CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: A CHRISTMAS STAR

CAST

Robert James-Collier (The Ritual)
Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster)
Erin Galway-Kendrick (The Sparticle Mystery)
Bronagh Waugh (The Fall)
Pierce Brosnan (Mars Attacks)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Kyle Minogue (Street Fighter)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)

2015-11-05_new_14318965_i7_2A festive tale of magic and miracles, A Christmas Star is a treat for believers and non-believers alike. Along with a few famous faces and a story where adversity can be overcome by the gift of love, this sentimental family film will be sure to lighten your mood. Set in a Northern Irish town, the film follows  Noelle O’Hanlon (played by Erin Galway Kendrick), who discovers she can perform miracles by easing tense situations. Having been born on Christmas Day, Noelle believes she has the power to save the snow globe factory where her father works from big bad businessman Pat McKerrod (played by Rob James Collier), who is intent on knocking it down. Never scared of a little danger, much to the concern of her parents (played by Richard Clements and Bronagh Waugh), Noelle and her friends fight to save their town from the vindictive Mr McKerrod and his copycat son.christmasstar620372A predominantly Irish cast helps add a touch of authenticity to the film, with many delivering great performances. Kendrick’s casting as the curious Noelle is courageous. Collier plays the saboteur perfectly in this tale, managing to draw some laughs, especially in the scenes between him and Junior (played by John Moan), who is desperate to follow in his father’s unfortunate footsteps (and dress sense). Unexpectedly, famous stars also make small appearances, which include Liam Neeson as the grumpy narrator and Pierce Brosnan as Pat McKerrod’s fearsome boss.ch4Director Richard Elson ties together a winning formula by joining everything we love from other festive favourites. A nativity, a group of determined children, disgruntled adults with a lack of festive spirit and a catchy song are all elements of a great Christmas film. While the plot may lie on the predictable side, its cast delivers that little bit of magic and the originality it deserves. A Christmas Star is faithful to its convention, but it’s also a seasonal favourite worth watching with those you love.

Advertisements

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: LOIS & CLARK – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

Image result for LOIS & CLARK LOGO
MAIN CAST
Dean Cain (Supergirl)
Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives)
Lane Smith (V)
Justin Whalin (Childs Play 3)
Eddie Jones (The Terminal)
K Callan (Heroes)

SEASON’S GREEDINGS

GUEST CAST
Sherman Hemsley (The Jeffersons)
Isabel Sanford (Love at First Bite)
Dick van Patten (Spaceballs)
Denice Richards (Wild Things)
The toymaker Winslow Schott (Sherman Hemsley) gets fired from his job along with his secretary Margaret Duffy (Isabel Sanford). Deciding to take revenge, he invents a new toy named “Space Rats” that includes a substance which when someone is sprayed with, it makes adults act like children and children be greedy. Everyone at the Daily Planet is affected, including Clark, and they start fighting over gifts. Clark realizes that the whole situation has to do with the “Space Rats” and along with Lois they try to find out who is the creator of the new toys. Their investigation leads them to Schott who gets arrested for his creation but also regrets and makes clear that he cares and loves kids. In the meantime, Superman asks from toy store owners to donor toys to the orphanage kids and Lois plans a Christmas dinner for family and friends. All of them though end up having other plans and Lois is alone at her apartment until Clark appears on her door, who canceled his Christmas with his family to be with her.
A great Christmas for Superman, Lois acting like a spoilt child is one the biggest highlight, and you can see a before she was famous Denise Richards which is an added bonus.

HOME IS WHERE THE HURT IS

GUEST CAST
Robert Carradine (Django Unchained)
Beverly Garland (My Three Sons)
Harve Presnell (Star Trek: Voyager)
Jessica Collins (Tru Calling)
Joel Swetow (The Loax)
Lois tries to avoid spend Christmas with her parents because they always fight but they surprise her by showing up at her apartment uninvited causing chaos. Her father, Sam (Harve Presnell), also brought with him his new fiancee, a cyborg named Baby Gunderson (Kathy Trageser). In the meantime, Mindy Church (Jessica Collins), who is now the head of Intergang even though Intergang is shut down and keeps a low profile, plans to kill Superman using a virus from Krypton. Superman gets sick and Lois asks her father’s help. Sam explains that the only cure will be if Superman gets very close to death since that way the virus will die too. The treatment is successful and Superman gets well, just in time to save Lois and his parents’ life. They suspect Mindy is behind everything but Mindy manages to frame her partner Joey (Robert Carradine) for turning his back on her and she gets away.
This episodes sees the return of Jessica Collins as Mindy, we see her trying to take over the criminal underworld. We also see Superman get infected and weakened with Lois having to turn to her father. It’s another great Christmas episode from a beloved show.

