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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Family > Relationships > Holiday > Cheaper To Keep Her (2011/E1 DVD)/A Christmas Wish (2011/E1 DVD)/Diary Of A Single Mom (2011/Image DVD)/Ice Quake (2010/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)

Cheaper To Keep Her (2011/E1 DVD)/A Christmas Wish (2011/E1 DVD)/Diary Of A Single Mom (2011/Image DVD)/Ice Quake (2010/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)


Picture: C+/C/C/B     Sound: C+/C+/C+/B     Extras: C/C-/D/C-     Main Programs: C/C/D/C-



Here are four more titles to wrap up (no pun intended) Christmas 2011 releases.



Cheaper To Keep Her (2011) happens to be coming out now, one of two releases here trying to capitalize on the Christmas-to-Valentine’s Day stretch.  This is from Je’Caryous Johnson, trying to jump on the Tyler Perry bandwagon and he has Vivica A. Fox and Brian Knight on board, shows he is at least being enterprising.  The other is Robert Townsend with Diary Of A Single Mom (also 2011) in which the survivor of the Black New Wave continue to retreat into the obvious, but he does secure Richard Roundtree and Billy Dee Williams for support.  However, both are predictable, boring family tales with obvious melodramatics and thus, the same outcomes.  Cheaper is a relationship comedy on stage, while Mom wants to be a tribute piece.  I don’t doubt sincerity, but there is no originality and that is boring.


Cheaper has a Johnson Introduction, Behind-The-Scenes piece and bonus video on Johnson as its extras, while Mom has none.


The more blatant A Christmas Wish (2011) has Kristy Swanson (the original Buffy: The Vampire Slayer) in a sappy, sloppy Hallmark Channel-shown dud about a single mom (yup, that term) also in financial trouble and can faith help her find money?  Well, if she is a good girl…  Yes, it has that same good girl/bad girl syndrome so many of these pieces have.  Wow, is this bad.  This has a laughable trailer despite being a telefilm too.



But as laughable as anything is Paul Ziller’s goofy Ice Quake (2010) in which a family celebrating Christmas in a small town surrounded by mountains has to deal with multiple avalanches and much worse.  As shown as the latest schlock on the SyFy Channel, it is bad sequence after bad sequence as unknowing people have to deal with bad natural catastrophe after catastrophe.  The main family is actually stupid enough to go closer to the ice and snow after seeing how bad some things are, so you know this is pointless down to Victor Garber as a military head stuck in a communication HQ post trying to coordinate survival, but his biggest achievement is not falling on the floor laughing and busting a gut.  Extras include a trailer (was this intended for theaters?) and a Making Of featurette.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78X 1 DVDs all look soft and poor, though Cheaper has slightly better color and definition than the others.  The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Quake is a surprise, shot on film and looks fine save when the laughable digital effects kick in, while its Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is also well done, making me wonder if this was meant for theaters because the soundfield is more impressive than it has a right to be.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Wish and Cheaper just spread around what is simple stereo recording, something the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Mom does not even attempt and all are on par with each other, weaknesses and all.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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