Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Megachurch Murder airs on Lifetime on Saturday (2/7) @ 8:00 PM ET.

Synopsis: Said to be inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Megachurch Murder tells the story of turmoil in a  modern African American church that is set in motion when Hannah Spears (Shanica Knowles), the alcohol-abusing daughter of Hamilton Spears (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), the church’s idealistic founding minister, suspects that her father’s bike accident was no accident.  As she probes for the truth she realizes that her own mother (Tamala Jones) may be involved in a conspiracy to seize control of her father’s church.  The film also stars Michael Beach, Romeo Miller, Corbin Bleu and Dawnn Lewis.

Mini-Review: Aside from the sheer ballsiness of comparing this second-rate Matlock episode to Shakespeare, I found precious little to be impressed by here. The mystery is lame — with the solution being forthrightly presented to our heroine. It would have been nice if the would-be Nancy Drew actually figured something out for herself. While the film provides an easy check for murder victim Malcolm-Jamal Warner, the biggest surprise in the whole thing is that Theo Huxtable is now old enough to have a young adult daughter.

Christian Mingle airs on UP TV on Sunday (2/8) @ 7:00 PM ET.

Synopsis: Despite her own lukewarm Christian faith, Gwyneth Hayden (Lacey Chabert), a talented ad executive searching for “Mr. Right”, signs up with the dating site The film also stars Jonathan Patrick Moore, John O’Hurley, Morgan Fairchild, David Keith Stephen Tobolowsky, Saidah Arrika Ekulona and Corbin Bernsen (who also wrote and directed).

Mini-Review: The pick of the weekend film litter has a nice message about being true to one’s faith — while also not judging those who come to it in different ways.

Sure, it’s use of the actual Christian Mingle as a marketing tool is a bit cheesy — but then again Pirates of the Caribbean‘s  creative hook was a Disney ride and that ended up being a really fun blockbuster film franchise. Although Christian Mingle is far from blockbuster material, it’s lead characters are likable and it’s always fun to see Seinfeld‘s John O’Hurley bring a comic character to life (in this case a dubious creator of a hair-growing product). Recommended.

Cloudy with a Chance of Love airs on Hallmark Channel on Sunday (2/8) @ 8:00 PM ET.

Synopsis: Love is in the air at a local San Diego TV station when Debbie (Katie Leclerc) ,  a young and idealistic meteorologist (Katie Leclerc) meets Quentin (Michael Rady), a charming news director with dreams of climbing his way back up to the network level.  Gregory Harrison and Stacey Dash also star.

Mini-Review: Charming with a Chance Fluff also would have worked as a title. And I honestly like good fluff — when it well done. Unfortunately, the writing here seems a bit lazy to me as the film somehow manages to mix its romantic fluffiness with a cynical (but trite) view of TV news. Gregory Harrison’s vain, teleprompter-dependent anchorman is, at this point, a lame stereotype. And, no matter how cynical you are about the medium, the lengths one station exec is willing go to trap Deb into long-term contract stretches credulity.  And, I must say, the idea that modern TV newsrooms put their program rundowns on a white board adorned by post-it notes is just plain silly.

While the film message about the importance of being yourself no matter what pressures are placed upon you is fine, its delivered via a rather dull film.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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