Take 3: Stalker in the Attic Review + 255 & 260 Follower Thank You

At the end of last month, 18 Cinema Lane received 255 followers! However, I wasn’t able to write a blog follower dedication review sooner because of several blog and non-blog related projects. Within that time, 18 Cinema Lane also received 260 followers! Because of everything I just said, I decided to combine these accomplishments into one review. I recently watched a Lifetime movie called Stalker in the Attic. This is the reason why I chose this film to write about for my most recent blog follower dedication review. When I first read the film’s synopsis, it kind of reminded me of the 2016 movie, Boy in the Attic. For those of you who are not familiar with that film, it is about a young man who lives in the protagonist’s attic. Since I like that movie, I was curious to see how Stalker in the Attic would execute a similar idea.

Stalker in the Attic poster created by Lifetime Entertainment Services. For some reason, this movie has two titles; Stalker in the Attic and Within These Walls.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I’m not familiar with Jen Landon or her filmography. Despite this, I liked watching her performance in Stalker in the Attic! Whenever her character, Mel, suspected someone was in her house, she appeared on edge. Fear could be seen on her face and she carried herself with a sense of urgency. The quality of Jen’s performance helped make moments like these seem believable! Another believable performance came from Steve Lund, an actor I recognize because of the Hallmark film, Christmas Incorporated! In the scene where his character, Sam, and Mel are about to binge-watch a show, Steve’s reaction was genuine. His demeanor was easy-going and his on-screen personality was down-to-earth. Tara Redmond van Rees did a good job portraying Mel’s daughter, Brook! In her house, Brook and her boyfriend are interrupted by the sound of the security alarm. Tara truly looked freaked out in that scene, reflecting what her character was feeling.

The music: One element that can affect a film’s tone is the music, as it can make the audience feel the emotions that are expected for a particular part of the story. In Stalker in the Attic, suspenseful music was used for scarier/intense moments. One example is when Mel is breaking up with Ben. Even though the act itself is not a surprise, the music makes it feel more important because the audience has a heightened anticipation for what will happen next. The music placement in that scene also highlights the moment’s significance within the story’s chain of events.

The suspenseful moments: Most Lifetime movies feature several suspenseful moments within their respective stories. Stalker in the Attic is no different. However, these moments were effective in keeping the audience invested in the story! As Sam is sleeping over at Mel’s house, Ben appears out of nowhere, watching both of them as they sleep. Because of how unpredictable Ben is, the audience is left wondering what he will do next. A darker atmosphere with limited lighting also helps, as it emphasizes a fear of the unseen.

Scared audience image created by Katemangostar at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/terrified-friends-watching-horror-movie-in-cinema_1027311.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people”>People image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like the film:

Some scenes ending too abruptly: There were a few scenes in Stalker in the Attic that ended too abruptly. A perfect example is when Brook and her boyfriend dealt with the security alarm in Brook’s house. Shortly after this happened, Brook’s neighbor comes over to see what was going on. As Brook tells him that she and her boyfriend are fine, the next scene immediately starts. Transitions like this one were so abrupt, that it was jarring.

The lighting: Lighting in a movie can help the audience see what is happening on screen. It can also set the tone for a particular scene. In Stalker in the Attic, however, most of the lighting was dim. Even when a scene was well-lit, it didn’t appear as bright as it should have. Characters’ faces were difficult to see because of the poor lighting. I’m not sure if this was a creative choice selected on purpose or a budget related issue.

A not-so-bright intruder: Even though Ben carries his stalking plan throughout the film, he makes several mistakes that bring more suspicion to him. To fool his ex-girlfriend into thinking he moved to a new apartment, Ben breaks into an apartment owned by one of his clients. Instead of noting where he moves certain personal belongings by taking a picture of the rooms with his phone, Ben grabs several items and hurriedly throws them into another room. The reaction of the aforementioned client is never shown, which gives the script an excuse to keep telling Ben’s story. But if the client’s reaction had been shown, the police would likely have been called. Ben would also likely be contacted for questioning, which may have deteriorated his plan to keep Mel in his life. Meanwhile, Mel starts to question Ben’s need to keep in contact with her, as her visit to see Ben causes her to assume he has found a new significant other.

Crossword puzzle image created by jaylopez at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/JayLopez.”

My overall impression:

Most of the Lifetime movies I’ve seen this year have either been ok or decent. Stalker in the Attic is one of those films I thought was just ok. While the idea itself is not bad, it has been executed better by stories that came before it, like Boy in the Attic. Stalker in the Attic is a “waiting for the other shoe to drop” story, where the audience is waiting for the inevitable to happen. Suspenseful moments helped carry the film. However, the outcome was predictable, something that was kept at the back of the audience’s mind.  Another aspect of the story that allows the plot to move forward was the convenient ways Ben was able to get away with his stalking scheme. Throughout the film, Ben makes several mistakes that would bring him more suspicion. But the movie always finds a way to prevent his plans from completely falling apart. As I mentioned earlier, Boy in the Attic is a film about a man living in an attic that did a better job at expressing similar ideas to Stalker in the Attic. I’d recommend the 2016 film over the 2020 movie I just reviewed.

