Take 3: The Trap (1959) Review

Back in August, The Classic Movie Muse invited me to join the Bernard Herrmann Blogathon! I immediately became interested, but wasn’t sure which film I would choose. While I am familiar with the movies Bernard’s music can be heard in, I’m not that familiar with Bernard as a composer. But with the blogathon taking place on Halloween weekend, I wanted to watch a film that fit the occasion. Originally, I was going to review 1962’s Cape Fear, the movie I wrote about for the 2nd Annual Spooky Classic Movie Blogathon. But, long story short, that didn’t work out. So instead, I chose to review The Trap from 1959! Based on the synopsis, it sounded like an exciting story involving gangsters, the law, and a whole lot of conflict. But did I find the movie enjoyable? If you want to know that answer, you’ll just have to keep reading my review!

The Trap (1959) poster created by Paramount Pictures

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I’m not familiar with Richard Widmark as an actor. However, I did like his performance in The Trap! The easy-going and suave persona Richard brought to his character, Ralph, reminded me of Frank Sinatra. His facial expressions and use of emotions were believable as well. When a tragic situation happens in his family, genuine fear was shown on Ralph’s face. Because he was in a dangerous circumstance in the story, Ralph became vulnerable both literally and emotionally. Another character that was vulnerable was Ralph’s brother, Tippy. At the beginning of the movie, Tippy’s alcohol dependency is apparent. With a relaxed body position, a pained look on his face, and a tired tone of voice, Earl Holliman effectively portrayed how this problem can take over someone’s personality. Starring alongside Earl and Richard was Tina Louise as Linda Anderson. This particular character was desperately trying to get by and hold on for dear life. But Linda never came across as desperate or frazzled. Instead, Tina brought a sense of charm and a likable personality to her role. Through the script and Tina’s performance, it highlights how Linda cared about how she presented herself.

The music: Despite being an uncredited composer on this project, I did like hearing Bernard Herrmann’s musical scores! Similar to Cape Fear, the music helped elevate a scene’s suspense. It also fit the emotion depicted in a specific scene. Anytime Ralph and Linda interacted with one another is a perfect example of this. A pleasant, dramatic tune could be heard in the background, the kind you’d hear in a romance movie. Because these characters have a history together, this type of music seemed fitting. It added memorability to those scenes as well.

The Bernard Herrmann Blogathon banner created by The Classic Movie Muse from The Classic Movie Muse

What I didn’t like about the film:

Very little excitement: With a movie involving gangsters, the law, and conflict, you’d think it would be exciting. But unfortunately, this story was lacking in the excitement department. Sure, there was a gun fight and a car chase. But these moments were far and few between. The first half of the movie focused on the gangsters’ preparations, emphasizing telling over showing. A road trip that was mostly bland took over the film’s second half. While I continued to watch this movie in the hope some excitement would arrive, it sadly never came.

Emphasis on drama: On IMDB, The Trap is classified as a drama, as well as an action and crime movie. But the script placed more emphasis on the story’s drama. Most of this film focused on the strained relationships among the Anderson family. Even as Victor Massonetti (the leader of the movie’s gangster group) was attempting to escape the country, there was still time to feature Ralph having a conflict with one of his family members. While there’s nothing wrong with featuring drama in a story, it overshadowed the more exciting parts of The Trap. This certainly felt like the screenwriters had difficulty balancing these three genres.

The run-time: This movie has a run-time of an hour and twenty-four minutes. With the way the story focused on drama over action, I honestly think the run-time was too long. Some scenes were drawn out longer than necessary. For example, when Ralph was traveling in a car with Victor, those scenes felt like they were longer just for the sake of satisfying the run-time. The beginning of the movie also satisfied this run-time by maintaining a slower pace. With a shorter run-time, the story could have gotten straight to the point a lot sooner. It also would have prevented some scenes from feeling like they dragged on.

Antique car image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/red-classic-car_803652.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/vintage”>Vintage vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

On the movie poster for The Trap, it says “Rocking the screen with triphammer impact!”. The only impact this movie had on me was making me want to fall asleep on more than one occasion. Within the first half, the story was reminiscent of 1954’s Suddenly, a movie I thought was just ok. But when the second half rolled around, it felt like a boring road trip film. As I said in my review, there was a gun fight and car chase in The Trap. But these exciting moments had such a limited presence in the overall story. One of the flaws of this film was relying too much on the drama genre. When a movie features gangsters, you expect action and excitement. Tensions over which man Linda truly loved were certainly not as riveting as the screenwriters thought. The Trap was, for me, a disappointment. While I liked the acting and music, it wasn’t enough to present a recommendation.

Overall score: 5.1 out of 10

Have you seen The Trap? If so, what are your thoughts on the film? Please share how you feel in the comment section below!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Three Musketeers (1948) Review

Last year, I participated in the Classic Literature On Film Blogathon. Since I was reading To Kill a Mockingbird at the time, I chose to review the book’s film adaptation. For this year’s event, I selected the 1948 version of The Three Musketeers! Because I’m using my TBR Tin to choose which book to read next, I wasn’t able to read the source material before I saw the movie, as I’m currently reading The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley. I was recommended this film by Patricia from Caftan Woman. As I try to see as many film suggestions as I can, this became one reason why I selected The Three Musketeers for this blogathon. I have seen the 1993 adaptation of the story. But I can’t give an honest opinion on that film, as I haven’t seen the movie in years. What will my thoughts be on the 1948 adaptation of The Three Musketeers? Keep reading to find out!

The Three Musketeers (1948) poster created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Loew’s, Inc.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Because The Three Musketeers contained an ensemble cast, it’s difficult to choose a favorite performance. However, I will still mention a few of them. For me, Gene Kelly is always going to be known for his performances in musicals. Seeing him work with different acting material was very interesting, as it forced him to utilize his expressions and emotions more. Out of Gene’s films I’ve seen so far, his portrayal of D’Artagnan has become one of my favorites! This performance was so well-rounded, D’Artagnan came across as a mutli-layered character. As Gene had a variety of expressions at his disposal, he was able to adapt to any situation D’Artagnan faced. I am not familiar with Van Heflin as an actor. But I was impressed with his portrayal of fellower Musketeer, Athos! Van’s best scene was when Athos drunkenly tells a story of an aristocrat who was betrayed by a woman from the country he fell in love with. Even though Athos is disoriented by the alcohol, you can tell there is deep emotion in his voice and eyes. Another performance that also became a favorite came from Lana Turner, who portrayed Countess de Winter! Her standout scene was when her character was in prison. The Countess appears disheveled as she begs for her life to end. What made this scene so memorable was the amount of emotion Lana put into her role. She presented a character that was so desperate, she’d be willing to do anything to get out of it.

The costumes: When it comes to scene-stealers, the costumes in The Three Musketeers definitely stole the show! I liked how colorful they were, as bright hues were used on various pieces of apparel. It not only made the characters stand out, but it also helped when telling characters apart from one another. The amount of detail on these costumes was also exquisite! In one scene, the Duke of Buckingham wore a purple shawl. Gold embroidery complimented the shawl’s shade of purple and prevented the piece from becoming plain. At a dinner party, Queen Anne wore a white gown. This gown also contained gold details, which were found on the skirt and bodice. Small jewels near the top of the dress completed Queen Anne’s elegant look!

