Reviews written by
Chris Winston

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127 reviews in total 
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Foolish People, 13 November 2005

Why've so many people commented on a movie that's half over? You've watched only half the movie with commercials... WITH COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTIONS? How moronic. No one can gain a proper sense of a movie with commercial interruptions. No, this movie ain't no Gone With the Wind and not even Armageddon or The Day After Tomorrow or anything worthy of the big screen... but that doesn't mean one should watch half the movie with commercials and then write it off as the worst thing ever. Worst movie ever? Hardly. The appropriate time to comment will be when one watches the movie with NO commercials. How many in a day from now can say that's what they've done? Almost no one. Therefore no comment yet on this movie is legitimate. Foolish people.

Prince William (2002) (TV)
10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Tough Growing Up As The Next King, 20 February 2005

I actually had contempt for this movie before it started. One of the very first scenes was Prince William and Prince Harry having a private conversation. Oh brother, a biography about someone but it has fictional conversations thrown in as filler. But as the movie progressed, and even as more fictional conversations took place, I was able to feel great compassion for Prince William. Here's this kid who knows the paparazzi contributed to his dear mum's death, he didn't choose to be a royal, he was born one & there's nothing he can do about it.... so he copes, he tries his best to be a regular kid and he achieves in some ways. Though William can have anything he wants he has a father and a grandma who cares for him very much, he has a brother he has to look out for, and he has to be a kid... all while being in line to become the next King of England! Whew. Not something I'd ever want! In particular in this movie I enjoyed the portrayal of William's chief protector, Tony. What an assignment and what a great character, underneath surely some SAS guy who knows how to kill someone 840 ways but to William he's a down to earth guy and a great friend. Actually not that bad of a movie but for how accurate it is it gets probably an F but overall a surprising C

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Tabloid Junk, 17 February 2005

Everyone knows who Fergie is, right? I just saw her on TV within the past couple weeks. She's made a good name for herself since being in the Royal family. That's one of the reasons I had a hard time watching this - because I know very well what Fergie looks like. When movies are made about people who are in today's public eye it's often not the easiest thing to see beyond, "She doesn't look like that." I tried. And what's here in this movie is pathetic tabloid-type trash from Hollywood. I can't believe this is the third movie about the Royals I've seen this year... good to get them out of the way. The first two were actually moderately decent and neither came from Hollywood. This did, sadly. This probably should have been made with a flattering image of Fergie because it would have been a better movie. All we get is she was a lowlife not worthy of marrying a Royal but at the same time a human being. This is the story of how they got together and how they drifted apart. How could half the junk in this be believed anyway? That's one thing that really stinks about unauthorized biopics is they've got to make up huge chunks of dialogue to fill in the story of what "happened" behind closed doors. Give me a break. All we see is she was horrible to get along with and certain people didn't want her in the family and went to great lengths to smear her name. And who exactly were those people anyway? That was never truly explained; like a hood ornament's always on a car they were just there in the palace. And who the heck is Andrew? A portrayal of Princess Diana was in this but it's never really explained who Andrew is... I'm guessing Prince Charles' brother but I don't know. All in all this movie just stunk of tabloidism and that kind of movie will never be worth watching. D-

Frankenstein (2004) (TV)
3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Coulda Been Better, 31 January 2005

