Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Movie Review: Chronicle Mysteries - Vines that Bind

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery, main cast
Cons: Suspects hard to keep straight, light dose of Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Vineyard family
Alex finds tangled motives
Another fun film

“You Two are Bonding.  You Should Invite Him out to Shoot Pool.”  “More Like Throw Darts.”  “Yeah, Probably at Twenty Paces.”

Since I grew up in the heart of California’s best-known wine country (okay, next door to the best-known area), I don’t think of American wine outside of California.  I’d feel like a snob if I drank wine.  Can we blame it on ignorance?  And now I’m digressing.  Anyway, I bring all this up because a winery in Pennsylvania plays into Vines that Bind, the third Chronicles Mysteries movie from Hallmark.

It’s actually Eileen (Rebecca Staab) who calls Alex (Alison Sweeney) with the request.  The gossip columnist is familiar with a winery in the nearby community of Macklin, and she thinks there is a story here for Alex’s podcast.  Colton, the founder of the winery, died a year ago.  The police ruled it an accident, but there are too many unanswered questions.  The family would like to know what happened as well.

So Alex heads out, closely followed by fellow employees Drew (Benjamin Ayres) and Chuck (Dave Coliette).  However, the family doesn’t seem quite as friendly when Alex starts conducting her interviews.  With everyone acting suspicious, Alex begins to suspect there is much more to the death than the police concluded.  A second dead body only confirms her suspicion and raises the stakes.  Can she figure out what happened?

As with the other movies, this is a plot heavy film.  Alex and her co-workers manage to uncover plenty of secrets and motives as the movie progresses.  Yet, when they do uncover the killer, it all makes perfect sense.  In fact, I figured it out the scene before the big reveal myself.

My complaint with this movie is it was hard to keep all the characters straight.  No, I’m not talking about the four main characters since this isn’t the first time we met them.  In fact, I really enjoyed seeing them again and watching them work together.  Instead, I’m talking about the suspects.  There are so many complicated relationships that I had a hard time keeping all those relationships straight.  It did get better as the movie went along, but it was a bit frustrating.  Then again, we get the complicated plot because of these characters.  Talk about a Catch 22, right?

As always, there is a hint of Hallmark cheese to the film, but it is kept to a minimum.  For the most part, the actors do a great job bring the words they are given to life.

I’ve really enjoyed the three movies in the Chronicle Mysteries.  I believe I read that they are working on more.  I sure hope so since I’m not ready to say goodbye to these characters after Vines that Bind.


  1. Do you have a source for what you mentioned in the last paragraph? With the way this movie ended, it left the door wide open for more installments. They can't tease that romance aspect and not have any payoff. XD

    1. I'm trying to remember where I saw it. I think it was on Twitter. Like you, I hope I'm right.