Monday, 13 November 2017

A Christmas Carol: The Musical Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Lynn Ahrens
Mike Ockrent

Based on the Novel By
Charles Dickens

Directed By
Arthur Allan Seidelman

A Hallmark Entertainment, Mid Alantic Films Movie

Genre
Drama, Fantasy, Musical

Cast
Kelsey Grammer as Ebeneezer Scrooge
Jesse L. Martin as Ghost of Christmas Present / Ticket Seller
Jane Krakowski as Ghost of Christmas Past / Street Lamp Lighter
Jennifer Love Hewitt as Emily
Geraldine Chaplin as Ghost of Christmas Future / Blind Beggar Woman
Jason Alexander as Jacob Marley / Marley's Ghost
Brian Bedfore as Mr Fezziwig
Claire Moore as Mrs Fezziwig

Year Released
2004

Certificate
PG

Synopsis

Miser Ebenezer Scrooge is awakened on Christmas Eve by spirits who reveal to him his own miserable existence, what opportunities he wasted in his youth, his current cruelties, and the dire fate that awaits him if he does not change his ways. Scrooge is faced with his own story of growing bitterness and meanness, and must decide what his own future will hold: death or redemption.

Review

I've always had a soft spot for the classic tale 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens.  In fact, I've lost count how many different movies, musicals and even stage productions I've seen of the well told story.  This grabbed my eye because of the cast list.  You have Kelsey Grammer (Frasier), Jane Krakowski (Ally McBeal), Jesse L. Martin (The Flash) and Jason Alexander (Seinfield) amongst many others.

When I started watching it, I was struck by how much it looked like a stage production yet a movie at the same time without feeling at all stilted or awkward.  Kelsey Grammer really gives a wonderful performance as Scrooge, albeit not as powerful as Patrick Stewart did, and also has a really good singing voice too.  The rest of the cast give some really fantastic and subtle performances especially with Krakowski and Martin.  For me, they were definitely the highlights of this musical for me.

Talking of this being a musical, the songs have a real heartfelt quality to them.  The performances of the cast really bring the songs to life and really does pull you in to the story itself, even if you have already seen or heard the tale copious times.

I'll admit that some of the special effects are a little ropey in places but that is just down to the budget really.  They're not terrible, if I'm honest then they're better than some of the other made for television movies I've seen, but they can sometimes be a little off putting in the scene.

All in all, this is a wonderfully warm and gentle musical version of the classic Christmas tale, perfect for those cold nights where you can snuggle under a blanket with a hot chocolate and just enjoy the story unfolding in front of you.

Movie 7/10

Left Behind Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Paul LaLonde
John Patus

Based on the Novel By
Jerry B. Hawkins
Tim LaHaye

Directed By
Vic Armstrong

A Stoney Lake Entertainment Movie

Genre
Action, Fantasy, Drama

Cast
Nicolas Cage as Rayford Steele
Chad Michael Murray as Buck Williams
Cassi Thomson as Chloe Steele
Nicky Whelan as Hattie Durham
Jordin Sparks as Shasta Carvell
Lea Thompson as Irene Steele

Year Released
2014

Certificate
15

Synopsis

A small group of survivors are left behind after millions of people suddenly vanish and the world is plunged into chaos and destruction. 

Review

I have to admit that I've seen so many bad reviews for this movie that it made me a lot more curious about finding out a copy to see if it truly is that bad.

Well, we all know how hit and miss Cage's movies are.  You will either strike gold and have an amazing movie with a great performance or a movie that leaves you wondering just why you are bothering to waste your time watching it.  I wondered which side of the coin this movie would fall on.  To be honest, that was answered in the first half hour.

The storyline itself interested me as it had a real creepy feel to it.  Millions of people going missing without explanation and we're left to try to work out what happened ourselves.  Surely, a story like that would have endless chances to show the build up of tension throughout the movie.  You could show the mental toll that such an event would take on the survivors.

However, what we have is a cast that seems bored while reciting dialogue that is as dull and lifeless as they plan that a lot of the cast are trapped inside.  There are even a couple of scenes where it almost seemed like they were reading them from an autocue of some kind.

A dull story or dialogue could have been forgiven if the cast really put their all in to their performances to bring the characters to life.  Instead, we get performances that are mostly going through the motions, showing us characters that are largely unlikeable.  I know that's the point of the movie, when you find out what caused the disappearances, but it got to the point where I really didn't care what happened to the survivors. Performance wise, none of them really stood out that much at all.  Cage, who will all know loves to hugely overact in his lower budget movies, was really restrained him and actually gave the one dimensonal character of the planes captain a little bit more life than the writing gave him.  Murray gave a fair performance as the investigative journalist too but other than that, I can't even tell you any of the names or personalities of the largely by-the-numbers cast.

All in all, this is a movie that took a rather interesting idea and managed to make it even more dull than watching paint dry.  Definitely one to avoid.

Also, one last thing, why is there always an investigative journalist in these sorts of movie?

Movie 2/10