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Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

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Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Old 12-09-23, 11:11 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Planes, Trains and Christmas Trees 4 out of 5 (Lifetime) - An event planner on her way across country shares a car ride with an NFL QB and gets snowed in together in his hometown. Does the story make much sense? Not so much, but the attractive leads fit together nicely and there are several seasonal touches in the story. The last 5-10 minutes are rushed and seem haphazard, the only negative. A 2022 Christmas film I must have missed last year.
Old 12-10-23, 10:35 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Catch Me If You Claus 5 out of 5 (Hallmark) - The most fun I've had this Christmas season. Italia Ricci and Luke Macfarlane star in this comedy romp that sees Ricci's character catching Santa's son by mistake and they stumble into a caper. Love, love, love the premise and execution. I'd probably give three stars to Ricci reading the phone book but she's dynamite here mixing it up with Macfarlane. They shared a little factoid this was Macfarlane's 15th Hallmark movie.

The Jingle Bell Jubilee 1 out of 5 (Great American) - Clunky story about a lead foursome with tangled love interests. Nothing gels and the mostly second-rate cast can't salvage this poorly written flick. One of those plots whose conflicts could be resolved in one minute if the characters talked to each other.

Navigating Christmas 1.5 out of 5 (Hallmark) - Clearly a romance screenplay they refashioned into a Christmas movie because the season is barely part of the entire story. I don't remember seeing lead Chelsea Hobbs before in a Christmas film. Something is amiss when the 13-year-olds have better romantic chemistry (in a cute b-plot) than the main couple. Passably made but there are too many good Christmas movies to give this a look.
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Old 12-11-23, 10:21 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Rescuing Christmas 4/5, I enjoyed this one with the family.

[QUOTE]It follows an anti-Christmas photographer as she wishes Christmas would disappear. [/QUOTE]

Rescuing Christmas (hallmarkchannel.com)
Rescuing Christmas (2023) - IMDb 7.8 on IMDB
Rachel Lee Cook from She's all that...

Old 12-12-23, 01:28 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

A Season for Family with Brendan Penny and Stacey Farber was clearly about adoption from the ads, but the concept was that both leads were adoptive parents, and it was one of those stories in which you just beg people to come clean from the start and avoid a lot of problems. I got way more wrapped up in it than I expected. Farber was in Butlers in Love, and she's pretty charming and adorable.

Letters to Santa is Hispanic-centric and about a separated couple, and it's fine.

A Glenbrooke Christmas is from 2020, but it was on the schedule, and it was an Autumn Reeser that I hadn't seen before, so why not? Answer is because it's not that good, the main concept being that Autumn is a tycoon returning to her mom's small town and trying to fit in with the rabble. It goes as expected.

A Christmas Mural is about art. Christmas with a Kiss has a gorgeous lead Mishael Morgan who I haven't seen before. A Not So Royal Christmas has Will Kemp and Brooke D'Orsay and is not the usual commoner-meets-royalty plot. All of these were fine and easy deletes.
Old 12-12-23, 05:03 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Mistletoe Magic 5 out of 5 (UPtv) - It was about 15 minutes into the movie before I realized I had already caught Mistletoe Magic a couple years back. But it's such a good movie I got stuck watching it over again, which I almost never do these days. Jessica Sipos is fantastic in this as a weather girl who dislikes Christmas and Stephen Huszar as a guy who loves the holiday, as they look for her family's missing mistletoe on one of the cuter adventures we can get. Did I mention Santa makes an appearance? I think I may have already reviewed this one long ago in the thread.

Peppermint and Postcards 0 out of 5 (Great American) - The first bomb I've ever caught from star Christopher Russell, who's starred in a lot of these seasonal movies for Hallmark and others. His other Christmas movie from Great American this year is far better. He's a news reporter doing a human interest story on a local woman's dating life. The setup for her is quite strange - her ex-husband has brought his new fiancee as they share the holidays together with their only child. The guy playing her former husband is maybe the worst actor I've ever encountered in a Christmas movie and his fiancee isn't much better.
Old 12-13-23, 09:41 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Peppermint and Postcards - I actually started this one up but for now have decided to walk away and not finish it. The (French?) fiancee is solid in the film, along with Christopher Russell, but Ella Cannon is just not working for me, or maybe it is what they have her doing/saying in the film. She goes on dates where she says things oh, we just saw a nice lot of trees, and other cringe stuff. I think I am at best 30 minutes into the film but might finish it as background viewing, or fast forward some bits.

I was actually looking forward to this one, oddly enough, so a definite letdown. I think a bunch of GAC fans swarmed the listing on IMDB, because I think right now it has a 6.8 rating which is high for this type of film.

