#AJenkinsFamilyChristmas, #ChristmasBeneathTheStars, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

A Jenkins Family Christmas – Review

A Jenkins Family Christmas – BET and BETHer – 2 hours and 30 minutes

This year is the first the Jenkins will have without their patriarch, Bernard.  His daughters, Beverly and Baneatta, want to get the family together to celebrate Christmas and his life.  Bernard was a pastor, but Baneatta’s husband, James, took over the church.  As James mulls over the Christmas sermon, Beverly gets a phone call from Bernard’s estate lawyer.  Bernard provided another inheritance if his entire family got together on Christmas.  Baneatta laughs because her children, Simone and Kenneth, will be there, along with Beverly and Beverly’s daughter, LaTrice, arriving with a Christmas tree.  Since the lawyer has to see them all together, in person, Baneatta invites him over for Christmas dinner.  As she prepares the house for the family, Baneatta hears a knock at the door.  A woman gives Baneatta the basket and introduces herself as Baneatta’s sister.  But it’s not Beverly; it’s Brianna.  Brianna tells Baneatta that her mother had an affair with Bernard, and she knows about the money.  Brianna thinks Baneatta will let her in, but she gets the door slammed in her face.  Baneatta wants to keep her father’s legacy untarnished so she will leave her family in the dark.  To create a perfect holiday, Baneatta enforces her will on everyone in the family while neglecting their feelings.  What will it take for the family to get Baneatta in line?

This family holds so many secrets that the bed montage is heartbreaking.  Seeing Kenneth and Simone fight for the mother’s approval is relatable.  But like most first ladies of the church, Baneatta gave into the sin of vanity.  She only cares about how she looks to the church members and the community.  Baneatta sacrifices her family for it.  This family drama will serve the tea while pulling you into the story.  While the views are cliché by today’s standards, the overall theme rings true.  In the end, holidays with your family will be a breeze.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

I promise to do my best – Baneatta

Your best is a start – James

I’m your sister – Brianna

You know what, say less – LaTrice

How do the puppies look? – Beverly

Get yourself together. You’re not doing this. Not here, not now – Simone

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Christmas Beneath the Stars – Review

Christmas Beneath the Stars – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Hannah’s boss, Oscar, heard about a town called Christmas World from an anonymous source, and he wants Hannah to report on it.  However, Hannah has to cancel plans with her aunt Lucy to finish the assignment.  Without Hannah’s photography expertise, Lucy won’t win Christmas Decorating Competition for the 6th year.  But Lucy decides to forgo the competition to spend time with Hannah in Christmas World.  When they arrive, Lucy and Hannah listen to the concierge gush over the man, Ben, standing in front of them.  Ben returned from his deployment but didn’t tell his dad he was back.  The concierge gives Ben the last suite, and Ben leaves.  When Hannah tells the concierge that she upgraded the room, he tells her they are out.  He gave their suite to Ben.  Lucy tells Hannah to take the standard room, and they unpack.  They all notice that the town doesn’t have the Christmas spirit.  For years, people haven’t come to the Christmas World.  Now many of the shop’s owners want to sell to Mark.  When Ben discovers the truth, he is crestfallen.  He wants to find a way to save all the shops and Christmas World.  He tells Hannah, and she tells him about Lucy’s decorating mastery.  Lucy will decorate, and Hannah will write about it.  The inspired effort will get people to come to Christmas World and save it.  But Hannah wants to capture the aurora borealis.  Ben promises the photo of a lifetime if she helps bring business into town.  But he doesn’t tell her the area is for sale, and she doesn’t inform him that her reports can make or break it.

Based on Christmas Beneath the Stars by Melissa Hill, this movie starts to follow the format but ends with a more complex story (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  The town doesn’t get the miracle you expect to save it.  And Ben’s ex-girlfriend, Gretta, doesn’t bow out gracefully when Hannah comes to town.  Gretta displays agony, frustration, and fury when Ben chooses Hannah over her.  And Gretta confronts Hannah with an honest dialog.  While this movie creates all the tropes, stick around for the deeper story in the plot.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

What do you mean you’re sorry – Hannah

I don’t understand you. If I were your age, I would be all over that – Lucy

I could have helped – Ben

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Christmas Again – Review

Christmas Again – Disney Channel – 1 hour and 30 minutes

Rowena writes down her top Christmas memories and wants to fulfill them all on Christmas day.  But this Christmas is different.  Her father decided to bring his girlfriend, Diane, and Diane’s son, Louie, to her mother’s house to celebrate the holiday.  Rowena’s parents, Caroline and Mike, chose to co-parent after their split.  Louis scares Rowina awake, causing her to fall, spill orange juice on her sister’s laptop, and break her nutcracker.  Then, Diane ate Rowena’s last chocolate in her advent calendar.  Rowena interrupted her uncle’s comedy routine and broke her abuela’s bowl because she missed her holiday traditions.  As her resentment grows, Rowena runs outside for some fresh air.  She yells at the plastic Santa that her family is ruining the holiday.  Then a real Santa appears.  She wishes for Christmas to be like it used to be.  Santa asks Rowena if she wants to do Christmas again.  And she says yes.  When she wakes up in the morning, it’s Christmas again.  Rowena is in a Christmas loop and can’t get out until she learns her lesson.