The set design: If you’re going to create a period film, you have to pay attention to the finer details that go into each set. These details will reflect the effort, research, and care that went into how these sets look. The sets in The Three Musketeers show how much the film’s creative team cared about the presentation of their final product! What I love about the sets in this movie are the fine details that can be found. Carved images are shown in the Duke of Buckingham’s study, covering the fireplace and doorframe in these wooden pictures. They can also be found in other rooms and on other materials, such as on a tin-plated cabinet in a General’s office. My favorite design detail can be found in Queen Anne’s sitting room. As Queen Anne and the Duke of Buckingham are standing near the fireplace, Queen Anne turns a knob found near the top of the fireplace. This action reveals a secret compartment that hides a box of diamonds.

The fight choreography: Any action movie is just as good as its fight choreography. The performative presentation of the fights in The Three Musketeers helped make these fights so memorable! Because of Gene Kelly’s dancing skills, he was able to incorporate leaps into his fight sequences. Watching D’Artagnan leap from place to place gave him a natural superpower that he was able to use to his advantage! Humor can also be found during these fight sequences, which prevented them from being too dark or serious. D’Artagnan’s first duel was against the head of the French police. During this duel, hilarity ensued, from D’Artagnan splashing water in his opponent’s face to pushing his opponent in a pond. This inclusion of humor in the fight choreography allowed the creative team to present these fights in creative and interesting ways!

The 2021 Classic Literature On Film Blogathon banner created by Paul from Silver Screen Classics.

What I didn’t like about the film:

D’Artagnan’s romantic relationships: After rescuing Constance from a home invasion, D’Artagnan falls in love with her. He not only tells Constance he loves her, but they also share a romantic kiss. While I liked Constance and D’Artagnan’s relationship, I felt it was developed too quickly. Later in the film, Constance is kidnapped. In order to save her, D’Artagnan pretends to fall in love with Countess de Winter. However, after his initial meeting with the Countess, D’Artagnan tells Athos how much he loves her. If D’Artagnan was romantically interested in Constance, why would he even bother having feelings for the Countess? That part of the story was confusing.

A weaker villain: There are two villains in The Three Musketeers; Countess de Winter and Richelieu. But one of them definitely outshined the other. Countess de Winter was the stronger villain. She is a criminal by legal context and the audience can witness her committing several crimes. Richelieu, on the other hand, is not presented in the same way. The audience does see him commit a crime of theft, but it is never explained how this was done. Richelieu was also friends with the King of France, a character that was not written or portrayed as a villain. This made me puzzled as to what Richelieu’s true intentions were, whether he was a villain or simply a man who follows his own rules.

The Musketeers spending little time together: When you think of The Three Musketeers, you think of these heroes fighting alongside each other and saving the day together. As I watched this film, I noticed how they spent more time apart. I was disappointed to discover this because that team dynamic the Musketeers are known for had a limited presence. While this separation did allow the audience to get to know these characters individually, we didn’t really get to see this group of friends grow over time. Though there was a lot of content in this movie, I wish more time was given to show the Musketeers together.

Castle photo created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/old-castle-in-the-mountians_1286237.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/tree”>Tree image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Anchors Aweigh was the best movie I saw in 2020. This was a pleasant surprise, as I never expected one of Gene Kelly’s films to receive this honor. Even though it’s only April, the 1948 adaptation of The Three Musketeers has now become the best movie I’ve seen so far! There is so much effort that was put into this project, which is reflective in many parts. The costumes and set designs were impressive because of the detail that was incorporated into them. Many good acting performances can be found, making it difficult to choose the best one. These actors not only did a good job individually, but they also worked well together as a group! Similar to what I said in my Oliver! review, I might read The Three Musketeers because of how much I enjoyed its film adaptation! For now, my top priority is reading the books that are currently on my TBR shelf.

Overall score: 8 out of 10

Have you read or seen The Three Musketeers? What adaptations of classic literature do you like? Please let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: China Seas Review

Last month, I had planned on participating in the Star/Genre Of The Month Blogathon, with January’s star being Doris Day. However, multiple projects throughout the month had filled up my schedule, preventing me from joining the event. To make up for it, I decided to participate in the blogathon this month, where the featured star is Clark Gable! As the only film of Clark’s I’ve seen up until this point has been Gone with the Wind, I was excited to explore his filmography! When I was choosing which film to write about, I also signed up for the We Heart Pirates Week Blogathon. To meet the requirements for both events, I have selected the 1935 film China Seas! Since Gone with the Wind is considered a romantic drama, it will be interesting to see Clark in a movie from a different genre!

China Seas poster created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Like I said in the introduction, the only film of Clark Gable’s I’ve seen is Gone with the Wind. Therefore, I didn’t know what to expect from his performance in China Seas. Even though this film was released four years before Gone with the Wind, Clark’s portrayal of Captain Alan Gaskell didn’t feel like a copy of Rhett Butler. For this particular role, Clark adopted the qualities of a natural born leader. Two of them were the strength and perseverance during times of conflict. When Alan is being tortured by the pirates, he never succumbed to the pain or surrendered to the enemy. He stood his ground instead, protecting his ship, as well as the guests and crew aboard it. I was pleasantly surprised to see Jean Harlow and Rosalind Russell in this film! Since I’ve seen very few projects from both of their filmographies, I was excited to see what they had to offer, talent-wise, in China Seas. What I liked about Jean’s performance was how versatile it was. Throughout the film, she used many different expressions as her character, Dolly, is boarding Alan’s ship. A fancy dinner in the ship’s dining room is a good example. At the beginning of that dinner, Dolly is in a pleasant mood, smiling and laughing at a friend’s joke. As the event goes on, she becomes bitter by Sybil’s presence. Speaking of Sybil, Rosalind’s performance was much different from her portrayal of Mother Superior from The Trouble with Angels and Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows. In China Seas, Sybil was more reserved than the other female characters. However, she had a gentler persona, which also helped her stand out. It was nice to see one of Rosalind’s earlier films, as this movie was released three decades before The Trouble with Angels.

The costume design: Some of the costumes in this movie were simply gorgeous! The dresses from the female characters definitely stole the show! At the dinner I mentioned earlier in my review, Jean wore a simple white dress that was slightly off the shoulder. The only applique was a metal paisley brooch, which added an element of pop to the dress. Later in the movie, Jean wears a satin gown. Similar to the aforementioned white dress, the satin gown was also given an element of pop. This time, the straps on the dress were covered with jewels. My favorite costume in China Seas was the pirate captain’s, as his was one of the most beautiful costumes I’ve ever seen in a pirate film! While it is simple, like Jean’s fancy dresses, it is the fine details that help it stand out! Paired with a silk blouse, the jacket is coated with an intricate design. The sleeves and boarders of the jacket are covered in fancy ribbon.

The pirate subplot: When I found out there would be pirates in China Seas, I was excited to see Clark Gable fight against them. The subplot involving the pirates was the best part of the overall story! It contained a mystery that unfolded as the movie progressed, featuring surprises and twists I didn’t see coming. There was also exciting action, which keep me invested. I was actually surprised by the amount of violence in China Seas because it was released in the Breen Code Era, where violence in films were kept at a minimum. However, it wasn’t graphic and over the top. This particular subplot also brought out each character’s true colors. I won’t reveal the movie for anyone, but I will say it was an interesting approach to providing character development!

Star of the Month (Clark Gable) blogathon banner created by Neil from Thoughts From The Music(al) Man

What I didn’t like about the film:

A limited presence of the pirates: While I did like the conflict involving the pirates, they weren’t in the story for a long period of time. This part of the film was introduced fifty-eight minutes into this hour and twenty-seven-minute movie, with it lasting for about thirty minutes. I was honestly disappointed by this because I expected the pirates’ conflict to be the main story of China Seas. The captain of the pirate crew was one of the more interesting characters the movie had to offer, as he chose to become a pirate despite coming from a wealthy, noble family. However, the limited presence of the pirates prevented this character from receiving a lot of character development or screen time. Everything I said makes China Seas light on “action” and “adventure”.

