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My Christmas Love (2016)
Very perky.....and screechy
Caught this on the July Christmas "sell ornaments" week and now I can be sure to avoid it when it endlessly loops from fall through winter on the Hallmark channel.
Anyone who has seen a Hallmark movie knew in the first couple of scenes who the big mystery man would be. There was zero chemistry between Mr. Twelve Gifts (no spoilers) and the flighty, perky heroine with the screechy voice. She needs to come down at least two decibels because she is causing dogs to howl. And why is it that all of the love interests looked alike? Or, for that matter, the women? There must be some "talent" pool that Hallmark dips into - all of the girls have to be blond and the men dark haired. Boring.
Major waste of time.
A Dash of Love (2017)
Standard Hallmark fare
Another recycled story - spunky loner (who cooks in a homeless shelter, no less), "accidentally" falls in love with co-worker who has a rocky relationship with his parents. Evil employer seeks to destroy them both. Valentine's Day theme, throw in Sinatra's "Just the Way You Look Tonight" and within the first 15 minutes you'll know the ending. Just once I would like a Hallmark production to end with a surprise!
On the plus side they have finally turned down the intrusive music that used to be constant background noise.
Definitely a play-in-the-background-while-you-run-the-vacuum" type movie.
JL Ranch (2016)
Every time I have hope for a Hallmark film....
...I am always disappointed.
Hallmark used to have such wonderfully acted and written films. Apparently that group of writers has died off because everything they put out now is trivial, dull, and uninteresting with really bad acting.
"The Fish and Wildlife Service will be all over you like stink on a pig" is an example of the sparkling rhetoric you will hear. I"m all for giving work to Actors of a Certain Age (and I am of that age so I can appreciate it) but Voight and Caan show so little of their acting abilities that it's embarrassing.
And I can see taking certain liberties with continuity but this is a hot mess. And the characters are just caricatures with each one taking on the role of good guy, bad guy (villain wears a black hat, for Pete's sake), put-upon daughter, big-hearted sheriff, frisky granddaughter, ad nauseam.
Don't waste your time. Lots of better things to do!
My Summer Prince (2016)
Typical Hallmark drivel
Hallmark, once a standout in quality drama, has slumped into making films with a handful of repeatable plots. How many Common Girl Meets Prince and Falls for Him versions can they produce? If not a single woman then the principle character is either a widow, widower, angel, or comatose/near death. The love interest always has a snotty fiancé/girlfriend/boyfriend who is so awful that you know he won't be the endgame. SO boring, so predictable. If you've seen one, you've seen them all. You can tell in the first 10 minutes of this drivel what the outcome will be. The characters have virtually no chemistry.
Don't waste your time, they end up together as always.
Lovely little movie that has stood up over the years
I can't believe that this movie was made back in 1989. Well, the hairstyles and some of the clothes are dated but the story is one that knows no era.
It is wonderful to see kids out and about, to see a little girl with so much dedication to her beliefs that she'll spend a day cleaning a (REALLY dirty) house, a child that truly carries the spirit of Christmas to it's fullest.
Sam Elliot, always great, does a wonderful job portraying the father who has little hope and few resources to support his family. He's lost his wife and is struggling to make a go of a difficult business. Jessica is a handful and he really doesn't understand her at all.
Most Christmas movies are about sickly sweet love stories that really don't address family relationships or incorporate the reality of the hardships that exist. This one is out of the ordinary in that sense and the sad moments are nicely balanced with the warmth and beauty of the meaning for the season.
Merry Matrimony (2015)
Typical Hallmark Treacle
I want to like Hallmark movies, I really do. But they apparently have a standard formula; if you've seen one you've seen them all. There is either a lost love, a character with a dead spouse, or a divorced parent that still loves the other party. This one is the lost love plot and if you couldn't figure out the ending in the first 10 minutes you've never seen a Hallmark movie.
The supposedly ultra-glamorous sets for a trendy bridal magazine were standard Christmas decorations seen in any department store. The wedding dress was totally forgettable. This was supposed to be a top bridal rag and the poses were in front of a Christmas tree and a car? There was no thought toward making the "jobs" of either character the least bit authentic - what fashion photographer takes one shot and calls it "perfect" and walks away?
