A California Christmas

‘A California Christmas’ is a Netflix original and is currently sitting at number 1 on their top ten, which is to be expected since it is Christmas time after all. Forewarning though, this movie has nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas other than taking place around Christmas time. It has one Christmas song which is right before the credits, so if you’re looking for a Christmas movie, look somewhere else. This is your basic romantic Hallmark channel movie. It stars Lauren Swickard (Room for Murder), Josh Swickard (Roped), Ali Afshar (American Wrestler: The Wizard), David Del Rio (Pitch Perfect), and Amanda Detmer (Final Destination). ‘A California Christmas’ is about a playboy who lives a fast and carefree lifestyle, his mom threatens to cut him off unless he can get a ranch to sell their land to her company. He poses as ranch hand to try and persuade them to sell, but quickly falls in love instead.

After watching the trailer, I didn’t have a high bar for this movie, like I mentioned earlier it just appeared to be a cheesy Hallmark movie, but being Christmas time, I figured I would give it a shot. First off the main love interests are husband and wife in real life, which is pretty cool. You can actually imagine them on a ranch somewhere spending their life together. Even though it’s not a Christmas movie, this movie surprised me. It’s actually really good. The casting is great, and you find yourself actually invested in it, and rooting for them. David Del Rio plays a great part as the comic relief. If you’re looking for a good romantic movie, I recommend this one, I give it a 8/10.

Christmas Chronicles 2

‘Christmas Chronicles 2’ is a Netflix 2020 Christmas comedy that’s the follow up to the 2018 film ‘The Christmas Chronicles’. Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Darby Camp, and Judah Lewis all return from the first one. Outside of them, ‘Christmas Chronicles 2’ brings in Julian Dennison (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Jahzir Bruno (The Witches), and Tyrese Gibson (Fast & Furious).

Belsnickel (Dennison) is a disgruntled elf who is now human, who intends to get revenge on Santa by going to the North Pole and stealing Christmas forever. He must use Kate (Camp) as his ticket to get into the north pole by tricking her.

After watching the trailer, this did not look like it would be good. Why make a second one? Because money, that’s why, that’s the driving factor to everything, and I figured that’s all that would be behind it. I was happy to be wrong, even though they wrapped up everything in the first one. This one brings a fresh new plot that makes it worth it. Of course Kurt Russell has an even bigger rock n roll scene. The run time is a little long at two hours, but it doesn’t lag much, so time isn’t an issue. In the end this is a movie the whole family will enjoy. It brings a heartfelt message across with a rebellious teen finding acceptance and love, a scared kid finding his courage, and a rebellious elf finding his way. I give it a 7/10

Alien Xmas

‘Alien Xmas’ is a 2020 Netflix children/family Christmas movie staring Keythe Farley (Mass Effect 2), Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad!), and Kaliayh Rhambo (SEAL Team). ‘Alien Xmas’ follows the story of an alien race called the Klepts, they have no joy and steal everything and anything they can. Their newest plan is to go to earth and set up a machine to turn off earth’s gravitational pull. Once it is off, all of earth’s possessions will float into space where the Klepts will steal it. They send X, the smallest of the Kelpts, to the North Pole to set up the machine, but he soon changes his ways and learns the true meaning of Christmas.

I wouldn’t necessarily call this one a movie, more of a short or a Christmas special, it’s only 42 minutes long and after credits the run time is only about 38/39 minutes. It has an old retro, old-school feel to it. The animation style is done similar to the old Christmas special ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’, and that’s pretty cool. It’s like most Christmas movies, like ‘The Grinch’, where there is a grumpy character who stays grumpy until he learns the true meaning of Christmas. We’ve seen it a million times. However, they put a unique twist on it, and bring back the old animation style. For that ‘Alien Xmas’ is a winner this holiday season that the whole family will enjoy. I give it a 7/10

Wheels of Fortune.

