#ChristmasUnwrapped, #TrappedByMyFathersKiller, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

Christmas Unwrapped – Review

Christmas Unwrapped – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

After blogging and writing puff pieces for years, Charity’s boss, Janet, gives Charity her first investigative reporting piece.  Janet wants to know more about Erik Gallagher.  He is the CEO and founder of the Never Stop Believing Charity.  Twelve days before Christmas, Erik gives millions of dollars in gifts to needy people and host free events, but he doesn’t solicit or receive funding.  Janet wants Charity to get close to him and follow the money.  Charity meets Erik at an ice skating rink, but she takes it slow.  She hopes building trust will allow Erik to be truthful in the future.  At the next meet-up, Charity notices a letter from Kris. In the letter, Kris thinks Erik for all his hard work and tells him to burn the letter.  Charity secretly takes a picture of it and finds out about his past.  She learns Erik was put into foster care and he never looked for his parents.  At a young age, he becomes a confectioner’s apprentice and remained friends with him to this day.  Charity decides to call the confectioner, Frank, and asks him some probing questions.  The interview went well, but when Charity plays the interview back on her recorder, something distorts the tape.  The next day, Janet asks Charity for updates.  Charity tries to show Janet the picture of Kris’s letter, but the image is a blank sheet of paper.  Charity can’t believe her luck.  Dumbfounded, Charity doesn’t have anything to expose in her exposé.  That is, until her best friend and researcher, Tish, calls.  Tish found Erik’s birth parents, and she has an idea of who funds the foundation.  Charity knows this information will sell the article, but she promised to keep Erik’s parents out of it.  When Janet finds out, will Charity pick the job or the guy?

This movie is all about Christmas magic from beginning to end.  With a slip of paper thrown into a fire, Christmas wishes come true.  For a time, Charity is skeptical about being in the spirit, magic, and wishes, but Tish begs her to fill out the paper.  It’s not until Charity receives a Rachel the Reporter doll that she starts to attempt to believe.  And to bring a tear to your eye, the writers added a Marine’s homecoming.  Whether it’s a deleted image, recordings filled with static, or a long lost letter, this movie, while predictable, will have you writing a wish of your own.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

With the right journalist, anyone can be interesting – Charity

It’s a Christmas miracle – Tish

I just want everyone to believe – Erik

From the moment I meet him, I knew he was the real deal – Frank

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Trapped by My Father’s Killer – Review

Trapped by My Father’s Killer – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Diana sees a figure in the club and needs to leave.  It looked like Louis, the man who killed her father, Max, and fiancé, Brian.  Her brother, Chris, follows her out to check on her and tries to console her.  It’s been five years since the murder, and he wanted her to get out of the house and try to have a good time with him and his wife, Trudy.  But he can see his idea was a bad one.  While at his bar, Chris tries to figure out a plan with his lawyer, Martin.  Chris’s bar hasn’t made money in months, he took a loan against his home twice, and his inheritance has run out.  Martin tells Chris the only way to save the bar is to have Diana sell their father’s house and use that money for his business.  Chris tried in the past to get her to sell, but she wouldn’t do it.  He tells Martin to come with him to deliver the news.  As they come up with a strategy, Chris sees a familiar face on the TV screen.  Louis, along with two other prisoners, escaped.  The cops killed one escapee and apprehended the other.  However, Louis is at large.  Now, Diana lives in the mansion that Max willed to her and Chris.  So, Chris, Martin, and Trudy go to Diana’s mansion to talk to her about selling the house and see if she is safe.  After talking to everyone, Diana highly considers selling and tells her family she is fine alone in the house, even though Louis is out.  That night, Diana hears someone and checks her alarm pad.  The pad shows movement in the family room.  As she walks to the family room, she sees Louis standing there.  He catches her, ties her to a chair, and points a gun at her.  During the trial, Diana said she witness Louis killing Max and Brian.  But that’s impossible because Louse knows he didn’t do it. He wants Diana to tell the truth, so he can save his daughter before she is adopted.  The truth is closer than they think.

When Louis doesn’t kill Diana on the spot, you know he isn’t the killer.  He is a man on a mission to prove his innocence to get his daughter back before she is adopted.  He has to convince Diana first, but she doesn’t accept his word.  Instead, she throws a toilet tank lid in his face.  She fights for her life several times before she sees evidence that Louis might be innocent.  While she is bound to a chair, she gets several visits from the police, her maids, and Martin, which amplifies the suspense. Lifetimers will see the real killer through all the smoke in the script.  However, newbies will be in for a good shock.  So keep your ears open and your eyes on the evidence.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Just because you live all alone in this big house, doesn’t mean that you’re alone – Chris

