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

Skydog (2020) Movie Review

Director: Tim Kaiser, Daniel Knudsen

Writer: Mark A Knudesen (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Knudsen, Vickie Lynn Smith, Dean Cain, Rosie Berryer, Christopher Veldhuizen, Mimi Sagadin

Plot: When Colt Lifestone, a high school senior working on his pilot’s license, rescues a stray dog named Oreo, the two quickly become best friends. His normal quiet life is turned upside down though when he finds out that his mom is actually an undercover CIA agent lead by Director Neil Glasswell! When she’s captured and held hostage, he’ll need to team up with Oreo and his new friend Alice to find his mother, uncover the double agents within the CIA, and save the day.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Skydog starts as we meet Josh (Knudsen) a high schooler who is trying to get his pilots licence always facing a stumbling block along the way, which lets him meet a stray dog Oreo that is around to give him some strength in his personal life.

When Josh’s mother (Thompson) goes missing on a secret mission, Josh learns about her true job identity and his own identity as Colt Lifestone, the son of two CIA agents and now with the help of Oreo, Colt must figure out what happened to his mother.

Thoughts on Skydog

Characters – Josh is a regular high schooler, star of the football team, trying to get his pilots licence, only to get failed again, he befriends a stray dog, which becomes his closest friend at home, until his mother goes missing and Josh learns about his true identity as Colt Lifestone. Cole must adapt to a new school, while trying to solve the mystery about what has happened to his mother. Alice Jones is the girl at school that becomes friends with Colt, she wants to help him solve the mystery. Agent Lifestone is the mother of Colt, she always gave him the impression she had a boring accounting job, but inside she is a spy that is always on mission when she is away. James Whitmore is the connection that is trying to help Colt cope when he mother goes missing, the one person he knows to trust. Director Neil Glasswell is running the operation in which Colt’s mother goes missing, he will do what he can to keep the operation secret.

PerformancesDaniel Knudsen in the leading role does do a good job through the film, growing with his character entering into the world. The rest of the cast fill their roles in the film well without us feeling like any of the villainous figures are as bad as we would have liked to see.

StoryThe story here follows a high school student that learns that his mother is actually an undercover CIA agent and goes missing, forcing him to go on his own mission to search for the truth. This is a story that brings to life a young spy figure that must manage to deal with school and trying to go undercover, it might well feel like a pilot episode to what could be an entertaining TV series. It does give us a safe story, where Colt is never really in any true peril and tries to show us the importance of a friendship with a pet, only doesn’t include the dog anywhere as much as it hints.

AdventureThe adventure side of the film does show a high schooler learning more about his life, growing up quickly and dealing with an enemy that is trying to kill them.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us how Colt is living a normal life before everything gets out of control.

Scene of the Movie – Flight escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough Oreo.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable adventure with an adorable dog in Oreo that will pull you into wanting to see the adventures.

DVD/VOD Release Date:10/20/20

Say Your Prayers (2020) Movie Review

Director: Harry Michell

Writer: Jamie Fraser, Harry Michell (Screenplay)

Starring: Harry Melling, Derek Jacobi, Anna Maxwell Martin, Roger Allam, Vinette Robinson, Tom Brooke

Plot: Two orphaned brothers turned radical Christian hitmen venture to rural Ilkley under the instruction of Father Enoch). Their mission: assassinate Professor John Huxley, famed atheist writer.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Say Your Prayers starts when two brothers Tim (Melling) and Vic (Brooke) arrive in a rural town to commit a murder for Father Enoch (Jacobi) who has turned the brothers into religious assassins. With Vic completing the first murder on the moors, Tim starts to meet people around town, while DCI Brough (Martin) and TI Hodge (Spencer-Longhurst) are investigating the first murder.

The brothers are here to assassinate Professor Huxley (Allam) an atheist who is the special guest at the festival, a man that has tried to bring the church down for years, can the brothers go through with the job, while Tim is looking to learn more about the world.

Thoughts on Say Your Prayers

Characters – Tim is the timid of the two brothers, he wants to meet people and explore the areas they are visiting, he befriends Imelda and gets his kind-nature notice around the town, while he is left in a position of needing to follow through. Vic is the more trigger happy of the two brothers, he will follow more of the religious side of what they are fighting for to the extreme limits and will jump into defend Tim whenever he doesn’t feel confident to follow through. Father Enoch raised the two brothers, he has assigned the men to commit the crime and will do anything to motivate them to follow through. Professor Huxley is the atheist that the church is looking to eliminate because of his thoughts about the church. DCI Brough is the blunt cop, while TI Hodge will look to solve the problems Brough puts them in. Imelda is the assistant to Huxley that befriends Tim along the time.