This Groundhog Day-inspired movie starts with Rowena manipulating the loop (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  With each repeat, she learns something new about her family and herself.  Rowena had no idea how much Gabby went through nor how much Diane cared about her.  Rowena only sees the world through her eyes.  Like most kids her age.  But each loop will have Rowena focus on the world as a whole.  When she cares for others, she gains more family in return.  This movie is a fun watch for the entire family with all the laughs you expect from Disney.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

I sleep through half but the other half really landed – Rowena

She’s totally up – Louie

I hope you asked Santa for a blankie. Because it’s going to be cold out of that spotlight – Gabby

That’s not funny.  And if you’re trying to make me mad, it’s working – Caroline

So that’s your takeaway from all this – Santa

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Missing and Alone – Review

Missing and Alone – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Shannon booked a spa day for her and her daughter, Chloe, to enjoy.  Since Chloe’s father died during a hiking trip together, Shannon feels like Chloe is pulling away.  Shannon even asked Chloe’s volleyball coach, Pete, to keep an eye on her.  Pete understands Shannon’s concern because his daughter, Mackenzie, became a wild child after her mom died.  When Shannon reminds Chloe about the spa trip, Chloe has unfortunate news.  She decided to go on a hiking trip with Mackenzie to honor her father.  Shannon begrudgingly accepts the change in plans but makes Chloe promise to call, text, and leave her location open.  After a night, Chloe hasn’t returned a call or text.  Shannon calls the police, but they are little help.  So she asks Pete and her sister, Ella, to assist her.  When they find Mackenzie coming out of the woods, they question her.  Mackenzie tells them that she left Chloe because Chloe wanted to play the Game of 72.  With this information and an Instagram post, the police pull back their search efforts.  But Shannon won’t give up.  She knows something is wrong with Chloe, and she will go to the edge of a cliff to find out the truth.

This movie depicts what happens when a parent goes to the edge for their child.  However, it shows the good and bad of this sense of duty.  While one parent searches for their child, the other protects their child.  There is no telling what a parent will do when their back is against the wall, and they feel enormous guilt.  While this story of survival won’t be a favorite, it’s worthwhile to watch parents go to the extreme.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Don’t freak out over a little sleepwalking – Chloe

Sorry. Not sorry – Mackenzie

She’s lucky to have a friend like you – Pete

More. I would do more – Shannon

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Eight Gifts of Hanukkah – Review

Eight Gifts of Hanukkah – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

As Sara’s optometry practice undergoes construction, supervised by her brother’s best friend, Ben, she goes on several blind dates.  While most are substandard, she gets a good one: Famous chef Nigel.  They hit it off and make plans to see each other again.  During the first night of Hanukkah, Sara spends the holiday with her family, friends, and Ben.  When her friend, Keisha, walks out the door, Keisha finds white roses on the doorstep with a card addressed to Sara.  Inside the card, it reads that this is the first gift of 8 from a secret admirer.  On the last night of Hanukkah, the admirer will reveal himself.  With a list of suitors to choose from, whose Sara’s admirer.

Because this is a Hallmark movie with a leading man, viewers know the admirer’s identity.  But the question is: when will he reveal himself to Sara.  Seeing her go down the list is daunting, but the gifts are meaningful.  Each present shows how well the admirer knows Sara, her passion, wants, and desires.  And yes, you do get to see all eight gifts.  This movie is a compelling watch, but you shouldn’t expect an HMM plot twist.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

I think I’m just profoundly confused – Sara

Bye. Make good choices – Ben

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A Christmas Dance Reunion – Review

A Christmas Dance Reunion – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Lucy gets startling news, Winterleigh is closing its doors.  Before her father passed, Lucy would go to the Winterleigh with her family every year and perform the Christmas dance.  Lucy and her mother, Virginia, decided to go to Winterleigh for one last hoorah.  When they arrive, Lucy runs into her old dance partner, Barrett, holding a mountain of wreaths.  She tells Barrett that she doesn’t dance because of an injury.  Today, she is an attorney.  However, Barrett still dances and teaches others his beloved craft.  She asks for the list of the Winterleigh activities, and Barrett hangs his head.  Due to a lack of guests, Winterleigh canceled the activities.  But Lucy gets an idea.  If they can spark interest in the Winterleigh again, they could save it.  Barrett agrees to help Lucy but under one condition.  She must dance with him one more time for the Christmas show.

