Up first for us this week is The Witch 2: The Other One. I wish I had seen The Witch: Subversion more recently because I think I would have understood some more of the callbacks and storylines in this film. Now I don’t necessarily think you need to have seen the first film to follow along with this one, but there are some callbacks and a character or two from the original that a rewatch might have helped. The action is pretty solid with the ultimate showdown very good. It gets a bit more superhuman than the first one almost like a comic book movie because it adds a lot more characters and backstory to the current and previous story. The main actress is good doing a strong job being quiet and reclusive and handling the action well. It did kill off a few people I was surprised at so it’s always nice seeing a franchise not ashamed of dropping bodies. If you liked the first one you’ll dig it. If you like Korean/Asian action dramas you should like it too. It delves more into the government/agency storyline whereas the first one was more about the girl and the talent show. The Witch: Subversion came out two years ago and part 2 definitely leaves the door open for more to come so I expect the franchise to continue. I’ll watch a third one once it comes out.
Second we have She Will which I didn’t quite understand, but didn’t think was that bad either. I’ll explain. Basically it starts out with an aging actress going on a retreat to recover after having a double mastectomy. A nurse travels with her and she thinks the place will be empty. Others are there on their own retreats. Ok easy to understand. Then it gets into the occult with the land being tied to the death of witches and the soil being cursed. She has a horrible past with Malcolm McDowell and might be able to get her revenge. I get the idea of it, but I don’t know if it all connected for me. Yet I still kind of liked it. It has a great location and the acting is decent enough. It has a good tone and tempo as well even if it doesn’t 100% make sense to me.
Next is Good Grief Seasons 1 & 2. This is about 2 sisters who inherit a funeral home. One sister is happy about it, the other is a free spirit who wants to sell it and become a DJ in Bali. Of course it’s classic fish-out-of-water storytelling with lots of oddball characters who work there and customers. The sisters seem to be sisters in real life and the episodes are crazy short, like 15-20 minutes each. It’s an easy binge and I knocked out both seasons in less than 24 hours. It’s quirky and the first season is about the shock of taking over the funeral home and then season 2 is the result of their lives in season 1. It’s from New Zealand so I was unfamiliar with it and the actors in it. I liked it though and you’ll probably find yourself binging it quickly too.
Fourth we have Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam Collection. This 12 disc set from Time Life is pretty outstanding. I love stand up comedy and even though I know so much of this already, I still laughed heavily and will continue laughing throughout the years. You are getting some of the best of the best including Cedric the Entertainer, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Mike Epps, Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Queen Latifah, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Tracy Morgan, Chris Tucker, and more. Most of those people went on to huge careers either in film or on stage or both. And this is 1990s comedy when you could still talk about anything and get huge laughs. It’s not the PC crap today that comedy has become. Long before they tried to cancel Chappelle, he killed on Def Comedy Jam. You get 36 episodes from 9 seasons all uncensored and as funny as it was 20 plus years ago. If you love stand up, you need this. If you like The Original Kings of Comedy, you need this. It makes for a perfect holiday gift. Hopefully more sets come out with even more stand up routines.
The next batch of releases come from Mill Creek Entertainment. Mill Creek is known for re-releasing a lot of movies, but have recently gotten into originals. First is The Most Dangerous Game, a remake of the film with the same name. It stars Tom Berenger, Judd Nelson, Bruce Dern, Casper Van Dien and Chris “CT” Tamburello best known for being in a bunch of MTV shows and spinoffs. And it shows. Despite some big named stars, CT is the star and shouldn’t be. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but there’s a reason he never really transitioned from reality TV star to actor, he’s not very good. There is no real presence about him and he definitely shouldn’t be a leading man. He plays the son of Judd Nelson who gets shipwrecked on an island where Casper Van Dien (doing a bad accent) is there hunting the most dangerous game. If you aren’t familiar with the term I won’t spoil it for you. The rest of the cast seems in it for the paycheck and the love interest isn’t very good either. I have no issue watching made-for-home video/streaming films with big names taking paychecks, but this just wasn’t good. It’s a period piece with CT’s performance and line delivery being way too modern as well. It gets both a Blu-ray and DVD release this week.
Mill Creek also has out a bunch of Christmas-romance films. They do nothing for me personally, but I watch them and see if it’s something my sister or mom would like. They love those made for TV movies about love and small towns during Christmas all having similar plots and happy endings. Up first is Christmas in Rockwell starring former WWE star Trish Stratus. It’s super cheesy, but probably the best of the bunch. Status plays a former child star who returns to a small town after a recent movie flops and falls for, you guessed it, the cinema owner! Will she be won over by the small town charm or head back to Hollywood? Status is still very easy to watch and I have to admit having a character being from a Christmas movie as a kid is a nice twist which is something you don’t tend to see in these movies.
Next is A Ring for Christmas which is about a New York City gal who gets cut off, but can inherit a fortune when she gets married. She heads back to her small home town to try to rekindle a flame and be able to live her luxurious life. But will the small town charm win her over? Yes I used that line already, but that’s all these movies. This definitely felt like the ones my mom and sisters watch on TV for the entire month of December.
Country Roads Christmas tries to have an original plot which I appreciate. A woman in the country music business meets up with a man who wants her to help him on tour. That tour is with her estranged father, a well known country artist. This is a two for one job right here. Will she find sparks with the man AND also mend fences with her father at the same time? Will it be a Christmas miracle? Lots of originality points for trying something new at least and the lead actress is adorable and easy to root for.
Speaking of 2 for 1 next is Love in Wolf Creek and Christmas in Wolf Creek. Sam runs a wildlife refuge which is on the brink of closing and a white wolf suffers an injury. Despite potential money to save the place, she must tend to the wolf with newcomer Austin. Sam and Austin’s relationship is on the rocks in Christmas in Wolf Creek because she’s still running the refuge and is putting on the local Christmas play. But a reindeer goes missing and the pair must put aside their differences to rescue the star of the show. These two films are exactly why my sister watches these movies. They are pretty paint-by-numbers, but the audience that watch them sure do love them.