A dull first half: As I just mentioned, China Seas is light on “action” and “adventure”. Even though those two things can be found in this movie, the story as a whole leans more into the drama genre. In the first half of the film, the script focuses on Dolly’s jealously toward Sybil. While this encouraged Jean to use a variety of emotions in her performance, I wasn’t interested in this part of the story. Other conflicts taking place in the movie’s first half includes whether Sybil’s pearls are real and Dolly trying to win back Alan’s love. These kinds of conflicts made China Seas feel like it was “Rich People Problems: The Movie”, revolving around problems that seemed stereotypical of wealthier individuals. Throughout the film’s first half, I kept asking myself, “When are the pirates going to get here”?

Confusing areas of the story: There were some areas of China Seas’ story that I found confusing. I’ll provide two examples for this part of the review. When Sybil is outside on the ship’s deck one evening, she is joined by one of Alan’s colleagues. Shortly after, the two can be seen kissing one another. Several scenes later, Sybil is spending time with Alan and expressing romantic interest in him. If she was romantically interested in Alan, why was she kissing another man? My second example is about the ending. While I won’t spoil it for any of my readers, I felt it didn’t fit within the overall story. The ending tried to wrap everything up in a nice little package. But with the events that led up to that ending, that part of the story became more confusing than it should have been. I know this film was released during the Breen Code Era, where happy endings were usually favored. However, the ending of China Seas was, in my opinion, not earned.

We Heart Pirates Week blogathon banner created by Hamlette from Hamlette’s Soliloquy

My overall impression:

While it was interesting to see Clark Gable in a different role and genre from what I’ve seen before, I found China Seas to be just ok. Were there aspects of the film I liked? Sure. The pirate captain’s costume was beautiful and I did like the acting performances. But I was disappointed by the limited amount of screen-time the pirates received. Before watching China Seas, I had expected the main plot to revolve around Clark Gable’s character dealing with the pirates. However, the most exciting parts of the story took place toward the end of the film, making the movie’s second half stronger than the first. Having a major part of the story focus on Dolly’s jealousy toward Sybil and obsession with Alan didn’t work for me. It came across as petty and immature. I do plan on seeing more of Rosalind’s, Clark’s, and Jean’s films in the future. But I hope the next movie is stronger than this one.

Overall score: 6 out of 10

Have you seen any of Clark Gable’s films? What is your favorite pirate movie? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sally Watches…Walker, Texas Ranger!

For the Legends of Western Cinema Week, I was trying to decide if I should write a movie review for the 2015 film, Forsaken or create another television show review for Walker, Texas Ranger. Instead of selecting just one, I chose both options as my submissions for the blogathon! Prior to writing this post, I had never seen Walker, Texas Ranger. When I accepted my fourth Liebster Award back in July, I shared how I had never watched anything from Chuck Norris’ filmography. Hamlette and Heidi’s event gave me an excuse to not only change that, but to also expand my cinematic horizons to more westerns. Similar to last March’s review of Murder, She Wrote, I have randomly selected three episodes that happened to be airing on the INSP channel. This time, the episodes will be in the order of when I watched them, instead of chronologically. Each episode will be broken down into five categories: what I liked about the episode, what I didn’t like about episode, the story itself, other factors from the episode, and my overall thoughts. After reviewing these three episodes, I will share my final assessment of the show as a whole.

Legends of Western Cinema Week banner created by Hamlette from Hamlette’s Soliloquy and Heidi from Along the Brandywine. Image found at https://hamlette.blogspot.com/2020/07/announcing-legends-of-western-cinema.html.

Episode Name: The Covenant

Season 3, Episode 11

Premiere Date: December 9th, 1995

The title card for “The Covenant”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

What I liked about this episode:

My favorite scene in ‘The Covenant’ takes place toward the beginning of the episode. During a karate class, Walker notices how one of his students, Ricardo, is missing their purple belt. When he asks Ricardo about the whereabouts of his belt, Ricardo tells Walker he placed the belt in his recently deceased sister’s casket so she could take it to Heaven. After his confession, Walker gives Ricardo another purple belt. When this happens, Ricardo’s face immediately lights up. The music playing during this moment sounded like a tune you’d hear when an athlete in an inspirational sports movie reaches a breakthrough. This scene was both heart-breaking and heart-warming, allowing it to stand out in this episode!

What I didn’t like about this episode:

Chuck Norris’ claim to fame is his karate skills, which have become a huge draw for any of his productions. This fact is the reason why Walker is an intelligent karate master. While karate was incorporated into this episode, its presence was very limited. In fact, the story was 80% crime drama, with 20% action. Before watching ‘The Covenant’, I had expected the episode to be 50/50 when it comes to the drama and action. However, the only times karate could be seen are in a montage during a karate class and in the story’s climax.

The story itself:

When I first read the synopsis for ‘The Covenant’, it caused me to ask two “what ifs” about The Karate Kid (the original 1984 film). What if Daniel had never crossed paths with Mr. Miyagi? What if Daniel had joined Cobra Kai? I thought watching this episode of Walker, Texas Ranger would give me a basic idea of what these “what ifs” might look like. But as I reflect on ‘The Covenant’, I realize that comparing the stories of Daniel and Tommy, a student of Walker’s, is like comparing an apple pie to an Apple computer. While Cobra Kai was the villainous/antagonistic group in The Karate Kid, I don’t recall any member of that group breaking the law. Meanwhile, the gang that Tommy interacts with are comprised of legitimate criminals with violent actions and police records. This makes Tommy’s situation more dire than Daniel’s.

To me, this episode of Walker, Texas Ranger felt rushed, as the overall pace was faster than other shows of this nature. I don’t know if this is because ‘The Covenant’ was the first episode of Walker, Texas Ranger I had ever seen or if this was a legitimate creative error. But whatever caused this to happen, I found it difficult to keep up with the story. Another flaw I noticed was how context was missing in certain areas of the narrative. Even though this episode is called ‘The Covenant’, I am still confused as to what the covenant is in relation to the plot. Was it an ideology or a group? This question was never answered.

The other factors from this episode:

  • I was not expecting this episode to be Christmas-themed. However, the plot did not feel like a Christmas story. Sure, there were decorations shown in the background. But ‘The Covenant’ could have taken place in any time of year and it wouldn’t have made a difference.
  • Every television show is bound to have aspects that feel of its time. With Walker, Texas Ranger, there are elements that definitely look like it came from the ‘90s. This can be seen through the characters’ clothes, the background graffiti, and even the opening montage. These things definitely make any show feel like a time capsule.
  • Throughout my life, I’ve seen established shows include real-life topics in their episodes. Sometimes, these topics are effortlessly woven in with the episode’s plot. The anti-gang message of ‘The Covenant’ seems like a PSA was wedged into the overall story. I was given the impression the show’s creative team had chosen to write a narrative around an actual issue. There was some dialogue that sounded more like potential slogans than actual conversation. Even a message at the end of the episode revealed how the ‘The Covenant’ was dedicated to young victims of gang violence.

My overall thoughts:

 ‘The Covenant’ is the episode that inspired me to write about Walker, Texas Ranger. The “what ifs” relating to The Karate Kid are also a part of that inspiration. This episode ended up being different from what I expected, as the limited presence of karate is one reason why this is the case. Even though I liked the inclusion of karate, there was less of the sport than I had been led to believe. This is because the episode leaned more toward the criminal/police procedural part of the overall story. If anything, ‘The Covenant’ came across as part crime drama, part “after school special”, with the anti-gang message being dropped into the story rather than woven in. While this is not one of the worst television episodes I’ve ever seen, it definitely could have been stronger.

