Yes, I know I haven’t written a Word on the Street story since June. This is because I either wasn’t able to find a movie news story that interested me or I didn’t get around to discussing movie news. However, I did find some Hallmark related news that I had to write about. The first story features Hallmark favorite, Jen Lilley. In an article from soaps.com, Amy Mistretta reports how Jen revealed the plot of her new movie, which will likely air during the Christmas season. The article states that the film will revolve around a reporter who goes on a Tiger Cruise with members of the United States Navy. Amy explains that “the Navy puts on the special event once a year where their families can come on the ship for Christmas”. From what I can recall, the only film about Tiger Cruises that is known is the 2004 Disney Channel movie, Tiger Cruise. However, that film revolved around the events of 9/11. This news about Jen’s movie is interesting because it fills a creative void that hasn’t been revisited in sixteen years. Also, Hallmark can make a good military related film when they put their mind to it.
These next two stories come from the Twitter account, Hotline to Hallmark! In a tweet that was retweeted by Hotline to Hallmark, Rochelle S. Aytes, the star of the upcoming film, A Christmas Tree Grows in Brooklyn, announced that her movie has wrapped production! While the film’s synopsis is not known at this time, the movie will apparently feature horses, as Rochelle mentions petting a horse in her tweet. Another retweeted tweet from Hotline to Hallmark reveals that Will Kemp will co-star alongside Lacey Chabert in the Hallmark Christmas movie, Christmas Waltz! Denise Petski, from Deadline, shares that “Christmas Waltz reunites Kemp and Chabert, who starred in last year’s Valentine-themed Hallmark Channel movie Love, Romance & Chocolate.” As someone who liked the aforementioned Valentine’s film, it’s nice to see actors who had good on-screen chemistry work together again! I’m hoping Will and Lacey’s Christmas project is just as enjoyable to watch as their previous creative endeavor!
I spent Memorial Day with my family, so I didn’t publish a post on Monday. This is the reason why this week’s schedule will be shifted. However, Memorial Day has inspired me to choose a patriotic film for this blog follower dedication review. When I first watched the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Blind Spot, I saw a commercial for another film in this collection titled An American Story. The film looked intriguing and exciting, enticing me to want to check the film out. Recently, Hallmark Drama aired this film with a different title. This time, the movie is called After the Glory. Anyone who pays attention to Hallmark will know how the network loves changing their film’s titles after that project has been announced. But Hallmark changing a movie’s title 20+ years after its release seems like a strange decision. Despite this unusual choice, my family chose to watch this film in honor of Memorial Day.
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: Last August, I reviewed I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. One of the strongest aspects of that film was Kathleen Quinlan’s performance, as itwaswell-rounded, emotional, and powerful. Kathleen’s portrayal of Hope in After the Glory contained those same qualities. In one scene, Hope is reacting to George recalling her husband’s, Tim’s, final minutes. She goes from being pleased about George’s visit to the Veteran’s Office to crying for her lost love. This scene is an example of how much emotionality Kathleen brought to her role. Speaking of George, Brad Johnson effectively adopted the persona that’s expected of a character like George, one of the returning veterans. He appeared confident and sure of himself. But what I also liked about Brad’s performance was how he incorporated a sense of humility. During the film, there were times when George was held accountable for his choices and faced his mistakes. This made the character more relatable. Tom Sizemore portrayed another returning veteran named Jesse. His performance was versatile and highlighted his adaptability. When he was introduced, Jesse is happy to finally return home. A few scenes later, he is angry over the corruption taking place in his town. The well-rounded nature of Tom’s performance helped his character stand out!
The discussion of a veteran’s mental health: In the world of cinema and society as a whole, it seems like the subject of a veteran’s mental health has been recognized more in recent years. When this film was released in 1992, I don’t think there were many films released before or during that year that addressed this topic, especially when a movie takes places around the time of World War II. In After the Glory, the mental well-being of veterans was one of the recurring ideas of the story. During the war, Hope went back to school to earn her psychology degree. She did this in order to provide psychological services to returning veterans. She even tries to use her psychology skills to stop Jesse from committing suicide. The way this idea of a veteran’s mental health was written into the script was done with respect and realism. It made the movie feel like it was kind of ahead of its time.
