lets Jerry’s guard down. Katie is the pilot who will take them to and from the research centre, she is known for taking risks and her former relationship with Jerry keeps them close. Charlie Cooper maps the land and gives us the comic relief because of his fear of flying and dogs.

PerformancesPaul Walker was always an actor brave enough to take a role outside of his comfort zone, this is one of those and he shows us that he was an actor that could pull off the serious with one of his best performances of his career. Bruce Greenwood is always an actor that can give us great performances in supporting roles and this is no different, Moon Bloodgood and Jason Biggs complete the main cast and they both known how to hit their roles well. The dogs who performed in the film do require a special mention too as they invest you in their survival story.

StoryThe story here follows a group of Antarctic researchers that must leave the dogs behind when a storm hits early, the story continues to follow their handler try to figure out how to get back to them and we get to see their amazing story of survival during the time away. This is a very loosely based on true story which test us as the audience because there is no way to know what the dogs got up to, away from that minor flaw in the story this is one that dog lovers will understand completely because we would do anything for our dogs, however impossible it might well be. This does have moments which would hard to watch too because of what goes on with the dogs. We could have also seen more of the determination behind wanting to get back even if they were all going to be ‘no’.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure shows us just how incredible the story the huskies go through, we do have moments from the human side too, but it cuts between because they are pretty safe too. The youngest members of your family might get upset because of certain moments in the film too.

SettingsThe film uses the Antarctic settings wonderfully because it shows us just how difficult of a place it is to one get to and two survive in.


Scene of the Movie –
Max versus the sealion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The journey home is overly safe with no peril.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story of survival from the dogs that get left behind through a winter season with little hope of survival, while their handler does everything to get back.

 

Overall: Must watch for dog lovers.

Rating