As I said in last week’s Word on the Street story, no winner was determined in the Best Actress division of the Gold Sally Awards. Because of this, I decided to re-post the Best Actress poll, so people who are interested in voting can have a second chance to choose among the ten nominees. Like the previous polls, you’re allowed to vote for more than one actress. However, you can only vote once per person. This poll starts today, March 20th, and ends on March 26th.
It’s now time to vote for the Best Actor of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! There are ten nominees, but only one can be crowned the champion! For this poll, you’re allowed to vote for more than one actor. But you can only vote once per person. This poll starts today, March 13th, and ends on March 19th.
Before I start this blog follower dedication review, I’d like remind everyone that Thursday, March 12th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Actress of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The Best Actor poll will be posted on the 13th! Here is the link to the poll:
Last week, I received 185 followers on 18 Cinema Lane! To everyone that chose to follow my blog, thank you so much! Your belief in me, as a blogger, is what keeps this site going! Because of this achievement, it’s time for another blog follower dedication review! For this post, I’ll be talking about a film that was released in March of 2013. The only movie with a 2013 release date on my DVR was The Carpenter’s Miracle. Not only did it premiere in March of that year, but reviewing it now is very fitting. The Lenten season is upon us. This is a collection of days leading up to the Easter celebration. The events in The Carpenter’s Miracle revolve around the Easter holiday, making the film an appropriate choice for this time of year. Before watching this movie, I had seen Cameron Matheson’s acting work from Hallmark, as well as tin he Lifetime movie, The Wife He Met Online. Some of those projects have been better than others. However, Cameron always finds a way to bring the best of his acting abilities to the screen!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: As I said in the introduction, I’ve enjoyed watching Cameron Matheson’s performances in various Hallmark films. The believability he brings to his roles is what makes these performances so great to watch! Cameron’s portrayal of Joshua was no different, showcasing how broad his acting range is. In the film’s opening scene, Joshua can be seen trying to save a young boy’s life. This scene is a perfect example of how good Cameron’s acting abilities are. I also felt the same way when I saw Michelle Harrison’s performance! Like Cameron, Michelle has appeared in several Hallmark pictures, including the upcoming film, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Heist and Seek. When her character, Sarah, finds out her son had died, Michelle’s acting talents really shined through. Not only was her portrayal believable, but she was also allowed to show off her broad acting range! Another actress that has appeared in Hallmark’s movies is Sarah-Jane Redmond. What I liked about her performance was how she effectively used facial expressions and voice inflections in a variety of scenarios. These things helped her portrayal of Delia seem convincing! A great example is in the scene where her character meets Joshua for the first time.
The cinematography: The Carpenter’s Miracle had better cinematography than I expected! The way some of these scenes were presented was creative and appealing to the eye! In one scene, Joshua visits his mother, Helen, at a local nursing home. While there, they watch the rain-drops falling on the window. During this scene, the camera cuts between the characters and the window. This creative choice gives the audience a chance to view that scene from Joshua and Helen’s perspective. The movie’s first scene was presented in a gray hue, showing Joshua’s act of rescuing a young boy as a dire situation. Because of this scene’s presentation, it brought forth the feelings of fear and uncertainty.
How Christianity/faith was included in the story: References to Jesus and the Bible were made throughout the story. The events in the film also take place around the Easter holiday. However, these references never feel preachy or heavy-handed. Instead, any mention of Jesus and Biblical themes are naturally woven into the script. The way they were written felt like they contained a double meaning: one connected to the film’s events and the other toward Christian messages and themes. The narrative itself placed more emphasis on a story than on delivering a message. Any Christian messages that appeared in the movie organically grew from the situations the characters experienced.
What I didn’t like about the film:
The protagonist given little to do: In the Bible, Jesus performs many acts that impact a variety of people. Because Joshua is meant to be a Jesus-esque figure in The Carpenter’s Miracle, you’d think he would have a packed schedule within the story. But within an hour and twenty-seven minutes, Joshua isn’t given much to do. Yes, he does help others through the power of healing. However, he only creates three miracles in the movie. One of them is heavily prioritized, causing the story to focus on the aftermath of the event. For the majority of the film, Joshua is seen spending time with Sarah, visiting his mother, or performing small maintenance jobs.