‘Wheels of Fortune’, not to be confused with the popular game show ‘Wheel of Fortune’, is a 2020 comedy that you can currently find on Netflix. It isn’t really popular as it’s hard to find anything online about it, reviews, etc.. It stars Matt Jones (Breaking Bad), Noureen DeWulf (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past), John Ducey (Will & Grace), and Matty Cardarople (Stranger Things). Bo Jackson (Jones) is a redneck gearhead who never met his father, after his father dies, he finds out he is left in his very wealthy father’s will. In order to collect his inheritance he must compete in a series of races to prove he’s a winner/worthy of the money.

‘Wheels of Fortune’ has it’s funny moments, and the story is original. However it’s pretty predictable, you can pretty much guess what is going to happen at every turn, which makes it an okay movie. The cast isn’t strong enough to be a great movie. Jones, DeWulf, and Cardarople are all good actors/actresses but they’ve all been side role characters up to this point. It might have been a better movie with a different cast headlining. In the end I give a 5.5/10.

Holidate

‘Holidate’ is a 2020 Netflix original romantic/comedy that’s arrived just in times for the holidays. With October over, the scary movies move over for the Christmas movies, and this is the first Christmassy one of the season. ‘Holidate’ is a pretty simple concept, a holidate is a date just for holidays only. ‘Holidate’ follows the story of Sloane and Jackson, two people who are sick of dating but don’t want to be single on the holidays. After meeting each other in the mall, they decide to be each other’s holidates. This includes all holidays, Christmas, new years, valentines day, St. Patrick’s Day etc.. ‘Holidate’ stars Emma Roberts (American Horror Story), Luke Bracey (Point Break), Kristin Chenoweth (RV), King Bach (The Babysitter), and Manish Dayal (The Resident).

I said this one is a Christmassy movie and not a Christmas movie because the fact it covers all the holidays. However our story starts with Christmas and ends with Christmas, so close enough. I’m not a big fan of rom/com, but this one looked pretty good, and I like the original concept of this movie. ‘Holidate’ follows a typical rom/com plot, the main stars don’t like each other, but then they slowly start to fall for each other, but because of some stupid reason they can’t be together. The movie even takes a shot at themselves by saying this is the basic plot of all rom/com’s, which is pretty funny. Luke Bracey is funny, he reminds me a lot of Chris Hemsworth, same accent, same sense of humor, and similar mannerisms. I’m already a fan of Emma Roberts from her roles in American Horror Story. Overall it’s not as funny as I would have hoped for, but Bracey and Roberts have a good connection and the movie works for it. It’s a good kickoff for the Christmas movie season. I give it a 7/10.

Hubies Halloween

‘Hubies Halloween’ is a 2020 Netflix comedy exclusive from Happy Madison Productions. Anytime you see Happy Madison Productions you know Adam Sandler is bringing the whole crew, I love it. It’s like watching ‘American Horror Story’ and seeing what character your favorite actor/actress is playing this season. ‘Hubies Halloween’ stars Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Rob Schneider, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Sandler, and the Big man himself Shaq, as per usual as most his movies. Outside the normal crew it also stars Ben Stiller (Dodgeball), Kenan Thompson (Kenan & Kel), Tim Medows (Son of Zorn), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas), Michael Chiklis (Gotham), and Julie Brown (Modern Family). This cast is loaded.

‘Hubies Halloween’ follows Hubie (Sandler), a man who has been bullied by the entire town his whole life. Nevertheless, he still loves his town and feels it’s his duty to protect its citizens when weird things start happening on Halloween.

‘Hubies Halloween’ is a lighthearted, feel good, Halloween movie, think along the lines of ‘Ernest Scared Stupid’, but mixed with ‘The Warriors’, and ‘Halloween.’ Adam Sandler brings back his ‘Little Nicky’ style voice, which is a little annoying at times, it makes it hard to understand what he’s saying. I find Adam Sandler funnier without the voice, but some people might like it for nostalgia sake. I’m not one of those people. It’s also not as funny as I was hoping it would be, but in the end it pulls it all together, and teaches us to love one another no matter how different we are. I give it a 5.5/10

Vampires vs the Bronx

I love October, the fall weather, the changing of the leaves, the whole spookiness of the season. One of the best parts of the season is all the horror movies that come out during this time of the year. Unfortunately, Regal announced they’re closing down theaters across the board for the rest of the year, so not a lot of horror/thriller’s dropping this year. So we have to take what we can get.

