The Knight Before Christmas: This Movie Is Just the Right Kind of Nuts – Netflix Review

Also, this is definitely a prequel to Princess Switch 3.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Sir Cole (Josh Whitehouse) is a knight during the 14th Century who wishes to prove himself a true knight. He meets an old woman (Ella Kenion), who sends him forward in time to the present so that he can find what he’s missing. At the same time, Brooke Winters (Vanessa Hudgens), a woman who has become jaded towards love, runs into him with her car. Thinking that she caused him to become brain-damaged, she takes care of the knight. Naturally, they start to fall in love.

Yes, there’s some horsing around in the snow.

END SUMMARY

I appreciate that this movie goes the extra step to be interesting by having an even more ridiculous premise than most of the other Christmas films. I mean, rather than the small-town girl or guy meeting the big city guy, it’s a freaking medieval knight and the girl who is soured on romance. Do knights have anything to do with Christmas? Nope, not at all, but whatever, it was the pun that everyone knew was out there, but no one else had dared to use. I give them all the credit that is due for such bold action. 

I mean, magic time travel is not a common element.

As for the quality of the film itself, it’s about average for this kind of fare. Obviously, the movie has to gloss over all of the issues that a person from the 14th Century would have with women working, other religions, people of other races, democracy, capitalism, language, and pretty much everything else, but it does manage to make Sir Cole just the right amount of “fish out of water.” He speaks in fake Elizabethan English, rather than Old English. Rather than just being a focused warrior for a monarch, he’s an accomplished baker and scholar for the time and he allows himself to be corrected when he is wrong. He’s not anything close to a real knight, but he’s exactly what this kind of movie needs. Brooke, on the other hand, is just the right amount of “over love” for you to get why she doesn’t immediately try to jump on the handsome and fairly impressive new man in her life. Granted, he does think he’s a knight, but she attributes that to the concussion, so… actually, that’s another good reason not to sleep with him. Okay, the movie’s still a bit of a mess plot-wise. Either way, the two work well together and I thought they had solid chemistry.

They feel comfortable being in proximity. That helps.

Also, as I pointed out yesterday, this movie takes place in the same universe as A Christmas Prince, which shares a continuity with The Princess Switch. In this film, we see that Madison (Emmanuelle Chriqui) has an acorn ornament that was from Aldovia, the country from A Christmas Prince. In The Princess Switch: Switched Again, the leads from A Christmas Prince cameo as their characters. In A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby, the queen of Penglia mentions the events of The Princess Switch. So, all three of these movies share a single universe. As such, Vanessa Hudgens is no less than four characters in this world, three of which have interacted. Is a crossover inevitable? HELL YES. Also, we see Sir Cole watch Holiday in the Wild and The Holiday Calendar, two other Netflix Christmas movies. It’s the new MCU.

Yes, the same kind of ornament that was a major plot point of another movie.

Overall, if you want to watch a Christmas movie, this is not the worst example.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again: Vanessa Hudgens Demands All The Parts – Netflix Review

There’s the princess, the pauper (who is now a princess), and the evil twin of the princess. Because why not?

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

It’s been two years since Stacy the Baker (Vanessa Hudgens) switched places with Margaret the Princess of Montenaro (Also Vanessa Hudgens) and ended up falling in love with Prince Edward Wyndham (Sam Palladio) and becoming a princess herself. Margaret is now set to become Queen, but the stress has put a halt to her relationship with Stacy’s former partner Kevin (Nick Sagar), much to the chagrin of Kevin’s daughter Olivia (Mia Lloyd). Margaret wishes to fix this with Stacy’s help, unaware that there is also a plot by one of Margaret’s cousins, Fiona (Vanessa Hudgens) to steal the royal coffers. 

The evil one. Or, at least scheming.

END SUMMARY

I genuinely didn’t expect a sequel to this movie, but I really didn’t expect the second film to use “there’s actually a THIRD identical person” as the plot device. I now hope they keep this going until we get to Princess Switch 8: Kansas City Royals, in which Vanessa Hudgens plays 9 different roles and the princesses are forced to start a baseball team in order to avoid an economic crisis. 

Let’s do this, Netflix.

If you liked the first movie, you’ll probably like this one. It’s still got a cute Christmas romance, only this time it’s focused on Margaret and how she is having legitimate problems keeping a social life due to her duties. The plot about Fiona keeps everything a little more tense, particularly when the switches start getting a bit out of control, but you ultimately know that everything is going to end up fine because that’s how these movies go. It does have some fun scenes and Vanessa Hudgens clearly loves playing characters who are pretending to be other characters. She goes really over-the-top at times and that’s what we need for this kind of film. 

Mia Lloyd continues to be the adorable kid character.

Overall, it was an okay sequel. I also like that they bring back the magical guy who helps with romance in the first one.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Netflix Review – Polar: Old Killers Die Hard (Spoiler-Free)

An older retiring hitman finds out that his former employer really doesn’t want to pay his pension… Featuring Deadmau5.

SUMMARY

Duncan “The Black Kaiser” Vizla (Mads Mikkelsen) is an elderly hitman famous for being among the best in the world. His former employer, Mr. Blut (Matt Lucas), decides that he doesn’t want to pay Duncan’s owed retirement pension and instead hires a group of killers (played by Ruby O. Fee, Josh Cruddas, Anthony Grant, Fei Ren, and Robert Maillet) to take him out. At the same time, Duncan is trying to mentor and befriend a young woman named Camille (Vanessa Hudgens), who gets caught in the crossfire.

Polar - 1Cast.png
… Guess which one’s the professional killer. Please, guess.

END SUMMARY

So, a lot of the things in this movie, including the idea of an old killer being chased by younger ones, has been done to death before. It’s also been done better, to be honest, even with the recent film Killing Gunther. But, that doesn’t change the fact that this movie is exactly what it promises: A fun, violent, exploitation film. There’s gratuitous killing, ultraviolence, random nudity and sex, and more violence. It’s not as over-the-top and stylized as, say, Crank, but it’s definitely in the range of RED with Bruce Willis. 

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The new kids are very diverse and proud of that. They also are insane.

The characters are all very distinct, each with a clear comic-like color scheme and dialogue tendencies, similar to Dick Tracy villains. They’re mostly just archetypes, but the movie does, correctly, use that fact to avoid having to go through exposition about what they have done. We don’t get a ton of background on Duncan, but what we do get is mostly conveyed through short flashbacks that indicate his feelings about his career thus far. There’s also a lot of subtext in the scenes between him and the, admittedly greatly underused, Camille. 

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A lot of color stylized scenes. Also, yes, that’s a drill in his hand.

What’s craziest about this movie is that it’s ostensibly based on the webcomic Polar, a series famous for the fact that it had NO DIALOGUE. It was just a black, white, and red (really orange) series that was filled with gore and focused mainly on an assassin trying to kill a retired hitman in a frozen landscape. The creator Victor Santos has openly said that it was inspired in part by the film Le Samourai, a classic noir tale about a hitman whose employers decide to kill him. It’s this intent to convey through style more than dialogue that benefits the film, but, again, it’s been done better elsewhere.

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Yep, looks just like the source material.

The film’s sense of humor, too, doesn’t really set it apart from most modern films of this genre. It’s got a lot of funny moments, some that are genuinely hilarious, and scenes set to ironic songs, but none of them that really stand out. Ultimately, the thing in the movie that might most have distinguished it is the relationship between Mikkelsen and Hudgens, but that is actually minimized throughout the film in favor of showing us the actions of the new generation of killers.

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Also, a few odd cameos… like Chevy Chase’s Sidekick.

So, if all of this stuff has been done better in other films, what did I think of it? I thought it was a fun 119 minutes. Yeah, it’s not deep and there are other movies that do this, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. Mikkelsen’s performance is really great and the killing action scenes are still creative. The cinematography, too, is solid, emphasizing all of the sex and violence in the movie in just the right way for an exploitation film. The music is on point, with Deadmau5 score doing a lot of work setting the tone of the scenes. This movie isn’t going to change your life, nor is it the best popcorn film of this type, but it’s worth watching if you like cheesy movies like this. AND I DO.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Netflix Review – The Princess Switch (Spoiler-Free)

It’s not technically Hallmark, but it has most of the elements of a Hallmark Christmas Movie.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Stacy DeNovo (Vanessa Hudgens) is a recently-single baker in Chicago who runs a shop with her best friend Kevin (Nick Sagar) and his daughter Olivia (Alexa Adeosun). Kevin enters the shop in a baking contest the week before Christmas in the kingdom of Belgravia, for which they are accepted. The three head to the country, where Stacy is met by Lady Margaret Delacourt (also Vanessa Hudgens), the fiancee of the Crown Prince Edward of Belgravia (Sam Palladio). She reveals that she wants to switch places with Stacy in order to avoid the limelight for a few days. Stacy agrees and the pair engage in wacky shenanigans.

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My goodness, these people both appear to be interacting in a totally real way.

END SUMMARY

Okay, so, it’s a knock-off of The Prince and the Pauper but the pauper in this case is actually fairly successful and also they’re both girls and neither of them dies at the age of 15. Seriously, did you read the original? It’s messed up.

PrincessSwitch - 2Mickey
Makes the cartoon seem a little more bleak, eh?

Anyway, this is basically a Hallmark movie so, if you’re familiar with them, I’m betting you can guess how the movie goes, probably down to most of the scenes and the lines. It’s corny. It’s predictable. It’s filled with scenes designed not to progress the story but instead to make us feel vicariously happy about what the characters are experiencing. In short: It’s the cinematic equivalent of just eating dessert instead of dinner.

Look, you’re not going to learn great truths about the world from this film. You’re not going to learn much about yourself from it. It doesn’t contain deep symbolism or major allusions and subversive themes. Conflict in the movie is almost entirely shoddily manufactured, quickly resolved, and has at least one heavy deus ex machina.

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Also, a random magical old man.

BUT YOU FEEL GOOD AT THE END.

Everything is happy. Everyone finds love that deserves it. Good is rewarded. Hard work is rewarded. Honesty is rewarded. These movies show us a world that actually can work out the way that it’s supposed to. In some ways, it hurts to watch them because it makes the real world feel so much less magical and so much more complicated, but these movies contain our real dreams. Our world should not be pursuit of money or status, it should be about connecting with each other, whether through friendship, true love, or just being kind to strangers. What’s wrong with wanting to watch a story about a world like that?

PrincessSwitch - 4Dune
The one without the knife fighting, obviously.

Honestly, compared to many similar Christmas romantic comedies, this one is at least somewhat well-written and much better acted. If you like Hallmark movies, you should see this one for your Christmas fix.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.