Limited journalistic presence: The main plot of The Carpenter’s Miracle is about how Joshua saves a young boy’s life. This event causes Joshua to receive a lot of attention. If a situation like this happened in real life, it would likely be covered in the news for about a week. People would also be talking about it on social media, with an official hashtag possibly being created to commemorate the act. In The Carpenter’s Miracle, the presence of journalism was very limited. The aforementioned event was covered on only one local news station. This same event was addressed on a nationally aired news program weeks after it occurred. The journalistic presence in the movie not only felt unrealistic, but it also seemed like there was little to no sense of urgency.
Too many plot points: There were several plot points featured in The Carpenter’s Miracle. This caused some of them to be addressed more than others. One example revolves around Joshua’s mother, Helen. Throughout the movie, she deals with a serious medical condition. While this situation does get resolved, it feels like it gets taken care of as a result of the film’s run-time. Personally, I wish this film had fewer plot points than it did. That way, they could have all been equally explored.
My overall impression:
The Carpenter’s Miracle is not the first faith-based film I’ve reviewed, especially for a blog follower dedication review. Last January, when I received 60 followers, I reviewed the 1959 movie, Ben-Hur. Looking back on both pictures, I can honestly say that Ben-Hur is a stronger project than The Carpenter’s Miracle. The story of the latter film could have been given a stronger script. It wasn’t as impactful as I had hoped. Despite this, the movie did contain aspects that I liked. For one thing, I did like the inclusion of Christianity/faith. The Easter holiday highlights themes like putting the needs of others before one’s self. Ideas such as this one were expressed well within the story. Even though I thought The Carpenter’s Miracle was an ok film, it is an interesting film to watch during the Lenten season. I’ve seen other movies with as similar story, with Working Miracles being one example. However, I do think the 2013 Up Network film is a better project than the 2010 Hallmark movie.
Overall score: 6 out of 10
Have you watched any of Up Network’s films? If so, which one is your favorite? Please tell me in the comment section!
The Gold Sally Awards makes an effort to recognize the best actors and actresses of the previous year. Throughout the month of March, the individual acting polls of the Gold Sally Awards will take place. The first of these four polls is to determine the Best Actress! For this poll, you’re allowed to vote for more than one actress. But you can only vote once per person. This poll starts today, March 6th, and ends on March 12th.
The fourth poll of the 2020 Gold Sally Award is here! This poll is meant to crown the Best Ensemble out of the movies I saw in 2019! Like the previous polls, you’re allowed to vote for more than one ensemble. But you can only vote once per person. This poll starts today, February 28th, and ends on March 5th.
Happy New Year’s Eve, everybody! Since I published my list of The Top 10 Worst Movies I saw in 2019 yesterday, it’s time for me to post my list of The Top 10 Best Movies I saw in 2019! Like I said before, I found 2019 has been a better year for movies. I saw a lot of good films, but only ten can be considered the best of the year. As I mentioned in my previous list, this article is based on my opinion and films that I personally watched. It’s also not meant to be mean-spirited or negative toward anyone’s opinions/cinematic preferences. Now that the introduction is over, let’s begin by bringing up the Honorable Mentions!
Christmas Bells are Ringing, Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas, Northern Lights of Christmas, A Gingerbread Romance, Kim Possible (2019), Flip that Romance, Chronicle Mysteries: Vines that Bind, Just Add Romance, Boys Town, Men of Boys Town, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, The Last Bridesmaid, Toy Story 4, Return to Oz, I Remember Mama, Ruby Herring Mysteries: Her Last Breath, Merry and Bright, A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love, Time for You to Come Home for Christmas, and The Christmas Club
10. The Nine Lives of Christmas
Who knew I would like this movie as much as I did? As part of the Happy Holidays Blogathon, I watched and reviewed this movie in an attempt to figure out if it was worth the hype it has received. Like I said in that post, I can now understand why so many people like the film so much! The humor within this movie is one of its highlights. Because of the quality of the script and the acting performances, The Nine Lives of Christmas was genuinely hilarious. While watching this movie, I found myself laughing more than I thought I would. Another part of this story that was well-written was the interactions among the characters. They were not only great to watch, but they also appeared natural on-screen. I’m glad I finally realize why this movie always makes an appearance in Hallmark’s yearly Christmas line-ups.