Rating: A 3 out of 5

As Walker says in ‘The Covenant’, “These belts don’t come easy. You have to earn them”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Episode Name: The Juggernaut

Season 3, Episode 16

Premiere Date: February 10th, 1996

The title card for “The Juggernaut”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

What I liked about this episode:

In ‘The Juggernaut’, Walker has a limited presence within the story because he has to attend a weekend tournament. This creative decision allows the stakes to be raised to a higher level. It presents a scenario where the hero isn’t always readily available to save the day. It also forces the secondary characters to rely on their own skills to resolve the overarching conflict. Another component is how the episode’s villainous character posed a legitimate threat to Walker and those around him. Connie’s husband, Brad, was a terrifying character because of his realistic nature. Patrick St. Esprit’s performance added to Brad’s sinister persona as well. All of these elements helped make the episode suspenseful and it made me fear for the characters’ lives.

What I didn’t like about this episode:

As I just mentioned, Walker has to attend a weekend tournament. Because of this, Trivette steps in to host a self-defense class at a retreat for domestic violence survivors. I liked how the actual tournament was shown in the episode, as referenced events or situations aren’t always visually presented in TV episodes. But what I didn’t like was how the tournament itself seemed more like a karate clinic. This is because the referee was coaching the athletes during duels and the athletes were surrounding the ring as if listening to an instructor in a class. At the retreat, Trivette led his self-defense class in an interesting way, allowing the survivors to hit him while he was wearing multiple layers of padding. This helped the survivors become comfortable with striking an attacker. The actual lesson didn’t take place until the episode’s halfway point. In my opinion, this moment should have happened sooner in the story.

The story itself:

Unlike ‘The Covenant’, the topic of domestic violence was woven into the story of ‘The Juggernaut’. Instead of dropping this real-life subject into the plot and making it seem like a PSA, the situation presented in this episode feels like it belongs in the show’s world. It gives the message an opportunity to organically grow within the story. Because the retreat is led by Alex, a deputy district attorney and a friend of Walker’s, she’s the one who takes charge of the plot. She was also able to use her skills and expertise to save the day. I like how Alex progressed the narrative forward, as it gave one of the show’s secondary characters a moment to shine. It reminded me of The Babysitter’s Club, where each book is told from a different perspective.

The other factors from this episode:

  • I thought Alex’s cabin looked cute, despite the living room being the only interior shot shown! The green porch was not only eye-catching, but inviting as well. I also think the grounds surrounding the cabin were scenic. I don’t know if this is a real-life house or if it was a set created for the show. However, the location scout did a good job when choosing this particular spot!
  • During the retreat, C.D. tells Connie a story about a retreat participant who was able to turn her life around. After this story was told, C.D. asks Connie if she’ll write a happy ending to her own story. When Connie asks him why he wants to know, C.D. tells her how he wants to share her story with future retreat participants. To me, this was the sweetest moment of the episode!
  • Speaking of C.D., ‘The Juggernaut’ presented the second time I’ve seen C.D. become seriously injured. I’m not sure if this happened often on the show or if it’s just a coincidence. But I felt like bringing it up as a factor of this episode.

My overall thoughts:

When I first reviewed Murder, She Wrote last March, I ended up liking the second episode, ‘Film Flam’ more than the first one, ‘The Legacy of Borbey House’. The exact same thing has happened with ‘The Covenant’ and ‘The Juggernaut’, as I prefer ‘The Juggernaut’ over ‘The Covenant’. The story of the third season’s sixteenth episode contained a better written narrative. It also helped that the delivery of the domestic violence topic didn’t feel forced or preachy. With Walker in the episode for a limited amount of time, it allowed the story to have higher stakes. It also gave secondary characters more screen time and opportunities to be involved in the plot. ‘The Juggernaut’ kind of reminded me of Touched by an Angel, where the series’ regulars approached real-life topics with their wisdom in tow and kindness toward those who needed their help. Maybe this is one of the reasons why I liked ‘The Juggernaut’!

Rating: A solid 4 out of 5

This is one of the few shots of Alex’s cabin that was shown in broad daylight. I wonder how many times it was featured on the show? Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Episode Name: The Lynching

Season 3, Episode 8

Premiere Date: November 18th, 1995

The title card for “The Lynching”. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

What I liked about this episode:

There were two scenes in ‘The Lynching’ where Walker interacts with Jonah, a man who is accused of killing a local woman. In the first scene, Walker is questioning Jonah about the murder. When he is asked why he ran away from the crime scene, Jonah reveals he was so afraid, that he wanted to go to “Jonah’s Island”. It is implied that “Jonah’s Island” is an imaginary world Jonah created in his mind. Another scene has Jonah stating that he’s “slow in the head”. Walker tells him how there’s nothing wrong with him and how some people get in trouble for moving too fast. These moments were emotionally touching and contained heart.

What I didn’t like about this episode:

Wilma Casey, a local woman from a smaller Texas town, is killed in broad daylight. The people in this town are so upset by her death, that they form a mob against Jonah. Statements such as “Wilma was a good woman” were spoken among the members of the mob. Other than those vague statements, no explanation was given for why Wilma was so beloved. A small amount of information about Wilma is provided in this episode, revealing how she’s wealthy and how she helped Jonah after his parents died. But her influence in the town is not told. Was she a philanthropist or a former governor? These questions were never answered in ‘The Lynching’.

The story itself:

The story within the ‘The Lynching’ is a murder mystery, as Walker and other members of law enforcement come together to solve Wilma’s case. With a variety of clues and some shady characters, this plot was intriguing as well as engaging! It also made more sense for the plot to rely on the criminal/police procedural aspect of the show, as the majority of murder mysteries incorporate law enforcement officers in the story. The actions and choices of the people involved in the case did raise more questions than I expected to ask. In one scene, Walker comes across an object that could be used in court. However, he chooses not to collect this object as evidence. These questions didn’t take me out of the episode, but it happened more often than it should have.

The other factors from this episode:

  • Wilma’s house in ‘The Lynching’ was absolutely picturesque! Most of this location was captured in exterior shots, with only the kitchen and office being shown on screen. Like Alex’s cabin in ‘The Juggernaut’, I’m not sure if this is a real-life structure. But whoever was the location scout for Walker, Texas Ranger deserves recognition!
  • According to INSP’s website, Trivette “is a little less “high noon,” and more “high tech” when it comes to fighting crime”. Based on the three episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger I saw, Trivette doesn’t use technology more or less than the other characters. INSP’s description makes it seem like he is the go-to guy for technology, similar to Angela’s adopted role on Bones. After seeing this show, I think the article from INSP is a little misleading.
  • At one point, Jonah has to be transferred from the jail to another location. Instead of taking him to a second jail, the people associated with Wilma’s case take Jonah to a secret area. What surprised me was how Walker didn’t suggest Alex’s cabin as a safer place for Jonah to stay. Even though the cabin is used for Alex’s domestic violence survivor retreats, I’d like to think she wouldn’t mind allowing Jonah to temporarily stay at her cabin.

My overall thoughts:

While I didn’t enjoy this episode as much as ‘The Juggernaut’, I did like it more than ‘The Covenant’. As someone who goes out of their way to talk about mysteries from time to time, the story was interesting enough to keep me invested in the plot. It contained the components that are usually found in a mystery: a collection of clues, potential suspects, some surprises, and suspense. Having this episode lean more toward the crime drama side of the show made sense with the narrative being told. This story is not without its flaws, however. Some of the actions and choices of the people involved in the overarching case were questionable in terms of believability. The lack of explanation for Wilma’s importance also didn’t help. Similar to ‘The Juggernaut’, the situation in ‘The Lynching’ felt it belonged in the world of Walker, Texas Ranger. This episode could have easily followed the footsteps of ‘The Covenant’, placing a message in the script and writing a story around it. Instead, ‘The Lynching’ focuses on themes that the audience could relate to; such as treating others as they would like to be treated.