I am almost done with a Freevee original, EXmas, which is actually good. Decider did not like, but The Daily Beast enjoyed the film, and I feel that The Daily Beast got this one right as it is a fun watch. Definitely consider watching this movie if you have the time. It stars Leighton Meester and Robbie Amell, along with some other solid supporting cast mates. I think this film is a victim of lofty expectations, and might not be everyone's cup of tea (yes, the sister of Amell's character is a lesbian, but that storyline in the film works) but it should not have a lower IMDB rating than Peppermint and Postcards.

Round and Round is a fun Hanukah film, one of the better Holiday originals this year (and quite frankly, just one of the better Hallmark films produced over the past several years) that is fun to watch. It is a Groundhog Day type film that works due to the great cast in this film.

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Old 12-14-23, 02:13 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Burned through three GACs on the DVR and regret it a little bit.

A Christmas for the Ages was one of the worst holiday movies I've ever seen. The concept was that multiple generations talked about their traditions, but it was so slow and boring. Cheryl Ladd at 72 was the middle generation. Saving grace was Cameron Candace Bure's daughter singing a pretty good version of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe was about two realtors, and it was... not as bad because it at least had a plot.

Christmas on Windmill Way was the best of the lot, which is not saying much, but at least it had a professional actor in Chad Michael Murray, and Christa Taylor Brown was OK. Standard plot about evil corporate types trying to destroy the town's landmark.

After seeing Aubrey Reynolds in Santa Maybe, I was charmed enough to catch her 2020 Lifetime movie, Hot Chocolate Holiday, in which she and a rival businessperson have a dispute over a hot chocolate recipe. Not huge stakes, but Reynolds is still likable as a second- or third-tier lead.

To cleanse my palate, I finally watched Where Are You, Christmas?, in which Lyndsey Fonseca wishes there were no Christmas and turns black-and-white when she gets her wish. Different concept, and I like Michael Rady, so I liked it.
Old 12-16-23, 02:12 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Watched a few more 2023 films today, even if they were from a while back.

A Merry Scottish Christmas was a pretty typical Lacey movie, and I didn’t really care about the reunion since I never watched Party of Five. I was as annoyed as Lacey was toward the end. Great cameo by Will Kemp. So two new Lacey monies this year, neither of them special.

A Norwegian Holiday was mostly worth it for Rhiannon Fish, who is very charming and funny, and really is the new Hallmark It Girl.

A Biltmore Estate was pretty good, with the star power of Lenz and Polaha, and I liked the old Hollywood setting. Nice to have a couple Star Trek veterans in it, plus another Hallstar cameo.
Old 12-16-23, 05:03 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Holiday Hotline 4 out of 5 (Hallmark) - I enjoyed this movie mostly thanks to Emily Tennant's ease performing both English and American accents in it. I wasn't a big fan of the gimmick storytelling device, which sees Emily's character repeatedly talking to her love interest over the turkey hotline in the same kitchen. I probably would have marked Holiday Hotline even higher but leading man Niall Matter doesn't give off the same exuberant Chad energy Hallmark's more popular male stars give off.

Royally Wrapped For Christmas 4 out of 5 (Great American) - An older Jen Lilley vehicle from 2021 about a prince falling in love with an American woman. She elevates what could have been yet another pedestrian "royal" romance into a pleasant time. Starts out a little slow but rounds into form as the prince becomes less of a stereotype.
Old 12-17-23, 02:20 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger
I wasn't a big fan of the gimmick storytelling device, which sees Emily's character repeatedly talking to her love interest over the turkey hotline in the same kitchen.
I actually liked that. They could've kept them strictly on the phone and alternated or split-screen them, but I felt that showing them in the same room represented the intimacy and directness of their conversation.
Old 12-17-23, 02:15 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Originally Posted by davidh777
I actually liked that. They could've kept them strictly on the phone and alternated or split-screen them, but I felt that showing them in the same room represented the intimacy and directness of their conversation.
The direction just felt a bit artificial for my tastes. The conversations could have also been deeper between Emily's American alter ego and the guy, but I guess that's more a script issue. But everything else worked so well it didn't matter in the end to me.

Christmas Wedding Planner 5 out 5 (UPtv) - This is the oldest movie I've caught this season, having been released all the way back in 2017. Is this a Christmas movie? No, outside of token decorations in the final wedding scene there are no Christmas themes worth mentioning. But it's a fantastic romcom about a wedding planner handling her cousin's marriage which has something for everyone, as she gets sucked into investigating the groom alongside her cousin's ex-boyfriend in a screwball mystery adventure. Awesome chemistry between the three leads of Jocelyn Hudon, Rebecca Dalton, and Stephen Huszar. I vaguely remember seeing Jocelyn Hudon in a couple things, she's the real star here. Did some snooping because she's not been in much since 2020 and it appears she's semi-retired from acting after getting married in 2021. A shame since she's so good in this film.