Probably just some psycho – Diana

I’m in control.  Say it – Louis

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Christmas on Ice – Review

Christmas on Ice – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Courtney runs the Skate Oval rink in her town square and puts together the Christmas Festival every year.  She loves teaching the kids how to skate for free.  But when Mayor Greenwood calls her into his office, she worries.  Courtney’s roommate and Greenwood’s receptionist, Beth, tells Courtney to relax about the meeting and lets Courtney into Greenwood’s office.  On her way, Courtney runs into Noah, a retired hockey player.  Then, she sits with Greenwood.  Greenwood reports the city doesn’t have the money to support the Skate Oval nor the Christmas Festival.  Noah’s skating complex will replace the Skate Oval.  Courtney is visibly upset because the Skate Oval provides free skating lessons to kids who can’t afford it.  Also, it is the heart of and the family gathering place for the bustling city life.  She wants to know what she has to do to keep the rink open and the festival going, and Mayor Greenwood’s response is for her to get a Christmas miracle.  She takes a tour of Noah’s Skating complex, and she knows she can’t compete.  With her head hanging down, she starts to leave but hears a familiar voice calling her name.  It’s Noah.  He had no idea his complex would cause the closure of the Oval.  His daughter, Grace, met Courtney a few days ago.  Grace wants to go back to the Oval and get lessons from Courtney.  That revelation took Noah by surprise because Grace never showed a passion for skating before.  Courtney understands because she was a champion figure skater.  While hockey is fun, it’s not competitive figure skating.  She tells Noah about her dilemma, and he offers her a job at his complex.  While the job would be great, her first concern is the community.  So, Courtney sits with Beth, and they brainstorm an action plan.  First, they will write a business plan and come up with ideas to make the rink profitable.  Second, they will ask local businesses for donations to fund the Christmas festival.  Third, they will start a Christmas Card campaign.  The cards will be sent to the mayor with pleas to keep the rink open.  Fourth, Beth will get the city’s budget to see if the council can reallocate funds.  Finally, Beth will see if Mayor Greenwood has a soft spot they can leverage.  As Courtney works on her plan, she gets closer to Noah and Grace.  He is inspired by Courtney’s optimistic attitude to help the rink.  As they work in tandem for the rink, Courtney doesn’t see the answer is under her nose and on her rink.

With a Hallmark beginning, it’s the ending that will have you misty-eyed.  Without giving things away, you must pay attention to the clues in the story.  This movie drops subtle hints about the solution that comes together for a beautiful tribute while giving attention to a worthwhile cause.  This film pulls at all your heartstrings with a precocious child, a loving widower, and a compassionate woman all working towards the same goal.  This movie is a standout kick-off to the ‘It’s a Wonderful Lifetime’ series.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

I hope I bump into you again, Courtney – Noah

Ok, I’ll get to work on a Christmas miracle – Courtney

YouTube. You can learn anything on YouTube – Beth

I’m not gonna let some figure skater make me look bad – Mayor Greenwood

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Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and It Feels So Deadly – Review

Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and It Feels So Deadly – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Aurora, Sally, and Arthur look forward to their 20-year high school reunion, but for some, this reunion is a place to dredge up bad history.  Cassie, head of the reunion committee and prom queen, micromanages everything while taking passive-aggressive shots at Aurora and Sally.  But Cassie saves most of her venom for Amy.  After high school, quarterback and prom king, Jack, broke up with Cassie three years ago and quickly married Amy.  Jack and Amy moved to Seattle, but Jack still texts Cassie.  Before the reunion, Coach Caldwell came to Detective Arthur to request extra security.  Extra security at a reunion is an unusual request, so Arthur asks for more information.  Last year, Jack presented Caldwell with a business opportunity and asked Caldwell to invest.  In one year, Jack promises Caldwell will get his money back.  Caldwell gave Jack the money, but after a year, Jack didn’t return the money nor start the business.  Caldwell’s sporting goods store is on the brink of collapsing, and he needs that money to keep it afloat.  So, he sued Jack for the return on investment.  Caldwell believes Jack will want to fight if they see each other at the reunion.  At the reunion, Aurora’s high school love, Parker, smiles as he meets Aurora’s fiancé, Nick.  He mentions Jack’s business deal, but as a venture capitalist, he never bit.  Parker believes Aurora is the one that got away.  While Aurora finds it amusing, Nick believes him.  Later, Cassie asks Jack to dance, and Amy says no.  Jack says one dance should be ok and Amy leaves.  With obligation in his heart, Jack starts to follow Amy, and Cassie gets angry and storms off to her hotel room.  Jack walks to the bar, then he and Caldwell start fighting.  Jack leaves for some fresh air.  Later, the reunion is behind schedule, and Sally worries because Cassie, Jack, and Caldwell are late for their speeches.  Aurora, Nick, and Arthur look for Cassie and Jack.  They find Jack dead in the hotel’s pool.  Aurora will have to look at her old classmates through a new lens to find Jack’s killer, but can she handle what she sees.

