The Princess Switch (2018) Film Review

I would not have watched this were it not for the “Six Flicks of Christmas” podcast with Nikki Britton and Laura Hughes. Two awesome Aussie comics who do a podcast watch party and a review. I watched the film listening to the watch party and it was a hilarious way to watch it – I intend, in the year-long lead up to Christmas, to watch the next two Princess Switch films the same way.

So, the story is that baker Stacy (Vanessa Hudgens) ends up in the Kingdom of Belgravia for an international baking contest, but when she bumps into Lady Margaret (also Vanessa Hudgens) who is engaged to the Prince, she is convinced to swap lives for a couple of days. Lady Margaret does this to live like an ‘ordinary person’ – and consequently spends two days with Stacy’s best mate and his daughter, so… spends the two days with two American tourists… not a normal person of Belgravia. And that’s only part of the ridiculousness of the film. But, a good old switcherooo… I didn’t mind this film too much at all. Not sure how I would have gone without the funnies in my headphones, though…

Single All the Way (2021) Film Review

Peter (Michael Urie) has been perpetually single, much to the annoyance of his entire family who believe he can only be happy when he has a love that he can bring home for Christmas. To try to fool them, he brings home Nick (Philemon Chambers) his best mate (who is clearly a bit in love with Peter). But Nick immediately gives the game away, and Peter’s mother sets him up on a blind date with a handsome and lovely bloke, James (Luke Macfarlane) and things seem to be going well. But what would a Christmas romantic comedy be without family meddling and some singing in a local bar?

I quite enjoyed this for the silly Christmas romp that it was. Plus with Kathy Najimy, Barry Bostwick and Jennifer Coolidge supporting… hard not to like, really. Far too many in the family, I still don’t know who were sisters, who were aunts, which kids belonged to who, but it didn’t matter. This was fun.

Office Christmas Party (2016) Film Review

Josh (Jason Bateman) and Tracey (Olivia Munn) are a couple of mid-level workers at a place run by an entitled and useless bloke, Clay (TJ Miller). When his sister Carol (Jennifer Aniston) turns up to shut down the branch there is only one way to save the branch… a massive Christmas party. (Plot wise, that almost made sense).

There were plenty of great cast members, there were moments that were a bit funny, but overall it was a mess of stupidness that only occasionally was able to get even a chuckle out of me. I kept hoping it would get better and it just kept letting me down.

Let It Snow (2019) Film Review

It’s a super snowy day in small town USA, right close to Christmas. There’s a boy in love with his best mate, only she is kind of seeing someone else, there’s a girl who ends up accidentally spending the day with a super-famous musician when their train ends up stuck in the snow and they wander off together. And there’s a girl who’s spent some fun time with another girl, but when the second girl is out with her popular mates, she barely acknowledges the first girl’s existence. Oh, and a young DJ who is trying to become known by throwing a party and having a famous DJ turn up. It’s a lot, the stories kind of overlap, and come together in a stupidly long and unnecessary party scene.

Based on a fun book with three connected shorts by three excellent YA authors (John Green, Lauren Myracle and Maureen Johnson), I thought this would be a lot of fun. And it sort of was, although it felt really flat, and I found it very hard to differentiate between a few of the actors. But I’m very aware that I’m not the audience for this film, if I was a young teenager, perhaps I’d have loved it.

Christmas on the Farm (2021) Film Review

Emmy (Poppy Jones) is an author who is struggling to writer her next bestseller, and so writes a book about her childhood growing up on a farm in Australia. However, taking poor advice from her gent, she changes the book, putting herself in the role of her mother. So when the publisher and her son decide that the only way they will buy the book is to experience a Christmas on the farm (which doesn’t seem like a very reasonable nor realistic request) things turn into a bit of a face.

Maybe it was just after the last couple of stinker films that I watched, but I actually quite liked this one. I mean, it didn’t make a huge amount of sense in many ways, but it was fun. This is the kind of fun Christmas movie I’m up for, personally.