Rating: A 3.6 out of 5

Is is just me or does this house remind anyone of Laura’s boarding house from Little House of the Prairie? Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

My final assessment:

In my first review of Murder, She Wrote, I said the show as a whole, based on the three episodes I wrote about, was fine. I also said that I’d watch the show if I had nothing else to do. With Walker, Texas Ranger, I thought it was fine as well. However, the overall quality of the episodes was more consistent than the ones from my Murder, She Wrote review. Even though ‘The Juggernaut’ was the best episode of the three I chose, I did enjoy watching ‘The Lynching’. My least favorite episode was ‘The Covenant’, as I thought it was just ok. One aspect that stood out to me was how karate was only used during select moments of each episode. There was enough action in ‘The Juggernaut’ and ‘The Lynching’ to keep the plot interesting. However, I thought ‘The Covenant’ was a little light on action. While I probably don’t see myself watching Walker, Texas Ranger religiously, I wouldn’t mind checking out an episode or two if it happened to pop up on my television. But who knows? Since last March, I’ve seen more episodes of Murder, She Wrote than I originally expected.

Have you seen Walker, Texas Ranger? Are there any episodes you’d want to see me review? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun in Dallas, Texas!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Kubo and the Two Strings Review + 125 Follower Thank You

Two weeks ago, 18 Cinema Lane received a hundred and twenty-five followers! However, because my blogging schedule revolved around the four blogathons that are scheduled for August, I haven’t found the time to publish this review. I knew I wanted to post this review before the end of the month, so I made some room in my schedule for this review to become a reality. For this post, I chose a movie that was released in August of 2016. I had the option of two Hallmark Channel films and Kubo and the Two Strings. Since I reviewed a Hallmark Channel movie for my previous blog follower dedication review (that film was Desolation Canyon) and since the last time I reviewed an animated film was back in February (the movie I talked about was All Dogs Go to Heaven 2), I decided to talk about the latter. Kubo and the Two Strings is a movie that I had not seen, but definitely had heard about. Mostly positive things were said about it, with the animation itself being a highlight. I don’t watch stop-motion animation often, so that means this is the first film of this kind to be reviewed on my blog! Even after reviewing over a hundred films, there’s still a “first for everything”.

Kubo and the Two Strings poster
Kubo and the Two Strings poster created by Laika and Focus Features. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kubo_and_the_Two_Strings_poster.png

Things I liked about the film:

The animation: Stop-motion animation can be hit or miss. You can either get something that looks whimsical, like The Nightmare Before Christmas or off-putting, like Coraline. Kubo and the Two Strings, however, falls more on the whimsical and imaginative side of the genre. The use of colors is what makes this movie stand out, as the balance between bright and dark palettes was complimentary. A good portion of the landscapes looked very realistic. Water, cliffs, and snow are just a few examples. I also liked how each character had a unique design. No two characters looked alike and their personalities were different from one another. All of these factors made for a truly stunning visual!

 

The humor: Family-friendly/children’s films sometimes try to incorporate humor by telling the same types of jokes. These jokes can be so overdone that they fall flat or become offensive. The humor in Kubo and the Two Strings was witty and clever. Funny moments felt like they were naturally extracted from the situation, instead of having the characters say or do something hilarious for the sake of it. Kubo and the Two Strings’ humor was well spaced out. It was mostly placed in the quieter scenes of the film, where there was less action and suspense. These moments never overshadowed or took away from the movie’s dramatic and serious parts.

 

The messages and themes: Kubo and the Two Strings contains several messages and themes that not only compliment the narrative, but help create an enriching story. An overarching theme is family, which plays a huge role on more than one occasion. It provided a moral compass for the characters and even put a new take on a familiar trope from family-friendly/children’s films. The message of how powerful story-telling is was impactful, changing the way certain things are presented. Something as simple as a piece of paper or the sounds of a bird as just two examples. Kubo and the Two Strings is a movie that gives the audience valuable words of wisdom!

 

The pacing: As I previously stated, the film’s humor was placed in the quieter scenes that featured less action and suspense. I should also add that the humor played a role in assisting the movie’s pace. Kubo and the Two Strings’ pace felt like the ebb and flow of an ocean’s waves. When an action scene came into the story, calmer scenes soon followed. These scenes were used to provide character development and feature interesting character interactions. Because of this balance between action-heavy and dialogue-focused scenes, it never made the movie feel drawn out or longer than its run-time. It made the movie-viewing experience that much more enjoyable!

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Paper Boats in the Sea image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/background-of-paper-boats-with-hand-drawn-waves_1189898.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Choppy movements: Whenever characters moved, it was always in a fluid motion. Some examples include walking and putting up objects. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the motion of human characters’ mouths. Any time a human character spoke, the movements of their mouth appeared choppy and they didn’t flow with the rest of the animation. The only character I didn’t feel this way about was Monkey. I’m not sure if this is a production issue or if it’s because I don’t watch stop-motion animated films often. But it got to the point where these choppy movements were distracting.

Japan Retro Cartoon Icons Set
Japanese paper dragon image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/flower”>Flower vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

When it comes to my blog follower dedication reviews, I always try to choose films that are worth my followers’ time. Because they helped my blog reach the milestones that it has, I feel they deserve a good, quality movie as well as review. Well, I can honestly say that Kubo and the Two Strings is that film! This movie has everything I could ever want or ask for in a cinematic story, holding on to my attention from start to finish. While we’ve seen the “hero’s journey” narrative before, this film takes that template and breaths new life into it. It’s a story with so much heart, that it feels like the creative team behind this film truly cared about the movie they were making. With relatable and inspirational messages and themes, Kubo and the Two Strings makes me want to be a better person. Speaking of people, thank you to all of my one hundred and twenty-five followers, as well as my readers, for helping me get to this point. You have and will always play a vital role in this blogging journey.

 

Overall score: 9.1 out of 10

 

Do you like that I review animated films? Which movie from this genre would you like to see me talk about? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Jurassic World Review + 105 Follower Thank You

Last month, I received 105 followers on 18 Cinema Lane! Because I took two out-of-town trips and had several blog related projects on my plate, I wasn’t able to create this post as soon as I had hoped to. Since I wanted to publish this review before the end of the month, I put aside some time to finally share this post with all of my followers. Before I received 100 followers, I had a system for choosing which movies I would review. Now that I have more than 100 followers, I found a new way of picking out movies to write about, especially since it’s difficult to find movies that are older than 100 years old. Whenever I reach a milestone number of followers, I will pick a movie that was released in the same month as when I received this milestone. To determine which year this movie will be from, I will flip a two-sided coin. If the coin lands on the heads side, the movie will be from a year that starts with the number “1”. If the coin lands on the tail side, the movie will be from a year that starts with the number “2”. When this happens, I will flip the coin again. If it lands on the heads side, the year’s last two digits will start with the number “0”. If it lands on the tail side, the year’s last two digits will start with the number “1”. After this step, I will roll a piece of dice. For a year starting with a “1”, I will roll the dice twice, in order to determine the year’s last two digits. For a year starting with a “2”, I will only roll the dice once. I apologize if this process sounds more confusing than it actually is. I tried to explain it the best that I could. Anyways, after I completed this new process for the first time, the movie that I was to review for this post ended up being from May of 2015. Since I saw Jurassic Park last year, I decided to watch its continuation, Jurassic World. How did this four-year-old film compare to a twenty-six year old classic? The only way to find out to by reading my review!