Another strong installment in the series, it gives you the view of the victim before you see his face or know his name.  You only witness a person floating in the water.  So your first mystery is who is the dead body, and your next question is who killed him.  In the first twenty minutes, you are captivated.  In this installment, you get to see Aurora’s parkour skills and the importance of keeping a pair of heels.  And note no one can get past Lillian.  Be warned, Aurora will witness the business end of a knife twice in this movie, but she will have someone at her side to keep her safe.  By the end, Nick’s love for Aurora shines through as he protects, corrects, and shields her from the past and present.  

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

What’s wrong with utilitarian? Shouldn’t that be the essence of a sit which one sits – Lillian

I won’t even ask how you go roped into this – Arthur

I can take a knife in the back and keep on smiling – Jack

I think he meant what he said, you’re the one that got away. I’m just glad I won’t end up like him – Nick

Amy, you’re married to jack. you must know he changes his mind all the time – Cassie

It’s bad, isn’t it – Sally

You were never a scout – Aida

Ok, we need to call a Real Murders meeting right now – Aurora

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Who is Killing the Cheerleaders? – Review

Who is Killing the Cheerleaders? – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

After ten years away, Ellie returns to her old high school.  Returning will bring on more anxiety for her than most because it’s the scene of a horrific killing spree.  Someone killed all the cheerleaders, and Ellie was the sole survivor.  She doesn’t know why the killer left her alive, but the killer got away.  Ellie’s mother and a cancer patient, Linda, worries returning will trigger Ellie’s PTSD and do more harm than good, but Ellie decides to face the problem head-on.  When Ellie steps on school grounds, the whispers start.  In class, two students, Ava and Dylan, ask questions about the murders.  Ellie quickly puts an end to it and starts the class.  The teachers act as immaturely as the students, but one teacher sparks a conversation.  Ellie’s former classmate, Lisbeth, teaches at the school and remembers the murders.  She remembers the killer murdered Ellie’s cheerleading friends, Kat, Val, Maggie, Abigail, and Belle, but Dana is missing.  So, Lisbeth catches Ellie up on everything that happened since she left.  Forrest, Kat’s old boyfriend, is a teacher at the school and married Kat’s twin sister, Brooke.  He is the town cad, and she believes he is dating a student.  Lisbeth hated all the cheerleaders in high school, but she hopes she and Ellie can be friends now.  Ellie is happy to have a friendly face, but she wants to do more for the school.  So, she decides to become the cheer coach.  On the field, Ellie meets the less-than-enthusiastic cheerleading team of four girls, Chloe, Pippa, Brittany, and Ava.  The four girls only joined the team for college transcripts, and they use the time to hang out for an hour.  Ellie won’t hear that nonsense.  She tells the girls their party is over, and the hard work begins.  After school, Ellie joins Linda in oncology during chemotherapy and meets her oncologist, Dr. Jonathan.  Ellie remembers Jonathan from school; he was the school photographer.  He takes no time asking out his old classmate to catch up on the past.  The next morning, Ellie can’t find her phone, and someone misplaced her things.  Ellie shakes off the feeling and heads to school, but the horror follows her.  Someone hung Brittany up, like the killer’s first victim, and wrote, ‘I’m back’, in pig’s blood on her uniform.  Ellie has a panic attack.  Lisbeth tries to convince Ellie this is a sick prank because Brittany is still alive.  But Ellie knows the truth, the killer is back, and she is in danger.

Good job to LMN! They provided another watchable mystery in the Fear the Cheer series.  With three past classmates and an unstable lead, the plot cloaks the killer for a while and draws you in with a semi-copycat crime spree.  There is an obvious choice for the killer, but experienced Lifetimers will keep their mind’s eye open to new and old suspects.  The characters remind the viewer one cheerleader is still missing.  Characters mention old stories of bullying in jest, while current students are too enamored with the crime.  While this reviewer tries to keep the secret, let’s say if it weren’t for those meddling kids, the killer would get away with it.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Does it hurt to be stabbed – Ava