The veterans’ transition period: An important part of this story was the veterans’ transition period to civilian life. Because the movie focuses on three different veterans, their journeys toward civilian life look and feel unique from each other. When he returns home, George is welcomed to an elaborate parade. He is even offered a job at his father’s law firm and is given an opportunity to be a running mate in Mayor Cantrell’s election campaign. Meanwhile, Jesse is only greeted by a small group of his family and friends when he comes home. He also struggles with issues relating to his physical and mental health. Like the aforementioned subject of a veteran’s mental health, this part of the story was written very well, making the film come across as reverent toward military veterans. It shows that within the uniform is a person that has their own thoughts, feelings, and perspectives.
What I didn’t like about the film:
Juan’s limited presence: One of the soldiers that was highlighted in this story is a Texas local named Juan. Despite facing racism in his civilian life, he still felt the world was bigger than his own backyard and that change was on the horizon. He was also starting civilian life as a newlywed. Compared to George and Jesse, Juan was featured on screen for a limited amount of time. His story was also weaker than George’s and Jesse’s. I’m not sure if this creative decision was meant to show how racism can negatively affective story-telling or if it was just a coincidence. But I feel Juan should have received the same amount of screen-time as George and Jesse.
A drawn-out first half: In the first half of After the Glory, the majority of the story focused on the veterans transitioning to civilian life. While this was an important part of the plot that provided context, it caused the film’s conflict, the town’s political corruption, to be placed on the back-burner. The conflict does maintain the plot’s primary focus in the second half of the film. But I think the conflict should have had a more consistent presence.
A limited amount of suspense: Because of the town’s election, it allowed the story to incorporate suspense. The process toward the conflict’s resolution was wrapped up in mystery, keeping the audience guessing what would happen next. However, the suspense in this movie was limited. This is the result of the aforementioned drawn-out first half. The creative team’s choice to adopt a more dramatic tone is also what caused the suspense to have a limited presence. Like the film’s conflict, I think the suspense needed to be more consistent.
An overall impression:
During Hallmark Hall of Fame’s 69-year lifespan, there have been some films that took place either during or around the time of World War II. If you look at my post where I tier ranked every Hallmark Hall of Fame movie I’ve seen, you will see that I have enjoyed these films. It looks like After the Glory will be joining that tier with a “good” status! This movie shows how innovative and compelling a project in this collection can be! The subject of a veteran’s mental health being incorporated in this story shows how Hallmark wanted to start a conversation among their audience when it came to important topics. While this is not a new concept for Hallmark Hall of Fame, it has been a consistent part of this collection. While watching this film, I realized that if After the Glory had not been released in 1992, it probably would have never been created. This is because, ever since the Hallmark Hall of Fame branch was moved to Hallmark Channel in 2014, the network has placed an emphasis on trying make the films adopt the same tone and feel as the movies that usually air on Hallmark Channel. I still hope that Hallmark can take more creative risks with their films and promote more creative freedom. To my 195 followers, thank you so much for helping my blog come this far! This review would not have possible without you!
Overall score: 8 out of 10
Have you seen any of Hallmark Hall of Fame’s military related films? Which movie would you watch on Memorial Day? Tell me in the comment section below!
Last month, I talked about several movie titles that belong to either confirmed Hallmark movies or potential Hallmark movies. A few days after I published that post, there were some details revealed about three of the movies I mentioned! There was also a movie that was recently discovered on Hallmark Channel’s website! In this post, I will talk about these details and what they mean for these specific movies. I will also share my thoughts on these pieces of movie news. So, now let’s talk about these movie details, the moment you, my readers and followers, have been waiting for!