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE MXYMAS

GUEST CAST
Beverly Garland (My Three Sons)
Harve Presnell (Star Trek: Voyager)
Howie Mendel (Gremlins)
Keene Curtis (Stargate Sg.1)
It is Christmas Eve and Lois and Clark are getting ready for the first Christmas dinner at their home with family and friends but things get weird when an imp from the fifth dimension named Mister Mxyzptlk (Howie Mandel) appears and wants to conquer the Earth making Superman leave. Mxyzptlk traps Metropolis in a time loop where everyone lives the same day over and over again and no one remembers it except Clark. Clark tries to figure out what is happening and Mxyzptlk tells him that every time people live the same day they lose a little of their hope and when the hope is lost completely, Superman will not be necessary to them. Clark tries to break this loop asking Lois’ help for whom is hard to believe at first what Clark says. Clark manages to rekindle Lois’ hope and frees her from the time loop and the two of them work together to free everyone else as well. They give everyone their hope back and trick Mxyzptlk into going back to his own dimension. With the imp gone, the loop is finally broken and everyone celebrates Christmas.
One of my favorite Christmas specials as it introduces Mxyzptlk   played by Howie Mandel. This is defiantly one to watch every xmas.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: LIE TO ME – SECRET SANTA

CAST
Tim Roth  (The Incredible Hulk)
Kelli Williams (Army Wives)
Brendan Hines (Terminator: TSCC)
Monica Raymund (The Good Wife)
Hayley McFarland (The Conjuring)
GUEST CAST
Michael A. Goorjian (Forever Young)
Jason Gedrick (Beauty and The Beast 2012)
April Grace (I Am Legend)
During the holiday season, Lightman is sent to Afghanistan to interrogate an American-turned-Taliban prisoner on the whereabouts of two captured marines. Back in the U.S., his team tries to help a teacher who was fired for supposedly telling a student that Santa doesn’t exist. And Emily plans a big Lightman Group Christmas party.
The Christmas special for Lie to Me was an intriguing one, sending Lightman to Afghanistan to find a  possible turncoat was a interesting story for an xmas special. The Emily story was sweet too. It was a decent xmas story worth watching for the Christmas period.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – CHRISTMAS WITH THE JOKER

CAST
Kevin Conroy (Batman Beyond)
Loren Lester (American Pie 3)
Bob Hastings (McHale’s Navy)
Robert Costanzo (Total Recall)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Clive Revill (Freakazoid)
Mari Devon (Digimon)
It’s Christmas Eve and even the inmates of Arkham Asylum are celebrating. They sing “Jingle Bells” and set up decorations. The Joker is given the golden ornament to put on top of the Christmas Tree. However, as soon as he places it on top of the tree, a hidden rocket activates and Joker rides out to freedom. Meanwhile, back at the Batcave, Robin tries to convince Batman to kick back and relax as there’s no need for them to go out on Christmas. Batman believes otherwise since Joker has escaped. Robin makes a deal with him: if they go out on patrol and find no sign of the Joker, then they’ll return home and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Batman agrees and the duo heads out.
All seems quiet in Gotham for a change and Robin is convinced they aren’t needed. Batman is his usual self: seeing a man running after a rich woman and believing that she’s going to be robbed, he heads out after them. However, the man calls to the woman and tells her that she dropped a package a couple of blocks back and returns it to her. Robin asks to go home and Batman silently swings off. Now back at Wayne Manor, Dick and Bruce wait for dinner and turn on the TV. However, they discover that It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t on. Instead they find that Joker has hijacked the television waves and has a “Special” for Batman. Joker shows a tank with a giant Santa Claus on top crashing through the city. The show is announced to be “Christmas with the Joker”. Batman and Robin instantly work to find the Joker’s location by checking power surges and head out to find him.
Joker continues his show and shows everyone his stolen family, the Awful Lawful Family: Commissioner Gordon, Summer Gleeson, and Harvey Bullock. Joker tells Batman that he can have them if he can find them by midnight. If he fails, they will die. However, before Batman and Robin can reach him, Joker reveals “Laughy” his own Christmas Elf. Laughy and Joker explain that they will blow up a rail bridge just in time for the 11:30 train to arrive. Summer becomes agitated and explains that her mother is on that train.  Batman and Robin go to the train and while Batman goes after the engineer, Robin uncouples the passenger cars. The tasks are simple enough and they save the passengers. Afterwards, they pinpoint the source of Joker’s signal: the observatory at Mount Gotham. However, when they reach it, they find that Joker simply left a transmitter there and replaced the observatory telescope with a cannon. Batman draws the fire of the cannon while Robin runs in to disable it. Unfortunately, the outer controls are ruined and the cannon starts firing erratically at parts of Gotham.

Inside, Robin finds that there are several Joker statues with guns for hands. These statues give Robin trouble but he’s finally able to disable the cannon with an explosive. Unfortunately, they are no closer to finding Joker’s hideout and saving the hostages. Joker of course, doesn’t want to face Christmas without Batman and sends a broadcast of Summer opening a present: a Betty Blooper Doll. Batman realizes that the doll could only have come from the Laffco Toy Factory. The factory has been closed down for 14 years so it has to be Joker’s hideout. Batman and Robin make their way to the hideout and the Joker is more than ready. Joker plays the song, “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” from the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky and several giant toy nutcracker soldiers attack. In spite of their size, the soldiers are easy enough to defeat. Just then, the song switches to “the Russian Dance” and toy planes fly after the duo. Batman grabs up a baseball bat and smashes most of them while Robin catches the rest in an oil barrel. Just as the planes are finished off, machine gun toting snipers shoot at the duo. Batman races up towards a set of giant teddy bears and hides. The snipers are confused by his disappearance until they see his cape and start firing. Much to their surprise, they find that it was only a giant teddy bear they shot at. The bear falls over and pins them down.
With Joker’s men and traps down, the duo sets out to find him but he reveals himself. His hostages are dangling over a vat of molten plastic and Joker threatens to drop them in if Batman doesn’t come and get his Christmas present. Batman takes the present and opens it to discover a spring-loaded pie inside. Joker has a laugh and cuts the rope holding his hostages. Fortunately, Batman saves them and goes after Joker. Joker manages to evade him for a while but trips on a roller-skate and almost falls into the vat. Batman saves him and bids him a Merry Christmas. Joker simply says, “Bah humbug!” Later, Bruce and Dick finish watching a recording of It’s a Wonderful Life and Bruce has to admit that it “has its moments”. Meanwhile, Joker spends his Christmas alone in his cell, but seems to be in good spirits, singing and laughing.
One of the best Christmas episodes of any show made, its well plotted,  and seeing the Joker being a men ace upon Christmas is just plain awesome. This episode clearly shows just how excellent Batman: The Animated Series was. A True Classic.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2009)

CAST

Jim Carrey (How The Grinch Stole Christmas)
Gary Oldman (The Dark KNight)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Bob Hoskins (Hollywoodland)
Robin Wright (Wonder Woman)
Cary Elwes (Saw)
Fionnula Flanagan (Transamerica)
Steve Valentine (Mars Attacks)
Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids)
Molly Quinn (Castle)
Paul Blackthorne (Arrow)
Callum Blue (Smallville)

In 1843, on Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old moneylender at a London counting house, does not share the merriment of Christmas. He declines his cheerful nephew Fred Holywell’s invitation to a Christmas dinner party, and rejects two gentlemen’s offer to collect money for charity. His loyal employee Bob Cratchit asks Scrooge to allow him to have a day off on Christmas Day to spend time with his family, to which Scrooge reluctantly agrees before leaving. In his house, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his deceased business partner Jacob Marley, who warns him to repent his wicked ways or he will be condemned in the afterlife like he was, carrying heavy chains forged from his own greediness. Jacob informs Scrooge that three spirits will visit to guide him out of his misery.Scrooge is visited by the candle-like Ghost of Christmas Past, who takes him back in time to his early life. They visit Scrooge’s boarding school and Scrooge sees his sister Fanie, who died after giving birth to Fred. Scrooge later begins a successful career in business and money lending as an employee under Fezziwig, and he becomes engaged to a woman named Belle. However, the Ghost shows Scrooge how Belle left him when he became obsessed with wealth. A devastated Scrooge extinguishes the spirit with its candle snuffer cap but Scrooge is rocketed thousands of feet into the air while clinging onto the snuffer, only to have it disappear, resulting in Scrooge falling down to earth, back into his bedroom for the next visitation.Scrooge meets the merry Ghost of Christmas Present, which shows him the joys and wonder of Christmas Day. Scrooge and the Ghost visit Bob’s house, learning his family is content with their small dinner, Scrooge taking pity on Bob’s ill son Tiny Tim. The Ghost abruptly ages, commenting that Tiny Tim will likely not survive until next Christmas. The Ghost warns Scrooge about the evils of “Ignorance” and “Want”; Big Ben begins tolling midnight as “Ignorance” and “Want” manifest themselves before Scrooge as two wretched children who grow into violent, insane individuals, leaving the spirit withering away, dying at length when midnight strikes (to the point of dissolving into a skeleton before the twelfth strike).The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come arrives, appearing as a dark shadow, and takes Scrooge into the future. He witnesses a group of businessmen discussing the death of an unnamed man where they would only attend the funeral if lunch is provided; Scrooge is then chased across London by the Ghost and later discovers that his possessions are stolen and sold by his maid Mrs. Dilber. Shortly afterwards, Scrooge sees a covered corpse on a bed, followed by a family that is relieved he is dead, as they have more time to pay off their debt. The spirit transports Scrooge to Bob’s residence, discovering that Tiny Tim has died. Scrooge is then taken to a cemetery, where the Ghost points out his own grave, confirming Scrooge was the man who died. Scrooge promises to change his ways just as the Ghost forces him to fall into his empty coffin lying in a deep grave that sits above the fires of Hell.Waking up in his own room on Christmas Day, with love and happiness in his heart, a gleeful Scrooge decides to surprise Bob’s family with a turkey dinner, and ventures out with the charity workers and the citizens of London to spread happiness in the city, and later attends his nephew’s annual Christmas dinner, where he is warmly welcomed. The following day, he gives Cratchit a raise and becomes like “a second father” to Tiny Tim, who escapes death. A changed man, Scrooge now treats everyone with kindness, generosity, and compassion; he now embodies the spirit of Christmas.Jim Carrey is full of surprises and the entire movie is a theatrical outburst of his talent, under the brilliant direction of Robert Zemeckis. Brilliant because it manages to take the Dickens story and walk us through all its dimensions.  It’s an enchanting story and I encourage you all to see it.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: GARDEN STATE

 CAST

 Zach Braff (Scrubs)
Natalie Portman (No Strings Attached)
Ian Holm (Lord of The Rings)
Peter Sarsgaard (Knight and Day)
Jackie Hoffman (Down)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Jean Smart (Samantha Who?)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)
Struggling actor Andrew Largeman (Braff) wakes up from a dream—in which he apathetically sits on a crashing plane—to a telephone message from his father (Holm), telling Andrew that he needs to return home because his mother has died.
Andrew leaves Los Angeles and returns home to New Jersey to attend the funeral. He recognizes the grave-diggers as old friends Mark (Sarsgaard) and Dave (Alex Burns), who invite him to a party that night. At home, his father gets Andrew a doctor’s appointment for headaches he’s been having.
Later that night, Andrew goes to the party where he meets up with Mark, Dave and Jesse (Armando Riesco), an old friend who has just earned a fortune after creating silent Velcro. After smoking marijuana and taking ecstasy at the party he still remains detached.
The morning after the party, Andrew proceeds to the appointment. In the waiting room, he meets a young woman named Sam (Portman), who is a pathological liar. She later explains that most times she does not know why she lies and will always admit to them afterward. In Andrew’s meeting with his doctor (Ron Leibman), it is revealed that Andrew has been on lithium and other mood stabilizers, as well as antidepressants, for his entire adult life, but has recently stopped taking them. He also says that his father, who is his psychiatrist, put him on the medication. Andrew finds Sam outside the office and offers her a ride home. Sam invites him into her house, and he meets her mother, who inadvertently reveals that Sam has epilepsy. Andrew tells Sam of his mother’s death, and Sam tearfully eulogizes her hamster. After returning home, Andrew’s father confronts him and is insistent that they have a talk before Andrew leaves.
Later, Andrew and Jesse sit in the cemetery as Mark digs another grave. Andrew observes Mark stealing jewelry from the corpse he is burying. Andrew then returns to Sam’s house, and the two spend the rest of the day together, joining his friends later at Jesse’s mansion. Andrew tells her that when he was nine years old he pushed his mother in frustration, knocking her over a broken dishwasher in an accident that left her paraplegic; he says that his father blames him for his wife’s paralysis and put him on his medications to “curb the anger” he supposedly harbors. Sam listens, and Andrew then admits his feelings for her.
The next day, Mark tells Andrew that he needs help “tracking down” a going-away present for him. Sam, Andrew, and Mark spend the day together, ending it in a quarry in Newark where Mark talks to a man named Albert (Denis O’Hare), who is employed in keeping intruders out of the quarry. The three visitors discuss the reasons for which Albert and his wife choose to live in the quarry. Albert explains that living there and exploring the quarry is “doing something that’s completely unique, that’s never been done before,” mirroring an earlier speech by Sam. Finally, Albert explains that what actually matters is living with his family. Andrew is inspired by the conversation, and outside in the rain, he climbs atop a derelict crane and screams into the quarry, joined by Sam and Mark. He and Sam then share a kiss.
When Mark and Andrew look at the gift later on, it turns out to be Andrew’s mother’s favorite pendant, one of the items Mark stole from her grave, sold, and subsequently located. Andrew eventually talks with his father, and states that he was not to blame for his mother’s accident and that he will live the rest of his life without medications. He forgives his father and says he wants to build a better relationship with him.The morning after, Andrew says his goodbyes to Sam at the airport, while she begs him not to leave. He acknowledges that she has changed his life but that he still has to fix his personal problems before continuing the relationship. Andrew boards the flight, and Sam is left crying in a telephone booth. Andrew then returns, saying that he doesn’t want to waste any more of his life without Sam. He wonders what to do next, and the two then kiss.
Garden State is a great movie for rainy days and Saturday night at home with popcorn. The scene at the abyss is memorable – something to look forward to!

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: LEGION

  CAST

Paul Bettany (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Lucas Black (Jarhead)
Tyrese Gibson (Transformers)
Adrianne Palicki (Agents of SHIELD)
Charles S. Dutton (Alien 3)
Jon Tenney (Green Lantern)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Willa Holland (Arrow)
Kate Walsh (Bad Judge)
Dennis Quaid (Vantage Point)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)

Legion was incredibly entertaining! The action was wicked and intense, the characters were fun and intriguing, it was gory and action packed Paul Bettany is a great actor and very versatile. I think the film makers of Legion were lucky to have him. He is brooding, and strong and commanding as the rogue angel Michael. Even being a leading character they underuse him and we really don’t get to see enough of his action.

Lucas Black is naive and simple Jeep Hanson. In a normal film he would likely become the hero but when you’ve got an Angel to contend with you take a backseat and unfortunately that is where his performance is pushed to. He does well but is overshadowed in a big from the other actors in the film. That includes Dennis Quaid as Black’s father. Its a small role but he takes it and makes it his own and really commands the screen. Adrianne Palicki is the lead female who is basically the cause of this angelic war. Palicki is very underused because I think she could have given a really strong performance if she had been given the chance but like Black she takes a back seat. The cast is also boosted by some amazing supporting performances by Charles S. Dutton and Kevin Durand who should have also been used more. Also worth mentioning is solid supporting roles from Kate Walsh, Jon Tenney, and Willa Holland.

Some might go into this movie figuring it to be an epic battle between good and evil, Angels and Demons, further proved by the name of film, Legion being a horde of demons that possess someone in the bible. Instead this is about a battle from Heaven between Angels not even fallen Angels. The special effects are solid and even breath taking at times. So all in all its a decent enough Sci-fi / Action film that passes the time.