Three Christmas' and a Carnival

Christmas at Graceland (2018) – Comedy, Family, Musical

My Hallmark Christmas Film binge went into overdrive this week, I started this week with one from last year, I wanted to watch this in anticipation of 2019’s offering – Wedding at Graceland.

Basic plot – an executive travels back to Memphis to acquire one of the city’s oldest family run banks for her multinational company. Along the way she meets an old flame, realises that money is not the be all and end all and her and her daughter spend some quality Christmas time together. And on top of that, she sings and her old flame sings, so you get added Christmas songs as well. And these are sung by a very Dolly Partoneqsue Kellie Pickler( an American Idol winner I think, being someone who does not watch an English talent show, I am really not going to have a clue about American Talent Show folk)and Wes Brown, who can hold a tune himself.

I loved this one, Kellie Pickler’s and Wes Brown voices add a new twist to some old classics and it’s all very Christmassy and happy. Hallmark, your stories might all be very similar, but you do them all incredibly well.

See this if you like a bit of country added to your Christmas and the odd Elvis song thrown in the background, well it is Graceland after all!

Write Before Christmas (2019) – Romance, Family, Drama

New Hallmark Film Alert! This one with a Love Actually style to it, following a range of people all linked to Jessica, who after being dumped by a daft fella who got his knickers in a twist over her love of Christmas, she sends five Christmas Cards to people who have influenced her life, her best friend, her brother in the army, her aunt who raised her, an ex-teen boy band member who has fallen on hard times(yes, this was an odd one) and her old music teacher, whose son happens to open it and come to thank Jessica with a Cello from his Mum, just in time for her to audition for an orchestra job.

Torrey Devitto is a very likable Hallmark leading lady and the son is played by Chad Michael Murray whose characters are always nice fellas. He also adds some nice touches of humour to his character.

So, we follow all of the people finding love and happiness this Christmas. It is well done and just the right amount of cheese. Top Love Actually ripping off Hallmark people! Watch this is you want to see a multitude of people and a dog find love and happiness.

Christmas Under the Stars (2019) – Romance, Family, Drama

So, I have seen one Hallmark film with Chad Michael Murray in it, this one has Jessie Metcalfe, Hallmark Is the place where teenage idols spend their thirties, it’s like when you start going out, you hit all these cool bars and clubs and then you just like to spend your time in the local pub where everybody knows you name. So, we have One Tree Hill Alumni in one film, a Desperate Housewives int his one and he is joined by Autumn Reeser, who not only is a Hallmark Legend but also once inhabited The O.C. As I said, a career path is set out, star in a teenage/twenty something poplar tv Series and then move into Hallmark, you’ll be there for a good few years, ask Lacey Chabert, it is not Christmas without that ex-Lost in Space/ Party of Five cherub popping up to bake some Christmas Cookies or write a newspaper piece on a local town’s Christmas Tradition.

Anyway, I digress, an ex-banker(not rhyming slang) ends up working at a Christmas Tree lot which is being bought up by big business and getting friendly with a single mum and her son, who are in medical debt, something he used to sell he’s also looking for a job back in the financial world but one fitting his more sympathetic personality after humping(lifting nothing dodgy) Christmas Trees all day). So, you can see where the problem is going to be but also what is going to happen at the end.

Not a great one this time but still if you have a Mince Pie and a Glass of Sherry and turn on Christmas 24 when this is on, it’s worth relaxing to whilst you munch down on that Santa Treat, but if Christmas at Graceland is on Christmas 24 +1, turn it over!

Carnival Row – TV Series – Amazon Prime The adverts for this Amazon Prime original looked like a fantasy epic involving warfare, humans, creatures and an intriguing history. Whereas in fact all of that is just a back story to a murder mystery. Starring an incredibly gravelly voiced Orlando Bloom and his beard, a winged and ‘Oirish ‘Cara Delevingne.

The story focuses on Orlando Bloom’s Philo. An ex-soldier turned copper hunting a creature picking off people and fey in a world where due to a war between fey and humans, a range of fey live in a Victorianesque city, but are crammed into the titled Carnival Row, racism is rife, politics is a murderous game, policemen are corrupt, winged prostitution is a way of life, and half breeds are shunned. And in the middle of this, someone has summoned a big beastie to gut people and do something horrible with their livers.

So, I turned on expecting one type of story and instead was enveloped into a world of murder and racism, a world where the heroes had their best times at war, and everyone is out for themselves. Gravelly Voice and ‘Oirish’ accent aside, the two leads are great and are supported by a cast of very talented actors and actresses, Tamzin Merchant, Karla Crome, Simon McBurney and David Gyasi stand out and Indira Varma and Jared Harris add to their already impressive calls sheets.

If you have Prime, give this a go, if you like Dark Fantasy Worlds, give this a go, if you want the sound coming out of Orlando Bloom’s mouth to have the same effect and sliding your foot over a gravel drive, give this a go. If you watch the trailer and expect to be involved in an epic war of Helms Deep proportions, shake that thought out of your head.

Bonus Round

Last week, I gave people the option to make me watch a film of your choosing and my best mate and fellow film lover, a person who I have watched some great films with and also some dross, a person whose opinions on films I value and trust and person who I have spent more hours discussing films down the pub with than is considered safe and normal for the human mind – I make this point so that you appreciate the pure inhumanity of his request. He told me to watch…

Robin Hood (2010) – Action, Drama, History

He knows how much I detest this film, we have talked about it many times and taken the mick out of out for most of those times, but yet he still jumped at the opportunity to make me sit through it again.

So, you know what, I refused I didn’t watch it, in fact I’ll be happy if I never have to watch it again. There are many reasons for this, but I will list just three.

1. Robin Hood is an English Folklore Legend, he is famous for stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, he was a nobleman, who was cheated out of his land by the evil Sherriff of Nottingham and his henchmen Gus of Gisborne. All of this may have been nonsense, but a lot of folk tales are based on some historical facts. But this film, just ignored pretty much all of English folklore and created their own version, that’s fine, but do a fricking good job of it if you’re going to rip up the stories I read as a child, teenager, man and teacher!

2. Russell Crowe and more specifically Russell Crowe’s accent. Sometimes he is Scouse, sometimes Irish, sometimes Australian, never once is he from Nottingham. There were rumours of arguments between him and his voice coach, I wonder what accent they were in?

3. One beach scene has the French(I think, I really gave up after this) landing on the beaches, they landed in what were obviously the predecessors of World Ward II landing craft, back opening doors and everything, Excuse me, what the actual &@$%!

Don’t watch this, watch Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Disney’s Robin Hood, Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood or Mel Brooks, Robin Hood: Men in Tights or even if you can not get hold of any of these, Patrick Bergin’s Robin Hood or even Taron Egerton’s 2018 version, which has its own issues. Watch any of them before this!

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