Christmas Under Wraps

Candace Cameron Bure's TV Film 'Christmas Under Wraps,' Breaks Records; Star Gives Glory to God

Candace Cameron Bure’s TV Film ‘Christmas Under Wraps,’ Breaks Records; Star Gives Glory to God

Christian actress Candace Cameron Bure’s latest Hallmark movie, “Christmas Under Wraps,” broke records for the channel, and Bure took to social media to thank her millions of fans and God.

“You guys…. I just can’t even…. I’m so humbled by this. I don’t even know what to say,” Bure posted to her Facebook page on Tuesday. “I’m so grateful and so excited and so blessed. All praise and glory to God for He provides every single step. Thank you all for watching! You made this happen!”

The made-for-TV movie’s premiere on Saturday drew in 5.8 million viewers and a 5.0 household rating, which makes it cable’s top-rated original movie of the year and the second most-watched. It also set records for Hallmark Channel. Bure actually executive produced the film as well as played the lead character, a doctor who moves to Alaska to start life anew but finds herself having to choose between her new life and her old one.

Bure live-tweeted with fans throughout the premiere, likely drawing in even more viewers who posted photos of themselves watching the movie and provided the star with feedback and encouragement. She has appeared in several TV movies, including “Puppy Love,” “Finding Normal,” “Let It Snow,” and the upcoming “Aurora Teagarden Mystery: A Bone to Pick.”

The mother of three posted a photo to Instagram of her and her children, along with her nieces and nephews, watching the movie during its premiere. She and brother Kirk are both passionate about expressing their faith and family values; Kirk actually has his own big-screen film, “Saving Christmas” that is showing now. Despite critical reviews, “Saving Christmas” has been “saved” and is still showing at select theaters.

Bure has credited her relationship with her husband, Val, for part of her success, noting that they often trade off responsibilities while the other is working.

“I could not do it myself,” she wrote in her book, Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose. “He does so much with the kids. When I’m out of town, he does everything and vice versa.”

 “Christmas Under Wraps” re-airs on the Hallmark Channel, Friday December 5 10pm, 9c.

Snowmen – DVD

 

Snowmen – DVD

13

 by Christian Cinema.com
 Snowmen - DVD

Description:

Every one counts!

“Snowmen” is a humorous and heartfelt coming-of-age story about three unlikely heroes and the winter that changed their lives forever. After a surprising discovery in the snow catapults three small-town boys into the spotlight, the best friends hatch a plan to be remembered forever by setting a Guinness World Records(R) title. Along the way, the trio battles schoolyard bullies, unites their community and discovers that – while fame may be fleeting – true friendship lasts forever. The film stars Bobby Coleman (“Last Song”), Ray Liotta (“Wild Hogs”), Bobb’e J. Thompson (“Role Models”), Josh Flitter (“Ace Ventura Jr.”) and Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”).

The Snowmen DVD makes a great family movie night!

 

 

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Blacklist TV Review

by Pluggedin.som
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama, Crime
Cast
James Spader as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington; Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen; Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen; Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper; Diego Kleattenhoff as Donald Ressler
Channel
NBC
Reviewer
Paul Asay
Blacklist

Blacklist

Raymond “Red” Reddington is one bad dude. He oozes felonious activity. His wardrobe (complete with black fedora) exudes fashionable evil. His I-know-ever-so-much-more-than-you attitude would make James Bond’s adversaries at Spectre prickle with jealousy. Even his nickname—Concierge of Crime—seems to channel comic book villainy.

So what, pray tell, is Red doing working with the FBI?

Turns out he has a list (that’d be the Blacklist, naturally) of the world’s most dangerous criminals—guys so good at being bad that the FBI doesn’t even know about them yet. The names on the list are criminal whales, Red says, and he wants to play at Ahab for a bit.

But do brilliant criminal masterminds really wake up one morning and say, “You know, I’m done with this black fedora. I want to be known as the Concierge of Conscientiousness from here on out”? Moreover, Red still seems awfully friendly with some of the folks he’s helping the FBI bring in. So the Bureau’s pretty sure Red’s hiding something. What? Well, they don’t know, and Red’s not about to color in the picture for them.

He is in the mood to make demands, though. “If you want the whales on my list, you have to play by my rules,” he says. And the biggest rule of all? He’ll only work with newbie criminal profiler Elizabeth Keen. He’s obsessed with Liz for some reason, and seems to know an awful lot about her past.

The Blacklist is both a clever and contrived crime thriller. It seems predicated on the predator-prey dynamic between Red and Liz—a relationship built on mutual respect and distrust. It has some serialized elements to it—a long-game mystery that will be doled out episode by episode, season by season. But it’s also something of a pedestrian episodic drama along the lines of Person of Interest, with the FBI dutifully pursuing, each week, a new man on Red’s nefarious list.

