#TheHammer, #SecretsInTheBuilding, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

Reba McEntire’s The Hammer – Review

Reba McEntire’s The Hammer – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Judge Kim Wheeler is the traveling judge that presides over three courthouses in a 2500-square-mile radius in Nevada. The state added her latest district after a madam, Chris, found the judge, Jacob, dead in her brothel. After Deputy Warren pulls Kim over during a traffic stop, Kim goes to the courthouse to find no security cameras or sign-in sheet. The old court secretary, Warren, left because he didn’t want to work for a woman.

Kim spills coffee on her first day on the bench and asks her bailiff, Vicky, to clean it up. While it’s highly irregular for a judge to start proceedings without a bailiff, Kim does it anyway. However, Kim proves to be strong enough to protect herself. A man attempts to attack Kim on the stand, and she hits him with her gavel. Someone captures the moment on camera, and it goes viral. Commenters nickname Kim ‘The Hammer.’ Before Kim leaves, her assistant, Jo, tells Kim that a case was left off her docket for Kirk Crawford. Kirk ran his best friend off the road because he dated Kirk’s ex-girlfriend, and the friend died in the crash. Kirk’s lawyer requests a speedy trial, but Judge Jacob wanted more time before he died. Since the court is 126 miles away, Vicky and Kim will drive to town and sleep there. Vicky learns that Kim chooses and likes to sleep in her truck.

Kim goes to the bar the night before the trial, and Kirk’s dad, Bart Crawford, approaches her like a friendly snake while the bartender, Vance, watches. Kim tells Bart their interaction is improper and could affect the proceedings. Bart leaves with a tip of his hat as Vicky enters. She wants Kim to be wary of Bart. Kim sleeps in her truck while Vicky sleeps in the hotel room. Vicky gets a call that Jacob didn’t have a heart attack. He died of a forced overdose. Vicky looks outside and sees someone around Kim’s truck. Kim observes the person’s snake-skinned boots. Vicky runs out to help Kim, but the person is gone. Later, Kim finds a note on her passenger seat with a dangerous warning. Someone wants Kim gone, like Jacob.

This movie has sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It’s a funny mystery with dynamic characters that viewers will sink their teeth into while watching. Each character has a rich and complex backstory that resonates off the screen. Two hours will never be enough. With this small-town dynamic and tough-as-nails judge, this film is a series in the making. Something in this movie will strike a chord with anyone watching. It’s definitely worth a permanent place on your DVR. Be ready to find your new guilty pleasure. And to Lifetime: Make another ASAP.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

What are you? Some kind of new rooster – Kim

Freeze. Everybody, just chill – Vicky

You better start acting remorseful, son – Bart

I think he finally found his soulmate, and this one’s declawed – Chris

It’s just a friendly warning, judge – Ellis

You alright? – Vance

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Secrets in the Building – Review

Secrets in the Building – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Michelle and her daughter, Norah, move into the top floor of a condo. Their maintenance man, Lawrence, walks in without an invitation and without knocking to complain about the noise. Michelle rattles off a list of unfinished work, and Lawrence quickly silences her. He informs Michelle that tenants must fill out a form for repairs, and it’s his day off. Michelle fires back that maintenance workers must give 24-hour notice before entering an apartment. Helene and her daughter, Channing, walk into the apartment as Michelle and Lawrence’s conversation heats up. Channing and Norah talk and discover they will attend the same school. The girls go up to Norah’s room to continue talking. Channing sees Norah’s pills and offers her MDMA, but Norah informs Channing that she takes medication for crippling migraines and turns down the offer.

Channing introduces Norah to Amanda, Aiden, and Griffin before school. Norah can’t take her eyes off the handsome Aiden, and Channing takes notice. Channing lies to the group and says Norah is a party girl looking to score drugs, but Amanda knows Channing is lying. Amanda pulls Norah aside and tells Norah to watch out for Channing. Channing changed since her parents got divorced. Now, Channing needs validation and is very clingy. Also, Channing and Aiden dated until her behavior drove him to end their relationship, but Channing is still possessive over him. Norah goes throughout her day trying to stay on Channing’s good side. But when she beats Channing during a track tryout, Channing’s claws come out.