In my aforementioned Word on the Street story, I listed several movie titles that could belong to potential Hallmark movies. Two of these titles are “Flip That Romance” and “Picture Perfect”. When I revisited the website, What’s Filming, I noticed that there were names of cast members listed who are now attached to these projects! For “Picture Perfect”, the stars of this film are Arielle Kebbel, Alexa PenaVega, and Carlos PenaVega! After making this discovery, I wondered if this could be the movie that Hallmark was talking about last year. At their Winter TCA Event last January, Hallmark announced that Alexa and Carlos PenaVega would receive their own mystery movie on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Within their announcement, Hallmark shared that Alexa’s character would be a photographer. Based on this information, the casting, and the title, I wouldn’t be surprised if “Picture Perfect” ended up being the movie that Hallmark talked about all those months ago. For “Flip That Romance”, Crystal Lowe has now been attached to the project, according to What’s Filming. The chances of this movie being a Hallmark film are, right now, 50/50. On the one hand, Crystal has been in several Hallmark films, including the Signed, Sealed, Delivered series. On the other hand, Crystal’s involvement does not guarantee that this will be a Hallmark movie. As of early February 2019, Hallmark has not confirmed or denied that “Flip That Romance” is their movie. We’ll just have to wait for more information to be revealed about this project.
If you want to check out the sources for this movie news story, here’s the link:
While on Hallmark Channel’s official website, I stumbled across a title for an upcoming Hallmark film! The movie is called Lost & Found and it’s scheduled for a March 23rd release. Nikki DeLoach and Michael Rady will star in the film. An official synopsis was also posted on the website, which is the following:
From the website of Hallmark Channel:
“Two single parents come head to head when their kids want to adopt the same dog. Agreeing to co-foster, free-spirited Kate and type-A Eric must work together to find the dog’s forever home.”
While I think the synopsis sounds fine, it does remind me of the film, Puppy Love, starring Candace Cameron Bure. That film was ok, but I thought the idea of two complete strangers sharing a pet was a bit too unrealistic for my liking. Despite the similarities that Lost & Found shares with Puppy Love, I’m still willing to give this film a chance. I’ve enjoyed Nikki’s and Michael’s acting performances in the past, so I’m hoping that their performance in this new movie is just as good.
Here is the link to the movie listing on Hallmark Channel’s website:
In my previous Word on the Street story, I talked about how a Hallmark Christmas movie was planning on filming in Stonington, Connecticut. Last week, a short article by The Westerly Sun revealed a new detail about the film! The article’s author, Harold Hanka, says, “The cast and its plotline haven’t yet been revealed, but the director said the story involves military veterans”. While looking at the photo within this article, I noticed three business signs that were located over some of the buildings. Wondering if any of these signs were associated with real businesses, I did my research for each sign. The only business that I couldn’t find any information about was A & J’s Coffee Shop. This makes me wonder if Hallmark made this business up specifically for this movie? Maybe the protagonist’s parents are “A & J” and the coffee shop is a family business? We’ll just have to wait for more details to emerge for this movie.
If you want to check out the article from The Westerly Sun, here’s the link:
For Moon in Gemini’s The Greatest Film I’ve Never Seen Blogathon, I put a lot of thought into what film I would review. When I thought about which movies I had never seen up until this point, one of the first films that came to mind was the Hallmark movie, The Christmas Card. Since the movie’s premiere in 2006, it seems like a significant amount of Hallmark fans love this movie. The Christmas Card is so beloved that it almost always is included into one of Hallmark’s Christmas movie line-ups. This film also won Hallmark Channel’s first Christmas movie March Madness contest last year! Since 2006, fans of The Christmas Card have asked Hallmark on numerous occasions to give this film a sequel, wishing and hoping that their dream of revisiting this story would come true. Because of my participation in this blogathon, I was finally given the chance to not only watch this movie, but to see if it was truly as beloved as people had made it out to be. So, take a seat on this sleigh ride as we travel through this review of The Christmas Card!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: For the most part, the acting in The Christmas Card was fine. However, the three stand-out performers in this film were Edward Asner, Lois Nettleton, and Peter Jason! Their performances were so lively and animated when it needed to be, but also contained the emotions required for the film’s dramatic moments. It was always a delight when these three actors came on-screen, with the interactions involving their characters being enjoyable to watch. Because of their ability to provide the right amount of versatility to their roles, Edward, Lois, and Peter brought a good amount of believability to their performances, even more than the other actors in this cast.
The scenery: Any time the characters went into the forest, the setting surrounding them was beautiful to look at. The story’s natural landscape were showcased very well in the film and really captured the spirit of the season. Whenever the Spelman’s “special place” was featured in the movie, it was absolutely breath-taking. The natural beauty of the film’s snowy environment was definitely a highlight to this film!