9. Holiday for Heroes
I will admit I had lower expectations for this film than I probably should have. But those lower expectations allowed the movie to surpass them and become the pleasant surprise it was. Holiday for Heroes was so good, that it reminded me of another movie I liked, Operation Christmas. With its genuine sincerity, the messages that were expressed in this story came across very well. I also liked how the formation of the protagonists’ relationship was more realistic than in something like The Christmas Card. Throughout this film, I could tell the creative team’s heart was always in the right place. It made it seem like they truly cared about the project they were working on.
8. Easter Under Wraps
In 2019, Hallmark finally created their first Easter themed movie! Even though it took so long to get to this point, I definitely think it was worth the wait. I really liked the writing within this film, as it created a story that was entertaining. Something I pointed out in my review is how conversations felt like they came from real-life. This helped me stay invested in what the characters were saying and doing throughout the film. Like in most movies from Hallmark Channel, Easter Under Wraps contained messages and themes that were relatable. Just one example is of personal growth. I’m not sure what Hallmark’s plans are for their “Spring Fever” line-up. I hope one of them includes a sequel to this film.
7. Ben-Hur (1959)
This is the first of two movies that I reviewed for a blog follower dedication review. At the beginning of the year, I was thrilled to share this movie with my readers and followers. That’s because I enjoyed it more than I expected to. Ben-Hur is a film that has acquired a lot of critical acclaim. As I said in my review, the hype surrounding it was well-earned. The script itself is one of the strongest elements of the project. Even though Ben-Hur is known as an “epic” picture, it is also a compelling story of faith and perseverance. From the acting performances to the cinematography, these things make this film the masterpiece it is. It’s no wonder Ben-Hur has been able to stand the test of time for so long.
6. Mystery 101: Words Can Kill
One of the newest mystery series that premiered in 2019, Mystery 101, has quickly become one of my favorites. I found the third movie in this series, Mystery 101: Words Can Kill, to be the strongest one. Unlike most of the films on Hallmark’s second network, this movie felt like it had higher stakes. This was caused by the female protagonist’s father being falsely accused on the crime and the male and female leads not being able to see eye-to-eye on the film’s main conflict. I also liked how the book festival was showcased in the movie for a satisfying amount of time. Like I’ll say about another movie on this list, Mystery 101: Words Can Kill shares some of the same positive qualities of its predecessors. It not only keeps up the series’ continuity, it makes me look forward to the future of Mystery 101.
5. Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy
Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy was one of my most anticipated Christmas movies of 2019. After enjoying the second film in the series, Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa, I was looking forward to seeing what was in store for the next chapter. This film did not disappoint! It felt like receiving a hug from a friend one hasn’t seen in a while. The third entry is one of the few Christmas films from Hallmark that tried to do different things with their story. One example is how the script explores the aftermath of the mystery. This is something that is hardly shown in Hallmark’s films, especially in their Hallmark Movies & Mysteries productions. After hearing other people’s positive responses to this movie, I’m hoping that a fourth one is in the cards.
4. Avengers: Endgame
After becoming the king (or queen) of the world, Avengers: Endgame will still be a movie that is remembered for years. Whether debating over the film’s time travel or discussing the highlights and flaws of the project, people are going to find an opportunity to talk about this movie. For me, I found it to be a satisfying conclusion to this particular series of the MCU. Sure, there are things about it that I don’t like. But there is no such thing as a perfect film. Without spoiling the movie, I will say that several interesting decisions were made within this script. These decisions allowed the film to be engaging and, at times, thought-provoking. What also worked in the project’s favor was how it shared some of the same strengths as its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War. This actually helped it maintain a sense of continuity.
