Gretel & Hansel (2020)

Gretel & Hansel
Director: Oz Perkins
Writer: Rob Hayes
Based on: the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel as collected by the Brothers Grimm
Cast: Sophia Lillis, Samuel Leakey, Alice Krige, Jessica De Gouw, Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Donncha Crowley, Charles Babalola
Seen on: 18.7.2020

Gretel (Sophia Lillis) and her brother Hansel (Samuel Leakey) are in a dire spot. Their mother (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) doesn’t have the resources to feed them, so she sends them away, hoping that Gretel may have better luck away from home – to find employment and take care of her brother. But that’s easier said than done and Gretel’s hunt for work finally leads the two siblings to the mysterious cottage in the woods where an old lady (Alice Krige) may have everything they need.

Gretel & Hansel really did not work for me. The interesting visuals were completely marred by the incessant semi-spiritual voiceover that was just annoying for me. I would have preferred a silent film.

The film poster showing Gretel (Sophie Lillis) walking through the woods with an oil lamp. Shoes are hanging from the trees and a cabin can be seen in the back.
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A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby (2019)

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby
Director: John Schultz
Writer: Karen Schaler, Nate Atkins
Sequel to: A Christmas Prince, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding
Cast: Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige, Honor Kneafsey, Kevin Shen, Momo Yeung, Sarah Douglas, Theo Devaney, John Guerrasio, Tahirah Sharif, Joel McVeagh, Richard Ashton, Raj Bajaj, Crystal Yu, Madra Ihegborow
Seen on: 28.12.2019

Things are going well for King Richard (Ben Lamb) and Queen Amber (Rose McIver) – they are expecting their first baby and could not be happier. But before the baby’s arrival, they still have a very important duty to fulfill: King Tai (Kevin Shen) and Queen Ming (Momo Yeung) are coming for a state visit to re-sign the treaty that has ensured peaceful relations between their two kingdoms for centuries. But when the treaty goes missing, not only is at a diplomatic catastrophe, but it also means that a curse hangs over the unborn baby.

After having seen A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby, I felt like I had hit rock bottom – but in the way that I had finally firm ground under my feet again and was thus able to finally walk away from the Christmas movie bonanza that had started to worry me. This is not a recommendation for the film as a movie, but if you should find yourself in the same situation I was in, it might be the emergency ejector seat that you need.

The film poster showing King Richard (Ben Lamb) and Queen Amber (Rose McIver) who cradles a notable baby bump.
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A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018)

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding
Director: John Schultz
Writer: Karen Schaler, Nate Atkins
Sequel to: A Christmas Prince
Cast: Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige, Honor Kneafsey, Sarah Douglas, Theo Devaney, John Guerrasio, Tahirah Sharif, Joel McVeagh, Tom Knight, Richard Ashton, Raj Bajaj, Simon Dutton, Katarina Cas
Seen on: 28.12.2019

It’s been a year that Amber (Rose McIver) and Richard (Ben Lamb) got together and Richard ascended to the throne. Now they are planning their wedding. Or rather, everyone is planning their wedding for them, with Amber having a very hard time to have her wishes respected, or heard at all. Maybe her discomfort means that she shouldn’t become a queen in the first place? Richard is also not much help as he is preoccupied with the failing finances of his kingdom that run counter to all of his modernization intiatives.

I honestly can’t really tell you why I even watched A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, given that the first one wasn’t a particularly great experience for me. The Royal Wedding was even worse – and I still couldn’t pry myself away from the screen or stop myself from watching the sequel.

The film poster showing Amber (Rose McIver) and Richard (Ben Lamb) dancing.
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A Christmas Prince (2017)

A Christmas Prince
Director: Alex Zamm
Writer: Karen Schaler, Nate Atkins
Cast: Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige, Honor Kneafsey, Sarah Douglas, Emma Louise Saunders, Theo Devaney, Daniel Fathers, Tahirah Sharif, Amy Marston, Joel McVeagh, Tom Knight, Richard Ashton
Seen on: 28.12.2019

Budding journalist Amber (Rose McIver) gets the opportunity to report on the succession of Prince Richard (Ben Lamb) who has so far shown no inclination to take on responsibility: if he doesn’t accept the throne within the next weeks, he will forfeit his right to it altogether. But instead of an enlightening press conference, Amber gets no info whatsoever. By coincidence, she is mistaken as the tutor for Princess Emily (Honor Kneafsey) and takes the opportunity to go undercover to find out more about the royal household. It soon turns out that Richard is quite different than Amber thought.

A Christmas Prince is probably the epitome of Christmas movies. As such it and its sequels are practically inescapable, but they also made me reach the point where I could finally get out of my Christmas movie stupor. Because it really is a bit much, especially watching all three

The film poster showing Prince Richard (Ben Lamb) and Amber (Rose McIver).
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Ten Inch Hero (2007)

Ten Inch Hero
Director: David Mackay
Writer: Betsy Morris
Cast: Elisabeth Harnois, Clea DuVall, Sean Patrick Flanery, Jensen Ackles, Danneel Ackles, Alice Krige, John Doe
Seen on: 26.8.2018

Piper (Elisabeth Harnois) moves to Santa Cruz to go to art school there and to maybe find the daughter she gave up for adoption when she was just a teenager. She starts working in a sandwich shop run by Trucker (John Doe), together with shy Jen (Clea DuVall), flirty Tish (Danneel Ackles) and punky Priestly (Jensen Ackles). Much like Piper, all four of her colleagues struggle with love and finding their place in the world.

I didn’t know much about Ten Inch Hero other than Jensen Ackles is wearing outrageous hair in it, and then I watched it and got Clea DuVall in the bargain, and that’s pretty much the best thing that can happen. Overall, the film is pretty sweet.

The film poster showing Elisabeth Harnois, Clea DuVall and Jensen Ackles.
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Persuasion (2007)

Director: Adrian Shergold
Writer: Simon Burke
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Rupert Penry-Jones, Alice Krige, Anthony Head, Julia Davis, Peter Wight, Marion Bailey, Amanda Hale, Tobias Menzies
Seen on: 28.6.2015
[Here’s my review of the 1995 version.]

Many years ago, Anne Elliot (Sally Hawkins) was engaged to Frederick Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones), but took the advice of her motherly friend Lady Russell (Alice Krige), as well as listened to the opinions of her father Sir Walter (Anthony Head) and her sister Elizabeth (Julia Davis)and dissolved the engagement since Wentworth didn’t have much standing. Quite by coincidence Frederick is back in her life after years in the Navy and has made a name for himself as well as a fortune. Anne is convinced, though, that he will never forgive her for her past actions. And when her cousin William Elliot (Tobias Menzies) starts courting her, she might be getting another chance, despite being alread 27 years old and still unmarried.

Despite my love for Sally Hawkins, this version of Persuasion absolutely did not work for me. Which is not her fault, but mostly due to the script and the direction.

Persuasion2007 Continue reading