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From the Heart (2020)
Same tired Halmark trope with religion thrown in
I had hoped that this latest offering might possibly be different and maybe even realistic but, sadly, no.
Typical Hallmark fare with the usual predictable characters - ditzy friend/colleague, self-absorbed boyfriend, big city girl back on the farm, old flame (a widower with an adorable kid) ignites old feelings, only this time with religion thrown into the mix.
Apparently no one did any actual research on the Amish faith aside from dressing the actors for the part and there were errors on that as well. Living Plain is not just a way of life, it's an actual religion and was poorly portrayed.
As always, the city girl sees the error of her ways and decides to come back to the Amish way of life to be with her childhood crush. There was a passing reference to her never having been shunned but that makes no sense unless she struck out on her own in her mid teens. Since most Amish girls are lucky to make it past the 8th grade it makes no sense that she miraculously became a renowned travel writer out of the blue. After rumpringa in their late teens, the young people have to decide to leave the community and go out on their own or be baptized and stay. If they leave at any time after baptism, they are shunned and have no further contact with the family.
Katrina acted like returning to the Amish way of life was just changing a costume and remembering a recipe. Way to blow off a whole lifestyle, Hallmark.
And she didn't bat an eye knowing that shunning would be the case after Isaac decides to leave. He was turning away from a lifetime of religious beliefs and denying his daughter any further contact with lifelong friends and family. But, hey, it was True Love.
The whiplash changes in character are never addressed either. In five minutes, Miriam goes from refusing to touch her sister to suddenly loving her. And nobody in the Amish faith would ever condone, let alone encourage, a member of their community to leave.
Hallmark is in dire need fo some new writers. Ones that have fresh ideas and also do some research to make their stories believable. This was neither.
Love at Look Lodge (2020)
Two hours of a snoozefest. Formulaic plot as always. Not a wit of attraction between the leads.
I hate to be so cynical but Hallmark has gotten some really bad press about their lack of diversity. Was this deliberately a horrible pairing just so they could say "See, we tried an interracial couple and nobody liked the movie" to justify abandoning the effort?
The plot just crawled, didn't make you care about anybody. A total waste of time.
Christmas Coach (2019)
Do NOT waste your time
Hallmark has become the absolute worst in their stories, apparently choosing quantity over quality. This one is just a poster child for the decline of their writing and creation of Stepford Wives characters. All robotic Caucasians with absolutely no acting skills, no chemistry, and no sensible (or interesting) story lines.
Those who think you should only say something nice about a movie apparently don't understand the point of User Reviews. I want to warn others not to waste the precious moments of their lives watching this dreck!
Appetite for Love (2016)
Typical insipid Hallmark
Nothing new here folks, move on. The only good thing about this movie was the gorgeous scenery. Vancouver is so beautiful
As expected: The boyfriend is a corporate dolt and a total stuffy jerk. The old boyfriend is a down-to-earth good guy full of angst and passion for everything good and noble. The female lead returns from her glamorous job in the big city to save the country rubes from themselves but sees the light and finds that small town living is the way to go. Home town folks have hearts of gold except the mean girls. Hallmark continues to ignore any logic and thinks we are too stupid to know that apples are not ripe on the trees at Valentine's Day.
Sailing Into Love (2019)
Get out your ear plugs
Totally ridiculous story, even for Hallmark, made worse by the total lack of acting ability of the Barbie doll lead, straight from the Hallmark warehouse of lookalike blonds. The most painful part was the screeching, high-pitched voice of the lead suitable only for a three year old throwing a tantrum. It was actually painful in pitch and intensity.
Beautiful scenery totally wasted on this pile of crap. Don't waste your time.
A Winter Princess (2019)
What's with Hallmark's obsession with royalty?
Apparently the writers at Hallmark think every American woman (clearly their preferred audience) is some sort of Cinderella wannabe. This same plot has been used multiple times and it never changes.
