Christmas in Carolina (2020) Movie Review

Director: Peggy Williams

Writer: Stacie Davis (Screenplay)

Starring: Joslyn Y Hall, Kellie Shanygne Williams, Darius McCrary, Jessi Nicolet, David L Rowell, Terrence Shingler

Plot: Elle, a career driven investment banker, has given up on love until she meets Wesley who invites Elle to his hometown in South Carolina. There she falls in love and finds the spirit of Christmas again.

Tagline – When You Least Expect It, Love Will Find You

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Christmas in Carolina starts as workaholic Elle Moore (Hall) has a date with successful businessman Wesley Saxon (Rowell), she continues to show her distant nature to any guy she dates, while Wesley outlast most dates, he has his own problems for Christmas, his mother Charlotte (Williams) wants him to return home for Christmas.

After Elle gets pushed into coming out of her shell more, she accepts the invitation to go home with Wesley for Christmas, to spend time with people for the first time in a long time over the Christmas holiday.

Thoughts on Christmas in Carolina

Characters – Elle Moore is a workaholic, she is always on her phone, barely finding time for dates and when she does, she doesn’t give the guy the time, usually answering her phone to continue working. She strikes fear in her employees at work, with her cousin pushing her into giving Wesley a second chance, putting herself out there. She uses her work to cover up her own loneliness, not having the big close family, but spending time with Wesley and his family she starts to come out of her shell more. Wesley is a high profile sports scout branded the most eligible bachelor in the city by Elle’s cousin, he will help show Elle about family for Christmas, as he will show her his family and how important it is for them all. We do meet Wesley’s brother Ryan who is against the relationship, always looking to stir up problems, Charlotte, Wesley’s mum who is so welcoming to him bringing someone home and Elle cousin Blythe who pushes out of her comfort zone.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, Joslyn Y Hall and David L Rowell are great together, they show the excellent chemistry on the dating montages, making us see the little changes their characters needed to make to find happiness.

StoryThe story here follows a pair of workaholics that start dating over Christmas, finding a spark they didn’t expect, needing to be pushed into following their own hearts to make this relationship happen, with the backdrop of a family Christmas. This is a truly feel good story about love and Christmas, we keep everything simple about the changes, with no need for a great drama about why Elle isn’t as open and why Wesley is willing to let her in, it revolves around family and the importance of being together for Christmas.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the supporting cast, who will get the laughs with ease, leaving the romance between Elle and Wesley to be their main focal point, showing us that you can find love, if you are willing to let someone in.

SettingsThe film uses the busy city to show the workaholic lives the pair have, while taking us to the quiet family setting for Christmas, which will bring more joy to the pair’s lives.

Scene of the Movie – The date montages are full of so much happiness.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts Christmas in Carolina is a truly feel-good festival movie, that will leave you with a giant smile on your face.

Martial Problems (2017) Movie Review

Director: Dia Taylor

Writer: Julian Barbor (Screenplay) Chris Akers, Julian Barbor (Characters)

Starring: Nick Capper, Callum Gault, Aleis Duffy, Neil Goldsmith, Jonathan Hearns, Rachel Trainor

Plot: On the eve of his eviction, Ian’s home becomes invaded by Clarke, an unscrupulous gardener who recounts the events of his failed marriage in an attempt to bring closure to Ian’s prior engagement that failed to go the distance.

Tagline – Let your past make you better not bitter.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Marital Problems starts when Ian (Gault) looks like he is about to be kicked out of his home, which changes when a gardener Clarke (Capper) moves in to tell him the story of his own failed marriage, which will give Ian a chance to look back at his relationship which ending caused his life to spiral out of control.

As the two men go through their stories of their struggles in love, they learn that sometimes not everything is meant to be and maybe it is time to take life in a new direction.

Thoughts on Martial Problems

Characters – Ian has broken up with his fiancée, which has seen him lose his job and see his life spiral out of control, to the level where he might be losing his home, he gets to spend time with Clarke where he gets to unload his troubles and look to get back on his feet. Clarke is the gardener that comes into Ian’s life and does through his own story of failure in love with his married that fell apart, showing how he never really got his own life together. McManus is a handy man that helps with the house, friends with Clarke

PerformancesNick Capper, Callum Gault and Neil Goldsmith have great chemistry, they feel like we are watching the three lads talk about their struggling relationship.

StoryThe story follows two men that meet randomly and start talking about their failed relationships as we get to see how they are dealing with the problems and talking about it can finally help them getting out of the struggles. This story does give us a spotlight into the ideas of how men can react differently to failed relationships, how they sometimes just need someone to talk to, even if the story takes thing in another direction, which will bring an added comedy to everything.

ComedyThe comedy comes from different moments of reaction along with a spin on the story, it will get laughs along the way, while balancing the more serious side to everything involved.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the relationships, how they started and how they have left the men aimless in life, stuck in a house they are both about to lose.

Scene of the Movie – Janey’s visit.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The timeline of the relationships can be slightly misleading.

Final Thoughts This is a strong look at how people deal with breakups, it has laughs, relatable characters and reflection which would change how life looks.

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

Lost in London (2017) Movie Review

Director: Woody Harrelson

Writer: Woody Harrelson (Screenplay)

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Daniel Radcliffe, Owen Wilson, Naomi Battrick, Louisa Harland

Plot: Within the course of one night, Woody Harrelson finds himself in a misadventure in London that winds him up in jail.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Lost in London starts as we see how Woody Harrelson is looking to create an ambitious project, a single take around London that would be screened direct to the cinema, only things don’t seem to be going as planned, we follow the film idea.

Woody finishes a play before needing to get his wife Laura (Matsuura) home quickly before she reads a headline, before he ends up having a wild party in London, all in a single take.

Thoughts on Lost in London

Final Thoughts This is an ambitious project by Woody Harrelson, showing us how the world of a celebrity can be filled with vices, people looking to make the headlines and how the party lifestyle can cause misadventure every time. This does show us how a new idea could work with the right co-ordination you could bring together something original. The story doesn’t end up being an engaging as it would like to though, which ends up seeing a few slow moments, with the highlight being when Woody and Owen have an argument about careers. The film does end up going on slightly too long for its own good, becoming a drag in the finally third, where the panicked nature doesn’t come off on the levels it needs too.

Signature Entertainment presents Lost in London on Amazon Prime 25th September