Christmas with a Crown (2020) Movie Review

Director: Dylan Pearce

Writer: Michael Varrati (Screenplay)

Starring: Lisa Durupt, Marcus Rosner, Michael Lazarovitch, John Treleaven

Plot: When a successful woman returns to her hometown to revive her family’s Christmas festival, she meets a dashing stranger who is volunteered to help organize the event. Sparks begin to fly between them, but little does she know that he is really a prince in disguise, longing to find the true spirit of the holidays. It will take a Christmas miracle of royal proportions for their hearts to meet as one.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Christmas with a Crown starts when New Yorker Cassie (Durupt) returns home for Christmas to celebrate with her father Walt (Treleaven) only to learn that the Christmas Festival her mother started isn’t being followed through this year, she wants to use it to help fundraise for the local library. Prince Nicolas (Rosner) has escape from his palace to go on one of his adventures where his royalty isn’t known about.

Cassie must reluctantly accept help from Nicolas who wants to experience the festival and over the time preparing the festival, the two get to learn more about each other, including Nicolas’ big secret.

Thoughts on Christmas with a Crown

Characters – Cassie has been living in New York, her career is about to take off, she is in a stable relationship and is looking forward to returning home to see her father. She wants to bring back the Christmas Festival that her mother started only to find the problems with planning until a stranger helps her, giving her a new look at her life. Prince Nicolas has spent his whole life living in the royal spotlight, he has escaped this to go in search for the meaning of Christmas, from a story he read from his mother’s notes, he keeps his true identity secret from the town, as he helps out in the town, looking to escape the future he could be facing. Walt is Cassie’s father that is here to support her life choices, he has looked to continue his life after losing his wife too.

PerformancesLisa Durupt and Marcus Rosner are both wonderful in the leading role, they show what Christmas means to them from the different backgrounds. The supporting cast will bring moments of comedy in the film which will lighten the mood at times.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that wants to leave the big city and try and return a Christmas festival, only to get help from a mysterious stranger that is looking to escape his own life commitments in a royal family. This is a story about getting to know somebody for who they are inside, over getting to know them because of who are in status. We have the Christmas feeling about coming together for the greater good throughout the film.

RomanceThe romance in the film comes from seeing how Cassie and Nicolas have chemistry from the moment they meet, seeing the blossoming romance unfold.

SettingsThe film has glimpse of the New York and kingdom the two are both from, but most of the movie is set in the small town where the festival happens.


Scene of the Movie – The Christmas Festival.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more of the original Christmas Festival to show just how magical it was always meant to be.

Final Thoughts This is a fairy-tale like magical Christmas romance that will give us laughs and reflections on life.

DVD/VOD Release Date:12/1/20

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

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – S – Splash (1984) Movie Review

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Bruce Jay Friedman (Screenplay) Brian Grazer (Story)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Dody Goodman, Shecky Greene, Richard B Shull

Plot: A young man is reunited with a mermaid who saved him from drowning as a boy. He falls in love with her, not knowing who or what she is.


Tagline – She was the woman of his dreams… she had large dark eyes, a beautiful smile and a great pair of fins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fantasy Love Story 101

Story: Splash starts as we see businessmen brothers, Allen (Hanks) who has his head straight when it comes to business, while Freddie (Candy) tends to get them both in trouble more often than not. When Allen decides to return to his family holiday home in Cape Cod, he gets to be reunited with a mermaid Madison (Hannah) who saved his life as a child and again as an adult.

Returning to New York, Allen finds that Madison has followed him their to return his wallet and finds himself needing to take care of her, as the two fall in love once again, though Madison is trying to keep her secret from Allen.

Thoughts on Splash

Characters – Allen is the straight-headed businessman, he doesn’t have much in his life outside of work with his latest relationship going down the drain and his brother always causing more problems at work. He tries to escape his work life, only to find himself returning to a holiday home, where he is saved by a mysterious woman, who later comes into his life in New York, showing him to fall in love. Madison is a mermaid, she saved Allen’s life when he was young and again when he was older, she decides to visit him in New York to spend one week with him, where she learns the culture quickly as she spends time in New York, but struggles to keep her secret safe from him. Walter is a scientist that is determined to discover a mermaid and spends most of the film trying to prove Madison is a mermaid. Freddie is the reckless brother of Allen that has always gotten him into trouble, strangely we seem to forget about him for a large part of the film.

PerformancesTom Hanks is wonderful in the leading role, he was a perfect choice for a comical lead that can do both serious and funny moments with ease. Daryl Hannah is great to bringing the beauty to the mermaid character as well as the naïve nature at times. Eugene Levy does get laughs, while John Candy gives us a couple of awkward moments.

StoryThe story here follows a man that meets what he thinks is a perfect woman, only for her to have a secret, she is a mermaid. This is a story that does focus on the idea of falling in love with somebody you might not see coming, while mixing the idea that scientists would want to make the most out of a potential new discovery. This is a story that does want you to believe somebody can fall in love over a week long time together and that your business partner won’t notice you being missing for a week.

Comedy/Fantasy/RomanceThe comedy is a mixed bag because Hanks and Levy do hit hard, while John Candy’s comedy has dated pretty badly now. The fantasy idea in the film does focus on the idea of mermaids being part of the world, with the romance needing to look at how the two people can fall in love quickly.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which does literally show Madison being a fish out of water.


Scene of the Movie – Hanks in a boat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Freddie’s up-skirt actions.

Final Thoughts This is a fun fantasy comedy that just hasn’t dated on the same level it could have, but it does show just how talents Tom Hanks was going to be.