3. Kubo and the Two Strings
For my blog follower dedication reviews, I try my best to talk about films that I feel good about sharing with my readers and followers. When I think about Kubo and the Two Strings, it makes me thankful that I chose to watch this movie! This is the first time an animated film has appeared on my best of the year list. I’m glad this movie was the one to make 18 Cinema Lane history because, to me, it deserves it. The story is enriching and beautifully written. It takes elements that we’ve seen before and crafts them in a way that feel like a breath of fresh air. It also helps that the animation is visually appealing. Even though this is the only Laika film I’ve seen, so far, I’d be more than willing to check out what this studio has to offer.
2. Rome in Love
This movie premiered while I was on an out-of-town trip, so I wasn’t able to review it. But when I did watch this film, it ended up being the best Hallmark movie I saw this year! Rome in Love does so many things right when it comes to cinematic story-telling. It went out of its way to use as few Hallmark movie clichés as possible. But when the film did adopt a tried-and-true cliché, it improved upon that cliché, which enhanced the overall story. At times, this film felt like a theatrical production. This is because of how well done the cinematography is. If I were introducing someone to Hallmark’s library of films, this is one of the movies I would choose to show them.
1. Swept from the Sea
When I look back on 2019, Swept from the Sea is the one film I can’t stop thinking about! As the biggest pleasant surprise of the year, it is definitely deserving of the number one spot. There are no such thing as “perfect” films. However, this movie is the only one I saw this year that comes pretty close to it. There is so much to love about this film. But, for me, the best part of the movie was Vincent Perez’s performance! He single-handedly stole the show, which gave me an opportunity to appreciate his acting abilities more than I expected. From the cinematography to the on-screen chemistry, the other elements of this film certainly added to my enjoyment of it. As I think about Swept from the Sea, I feel that this is a movie I wish more people were aware of.
What do you think of my list? Which is your favorite movie of 2019? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Because I was participating in Easter festivities, I didn’t get around to reviewing Easter Under Wraps over the weekend. However, I was able to watch the movie on the Monday after Easter. When I discovered that Hallmark was creating their first Easter movie, I was so excited! I even talked about the film in a Word in the Street story last month. As I shared the movie’s official synopsis in that post, I expressed my feelings of disappointment about how it sounded. To me, the premise felt like it would focus more on the corporate side of Easter than the holiday itself. But I still chose to watch the movie with an open mind and give it a fair chance. Did Easter Under Wraps disappoint or triumph? I’m glad you hopped on over to this review, as we’re now about to find out!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: The cast of Easter Under Wraps is, so far, the strongest I’ve seen in any Hallmark movie this year! Every actor and actress did such a great job at portraying their characters, making them feel like real-life individuals. From the lead stars to even the only prominent child actor in the cast, all of the performances seemed so natural and genuine. This helped the characters maintain a sense of likability. It also helped me stay invested in what was happening to the characters. The acting was one of the things that made my movie-viewing experience so enjoyable!
The on-screen chemistry between the characters: In most Hallmark films, the on-screen chemistry between the lead characters is emphasized. This is partly the case with Easter Under Wraps. Fiona Gubelmann and Brendan Penny’s on-screen chemistry was really good! What helped make this on-screen relationship feel so genuine was the quality of Fiona and Brendan’s performances. A pleasant surprise in Easter Under Wraps was the on-screen chemistry between all of the characters. The various relationships in this film were not only portrayed well by the actors, but they were also well-written. This component helped make the story that much more interesting.
The writing: In Easter Under Wraps, the writing was such a great element to this narrative! Through the movie, conversations amongst the characters felt like real-life conversations. The comedic timing in this film was perfect, making the funnier moments feel effective. All of the sub-plots blended in really well with the main plot. Easter Under Wraps was an engaging movie because of how good the writing was. This component elevated the story into a truly memorable narrative!