Zero chemistry between the characters and bad acting all around.
And my perennial complaint with Hallmark movies all shot on the same summer sound stage - green leaves on all of the trees, characters inappropriately dressed for what is supposed to be cold weather.
Two hours of my life I will not get back.
Bridal Wave (2015)
Watch with the sound off - contains spoilers
The good: The scenery is wonderful and I'd love to see it in person.
The bad: pretty much everything else. If you couldn't figure out the ending in the first ten minutes, you've never seen one of these insipid Hallmark movies.
Every character was a caricature, the work-possessed fiancé, the evil mother-in-law to be, the perky heroine at odds with her future, the too-good-to-be-true hero (her soul mate, naturally) and the cutesy mom and pop.
And all of this overlaid with nonstop, constant, loud, cutesy music. There isn't five minutes of this flop that has silence in it. Hasn't anyone at Hallmark heard the expression "less is more"?
This is 2 hours of my life I will never get back. What a waste.
A Royal Christmas (2014)
Same old, same old (contains spoilers, sort of)
Other than the cool castle, simply plug new characters into the formulaic Hallmark schmaltzy script and you will know 5 minutes into the story how it will end. Hallmark REALLY needs some new writers and directors! Same loud relentless non-stop music overpowering the insipid dialog.
Same old plot: Prince meets commoner, falls in love. Prince takes commoner home to meet royal Mom. Royal Mom is tyrant, wants royal son to marry royal ex-girlfriend. Royal Mom plots against commoner who is busy making friends below stairs because she is so perky and friendly. Commoner sacrifices her happiness "for the good of the kingdom". Royal Mom sees the light, does a rapid 180, and urges Prince to follow his heart. No point in going on, you know what happens from here.
Don't waste your time. There are way better things in life than this drivel.
The Christmas Spirit (2013)
Formulaic you can foresee the entire story in the first 10 minutes
The minute they showed the broken traffic light the anvils started raining down and the entire plot was revealed immediately. Charlotte, an award winning journalist, comes to visit her small town family at Christmas.
There is a requisite Big Bad Businessman tied to the Evil Empire destined to destroy the quaint little village that can't afford to fix a traffic light. First thought put up a stop sign but then there wouldn't be this insipid pseudo-plot.
There is also the usual cast of relatives including bullied nephew and wayward niece, both saved by the almost-ghost aunt and the lonely, eccentric neighbor (anvil again) who can see things.
Another anvil hits when the Big Bad Businessman says that Christmas isn't his thing and then proceeds to tell the totally expected sad story of his boyhood which includes no Christmas tree.
Of course, both Spirits are able to touch and move things (and bake cookies) despite being almost-ghosts although their ability is mysteriously inconsistent.
Nicollette Sheridan is pretty much the worst actor I know but she keeps being hired for this Hallmark schlock. The acting was blah by pretty much everybody except Olympia Dukakis and it's a mystery why she got mixed up in this mess. If you can't figure out the ending within the first 10 minutes, you've never watched a Hallmark low budget production.
Lucky in Love (2014)
Standard Hallmark schlock
Typical formulaic schlock. If you couldn't foresee the ending in the first 10 minutes then you've never watched a Hallmark movie. And the intrusive bland tuneless piano music is relentless I don't think there were more than 10 minutes in the whole movie where there was enough silence to hear the dialog.
Girl is secretly loved by nerdy co-worker. Girl makes wishes (big promotion, handsome boyfriend, big house). Girl miraculously gets what she wished for (big promotion, handsome boyfriend, big house). Everything fine for 10 minutes and then everything starts to unravel (blows off friends who won't come to see her because her house is too far away, nerd leaves and takes another job, alienates team with her snotty attitude, allows handsome boyfriend to call the shots). Girl miraculously sees the light (inspires previous superior at work to become a better man, whips her team into shape and saves the day, sees new boyfriend as the shallow cad that he is, and realizes that she and the nerd were meant to be). Requisite "running through the streets because can't get a cab and arriving too late" scene followed by meeting the nerd just by chance and seeing the light.
That's two hours of my life I'll never get back.