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Kaoteek

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  1. Didn't hate The Story of Us, but it felt flat and very been there, seen that. And as much as I like Maggie Lawson & Sam Page, I felt the movie's tone was, every now and then, slightly too broad for its own good - the acting, some reaction shots, and the non-stop overenthusiastic background music... it sometimes felt kinda forced. And at other times, it felt too serious, and almost Hallmark Movies & Mysteries-like. I liked the cat, though.
  2. Didn't care much for SnowComing. It wasn't awful, or anything, and i was fine with the lead couple, but as I've said during the holidays, I'm just all burned out on the "city girl goes back home for a holiday and end up organizing the local ball/high school dance with an ex she can't stand but still loves nonetheless" narrative. Granted, it (thankfully) went in a different direction after a while (the good old "city girl & ex team up to save local X or Y" trope), but sports/ex-football star/local coach adoration themes just leave me cold. So... meh.
  3. Winter Love Story : this one was fun. A bookish, anxiety-ridden lead, some fun snarky banter, decent chemistry, a doggo, a road trip, Laura Miyata as the publicist, a more laid-back Kevin McGarry than in Winter Castle, and an overall light-hearted and enjoyable tone... I liked it. (also, funny how those Winterfest movies seem to have proper opening titles/fonts... whereas the HM Christmas movies tend to be so rushed into production - and renamed again and again - that they always get basic, generic last-minute titles and credits)
  4. I'm not sure what Natalie Hall & the director & writer were going for with her character in A Winter Princess, but it ended up mostly broad, cartoony and quite awkward. And I gotta say the writing didn't really help (which is strange, since it was the same writer as One Winter Weekend, which was much stronger on that front). Didn't care much for the overall product, to be honest, and even if it was a different spin on the usual "Royal" movies, it just felt off and flat, overall. (and those dodgy accents... sigh)
  5. I won't be original, here, but the good things about Winter Castle were the likeable cast, the scenery and the real snow (the difference between the usual "fake snow, everybody in light clothes and no headgear, blue and sunny skies, shot in september" Christmas movies, and the "legit everybody's freezing cold and covered from head to toe" Winterfest movies has never been so jarring) ; the bad things ? The writing and the plot were generic and uninspired, Kevin McGarry has always felt more like a goofy sidekick to me than a straight-laced grieving widower, and the mom looked way too young to be believable as Ullerup & Mullen's mother. Unmemorable, aside from the locations.
  6. That's the problem with basing your movie on a book written by Blake Shelton's mom, inspired by a Christmas song by Blake Shelton. ^^
  7. On another - non-Christmassy - topic, I just caught up with One Winter Weekend, just to check whether or not I should watch the sequel coming up in January, and... I think I'll pass. It wasn't particularly memorable, the main romance was completely outshined by Rukiya Bernard & Dewshane Williams' relationship, and overall, I never really cared for the overall plot, despite the snow and the landscape. All I'm saying is it didn't really need a sequel... but then again, All of my Heart didn't either, and that hasn't prevented HM from shooting two more of those...
  8. Jingle Around The Clock (my final Christmas movie, this season, yay) : I liked it, taking into account the fact that ad/marketing people & office-centered Christmas stories usually are far from being my favs. But it was playful, I really liked Michael Cassidy & Brooke Nevin, I enjoyed the crossover tease re: Julia Wise (Teryl Rothery's Martha Stewart-like character in Road to Christmas, from the same writer - a new Hallmark recruit, who also wrote Evergreen 2), I liked the family stuff and supporting cast, and I liked the fact that, aside from the big mandatory Hallmark misunderstanding 15 min before the end, the script went out of its way to defuse other situations quite early on, every time they happened, as if the writer wanted to show that "hey, grown-ups talk to each other, and that's often enough to clear everything up". Overall, a nice one to end this season on, as far as i'm concerned.
  9. Just finished Christmas Bells are Ringing. The usual "city gal goes back home on Christmas, learns her dad might wanna sell the house and move on, meets handsome, single, ex-boyfriend she left under tense circumstances when she was younger" story, only with added angst, since it's HMM. If HM didn't produce 265842 movies with the same basic plot every season, this one would have been fine : likeable leads, nice scenery, decent production values, nice set decoration... Sadly, this one comes on the tail end of the season, so it's hard to get invested in it when you feel you've seen it a dozen times already in the past month... (also, Rebecca Staab's face was distracting)
  10. I just happened upon Mr. 365, a 2018 Christmas Passionflix with Chelsea Hobbs as a reality tv producer shooting a piece on Christopher Russell, aka Mr 365, a handsome, muscular single man with a house full of Christmas decorations all year long. It's your basic romance sprinkled with a smidge of californian, sunshiny Christmas, and it's not really better or worse than most other seasonal tv movies, story-wise, but it cracked me up to see how much Passionflix goes for broke on the horniness of its characters (at least compared to most tv movies). Here, everybody, from the first scene on, acts like a thirsty hormonal teenager, and the relationship is consumed halfway through the movie, only to fall to the usual "last minute obstacle" trope. I don't know if I'd recommand this one (despite likeable leads with nice chemistry, fun diverse supporting characters, and a lighthearted tone), but one thing is sure : after a month and a half of sanitized Hallmark & Lifetime movies, I didn't expect that sex scene.
  11. Christmas at Grand Valley. Same old, same old. And what's weird is that I liked the leads, I liked the fact that their relationship felt more adult and mature than in most HM movies, I liked the kids, I liked the lodge, I liked the supporting characters' interracial romance... but it just left me mostly cold, and it ended up running on fumes. Not much to say about it, and instantly forgotten. On another note, looking at the overall ratings, 2018 hasn't been a great holiday season for HM, so far, with lower lows than usual, and a much lower ratings average... HMM movies ratings, though, seem steady, if not a tad stronger than in previous years.
  12. Kaoteek

    UP TV Movies

    Yeah, those Harlequin movies are usually produced by Brain Power Media, a canadian company that's starting to compete with Reel One, MarVista, Asylum and the other usual californian production companies that work with Hallmark & Lifetime.
  13. You forgot Seattle and its Space Needle.
  14. So, Christmas Camp. Pros : unusual setup & story, not that tropey, decent snow outside, numerous supporting characters, cute dog. Cons : bland romance between a somewhat bland lead, and a somewhat bland love interest. Which kinda killed the movie for me. Can't help but think the same movie with someone like Maggie Lawson would have been stronger. Overall, a forgettable outing, that doesn't totally fits the HM guidelines (which is good) but isn't dynamic or original enough to be memorable.
  15. Man, I totally forgot about Christmas Camp. I think it aired a few days ago, here in France, I'm gonna try to check it out. As for the overall schedule, since i'm getting pretty good at guessing whether a movie will be worth my time or not (spoiler : most are not ^^), I've managed to comfortably reduce my global Christmas movies intake to something more manageable. I only have a couple of them left, and I'm all done for the year. (spoiler² : I'm skipping the PenaVega movies) That said, as much as Hallmark upping the number of movies on a yearly basis doesn't necessarily bother me, I'd rather have them keep that number low, and dedicate more ressources to that smaller number of movies (rather than produce even more movies, but cheaper/lazy ones). Also, don't start those before Halloween, it's pointless.
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