Jurassic World poster
Jurassic World poster created by Universal Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, and The Kennedy/Marshall Company. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jurassic_World_poster.jpg.

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: For the most part, the acting in Jurassic World was good! Prior to watching this film, I had seen Chris Pratt’s acting performance in Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. While there are dramatic moments within these films, Chris has partaken in comedic acting more than dramatic acting. In Jurassic World, Chris’ performance was more dramatic, with only a few comedic moments. It was great to see a different side of Chris’ acting talents, especially when he was able to pull off a really good performance! Another performance that I was impressed with came from Ty Simpkins. Before seeing Jurassic World, I had remembered his performance in Iron Man 3. What I liked about this performance was that Ty was given more acting material to work with than in the aforementioned Marvel film. This allowed him to explore more emotions as well as the character’s backstory. What Ty brought to the role, acting wise, was interesting and entertaining!

 

  • The special effects: While watching Jurassic World, I found myself being impressed with the special effects! One of the most memorable parts of Jurassic Park was the quality of the CGI. This was also a highlight of the 2015 continuation. The dinosaurs and other creatures looked very life-like, even when they were next to the human characters. The level of detail in the designs were beautiful, especially when it came to the eyes of these creatures! What was interesting about the dinosaurs in this movie was how they seemed to have their own personalities. This was a unique difference from Jurassic Park.

 

  • The scenery: I loved the scenery in this movie! The island landscape was not only great to look at, but it also fit the type of setting that the creative team behind this film was going for. The natural beauty of the foliage was a consistent aspect of the backdrop, just like in Jurassic Park. Jurassic World‘s theme park looked really cool! With all of the different attractions, this place appeared to be a lot of fun (when you take away the imminent danger, of course). Every aspect of the island was captured well on film!

Various animal toy figures in a colorful background
Colorful dinosaur image created by Rawpixel.com at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/various-animal-toy-figures-in-a-colorful-background_3011200.htm’>Designed by Rawpixel.com</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Rawpixel.com – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • Thrills that weren’t consistent: In Jurassic Park, the story is thrilling from beginning to end. Almost immediately, the audience goes on an emotional roller-coaster ride. This is one of the factors that made this movie as enjoyable as it was. With Jurassic World, however, I never got that same feeling of a continuous thrill ride. Sure, there were several thrilling moments within the movie. But the build-up to the first, big, thrilling moment lasted for about 40 minutes. Because of this, it took me a while to get fully invested in the film.

 

  • Young characters who don’t have a strong significance: Similar to Jurassic Park, two young family members of one of the protagonists visit the island in Jurassic World. Unlike Jurassic Park, these family members didn’t have anywhere near as big of a significance as the children did in the predecessor. Tim and Lex, from Jurassic Park, were not just featured in the story for the sake of bringing more characters on the adventure. At one point in the film, Lex uses her computer skills in order to save the day. Zach and Gray, Claire’s nephews in Jurassic World, don’t really do anything to solve the film’s conflict. In fact, it felt like Zach and Gray were included in this story just because there were young characters in the first movie.

 

  • Moments of randomness: There were a few moments in Jurassic World that didn’t really make sense within the overall context of the story. For example, one of Claire’s nephews brings up the possibility of his parents getting a divorce. This leads the brothers to have a conversation about what would happen if their parents got a divorce. I found the inclusion of this conversation to be very random. This is because there were no explicit references to the idea prior to this moment. Had moments like these been eliminated from the film, I think the script would’ve been tighter.

OJB2CA0
Tropical island image created by Brgfx at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/island-background-design_1020626.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Brgfx – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Before I share my thoughts on this movie, I wanted to say thank you to all of my followers! Without you, 18 Cinema Lane would have never come as far as it has! Now, on to my overall impression of  Jurassic World. Personally, I thought it was decent, at best. Even though it stood solidly on its own merits, I still think that Jurassic Park was the more superior film among the two movies. Throughout Jurassic World, there were references to the first movie that I thought were well done. They didn’t distract the audience’s focus on the story, but complimented the plot instead. I also thought this was a nice touch to the film, as a way of commemorating what came before it, while also adding something new to the narrative. It just goes to show that, when it’s done with the best quality possible, new chapters to a franchise can work.

 

Overall score: 7.3 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts on my new system of choosing movies for these reviews? Are you looking forward to my next review? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Avengers: Endgame (SPOILER-ZONE) Review

One opening weekend and three hours later, Avengers: Endgame has officially owned the box office! With both the domestic and foreign box office records being broken, Avengers: Endgame will certainly be a movie for the history books. Because I posted my spoiler-free review on April 27th, within the film’s opening weekend, I chose to publish my spoiler-zone review this weekend. This way, any of my readers or followers who wanted to see Avengers: Endgame could do so without being spoiled. In this review, I will expand upon the things that I didn’t like about this film, since I talked about them only vaguely. However, I will also discuss spoiler related things from the movie that I liked. Similar to my spoiler-zone review of Avengers: Infinity War, this post will be long. So, with that out of the way, let the spoiler review for Avengers: Endgame begin!

Be aware that there are spoilers ahead!

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Yes, I know this is the same picture I used for my spoiler-free review of Avengers: Endgame. But, I didn’t have time to take a separate picture for this spoiler-zone review. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

  • A slower first half: As I said in my spoiler-free review, I thought that the first half of Avengers: Endgame had a slower pace than the second half. Now that I’m publishing my spoiler-zone review, I can give an explanation to what I said. The first half of the movie was not only meant to build-up to the time-traveling portion of the story, but it was also reserved for the exploration of loss that I talked about in my spoiler-free review. The majority of Avengers: Endgame takes place five years after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, so it makes sense for this exploration of loss to be incorporated into the first half. The various superheroes that had survived the events of the previous film had gone on their separate ways. This first half also showed how these heroes came back together in order to accomplish their mission. When the time-traveling portion of Avengers: Endgame began, that’s when the pace picked up.

 

  • Plot Points that Complicate Future MCU Projects: In my spoiler-free review, I mentioned that there were a few plot points that confused me in the context of future MCU projects. Because this is my spoiler-zone review, now I can explain what these plot points are and why they confused me. The first was when Black Widow died as she was sacrificing her life to acquire the Soul Stone. Even though this was a shocking moment that I did not see coming, it brought up questions about the upcoming Black Widow movie that was announced to premiere after Avengers: Endgame. Will this movie be a prequel or will Marvel find a way to bring Black Widow back and tell her story in the present? These next two plot points bring up confusion for the upcoming shows on the Disney streaming service, Disney+. One of these shows is WandaVision and from what I’m heard, the show will be about both Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff and Vision. However, Vision never made an appearance in Avengers: Endgame. So, does this mean that the show will be about Wanda trying to find Vision? Was Vision in another area of the world/universe completing his own mission? Another show that was announced is Falcon & Winter Soldier, which will feature both Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. But, toward the end of Avengers: Endgame, Sam receives the title of Captain America. Since Sam is an Avenger (again) and Bucky is not an Avenger (again), will Sam end up being the star of the show, with Bucky being a supporting character? Will the title change to Captain America & White Wolf (since Bucky hasn’t been the Winter Soldier since 2014 and he was called “White Wolf” in the end-credit scene of Black Panther)? With these creative decisions being made, it seems like the creative team behind Avengers: Endgame wasn’t willing to address this confusion because they were probably not prepared to do that. Their job was not to promote the MCU’s future projects, but to tell the story at hand. If Avengers: Endgame’s creative team knew that these creative choices were going to affect upcoming projects, they should have at least used dialogue or interesting story-telling to answer some of these questions.

