|Table of Reviews|
Radio Christmas – Review
Radio Christmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 3 minutes
After an electrical fire ruins their transmitters, Kara has to host her show in another radio station. Her boss, Sherry, hands out their temporary stations. Kara will be moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Kara is working hard to earn a promotion, so she planned lots of interview segments for her Radio Christmas broadcast. This temporary move is a huge inconvenience for Kara. Kara had interviews and field pieces lined up in Philidelphia. Now, she will have to find something in Bethlehem with very short notice. Kara is ready to user her skills to become an investigative journalist with a podcast. The innkeeper gives Kara the details about the inn, the town, and the townspeople. As the innkeeper talks, she tells Kara about a secret Santa that saved the town for years to come. The town’s businesses were facing bankruptcy and all the community activities were canceled due to budget cuts. Until someone made an anonymous donation. Kara decides to find the secret Santa for her first news story. At the Bethelem radio station, Kara sees Scott. She saw him earlier that day after she found his keys in a Christmas tree. Scott seems like a nice guy but he is standoff-ish with Kara. Scott is worried Kara’s station is trying to take over Bethlehem’s ZVRT radio station. Kara tries to assure Scott that he will be fine and no one is planning a takeover. Kara just needs to host her radio show for her promotion. She starts to fall in love with the town, Scott, and Andrea (Scott’s daughter, who has been writing Kara fan mail for years). But what happens when snow and a soundbite threatens their happiness. Can Kara fix it?
This sweet movie has a strong mystery of the secret Santa. It will have you crossing off potential candidates like a game of Clue. However, once the secret Santa is revealed – an hour into the movie – the magic is gone and the plot is predictable. This is a great movie to kill a few hours but it’s not a stand out of the season.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
Oh my goodness. Don’t scare me like that – Kara
No, it’s Christmas. I mean cider – Sherry
You know I got a lot of shingling done – Warren
How are you both so nosey, yet so wise at the same time – Scott
Community is important – Andrea
Holiday for Heroes – Review
Holiday for Heroes – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Audrey sends her brother, Devin bags of coffee from her shop every month to his base in Afghanistan. His commander, Sgt. Matt Evans tells Devin he is lucky to have someone at home who cars for him. Devin gives a bag of his coffee to Matt. Matt is so impressed with the brew, he writes Audrey to thank her. The two become penpals when Matt gets good news. He is being sent to Connecticut for the remainder of his service time. He has some big decisions to make. He puts the letter in the mailbox to let Audrey know he is coming to town but it falls out. A few days later, Matt comes to her shop and mistakingly thinks Pam is Audrey. But when he lays his eyes on the real Audrey, he is floored. She is everything he imagined she would be. Matt explains he is in town working on personal stats and figuring out his next steps. Matt is ready to retire and has an interview for a history teacher job in Virginia. However, the army wants him to re-enlist for 3 years with a signing bonus. One determining factor is Audrey. She got a call from Devin, he and his squadron (all from the same town) won’t be home until after the holidays. After hearing the town won’t support Holiday for Heros dinner and toy drive without the heroes, Audrey was depending on her brother’s help to get it done. Now, she is alone. Well, not really. After hearing her plight, Matt jumps in to help. With each setback Audrey goes through, she has Matt by her side leading the way. What will Matt choose: Virginia with the job, Connecticut with Audrey, or Afghanistan with his men.
It wouldn’t be the holidays without a story of soldiers coming back home. It doesn’t just affect the main character, it affects an entire town and its celebration. You want everything to work out for Audrey, Pam, Jade, and Matt so badly that you lose focus on the love story at hand. This movie will tug at your heartstrings but gives the viewers the ending they suspect.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
Did you just go into planning mode for me – Sgt. Matt Evans
Wait, are you psychic – Pam
Will you let me embarrass you for a minute – Audrey
You can’t live in the ‘what-ifs’. Instead, I have to live in the ‘what-I-haves’. And what I have is pretty great – Jade
Was I Really Kidnapped – Review
Was I Really Kidnapped – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Confused, Elle runs inside a gas station and begs for help. She has been missing for days and doesn’t remember what happened to her. During a hospital exam, the police ask her a few questions. Elle’s memory is foggy but she can recall what happened earlier in the day before the kidnapping. Her boyfriend, Billy, proposed to her but she wasn’t sure she was ready. So she turned him down. He was upset and left. She met with her sister, Jen to talk about the situation. While Jen understands, she doesn’t think Billy will wait forever. Elle went home to find it empty. She assumes Billy will stay at work until he cools down but he always comes back. Then, she remembers being stabbed in the neck with a needle. Afterward, everything is foggy. Police interview Billy, Jen, and Elle’s therapist. Her therapist hints that Elle has a personality disorder and she can create memories that she believes is real. Now police are wondering if her kidnapping is real or a figment of her imagination.