Sexual material has included hookups and partial nudity. And in Season 2, our not-so-good-girl detective keeps her one-time husband and all-time spy illegally captive, hoping to use his intel to find—and perhaps kill—a notorious terrorist. But if Blacklist feels, at times, a little like Silence of the Lambs, it does not indulge that movie’s serial killer depravity. Red is a wicked white-collar criminal and agent of global terrorism, but he’s no up-close-and-personal serial killer. As such, we do not suffer the same level of grotesquery we do in HannibalDexter or The Following.

But this is still a violent show, and sometimes extremely so. Extras die by the dozens. People are shot, sometimes spraying blood as they die. Others are beaten or even tortured—with little of the resulting pain and gore hidden from viewers. And the lines the good guys are willing to cross to bring the bad guys to sometimes terminal justice seem to grow more gray by the episode.

Jane the Virgin TV Review

by Pluggedin.com
Jane the Virgin

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Cast
Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva; Brett Dier as Michael; Justin Baldoni as Rafael Solano; Yael Grobglas as Petra Solano; Andrea Navedo as Xiomara Villanueva; Ivonne Coll as Alba Villanueva; Yara Martinez as Dr. Luisa Alver; Bridget Regan as Rose; Jaime Camil as Rogelio de la Vega; Priscilla Barnes as Magda; Anthony Mendez as Narrator
Channel
CW
Reviewer
Paul Asay

Unexpected pregnancies can really make life chaotic—especially when you’ve never even had sex.

Jane Villanueva knows the feeling. One day she’s just a normal young adult—waitress, college student, wannabe writer—the next she’s been artificially inseminated by a doctor who got her procedures mixed up.

It’s a pickle for sure, especially because she and her fiancé, Michael, were waiting for sex until after their wedding day, and weren’t planning to have kids for years after that.

The baby’s father, Rafael, seems nice enough—until you Google the guy and discover that he makes 2014 Justin Bieber look as innocent as 2007 Justin Bieber. (Oh, and he and Jane once swapped a smooch. Sorry, Michael.) Petra, the baby’s intended mother, is having an affair with Rafael’s best friend, Roman Zazo. Or, rather, was, until Zazo gets impaled on a pointy ice sculpture. (Also, Michael was investigating Zazo because of his connections to a drug lord who hasn’t been seen for a few years.) Dr. Luisa Alver, the woman who accidentally knocked Jane up, also happens to be Rafael’s sister. Have I mentioned yet that Luisa is having an affair with her own stepmother?

If that all sounds a little like a bad telenovela, well, that’s the point. Jane the Virgin, CW’s clever and problematic comedy, is riffing on the outlandish Spanish-language programming that Jane’s own grandmother dearly loves. (Naturally, Jane’s father is a self-absorbed telenovela star himself.) This is a world in which someone’s always seeming to find a long-lost rich and snobby cousin or nefarious great uncle with an eye patch.

It’s silly and salacious, and the show is proud of that. Characters jump in and out of bed with one another like spring-loaded teddy bears. Most everyone except for Jane has horrific secrets they’re just dying to share with us. Dire news and dreadful death lurks around every corner.

And yet Jane the Virgin, like its titular character, is sweet and well-meaning and oddly pure.

Perhaps pure isn’t the right word. The show, obviously, isn’t shy about its negative content issues. But there’s a certain winsomeness that clings to it despite all those problems, and we owe a lot of that to Jane herself. Here is a character who kept her virginity because of her own personal values. She’s not socially inept. She’s not a prude. She’s certainly not immune to sexual temptation. (Something we see a little too much of, actually.) She’s witty and charming and refreshingly normal—three characteristics you rarely see connected with virgin in movies or television.

Jane also allows for God’s name to be used more often as a petition than a swear word. “[God] has a plan,” Jane’s grandmother, Alba, tells her. “I truly believe that. But it better be good.” Jane’s choosing to keep her baby alive, too, just like she chose to keep her virginity. And while people sometimes (OK, a lot of the time) make mistakes, many really are trying to do what’s right here—not for just themselves, but for others as well.

As for the CW’s long-range plans for this show, though—like how many people we’ll see sleep together, how many will mysteriously die in freakish soda can accidents, how many will wind up being gold-mine-owning long-lost great aunts of Jane once removed—that may be an even bigger mystery than God’s plan for Jane.

Episode Reviews

“Chapter Two”

Jane asks her fiancé and family to refer to the fetus as a “milkshake,” emphasizing that it’s a momentary inconvenience, to be carried and passed on. But when she see the sonogram images and hears the heartbeat, she realizes there’s more to it than that.