Sometimes, the teachers can be ruder than the students – Lisbeth

There’s no way this was a prank – Ellie

Why did you get to live – Brooke

Oh my god, did you do this Ellie – Jonathan

Screw cancer – Linda

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Time Capsule – Review

Time Capsule – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Seven years ago, Lauren, Peter, Tom, and Jane graduated from high school.  Lauren and Tom were in love and planning on starting a band together.  But days before, she made an impromptu decision and bought a one-way ticket to Argentina.  Lauren wanted to tell Tom, but Lauren would chicken out each time.  At the graduation party, she gathered up all her courage and told him.  Upset, Tom walked away.  He couldn’t believe she would decide to leave him and their plans.  Jane sits down with Lauren and tries to console her.  Jane knew Tom walked away before Lauren could finish telling him everything.  Lauren puts a black envelope in Tom’s suit pocket for him to find later.  Then, Lauren asks Jane if she came clean to Peter.  For years, Jane had a crush on Peter and thought graduation would be the best time to tell him.  However, Jane couldn’t do it.  She believes they will never be.  The class president and salutatorian, Peter, asks them all for their time capsule contributions.  Lauren and Jane add their items and leave the party, and then Peter finds Tom to add his item.  Tom pulls a menu out of his pocket and puts it in the time capsule.  Unfortunately, Tom doesn’t know he put Lauren’s envelope in there too.  Peter closes the time capsule.  They promise to dig it up in 20 years.  Today, Tom works at their old high school as a history teacher.  He finds out from a staff member they are paving the field and turning it into a parking lot.  Tom remembers that’s the location of the time capsule and calls Peter.  They decide to call Lauren and Jane to join them and dig it up.  Opening the time capsule will spark the idea of a reunion tour for this group.  They will use the time capsule to reminisce on the old days.  While looking back, they will heal old wounds, find love, and make a path to the future.

The moment Lauren places the black envelope into his black jacket pocket, you know what’s going to happen.  Your feelings solidify when you see the inside of the time capsule is black too.  Lucky for them, they will dig up the time capsule in 7 years instead of 20.  While seeing Lauren with her lackadaisical boyfriend, Derrick, you can hear the time running out on their relationship.  She sees his carefree attitude was acceptable at 18, but less so in your twenties.  But, Tom keeps everything close to the vest.  Seeing Lauren helps him remember the fun and carefree times he had with her.  Peter and Jane are the perfect couples that never came to be.  They all need this reunion tour to grow, and it’s nice to watch, but no need to cancel plans to see this movie.  You know the major plot twist and turns before they happen.  This movie is cute, but a Hallmark movie on a different network.  

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Let’s dig up some old memories – Peter

So, what’s next on our reunion tour – Jane

I’ve been asleep for 7 years.  It’s time to wake up – tom

I think it’s time to choose a direction – Lauren

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Sweet Autumn – Review

Sweet Autumn – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw, the less he spoke
The less he spoke, the more he heard
Now, wasn’t he a wise old bird

In Battleboro, Vermont, in 1990, Aunt Dee raised her nieces, Maggie and Jody, while running her candy shop.  The girls loved that candy and the wisdom in each wrapper.  Today, Jody lives in Battleboro with her husband, Eddie, and runs an antique store.  Maggie moved to Minneapolis and became an investment broker.  Her ex-boyfriend, now business partner, Jonathan, relies on her to gain the trust of small business owners and have them sign with big corporations.  Six months ago, Aunt Dee passed away, and Maggie will travel to Vermont for the will reading.  Maggie loves seeing Aunt Dee’s candy shop and the Sweet Autumn festival Aunt Dee created flourishing.  At the will reading, Aunt Dee’s lawyer starts the videotape.  Aunt Dee left her motorcycle to her close friend, Ron.  She left her house to Maggie and Jody.  Also, she paid off the mortgage for Jody’s antique store.  However, the biggest surprise is Aunt Dee’s decision for the candy shop.  She left 50% to Maggie and the other half to Dex.  Maggie knows Dex helped out a lot in the shop when she and her sister left.  However, he didn’t come to Dee’s funeral, and Maggie is furious about that.  She finds a box full of things Aunt Dee wanted her to have, including letters.  Aunt Dee wanted Maggie to open an envelope each day of the festival and complete a task.  Instead of going home, Maggie will honor Aunt Dee’s wish and stay for the Sweet Autumn Festival.  But, Maggie doesn’t know Aunt Dee had a trick up her sleeve.  Aunt Dee left letters for Dex too.  Aunt Dee wants him to help with the festival and work with Maggie.  Things are going well until business rears its ugly head and comes between Dex and Maggie’s future.

Reminiscent of P.S. I Love You, this movie has a voice from beyond the grave that wants to bring Maggie and Dex together (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  As Dex and Maggie get to know each other, both state that Aunt Dee didn’t like anyone they dated in the past.  She always knew they were perfect for each other.  Dex meets his business match when they discuss strategies for his maple syrup company.  On the other hand, Dex challenges Maggie’s small business knowledge when she tries to make changes to the store.  It will be up to Aunt Dee to show them the wisdom in the owl.  

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

Investment brokers are suppose to have a good poker face – Jonathan

You can totally do it, you can probably do it – Maggie

A smile is a curve that can set things straight – Aunt dee

You don’t even know the business like I do, that’s why I want to buy you out – Dex

I’m just gonna grab these 2 jars I definitely don’t need – Zack

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