Avengers Endgame Bucky poster
Avengers: Endgame Bucky Barnes poster created by The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Studios. © Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Marvel and Avengers Characters: ©2017 Marvel. Image found at https://www.marvel.com/articles/movies/mcu-heroes-unveil-avengers-endgame-character-posters

  • A Personal Disappointment: This paragraph is about something that personally disappointed me in Avengers: Endgame. What ended up making me feel this way is connected to one of the things that I didn’t like about this movie. In my post called “A Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List”, two of the things that I wanted was for Bucky’s cure to be confirmed in Avengers: Endgame and for Bucky to become the next Captain America. Unfortunately, none of those things happened. I get it, some wishes weren’t meant to come true. And I’m fine with Sam receiving the title of Captain America. However, if the creative team behind Avengers: Endgame were going to add something new to Sam’s story in preparation for the show, Falcon & Winter Soldier, they should have also added something new to Bucky’s story to get the Bucky fans excited for the show. In the scene where Steve gives Sam the shield, it almost seemed like Bucky was an afterthought, as he was standing in the distance and watching everything going on in front of him. Since the creative team knew that Bucky wasn’t going to become the next Captain America, they should have, at least, given him another superhero title to make up for it. Had they made Bucky an Avenger by expanding upon the White Wolf “title” he was given in the end-credit scene from Black Panther, I would’ve been totally content with that. It would have given me, as a Bucky fan, an incentive to want to watch the show. Could Bucky’s cure be confirmed in Falcon & Winter Soldier? Possibly. Could Bucky finally receive a superhero title on that show? Again, it’s possible. But, because the creative team behind Avengers: Endgame weren’t prepared to acknowledge Falcon & Winter Soldier, their creative choices brought up more confusion and complications for the show than they were willing to address. Because of this, I’m finding it very difficult to get excited about Falcon & Winter Soldier. I want this show to be good and I want it to be something enjoyable for both the Sam and Bucky fans. But I’ll wait to hear what other people have to say about the show first, in order to determine if it’s worth the price of admission.

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Yes, I know I used this picture in my spoiler-free review of Avengers: Endgame. But, I thought this picture was relevant for this specific review. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

  • Genuine surprises: Black Widow’s death was definitely one of the most shocking moments within this movie. But it wasn’t the only shocking death in Avengers: Endgame. Toward the end of the film, Tony Stark/Iron Man dies in order to use his own Infinity Gauntlet to snap Thanos and his army out of existent. This was shocking for me because I did not think Iron Man would pass away, considering how popular both the character and Robert Downey Jr. are. The character that I did think would pass away, Steve Rogers/Captain America, did not lose his life. Instead, he manipulated time in order to live out his life with Peggy Carter. Not all of the surprises had to do with a character’s fate. One example is Joe Russo’s cameo toward the beginning of the film. Pleasant surprises like this kept Avengers: Endgame

 

  • Clarifications on things from Avengers: Infinity War: In my spoiler-zone review of Avengers: Infinity War, I mentioned how some of the creative choices that were made in that movie ended up confusing me. One of them was how Rocket was one of heroes that survived Thanos’ plan. In Avengers: Endgame, when Rocket teamed up with Thor to retrieve two of the Infinity Stones, Rocket’s explanation for why he was with Thor helped his survival make more sense. Another interesting choice that, at the time, confused me was why Rhodey/War Machine was one of the remaining heroes at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. However, when Rhodey and Nebula were paired together, in Avengers: Endgame, to collect one of the Infinity Stones, the reason for this creative decision was well-explained. It was because both Rhodey and Nebula have been mechanically “repaired” over the course of their cinematic journeys. It definitely helped that Avengers: Endgame was released exactly a year after Avengers: Infinity War, as it seemed to give this film’s creative team a sense of urgency to make some of these clarifications.

Avengers Endgame poster
Avengers: Endgame poster created by The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Studios. © Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Marvel and Avengers Characters: ©2017 Marvel. Image found at https://www.marvel.com/articles/movies/marvel-studios-reveals-avengers-endgame-poster.

There’s definitely going to be some comparisons and contrasts to the spoiler-zone review for both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. But after the dust has settled (no pun intended), I ended up liking this movie a little bit more than Avengers: Infinity War. As I’ve explained, this was not a perfect or near perfect film. But I thought Avengers: Endgame was enjoyable for what it was. There were some creative choices that confused me as to how they will affect some of the future MCU projects. Hopefully, this confusion will be cleared up as the months go on. I’ve seen other responses for the film and it has been a variety of reactions. Some of these opinions are similar to mine, while others are the complete opposite. To this I say that it’s ok. Everyone is going to see this movie through their own unique lens. In fact, if any of my readers or followers have a different opinion than me about Avengers: Endgame, that’s fine. As long as we can have a conversation that is respectful to all parties. Now that we’ve reached the end of this post, I’d just like to wish everyone a happy Summer movie season! Since Avengers: Endgame has premiered in what is now considered the start of the Summer box office season, the battle to become the number one movie of the Summer has officially begun!

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I apologize for using some of the same pictures I used in my Avengers: Endgame spoiler-free review. It’s not that I’m lazy, these pictures are just that relevant. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

What are your thoughts on this review? Are there any other spoilers that you would like to discuss? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

If you want to learn more about some of the future MCU projects I referenced in this review, check out Grace Randolph’s videos called “Disney Plus BREAKDOWN – Marvel Shows, Release Date, News” and “Black Widow Movie Cast – Florence Pugh” on her Youtube channel, Beyond The Trailer.

Take 3: Avengers: Endgame (SPOILER-FREE) Review

After billions of dollars, millions of fans, thousands of talent, hundreds of source material, eleven years, and one dream, Avengers: Endgame has finally made its grand entrance. This seems like a movie for the history books, even before its release. Websites offering tickets crashed multiple times, yet the film still owned records in the process. Trailers and tv spots appeared wherever they could, announcing their message like the sound of a trumpet. The official premiere had their carpet decked out in purple, representing the villain’s signature color. With the opening weekend upon us, the time has come for me to review the film! I’ll be honest, I had lower expectations for this movie than I did for Avengers: Infinity War. This was due to the ending and end credits scene of the aforementioned predecessor. However, because Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are a two-part story, I wanted to find out what happens next. With positive word-of-mouth and skyrocketing levels of anticipation, it seems like other people had the same idea I did. Speaking of ideas, I requested six films for a potential Breening review at Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. One of these films, The Moon-Spinners, was just given a Breening Thursday article on the blog! This was such an insightful review about how the Breen Code could be applied to this film. Make sure you check out that review as well as this review of Avengers: Endgame!

https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2019/04/25/breening-thursday-24-the-moon-spinners-from-1964/

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When I saw this at my local cinema, I knew I just had to take a picture of it for this post! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: Like in Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame had a great cast! Everyone did a really good job at portraying their characters, no matter what the size of their role was. All of the reactions, expressions, and behaviors appeared as realistic as possible, helping me, as a movie-goer, stay invested in the film. Also, like in Avengers: Infinity War, the comedic and dramatic timing was perfectly executed. This helped both types of moments stick the landing.

 

  • The different ways of dealing with loss: Within Avengers: Endgame, one of the narratives was how the heroes dealt with loss. This aspect of the film reminded me of Flicka: Country Pride, where grief affected almost all of the characters. Each of the heroes faced the subject of loss in a very different way, highlighting how everyone has their own way of dealing with this topic. This aspect of the story really added some depth to the overall project. It was an interesting addition to each of the characters’ stories, as this narrative helped incorporate a distinct stepping stone in these individuals’ character development. Understanding the different ways that the characters react to loss helped to show how they move forward from it.