It only take ten minutes to know what will happen, who will end up with whom, and how the problem will be solved. Boring and predictable.
The lead actress was awful. I've seen better acting at high school plays. Her overblown "royal entrance" was laughable with the idiotic princess wave and holding her arms out like wings. The dress was beyond hideous but apparently the Hallmark wardrobe folks think that's what American's expect to see. And stop with the idiotic British accents already. Every tiny, hidden, unknown monarchy apparently speaks English with a bad British accent.
The one redeeming grace is the gorgeous scenery which was, honestly, the best character in the movie.
Christmas Bells Are Ringing (2018)
Lather, rinse, repeat
This is the same plot as umpteen other Hallmark sentimental movies. As soon as you meet the two love interests and hear about their personal plans you know exactly what will happen which means that you only need to see the first ten minutes.
And for the love of Pete, get a new hair stylist for the woman. Every single woman in every single Hallmark movie has an identical hair style except women of color - but Hallmark is woefully lacking in using anything but Caucasians in their drivel.
And while on a hiring kick, get a new technical adviser for any of the myriad of fake photographer plot lines and have them teach the character how to hold a camera correctly!
Christmas Everlasting (2018)
A step up
Finally Hallmark has put a person of color in a leading role. Unfortunately, it made the deceased sister an unwed mother which I have never seen in a Hallmark movie with a white lead character. And, of course, the supportive friends were all white. Racism much?
The story was a tiny bit better than most of the schlock that Hallmark pumps out in their endless stream of Christmas movies. Of course, the two lead characters fall in love which is no surprise to anyone. I didn't see much chemistry between them but they were pleasant enough.
I didn't hate it, I didn't love it but at least they didn't use the same industrial strength curling iron to create identical hairstyles on every female. I just wish Hallmark would come up with one new, innovative idea. The same old recycled plots gets old fast.
Loved the deep voiced uncle who stars in auto insurance commercials! I could listen to him all day long!
Christmas in the Air (2017)
The usual Hallmark syrupy sweet dreck with absolutely nothing new
All you need to do is see the names of one female and one male and you always know how these formulaic things will end. No suspense whatsoever. However, in this case it was worse because the romantic couple were not the least bit romantic. Absolutely unbelievable that they got together. And the whole "dancer in a box" was just plain creepy.
Skip this if you want to remember Longmire with Honesty and Integrity
I waited to watch this because I really didn't want it to be well and truly over. Now I wish I never had. It was quite the Disney-esque move to wrap up everything neatly with happily ever after. So unlike the rest of the series.
First and foremost the sex scene was positively cringe-worthy. Vic mooning over Walt for all of this time was like some love sick teenager with a crush on an adult teacher. Those two had zero chemistry and the whole "turned on by the scars" thing was just icky.
We all knew that Malachi would get it in the end so no surprise there. Nighthorse off to prison, it appears. Henry taking over the casino - I suppose that's good for the tribe but so out of character for his character.
And Cady as sheriff? Where in the world did THAT come from? Just stupid.
Really, really disappointed. Season 6 was definitely the weakest and topped off with this wreck of a finale it really leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Love at First Dance (2018)
One small step above the usual Hallmark dreck
If you have ever watched even one Hallmark movie, you already know how this ends. But, for a change, the girlfriend is not a shrill shrew trying to make us cheer for the leading lady. She's actually played pretty realistically and you don't hate her at the end. It's also a nice change where the leading lady does what seems best for her without dumping her life for the handsome lead.
The best ending would have been for them to part company but this is Hallmark so you know that would never happen.
The leads were pretty good and (on a shallow note - those eyebrows!) the existing girlfriend wasn't bad either. The dancers they brought in for the ballet sequences were good dancers as well.
So overall, it won't make you want to put a pin through your eyes. But also pretty standard Hallmark with a little improvement.
Love Struck Café (2017)
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Typical formulaic Hallmark slop with the ending of the story blindingly apparent at the 12 minute mark.