Christmas On Windmill Way 3 out of 5 (Great American) - Chad Michael Murray stars in this serviceable Christmas tale of a businessman being forced to close down the windmill landmark owned by his high school girlfriend's family. A pleasant, by-the-numbers movie which is mostly forgettable.
Old 12-18-23, 10:00 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Sealed with a List - Hallmark. Stars Katie Findlay and it was a quality film. Katie's Hallmark films do tend to be above average.
Old 12-18-23, 01:08 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas



Take Me Back for Christmas (2023) stars Vanessa Lengies.

I guess this aired on Hallmark in the summer? I caught it on Hallmark Movies Now last night. Did any of you watch this?

I thought it was really good and charming. Lengies plays a young woman in a dead end job who wishes for an alternate life where she's successful and owns her own business. An "Elf" she meets grants her that wish and she ends up in an alternate life and very successful. However, she's no longer married and during the course of the movie she tries to win back her "ex-boyfriend" But, also she's reunited with her Mom who had died in her real world and learns to appreciate her more.

The standard Hallmark movie with a by the numbers romance for the most part bores him. I like movies with a "hook" to it and I found this interesting. All the characters including Lengies are very likable. And it has a heartwarming ending.
Old 12-18-23, 05:05 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Hallmark premieres a couple Christmas movies each summer for their Christmas In July event.
Old 12-19-23, 05:50 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Mistletoe Match 3 out of 5 (Lifetime) - A film I must have missed last Christmas. This is a mostly enjoyable romantic yarn about two people joining a dating service and they "fake" a relationship to avoid matching with others. The female star is actually an undercover journalist hoping to expose the service's failures but hides that from the guy. Single parents with a child have become increasingly common romantic targets in the formula, though in this case the dad is so young looking it appears he must have been a father at 15.

A bigger problem I've become aware of in Lifetime's few holiday films is the thorough lack of any real connection to Christmas. They are often little more than your standard romcom with a few holiday decorations tossed in the background like an afterthought. Hallmark does that once in awhile but it's not as common.
Old 12-21-23, 04:23 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Christmas in Wolf Creek 1.5 out of 5 (UPtv) - Maybe I'm being harsh on this one from 2022 but this is more of a messy ensemble pic which I think is a sequel to an earlier movie I may or may not have caught. The first hour is a real slog of meandering story arcs about a petting zoo business threatened when they lose their prized reindeer. A couple of familiar faces (the guy from Syfy's SurrealEstate is the nominal lead) but the female lead gives off a harsh vibe in many of her scenes. Picks up in the second half but by then I was already checked out on these characters.

A Royal Christmas Engagement 0 out of 5 (UPtv) - This came out during 2020 and I always look askew at television productions made during the height of lockdowns given the many restrictions. John Schneider is the "name" but the younger romantic lead couple are absolutely third-stringers who shouldn't be leads in the first place. I'll admit I couldn't make it past 40 minutes.
Old 12-21-23, 05:31 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Originally Posted by DJariya
Take Me Back for Christmas (2023) stars Vanessa Lengies.

I guess this aired on Hallmark in the summer? I caught it on Hallmark Movies Now last night. Did any of you watch this?

I thought it was really good and charming. Lengies plays a young woman in a dead end job who wishes for an alternate life where she's successful and owns her own business. An "Elf" she meets grants her that wish and she ends up in an alternate life and very successful. However, she's no longer married and during the course of the movie she tries to win back her "ex-boyfriend" But, also she's reunited with her Mom who had died in her real world and learns to appreciate her more.

The standard Hallmark movie with a by the numbers romance for the most part bores him. I like movies with a "hook" to it and I found this interesting. All the characters including Lengies are very likable. And it has a heartwarming ending.
I recorded it over the summer and watched it this month. I liked it, and as you say the premise was different from the standard ones,
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Old 12-22-23, 10:18 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas



Hallmark Channel Accused of Stealing Christmas Movie Storyline



A woman claimed her holiday travel saga was turned into a Hallmark movie without her knowledge or compensation. Hallmark says the characters are 'wholly original.'

And Holiday Road was my favorite of the new crop of Hallmark Christmas movies this season.
The story does seem inspired by that particular TikTok-documented journey to TN, but the whole ensemble road trip plot has been done to death, countless of times.

Old 12-23-23, 05:05 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Would it surprise me if they ripped off that woman's life? No, the "new" Hallmark has become increasingly corporate and they have to churn out dozens of decent ideas each year now for Christmas. I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often.

Designing Christmas With You 4.5 out of 5 (Great American) - Definitely one of this year's better Great American films, the couple have great chemistry and the director has a keen eye for nice location shoots. I believe the female lead has done a couple non-Christmas movies for Lifetime. The romance is sweet and the pacing is fantastic.

A Cowboy Christmas Romance 4.5 out of 5 (Lifetime) - Jana Kramer stars in this well-written tale of a city girl returning to her estranged family's ranch when attempting to broker a real estate deal with their neighbor. One of the very few cable Christmas flicks made over the past few years with a lovemaking scene, the screenplay isn't particularly concerned with Christmas and the holiday was probably tacked on at the last minute. An improbable happy ending doesn't mar the real conflict and tension which underlies this entire story. Great supporting cast, I was tempted to give this a perfect score.
Old 12-24-23, 10:59 AM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Mystery On Mistletoe Lane 5 out of 5 (Hallmark) - A fine Christmas "mystery" tale starring Victor Webster, it's a warm and friendly movie with smooth chemistry between the entire cast. New to town, a woman uproots her children into a house with a lot of history for her job. The kids start a treasure hunt which dovetails into the other sub-plots.
Old 12-25-23, 12:10 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Ovation has been airing a marathon of recent Christmas movies the past couple days I've never caught before. Not sure where these all originally aired, definitely not Hallmark or Great American.

Shoelaces For Christmas 6 out of 5 (Ovation) - Yes, you read that score correctly. Better than perfect. A truly touching, genuine story about a teen girl, part of a local mean girls clique, who ends up working at a shelter. Awesome leads and a great cast, this is a great movie period about a teenager learning the true spirit of Christmas. My highest recommendation. I think this originally aired a few years ago.

A Merry Single Christmas 4 out of 5 (Ovation) - A couple who just broke up unknowingly end up at the same singles retreat for Christmas. Apparently released last year, this is a solid if predictable tale with likeable romantic leads who nicely mesh with the ensemble around them.
Old 12-25-23, 04:11 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas



Ms. Christmas Comes to Town (2023)

Stars Erica Durance, Brennan Elliott and Barbara Niven

Niven plays "Gale". a Christmas shopping TV host known as Ms. Christmas, who learns she's terminally ill with cancer. With the approval of her boss, she decides to go on a multi-city tour to bring Christmas cheer as her big last hurrah. She's accompanied by Amanda, who is her assistant, friend and a daughter figure. And Travis, who is a male nurse hired by the network to watch over her. But, also Amanda coincidentally met Travis at a coffee shop a day earlier thinking he was her blind date, when he wasn't. Gale wants to keep her diagnosis secret. so Travis pretends to be the God son of the network boss.

I really liked this. Just a feel good and heart warming movie. Durance and Niven had some really emotional moments together and Hallmark regular Elliott was charming and had good chemistry with Durance.

I'm a big fan of Durance from Smallville and she's done a few of these holiday movies, including some on Lifetime. But, this was my favorite from all of them.

If you missed it's broadcast, it's streaming on Peacock.
Old 12-25-23, 05:28 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

I think Durance did another one for Hallmark as well this season. I loved her on Smallville as Lois but her holiday films have been hit or miss for me. She tends to play it very safe in them.

Sealed With A List 4.5 out of 5 (Hallmark) - Fun energy, quirky, Millennial. Katie Findlay is a really good actress in this superb romantic holiday vehicle. The initial setup in the beginning didn't seem that promising to me as the romantic male lead is a spoiled rich guy coasting through life. While the two leads getting together at first doesn't make much sense, it's all downhill skiing from there as they display undeniable chemistry. Nice direction and a screenplay that smartly colors outside the lines of Hallmark's normal character development.
Old 12-26-23, 11:04 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

Christmas at the Amish Bakery 0 out of 5 (UPtv) - I'll give them credit I guess for trying something original with the Amish angle here, about a publishing agent returning to her Amish family roots in Kentucky and the sister she left behind. I learned the Amish celebrate Christmas over two days. Everything else about this production is second or third rate. Did I think the Amish stuff was authentic? No. The Christmas holiday is almost a complete afterthought in the story.

Elfette Saves Christmas 0.5 out of 5 (Ovation) - The acting is on the level of community theatre and everything happening is patently ridiculous, over the top doesn't begin to describe it. A klutzy female Elf has to save Christmas when mobsters tangle with Santa. A poor comedic farce that never raises above the level of mediocre.
Old 12-27-23, 12:05 PM
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Re: Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas

While I do not share your opinion of Christmas at the Amish Bakery, as I actually found it to be an easy enough film to watch (not great, but far from unwatchable), I do appreciate that you got me interested in watching a handful of older Christmas films that I seem to have missed in years past.

I watched A Merry Single Christmas and Shoelaces For Christmas on Peacock and enjoyed them both.

The lead actress in Merry Single Christmas is quite cute, and I do not think I have seen her in many other films like this one.

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