Overall score: 6.1 out of 10

Have you seen Stalker in the Attic? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Wrong Cheerleader Coach Review

Anyone who has followed or read my blog would know that Lifetime movies are rarely reviewed. In fact, the last time I wrote about a film from Lifetime was Killer Prom back in May. This is because I don’t always find the time to include this network’s projects into my blogging schedule. But since I just watched The Wrong Cheerleader Coach, I decided to review this film before the 1st Annual Classic Movie Blogathon and Halloween. It seems like Lifetime has created a series where an unstable woman tries to bring chaos into the lives of those around her, with her occupation included in the film’s title. One of these films is The Wrong Wedding Planner, which I was not a fan of. Since cheerleading, a sport that I like, would play a role in the story of The Wrong Cheerleader Coach, I chose to watch this movie with an open mind. Cheer me on as I share my thoughts on one of Lifetime’s most recent titles!

The Wrong Cheerleader Coach poster created by Lifetime Entertainment Services. 

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Johanna Liauw is an actress I’m not familiar with. Despite this, I thought she stole the show in The Wrong Cheerleader Coach! Portraying the assistant coach, Devan, Johanna’s emotions were very fluid. A scene where Devan is eating dinner at Jon and Hanna’s house shows a perfect example of this. While eating her meal, Devan is happily enjoying her food and comfortable with spending time in their home. When Jon forces her to leave, Devan’s demeanor quickly changes, anger and discontent bursting forth. Corin Nemec’s performance is another one I liked seeing! Certain behaviors his character, Jon, adopted highlight how he experienced certain situations. One of these behaviors is when he takes his glasses off and puts them back on. This action effectively shows the audience how the stress of moving cross-country, raising a daughter on his own, and being the bread-winner of the family is visualized through a nervous habit. Even though she was in the film for a short amount of time, I enjoyed Mea Wilkerson’s portrayal of Hanna’s new friend, Claire! Mea’s on-screen personality is what made her character likeable. It also helped that Claire was the “voice of reason”, displaying skepticism and concern when interacting with the other characters. These factors made me feel that Claire truly had Hanna’s best interests in mind throughout their friendship!

The on-screen chemistry: While Jon is at work at a construction site, he meets a fellow architect named Melissa, who is portrayed by Bailey Kai. Their similarities in occupation and other areas in life bring them together. While I liked Corin’s individual performance, I liked Bailey’s performance as well. I also feel they both had good on-screen chemistry! Corin and Bailey’s personalities paired nicely with one another, giving the audience the impression their characters truly enjoyed each other’s company. This on-screen relationship also contained a brightness that served happier moments within the plot’s darkness. Seeing Jon and Melissa’s relationship unfold gave the audience a break from the story’s suspenseful nature.

The music: In most Lifetime movies, I find the music to be unmemorable or average. This is not the case for The Wrong Cheerleader Coach! During cheerleading practices, pop-techno music can be heard in the background. These musical selections were not only good to listen to, but I honestly wouldn’t change the channel if they played on the radio! When Melissa and Jon are on a dinner date, soft piano served as the scene’s official tune. It set the tone for that moment and fit within the scene’s context. Suspenseful scenes were also given music, as dramatic tunes were heard anytime a scarier situation took place. It certainly added intensity to those moments.

Cheerleading squad image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. Background vector created by macrovector – www.freepik.com

What I didn’t like about the film:

Very little cheerleading: With a film called The Wrong Cheerleader Coach, you’d think there would be a significant amount of cheerleading shown in the movie. But, in reality, this title actually featured very little cheerleading. Sure, a few stunts and practices can be seen. However, the sport itself felt more like an afterthought than a prominent part of the story. This film could have featured almost any athletic extracurricular activity and it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

A somewhat misleading title: Because of the film’s title and because Vivica A. Fox is the only cast member shown on the movie’s poster, it gives the audience the idea that Vivica’s character is the one the title is referring to. When the audience sees the film, they discover the title is actually referring to Devan, the assistant coach. By definition, Devan’s role is to assist Coach Burke, who is the head coach of the cheerleading team. This led to the result of showing Devan doing very little coaching. These factors also cause the film’s title to seem somewhat misleading.

Vivica A. Fox’s limited presence: In my One Christmas review, I talk about how Katharine Hepburn appears in the movie for a short amount of time despite being the top billed actor of the project. It felt like this decision did a disservice to Katharine’s talents, as well as the overall movie. The same thing happens with The Wrong Cheerleader Coach. This time, Vivica A. Fox is the top billed actor of the film. However, the actress who portrays Devan, Johanna Liauw, receives more screen and story time than Vivica does. Vivica did a good job with the acting material she was given. But if it was always The Wrong Cheerleader Coach’s creative team’s plan to cast Vivica as their top billed actor, they should have given her more material to work with.