PerformancesHarry Melling is the best part of the performances here, he gives us such an innocent kind natured figure in the film. Roger Allam gives us the best speech through the film, where he does steal the scene, with the rest of the cast getting the laughs through the film.

StoryThe story here follows two brothers who are sent by the church to assassinate an atheist author that has been bad mouthing the church and we follow the events of their plan. This is a story which will look at how young men could have been brainwashed into believing whatever they are told is the right thing, with how they look to act towards people they see as wrong, with Vic being the most aggressive of the two. We do get to see how someone who was raised in one life could start to see the bigger problem between each sides. We will get to enjoy how the story is told, with the whole investigation coming off like an evening detective show.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film does mix a few different styles, with the often deadpan delivered by Harry Melling, the blunt style of Anna Maxwell Martin and angry religious assassin in Tom Brooke.

SettingsThe film is set in a small rural village, which will show how they aren’t used to seeing the crimes, while everyone who is an outsider could look out of place.

Scene of the Movie – Huxley and Tim moment alone.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The singers seem random at times.

Final Thoughts This is a fun British comedy that will show the hapless assassins looking to follow through the church, with scenes that are among the best of the year.

Say Your Prayers will be released on demand 28th September, I-Tunes Pre-Order Here

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

Repression (2020) Movie Review

Director: Elbert van Strien

Writer: Ben Hopkins, Elbert van Strien (Screenplay)

Starring: Peter Mullan, Thekla Reuten, Rebecca Front, Bill Paterson, Sam Hazeldine, Emun Elliott

Plot: Repression tells the story of a therapist, who loses her grip on reality when a ten-year-old boy claims he can control her future

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Repression starts as a therapist Marianne Winter (Reuten) looks to relocate from New York to a small Scottish town away from her past, taking over the patients of Dr McVittie (Mullan), dealing with children who are in need of therapy.

One of her first patients Manny (Wolf) claims he has abilities and that is why other kids won’t talk to him, while Marianne looks to start her own new life, learning about a new town, new country with new friendships, only Manny might have already got to her as she starts to lose grip of reality.

Thoughts on Repression

Characters – Marianne Winter is looking to start a new life after the death of her husband in New York, she is bringing her therapist skills to a small Scottish town to help children. She is still haunted by the past event, but wants to help the children. She looks to start a new life with new friendships, but soon finds herself needing to investigate one of her patients who might have a more sinister side to him and his problems. Dr McVittie is the man Marianne has replaced, he was respected until the events have left him a broken man with plenty of mystery around him. Manny is the 10-year-old that does seem to have control of events in the world, he sees death before it happens, with his nature being sinister about whether he can make the events happen too. We get to see the fellow professionals that welcome and try to guide Marianne away from certain parts of Manny’s past, a new love interest in Kieran, as well as the flashbacks with Josh, Marianne’s husband that haunts her dreams.

PerformancesThekla Reuten in the leading role is strong through the film, showing us the pain her character has been through, as well hope of something more in the future. When we look at the supporting cast, we get a strong set of performances from the newly disgraced therapist Peter Mullan, the creepy kid Elijah Wolf, the supportive partners and authority figures.

StoryThe story here follows a widowed therapist that is looking to start a new life in a new country that soon starts to see herself losing sense of reality after spending time with one of her new patients. This story does put forward plenty of questions, ones that will lead to different direction the story will go in, while it might start off in a routine way, one which you would see a new life start, we do end up going in a very different direction, one you wouldn’t even imagine it going in, one that will leave you surprised, however this does seem to take away from much of the previous stages of the film, taking the importance of earlier plot points.

MysteryThe mystery in the film comes thick and fast, with it all being about Manny and just what is the reality about him truly is.

SettingsThe film uses the Scottish town setting to show us just how a new life for Marianne is happening, it is murky compared to her old life, reflecting the pain she has been suffering.

Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – While learning the truth is brilliant, it does make certain parts unrequired in the story.

Final Thoughts This is a very interesting movie, it is one that is filled with deeper questions, with plenty of different directions happening, containing strong performances throughout.

Signature Entertainment presents Repression on Digital HD 28th September