Father Christmas is Back (2021) Film Review

The Christmas family (yup, that’s their surname, although that wasn’t apparent until about halfway through the film) are all convening at the stressed-out sister’s house. One sister is a socialite who brings a different man each year, the other is young and… actually, I barely remember she exists. Mum is secretly having fun times with the uncle, and the dad’s been gone for ages. Until now…

It’s a big name cast… Elizabeth Hurley, Caroline Quentin, John Cleese, Kelsey Grammar… but it’s a massive stinker of a movie. I hadn’t thought I’d dislike a film more than A Castle for Christmas, but I really did. Just… ugh. But, there was a family karaoke night at the pub, so it met at least one of the requirements for a Christmas film.

A Castle for Christmas (2021) Film Review

For whatever reason, this year I decided to watch some Christmas movies and see if they are as bad as I expected them to be. Well… this was a doozie.

Sophie (Brooke Shields) is a bestselling author of a romance series, but is being hounded by her fans because she killed off the male love interest in her most recent book. To escape the spotlight, she goes to Scotland, her grandfather’s town, to visit the castle where he (or his father? I got a little confused on fathers and grandfathers) worked. Arriving in the town, she makes friends with a bunch of locals who have a craft group, and finds that the castle is owned by a handsome but annoying lord, Myles (Cary Elwes). However, he is on hard times and needs to sell… and Sophie has a lot of money. What could possibly happen.

This was terrible on pretty much every level. I think when you have a film set in Scotland but can barely find a Scottish actor, even amongst the extras, it’s probably not a good sign. Also, if you struggle to make sense of the plot, in particular why any of the disagreements are happening, that’s also not good. Add in some real unnecessary detail, like Sophie having mad hair skills for no real reason, and a random maybe red herring that is seen once and then never referred to again, and you have a real mess of a film. But there is a singing scene in a pub which becomes a regular sign for a true Christmas film… regardless of the quality of the film…

Tulip Fever (2017) vs Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach – Film and Book Review

Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

In the 1600s, there was a craze for a while in Holland for tulips. They became a form of currency, with underground auctions and all kinds going on. Tulip Fever is essentially a romance set against this background. Sophia was married young to elderly merchant Cornelis to save her family from poverty, and she doesn’t mind him. But when painter Jan comes to paint their portrait, an affair begins, and a complex plan is hatched.

I didn’t expect a romance, and it was fine, but not what I was after. It was very similar in tone to Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Miniaturist, both set in the same time. I enjoyed it, but I think I would have been more interested in more on the tulip craze. I did love that the copy of the book I read had coloured plates of art of the time, that was a delightful touch.

Tulip Fever (2017

I shouldn’t have watched this so close to reading it. I can’t tell if it was a good film, it seemed fine. The cinematography certainly caught the lighting of that style of painting beautifully. The story was changed a bit, though not the key points. It did allow Dame Judy Dench a small role, which is always nice. I hope someone watches it and lets me know if they think it’s any good.

Wine Country (2019) Film Review

A group of women whose friendship started when they worked at the same pizza joint in their youth get together for a holiday to wine country for a birthday, and over the trip, their weaknesses and resentments are exposed. Oh, but it’s super funny.

With this cast, it would have been almost impossible to not have a lot of real belly laughs – Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Maya Rudolph, Paula Pell, Emily Spivey and Jason Schwartzman. Tina Fey was in there too, but while all the other characters felt pretty much real and relatable (for the most part), Fey’s character was like a character from SNL, and stood out as being overly comic.

The structure was fairly predictable, with each character facing themselves, lots of passionate (and, at times, drunken) speeches. But despite that, I really enjoyed it. Sentimental and lovely and really, just a lot of fun.

The Tomorrow War (2021) Film Review

There’s a war in the future against some incredible insect creatures, and these creatures have killed off all of the soldiers in the future. So there’s technology that allows the future people to come back, forcefully conscribe people in the present to skip forward and fight, and they go for seven days and then are sent back. Now, either I missed a bit, or they don’t address how that impacts on the future… you know, all the ‘rules’ of time travel and how they actually impact on the world and life and the like.

It’s one of those wonderful/terrible action films – things don’t necessarily make sense. But there’s heaps of running and fighting, and I love that many of the conscripts are pretty normal people. The creatures are awesome – genuinely creepy and scary, I love them. They make the film worthwhile. Overall, the film is too long, the plot is ridiculous (but I’m happy with that) but I didn’t mind spending a couple of hours with it.