Overall: Dated Comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – 80s – L – Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Howard Ashman (Screenplay) Roger Corman, Charles B Griffith (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, Tichina Arnold

 

Plot: A nerdy florist finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant who demands to be fed.


Tagline – Put a rare houseplant on your television. It talks. It sings. It eats people

Runtime: 1 hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Twisted and Fun Musical

 

Story: Little Shop of Horrors starts when a small florist run by Mushnik (Gardenia) is facing closure, until the nerdy florist Seymour (Moranis) has discovered a new Venus Fly Trap, which he has named Audrey II after his co-worker Audrey (Greene). Audrey II starts drawing in a new audience to the shop as Seymour and Audrey learn they have feelings for each other despite her boyfriend, bad boy dentist Orin (Martin).

The problem with Audrey II comes to light with Seymour, as it turns out that he is a carnivorous plant that needs blood to continue to grow, leading Seymour down a path to find a way to feed the plant, one that includes murder.

 

Thoughts on Little Shop of Horrors

 

Characters – Seymour is a nerd florist that has always looked to find something new in the field, he has saved the business with his latest creation, only he needs to figure out how to keep him under control. He has a crush on Audrey his co-worker never knowing how to approach her to tell her how he really feels. Audrey is the co-worker in the florist, she has always been attracted to bad boys with her latest boyfriend being abusive towards her, she does want a life which will see her with an honest man, like Seymour. Mushnik is the owner of the florist who has seen his business start to go downhill until Audrey II appears to him, which draws in a new audience, he sees money and wants to take advantage of his chance. Audrey II is the carnivorous plant that has a taste for human flesh, he slowly starts to get out of control as his hunger continues to grow.

PerformancesRick Moranis really was one of the greatest comic actors in the 80’s this showed another skill he had with singing too. Ellen Greene is a delight to watch too, Vincent Gardenia makes for the typical strict boss figure the film, while the appearances from the comedy icons of the 80s.

StoryThe story here follows a nerdy florist that has discovered a new plant which turns out to be carnivorous that wants to be fed human flesh. This is a remake story which makes for one of the simple stories out there, the idea of having an expert that has discovered something new which the world isn’t prepared for, we have two people that are in love that aren’t together and the greed of a businessman. Everything mixed together with songs makes for a fun story that will keep you guessing to where things will go next.

Comedy/Horror/Musical/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the talent which gets to use their skills to create different characters. the horror involved the man eating plant who is always looking for his next meal. The romance shows the two co-workers that would do anything for each other, but have never told each other how they feel. The musical side of the film does tie everything together in the film, with the catchy tunes that people still sing today.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the florist which sees how the business goes from about to lose everything to an overnight success story.

Special EffectsThe effects are practical which shows just what you can achieve with the right team who bring Audrey II to life.


Scene of the Movie –
Audrey II songs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Couple of pop culture references have dated.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most enjoyable musical comedies you will see, it has catchy songs, wonderful performances and a creature in Audrey II that will never be forgotten.

 

Overall: Fun Musical.

Rating

 

 

I Used to Go Here (2020) Movie Review

Director: Kris Rey

Writer: Kris Rey (Screenplay)

Starring: Gillian Jacobs, Jermaine Clement, Josh Wiggins, Forrest Goodluck, Hannah Marks, Kate Micucci

Plot: Following the launch of her new novel, 35-year-old writer Kate is invited to speak at her alma matter by her former professor. After accepting the invitation, Kate finds herself deeply enmeshed in the lives of a group of college students.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: I Used to Go Here starts as we meet Kate Conklin (Jacobs) who has just released her first novel with her press tour being pulled and her wedding plans falling through, until she gets invited back to her college by her former professor David (Clement) for reading, with a plan for another reason, to offer her a job teaching.

Once in her college town, she starts to enjoy the trip down memory lane wondering where her life went wrong, looking to get things back on track after spending time with a group of college students who want to follow in her footsteps as an author.

Thoughts on I Used to Go Here

Characters – Kate is an author with her first book just getting released, her book tour gets cancelled after her marriage gets called off leaving her alone with her friends married with children on the way. She returns to her college hometown for a reading and spends her time bonding with the students in her old college home, remembering what she was like during her time in college. David is the professor that taught Kate and invited her back, he is delighted to see her succeed and still has his ways with the students. Hugo is one of the students living in the old college house that Kate lived in, he along with the other students offer her company in time in the old town.

PerformancesGillian Jacobs in the leading role is great to watch in the leading role, she makes us understand all the struggles she is going through during the film. The supporting cast fill their roles well through the film, without getting in the way of Jacobs performance.

StoryThe story here follows an author that is struggling with the release of her first novel when she ends up return to her college town to walk down memory lane learning and giving life lessons to people there. This does show us how important not having the biggest expectations in life can take time to learn, once you finish education, you could blink and realize you have missed large parts of life, but you can always snap out of routine to make something more, because people will be there for you. The story does well to help Kate learn about herself, while she can also help the students learn about what will come next in their lives, with a big heart about making the most of life.

Comedy/Romance The comedy in the film does work, it comes with more heart than pure laughs, with the difficult stage of Kate’s life getting more laughs at the way she feels older when looking at the student she remembers fondly, with the romance being more about what was once lost, more than looking for more sparks to fly.

SettingsThe film uses the small town college setting to show how the places we grow up, will be the places we won’t forget in life, each place brings back a memory for Kate.


Scene of the Movie – Tall Brandon special night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough of the professor, which did include his offer to start the film rolling.

Final Thoughts This is a film filled with a way to look at life in a reflective mood and see what could have been, but most importantly, what could be.

Signature Entertainment presents I Used To Go Here on Digital HD 14th September