Posts tagged "Mark Jean"

Murder She Baked brings the cookies to Hallmark Movies & Mysteries!

Murder she baked hallmark

Forget the murder mystery, there’s a cat in this movie! YES! Must-watch TV!


Murder She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder Mystery is the latest of the various Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series the network optioned and has now reached the small screen to delight us all with bakery-themed death and investigations. It’s the first of the book series written by Hannah Swensen.

Not only that, but there are even recipes from the movie on the Hallmark website, so you can bake while you watch to enhance your movie pleasure. Or rage about how your own cookies are better, like my cookies are.

Murder She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder Mystery stars Alison Sweeney, Cameron Mathison, Lisa Durupt, Toby Levins, Juliana Wimbles, and Barbara Niven. It is directed by Mark Jean (The Nine Lives of Christmas) and written by Donald Martin (Carnal Innocence).

This freshly baked new murder mystery introduces Hannah Swensen (Sweeney), a creative and bubbly baker extraordinaire in a sleepy town in Minnesota, where everyone knows each other and secrets don’t stay hidden for long. Hannah’s bakeshop, the Cookie Jar, is where much of the town’s gossip percolates along with the strong coffee. But after she finds her good friend and delivery driver shot dead in the alley behind her shop, Hannah’s idyllic world is turned upside down. Her brother-in-law and county deputy sheriff recruits Hannah to help him chase down the culprit, but newly appointed Detective Mike Kingston (Mathison) has other ideas on how to investigate. As Hannah gets close to the handsome detective, she also meets the town’s new resident dentist at the prodding of her matchmaking mother Delores (Niven), and is suddenly caught in an unexpected romantic mystery of her own. Then, as a surprising number of suspects emerge, and motives ranging from blackmail to extortion abound, Hannah is strategically placed in the investigation to hear all as she jumps in as detective. Packed with plot twists and red herrings, romantic entanglements and family shenanigans, this lighthearted Hannah Swensen crime solver will please the palate of any mystery fan.

“Murder She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder Mystery,” is a Brad Krevoy Television and Stephanie Germain Productions Production. Brad Krevoy, Stephanie Germain and Eric Jarboe are the executive producers. Mark Jean directs from a script written by Nancey Silvers. “Murder She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder Mystery,” is based on Joanne Fluke’s book Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.

Murder She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder Mystery premieres Sunday, May 2 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries! Hopefully the cat gets a lot of screen time.

Photo via Hallmark Press/Bettina Strauss

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 1, 2015 at 10:36 pm

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The Nine Lives of Christmas (Review)

The Nine Lives of Christmas

Nine Lives of Christmas Hallmark
2014
Written by Nancey Silvers
Based on the book by Sheila Roberts
Directed by Mark Jean

Nine Lives of Christmas Hallmark

Hello? Morris auditions?


Christmas is that time of year when one thinks of cat based romance tales (or tails), and finally someone has made a film about the thoughts that every normal person has during the season. The Nine Lives of Christmas is a nice fun film that lets the charisma of the actors and lead cat overcome a weaker script. At points things come together a bit too easily, which lessens the impacts of the personal insecurities both Zachary and Marilee are feeling. But those objections are largely inconsequential as the film is charming enough to rise above that to deliver some holiday cheer.

The best part of The Nine Lives of Christmas is that it is pretty much a reverse Garfield movie. Instead of a sassy fat cat, Ambrose is a sweet friendly cat. Instead of a dorky cartoonist, Zachary Stone is a dreamy firefighter. Instead of a vet who constantly rejects his advances, Marilee White is a vet student whose life goals give her the excuses she needs to reject a social life. And the cat doesn’t talk. Before I knew anything about the film except for a rough plot outline, it was already the film from Hallmark’s 12 Movies of Christmas event that I was most interested in.

Nine Lives of Christmas Hallmark

The Cat that Defeated Superman!


