Tag Archives: Jim Cummings

The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020) Review

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The Wolf of Snow Hollow

Time: 83 Minutes
Cast:
Jim Cummings as Officer John Marshall
Riki Lindhome as Officer Julia Robson
Chloe East as Jenna Marshall
Jimmy Tatro as PJ Palfrey
Robert Forster as Sheriff Hadley
Director: Jim Cummings

A stressed-out police officer (Jim Cummings) struggles not to give in to the paranoia that grips his small mountain town as bodies turn up after each full moon.

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Jim Cummings wrote, directed and starred in Thunder Road, which was one of the biggest surprises of 2018. It was independent, smaller scale, heartfelt yet really funny, well made, and the lead performance was great. The Wolf of Snow Hollow was his next movie, so naturally I was interested in checking it out. This time it was something of a horror movie and involved werewolves, I really didn’t know what to expect. All in all, while I don’t think it’s quite as strong as Thunder Road, I thought it was pretty good.

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The script was written by Jim Cummings again, and it does feel like the same person who made Thunder Road. It dabbles in comedy, drama, and with this movie now horror. The movie is very much focused with the lead character, much like Thunder Road. Despite the horror aspect, it doesn’t stem too far from that first movie. Both are dark drama comedies, with flawed main characters who are a police officers, have strained relationship with their daughters and are going through a lot (and are also both played by Jim Cummings). The comedy doesn’t hit as strong as in Thunder Road I felt, but the movie was very energetic and kept me constantly paying attention to what was happening. The main characters are well written and feel human. Overall, I will say that I feel like Thunder Road is more complete and better as a movie. I was paying attention to the main murder mystery, but it wasn’t the most interesting. The twists and turns weren’t anything special, and the reveals weren’t particularly clever. There’s also not really any tension throughout, even during the werewolf attack scenes. There was also one implausible aspect of the climax which took me out of it a bit but that was a slight nit-pick. Something worth noting is that this movie is 83 minutes long, which is even shorter than Thunder Road at 90 minutes. It really does feel like the movie would’ve been better if it was longer so that more would happen and some characters and storylines were expanded on a lot more, it certainly had room for that with a larger scale story and movie.

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Of the cast, of course it’s Jim Cummings who stands out in the lead role, his performance is great. His character is pretty unlikable at many points, yet he’s still watchable throughout the movie. His character is a bit like his character in Thunder Road, and like that movie he effectively showed all the pressure that he’s under and covers both comedy and drama. His line delivery was perfect, and Cummings has to be one of the best actors I’ve seen at playing breakdowns, crying, yelling and meltdowns. The rest of the performances range from alright to good. Riki Lindhome plays another police officer on the werewolf case, and Robert Forster plays Cummings’s father is in his final performance here.

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Jim Cummings directs this movie quite well. You immediately can tell that this movie is on a larger scale compared to his last movie. Thunder Road was made with a budget of $200,000, whereas The Wolf of Snow Hollow was made with $2 million. They took advantage of that money quite well, the very snowy setting works effectively and you really feel like you’re out there. This allows for some great snowy cinematography. Sometimes the lighting during the night time sequences looked a bit off though, I’m not sure why though. There are gory parts to the movie during the murder scenes but as said before, the tension and horror aspect wasn’t all that handled the best, it’s not bad but could’ve been a lot better.

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The Wolf of Snow Hollow is well made, darkly comedic dramedy and horror mystery film, featuring another great lead performance and direction from Jim Cummings. It’s not quite as great as his last movie and there were definitely some parts that could’ve been improved on, but it’s still quite good. If you like Thunder Road, I think it is well worth checking this one out. I’m definitely looking forward to what Jim Cummings does next.

Christopher Robin (2018) Review

Time: 104 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin
Hayley Atwell as Evelyn Robin
Bronte Carmichael as Madeline Robin
Jim Cummings as: Winnie the Pooh and Tigger
Brad Garrett as Eeyore
Director: Marc Forster

Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) – now a family man living in London – receives a surprise visit from his old childhood pal, Winnie the Pooh. With Christopher’s help, Pooh embarks on a journey to find his friends – Tigger, Eeyore, Owl, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo. Once reunited, the lovable bear and the gang travel to the big city to help Christopher rediscover the joy of life.

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I’ve been meaning to watch Christopher Robin for a little while. I don’t think I grew up with Winnie the Pooh but I was still somewhat similar familiar with it, and with it starring Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell, I was somewhat curious about it. Christopher Robin is a pretty good and heartwarming family movie, even if it doesn’t start off as great as it could’ve.

Christopher Robin isn’t just a jolly Winnie the Pooh live action movie featuring an adult Christopher Robin, or at the very least it doesn’t start off like that. At the very beginning it’s very melancholic and reflective, way too overly so. It starts with Christopher Robin saying goodbye to his Winnie the Pooh friends, then it shows him growing up as an adult and then for some reason it shows him in war, it was a really weird tone to start with, considering later on it doesn’t maintain that tone. With it starting out with that sombre tone it felt like the movie was going to be depressing by the end. I was really wondering where it was really going, and not in the good way. Where it picked up was when Christopher meets with Pooh and even more so when he comes back to his childhood home and meets his other old friends. There is quite a notable amount of light hearted humour (even if it doesn’t appear so at first), most of it coming from the Winnie the Pooh characters, and it really worked. I guess the story is not that unpredictable, the setup of the story is very familiar to some other family movies, where the father is always busy with his job and doesn’t spend much time with their child. We’ve seen this plot many times before and you can probably tell what happens in the rest of the movie just from that description. However it still works alright for this movie and its not too big of a deal that it’s nothing that new.

Ewan McGregor is good as an older Christopher Robin, as I said this portrayal of Christopher has been done with lead characters in these kinds of stories many times before and is nothing special but McGregor is still good in the role. Hayley Atwell plays Christopher’s wife and while she doesn’t get a lot to work with, she does the best with what she has and added to the movie. Christopher’s daughter played by Bronte Carmichael was also pretty good. All the portrayals of the Winnie the Pooh characters here seem quite representative of the characters from the original source material (at least from what I remember).

Marc Forster is a pretty good director, and his work on Christopher Robin is pretty good as well. The animation and designs of Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and the rest of the characters worked really well, with them looking like teddy bears and toys. Aside from them there doesn’t appear to be much other visual effects. It’s a pretty low key and grounded movie throughout.

Christopher Robin is well acted and solidly directed and all around pretty good. It doesn’t start off the best, with it being way too melancholic but once we get to meet the Winnie the Pooh characters again, it really picks up and it gets to be the light hearted movie it is. It’s nothing innovative but I’d say that it’s worth checking out if it sounds interesting to you.

Thunder Road (2018) Review

Time: 92 Minutes
Cast:
Jim Cummings as Jim Arnaud
Kendal Farr as Crystal Arnaud
Nican Robinson as Nate Lewis
Macon Blair as Dustin Zahn
Jocelyn DeBoer as Rosalind Arnaud
Chelsea Edmundson as Morgan Arnaud
Jordan Fox as Doug
Director: Jim Cummings

A police officer (Jim Cummings) faces a personal meltdown following a divorce and the death of his mother.

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I was hearing some hype for Thunder Road from some people, not from awards shows or anything, just from some people heavy into film on social media. It’s not a film that’s particularly well known and its very much independent, there are no big names involved. With that said, I’m glad I heard about it and I’m glad I saw it, because Thunder Road is a good little hidden gem and is well worth the watch.

Thunder Road is actually based off the short film also written, directed and starring Jim Cummings. That short film (although I haven’t watched it myself yet) is the opening scene where the lead character Jim (played by Jim Cummings) is performing a eulogy for her mother at a funeral and is having a meltdown during it. The rest of the movie I guess is an expansion on what would follow with Jim and his story. While the movie is a dramedy, it’s much more a drama with some comedy to lighten things up. At its core, the movie is about loss and the long lasting effect it has on people, in this case obviously for Jim. It’s effectively emotional, and from that 10 minute long opening scene all done in one unbroken shot had my attention all the way through to the end. Thunder Road is 90 minutes long and it does what it sets out to do, its straightforward with not too many unnecessary plotlines.

I really don’t know Jim Cummings from anything, but he really demonstrated his talents here. While there are a lot of great things in this movie, his fantastic performance is definitely the highlight. He jumps between comedy and tragic drama so seamlessly. His meltdowns when they happen (and they happen quite a bit) can be sudden and over the top but feel genuine at the same time. In fact the whole performance feels genuine throughout all things considering. I’d say that his performance here might actually be one of the best from 2018, worth way more praise than it’s been getting. The rest of the cast is good as well, whether it’s Kendal Farr as his daughter or Nican Robinson as his cop friend. Really everyone was quite good here but it’s Cummings who stood out the most among the cast.

Jim Cummings on top of writing and lead starring, also directs Thunder Road, and it was pretty well directed for a full feature film debut. It might not be anything special or flashy but it works well for the story and Cummings clearly knows his way behind the camera. Something that does stand out were the use of long unbroken takes, mostly used to showcase acting, usually with long bits of dialogue, especially when its focussed-on Cummings where he just acts for long periods of time (the strongest example is the aforementioned 10 minute unbroken shot for the eulogy scene at the start of the film). It really did add to the scenes quite a bit and elevated them.

Thunder Road is short and simple but great for what it is. It is written, directed and acted well (particularly by Jim Cummings) and was all around a really great emotional dramedy film, worthy of more attention than it has been receiving. One thing is clear, Jim Cummings needs to be given more work, both behind and in front of the camera, he’s clearly very talented and deserves to be paid attention to.