Michelle comes home after work to see a man, Josh, standing at the door. Josh is the building contractor and is there to fix Michelle’s condo issues. Michelle invites him in, and he handles a lot of the low-hanging fruit. They get along swimmingly, and Josh asks her out on a date. Michelle tells Josh maybe, and he leaves. Michelle and Norah believe their home is a fresh start until they see Michelle’s car in the morning. Someone keyed it and left a threatening note. Michelle thinks Lawrence did it because someone reported his behavior to the condo board. But Norah thinks Channing did it as payback for Aiden. Michelle refuses to leave because their entire savings is in the condo. Someone is willing to kill Norah and Michelle for their ultimate plan.

There is more than meets the eye with this plot. The writers keep you guessing with so many people behaving poorly. Helene defends Channing with her fist, Channing drops beer bottles, and someone attacks Norah with a car. The suspects will give the viewers whiplash. While the setup is wild, the motive is insane. Michelle and Norah’s attacker see them as a means to an end. It will take an unlikely person to save them. This movie is a real roller coaster. There are crazy loops and twists, but you walk away feeling ‘that’s the end?’

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Thanks, mom. Right back at you – Norah

I never called management – Michelle

I’m sorry you are loud – Lawrence

Best friends shouldn’t keep secrets – Channing

She’s a stage 5 clinger. That’s for sure – Amanda

No, just the truth – Helene

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Engaged to be Murdered – Review

Engaged to be Murdered – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Olivia waits patiently outside for her fiancé, Jack, to introduce her to his mother, Amanda. Olivia works at a CPA firm representing Jack’s family company, Intex. Jack and Olivia met while they worked for Intex in Singapore six months ago. Amanda is unhappy with Jack’s surprise and makes back-handed statements toward Olivia. Amanda excuses herself and makes a private call to her brother, Victor, who owns Intex. Jack called Victor moments earlier and told Victor about Olivia and the engagement, and Victor agreed with Amanda that the relationship happened too fast. He worries Olivia could be a spy, so he asks his assistant, Stan, to look into Olivia, her company, and her background. That’s not enough for Amanda. Amanda believes Jack’s ex-girlfriend, Rachel, is better suited for Jack. So, Amanda hires a private investigator to follow Olivia. Then, Amanda contacts Rachel’s mom, Caroline, to help reignite Rachel and Jack’s romance, but Caroline tells Amanda to back off.

Olivia and Amanda meet for coffee, but Olivia can see that Amanda’s attitude toward her hasn’t changed. Jack sits Amanda and Victor down to staunchly defend Olivia and tells them to stop. Or he will go no-contact. They pretend to agree, but Amanda’s P.I. got pictures of Olivia with another man, and Stan thinks Olivia is a corporate spy.

Olivia goes to Jack’s office with horrible information. Someone created a dummy company and siphoned nearly $1,000,000 from Intex, and the bad checks are from Victor’s headquarters. She wants to do more investigating before presenting the information. Olivia goes home to complete her report, and someone breaks into her home and strangles her into a coma. Someone is out for Olivia and will try again to murder her.

This movie has a lot of moving parts because its two storylines in one. With everything going on, Jack is one of the few wonderful Lifetime husbands that stands beside Olivia. The character development throughout the movie is believable and well-written. Everything in this movie is a clue, and the plot cleverly ties all the storylines into a bow. That is, until the end. The ending leaves the story open for a part two that is shocking.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Just because I’m family doesn’t mean I’m favorite – Jack

I promise to be my most charming self – Amanda

It’s fine – Olivia

Look into it – Victor

Rachel’s not easily manipulated – Caroline

Does Jack know his mother did that – Rachel

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The Dog Lover’s Guide to Dating – Review

The Dog Lover’s Guide to Dating – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Alex cooks a 5-star breakfast for her dog, Radar, and grabs a protein bar for herself. Her sister, Sarah, tells Alex to date, but Alex is too busy. She trains dogs and volunteers at the local animal shelter. As Alex and Sarah walk through the park, they see a man, Simon, fussing with a dog. The dog breaks free and ruins several picnics. Alex jumps in front of the dog and firmly tells the dog to sit. The dog sits immediately. Simon runs over and thanks Alex for helping him. Alex asks Simon for the dog’s name, and Simon says the dog’s name is Simon. Alex laughs and tells Simon to give Simon boundaries and leaves with Sarah. Simon’s friend, Chloe, returns to see her dog, Simon, calm. She thinks Simon worked a miracle. Simon tells Chloe that the dog needs boundaries, and she’s impressed.