This sweet movie has a predictable plot but still makes you feel good watching it.  During the last performance, you get to see kids and adults dancing.  Barrett and Lucy’s dance incorporates dance styles from all genres, allowing a diverse group of viewers to enjoy.  And it’s the final dance that allows this movie to survive the holiday shuffle.  But this movie does not require your full attention to watch.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

You’re like a grown man now – Lucy

Sometimes you have to let the unplanned lead the plan – Barrett

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The Bitch Who Stole Christmas – Review

The Bitch Who Stole Christmas – VH1 – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Hannah calls her assistant, Olivia, into her office.  Hannah wants Olivia to go to Tuckahoe covertly and dig up some dirt on the town and their Christmas Ball competition.  But what Hannah wants more than anything is for Olivia to take the Christmas crown.  It is a masterpiece of jewels and sparkle, the ultimate winter accessory.  This story will get Hannah’s magazine back on top.  If Olivia gets dirt and the crown, Hannah promises to give her a long-coveted promotion.  Olivia arrives at the run-down Tuck Inn and gets a room.  While the hotel is in a bad part of town, the people are warm and friendly to the newcomer, Olivia, calling herself Maggie Zine.  At the bar, Olivia overhears that last year’s winners, Kitten Heel Court, want to use the prize money to tear down their neighborhood and put up a mall.  The owner will have no choice because she doesn’t have the money to pay back the loan due on Christmas Eve.  Olivia encourages them to enter the competition and win to keep their bar and hotel.  Let’s say: your traditional winter competition just got fabulous.

You better work! This movie is an untraditional traditional holiday movie with all the flare and double entendres RuPaul can bring.  If you are phobic in any way, then get over yourself and have a good laugh.  While giving you the traditional holiday movie plot, this movie pokes fun and holes in the cliché.  It’s a great break from the holiday monotony while keeping you in the holiday spirit.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

It’s almost like it’s my entire personality – Tristan

Is that like German for big taco – Olivia

If he ever gets around to doing work – Hannah

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A Christmas Village Romance – Review

A Christmas Village Romance – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Diana is a successful romance novelist who uses her hometown as the backdrop for her books.  Her publisher wants the first chapter for her next book before Christmas.  But if Diana asks out her crush, Greg, her publisher will give Diana two more weeks to complete chapter one.  Greg is the cover model for all of Diana’s books.  They planned on going to her hometown, but Greg got an offer he couldn’t refuse.  Greg will be a competitor in the Adonis Triathlon in the Caribbean.  Greg tells Diana he can’t come with her.  Hopeful, Diana wants to find a winter wonderland with horses, but there is only disappointment.  There are zero decorations, no guests, and no horses.  Her friend Kayla tells Diana that they had to sell the horses to save money.  And they lost their guest to the big hotel chains.  Diana walks around the property looking for Mr. Duffy, the blacksmith.  But he left for Florida, but his nephew, Carter, took over Duffy’s duties.  When Carter and Diana talk, Carter makes light of her work for being historically inaccurate.  And he should know because he is a history teacher.  He believes that books like hers misdirect others’ knowledge.  Diane thinks her books give people an urge to learn about history.  They decided to agree to disagree.  When Diane discovers the town and its Christmas traditions will end, she decides to put her fame where her mouth is.  She conjures up an idea to have fans cosplay as their favorite character in her book.  She will teach writing classes and have all the Christmas activities to attract guests.  With enthusiasm, Carter offers to help.  Will his help wane when Greg comes back with feelings for Diana.

This movie is a typical holiday movie with cosplay.  The only stand out is Greg professing his love for Diana when he comes to town.  Briefly, you will consider him a contender for Diana’s affection, but that doesn’t last long.  And it gets resolved quickly.  Save this film for a rainy day or when you don’t have a good book.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars

I’m not having this discussion again – Diana

Depends. What kind of car does he drive – Carter

I think everything you ever wanted is right here – Greg

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Match Made in Mistletoe – Review

Match Made in Mistletoe – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Emily shows her interior Christmas decor plans to Vera for approval.  Vera likes Emily’s proposal but warns Emily about the new Belmaria ambassador, Magnus.  Last year, the previous ambassador went over budget for the charity ball, and Magnus doesn’t want to make the same mistake.  When Magnus gets lost, he runs into Emily.  She shows him a decorated map, and Magnus is not impressed.  He mentions that he hopes the decorations are more muted.  Then, she tells him that she is the designer, and she will do no such thing.  He tells her that she will pull back the decor or lose her job.  She follows him yelling about the decorations while running into the press room.  The press gets wind that Magnus won’t have decorations, and they start to hound him with a barrage of questions.  Emily assures the press that Magnus will have a winter wonderland in the ballroom, backing him into a corner.  As they work together to find a happy medium, Emily learns one of the charity’s donors is Big Dan.  He owns chain stores and uses underhanded methods to take small businesses out, as he did to Emily’s parents.  Emily knows working with Big Dan is a mistake.  Can she convince Magnus while she is falling in love with him?

This movie is slow, uninspired, and the title makes no sense.  The network should have kept the original title ‘Christmas in Washington.’  Or it could have been Christmas in DC, but it still wouldn’t make a difference.  There was no spark between the characters, and it fell back on large versus small companies for a plot instead of diplomacy.  You can skip this movie this year.