There’s not a lot of great vampire movies out there, so I was pretty excited when Netflix announced this one. ‘Vampires vs the Bronx’ is about a local kid trying to save his neighborhood from going under as rent is being steadily raised. A real state company moves in offering to buy people’s businesses and homes, only problem is, they’re vampires.

‘Vampires vs the Bronx’ stars Sarah Gadon (True Detective), The Kid Mero (Desus & Mero), Jaden Michael (The Get Down), Gerald Jones III (Blue Bloods), Gregory Diaz IV (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and Method Man (How High).

As I said earlier there isn’t a lot of great vampire movies out there, and unfortunately this movie falls into this category. They just didn’t seem to know what direction they wanted to go with it. At times it was a horror film, then a comedy, then a cheesy mixture of both. The vampires also looked like they were borrowed from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, just a cheesy look. It just didn’t work, and in the end it’s a forgettable film. I give it a 5/10.

The Babysitter: Killer Queen

‘The Babysitter: Killer Queen’ is the second movie to Netflix’s horror/comedy ‘The Babysitter’. I was more than stoked when Netflix recently dropped the second one. There’s not many good horror/comedy’s out there, the one that always comes to mind is ‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’. Now, ‘The Babysitter’ isn’t as good as Tucker & Dale, but it’s still a damn good movie.

Killer Queen brings back the same cast as the first movie, but adds Jenna Ortega (You). Also, instead of giving Samara Weaving (Ready or Not) the main role, she takes a back seat to Emily Alyn Lind (Doctor Sleep). Lind just doesn’t bring it the same way Weaving does, but they do a good job tying in why Lind is the main role and not Weaving. One major bright spot is Ortega, she’s a great actress, and honestly the best one in this film. I hope to keep seeing more of her in the future. Killer Queen isn’t as good as the first one, it’s still a great movie, and if you’re a fan of the first one, you’ll enjoy this one. I give it a 7/10

Freaks: You’re One of Us

‘Freaks: You’re One of Us’ is a new 2020 Netflix Original comedy/adventure superhero movie. It’s originally an international film that has been dubbed over to English. This film reminds me of a cross over between ‘Kick-Ass’, and ‘Freaks’. It’s about a poor meek waitress who lives in a world where people have superpowers. These people are referred to as Freaks, and the government provides little blue pills to suppress their powers for their own “good”. She realizes she’s one of these freaks and decides to quit taking the blue pills.

This is a great concept, the trailer makes it looks awesome, and the story is there. Unfortunately, that’s about as far as this movie goes. It has a few good parts here and there but overall it’s a hour and a half snooze fest. I paused this movie more than once just to see how much it was left, it’s not a painful watch, but pretty close. The dubbing is monotone and doesn’t match up to what’s going on. I always say Netflix originals are great but this one doesn’t fit the bill. I give this one a hard pass with a 3/10.

Almost Love

‘Almost Love’ is a 2020 Rom-Com staring Scott Evans(Grace and Frankie), Augustus Prew (Kick-Ass 2), Michelle Buteau (Always Be My Maybe), Colin Donnell (Chicago Med), Zoe Chao (Downhill), Kate Walsh (Grey’s Anatomy), and Christopher M Gray (The Mist). ‘Almost Love’ follows the story of a group of friends all in different stages of their love lives. It follows a gay couple in their fifth year together and their relationship is on the rocks, a married couple who have been together fifteen years and are thinking about calling it quits, a woman who starts dating a homeless man, that she didn’t know was homeless, and a high school teacher who thinks she’s in love with one of her students.

I typically stay away from Rom-Com’s, as you can tell from my other reviews, but I gave this one a shot. I find most Rom-Com’s cheesy and just not for me. It has a couple of note able actors/actress’s in it, and I have to admit, ‘Almost Love’ surprised me. The story line is good, the acting is great, and it sucks you in. It has drama, comedy, and it manages to pull at your heart strings. I found myself cheering for the characters as they went through their struggles with love. Not only is it a good Rom-Com, but it’s a good movie. You can currently find it on Netflix. I give it an 8.5/10.