Simon meets with Chloe later for a fancy dinner and brings flowers. However, Simon attacks him and rips the flowers to shreds. Chloe doesn’t want to go out because her dog is upset. Simon believes he must get through to the dog before he can date Chloe. He finds Alex in the park and spills coffee on her. Simon sees the shelter flyers in Alex’s hand when Simon tries to clean her. He asks her to train Simon in exchange for better posters because he works for an ad agency. Alex tells Simon no but offers a nugget of wisdom. She tells Simon to bring the dog a treat each time he gives Chloe a gift.

Alex walks to her favorite coffee stand with Sarah, and the barista hands her a note from Simon with his number. She calls Simon later and offers to help him train Chloe’s dog to win Chloe’s heart. What will Alex do when Simon starts to win her heart?

Based on The Dog Lover’s Guide to Dating: Using Cold Noses to Find Warm Hearts by Deborah Wood, this film offers helpful advice about dogs and how that advice parallels relationships (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). Simon’s pursuit of Chloe would be considered creepy on any other station. But Hallmark makes it kind and funny. Alex has trust issues because her father abandoned their family. This change is the only break from the Hallmark mold. Typically, the parent is deceased, but this movie tackles the effect of a parent ditching their family. And a round of applause for Sarah. For a little sister, she is wise beyond her years and scary when necessary. This film is a cute movie to kick off the new year but very predictable. Come for the love story, and stay for the dogs.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Fine by me as long as they’re reliable – Alex

It’s kind of hard to bail when you’re on a leash – Sarah

Show me how to show up – Simon

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Catfish Killer – Review

Catfish Killer – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Hannah is on edge because she got into Kenzer University, an ivy league school, but she still waits to hear if she got a scholarship. Principal Edwards calls Hannah into the office. Hannah was one of eleven applicants, and she got it. Hannah’s friends, Scott and Jane, take her bowling to celebrate and unwind. Jane tells Hannah about a new app called Clique. It allows you to group yourself based on interest and chat with similar-minded people. Hannah says no at first but changes her mind when Jane explains the concept. Jane makes Hannah a profile. After bowling, Hannah senses someone following her and turns to see Eli. He blames Hannah for not getting the scholarship because he was the second in line. When Eli gets hostile, Scott defends Hannah.

Hannah starts talking to a cute guy named James on the app. James seems nice, but Hannah notices that he knows things she isn’t telling him. Then Principal Edwards wants to see Hannah again. Hannah’s teacher claimed she plagiarized her latest paper. Hannah says it was an original work and asks to see it. She says the teacher has the wrong report. Hannah tries to locate it on her laptop but can’t. Principal Edwards has to warn the scholarship committee about Hannah’s infraction because they can’t prove she didn’t do it. Hannah panics and needs to find who set her up before she loses her scholarship. But looking under that rock will put Hannah’s life in danger.

The title is misleading because only one person dies. Yes, the suspect is on a rampage, but most survive. This movie introduces several suspects, including Hannah’s new love interest, Kevin, and eliminates them one by one. At first, some scenes feel disjointed. But when the villain starts their monologue, it comes back full circle. The backing track for this movie is one of the best in a Lifetime film, and it helps viewers feel the suspense and fear. Experienced Lifetimers will point to an obvious suspect and get dumb cops, but the plot keeps you guessing until the end. Yes, the story did leave an opening for part two.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

The foundation doesn’t seem to think so – Hannah

Not a chance, sweetheart – Eli

Is he seriously beckoning you – Scott

You’re cute when you blush – Kevin

I need to make my parents proud – Jane

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