I give it 1.5 out of 5 stars

Do you think I can order a boyfriend online – Emily

In this office, we will maintain decorum, not decor – Magnus

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A Chestnut Family Christmas – Review

A Chestnut Family Christmas – OWN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Nina works as a live-in chef for an upper-class family.  She will leave to visit her brothers, Jayson and Kyle, at Kyle’s home in Atlanta.  When the family leaves, Nina calls her friend Malcolm to come over.  She tells Malcolm that being around her brothers is stressful.  They judge each other based on success, and Nina constantly lies to them.  Her brothers don’t know she quit her law firm to work as a live-in chef.  Although cooking makes her happy, it’s not a job her brothers will respect.  Then Kyle calls her.  The renovations on his home are not complete, so he, Jayson, and Kyle’s daughter, Rogue, want to come to her home for the holidays.  Nina agrees, hangs up, and panics.  She begs Malcolm to help her set up her lie, but she removes one crucial piece.  Nina told her brothers that Malcolm was her fiancé.  She begs Malcolm, who is engaged to Vanessa, for help.  He agrees if she helps with his first charity event at his church.  So they take photos and place them around her boss’s home and prepare themselves.  However, they have no idea the secrets Jayson and Kyle keep.  It’s about to hit the fan and the Christmas tree.

This family puts themselves under so much pressure that they can’t be honest with each other.  And this has slowly torn them apart as a family.  You think this need to succeed causes Nina to lie, but she lies to Malcolm and herself too.  She lies about her feeling for him.  But there was never a need beyond her pride.  While she calls out her family for their misgivings, it will take her entire family and Malcolm to call her out for Nina to see the error of her ways.  

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Why are you so dramatic – Malcolm

No more underachieving Nina. I refuse to be the punchline – Nina

Please tell me yall don’t have joint bank accounts – Kyle

I guess that easy bake oven dad got you was money down the drain – Jayson

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Saying Yes to Christmas – Review

Saying Yes to Christmas – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

June tries to get her boss, Shannon, to expand their holiday children’s book collection.  But Shannon wants books depicting a wintery holiday.  June tells her they don’t represent all readers, but Shannon won’t budge.  Then, Shannon informs June she can get a promotion if she goes back to her hometown.  Shannon learned that Sally Wells, a famous children’s author, is a free agent.  Shannon wants to sign Sally before another company scoops her up.  She wants June to get to know Sally and gain Sally’s trust before talking about a deal.  June agrees and heads home on a mission.  Her family is surprised to see her because June never takes off work.  But she tells them she is there for Sally.  Her friend, Blake, comes to visit and prepare for a charity function.  He asks June to help with several parts of the charity, but she says no.  Then they grab a bell off the tree and make a bet. If Blake’s bell comes down the gutter, June has to work with the charity.  But if June’s does it, he has to leave her alone about working.   Neither bell comes down, and June declares it a tie.  He watches her go inside and wishes June would say yes to everything Christmas until Christmas day.  And the bell falls down the gutter. In the morning, June wakes up, and her mother asks for help with Christmas activities around the town.  June tries to say no, but can’t.  June realizes she can’t say no to anything related to Christmas.  Can she break the curse while working on her promotion?

Seeing June in visible pain while attempting to say no is reminiscent of the movie Liar Liar.  Whether it’s food, decorations, or activities, June will say yes to it all.  Her verbal flubs ruined her working holiday.  But this dose of Christmas reality allows her to connect with family, Blake, and Sally on another level.  And in turn, she finds her passion.  This film is a funny movie to watch if you need a few hours to kill.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Representation means most to the people who don’t have it – June

Oh, you got a choice.  And I say choose cookies – Blake

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Adventures in Christmasing – Review

Adventures in Christmasing – VH1 – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Parker discusses the next show with her producer, Monty, after taping.  With apprehension, Monty tells her the guest changed.  The execs want Finn Holt on the show because he is starting a television program on their network.  Parker hates the idea because she likes ample time to research her guest before they come on the show.  The execs give Parker no alternatives, so she stays up all night investigating the adventurer Finn.  During the taping, no one can find Finn until they hear a call from the rafters.  Finn ziplines down to the set, and they have a spirited interview.  Monty and the execs see a spark between them and make another wild decision.  They want Parker to be a guest on Finn’s show.  She will spend three days in the wilderness learning survivalist training.  Finn researches Parker and discovers that she is a woman with a plan.  During her time in the forest, he wants her to unearth that you can’t prepare for everything and don’t fear the unknown.  Neither of them knows what lies ahead when they don’t plan and let nature and love take their course.

What if Bear Grylls took Oprah on an adventure during Christmas and they fell in love (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer)? That’s the premise of this movie.  Finn takes Parker into the wilderness to break down her emotional walls, but it’s the best place for her to get under his armor.  They see that no one can plan life or love as they face wild animals, roaring rivers, and cave-ins.  These two find each other while healing themselves.  And it ends in a public plea for romance.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

Well, usually my getaway is a lot more dramatic – Finn

Easy now, my daddy’s watching – Parker

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Welcome to the Christmas Family Reunion – Review

Welcome to the Christmas Family Reunion – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

When Amy uncovers that her boss, Frankie, wants to present her ideas as his, she quits.  In solidarity, Amy’s best friend, Kayleigh, leaves too.  Kayleigh suggests they get manicure therapy.  At the nail salon, Amy and Kayleigh run into popstar Tiffanie.  Frankie wanted to show Amy’s designs to Tiffanie and take the credit.  So Kayleigh encourages Amy to approach Tiffanie.  Amy introduces herself as Tiffanie’s Christmas Reunion designer, and Tiffanie gushes over Amy’s designs.  She arranges plans to meet Amy at a coffee shop to go over the details.  The next day, Amy gets into a table debate with Calvin.  He wants the table for an important meeting like Amy.  After going back and forth, they realize they are there for the same thing.  Calvin is Tiffanie’s cousin and photographer.  Tiffanie won’t make it to the meeting, so she asked Calvin to cover and enlighten Amy on everything that needs doing.  His mom, Eve, and Tiffanie’s mom, Mona, argue over the venue for the reunion.  Both women want it at their respective homes.  Over the years, they had it at Grandma’s house, but she passed away.  Calvin invites Amy over to Tiffanie’s home for the mixer to meet the family.  Amy sees the loving but competitive dynamic between Eve and Mona.  Then Tiffanie and Calvin make an announcement. They decided to let Amy choose where to have the reunion after visiting the homes.  After a reluctant agreement, each member invites Amy into their home and traditions with Calvin by her side.  Amy sees what she missed and wants more, especially with Calvin.  Will this bond end when they discover she lied about still working for Frankie.

This movie makes you pay attention with snide comments and witty retorts.  You will laugh with shock as these moms get in a verbal battle over the location.  The truth comes to light, but the resolution doesn’t last long.  Tiffanie and her family reveal the truth and solve the problem without Amy.  Once Amy picks a location, there isn’t much more to watch because the story follows the typical format.  So, come for the movie and stay for the quips.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Or are you just threatened by me – Amy

Don’t worry. I’ll take care of Frankie. It’s your time to shine, remember – Kayleigh

I really hope you mean that because this reunion is not going to be no easy task – Calvin

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The Christmas Contest – Review

The Christmas Contest – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Lara made it to the COO of the company, but she feels like something is missing.  She visits her mother, Donna, at the retirement community and sees it is in great need of repairs.  Donna says it will make more money than they have.  Then, she turns Lara’s focus to the television screen.  A local broadcast will have a Christmas contest.  The winner will get $50,000 for the charity of their choice.  Lara decides to enter the contest for Donna’s community repairs.  On the other side of town, the network calls Ben and asks him to enter the contest.  They can’t guarantee that he will be a contestant, but they want a hometown hero to apply.  Ben thinks it will be perfect for the baseball clinic to get funding and recognition, so he says yes.  After the network accepts their entrance essays, Lara and Ben win a spot in the contest.  All the contestants set up backstage for an introduction when Lara and Ben see each other.  The last time they were together, they broke up.  Now, this contest for the Queen or King of Christmas is personal.

Based on The Christmas Contest by Scarlet Wilson, this movie has a competition with cute, shy kids and adorable, outspoken seniors (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  Seeing them interact and participate in the contest is highly entertaining and funny.  However, the conclusion of the competition is a letdown.  Nevertheless, the break-up and love story is watchable.  So put this one on your DVR and watch it in your spare time.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

I am not sneaking off.  I am casually slipping away – Lara

You know it’s like a wonderful life but without the charm – Donna

No time for self-awareness now. I got places to be – Ben

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Miracle in Motor City – Review

Miracle in Motor City – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Amber’s family sits at the dinner table, and they talk about the Christmas pageant.  Amber’s mother and aunt started and ran the pageant until Amber’s mother died.  Now Amber’s aunt runs it alone.  But Amber’s aunt gets a call that her daughter will have her twins soon.  Amber promises to take over the pageant and follow her aunt’s instructions to the letter.  No more, no less.  At church, everyone worries about low ticket sales.  The church plans on using the proceeds to fund the church’s new roof.  Amber got an idea from her foster daughter, Lily.  Amber changes the theme to A Motown Christmas and lets the choir sing the Motown versions of the classic Christmas song (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  But she doesn’t think that will be enough.  Amber thinks a legendary Motown artist will draw a large crowd.  She decides Smokey Robinson is the man for the job.  But when she can’t get past Smokey’s agent, Amber starts to worry.  Seeing Amber toil with booking Smokey, her family, Nicole,and Ham, decide to contact Eddie, Amber’s ex-boyfriend.  They believe Eddie knows Smokey since he works in the music industry.  After a conversation, they convince Eddie to come to Detroit to help.  Eddie will work with Amber to find Smokey for their Christmas pageant.  As they work together, they mend the past.  But will a gig stand in their way for happiness?