Breaking heart image created by Kjpargeter at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/broken-heart-valentine-background_1041991.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Kjpargeter – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

The Wrong Cheerleader Coach and Killer Prom share one thing in common: both films are given an interesting concept. However, because Lifetime creates so many movies in a given year, the network creatively sells themselves short. This causes these interesting concepts to not reach their full potential. The Wrong Cheerleader Coach could have incorporated a glimpse into the pressures of being “perfect” and/or a student athletic representative of a school. Instead, the story focused on Devan’s growing attraction for Jon. This type of narrative is very typical for Lifetime, even finding a place in Killer Prom. As I’ve said about Hallmark, I’d like to see Lifetime step out of their comfort zone and use different story-telling techniques for future movies. One example would be including thought-provoking ideas that encourage viewers to think about the film long after they’ve seen it. This would help these projects stand out for a longer period of time.

Overall score: 7 out of 10

Do you watch Lifetime movies? Is there one that has been your favorite? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Killer Prom Review

It’s been two years since I last reviewed a film from Lifetime. In 2018, I talked about the remake of The Bad Seed. I ended up liking the movie more than I thought I would. Since then, I haven’t gotten around to reviewing any of Lifetime’s films. Yesterday, I saw a newer release titled Killer Prom. What caught my attention was the synopsis. The idea of a mystery/thriller revolving around prom is something I had never seen Lifetime do before. As I’ve said in the past, I have never seen a movie about the prom that was actually good. So, I was hoping Lifetime would finally deliver a good prom movie. Reviewing this movie now is also quite fitting, as prom season would normally take place around this time. But, because of the Coronavirus, proms all over the United States were cancelled.

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In case you’re wondering, this is a screenshot of the film’s poster that I took with my phone. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Things I liked about the film:

The acting: When I reviewed The Crow, I mentioned how, through his performance, Michael Wincott was able to show how manipulative Top Dollar can be. To an extent, Yvonne Zima’s portrayal of Sienna reminded me of Michael’s portrayal of Top Dollar. This was because Yvonne was able to use various emotions to make her character appear chameleon-like. With a sinister tone included, Sienna was unsettling to watch on screen. In films like Killer Prom, it can be easy for a young actor or actress to be told or directed to act in a way that makes their teenage character come across as stereotypical. What I liked about Erica Anderson’s portrayal of Maya is how realistic the character seemed. Erica, along with the screen-writing, did a good job at presenting the character as likable with a bit of angst. This made it easy for me to root for Maya!

 

The Wilson family’s house: Most of the movie takes place at the Wilson family’s house, as Sienna stays with the Wilsons for a certain period of time. This location was visually appealing because it had a consistent and photogenic style throughout the space! The exterior architecture was modern with a white and gray color scheme. Inside the house, this style was reflected in various rooms. The kitchen was also white and gray, appearing sleek with its shiny cabinets and stainless-steel appliances. While this color scheme and style is shown in other areas of the house, certain design choices catch the viewer’s eye. The first is the use of circles, from the circle shaped mirrors on a wall to the “bubble lights” over a dining room table. The second was the splash of blue in the artwork and the sofa’s pillows. Choices like these make these spaces interesting to look at!

 

The dream prom sequences: At various moments in the film, dream sequences are projected from Sienna’s mind. These dreams showcase her idea of prom. The scenes are presented with a faded lens that makes the images look softer, but not too blurry. The lights are dim and there is a sparkly curtain in the background. Because of these elements, it gave off a vibe that would have belonged in the ‘80s or ‘90s. Because these dream sequences are coming from a character who is reflecting on a time gone by, the appearance of this vibe makes sense.

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Image of high school students dancing at prom created by Jan Sundstedt at freeimages.com. Photo by <a href=”/photographer/jansun-33414″>Jan Sundstedt</a> from <a href=”https://freeimages.com/”>FreeImages</a&gt;. Image found at freeimages.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

A formulaic plot: When I read the synopsis, I was led to believe the protagonist would either volunteer on her former high school’s prom committee or chaperone at the school’s prom in an attempt to live out her dream prom experience through the students. In reality, Killer Prom is an “unstable-person-trying-to-insert-themselves-in-someone-else’s-life” story. This kind of story is as common on Lifetime as the “woman from the city coming back to her small hometown” cliché is on Hallmark; if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Because of the formulaic nature of the plot, it made the story more predictable than it needed to be.

 

The under-utilization of prom: Since this movie is called Killer Prom, I was expecting this event to play a significant role in the overall narrative. Sadly, it was treated as an afterthought. While it was mentioned on several occasions and preparations are made for the event, the prom itself is never shown on screen. Instead, more emphasis was placed on Sienna’s attempts to win over Maya’s dad, Tony. It felt like the prom was placed in the story for the sake of having an event take place in the plot.

 

Sienna’s backstory: In movies like Killer Prom, the villainous character is given a backstory to explain who they are and why they make certain choices. The build-up toward Sienna’s backstory was leading me to believe it would be memorably traumatic and shocking. When this was finally revealed, it felt no different from any other villainous backstory Lifetime has presented before. The pay-off this backstory was building up to was very under-whelming. If anything, Sienna’s backstory could be summarized in a sentence or less.

close-up-pink-dress-flower-arm-hand-1576956-639x958
Image of prom boutonniere created by Cynthia Lutes at freeimages.com. Photo by <a href=”/photographer/cindylutes-60975″>Cynthia Lutes</a> from <a href=”https://freeimages.com/”>FreeImages</a&gt;. Image found at freeimages.com.

My overall impression:

In the introduction, I said I have never seen a movie about the prom that was actually good. Unfortunately, Killer Prom isn’t going to change that. At best, this is a fine, run-of-the-mill Lifetime movie. I found the overall story intriguing enough to hold my interest. But, at worst, it is a formulaic story with a new coat of paint. I was hoping the concept of prom would serve as commentary for how a person’s experiences in high school can shape their overall perspective. This unique creative decision was not chosen, as it seemed like the network emphasized formula over creativity. It’s a shame, because it could have made the project thought-provoking. If any other event had been placed in this movie, it wouldn’t make a difference. Guess I have to go back to square one in my search for a good prom movie.

 

Overall score: 7 out of 10

 

Do you watch Lifetime’s movies? Would you like to recommend any of their films to me? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Jen Lilley could star in a potential Hallmark movie + exciting TV movie news!

Before February has officially ended, I wanted to publish one more Word on the Street post for the month. February has been a very busy month for me on 18 Cinema Lane. From participating in two blogathons to achieving 75 followers, I’ve had quite a bit of blog related content on my plate. Fortunately, I’ve found the time to publish the material that I wanted to publish before the month was over. Some of that material is the four movie news stories that are related to Hallmark and Lifetime. While three of these stories are speculation, one of them has been confirmed as a Hallmark movie. Like I’ve done with other Word on the Street stories, I will talk about each of these stories and share as much information as I could find. I will also share some of my insight about these stories. Now that’s start discussing these pieces of movie news!

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On-line movie purchase image created by Makyzz at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/on-line-order-cinema-movie-tickets_1577652.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/technology”>Technologyvector created by Makyzz – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Last month, in a Word on the Street post, I listed several movie titles that had not yet been attached to any networks. One of those titles was “Puppy Party Romance”. At the time, the project was about to go into production in early February. According to an article from Soap Opera News, it looks like this movie might be a Hallmark production! In the article, it is said that Jen Lilley has been attached to the project. Other cast members have also been announced; they are Christopher Russell, Lindsay Maxwell, Mark Brandon, and Bailey Skodje. Christie Will Wolf has been attached to this movie as the director and Navid Soofi is the film’s producer. When I visited Jen Lilley’s IMDB filmography page, this movie was listed as “For the Love of Dogs”. As of February and early March 2019, Hallmark has not confirmed or denied that “Puppy Party Romance” is their movie. But, it wouldn’t be surprising if this ended up being a Hallmark film. Two years ago, Jen starred in Eat, Play, Love, a Hallmark movie where dogs played a key role in the story. No matter which network airs this movie, I think we’ll hear an announcement about it sooner or later.

If you want to check out the references that I mentioned, visit Jen Lilley’s IMDB page or this link:

https://www.soapoperanews.net/2019/02/days-of-our-lives-alum-jen-lilley-cast.html

Group portrait of adorable puppies
Group of puppies image created by Rawpixel.com at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background photo created by rawpixel.com – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

In that same Word on the Street post from last month, another movie that I mentioned was “Web of Dreams”. At the time, the film was in production until February 11th. Recently, I found this project listed on Max Lloyd-Jones’ IMDB filmography page. Not only has Max been attached to “Web of Dreams”, but there are other Hallmark stars that have been cast in this film, such as Keenan Tracey and Cindy Busby. While looking at the IMDB page for this movie, I noticed that the film’s official writer is Virginia C. Andrews. When I visited her IMDB page, I discovered that she is known as V.C. Andrews, the author whose claim to fame was Flowers in the Attic. With this acquired knowledge, I did some research on Goodreads to learn more about “Web of Dreams”. It turns out that Web of Dreams is, indeed, one of V. C. Andrews’ novels and it is the fifth book in the Casteel series. I’ve never heard of this series until I learned more about this movie. However, I am familiar with V. C. Andrews. Even though I have never read her books, I have seen Lifetime’s adaptations of the Flowers in the Attic series and My Sweet Audrina. Let’s just say that those films are not “Hallmark appropriate”. Based on all the information I shared, it looks like “Web of Dreams”, as well as the Casteel series, could be a Lifetime presentation.

If you want to visit the reference that I mentioned, visit the IMDB page for “Web of Dreams”.

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Spiderweb image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/pattern”>Pattern vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Speaking of Cindy Busby, I discovered on her IMDB filmography page that she has been cast in the movie, “Letter from My Mother”. This movie was another title that I shared in a Word on the Street post last month. Besides Cindy, the other cast members that have been attached to this project are Jordyn Ashley Olsen, Karen Holness, Jaime M. Callica, Heather-Claire Nortey, and Emma Oliver. While this film has not been given an official synopsis yet, Michael Scott has been listed as the film’s director. Michael has directed several movies for various networks, so it’s unclear, right now, which network “Letter from My Mother” could premiere on. When I first heard of this title, I thought that, maybe, it was a Hallmark Hall of Fame project. Because this movie doesn’t appear to be associated with Hallmark Hall of Fame, I’m wondering if “Letter from My Mother” could be a Mother’s Day themed story? I also wonder when we’ll hear any news about the next Hallmark Hall of Fame project.

If you want to visit the reference that I mentioned, visit the IMDB page for “Letter from My Mother”.

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Hand-written letter image created by Veraholera at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Veraholera – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/love-letter-pattern_1292902.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Two weeks ago, an Instagram account called joylenznews attached the hashtags #MessageInABottle, #hallmarkchannel, #hallmarkmovies, and #hallmark to a photo and video of Hallmark star, Bethany Joy Lenz. In the photo, there is a caption that says “Meet Abbey”, which implies that Bethany’s character could be named Abbey. In the video, not only does Bethany appear to be visiting a winery, the photo on the video says “The absolute best set! Nothing like the smell of oak barrels and wine in the air…oh, and hey @joylenz!” This means that a winery could play a role in this film’s narrative. When I clicked on the hashtag #MessageInABottle, two particular photos caught my attention. The first one was of Bethany at Hallmark’s Winter TCA Event. In this photo’s caption, which appears to come from Bethany’s official Instagram account, Bethany not only confirms that “Message In A Bottle” is a Hallmark Channel movie, but she also says that it will premiere during the “Spring Fever” line-up and that Andrew Walker will also be starring in the film. Andrew Walker, in a photo from his Instagram account, also confirmed that he and Bethany were going to star in “Message In A Bottle”. Hallmark has not yet announced this film’s release date.

If you want to visit the reference that I mentioned, visit the official Instagram account of joylenznews (at joylenznews).

Message in a bottle on beach.
Message in a bottle image created by Rawpixel.com at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/tree”>Tree photo created by rawpixel.com – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on these pieces of movie news? Which project sounds interesting to you? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

The Top 10 Worst Movies I saw in 2018

Like I said in my post of The Top 10 Best Movies I saw in 2018, I’ve had a pretty good year in terms of movie-viewing. However, there were a few “stinkers” along the way. All movie bloggers will, inevitably, come across at least one film that either lets them down or was just less-than-stellar. This leads me to talk about this list of movies before 2018 is over. As the title suggests, the Top 10 Worst Movies I saw in 2018 will be discussed in this post. This list is very similar to the list of the best films I saw in 2018, where the list is based on my opinion and movies that I have personally seen. Also, like I said in my aforementioned list, this list was not created to be mean-spirited or negative toward anyone’s opinions/cinematic preferences. It is just a way for me to be honest about some of the films I saw in 2018. Now, let’s start off this list by looking at 2018’s Dishonorable Mentions:

 

One Winter Weekend, Frozen in Love, Love at Sea, Lilith, Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe, Mingle All the Way, and Island of Grace (this movie was so bad, I could only sit through about 5 minutes of it)

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2018 with broken pieces image created by Starline at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/abstract-2018-text-effect-in-broken-style_1472367.htm’>Designed by Starline</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Starline – Freepik.com</a>. Designed by Starline. Image found at freepik.com.

Now, let the official list of 2018’s worst movies begin! Starting with number 10:

 

10. Marrying Mr. Darcy

I’m going to be honest; I thought Unleashing Mr. Darcy was decent, at best. Therefore, I was not asking Hallmark to give this movie a sequel. However, I was hoping Marrying Mr. Darcy would be better than the first movie, so this series could grow and progress as time went on. Unfortunately, that was not the case. As I’ve mentioned before, one of my least favorite Hallmark movie clichés is the “planning-a-wedding-in-an-unrealistic-time-period” cliché. In Marrying Mr. Darcy, this cliché serves as the film’s plot. The dog-show element of Unleashing Mr. Darcy’s narrative was something that I really liked about the first movie, as dog-shows had not been featured in a Hallmark movie until that film. But, in Marrying Mr. Darcy, dog-shows are pretty much non-existent, taking away an important part of the first movie’s identity. If I had liked or loved Unleashing Mr. Darcy anywhere near as much as other people did, maybe I would find Marrying Mr. Darcy to be more disappointing that it was. But, because I wasn’t really a fan of the first film, its sequel received a low placement on this list.

 

9. Christmas on Holly Lane

In 2018, I watched about 19 newly released Christmas films. Out of all of those, Christmas on Holly Lane was the worst one. As I said in my review, Christmas is given such little emphasis in the story. This movie also has an assortment of other issues that I talked about in my review, from too much focus on the “doom and gloom” of the protagonist’s realities to having too many plots. What’s really disappointing about this specific placement is this is the second year in a row where my least favorite Christmas movie of the year has been an UP Network movie (I also didn’t like The Christmas Calendar). This channel has what it takes to create films that are really good in quality. So, hopefully, in 2019, UP Network can put together a movie that doesn’t end up on my Worst Movies of the Year list.

 

8. Waffle Street

Yet, another movie I’ve reviewed that joins the list. What’s so disappointing about Waffle Street, even more disappointing than movies 10 and 9, is the movie is based on a true story. Not only that, the story itself sounds really fascinating. Too bad the movie was no where near as interesting. The biggest problem with Waffle Street is the poor execution that was placed on the film. This led the movie to have creative issues, such as very little character development and a toilet scene that went too far. While the cast in Waffle Street did a pretty good job with the acting material they were given, there was nothing anyone could do to save this film. Maybe if this story was placed into the hands of a network like Hallmark, the movie could have done this true story justice.

 

7. The Graduate

I am fully aware that this choice is going to be controversial, especially since The Graduate is well-liked by a lot of people and is ranked in the Top 10 of AFI’s Top 100 Movies of All Time list. But, as I reflect on this film, I can’t help but wonder why this movie was made and what the creative team behind this movie was trying to say to its respective audience. To me, the majority of The Graduate feels like it was a product of its time. Also, there are several elements within this movie that feel like they were incorporated just for the sake of shock value. When I think about The Graduate, as well as the other movies I’ve seen in 2018, I’ve come to realize that I’m not a fan of the story-telling trope where situations or things are placed in a film just for the sake of shock value/ getting a reaction out of the audience. I will admit that Simon and Garfunkel have some really good songs, but I just think that their music felt out of place in this movie.

 

6. Collateral 

This movie has the distinction of getting worse as the story goes on. What starts out as an intriguing, action-packed mystery story slowly turns into a philosophical discussion on why people do the things they do. The character of Vincent is more annoying than menacing, with things happening way too conveniently in his favor. Similar to what I said about Waffle Street, I think the cast did a good job with the acting material they were given. But, also like I said about Waffle Street, there was nothing anyone could do to save this film. I won’t spoil this movie for you (even though I would not recommend this film), but all I will say is the ending was way too ridiculous for my liking.

Waffle Street poster
Waffle Street poster created by MarVista Entertainment. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Waffle_Street_Official_Movie_Poster.jpg

5. Saturday Night Fever

Yes, another controversial choice for this list, especially because of how well-liked this movie is and how iconic this film’s opening scene is. When you take away the acting (which was good), the dancing sequences (which were really good), and the soundtrack (which is great), you are left with a movie that feels very long, is filled with unlikable characters, and has way too much swearing for my liking. I saw this movie on television and there was so much swearing in this film, I honestly thought the audio on my TV was broken. Another thing I’d like to add is the film’s climax is so predictable, that I, personally, didn’t find it to be emotionally affective. In 2018, I found out Saturday Night Fever was given a sequel a few years after its 1977 release. However, I have no intention of watching this sequel because a) I’ve heard a lot of negative things about the film and b) I didn’t like Saturday Night Fever anywhere near enough to want to give the sequel a chance.

 

4. Logan Lucky

Out of all the movies on this list, Logan Lucky is the only one that I just couldn’t finish watching. Maybe if I had finished watching it, the movie probably would have ended up in the Top 3. The biggest fault of Logan Lucky is how boring of a movie it is. Despite the fact that this a heist film, there is no excitement to be found. I will admit that this movie had the pieces to, potentially, be a good film. Unfortunately, because of a poorly written script, this entire concept was really poorly executed. Even as I start to think about the Top 3 Worst films I saw in 2018, I’m still trying to figure out how Logan Lucky received a score of 92 to 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

3. Menu for Murder

This is a Lifetime movie from 1990 that I’m not sure how many people are aware of. What enticed me to watch this film was how similar the synopsis sounded to the mystery films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Also, Menu for Murder had an interesting concept (a murder that takes places amongst a PTA group) set against an interesting backdrop (Encino, California). With all of those pieces put together, this movie sounded like something I would like; an engaging mystery story that has a good amount of creativity. But, all of this potential was wasted on a poorly written script. Not only was the mystery itself very lackluster, but all of the characters in the PTA group were defined by stereotypical personalities. The film’s climax was not suspenseful at all, but instead silly, over-the-top, and ridiculously bad to the point of not taking the climax seriously. To me, this was the most disappointing movie I saw in 2018.

 

2. Yes, I Do

If you have followed my blog for a significant period of time, you would have seen this movie coming a mile a minute. While Yes, I Do is the worst Hallmark movie I saw in 2018, it is now the second worst Hallmark movie I’ve ever seen (bumping Firelight off of my Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time list). As I said in my review, this movie was so bad, I had to fast forward through certain parts of the movie just to get through it. The film’s narrative is not good, even by made-for-TV movie standards. There were other issues I had with this movie as well, from a very unlikable protagonist to really poor screen-writing. Like I also mentioned in my review, this is the second year in a row where Hallmark’s “June Weddings” line-up ended with a movie that I didn’t like. Hopefully, in 2019, the last “June Weddings” movie can help the line-up end on a positive note.

 

1. The Birds 

This has got to be the most controversial choice on this list. When I think about the movies I saw in 2018, The Birds is the only one to truly make me feel like I wasted my time watching it. Prior to seeing this film, I had watched Rear Window, Psycho, and Strangers on a Train. Because of this, I was familiar with the directing style of Alfred Hitchcock and the cinematic tone of his films. However, The Birds ended up being a 2-hour, slow, and boring build-up to absolutely nothing. No plot twist, no shocking ending, no explanation for why the birds were causing so much chaos in the first place. Nothing. For me, it felt like all of the characters were placed within this narrative just because they were obligated to be there. Their dialogue and subplots did not interest me at all. The only parts of the film that I liked were anytime at least one bird showed up, as the love birds leaning in the direction of the car’s turns was one of the best scenes in this film (because it was that hilarious). While I am all for watching Hitchcock’s films with an open mind, I feel bummed out that, in 2018, I found a Hitchcock film that I didn’t like.

Yes I Do poster
Yes, I Do poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.hallmarkchannelpress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Yes%2c+I+Do

What did you think of my list? What is the worst film you saw in 2018? Please share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in 2019!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Bad Seed (2018) Review

Once upon a time, back in early March, I reported in a Word on the Street post that Lifetime was remaking The Bad Seed. In this post, I did share my thoughts about this movie news story, doubting that a remake of this classic film could work at all. Five months later, I reported in another Word on the Street post the release date for The Bad Seed remake. This time, my opinions about the potential of the film changed after I saw the trailer. I talked about how, based on the trailer, the film looked like it would not only be as dark as the original film, but that this new film would add more terror to the narrative. Now, Lifetime’s remake of The Bad Seed has finally arrived. Since I had a chance to watch this film recently, I can now talk about how I feel about this film. Did The Bad Seed meet or exceed my expectations? Keep reading my review to find out!

The Bad Seed 2018 poster
The Bad Seed (2018) poster created by Lifetime Entertainment Services. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Bad_Seed_2018.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: In The Bad Seed, the acting was really good! The biggest highlight of this film was Mckenna Grace’s performance! Even though she was one of the youngest cast members in this film, Mckenna brought so much believability to her role. Mckenna’s portrayal of Emma was so unique from the original 1956 film, with the characteristics of Emma appearing as a combination of the sophistication of Matilda (from the ’96 film) and the cynicism of Wednesday Addams (from the Addams Family films). If there are any upcoming award presentations where The Bad Seed could get nominated, I hope Mckenna receives an acting nomination!

 

The cinematography: I was pleasantly surprised by how good the cinematography was in this film! Some of the shots were beautifully filmed, the use of color adding to the overall appeal of the cinematography. An example of this is any time Emma is in the forest. Her outfits of bright colors provide a really good contrast to the darker colors of the forest. These creative decisions relating to the film’s visuals show how much thought and detail was placed on this aspect of the film.

 

The creative choices: Because The Bad Seed is a remake of the 1956 film, there are differences and similarities between Lifetime’s 2018 production and the original movie. However, the creative choices that the creative team behind this movie made helped this movie feel unique from its predecessor. One of these choices was Emma’s father being a widower. In the original movie, Rhoda’s family consisted of her, her mother, and her father. However, Rhoda’s father was in the military for the majority of the film. This creative choice allows for a new perspective to be told and a new voice to be added to the narrative. In both films, there is a character that suspects, from the beginning, the dangers caused by the child. While this character in the 1956 film was a caretaker at the apartment complex where Rhoda lived, a nanny named Chloe played the role of this skeptical character in the 2018 film. Even though these two characters have the same significance and demise, the differences between the characters themselves highlights the creativity and interesting perspectives that were incorporated into the Lifetime movie.

Terrified friends watching horror movie in cinema
Scared audience image created by Katemangostar at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/terrified-friends-watching-horror-movie-in-cinema_1027311.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people”>People image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

An inconsistent pace: The Bad Seed is known for being a suspenseful story. In the 2018 movie, however, there are more non-suspenseful moments throughout the film. Because of this, it made the pace of the film feel inconsistent, with some scenes feeling slower than others. For me, this didn’t bother me much. But for someone who is a fan of thrillers, it may be a little disappointing.

 

Emma’s father’s relationship status playing a small role: As I’ve already mentioned, one of the creative choices that was found in 2018’s The Bad Seed was Emma’s father being a widower. From a story-telling perspective, I was hoping that this creative choice would play a larger role within the context of the story. Maybe the boy who drowned could have been the son of a single mother who Emma’s father was interested in dating. The idea of the parent figure in The Bad Seed being a single parent was present, but not explored enough in Lifetime’s film.

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Winner’s medal image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/golden-awards-set-with-colors-details_844356.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/gold”>Gold vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Movie remakes can be hit or miss. For me, a good remake has to be able to do two things: 1. Respect the original film and 2. Do something new with the story and provide your own voice to the narrative. Lifetime’s remake of The Bad Seed succeeded in applying both of those steps into their film! As someone who had their doubts about this film, The Bad Seed is just as good as the original. While the voice of the original can definitely be heard, this new voice accompanied that 62-year-old voice in a harmonious duet. I won’t spoil this movie for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, but the way this movie ends gives Lifetime the opportunity to create a sequel if they choose to do so. I would, honestly, like to see a sequel to The Bad Seed, as it would allow this story to travel down creative avenues where the original film wasn’t able to go. But, going back to 2018’s The Bad Seed, this is one of the best remakes I’ve ever seen! I would definitely recommend this film, especially if you are a fan of the original movie!

 

Overall score: 8 out of 10

 

Have you seen The Bad Seed? Which version of the film is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Lifetime announces release date for their remake of “The Bad Seed”; Hallmark movie on the way!

Even after Hallmark’s TCA Event has ended, it seems like there are still more Hallmark movie news stories to talk about. No matter what time of year it is, Hallmark knows how to own the spotlight, creating projects that can not only be a big deal, but also keep their audience coming back for more content. In this Word on the Street post, I will be talking about a future movie that was just announced as a Hallmark movie! Another network that is familiar with the movie news spotlight is Lifetime, who just announced an official release date for one of their upcoming films. I will be talking about this exciting news, especially since I first talked the film back in March. Now, let’s talk about some movie news!