 

  • The special effects: All of the special effects in Avengers: Endgame looked really good! They were not only photogenic, they also had very unique color palettes. The different colors that were used for these special effects were complimentary, working in their favor to be appealing to the eye. The various locations in this film appeared so realistic, I wondered if one scene in particular was filmed on location or created with CGI. This reminded me of the scenery in Avengers: Infinity War. Also, just like in Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos’ overall design looked and felt very real. This helped continue the believability of the character as well as my investment in his story.

 

  • Balance between comedy and drama: As I already mentioned, the comedic and dramatic timing was perfectly executed. This was not only because of the acting performances, but also because of the writing. Both the comedic and dramatic moments were spaced out really nicely, with the narrative maintaining a good amount of intrigue. What also helps is that these moments felt genuine. It makes their emotional weight effective, whether it is light-hearted or serious.

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Like last year, Bucky, Bucky, and Thor joined me on this cinematic adventure! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
What I didn’t like about the film:

  • A slower first half: Because this a spoiler-free review, I will be very mindful of what I say in this post. To me, the first half of the film had a slower pace than the second half. I understand that this part of the film was meant to be build-up for upcoming events. However, that build-up seemed to be a little bit longer than I expected. This pace does eventually pick up at the start of a particular event.

 

  • Confusing plot points: In this film, there were a few plot points that confused me. They didn’t confuse me in the context of the film, but they did confuse me in the context of future MCU projects. These plot points seemed to bring up more questions than I was expecting. Since this is a spoiler-free review, I’ll explain more about what confused me in my spoiler-zone review.

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It looks like I’m not the only one who was impressed with this display. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

My overall impression:

History is a very interesting thing. It makes us who we are and helps us shape the world around us. What do you we want to be remembered for? What legacy do we want to leave behind? When we look back on Avengers: Endgame, what will this film be known for? Even though it’s way too early to determine this film’s place in history, we can definitely talk about its immediate impact. Starting with my own thoughts, Avengers: Endgame is a great film! While it’s not perfect, it does do a good job at being an entertaining and enjoyable movie. Something I noticed while watching this film was how much heart, soul, love, passion, and care seemed to be put into this project. It felt like the creative team behind this movie tried their best to make something that a large amount of people would enjoy. It’s unclear what the future holds for the MCU, but we at least have an idea of the kind of legacy it will leave behind.

 

Overall score: 9 out of 10

 

Have you seen Avengers: Endgame? Are you looking forward to my spoiler-zone review? Tell me what you think in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Kim Possible (2019) Review

The time has finally come for me to review a film that has gotten a lot of attention on 18 Cinema Lane, the new live-action Kim Possible film! If you’ve been following my blog since last year, you would know that I’ve been talking about this movie since the very beginning. In fact, the first announcement about this Kim Possible movie was the first Word on the Street story I ever wrote. As the months went by, I’ve discussed other news relating to this film, such as casting announcements and production updates. When the trailer for Kim Possible was released last December, I definitely took the time to talk about how I felt about it. To me, the trailer was fine, at best. I’ve also shared that I was very skeptical about the project. As I mentioned in my very first Word on the Street story about Kim Possible, I have enjoyed watching the original show. However, I was concerned about a newer audience receiving more attention from this film’s creative team to the point of alienating the audience of the original show. Even though I had very low expectations for this film, I still watched it with an open mind, with the hope that it could be good. After one whole year of introducing this movie news story to my readers, it’s time to talk about 2019’s Kim Possible!

Kim Possible 2019 poster
Kim Possible (2019) poster the Walt Disney Company and Disney Channel. © Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved. Disney XD© Disney Enterprises, Inc. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kim_Possible_(2019_film)_poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: While watching this movie, I was really impressed with the acting! Every actor in this cast seemed to disappear into their roles, effectively bringing characters that I have come to know and recognize to life. Sadie Stanley shined in her performance as the beloved secret agent, Kim Possible. Whether it was an intense action sequence or an emotionally heart-felt moment, Sadie successfully brought the versatility that helped her embody this character on-screen. As I’ve mentioned before, Shego is my favorite Disney villain of all time. Seeing Taylor Ortega’s portrayal of this memorable character made me so happy! She captured Shego’s snarky attitude and strength that I best remember from my days of watching Kim Possible on television. The acting in this film was definitely a highlight!

 

  • Looking and feeling like the show: Throughout this film, I noticed how close almost everything looked to the show. From the Possible family home to the high school’s official sign, there were a number of things in this movie that looked like they were copied directly from the series. Because of this level of detail, it made the movie feel like the show. Since I am fond of the original series, I liked this aspect of the film. It made it seem like the creative team behind this movie truly cared about the project they were creating. Things like this made me enjoy the film that much more!

 

  • The humor: The Kim Possible television show was known for having humor woven into each episode. In this movie, there was humor that was effectively incorporated into the story. One example of this is the high school’s official sign. In the show, this sign would display funny sayings and puns. The sign in this movie not only had those funny sayings and puns like in the show, but the words on that sign correlated with the events in the story. The overall humor in this movie matched the tone of the show. Not only that, but I thought this film’s humor was genuinely funny.

 

  • The messages and themes: Another thing that the Kim Possible show was known for was including messages and themes into the story of each episode. This movie also had messages and themes that were related to the overall narrative. Friendship, jealousy, and not being afraid to ask for help when it’s necessary are some themes that stood out to me in this story. The messages of the importance of being a good friend and the difference between who you are and the things you do are messages that felt relatable. These messages and themes made me feel good about what I was watching.

Shego and Drakken pin
When talking about this Kim Possible movie, of course I was going to put a picture of this pin within this review! Apparently, this was the only Shego related Disney pin that was ever created. Screenshot created by me, Sally Silverscreen.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • The inconsistency of the special effects: When I first talked about the Kim Possible trailer, one of the things that stood out to me was how the special effects looked. At worst, the special effects in the trailer were distracting. Throughout the film, the special effects were 50/50. There were some times when the special effects looked good, such as when Shego uses her green blasting powers from her hands. But there were other times when the special effects looked less-than-stellar. This mostly happened whenever an explosion happened during an action scene. When this occurred, it appeared like the actors were moving in front of a screen. Fortunately, these less-than-stellar moments with the special effects were not as distracting as it looked in the trailer.

 

  • Kim Possible as a celebrity: In the show, the only people who seemed to know about Kim Possible being a secret agent were Ron and Wade. Because this part of Kim’s life was secret, it gave audience members the impression that Kim could still be a relatable character no matter how extraordinary her life seemed. In this movie, everyone knew that Kim was a secret agent, even having other characters treat her as if she were a celebrity. This new aspect of the character took away some of her relatability. But the creative team behind this movie still gave Kim enough relatability to her character to keep her as close to the original version as possible.

Vector cartoon illustration of college classroom
Picture of a high school classroom image created by Vectorpocket at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by vectorpocket – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Kim Possible was a better movie than I expected it to be! Despite its flaws, I thought this movie was good! Before this film’s release, my biggest concern was the movie possibly catering to a younger audience to the point of alienating the audience of the original show. However, the creative team behind this film did a good job at introducing new fans to the source material while, at the same time, respecting the fans of the original show. In fact, it felt like the creative team brought back the magic of the original series! As someone who not only watched the show in its original run, but also was very skeptical of the project, I ended up enjoying this movie more than I thought I would! I’m so glad I gave this film a chance!

 

Overall score: 8 out of 10

 

What are your thoughts on this review? Would you like to see your favorite animated show adapted into a live action film? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen