Christmas Wedding Planner (2017)

Christmas Wedding Planner
Director: Justin G. Dyck
Writer: Keith Cooper, Rebecca Lamarche
Based on: Stacy Connelly’s novel Once Upon a Wedding
Cast: Jocelyn Hudon, Stephen Huszar, Kelly Rutherford, Rebecca Dalton, Eric Hicks, Joey Fatone
Seen on: 21.12.2019

Plot:
Kelsey (Jocelyn Hudson) has dreamed of becoming a wedding planner. Now her cousin Emily (Rebecca Dalton) is getting married on Christmas and Kelsey is the one who gets to plan it – just the big break she needs! But she encounters a serius bump in her plans in the shape of Connor (Stephen Huszar). He is not only Emily’s ex, but also a private investigator who is determined to dig up any possible dirt on Emily’s fiancé Todd (Eric Hicks). Deciding that you should keep your enemies close, Kelsey agrees to help – which means she now has to juggle the wedding, the investigation and her attraction to Connor.

Christmas Wedding Planner feels a little painted by numbers (yes, even for a Christmas movie). It’s still watchable, but it is not a holiday movie highlight.

The flm poster showing a smiling couple in the upper half and three women in the lower.

[SPOILERS]

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Let It Snow (2019)

Let It Snow
Director: Luke Snellin
Writer: Laura Solon, Victoria Strouse, Kay Cannon
Based on: Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle‘s novel
Cast: Isabela Merced, Shameik Moore, Odeya Rush, Liv Hewson, Mitchell Hope, Kiernan Shipka, Matthew Noszka, Jacob Batalon, Miles Robbins, Joan Cusack, Anna Akana
Seen on: 21.12.2019

Plot:
Laurel, Illinois, is in the middle of nowhere and nothing much happens there. But with Christmas and a snowstorm both approaching, people come together that may not have otherwise. There’s young singer Stuart (Shameik Moore) who follows Julie (Isabela Merced) off a train when it gets stuck in the snow, so she can show him the sights of Laurel – or rather the sight: The Waffle House. Dorrie (Liv Hewson) works at the Waffle House together with Keon (Jacob Batalon), but she’s mostly busy with trying to help her best friend Addie (Odeya Rush) who has trouble with her boyfriend, and figuring out why Kerry (Anna Akana), whom she had an amazing connection with at a party, is showing her the cold shoulder now. Keon meanwhile wants to pull off the party of the century, but all his plans fall flat, so he ropes in Tobin (Mitchell Hope) to help. Tobin is preoccupied, though, because he wants to tell his best friend Duke (Kiernan Shipka) that he really likes her – which is not that easy.

Let It Snow was the kick-off film for my sappy Christmas movie binge that had me firmly in its grasp this holiday season, and it really was a nice start. A talented young cast, Joan Cusack and everything ending well is a good mix that gave me exactly what I was looking for.

The film poster showing 8 teenagers lying in the snow on their backs in a circle.
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Deathcember (2019)

Deathcember (I saw the version split into two films)
Part of: /slash Filmfestival Christmas screening
Seen on: 19.12.2019

Deathcember is an advent calendar in movie form, giving us 24 (plus some extra) Christmas-themed films to count down until Christmas. The films vary in style and tone, but they are all filled with (a) holiday spirit.

As with most anthologies, Deathcember has some clear winners and a few that were not for me (with the former being more present in the first volume and the latter more in the second volume), but I assume that the favorites and unfavorites will vary from person to person. It was definitely nice that they included more than the usual token female director (although there could have been more people of color involved). I was a little worried that so many short films in less than three hours would get a little too much, but it was surprisingly not-exhausting (I was glad that they showed the version split into two volumes). In short, it was a very fun evening. There are definitely worse ways to pass time during the holiday season.

After the jump, I talk about each of the segments individually. If you prefer to be surprised what’s behind those doors, you probably shouldn’t continue. But I won’t give away spoilers.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (aka Episode IX)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Chris Terrio, J.J. Abrams
Sequel to: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Greg Grunberg, Shirley Henderson, Billie Lourd, Dominic Monaghan, Warwick Davis, Jodie Comer, Billy Howle
Seen on: 19.12.2019

Plot:
Rey (Daisy Ridley) finishes her training as a Jedi just in time as the war of the First Order against the galaxy reaches its full height. Together with the resistance, especially Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac), it’s time to prepare for the last and biggest battle to decide the fate of the galaxy. It turns out to be a battle filled with unsuspected allies and opponents.

I’m not much of a Star Wars person, but I enjoyed this new wave of the franchise so far. Unfortunately, The Rise of Skywalker was a disappointing mess.

The film poster showing an assortment of characters from the film.

[SPOILERS]

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Motherless Brooklyn (2019)

Motherless Brooklyn
Director: Edward Norton
Writer: Edward Norton
Based on: Jonathan Lethem’s novel
Cast: Edward Norton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Willem Dafoe, Robert Wisdom, Michael Kenneth Williams, Bruce Willis, Ethan Suplee, Cherry Jones, Dallas Roberts, Josh Pais, Leslie Mann
Seen on: 18.12.2019

Plot:
Lionel (Edward Norton) is a private investigator, even though his Tourette’s can make covert observation a little difficult sometimes. He works for Frank (Bruce Willis) until Frank is killed. Lionel really needs to figure out what case he worked on that turned out to be deadly. Retracing Frank’s steps, picking up where he left off, Lionel finds himself investigating some very powerful people and making a connection with Laura (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who is somehow involved.

Motherless Brooklyn has been a long time coming, but sometimes things are not worth the wait. It’s not an outright bad film, but it’s not very good, either.

The film poster showing a man in a trenchcoat and hat on a bridge.
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