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Movie items image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/flat-modern-cinema-elements_847506.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Recently, Lifetime posted the release date for their upcoming remake of the 1956 film, The Bad Seed. Featured in a special section on Lifetime’s official website, the movie is scheduled to premiere on September 9th. Lifetime also released an official trailer for the film. When I first talked about this movie back in March, I had my doubts about whether it would be anywhere near as terrifying and thought-provoking as the original movie. After watching the trailer, however, I quickly changed my tune. From what I could tell, it looks like this movie is attempting to make the tone of this film as dark as the 1956 film was. Also, it appears that this movie will not hold back any punches, some of the featured scenes indicating more terror than the original film could muster. This trailer has definitely made me more excited for this movie and I’m considering reviewing it on 18 Cinema Lane!

Link to the trailer for The Bad Seed: https://www.mylifetime.com/movies/the-bad-seed/the-bad-seed-preview

Terrified friends watching horror movie in cinema
Scared audience image created by Katemangostar at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/terrified-friends-watching-horror-movie-in-cinema_1027311.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people”>People image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Kirsten Hansen, known for being a writer on the Hallmark projects Love on the Slopes and Chesapeake Shores, as well as being a producer on the aforementioned show, has recently taken to Instagram to share some good news. In an Instagram post, Kirsten announced that a movie she is writing, called Love Under the Rainbow, was going to air on Hallmark Channel! As of August 2018, there has been no official word on when the movie would premiere or what seasonal line-up the movie could be associated with. On What’s Filming, I remember Love Under the Rainbow being listed on the Vancouver and British Columbia pages, especially when it was in production from March 5th to March 21st. Because the only actors that were officially attached to the project were Jodie Sweetin and David Haydn-Jones, I wasn’t sure which network would distribute the film. Based on the title alone, I have a feeling this movie could be a St. Patrick’s Day themed film. The only St. Patrick’s Day themed Hallmark movie I can think of is Chasing Leprechauns, so it would be interesting if Kirsten’s movie explored a story element that hasn’t been featured on the network in six years.

If you want to check out the sources I referenced in this post, you can go to Kirsten’s official Instagram feed (at kearstegram), Kirsten’s official IMDB page, or this link: http://www.whatsfilming.ca/wrapped/

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St. Patrick’s Day image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/st-patrick-s-day-background_1640464.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 are your thoughts on these movie news stories? Are you planning on watching any of these films? Please tell me what you think in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Hallmark’s “Summer of Dreams” sequel will soon go into production; Lifetime remaking “The Bad Seed”

There are two pieces of movie news, found on What’s Filming, that I felt needed to be shared with you. The first is about an upcoming Hallmark film. In an article on Southern Living, it was mentioned that a sequel for the Hallmark film “Summer of Dreams” was coming as a part of the “June Weddings” line-up. The sequel, titled for now as “Dream On”, has been added to the list, on What’s Filming, of upcoming productions for the Vancouver and British Columbia area! Filming will start on March 5th and Debbie Gibson has already been attached to the project. As much as I’m looking forward to seeing this movie, especially after having seen the first one, I admit I’m surprised by the fact that out of all the “Summer Nights” movies to premiere in 2016, “Summer of Dreams” was the one to get a sequel. I will definitely watch the next installment with an open mind, as I’m curious to see how the next chapter unfolds.

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Movie items image created by Macrovector at freepik.com <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/cinema-poster-sketch_1530892.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Macrovector – Freepik.com</a> Image found at freepik.com

The other piece of movie news is an upcoming project from Lifetime. What’s Filming reported that a remake to the film The Bad Seed is currently in production until March 30th. As someone who has seen the original film, the idea of this movie getting a remake doesn’t sit well with me. Based on the movie’s description provided on the What’s Filming website, it seems like whoever is in charge of this project doesn’t truly understand what made The Bad Seed so memorable and such a classic in the first place. The original film had the guts to ask a question that had only had a simple debate in the 1950s: could children be born “bad” without any external influences? Because of the film’s success and power to stand the test of time, this same question is still being asked 62 years after the film’s release. Rhoda, the infamous nightmare-inducer, was a character that not only served as a shocking possibility to the aforementioned question, but was also a character that had never been featured in cinema before. Sadly, I feel that this remake from Lifetime will add nothing new to this decades old discussion and will be shocking just for the sake of it.

 

What do think about these pieces of movie news? Are you looking forward to any of these movies? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

Link to the post about The Bad Seed on What’s Filming: http://www.whatsfilming.ca/2018/02/26/take-two-bad-seed-remake-filming-vancouver/

Link to the article on Southern Living: https://www.southernliving.com/culture/hallmark-channel-movies-shows-2018#winter-hallmark-channel-movies-shows-2018

Link to the What’s Filming “Upcoming” page: http://www.whatsfilming.ca/upcoming/ (If you visit this page after March 5th, “Dream On” will be moved to the “In Production” page for the areas of Vancouver and British Columbia)