They advertize this as part of the Harvest offerings but, as usual, aside from stapling some ripe apples to a tree and putting a pumpkin on a bale of hay, there is no hint of autumn in this mess. They have stopped even pretending to make things realistic, every deciduous tree is leafy and green.
And, speaking of color, the entire cast with the exception of a good-hearted waitress, is white as the driven snow. Apparently Hispanics, Asians, or people of color are not welcome on Hallmark lots. Maybe because only long haired Caucasians can wear the same giant-sized curling ironed hairstyle that all Hallmark female actors wear these days.
Stock characters (girl who went off to the big city and made good has a workaholic boyfriend, small town ex-boyfriend with dead wife and adorable child, down to earth townies) live in idyllic place that the Big Bad Corporate types want to destroy.
Idiotic and implausible story line where demanding boss sets impossible deadline for girl to meet. And then, miracle of miracles, a last minute brainstorm (four minutes before the deadline) saves the day, the heroine, the town, the company, and the big love story.
It only got above a 2 rating because of the lake.
A Harvest Wedding (2017)
Bland, bland, bland
If you have ever seen a Hallmark movie, this one is typical "small town girl who lives in the big city returns to her roots and sees the light" fare.
Hallmark makes little to no effort into making the environment believable, pasting some leaves in colors not known in nature on one big tree to make it seem like this is in autumn while all of the other foliage in the area have the green leaves of summer. Production values score: zero.
The ending is totally unbelievable with the demise of the chef's kitchen by fire just a small bump n the road as the down home farm folk donate good wholesome farm fresh produce which he immediately (without a kitchen, apparently) turns into a gourmet meal worthy of a standing ovation.
And, big surprise, the down home girl realizes the error of her ways and retuns to the old boyfriend. Gee, on what Hallmark story have we seen that before.
And Hallmark continues is unblemished record of making all characters lily white with the exception of one person of color. No other nationality need apply for these syrupy movies.
The plus is the two leads who are not twenty somethings.
Hallmark loves their industrial strength curling iron - nearly all females in these sappy movies have the same version of hair style.
Royal Hearts (2018)
Worse than usual
Bad enough it follows the insipid Hallmark formula about castles and kings- rich boyfriend is a heel, poor boyfriend is a jewel, down home folk showing taking over the castle and saving the day. Then throw in a good ol' boy cowboy (who wears his battered hat at all times which a real cowboy knows is not correct) who single-handed saves the independence of a whole country and saves his daughters happiness as well. Throw in dogs and horses and ponies and you've seen it all already. I'd give it a one except for the scenery.
Come Dance with Me (2012)
The usual from Hallmark
This is typical Hallmark and fits into their usual formula...the lead's girlfriend/boyfriend is a ditz/evil, the lead finds his soulmate totally innocently, the lead works for an evil empire attempting to take over the soulmate's business/building/town/resort. There is always snow and lots of Christmas lights. If you've seen more than two Hallmark movies, you'll know the ending in the first 10 minutes.
There are a couple of redeeming features, one being the nice dance sequences. Michelle Nolden is an exquisite and extremely graceful dancer and the camera follows her beautifully. I don't know if she studied dance or is a really well-coached actress but I did enjoy watching her. McCarthy isn't bad, either.
A little variation on the music would have been nice. That same song, repeated umpteen times in the movie, becomes brain lint.
Sound of Christmas (2016)
Typical Hallmark schmaltz
Hallmark really needs to find a new formula. This same premise has been used in multiple holiday movies. The acting was bland and predictable and if you didn't know the ending in the first 15 minutes then you haven't caught on yet. There was absolutely nothing new or compelling here. And for heaven's sake, if you are going to have actors pretending to play the piano, give them some lessons. You can't play a keyboard with your arms plastered to your sides!
If you want the usual formulaic story with the sappy ending then this is for you.
And stop stealing background music from other films. This one used tunes from While You Were Sleeping over and over.
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.