With the sweet melodies of Motown guiding the way, this movie delivers a tale of love.  But the romance between Eddie and Amber is not the love you will focus on during the movie.  It’s the love between Lily and Amber.  Amber wants to be a mom but doubts her abilities.  Caring for Lily eases all the confusion in Amber’s mind.  With their shared love of Motown, Amber gains confidence in her abilities.  This moment will have you reaching for tissues. And don’t forget, you get a glimpse of the Motown Museum.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Do I really have to spell everything out – Nicole

Yeah, it would probably help – Ham

You’re a good man Charlie Brown – Eddie

And we bonded over Smokey – Amber

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A Christmas Witness – Review

A Christmas Witness – ION – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Dean works for Mr. Dinozzo, a notorious mobster.  Dean fights off Mrs. Dinozzo’s affection while smuggling jewels.  After Mr. Dinozzo tells Dean that Dean is like a son to him, the FBI raids Mr. Dinozzo’s home and accuses him of murder.  Mrs. Dinozzo says her husband was with her during the murder and blames Dean.  Mr. Dinozzo backs up his wife’s claims.  Disgusted by the betrayal, Dean turns state’s evidence and decides to testify against his old boss at Mr. Dinozzo’s trial.  To keep him safe, the FBI puts Dean into WITSEC.

After Agent Jessie finds her latest witness, Mona, singing at a bar, Jessie gets a call from her commander, Agent Chen.  Chen tells Jessie there is a new witness that needs protection.  If she doesn’t have the time, he can call Agent Harris to cover the job.  Agent Harris is married with children, so Jessie thinks he should have time with his family and takes the job.  Her new client is Dean.  It doesn’t take long for carefree Dean to work by-the-book Jessie’s last nerve.

At the prison, Mrs. Dinozzo visits her husband.  He can’t believe Dean would testify against him after everything he has done for Dean.  He tells Mrs. Dinozzo that if he goes down, she will lose everything.  She promises to find Dean and kill him.  Mr. Dinozzo interjects and tells her to make it look like an accident.  With Dean not taking his protection seriously, it’s only a matter of time before the mob is hot on his trail.  Can Agent Jessie keep him safe until the trial, or will Dean brighten the target on his back with Christmas lights?

Reminiscent of In Plain Sight, this movie focuses more on the small town the pair resides in and less on the protection (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  The hitman comes close to killing Dean, but mishaps thwart the murder.  As the movie focuses on saving the small town’s celebration, the film loses its appeal.  This pivot makes the movie another Hallmark movie, but it picks up in the end.  Stay for the beginning and end, but have a happy distraction for the middle.  

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Dean, how could you? Murder? – Mr. Dinozzo

Her? Just her? My fate is in the hands of a chick who can’t duck? – Dean

I don’t joke on duty – Jessie

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Christmas in Tahoe – Review

Christmas in Tahoe – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Claire’s Christmas Variety show is what she needed to attract Andre for Resort Center Entertainment in Las Vegas.  While Claire loves working at her father’s hotel, her passion is in the entertainment industry.  For six months, she planned the show and got the hottest pop star, Ashley Burns, to perform.  When Andre calls, he wants to offer her the job, but after Andre sees the show.  For the most part, Ashley is excited.  However, she hasn’t told her father, Tim, that she will leave him and their family hotel.  While walking in a market, Claire spots her ex-boyfriend, Ryan, lead guitarist for the Wild Lynx.  She used to manage the band.  But when they fired her, Ryan didn’t back Claire up, ending their relationship.  Clair tries to hide behind a nutcracker, but Ryan does the same when he tries to hide from his adoring fans.  They make polite conversation before Claire gives his hiding spot away.  Later, Ashley has to back out of the show because she has to get throat surgery to remove nodules from her vocal cords.  When other performers learn that Ashley backed out, they all start to back out.  Claire finds Ryan and asks if his band could play in the show to save her job.  She knows they will attract more entertainers with a famous headliner, and Ryan says he would say yes.  But he and the lead singer, Alistair, aren’t getting along.  Ryan wants to take time off the road to write songs, but Alistair feels they will lose fans.  Alistair is happy with having record company-selected writers crafting their songs, but Ryan doesn’t feel connected to them or the music.  Seeing Claire’s worry and panic, Ryan offers to help her find other artists for the show. And he won’t leave her side until they do.