Zachary Stone (Brandon Routh) – Firefighter who lives the single lifestyle of not wanting to get married or even have a serious relationship. He’s the envy of some of his coworkers, but Zachary’s habit of doing good deeds results in him getting a stray cat that plants the seeds of responsibility, and spending all his time with Marilee plants the seeds of romance. Also, he’s freaking Superman!
Marilee White (Kimberly Sustad) – Marilee White is a sleepy but brilliant vet school student who has no time for a love life, what with all the studying and the working at a pet supply store, where she is the designated employee that deals with the problem customers. Her apartment complex is run by one of those evil landlords who are all up in your business, and if you have a pet, you are immediately evicted, which probably violates the law but will be important for plot purposes. Marilee does have a clandestine cat named Queenie, and Marilee spends most of her down time dodging questions from her friends and sister about when she’s going to get herself a boyfriend.
Ambrose (???) – Ambrose is a smart cat looking for a home, and Zachary saves him from a dog, so now he’s his new owner. That’s how it works in Ambrose’s world. Ambrose finds keys, understands complex human emotions, and gets adopted as the official firehouse cat. He’s also the catalist that cause Zachary to rethink his unattached lifestyle. Becomes best buds with Queenie.
Queenie (???) – Marilee’s secret cat that she can talk to to unwind after a long day or work and study. Queenie is against her apartment rules, but once evicted she can move into a spare room Zachary has.
Jaclyn (Stephanie Bennett) – Marilee’s sister, Marilee raised her after their parents died, Jaclyn is now a successful real estate agent along with her husband, and is now focused on finding her sister a man.
Blair (Chelsea Hobbs) – Zachary’s spoiled model girlfriend who hates hates hates pets because they interfere with her lifestyle of pretending she’s going to leave the country for a few weeks. Gets people fired and tosses out Ambrose as well. As you can imagine, she’s not the heroine of the film. Chelsea Hobbs is also in Confessions of a Go-Go Girl
Ray (Sean Tyson) – A goofy fireman who knows the score with regards to Zachary’s metamorphosis into being capable of love.
Mark (Dalias Blake) – A married fireman who lives vicariously through Zachary’s lifestyle and becomes concerned when he starts showing actual feelings.
Chief Sam (Gregory Harrison) – The wise mentor fireman who loves cats (his wife is allergic) and saved Zachary from a burning house when he was a kid.
Sarah (Jen Cheon) – Marilee’s friend who also is obsessed with getting her a date, even though she can’t get a date.

Nine Lives of Christmas Hallmark

Screw this, I’m driving to Vegas!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 15, 2014 at 6:14 am

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Explore The Nine Lives of Christmas on Hallmark Channel!

Nine Lives of Christmas Hallmark

Man of Steal-ing your heart!


When you think of Christmas, you think of cats and firefighters and television movies that resemble the Garfield Movie. Thus, Hallmark delivers again with The Nine Lives of Christmas! Yes, a hunky firefighter adopts an orange cat and begins a love affair with a vet, even though neither of them will be dating for most of the duration of the film. Sadly, the cat does not appear to talk or do humorous things like hate Mondays or eat lasagna, but the firefighter is Superman – Brandon Routh!

Besides Brandon Routh as cat-adopting firefighter Zachary Stone, The Nine Lives of Christmas stars Kimberley Sustad (Super Buddies) as Marilee White, Stephanie Bennett (Leprechaun: Origins) as Jaclyn, Chelsea Hobbs as Blair, Sean Tyson as Rey, Dalias Blake as Mark, and Gregory Harrison as Sam.

The Nine Lives of Christmas is directed by Mark Jean (Finding Mrs. Claus), and is written by Nancey Silvers (who wrote two films with amazing titles –> Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy and Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade!)

Fireman Zachary Stone (Routh) is a confirmed bachelor who doesn’t believe in love or commitment. When a stray, tabby cat named Ambrose shows up at his door, Zachary takes him in and slowly starts to see that a little companionship might not be so bad after all. Zachary’s commitment to solitude is further challenged when he meets Marilee (Sustad), an animal lover and veterinary student who teaches Zachary how to care for his new feline roommate. Chemistry immediately develops between the two, but Marilee has vowed not to date until she graduates and Zachary is not ready to jeopardize his independence, though he senses Marilee is special.

With Christmas rapidly approaching, Marilee’s sister Jaclyn (Bennett) convinces her to add romance to her nose-to-the-grindstone life of work and school, while fire chief Sam (Harrison) encourages Zachary to understand the importance of love, marriage and having someone special with whom to share the holidays. When Zachary’s model girlfriend Blair (Hobbs) pressures him to get rid of Ambrose and has Marilee fired from her job at a pet supply store that her father owns, Zachary sees the light, realizing he is in love with Marilee and that life is better if shared with someone special.

The Nine Lives of Christmas is an entry in The 12 New Movies of Christmas, part of Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas. It premieres November 8th on Hallmark Channel! Weirdly enough, this is the Hallmark Channel movie that I am the most excited about. So bring it on!

Nine Lives of Christmas Hallmark

Remember: Don’t set your presents on fire, kids!

Nine Lives of Christmas Hallmark

I have to get this cat lasagna, or Christmas is ruined!!!

Photos by David Owen Strongman and Katie Yu via Hallmark Press

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 20, 2014 at 5:40 pm

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