This movie really coulda been better but then again can't almost every movie? Yeah. One of the main factors that didn't allow this movie to be better was time. Who was responsible for making this less than 90 minutes in length? Was it the USA Network? There just wasn't enough time to put in more background and to make these characters more interesting and to answer a question or two such as - what was with the doctor's exposed spine? Medically speaking - that's bad... but there it was yet he was walkin' and talking' like there was nothing wrong with him, well, except he had an extreme case of being insane but physically he was fine and with an exposed spine no one's fine. Another question I have is who are the people who rated this movie either a "10" or a "0"? I tell ya, some people just have no idea. God Bless this mostly free nation, the United States... it's just a shame so many people aren't too bright. Thinking this is either one of the best movies ever made or one of the worst is almost grounds to be banned from voting for any movie ever. No, it doesn't deserve a "10" or a "0" - it's surely somewhere in-between. Due to its short length it moves along alright. Unfortunately the color of the picture throughout is wrong. New Orleans does not constantly have an ugly haze in the air to make you feel like you're coming down from being high on heroine while the whole city around you is half dead wasted on methamphetamines. And Parker Posey and Adam Goldberg as the two detectives... could casting have been anymore messed up? Umm, yeah, probably but this twosome didn't work. Goldberg had a few funny lines, excellently executed and Posey is very good actress but I didn't believe them as detectives at all. Then there was the whole end of the movie. Holy crap, wasn't that left wide open for a sequel?! Man, sometimes Made-for-TV movies can come out not so bad, not too cheesy, not too schmaltzy but most of the time they just need to have a time restriction lifted (assuming there are decent actors, writers, and director.) All in all this 2004 "Frankenstein" was okay. In a way it can be compared to all movies because, well, it is a movie and in that case it maybe gets a grade of D+. To be more fair this was just Made-for-TV and maybe should not be held to higher standards... maybe... and if that's the case then give this one a C+ 'cause as far as TV movies go, this one was better than many and down the line in a few years I might even give it another viewing so it's not totally worth being in the trash bin.

Plainsong (2004) (TV)
6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful Utah Scenery, 24 December 2004

Yet again I must give thanks to Hallmark for another Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-TV movie. "Plainsong" is not the best they've done but I don't think there's ever been a bad Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. Based upon a book by the same name, this movie really features not one or two people, it's truly an ensemble cast with Aidan Quinn at the center of it all. If I had read the book then maybe I could compare movie to book but in truth that would be completely unfair and just plain wrong as each is its own separate entity. While watching this I did get the feeling that the book sure went into detail about a whole lotta aspects of happened on here on the screen, adding a lot of great background. For instance, what the heck was wrong with Tom's (Aidan Quinn's) wife? And where was any real emotion from him about that matter? To be married to a woman with severe depression would annoy and frustrate the crap out of me yet he went about it all la di da di da ... maybe that was part of his character but it was not explained. One other thing that was a bit bothersome is the fact that there are a whole bunch of stories going on but nothing to completely connect them except for the fact they all live in the small town of Holt. BUT the fact that all these characters are in Holt is what appealed tremendously to me ... that and the beautifully framed Utah scenery. To me the small town setting within sight of the Wasatch Mountains (acting as Colorado) gave this movie a warmer feeling. I lived in Salt Lake City and viewed those mountains up and down I-15. Truly breathtaking. The mountains protected the people in this small town. Not totally for things aren't perfect there in fiction land or perfect in any real small town but there's a closer knit feeling that a community like that has. That's what's shown here in "Plainsong." People came together to help others in their time of need. The world needs more of that. This wasn't a perfect movie but it had a great idea and some fine acting. It's a shame Hallmark didn't keep this for their Hallmark Channel and expand it, making it a three hour movie. That would really have given this story a chance to grow and a chance for some of these actors to shine more than did, particularly Geoffrey Lewis. But what we have here is decent in itself. Definitely not disappointing or a waste of time. This gets a grade of almost A+ for scenery and all together a very delightful and fulfilling grade of B+

A Christmas Memory (1997) (TV)
4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
A Great Depression Xmas, 1 December 2004

It's argued that this movie should not have been made because it does not stand up to the original. That's a bunch of hooey if I've ever heard hooey and I have... a bunch of it! Truman Capote's work is not sacred. When turning a story or a novel into a movie there is no law of movie-making that what's on film has to replicate what's originally on paper. If Capote's story was touching enough for one version then why not try to bring that story alive for a new generation of people who might enjoy it? As long as it's a decent production, and this is, there's no reason not to try even if does not live up to the original. Here we have a remake that may not live up to the original but at least this one is on television, at least this one is available to people to watch ... and as a movie all on it's own, as it has been said before, this isn't bad when you don't compare it to anything. And why should it be compared?! Huh? Have an open mind and Patty Duke will delight as Sook and young Eric Lloyd will delight also as the innocent, young Buddy. Couple complaints that I do have: it's never really said exactly when this is taking place or where. Those two facts were on mind and could have made this a little more complete. It also seemed a little slow a few times, briefly a little boring and thin, but those details are very minor. Other than that there wasn't much wrong with this movie. Absolutely not your typical holiday fare - no Christmas lights, no snow, no reindeer and an ending that's certainly not at all typical of Christmas movies on the TV throughout December. This may have been one kid's memory of Christmas one year but it's not really a Christmas movie. The cast is nearly superb, however, with plenty of great acting. Thanks to the set decoration I had a really good feel for being in a town somewhere in Virginia maybe during the Great Depression. Not quite close to the top of the list of best Christmas movies but "A Christmas Memory" should be enjoyed by all. This gets from me a grade of B and worthy of a recommendation for wholesome, innocent, family holiday viewing.

A Promise to Keep (1990) (TV)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
It's Not Always Easy Living in a Beachfront Home, 22 November 2004

Jane and Carl are up against the fight of their lives. All of a sudden their family has grown from three kids to seven! Close friends of theirs have both recently passed away and a promise was made that their kids would stay together and not be doled out to relatives who could take one or two. Both Dana Delaney (Jane) and William Russ (Carl) put in fine performances as the living adults, the two main characters of this story. They have a lot to deal with and in the ninety minutes of Made-for-TV movie we see them going through a lot... without seeing them go through a lot. A good job was done with the shortness of time to get a pretty good range of emotions in and to get a decent background story in. We don't see a whole lot of what the kids are going through but heck, they've just lost both parents, we the audience can pretty well figure it out. One thing that didn't jive with me so well was the money problems. It's understandable how on a limited income it might be monetarily tough to suddenly have to feed a family of nine day in and day out. Carl & Jane, though, lived in nice home ON THE OCEAN, yes, right there on the beach, in a very nice area of South Carolina convenient to downtown Charleston. At the time of this story their home and property had to be valued at easily a half million dollars (quite possibly more because today it would be worth well over one million dollars.) In order to do what you have to to survive why didn't they discuss selling their home and moving inland to a large enough house at half the cost and banking the rest of the income to help them live? At the end of this movie that was the only thing that I didn't like - that their money problems weren't ironed out. What I did especially like was the little twist which I guess wasn't so much of a twist considering the title of the movie. I just didn't make any predictions for this one so it was a twist at the time for me and gave me a nice smile. A nice ending to this story. This movie gets a B+ grade from me - thoroughly enjoyable and even interesting... I was constantly eager to see what would happen next. I truly wonder how they're all doing today. I'm now really looking forward to ordering a copy of Jane Yarmolinsky's book to get the real story as she wrote it. What would be great is a sequel to follow up on how their family turned out.

Raising Waylon (2004) (TV)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Delightful Yet Missing Something, 20 November 2004

Every now and then a TV movie comes along that will tug at your heartstrings, that is assuming you have heartstrings. "Raising Waylon" tugged mine but not as much as I thought it might. At times this movie wasn't sure if it wanted to be a comedy, drama or a romance. It combined a little bit of all three while never really heading in just one direction.

One thing that was bothersome all the way through was who exactly were the two main adult stars, Reg and Julia? All we know is they were friends of the deceased parents of Waylon, good enough friends to be named godparents but what else? They had one "date" I believe was mentioned but how well do they know each other? Very little background. Even though this was obviously striving to be a lighthearted affair, some background woulda been nice. Something else lacking was emotion from Waylon's character. Either casting should gotten a better kid actor or the writers shoulda written more emotion in. I felt for a kid who lost his parents only 9 months before he was rather even tempered and level headed. There was virtually no deep emotional scarring presented that I imagine surely would be there in a child his age. One final drawback was Waylon's friend Sam's parents. Oy vey. I'd feel sooooo sorry for any kid growing up in that kind of household.

Of particular interest to me was Poppy Montgomery's character of Julia. I couldn't seem to take my eyes off her. It was interesting seeing how she was dealing with going from her career to also being a mom to a 9 year old boy. Thomas Gibson as Reggie was decent and Doris Roberts was excellent in her few scenes as Waylon's great aunt. In all combinations they worked well. This was pleasant to watch despite the corny, highly unlikely and unrealistic scenarios, oh, and the rather predictable romance. There were a lot of funny lines which helped lighten this up. At only 90 minutes long, standard for a Made-for-TV movie, this didn't give much room to breath and grow. What's here, though, isn't too bad, something I'd maybe consider watching again someday. My grade for this: C+

Crimes of Fashion (2004) (TV)
4 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
crime of a movie, 15 November 2004

Could you believe a mob boss under FBI surveillance would want his 20ish year old granddaughter to be the new head of the family? Not very believable, is it? Well, neither is Star Wars but that's a great movie. This cannot be compared to Star Wars, of course. "Crimes of Fashion" is just something that was made specially and specifically for television by the ABC Family network. What this should properly be compared to is other Made-for-TV movies. How does it fare? Absolutely miserably. For all TV movies (actually, for every movie) I sit down with my popcorn with a completely open mind, hoping maybe there'll be something worth the 90 minutes. Often it's a few laughs, some funny lines, sometimes a really happy ending. Usually there are no surprise twists or turns in Made-for-TV movies and usually not a lot of background to get you emotionally connected to characters. But sometimes (rarely) a TV movie is worth watching... this one, "Crimes of Fashion," was not worth watching. Well, maybe a little but on a grand scale your time would be better used scrubbing your toilet. This movie just didn't have anything to make it good... it was just... bland. Kaley Cuoco wasn't bad, she's cute and a pretty good actress and Dominic Chianese was charming but other than those two this movie failed with just average directing, lame writing, lame characters. There's no reason to comment much further. My grade for this movie: D-

7 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Cell Phones Run Amuck, 4 November 2004

No way! Another Growing Pains reunion movie!? I wasn't sure what to think but all I knew was I just had to see it. Now that I have I can VERY safely say this movie does not deserve a single "10" rating. No way, no how. It is beyond me how anyone can think this is worth an A+. It's very difficult for any Made-for-TV movie to achieve anything beyond B+ and most are worth C or less. Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers had nothing to bring this to a level of artistic excellence, nothing to make a sane person believe this is an awesome movie, one of the best ever made. Ummm... no. Just no. What this movie did contain was a little bit on enjoyment, though, I will admit. I used to watch the old TV series up until the final couple seasons and I did recently watch the first Growing Pains reunion movie from four years ago. Interestingly, in this movie there was absolutely no mention of mom Maggie Seaver's (director Joanna Kerns) position in the U.S. Congress. She was elected in the last movie, wasn't she, or was that just a primary? One other thing of particular interest was the fact that daughter Carol (Tracy Gold) was married to and pregnant by a man who she did not marry in the first movie... but both this dude and the last dude were campaign managers. Hmm. So, we're led to believe Carol got divorced and remarried to another campaign manager in four short years? Youngest son Ben (Jeremy Miller) and youngest daughter Chrissy (Ashley Johnson) were both back again and finding their way in the world. Kirk Cameron was well featured as oldest child Mike finding his way also but as the parent of a young teen dealing with leaving his family for a year to work in Japan. One thing I found unfortunate was Kirk Cameron didn't really get to showcase his devotion to God and God's importance in life. ABC and Disney don't really go there but this movie did have some good family values never-the-less and adopting another child was mentioned which is so wonderful considering how many starving, dying orphans there are in the world. Joanna Kerns did a decent job directing, this being her sophomore effort. Last but not least I'll mention father of the clan Jason Seaver (Alan Thicke) was probably the best, as he was in the last movie. I'm not sure what it is about him... very laid back a lot of the time, letting the jokes fly with ease, like the "166 episodes" remark. Other mentionables about the movie - the Growing Pains souvenir sweatshirt, Mike Seaver souvenir t-shirt, Mike's old leather jacket that got a Leonardo DiCaprio comment from his daughter. Got a great laugh outta that! The cell phone addiction was disgusting to watch, truly a sign of the negative impact of cell phones on American society. Kind of funny was that Mike's cell phone ringtone was the TV show's old theme song and Carol's remark about it was so right on. So, overall this wasn't too bad but like I said absolutely nothing to put on an A+ pedestal. This gets a grade of C+... maybe one day years from now I'd watch it again. Maybe they'll make another in four more years?! I wouldn't mind.

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