With a performance by Train, this movie adds fairy dust to a lackluster plot (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It is entertaining to see Ryan and Claire try every trick fans played against him to get close to celebrities, but they get most connections through phone calls and other celebrity bookings.  But you know how it will end for their relationship, you watch to see the final performance.  Besides Train, there is an acapella group and comedian that entertains.  Otherwise, this movie is an ordinary holiday movie.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Hiding from you – Claire

Hiding from fans – Ryan

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Time for Them to Come Home for Christmas – Review

Time for Them to Come Home for Christmas – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Nurse Paul waits by his patient’s side, hoping to find some answers. She was walking along the road when a car skidded on ice. The woman jumped to avoid it and landed in the river. The police pulled her out alive, but she hasn’t woken up since. With her identification long gone, they have no idea who she is.  As Paul and the doctor assess her conditions, the woman wakes up.  They ask her name, and she doesn’t know it.  Her doctor tells her the woman has retrograde amnesia.  It may take time to get her memory, but he believes she gains it back over time.  Since the staff calls her Jane Doe, the woman asks them to call her Jane until she gets her memory back.  Sheriff Crowley asks around town about Jane, and a local diner waitress remembers Jane.  The waitress gives the sheriff a newspaper clipping that Jane left behind moments before her accident.  The clipping is about a Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony miles away.  When Crowley tells Jane, Jane wants to go.  She believes the clues to her memories are there.  As she leaves against the doctor’s orders, Paul offers to accompany her.  He was going to leave to see his brother, Ben, and sister-in-law, Marissa. This road trip to memory lane has one end: love.  Too bad that Jane remembers another man.

Based on Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas by Dorothy Shackleford, this movie gives you a glimpse of Jane’s past but nothing concrete (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  And when Crowley finds Jane’s luggage, it only leads to more questions.  Don’t worry.  The viewers won’t get to know Jane until she finds out.  This continuation of the Come Home for Christmas series gives a predictable movie with a fun and heartfelt ending.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Well, we could talk about me, but that would be a very short conversation – Jane

If enough of the pieces come back, soon you will have the bigger picture – Paul

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Dirty Little Deeds – Review

Dirty Little Deeds – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

After a six-month courtship, Jess and Simon wed.  Before they drive away from the chapel, Simon gets a message from his sister, Evelyn.  Evelyn coldly texts that their father died.  And then, congratulates him on the nuptials. Jess wants Simon to be by his family’s side to grieve, so they forgo the honeymoon and drive to his parent’s estate.  When they approach, Jess is in shock at the sprawling estate.  She had no idea Simon came from money.  Inside, Jess meets Simon’s mother and his maid, Ms. Watkins.  When Jess goes to her room, she finds an old picture of Simon with another woman.  Afterward, Jess runs in to see Simon’s sister, Evelyn, and his brother-in-law, Mark.  When they see each other, Mark leaves the room.  Simon learns his family has money issues, and they depend on Frances to straighten it all out.  The family started its fortune in lumber until the warehouse caught fire.  Since an employee died in the fire, they can’t collect on insurance.  Simon’s winery brings in money but not enough.  He admits this all to Jess, but he has another secret. The woman in the picture is Daphne, his ex-wife.  Simon never told Jess about Daphne while they were dating because Daphne is missing.  With so much information about her new husband, Jess’s mind swirls.  As she spends more time with this family, Jess will uncover a story about love, lies, and murder.  But does Simon have a role in this story?

This movie does a superb job of redirection.  You see all the signs, but you are interpreting them wrong.  It’s easy for the script to have you turned around in a few lines.  While this movie has a riveting mystery, the film drags in the middle. It’s too easy to forget what you are watching and change the channel.  So watch this movie when you have time to focus.  Otherwise, you will get distracted in the middle and forget all about the hell-raising end.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Let’s just get through tonight, and we’ll handle it together – Jess

The family’s in trouble – Evelyn

Like her? And you wonder why I left for so long. You people are vipers – Simon

You may be enjoying their hospitality at the moment, but you don’t owe them anything – Ms. Watkins

He was no saint, neither are you – Frances

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Christmas at Castle Hart – Review

Christmas at Castle Hart – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Paige fires Margot from her catering job, so her sister, Brooke, follows her and quits.  Margot thinks they should start a catering business, but Brooke isn’t sure.  Then Margot gets an idea.  Since they don’t have jobs, they should fly to their father’s country and find relatives.  Their father was born in America, but his parents are from Ireland.  He was adopted, so all he had were his parents’ names.  They take their inheritance and buy plane tickets for the next flight.  They get a lay of the land, but Margot wants an authentic experience.  So they walk into the pub.  They talk to the barkeep about their dad and tell her his last name was O’Riley.  She calls out the surname, and almost everyone answers.  The girls realize finding their dad’s relatives will be more grueling than they think.  As they talk about potential sightseeing, a man across the bar tells them to find leprechauns.  While on a walking tour, Brooke and Margot get bored and walk away from the group to the market.  There, Brooke sees the same man, Aiden, from the bar. They have playful banter, and she ends up back at his palace.  When Brooke leaves to find a bathroom, Margot overhears Siobhan talking about losing a party planner days before an event.

