ONE DECEMBER NIGHT (2021)
Steve Bedford and Mike Sullivan (Bruce Campbell and Peter Gallagher) were a major musical group until personal conflicts broke them apart. Ten years later, at Christmas time, the duo is set to reunite for a televised Christmas special and this sets Bedford’s manager/son Jason (Brett Dalton) and Sullivan’s music company rep daughter Quinn (Eloise Mumford) on a collision course, as both are tasked with making sure this show happens. As it is the holidays, you know what that means!
Hallmark holiday flick is directed by Clare Niederpruem from a cliché script from Eric Brooks and Sib Ventress. If there is any type of flick that can get away with being cliché, it’s the Christmas film…and this one embraces them. Cast perform their parts sincerely, but also seem to be enjoying their roles. Campbell is especially cheery as the upbeat and egotistical Bedford, while Gallagher is solid as the more serious and troubled Sullivan. The two work well together and play off each other nicely. Dalton and Mumford also have some nice on-screen chemistry, as romance is obviously in the air. We know from the first frame how things will eventually work out for both pairs of Bedfords and Sullivans, but it is a cheesy, sweet and heartfelt journey getting there. Cute and harmless Christmas fluff. Holiday drama/romantic comedy is available for streaming on Fubo TV and Philo.
SANTA’S LITTLE HELPER (2015)
Moderately amusing and heavily cliché’d flick has selfish businessman, Dax (WWE superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin) out of a job and being tested for a new one by mysterious woman, Billie (AnnaLynne McCord). It turns out Billie is one of Santa’s elves and old St. Nick (Eric Keenleyside) needs a new right hand man and based on his kind-hearted youth, feels Dax is the one to be his new “Ho Ho”…not making that up. Standing in Dax’s way is ambitious and arrogant elf, Eleanor (WWE superstar Paige) who is outraged that a normal human is being courted for the job and not her…and vows to stop him.
Silly flick has it’s amusing moments, but is so cliché that it needed a lot more entertainment value to overlook it’s extremely familiar story from James Robert Johnston and Bennett Yellin’s script. As directed by Gil Junger it is very-by-the numbers and only McCord’s adorable perkiness adds some life. Both Mizanin and Paige seem to just be playing versions of their WWE ring persona’s and the film doesn’t try hard enough to give itself some real Christmas spirit. Completely bland and forgettable, but not without some small amount of charm…probably more due to watching it during the Christmas season than the film itself. At least the girls were cute.
Kids may find it more amusing, especially if they are fans of Miz and Paige, but after her work in Excision, McCord deserves better.
Sci-fi/horror has psychiatrist Ed (Dean Cates) picking up his alcoholic sister Lyla (Jug Face’s Lauren Ashley Carter) and heading to a remote cabin to check on brother Martin (Brian Morvant). Martin is a paranoid schizophrenic with a history of violence and emotional problems who recently sent Ed an ominous and upsetting message. They arrive to find the house and Martin, in complete disarray with the ex-soldier claiming to have been part of government experiments and that one of those experiments, has followed him there. Does Martin really have a creature locked up in the basement or has he finally lost his mind?
Written and directed by Mickey Keating, this isn’t a bad movie just an extremely familiar one that offers nothing new to this conspiracy type tale told many times before and better…including 2014’s Extraterrestrial. The directing is competent and there are a few suspenseful scenes, but it’s predictable and we’ve seen it so many times before. The acting is decent, though Morvant’s raving gets really tiresome especially since it goes on for over 30 minutes. Worth a look, if you like X-Files flavored stuff, but don’t expect much or anything fresh or new. Also stars indie horror icon Larry Fessenden in a cliché role that I won’t spoil.