The messages and themes: Like any Hallmark movie, Easter Under Wraps was filled with good messages and themes! These pieces of the story added to the relatability of the movie. Characters learning about personal growth, incorporating important traditions, and effective problem solving can be found in this film. Something that I found interesting was how chocolate was included in Easter Under Wraps. While the main plot revolved around a chocolate factory, the characters found ways to attach interesting messages to the candy itself. It, honestly, made me think about chocolate in a different way.
What I didn’t like about the film:
Lack of Easter specific messages and themes: Because this is Hallmark’s first Easter movie, I kind of figured this would be an issue. While Easter Under Wraps had good messages and themes, they really didn’t correlate directly with the Easter holiday. A few of these messages and themes were sprinkled into the story, but they weren’t explored as thoroughly as I had hoped. If Hallmark continues to create Easter themed movies (which I hope they do), I hope they take the time to explore the messages and themes that the Easter holiday has to offer.
My overall impression:
For their first Easter themed movie, Hallmark did a really good job with Easter Under Wraps! While there were a few “Hallmark movie clichés” in this film, the overall quality of the other components made me overlook them. There was so much about this movie that I liked, from the acting to even the festive decorations. This is, so far, the best Hallmark movie I’ve seen this year! I really hope that Hallmark continues to make Easter themed movies, as there are some interesting stories that can be told. I also wouldn’t mind if this movie got a sequel, since it definitely has the potential for another chapter. There’s no doubt that I had an egg-cellent time watching Easter Under Wraps!
Overall score: 8.6 out of 10
Which 2019 “Spring Fever” movie was your favorite? Would you like to see more Easter themed movies from Hallmark? Let me know in the comment section!
I know that I’ve been talking a lot about movie news relating to Hallmark. However, there’s been a lot of Hallmark movie updates that need to be talked about. One of these things is the next Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. When Hallmark’s Winter TCA Event took place last month, I was so disappointed when there were no announcements about an upcoming Hallmark Hall of Fame film. As the weeks went by, I wondered if we were going to get a Hallmark Hall of Fame project outside of the Christmas line-up at all. According to a synopsis I found on Hallmark Channel’s website, we are indeed going to receive another Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. Besides the new Hallmark Hall of Fame film, I found confirmations for other projects that have been confirmed as Hallmark productions. I even found some tidbits that could lead to a Hallmark Christmas movie! Since you’ve been patiently waiting, let’s start sharing these pieces of movie news!
Yesterday, I came across a title on Hallmark Channel’s website called Love Takes Flight. While reading the film’s synopsis, I discovered that it was the next production from Hallmark Hall of Fame. When I found this piece of movie news, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. The title itself, Love Takes Flight, does not sound or feel like a Hallmark Hall of Fame title. If anything, it feels like a title from a generic Hallmark Channel movie. I was also disappointed in the synopsis, which you can read here:
“In the Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation, single-mom Lizzie Beauman is encouraging when her young daughter unexpectedly befriends a widower named Walter as part of her Mission: Find a Friend”. – From Hallmark Channel’s website
As I’ve pointed out in my Hallmark Hall of Fame Reading Challenge, a good amount of Hallmark Hall of Fame movies have been based on pre-existing novels. While it’s unknown, at this time, if Love Takes Flight is based on a book, this story just sounds and feels like a generic Hallmark Channel movie. However, I am curious about what “Mission: Find a Friend” is. Maybe it’s a program to help military veterans or an anti-bullying initiative?
The last thing that I am disappointed about is the starring cast. While Nikki DeLoach is a really good actress and while I’ve enjoyed her performances in Truly, Madly, Sweetly and The Perfect Catch, I was hoping that the creative team behind Love Takes Flight would have cast an actress that has never starred in a Hallmark movie before. In last year’s film, Christmas Everlasting, Tatyana Ali starred in not only her first Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, but also her first Hallmark movie ever. Rebecca Romijn made her debut in the Hallmark community through her appearance in the film, Love Locks. The casting for Love Takes Flight does remind me of the casting for The Christmas Train. The two lead actors in The Christmas Train were Kimberley Williams-Paisley (who is a Hallmark Hall of Fame alumni) and Dermot Mulroney (who had been cast in Northpole: Open for Christmas prior to starring in The Christmas Train). Nikki DeLoach (who has starred in several Hallmark Channel films) and Jeff Hephner (who starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame film, The Water Is Wide, back in 2006) will be the leads in Love Takes Flight. However, because Hallmark’s audience is used to seeing Nikki appear in more light-hearted and romantic focused movies from Hallmark Channel, this Hallmark Hall of Fame movie feels no different from a typical Hallmark Channel project. As of March 2019, Love Takes Flight is scheduled for an April 27th release.