“I just didn’t want it to take over my life and change everything,” she sobs to her mother, “but it’s going to because it’s not a stupid milkshake. It’s a baby.”

We see some revealing selfies. Jane’s mom, Xiomara (called Xo), and her former lover (Jane’s father) Rogelio are discovered in bed together. In flashback, she performs a lewd dance to the tune “Milkshake,” thrusting her pelvis and showing cleavage during Jane’s Quinceañera. (She’s doing it to help Jane in a roundabout way, but still.) Luisa and her lesbian lover/stepmother, Rose, passionately make out. It’s implied that Petra has sex with Zazo. (We see stills of them kissing and caressing, undressed but mostly covered up.) There’s a bit of a suggestion of violence in their relationship, and Zazo is later found impaled by an ice sculpture, a blood-tainted ice stalagmite sticking through his chest.

An unopened bottle of vodka sits in front of recovering alcoholic Luisa. Drinks are served at a party. There are pictures of Rafael being kicked out of bars. We hear “d–n” three times and “freakin'” four, along with several misuses of God’s name. Rafael and Petra talk divorce. There’s a reference to tarot cards.

black-ish TV Review

by Pluggedin.com

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Cast
Anthony Anderson as Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson; Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson; Yara Shahidi as Zoey Johnson; Marcus Scribner as Andre Jr.; Miles Brown as Jack; Marsai Martin as Diane; Laurence Fishburne as Pops; Peter Mackenzie as Mr. Stevens; Jeff Meacham as Josh; Jacob Kemp as Kris; Deon Cole as Charlie
Channel
ABC
Reviewer
Paul Asay

Andre and Rainbow Johnson love their kids. Sometimes more when they’re away from them.

Andre, usually called Dre, is a vice president at an advertising agency—the first black VP in its history, in fact. (The fact that he’s VP of “urban affairs” is a sore spot for the guy, but hey, a title’s a title.) Rainbow is a skilled anesthesiologist. The two clearly have formidable, in-demand skills outside the home—skills that have taken them high up in their fields and won them a comfortable suburban life.

But as soon as they walk through their front door, all their professional savoir faire means nothing. See, children are not impressed by business cards. They don’t care how many people Mom has successfully anesthetized. They just want to know how to rescue phones dropped in the toilet or how to sneak away without Dad noticing or why they can’t convert to Judaism so they can have a bar mitzvah like all their friends.

Mom and Dad respond by trying to pry 15-year-old Zoey away from her smartphone on occasion. They attempt instill in 13-year-old Junior a greater appreciation for his heritage. And they make a good show of keeping 6-year-old twins Jack and Diane in one piece.

ABC’s family sitcom black-ish gives the American public its first prominent (live-action) upper-middle-class black family since the Huxtables. But this is far from a clone of The Cosby Show. While Cosby was almost color-blind in its ethos, black-ish deals with the issues and tensions of race head-on—but with a sly, affectionate wink. And while Cliff and Clair Huxtable offered sage wisdom and sane advice for their brood, Dre and Rainbow are about as childish as their kids—sometimes even more so.

Given that, it’s not surprising that the show wallows in its share of immature hijinks and salacious shenanigans. Sexual stuff includes everything from matrimonial “meetings” to masturbation and musings about teenage “first times.” We hear mild profanities. Bathroom humor is a regular visitor.

At least all those uncomfortable missteps seen in the first 20 minutes or so of each episode reliably give way to sweet and affirming hugs and sometimes quite nice life lessons in the last 90 seconds. The Johnsons really do love one another, and Dre and Rainbow would give up a lot to make sure their kids are safe and happy.

But that doesn’t make this family comedy a great family show. It’s maybe not even good-ish.

Episode Reviews

“The Prank King”

Dre loves Halloween, in part because he gets to play pranks on his family. But when the kids seem to have outgrown pranking—particularly his “evil genius” daughter Zoey, Dre gets despondent. Their disinterest, though, is a prank itself, one that preys on Dre’s biggest fear: “The thought of you guys growing up.”

Trying to get in on the “fun,” the twins climb into bed with Dre and Rainbow and immediately wet it. (We hear several references to the soggy event and other urine-related jokes throughout the rest of the episode.) Dre pretends he’s holding a baby and drops it, horrifying the kids. Dre targets Junior, hoping his humiliation will inspire Zoey to be mean. (It doesn’t.) Dre jokes about how fun it would be if a prank ended up with Junior being naked in public.

A supposed home invader gets punched in the face (twice) and kicked. Dre pantomimes that he’s holding a shotgun. Someone talks about pouring a scotch. There’s talk of a celebrity being a “generous lover.” We hear “h—” and “d–n” four or five times each and “b–ch” once. God’s name is abused a half-dozen times.