Christmas Ransom – Movie Review

TL;DR – A thoroughly charming film when it is working and a bit overwrought when it is not.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There are mid-credit scenes

Disclosure – I paid for the Stan service that viewed this film.

emerging from a ball pit

Christmas Ransom Review

It is the time of year when Christmas films are a plenty. Indeed 5 Christmas films got added to a streaming service just today. But if I am to dive into what can be a mess of sentimentality, I want to spend some time with a local production. Well, it is good timing because the Stan Christmas film just dropped, and it is time to find some joy in the world.
 
So to set the scene, at Harrington & Sons toy store run by Clarence Harrington (Cleave Williams) and famous all through the country and the place to visit for toys. But as time marches on, Clarence’s son Derrick (Matt Okine) now runs the store. Christmas does not hold the joy it once was after doing it alone for so long, and even Gladys (Miranda Tapsell), the store’s security guard, can see something missing from Derrick’s life. Even more so given the store is about to close because of a lack of finance. But once the store is closed for the evening, we discover that not everyone has left. Two members of the naughty list, Wombat (Evan Stanhope) and Brady (Tahlia Sturzaker), are here. But before Gladys can finish integrating the little brats, two actual crooks, Nan (Geneviève Lemon) and Shez (Bridie McKim), come into the store with guns. Soon all the staff are tied up with tinsel, a ransom call has been made, and the question is, who can save them?

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Violent Night – Movie Review

TL;DR – The sleigh bells ring as Santa takes out one henchman after another.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Santa and his reindeer.

Violent Night Review

Some concepts for a film intrigue you by their very existence. For example: what if Santa must carve his way through a pile of mercenaries to save a young girl who truly believes in him? A concept that answers once and all the question ‘is Die Hard a Christmas film?’ by straight up making it one. Well, that is a film that gets my immediate attention.

So to set the scene, Santa (David Harbour) is getting wasted in a bar in Bristol, England. The constant consumerism of Christmas is wearing him down, and this might be his final year. Meanwhile, in Greenwich, Connecticut, Linda (Alexis Louder) is picking up Jason (Alex Hassell) so that their daughter Trudy (Leah Brady), can have a normal Christmas. Well, as normal as you can when you are separated, and you are part of one of the wealthiest families in America under the all-seeing eyes of matriarch Gertrude (Beverly D’Angelo). But as Santa arrives at the house to drop off Trudy’s presents, Mr Scrooge (John Leguizamo) and his gang storm the house, kill the staff and take the whole family hostage. There is $300 million on the line, and now Santa is stuck in the middle of it.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A absolute delight that understands how not to outstay its welcome through charm and joy.   

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film.

The Guardians of the Galaxy in Knowhere

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Review

When you hear the word ‘Holiday Special’, there can be a certain dread. That is because history is littered with failed examples, sometimes infamously failed. In my experience, they are, at best okay. However, today we have a model that might buck that trend.  

So to set the scene, back in the past, we find a young Peter Quill (Luke Klein) and Kraglin (Sean Gunn) setting up their own little Christmas tree on the Ravanger spaceship when Yondu (Michael Rooker) walks in and trashes it because it shows weakness. Back in the post-Endgame, post-ditching Thor present. The Guardians of the Galaxy have bought Nowhere and have started bringing it back to its former prime. However, the gang feels that Peter (Chris Pratt) is still sad about losing the love of his life. Well, it is Christmas time, and Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) have a plan, let’s kidnap Kevin Bacon (Kevin Bacon).  

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Hawkeye: Season 1 Full Review – TV Review

TL;DR – A charming series, with good action, but more importantly, solid character work and growth.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this show.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a Mid-Credit Scene in the final episode

Hawkeye: Season 1. Image Credit: Disney+.

Hawkeye Review

Of all the announced Marvel/Disney+ TV series, I would have to say that it landed with a big meh when I heard about Hawkeye. Hawkeye as a character has always been one of the weaker elements of the MCU for me, and I was not sure that a mini-series exploring that was going to do much to change that. Well, I will be the first to admit when I was wrong because more than any other Marvel property, I was instantly sold with that first trailer and what we got, in the end, was frankly some solid superhero fun.  

So to set the scene, it is 2012, and a young Kate Bishop (Clara Stack) is listening in on her parents because all is not right with money. But before she has time to process that, her world explodes as the Battle of New York is fought around her. It is here where she first sees Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and after the death of her father (Brian James d’Arcy), she convinces her mother (Vera Farmiga) that she needs to learn archery. Today, a now adult Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) is sneaking into Stane Tower for a bet … and accidentally destroys a bell tower in the process. Meanwhile, Clint is out in New York having dinner trying to reconnect with his kids, not realising his past as Ronin was about to explode into his present. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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A Sunburnt Christmas – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that walks the line between charming and serious like a professional.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Awards

Nominated: Best Australian Film & Most Fun.

A Sunburnt Christmas. Image Credit: Stan.

A Sunburnt Christmas Review

When you have worked a long time in retail, it is difficult to ‘get into the Christmas Spirit’. Which does sort of extend into those classic Christmas films. But enough time has passed to dive back in maybe, and well where best to start is the new Christmas film on Stan.

So to set the scene, we open in a hospital as a man is brought in for surgery. We find out that he is a prisoner and that he is considered dangerous. A little time later, Daryl (Daniel Henshall) tricks the local hospital Santa (Alirio Zavarce) and escapes just before the illusive Dingo (Sullivan Stapleton) arrived to kill him. Running in the Santa’s truck, he crashes into the farm of Hazel (Tatiana Goode), Tom (Eadan McGuinness), and Daisy (Lena Nankivell). He pretends to be Santa to Tom and Daisy, in the attempt to find his ‘sack’ (full of stolen money) that is buried on the farm somewhere.

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Movie Review – Busting Out The Bells (2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition)

TL;DR – A film with the right heart, even if it does not all come together.      
Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Review

Watching a love one slide into dementia where they forget where they are and who they are is a heart-breaking process that I and many others have had to experience. Indeed it is a real shame that more films don’t explore this issue but today we get to look at some that have.

Busting out the Bells tells the story of when parents had to tell their young children Jason (James Bingham) and Kate (Amelia Kelly) that their Grandpa George (Phil Mackenzie) will not be staying with them this year because they have had to put him into a nursing home because he kept forgetting things and getting lost.

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Article – Crash Course in Christian Music for Christmas Time

Crash Course in Christian Music for Christmas Time

TL;DR – Getting you ready for waling into a unknown church this holiday season

Article

So it is that time of year again, when people are flying back to their parent’s homes, or staying with friends and whether by design or surprise they may find themselves heading off to an unfamiliar Church for some kind of Christmas service.

Like all social institutions Churches have their own rituals and formats, and so can end up being daunting Matrix slow-mo bullet dodging exercise trying not to look like a fool, but this where we are here to help. Indeed you may get lucky and all they will sing is Christmas carols that you are used to, unless you work in retail in which case this might be the opposite of lucky for you.

But today we will go through a selection (not all) of the types of music you are likely to encounter these holidays so that you can be better prepared for what is coming. So let us begin.

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