Another title that I discovered yesterday was Easter Under Wraps. On the website, Creative BC, I saw a title on the “In Production” page listed as “Undercover Easter”. This project will be in production until March 20th. According to Hallmark Channel’s website, “Undercover Easter” changed its name to Easter Under Wraps. The official synopsis for the film has also been posted on Hallmark Channel’s website, which you can read here:
“Erika goes undercover at her family’s chocolate plant to see why sales are down when she meets head chocolatier, Bryan, who has new ideas on how to update the Easter product line” – From Hallmark Channel’s website
While I’m happy that Hallmark is finally making an Easter themed movie, I’m disappointed by the sound of this synopsis. No matter how many Christmas movies they make, Hallmark always focuses on the Christmas holiday with a sense of reverence and respect. For Easter Under Wraps, however, it seems like the corporate side of Easter will be focused on more than the holiday itself. The lead actors that have been attached to this film are Brendan Penny and Fiona Gubelmann. I have enjoyed watching Brendan’s and Fiona’s performances in Hallmark productions in the past, so it will be interesting to see if they have any on-screen chemistry. As of March 2019, Easter Under Wraps is scheduled for an April 20th release.
Here is the link to the synopsis of Easter Under Wraps:
In a Word on the Street story last month, I announced an upcoming Hallmark movie called “Message In A Bottle”. Within this post, I shared that Bethany Joy Lenz and Andrew Walker would star in the film and that the film would premiere during Hallmark Channel’s “Spring Fever” line-up. Recently, Hallmark Channel posted the official synopsis of the film, which can be read here:
“After being stood up, Abbey gets inspired to open her heart in a letter, put it in a bottle and toss it out to sea. Months later, a man fishing discovers it and opts to reach out” – From Hallmark Channel’s website
Even though there are probably going to be some “Hallmark movie clichés” within this story, I think this movie sounds interesting. From what I can remember, Hallmark has never really told a story like this before. I’m really liking the creativity that could be incorporated into this film! This would possibly explain how the winery in one of the photos from the Instagram account, joylenznews, is included in the overall narrative. It’s also important to note that the film has changed its name to Bottled with Love. I like this title more than “Message In A Bottle”, as it sounds more creative. As of March 2019, Bottled with Love is scheduled for an April 13th release.
Here is the link to the synopsis of Bottled with Love:
While looking on Instagram to find any information about upcoming Hallmark projects, I came across the hashtag, #aringforchristmas. When I clicked on this hashtag, Hallmark was referenced in the descriptions of a few of these photos. Also, on Instagram, I found a post from a business called Clipper Family Chiropractic. In this post, it is announced that “Hallmark is filming scenes for “A Ring for Christmas” in our building this weekend”. Even though these posts on Instagram mentioned Hallmark in their descriptions, Hallmark has not confirmed that “A Ring for Christmas” is their movie. However, a potential Hallmark film that I have talked about has been confirmed to be a Hallmark film! Two months ago, I reported that a Hallmark Christmas movie was filming in Stonington, Connecticut. An article from The Day has recently revealed that the movie is a Hallmark Channel movie called “Holiday for Heroes”! If this title sounds familiar, that’s because this project was announced as an official Hallmark Christmas film in an article from Entertainment Weekly! None of these films currently have a release date.
If you want to check out the references that I incorporated in this Word on the Street story, you can visit the Instagram account of Clipper Family Chiropractic (@clipperfamilychiro), visit the photos on Instagram with the hashtag #aringforchristmas (type #aringforchristmas into Instagram’s search bar), or visit these links: