Kate Pierce, now a cynical teen, is unexpectedly reunited with Santa Claus when a mysterious troublemaker threatens to cancel Christmas – forever. – IMDB
We’re big fans of The Christmas Chronicles (review) so suffice to say, we were looking forward to the sequel. The sequel takes place a year after the events of the first film again during Christmas season where the family is on vacation in the south with the mother’s new boyfriend and son. There’s resistance to both the new relationship and where they are by Kate who ends up scheming a way to escape but ends up falling into a trap that takes her to North Pole.
The Christmas Chronicles 2 is a bit of mixed feelings. On one hand, there are some very fun bits and the characters including the elves and exploring Santa’s Village plus Kurt Russell as Santa Claus and Goldie Hawn having a bigger part this time around as Mrs. Claus are all very entertaining bits for the movie. The animation of the elves and how they are designed is so cute that I went trying to see if somewhere sells these plush but with no luck.
Along with the pros, there were some cons. Most of it had to do with the plot and the whole revenge bit from Belsnickel, an elf that gets punished for doing misdeeds after Santa doesn’t pay attention to him that he act out and gets turned into human. The main issue is the Belsnickel character that is rather an annoying character design and feels a little disjointed in general. Perhaps, its supposed to fit with a child lashing out and being bratty but the execution just felt lacking on his development. The character is more of an issue in the first half and does feel better as it goes further although his character still just feels like the means of creating issues for Santa and his village.
Playing with tech a little as it moves through time travel a little and morphing through locations, The Christmas Chronicles 2 still had the adventure bit locked down and the young characters finally reaching Santa’s village as a means for Belsnickel turns out to get them involved which also brings on some fun characters and adventures. Starting with cameo characters, Tyrese Gibson plays the mom’s boyfriend which is pretty fun and the first time that I’ve seen him out of the Fast and Furious franchise. With Judah Lewis’s brother falling into a smaller role, Kate is paired with a tag along of the boyfriend’s son, Jack played Jahzir Bruno who ends up bonding the two but giving him a journey as he starts fighting his wide array of fears and finding his courage all with the help of Mrs. Claus. Probably the character everyone has been waiting for since the surprise appearance at the end of the first film is Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus, who turns up on quite the role. She creates this balance for Santa. Plus, the whole village’s elves going nuts was quite a hilarious turn of events in a brutally cute way.
Overall, The Christmas Chronicles 2 is alright. It still has the entertainment level and the tone especially with the comedy and family film is done pretty well. The real selling point is in Kurt Russell as Santa who holds up his role really well while expanding it to a memorable Mrs. Claus by Goldie Hawn. It takes on this message about discovering Christmas spirit and a bit like the story of The Grinch where it doesn’t matter so much about where it is but its in their hearts sort of deal. Not quite as outstanding as the first film but still a fun enough one to enjoy for the holidays.
Cast: Kurt Russell, Judah Lewis, Darby Camp, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Oliver Hudson, Lamorne Morris, Martin Roach
The story of sister and brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce, whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about. – IMDB
An adventure this one definitely is. The Christmas Chronicles is a fun little adventure full of everything that we love. I have to say that Kurt Russell as Santa is a pop of difference. Judah Lewis and Darby Camp are great as kids. It gave me this whole vibe of what great Christmas movies that we love had especially when tackling the power of to believe in Santa. The story is a bit generic and expected but the enthusiasm and the pure humor of the whole thing along with all the fun action-packed bits definitely set it apart whether its racing down the streets in flashy race cars or commandeering a sleigh ride and the different aspects that gives it some fun moments makes it never forget what it is and stays true to its purpose.
The highlight of The Christmas Chronicles definitely hands down goes to Kurt Russell who truly takes us for a fun little Christmas ride as after the kids scare him and make him crash land in Chicago, to chase down his Santa hat, his reindeers and his bag of toys. With the help of Teddy (Judah Lewis) and Kate (Darby Camp), this adventure is kind of an interesting way to see Santa portrayed in a rather non-traditional way. Its refreshing and Kurt Russell’s version is so memorable.
Other than that, what I did like a lot also has to go to the computer graphics and how it makes up for all the cute designs here and just how everything comes to life. For one, the reindeers are done so lively and the expressions in their eyes are fantastic. Just like when we get to see these North Pole elves who have their fantastical language but all so unique in their design just like how they look so cute but have this very hilarious ugly side when the situation is needed. They are so cute and charming.
Overall, The Christmas Chronicles is a fun Christmas adventure. It has a lot of the Polar Express feels, especially because a few parts takes the music from that movie, especially with the same concept of believing in Santa and the power of this belief and trying to get someone (in this case Teddy) to regain belief. At the same time, it also has these musical moments where Kurt Russell has a singing moment. There are a ton of elements here. Its festive and fun and honestly, its been a while that I’ve felt like any holiday films released in the last few years has made it onto our annual holiday movie marathon, but this one definitely fits all our criteria.
Back full power into the alphabetical train, the next two films in the double feature
F*&% the Prom (2017)
Director (and co-writer): Benny Fine
Cast: Danielle Campbell, Joel Courtney, Cameron Palatas, Meg DeLacy, Aidan Alexander, Michael Chey, Brendan Calton, Nicholle Tom, Jill Cimorelli, Madelaine Petsch
Maddy and Cole were inseparable friends until high school started and Maddy became the most popular girl on campus. When she starts feeling lonely and heartbroken, she reconnects with Cole and the duo conspire to destroy the ultimate teen popularity contest – the Prom. – IMDB
If it wasn’t for the sporadic releases of movies like The Edge of Seventeen (review), Easy A (review) and even The Duff (review), I’d have written off teen comedies in general. Netflix Originals in general have been fairly cool but when it comes to teen comedies, it seems they are not really finding the unique angle to take quite yet. I can’t remember the title of the last one I saw that was a disappointment..gimme a sec..#RealityHigh (review).
F the Prom is absolutely better than that one. It has hints of some of the older teen comedies but unfortunately, does fall flat and gets rather generic. You can’t shame it for at least doing like a Carrie style scene or having a ragtag team of bullied kids. The film is okay for what it is. There are some funny parts and I think Madeleine Petsch fits into the mean girl character (just like she is in Riverdale). I’m guessing this movie is more for this generation as it fits in a lot of social media and lets just say, I’ve been out of high school for almost 15 years now so to be honest, I laugh at some of the overexaggeration of say selfie-taking (since I always feel weird about it) and the emojis and whatnot. Either way, point is, F the Prom might have something and might have its demographic but its not for me and other than some little chuckle moments, I thought it was fairly generic.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Director (and co-writer): James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel(voice), Bradley Cooper(voice), Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Kurt Russell, Sean Gunn, Sylvestor Stallone
The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. – IMDB
Its really hard to not love the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 even when there are some of the normal downfalls I feel about MCU movies. For one, their soundtrack is fantastic and it remains that way in the sequel. On top of that, the ragtag team’s follow-up is one that shows them both bickering but also in the depths sees them forgiving towards each other in their stubbornest or dumbest moments. In fact, its because of their mishaps and their differences that give each of this team so much character and uniqueness and makes them both lovable and fun to watch. With that said, I don’t think in my limited film knowledge would I find so much joy in watching a little baby tree stump who only says three words over and over again. And not to sh*t talk Bradley Cooper but every time Rocket Raccoon talks, I forget that its Bradley Cooper and wonder who does such a great dynamic voice.
Aside from the strength in the key characters, The Guardians along with some of the new additions to their team, we do also meet some cool characters and cameos. Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn, playing Yondu and his right hand man Kraglin, get a bigger role here and we learn more about The Ravagers. Alongside that arc, we also see a cameo from the awesome Sylvester Stallone. We love Stallone over here, so its always great to see him in all kinds of projects. He only had two scenes but its still really great. The Ravagers is something of a side arc while the main arc really goes to both the Guardians being chased down by the Sovereign, lead by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) and Peter Quill’s father, Ego (Kurt Russell) showing up. I recently saw Elizabeth Debicki in Cloverfield Paradox (review) who was fairly decent. She’s alright in this one although to be fair, in terms of villains, Guardians still is quite lackluster as always, maybe its because we know our heroes are always going to be victorious. With that said, the Sovereign is an interesting galactic race to see especially when they battle like going to the arcades. On the other hand, Ego is a decent turn of events and introduces also the pretty funny Mantis (Pom Klementieff). The planet is beautiful and they have their own mystery as to what happens with it all.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a fun ride through the galaxy as we see the Guardians save the galaxy another time. This time, there are fun characters, Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone with some new funny additions like Pom Klementieff as Mantis. On top of it all, the best moments is absolutely with Rocket and Baby Groot who have some adorable moments especially when Baby Groot does a great dance around as the Guardians fight a interdimensional monster. Just from that first scene, it already sets a tone for what to expect in the rest of this action adventure.
That Moment In Podcast crew is all back from vacation now!
This week’s episode is a chat about The Thing (1982). As usual, Mel and David kick off the show with their summaries. We take a look at the characters and the actors portraying the role and then jump into the 5 by 5 questions. After that, it is David’s time to share the moment of The Thing and our discussion on what makes it a turning point. Before we end the show, we talk about other moments that we liked also. Before we end, David challenges me to finding the moment for the next film!
We are in both Soundcloud and YouTube now!
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Well well well…look at me all on top of my game and going to see a Quentin Tarantino movie in the theatres. Its true though. I haven’t seen one in theatres since Kill Bill and that has been a while. I’m going to be honest here and say that while I do appreciate Tarantino’s work, I’m not a hardcore fan. On top of that, The Hateful Eight is a western which is the genre I’m most unfamiliar with.
Let’s check it out!
The Hateful Eight (2015)
Director (& Writer): Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks
In the dead of a Wyoming winter, a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters.-IMDB
Right from the start, The Hateful Eight grabs us with the scenery of the location he’s picked. Its secluded save for that carriage carrying John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his prisoner that’s worth $10,000, Domergue, a lady that has an incredibly crazed look in her eyes. They don’t intend on stopping since they are running from the blizzard coming right up and they stop for the first person blocking the road, then another. Eventually there is no running away and that’s when they land at Minnie’s Habadashery and have to camp out in the cabin. One lady prisoner, two bounty hunters and a handful of other known men all sit around. They have an issue with race and wars and just about anything. Before we know it, the plot picks up. Talking about the plot, The Hateful Eight is like watching a story unfold throughout six chapters. I think that’s a pretty nifty little thing to do. And well, do I even need to talk about the brilliant score that accompanies this piece. Ennio Morricone is amazing as always.
I’m really not a fan of long movies. It almost always loses me somewhere and for this one, it was the slow-paced extremely Western style. My husband pinpointed that feeling for me since I know nothing about Westerns. I tried so hard to stay away. Chapter 1 had some good build-up and then when we got to mid Chapter 3 and things started happening like everyone was there and they arrived at Minnie’s Habadashery. That is when it caught my attention. If I’m truly honest, it was the additions of Tim Roth’s character, Oswaldo Mobray that pulled me right back in along with the other mysterious characters hanging about. There’s a tension in the air that builds gradually and when the action starts, there is no way to stop it, exactly how you’d expect in a Tarantino movie. However, its also this signature that makes me not enjoy Tarantino so much but appreciate the effort. However, this isn’t a big issue because there was some fun to be had with it all and for what it is, Tarantino tells a great story that really had me thinking (even if I did kind of have my suspicions and they turned out to be correct in the end), it is still rather good.
Tarantino’s action and blood and overly inappropriate use of violence wasn’t even my problem. I mention it once and again: run time. I missed the days when watching a movie didn’t use up half a day sitting there watching a movie unfold. Those movies are great divided in parts at home and I kind of knew I’d feel that way about it. What did surprise me was that I had a harder time focusing on it in the beginning and it really pulled itself together for the last 75% of the movie and it was rather fun. On the terms of this being a Western, my husband mentioned something about the slow beginning really setting up like one but in the end, it was really more like it was mocking Westerns. How true is that statement? I really can’t agree or disagree.
Overall, The Hateful Eight has all the elements to be a really great movie. The story was well-crafted as was the storytelling. The location was nice whether it was in the blizzard or in Minnie’s Habadashery. The music was perfect. The cast was outstanding and I particularly loved Tim Roth, but then I’ve always liked him. Everyone did a fantastic job and once the mysteries and action started, it was a lot of fun. My biggest issue was the run-time being at 3 hours and the slow beginning. If you don’t mind that, The Hateful Eight is a fun movie that will get you thinking and laughing.
Have you see The Hateful Eight? What are your thoughts?
Finally, we are at the latest addition to the Fast and the Furious franchise! Man, this franchise has gone through its ups and downs. Mostly ups as we entered the last few movies. The franchise as gone into a bigger and better direction with mostly great response due to whatever reasons: characters, heists, etc. Its in its own category now and while none of them are masterpieces, its achieved its own special place in the fans’ hearts. That definitely includes me.
Before I go further into Furious 7, let’s get a little synopsis in 🙂
Furious 7 (2015)
Director: James Wan
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou
Taking a little break from their last team-up, Dom (Vin Diesel) is home with Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) as they make a transition from the dangerous world of heists, bullets and fast cars. All this changes when the big bad brother of Own Shaw (Luke Evans), Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) calls up Dom, telling him that Han’s (Sung Kang) dead and that he’s hunting down whoever destroyed his little brother. Already putting Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in the hospital, Dom and his team have to deal with this threat themselves. Much to their surprise, a mysterious Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) shows up offering them a perfect chance to revenge Dekkard Shaw with the condition that they retrieve an advanced military technology called God’s Eye and protect the developer, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), before a terrorist acquires it.
Just a matter of postponing putting up this review a few days, there’s been a ton of other reviews up. Exactly like Guardians of the Galaxy, there isnt much I can say that hasn’t been said before. I contemplated doing a point form post on this but then there would be too many spoilers and I don’t want that. Fact of the matter was that, the movie was halfway through or not even, I leaned over to my boyfriend and said that this movie was already turning into one of my faves of the franchise. Whether that feeling stuck by the end of the movie, I’ll reveal that at the end 😉
Furious 7 was my most anticipated movie of 2015. There are various reasons. One is Paul Walker and how they’ll get him out of the franchise after his tragic death in late 2013. He is a key character and with that, it makes him hard to dismiss. We’ve grown to love Brian O’Conner. He’s a part of the family and honestly, if you are a fan, Dom’s family has pretty much turned into our family. Each of the character’s have a spot in our hearts. Next reason is Furious 7 marks change. Partially linked with Paul Walker but the fact that even before his death, we’ve already know that Justin Lin will be stepping down as director and handing over the job to James Wan, primarily noted for his horror movie efforts. Now, following those two points, Furious 7 is every bit intriguing to watch because there are script changes and casting to work around the circumstances they are in and that begs the question: can they live up to the last few films fun and intensity?
Simple answer: YES!
There is so many yes for this one. Furious 7 is as awesome as its name. This time, its not so much about being fast as it is about being furious, as they race with a window of time to obtain the God’s Eye and Ramsey, fighting top notch fighters in the various roles form Jason Statham and Tony Jaa being in that category. Even Rhonda Rousey appears and fights with Michelle Rodriguez. The action sequences are as over the top as they get and yet I appreciate every single moment of them. I guess its when I watch these movies, I feel like I’m rather different. I like movies dripping with machoism, big guys, fighting, over the top action, sexy and sleek revving cars, high adrenaline. I love all that stuff. Furious 7 lives up to the franchise they’ve been building on all those levels, brings in some new characters and makes it bigger, badder, meaner and crazier than ever. More fight sequences than racing cars. At this point, when I walk into a movie in this franchise, I suspend every disbelief I have and just enjoy everything they throw at me. Everything and anything can happen and it doesn’t have to make any sense but you know what? It doesn’t matter, because that’s exactly what I’m looking for. And probably what you should be too 😉
This movie also experienced something for once in its franchise. Its is actually quite surprising. Can you guess what it is? The plot was never something to call home about. Its usually extremely simple with one very huge end goal. I never complain about it. For the first time, Furious 7’s plot actually feels a little convoluted. There’s a whole lot of little things going on. A lot of which gets lost in the bigger plots that kind of try to overpower each other. This time, it brings in family and revenge as a huge theme. Its minorly a heist for the God’s Eye but more a rescue mission. As much as Justin Lin loved to bring in lots of asses and skimpy girls, James Wan puts it right in your face even more. I don’t care much for that (since I’m very much into guys) but I’m sure its more for the male audience that should dominate the viewing audience here. I sidetracked there. The plot includes Letty’s amnesia and Brian’s embrace of quiet family life as side plots. The bigger ones was supposed to be Deckard Shaw because that is how the previous movie ended and should be the focus. By the end, I almost forgot about it as they trashed Los Angeles with the terrorist dude wrecking havoc. I literally forgot about the fight between Shaw and Dom, and kind of laughed at myself at that moment. But, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.
***Next paragraph enters a little spoiler territory**
Really, what else is there to say about this one? I’m thinking Fast Five, Furious 6 and this one is sounding very similar. Which is why this is not so much a review as just a write-up. This may not be quite as strong as Fast 5 (or 6) but its a lot of fun and there’s drama and the meaning behind this one is so much more just because we know that Paul Walker is no longer in the picture. Paul Walker’s death and that last scene for the tribute was done really well. I sat through the entire film wondering and worrying that they’d kill him off but they didn’t. The way they did it was perfect. It was classy and heartwarming. Brian was ready to leave the bullets behind and be dedicated to quiet family life. Once that song started and the beach scene, it meant just so much by saying so little and my tears just started falling. It was as much the team’s farewell as it was ours to Paul Walker and Brian O’Conner. It makes us remember also that as much as Paul Walker’s career succeeded a lot to do with this franchise, it made me think of the others movies he has been in and a few of them are underrated.
I guess the best way to end this write-up of Furious 7 is with this tribute video:
Wow..this review just got really personal and kind of heavy. Furious 7 is a fun, entertaining ride. While how the franchise would take Brian O’Conner’s character out kept running around in the back of my mind, it never stopped me from enjoying Furious 7 for exactly what it is. Logic and reason, common sense: nothing matters here. Its family, vengeance, action and a whole lot of explosion. Anything that happens in Furious 7 goes. Does a car flying through buildings make sense? Sure! How about no Air Force fighter jets coming when they are trashing LA? That’s okay. Cars flying in mid-air and parachuting down to the mountainous roads? That works! Plus, Paul Walker tribute was done perfectly well. Did Furious 7 make it to be my favorite movie in the franchise? Not really but it sure has a memorable spot in there.
Did you see Furious 7? What did you think about it? Which is your favorite movie in the franchise so far?