Family Camp is one of those movies where it released and nobody talked about it at all, it’s like it didn’t exist and I can easily see why. I’ll give it this…it’s not the God’s Not Dead type of Christian movie, but that’s honestly not saying much when you look at the quality of the movie. The best thing about this mess is Leigh-Allyn Baker who gives a fine enough performance but isn’t enough to make the viewer look past everything else, the writing is truly awful there isn’t one moment here that feels sincere or meaningful. A lot of it is if you took every bad cliche from the early 2000s family movie era, mixed it all together and this is what you would get. One of the worst things a movie can be is annoying and that’s what this movie is like, the writing mixed with the characters is grating and gets you in the “can this movie please be over” type of mood.
The Tiger Rising is based on a 116 page book by Kate DiCamillo (same author who wrote Because Of Winn-Dixie) it shows and not in a good way. The movie tries to stretch as much as possible before falling apart, there’s some touching moments that are sweet. But the acting and writing are just not strong enough to make you feel for any of the characters, there could have been a very clever metaphor here about the Tiger being locked in the cage for Rob (played by Christian Convery) being locked inside his house. However the narration flat out tells the audience and it’s executed in a way where there was a lot more to be desired, the moral of the movie does not match what the rest of it was trying to say, the ending turns the movie into something completely different and not in a good way. It does a very poor job of trying make the plot something other than coming off as melodrama, it’s a shame because there could have been some deep diving into some of the characters and how the tiger connects to it all. The Tiger Rising is something kids will most certainly not sit through and it’s too surface level for adults. Give this one a skip.
The Tiger Rising is available on all VOD Platforms.
8-Bit Christmas definitely surprised me, although there really isn’t a whole to discuss here since the movie pretty much is A Christmas Story but with Nintendo. The movie still manages to be a whole lot of fun and actually hits pretty hard at the end as well, the performances are what you expect however Steve Zahn gives such a fun performance that it was worth bringing up (think of his performance in Diary Of A Wimpy Kid it’s pretty much the same here!) the movie also has some surprisingly decent jokes. Sure not all of them hit but there was definitely effort to make this movie actually pretty funny, which I can’t say the same for a lot of Christmas family comedies. Then there’s the heart of the film which I genuinely thought was very touching, it doesn’t come off as very tacky or forced it actually feels genuine. Which is what separates it from a lot of the clutter, also the style of the film was surprisingly pretty decent. It doesn’t have that cheap feeling a lot of these Christmas family comedies have, overall 8-Bit Christmas is familiar but still a very fun time to watch!
8-Bit Christmas is available on HBO Max!
Black Friday desperately wants to be Krampus (2015) but fails to recognize what made Krampus actually pretty solid. For starters while the movie has a very fun premise it’s executed in such a lazy way that it’s almost surprising. Bruce Campbell and Michael Jai White are the best parts about this movie and easily give some good laughs, what mostly hurts this movie is the terrible writing, the characters feeling almost identical to each other and the humor almost never working. The humor has it’s moments towards the beginning but quickly wears off as it goes on, it’s another one of those horror comedies that tries to do way too much at a time. The characters really don’t bring anything interesting to the table as most of them are cliched characters with little to no personality, with that said there are fun moments to be had with Black Friday but it’s an overall a misfire that really shouldn’t had been.
I really have to give Home Sweet Home Alone some credit, it somehow managed to have some of the worst writing I’ve seen all year, so what’s this movie’s deal? Well apparently it’s a sequel/sort of soft remake (I say soft remake because there is one character from the past that does make a cameo appearance) outside of Home Alone and parts of Home Alone 2 I never cared for the series at all. But this was just a pathetic attempt to cash in on a popular name, a lot of the jokes already feel dated as a good handful of them are memes. I’ve said this before in the past but putting memes in your movie is something you should absolutely not do, not only does it make the movie in question feel outdated but it shows a lack of creativity. The acting here was horrendous, there wasn’t one performance where I feel there was any attempt of trying to be good, especially when combined with the writing that I’m shocked someone looked over and said “this is acceptable send it out!” Overall I just don’t have any more words to say, Home Sweet Home Alone is as bad as you think it’s going to be, it’s another prime example of a very pointless sequel/remake of a series that should be left alone at this point.
Not a whole lot to say but Clifford The Big Red Dog honestly surprised me, from the trailers this looked like another terrible movie where they take a classic cartoon character and turn them into CG. However unlike a lot of the other movies this one manages to be surprisingly entertaining at times. There are a handful of moments where the writing feels like it’s still living in the early 2000s, however there are some genuine charming moments between Darby Camp, Jack Whitehall and Clifford. The acting is actually not too bad, Darby Camp does a pretty decent job with what she’s given. I feel like this movie is a rare instance with a lot of these family movies where the side characters are actually funny, I actually wanted to see more of them so at least the movie has that going for it. Overall Clifford The Big Red Dog is a very traditional family movie, it ends exactly how you think it’s going to but is a ton of fun for kids!
Clifford The Big Red Dog is now available on Paramount+
A Christmas Gift From Bob is the sequel to the 2016 film A Street Cat Named Bob which was one of my favorite films from 2016 and was overall one of my favorite films of the 2010s. A Christmas Gift From Bob is a very traditional good defeating evil type Christmas story but what the movie uses to it’s advantage is Luke Treadaway as James Bowen and Bob The Cat himself (who sadly passed away last year) relationship and portraying it very well. A Street Cat Named Bob showed just how much Bob changed James Bowen’s life, while A Christmas Gift From Bob does have a lot of Christmas movie elements, we still get more to the story of James and Bob. How they look out for each other, the acting and writing are both surprisingly well done. There are hiccups during the first act of the movie and it strangely took a bit to get going, but when you get passed the first act the movie is very charming, meaningful and heartwarming. It’s a celebration for James and Bob! While A Christmas Gift From Bob might not be as good as it’s predecessor its still a very charming and heartwarming movie that I do highly recommend.
A Christmas Gift From Bob is now available on all VOD Platforms!
Out of the several films I’ve watched so far this year Spirit Untamed is one of the movies where I got absolutely nothing out of it, it’s a movie that just sort of exists for the sake of existing. Spirit Untamed is based off the Netflix series (which I haven’t seen) I honestly don’t know what to say here in fact I’m struggling to even come up with something to say, the animation wasn’t very appealing at all, the writing was terrible and completely fails when it tries to be funny. There is absolutely nothing in this movie that hasn’t been done before, I do feel that parts of this movie was begging to get people who remember the original movie, the problem is the original movie while yes it does have it’s fans are nowhere near the amount of fans this movie makes it out to be. It’s a very weird hybrid of wanting to please fans of the original movie and to please fans of the Netflix series. All I know is that it isn’t a good movie and definitely one of the most forgettable movies of the year, this is a prime of example of a studio saying “we aren’t even going to try”
Going to be honest here, The Water Man definitely surprised me! It’s a family movie that isn’t afraid to be dark at times, it’s a great blend between family friendly moments and dark moments. The acting is overall pretty decent as well as the writing that actually does deliver some solid dialogue, David Oyelowo does a solid job in the directors chair and really gives this movie it’s own style, Lonnie Chavis also does a fantastic job. It’s the type of fantasy adventure movie that’s a lot of fun and something I recommend giving a look!
A Week Away can be best described as a christian version of Camp Rock with some High School Musical in it, heck they got the main male lead Kevin Quinn as a Zac Efron look alike. So it’s pretty clear to see what they were doing because this can’t be a coincidence, I will say that I did like Bailee Madison. She did the best she could with a script that is very outdated and just overall not good either. The movie tries to be wholesome but comes off as extremely corny and the characters are basic stereotypes that you can already guess what type of arcs they go through. A lot of the songs aren’t too great either outside of maybe two or three of them everything else is painful to sit through, the movie fails to understand as to what made Camp Rock and High School Musical fun. Both movies had energy, fun characters, fun writing and most of all the movies were actually a lot of fun! A Week Away can have it’s fun moments but a lot of the time it’s too busy trying to copy off of Camp Rock or High School Musical that at one point it trips itself. Speaking of the writing another thing worth pointing out is the jokes here are just not funny, a lot of it is “lol random humor” that doesn’t add up to anything at all and the humor heavily involves character stereotypes for example “haha the best friend character is shy and nervous to talk to the girl he likes so he says random things! It’s funny you guys!!” Overall there really isn’t much else to be said about A Week Away if you have seen Camp Rock or High School Musical you have already seen this movie. It’s quite clear Netflix wanted their own Camp Rock so they released this…thanks I guess?
Yes Day is pretty much another example of a family movie that felt like it came out in the wrong year. A lot of it feels like something straight out of the early 2000s family movie era, there’s one scene in particular that has The Gummy Bear song which hasn’t been a thing for at least 9 years now. Which leads to something that completely kills some movies is adding memes into their movies, no matter what meme it is it’s going to age like milk, memes for the most part are very short lived and people move on from them. The Gummy Bear song was funny maybe the first time you heard it but then got old after every other time you heard it. As for the rest of the movie it really does not have a whole lot going for it, the acting from Jennifer Garner is passable as well as Jenna Ortega but everyone else completely falls flat. The direction is about as interesting as looking at a white wall, the direction is from Miguel Areta who previously did Boss Level (which was garbage) and did Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Which despite the movie having no relation to Alexander they feel like almost identical movies. The best way to sum up this movie is if you have seen Alexander Very Bad Day then you have already seen Yes Day. Sure the plot is tweaked a bit but there is really nothing new here. Yes Day might entertain kids but with very below average writing it’s not going to keep the interest for that long.