Margot interjects and tells them that she and her sisters are caters.  When Siobhan wants a look at the website, Margot tells them that Brooke is Paige, their old boss, and she can check the website for their photos.  When Brooke gets back, Margot begs her to play along so they can get the job and stay in the castle.  At first, Brooke wants to say no, but Siobhan asks Brooke to do it for the Earl of Glasough, Aiden.  Brooke says yes to the job.  Now, Brooke and Margot have 12 days to throw a royal party.  With neglected townspeople, nosy journalists, and Paige around the corner, can they do it?

This movie is everything you would expect for the Duchess.  The Duchess is a no-nonsense woman, eager to speak her mind and put people in their place.  This movie covers some Irish cultures but doesn’t get too intricate.  Watching her makes the movie worth seeing.  Otherwise, this film follows the typical fish-out-of-water storyline.  

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

It’s not like it’s illegal – Margot

We’re not from around here – Brooke

Why do I suddenly feel like Ebenezer scrooge – Aiden

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Soul Santa – Review

Soul Santa – BET and BETHer – 2 hours and 30 minutes

Nick is a collector for the mob and thinks Christmas is the biggest con.  While gathering debts, one of his debtors sees Nick’s daughter, Nevaeh, in the car alone.  He calls social services, but not out of duty to the girl’s safety but for revenge.  At the courthouse, Nick arrives late, and his ex-wife, Liz, wants to get a restraining order to keep him away from Nevaeh.  Liz tells him not to fight it because that would mean jail time.  So, Nick gets serious about his dream to own a nightclub and asks the mob boss for $100,000.  The boss says no because Nick owes him for previous gambling debts.  Nick goes to the bar and persuades the bartender to bet for him with mob money.  When Nick loses the bet, he has to hide.  He goes to Liz’s house, and Nevaeh helps him hide.  It’s not long before Liz finds him and agrees to let him stay for his safety.  Liz tells them that her mall lost its Santa after 24 years.  Fireflies Mall wants to buy Liz’s mall, so they offered Santa more money.  Without a Santa, the business will go down, and Liz’s boss will have to sell the mall for cheap.  Nick gets an idea.  He dresses as Santa and applies for the job. Although he only has money on his mind, Nick will become the most famous Santa ever.

Make sure your T.V. trivia knowledge is up to snuff.  Nick uses classic T.V. show characters for people’s names in his lies.  This running joke is comedic gold.  And seeing him get revenge on Liz’s love interest is juvenile but funny.  This movie adds small social commentary to today’s issues like dealing with a Karen.  This movie is a fun and relaxing watch for the holiday season.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

You know Christmas is the biggest con of all – Nicky

And I also know the ballet is the strip club – Nevaeh

What’s wrong with me bettering myself – Liz

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Categories: A Chestnut Family Christmas, A Christmas Dance Reunion, A Christmas Village Romance, A Christmas Witness, A Jenkins Family Christmas, Adam Hollick, Adventures in Christmasing, Aleksandra Kaniak, Alex Poch-Goldin, Alonzo B. Slater, Andy Ridings, Arielle Kebbel, Ashley Doris, Asia’h Epperson, Barbara Niven, BET, BET Her, BET Her TV, BET+, Brad James, Brendan Penny, Candace Cameron Bure, Catherine Haena Kim, Christmas Again, Christmas at Castle Hart, Christmas Beneath the Stars, Christmas in Tahoe, CindyMarie Small, Colin Egglesfield, Corbin Bleu, Countdown to Christmas, Damon Runyan, David Mann, Dirty Little Deeds, Disney Channel, Eight Gifts of Hanukkah, Erika Prevost, George Lopez, hallmark, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, Hateful and Grateful, HMM, Holidaze and Chill, Inbar Lavi, ion, Its A Wonderful Lifetime, Jaime M. Callica, Jake Epstein, Jeni Ross, Jennifer Rose Garcia, Jessy Schram, John Brotherton, Kalista Wilson, Kim Coles, Kim Fields, Kim Roberts, Klarc Jerome Wilson, Krysta Rodriguez, Kyle Selig, lacey chabert, Laura Osnes, lifetime, lifetime movie network, Linzi Fenix, lmn, Maddy Foley, Made for TV, Mark Taylor, Match Made in Mistletoe, Meagan Holder, Megan Best, Merry Movie Christmas, Michelle Argyris, Miracle in Motor City, Miracles of Christmas, Missing and Alone, Monique Coleman, movie, Natalie Lisinska, Naughty or Nice, Nayirah Teshali, Olivier Renaud, OWN, OWN For The Holidays, Pat Monahan, Regina Taylor, review, Robert Gossett, Romaine Waite, RuPaul, Sandra Dario, Saying Yes to Christmas, Scarlett Estevez, Slay Bells, Smokey Robinson, Soul Santa, Steve Belford, Stuart Townsend, Tamela Mann, Tammy Townsend, The Bitch Who Stole Christmas, The Christmas Contest, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Time for Them to Come Home for Christmas, tv review, UPtv, Vanessa Smythe, Vanessa Williams, Verity Marks, vh1, Welcome to the Christmas Family Reunion, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Your Home for the Holidays

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