Sweet Mountain Christmas

Pretty Bad.

I guess I expected a bit more effort to support Megan Hilty, a fairly high profile singer-actress. I was disappointed in the writing as Greg Rossen has penned some of my favorite Hallmarks. And Lifetime movies are usually a bit of a cut above. Neither the plot nor the motivations of the MCs or the townspeople made sense. Instead of welcoming their home town star, they turned a cold shoulder to her when she was trying to be involved in helping the community. If your town is in trouble, here is a hint. Be nice to the famous and rich superstar who is coming home for a visit. If they were trying to be loyal to their beloved mayor and ex-boyfriend of our star, that’s wack too. He was the one who stood her up, not the other way around. I did not understand the lack of communication(do I ever?). They should have done a better job with Laney’s character arc, which was non-existent. She was nice (if understandably busy) from beginning to end. All in all a cookie cutter assembly line effort complete with a “cute” popcorn fight instead of the usual cliché snow-ball fight. I expect to roll my eyes a bit during a Hallmark-type movie, but cringing is a no-no.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

November 3, 2019

Love on the Menu

Delicious!

This is how it’s done, Hallmark. Good Job! When you have two engaging and attractive leads who are good actors and have good chemistry, it already puts it far ahead of the majority of Hallmark offerings. Bravo Autumn Reesor and Kavan Smith. Add an interesting inside look at restaurant goings on and a agreeable restaurant (and chef) makeover plot and you have a definite winner. Kudos for the beautiful and authentic food photography. The love story built slowly and realistically. The leads did not have silly misunderstandings or antics. When there was a bit of conflict at the end, it was resolved quickly with a very nice groveling scene and a deserved abject apology. There was a tough boss who turned quite evil at the climax for some drama and tension.

I also want to compliment the wonderful young actress who played our hero’s teenage daughter. Jordyn Ashley Olson is lovely and a very promising young talent. Latonya Williams also adds sparkle, as usual.

I only mark it down for two aspects. The gourmet breakfasts that our chef-hero cooked for his daughter and were meanly rebuffed by her were so over the top, the scenes were cringe-inducing. Also, the ending was a little sudden and needed another scene to tie the loose ends up nicely. Maybe they are planning a sequel. I’m in.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

March 3, 2019

Christmas Pen Pals

Great Casting and Acting Count for a Lot

Despite the female lead (Sarah Drew) being extremely unlikable and annoying at the beginning, this turned out to be one of the best of the Christmas entries in the Hallmark sweepstakes this year. Probably because it’s not really a Hallmark, but on Lifetime. They use the same actors and writers and probably directors, but always seem to be just a cut above the Hallmark movies.

The plot had a lot of holes and had some questionable elements. Almost the whole town agrees to be matched up to a pen pal by one woman postmaster? What are her qualifications? How does she go about this? How does she handle last minute entries? How will Hannah and Sam work out the logistics of their coming marriage? How will she incorporate and sell people on the idea of writing letters before meeting face to face per her failing app/ social media company? Will Sam ever follow Hannah’s advice and get WiFi for his coffee shop? These burning questions and probably more go unanswered.

This movie ended up high on my special Hallmark rating scale because of good acting and appealing actors and actresses. Especially the male lead and Hallmark veteran, Niall Matter. My, was he appealing and had great chemistry with Sarah Drew. Michael Gross of Tremors and Family Ties added his veteran acting chops. The cast of secondary characters was exceptional. A special shout out to Latonya Williams who lit up the screen with her smile.

By the end there were 6 match-ups that had some potential. Great job, Santy Claus… uh…Madam Post Master!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

December 16,2018

Road to Christmas

Some Special Touches

Very pleasant. Nothing super special, but nothing to make you want to throw your remote at the TV set either. The acting was definitely above average by Jessy and Chad Michael Murray. I like the actress who played the mother, Teryl Rothery. She is in many Hallmark films and always very reliable. I liked the plot with the three adopted Brothers finally reunited as a surprise for Christmas. It added an emotional Depth that’s been missing in many of these Hallmark Christmas stories. I love the graphics that showed the journeys of the two protagonists! One normally does not see such creativity and cuteness in a Hallmark movie it took me by surprise.

One final comment that I hope isn’t too mean but just needs to be said. Jessy Schram has lost way too much weight and looks a good bit worse for wear. If she’s been sick I hope she gets better soon because she really is a top-notch Hallmark actress.**7 out of 10 stars**

November 7, 2018

Love Struck Café

Textbook Hallmark

Nothing special at all. Not much to like here other than the reliable Andrew Walker. I am sure he appreciates the paycheck and the work as an actor, but if he is not careful, he is going to be labeled the Crown Prince of Hallmark movies. I mean, how many of these things has he been in? I didn’t understand the motivations of the heroine. Completely nonsensical. She is given the assignment to convince an old friend and neighbor to sell her property so her boss can encase a beautiful country lake setting in a concrete monstrosity of a residential development. She knows this is a horrendous idea, yet blithely does her best trying to get the nice lady to sign on the dotted line. Why? because of a vague promise of maybe she can be promoted to an architect? To keep a job with a firm that obviously is the lowest of the low? Why would anyone of any character put up with this? She compromises her integrity and endangers a bucolic picturesque ideal location for a resort. Of course she ends up designing a more suitable project, which her stupid boss (surprise, surprise) just loves. This one was kind of insulting, actually. **3 stars out of 10**

October 19, 2017