This movie gives the viewer enough suspects and so many plot twist you will start to wonder if she was ever really kidnapped. At some point, you will suspect her pharmacists for being too familiar with her. By adding stalking, plagiarism, and ego to the mix, anyone, including Elle, is a suspect. While the end is just a bit far fetch, the mystery of Elle will keep you drawn into the plot.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
I don’t need another fish – Billy
Good guys don’t stick around forever – Jen
Please do not make Billy’s head bigger than it already is – Elle
A Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas – Review
A Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Willow is an assistant manager for a hotel conglomerate. She is so good at her job, they transfer her every 2 years. Before her next transfer, she is headed home for the holidays and her sister, Juni’s wedding. Willow is ready to help Juni and her help comes just in time. The wedding venue needs to be changed. Snow has damaged the roof and it’s too dangerous to have the wedding there. Willow suggests using the family’s old hotel, Eagle Ridge. Unfortunately, the new owner doesn’t host events there. Willow finds the new owner, David, and tries to convince him to host the wedding in the connecting barn. David persistently says no until Willow discovers he is trying to sell the hotel. While she is sad he’s selling the hotel, she presents David with a unique opportunity. Since the buyer is still on the fence, the wedding and holiday activities could pique his interest. By hosting the event, David can show the new buy a different revenue stream. David likes the idea and agrees to host the wedding. Willow promises he won’t have to be involved and she will handle it all. Of course, that was a lie. As the wedding draws near and they work more and continuously work together, they find a passion for each other and the business.
Another win for cute kids. Seeing Willow connect with David’s daughter Natalie, you want them to become a couple so badly. As they work together, Natalie decides she still loves Eagle Ridge and works to have her company buy it. Hallmark fans will mentally decide how the movie will end once you hear her plan. But don’t bet your money on it. It’s a strong conclusion for a loving movie. The holiday is a background character in this movie. This movie could have aired in June or February, it would have the same impact.
I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars
Uh-oh, I know that look – Journey
Do you like cookies – Willow
I wouldn’t have to do anything – David
Disney The Little Mermaid Live! – Review
Disney The Little Mermaid Live! – ABC – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Princess Ariel, daughter of King Triton and a mermaid, dreams of being a part of the human world. She collects items and ponders on how humans use them. With Flounder accompanying her, Scuttle give her incorrect names and improper usage for each item she questions him about. On a venture to the surface, Ariel catches a glimpse of Prince Eric on a ship with his crew. They dance and sing. The ship catches fire and the crew jumps off. When Eric sees his dog Max is stuck on the ship. Eric jumps from the lifeboat and swims to his dog. As Eric saves his dog and is knocked out cold, Ariel saves Eric and Max. As he comes to, he sees Ariel’s face and hears her beautiful singing voice. Before he completely regains consciousness, Ariel gets in the water and swims away. Eric can’t get the girl with the voice out of his mind. And Ariel has fallen for him too. King Triton hears about Ariel’s latest trip to the surface and he is furious. He tells Ariel she is banned for life and must have Sebastian with her at all times. Ariel leaves her father in tears and her cries are answered. Ursala offers help for Ariel. She will give Ariel legs in exchange for her voice. Ariel’s legs will only last for 3 days. If Eric doesn’t give Ariel true love’s kiss, she will change back to a mermaid and belong to Ursala for all eternity. Now Ariel has to make Eric fall in love and kiss her without her voice. Or she will be one of the many Poor Unfortunate Souls.
This live-adaptation of the 1989 Disney Classic The Little Mermaid, was only live for the songs. Some of the songs were Poor Unfortunate Souls, Fathoms Below, Daughters of Triton, Part of Your World, and Under the Sea to name a few (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). Other times, you are watching the original movie. The live performances are well choreographed, outfitted, and performed. The dances are very close to the original animation. However, some of the magic was lost when Shaggy didn’t dress as a crab. While Queen Latifah embodied Ursala, Shaggy looked like a stand it. Even John Stamos was a convincing Chef Louis with a great mustache. If Shaggy didn’t want to be in crab costume, he could’ve performed as a voice over for a puppet. It would’ve flowed better with the performance. With the few negatives, it was still amazing to have the original Ariel, Jodi Benson on stage. This is a fun way to introduce children to the theater but parents will feel like they were roped into watching a long commercial for D23, Disney+, and Frozen 2 (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
You big bully – Flounder
Not another word and I am never to hear you going up to the surface. Never ever again – King Triton
I just haven’t found her yet – Prince Eric
I can’t make out a heartbeat – Scuttle
Why don’t you go tell my father, you’re good at that – Ariel
Don’t you shake your head at me young lady – Sebastian
Always and Forever Christmas – Review
Always and Forever Christmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 1 minute
Lucy’s grandfather left his Christmas shop, Forever Christmas, to her. The town and Lucy believed the store was magic. Lucy’s grandfather always knew the right present for each person. But Lucy doesn’t have the time to run the shop. So, she has found a buyer and plans to sell it as soon as possible. She sends her parent’s on a trip while overseeing the shop until the new buyer comes. She plans to stay in her grandfather’s apartment above the store until the sale is finalized. As she looks around the apartment, Carol appears behind her. Lucy almost falls down with fear. Carol is the new employee and is ready to help Lucy get the store on track during her brief stay. However, Lucy’s trip is extended when the buyer is snowed in and can’t make it. Over the next few days, Lucy will learn the importance of her grandfather, his shop, and his magical gift. However, it’s up to you to decide if Carol is real, an angel, or Mrs. Claus.
Seeing the magic spread throughout the town is sweet and funny. But the question of who or what Carol is isn’t answered. It’s up to the viewer based on things she says and does. Also, is Carol the source of Lucy’s magical gifts or is it inherited from her grandfather? With so much guesswork left to the viewer, the story feels incomplete. With Christmas movies, you want and need a complete conclusion. Unless the network’s preparing for a sequel.
I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars
Oh no dear, I’m quite real. In the flesh and ready to work – Carol
Yep, your grandpa is old school – Randall
I’m gonna go find some signal – Lucy
You did what? – Scott
It’s like somebody doesn’t want this deal to go through – Greg
Scott was right about you. You’re magical – Matt
Christmas Scavenger Hunt – Review
Christmas Scavenger Hunt – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Belinda is ready to take the junior partner job at Jasper Development. She just has to complete one more deal over the holidays. Her boss, Dennis, picked her to head the latest project because it’s in her hometown. The town is selling the historical museum. They couldn’t keep up the payments and have no other option but to sell. The buyer wants to turn the property into condos. The town would never go for the change so Belinda must keep the deal quiet. Back home, it doesn’t take long for Belinda to run into her ex-boyfriend Dustin. Dustin promised to follow her to college, However, he changed his mind after she was there. She was hurt after he broke his promise. She is awed and delighted the town has kept its Christmas traditions. Her favorite has always been the scavenger hunt. But she doesn’t want to participate because she is in town for business. Funny enough, her best friend Faith did not get the memo. She puts Belinda’s name in the contest. As Belinda’s dad pulls names from a hat, he calls out the partners. He chooses Dustin’s names and then Susan’s. He hesitates and says Belinda’s name. Now Dustin and Belinda are partners in the scavenger hunt. If that wasn’t tough enough for Belinda, she learns the procedes of the scavenger hunt will go to the historical museum. She has to work with her ex while maintaining a lie. Good thing miracles happen at Christmas.
This Hallmark movie doesn’t capture your attention until you hear Dustin’s backstory. That story is the true heart of this movie. The hunt clues are laughable as the characters try to feign difficulty. And seasoned watchers will know Belinda’s boyfriend Logan is a non-factor before he appears on the screen. This movie is a good way to kill 2 hours but not a standout for the season.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
I’ll do my best to get there – Logan
Still breaking promises I see – Belinda
Oh, hi partner. Is it just me or is this deja vu – Dustin
Christmas with a Prince: Becoming Royal – Review
Christmas with a Prince: Becoming Royal – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Doctor Tasha leaves the hospital at the last possible second to meet her boyfriend Prince Alex. They met after he broke his leg and she helped him recover. He broke off his relationship with Princess Miranda and started to date Tasha. Before she can get on her flight, Tasha is detained by TSA and they won’t tell her why. She realizes Princess Miranda caused her to be detained and miss her flight. While the thought of taking a private plane is too extravagant for her, Prince Alex knows its the only way she will get to his small country. After landing, Alex walks Tasha around the palace and bends down on one knee. She gladly accepts his proposal. To make matters better, Alex flew in her brother Jeff. Jeff is nothing but smiles for his sister. When Alex tells his father, King Edward about his engagement, Princess Miranda and her mother Queen Olivia are in the room. Olivia tells Tasha and Alex that she and Miranda will help. Dumbfounded, Tasha holds her tongue. She and Jeff are happy to have Olivia’s help with the wedding but they know Miranda will be a problem. Bella, the head of royal security, promises Jeff she will keep an eye on Miranda. None of them are prepared for how dirty Miranda plays the game. She uses sex, lies, and photos to force the Prince to marry her. Can Tasha get her Prince back?
Based on St. Piran’s: Prince On The Children’s Ward, Miranda is the true definition of cunning (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). Your jaw will drop at everything Miranda is willing to do to get Prince Alex back. She will even hold his country hostage by refusing to sign a peace treaty. But it’s how and who catches her that will leave you laughing and salivating for more. This is a classic drama that happens during Christmas. This movie is so good, it could have aired on the 4th of July and you would still love it.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars
What did you do? Steal someone she loves too – Tasha
Where’s the mystery in that? – Ron
Lucky for me, meeting the right woman means I am no longer interesting – Prince Alex
Perhaps a different marriage – Princess Miranda
It’s better to have her try something in front of our eyes instead of behind our backs – Bella
It means my cunning disguise is working – King Edward
Merry and Bright – Review
Merry and Bright – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes
Cate runs the Merry and Bright Candy Cane Company in Britewell, OH. Also, known as the Candy Cane capitol of the world. She took over the company after her grandmother passed away but the business is hemorrhaging money. While Merry & Bright have great sells around Christmas and the day after, which is National Candy Cane Day, they only sell to corporations during the offseason. So a corporate recovery firm is called to help. Gabe’s boss assigns him the job and hopes he can come up with a viable solution in days. Gabe sees Cate at his hotel and approaches her. Cate makes an erroneous conclusion Gabe is the guy her mother wanted her to meet. She shoots him down and goes to the door. Before she could walk out the door, Gabe corrects her and tells her he is there to help her company. She makes it knows she doesn’t want him there. He makes it know that he doesn’t want to be there. He just wants to get the work done, make suggestions, and leave. He asks Cate to send the records but they are all on paper. He must go to the candy cane factory to make his observations. Gabe’s first suggestions are layoffs but Cate won’t hear it. Her staff is her family. Next, Gabe suggests using different sugar suppliers. Cate knows this would change the recipe, so she says no. He has no more ideas until he tastes her homemade chocolate candies. Finally, he offers expanding the product line. Cate always wanted to try something new and this is her chance. Just one small problem, she doesn’t have the money. Gabe knows someone who does. He is willing to introduce Cate and the expanded product line, but Cate needs to be willing to sell part of the company. With reservations, Cate gets ready to make the presentation. While having second thoughts about selling a part of the company, she is also having second thoughts about her feelings for Gabe. The more time they spend together, the more he is falling for her and she is falling for him.
Based on a soon-to-be-published novella by Mary Kay Andrews, this movie provides some hardy laughs and sweet, loving sentiment for a dog. It starts to follow the Hallmark format; then it makes a slight deviation with one decision. This gives Stephanie an opportunity to save herself and gain confidence in her ability to lead and create. Two things she was hesitant about doing. This allows her to make her own mark in the business. The first ingredient in change is confidence.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
Flattery? You’re bringing out all the big tools – Gabe
Let’s get something straight. This is my house, my rules. You are a guest here – Joy
What if I told you I’m just not interested – Cate
Categories: A Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas, ABC, Always and Forever Christmas, Andrew Walker, Anna Hardwick, Auli'i Cravalho, Becoming Royal, Benjamin Ayres, Beth Broderick, christmas, Christmas Scavenger Hunt, Christmas with a Prince, Countdown to Christmas, disney, Disney The Little Mermaid Live!, Graham Phillips, hallmark, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, HMM, holiday, Holiday for Heroes, Its A Wonderful Lifetime, Jacob Blair, Jodie Sweetin, John Stamos, Josh Dean, Kaitlyn Leeb, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Kevin McGarry, Kim Shaw, Lexi Lawson, lifetime, lifetime movie network, lmn, Made for TV, Marc Blucas, Mark Ghanimé, Melissa Claire Egan, Merry and Bright, Michelle Mylett, movie, Nick Hounslow, queen latifah, Rachael Leigh Cook, Radio Christmas, review, Shaggy, Sharon Lawrence, Tom Arnold, tv review, UPtv, Was I Really Kidnapped