The reverence and respect toward the military: Hallmark usually does a good job whenever the military or military families are incorporated into their stories. The Christmas Card is no exception. When the subject of fallen military members was brought up in the film, the creative team associated with this movie not only made sure the right emotions were featured in those moments, but that those moments were presented in a respectful and appropriate manner. During the Christmas Eve Service, the pastor said a prayer where he hoped the members of the military would stay safe during the Christmas season. I thought this prayer was well-written and handled by the film’s creative team with great care.
What I didn’t like about the film:
A weak and drawn-out plot: The main plot of The Christmas Card is Faith (one of the main characters of the film) writing and sending a card to Sgt. Cody Cullen (the film’s protagonist), which causes him to travel to her hometown in order to thank her for the card. Because Cody doesn’t thank Faith for the card until the last ten minutes of the movie, it made the plot feel weak and drawn-out. Before I watched The Christmas Card, I was hoping there would be two interesting subplots to complement the main plot. Sadly, the only plot in this film was the main plot, with the story being filled with “filler” material just to keep the movie going. The scenes that show Cody working at the Spelman family lumberyard, one of the film’s “filler” material, were the most boring scenes in this movie.
The character of Faith’s boyfriend: The incorporation of Paul, Faith’s boyfriend, into this story was meant to add conflict for the protagonist. However, I found this conflict to be just as weak as the main plot. It felt like Paul and the conflict he brought were included in this story just for the sake of adding something to the plot. If Paul had been written out of this story, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
Being forced to suspend more of my disbelief than I wanted to: More often than not, Hallmark asks their audience to suspend their disbelief when it comes to their movies (which, as a Hallmark fan, I am more than willing to do). However, there were moments in The Christmas Card where I felt Hallmark was asking me, as an audience member, to suspend more of my disbelief than I had wanted to. For example, I thought Faith’s card, while written with the best of intentions, was very unrealistic. I’ve participated in several activities that required me to write a letter or card to a military service-member. During my participation in these activities, I was always told that the only information I could share about myself was my first name. The idea of Faith not only sharing her full name, but also sharing other personal aspects of her life, such as where she lived and photos of what her family’s house looked like, seemed so ridiculous to me, that, to a certain extent, I was taken out of the film.
My overall impression:
At best, I thought The Christmas Card was ok. While there were a few good things about the film, it wasn’t enough to sweep me off my feet, as it did for some Hallmark fans. When I reflect on this movie, I can think of Hallmark movies with similar themes that are better than The Christmas Card, with Operation Christmas and Home for Christmas Day being two good examples. While I was watching The Christmas Card, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “this won Hallmark Channel’s very first Christmas movie March Madness”? Over the twelve years that this movie has existed, I feel that it has been over-hyped. I don’t think this movie is bad, but I do think it could have been stronger. I’m glad that Moon in Gemini created The Greatest Film I’ve Never Seen Blogathon because I now have an honest opinion about one of Hallmark’s most beloved films.
Overall score: 6.2 out of 10
Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on The Christmas Card? What Hallmark Christmas movie do you cherish the most? Please let me know in the comment section!
For Maddy Loves Her Classic Films’ blogathon, The World War One On Film Blogathon, I had originally planned on reviewing the movie, Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero. However, because the film changed its DVD release date several times, with December 11th being the latest date, I had to come up with a different movie to review. Remembering MovieBabble’s list of the Top 10 Best World War I Movies, I visited this post to see what options were available at such short notice. I decided to pick Lawrence of Arabia because a) I’ve never seen it before and b) I’ve heard a lot of good things about the movie throughout the years. In fact, until I read MovieBabble’s aforementioned list, I had no idea that Lawrence of Arabia had anything to do with World War I. Despite the change of plans, I was looking forward to finally seeing this movie. Was it truly as good as almost everyone says it is? Let’s find out in my review for Lawrence of Arabia!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: The cast of Lawrence of Arabia was really good! Everyone on-screen brought a significant amount of believability to their roles. Peter O’Toole gave such a great performance, bringing the emotional depth that made his performance so memorable. Two of the stand-out performers in this movie were Omar Sharif and Anthony Quinn! Both of their performances were so good, it felt like their characters were truly coming to life as the events played out on-screen. The acting overall was definitely a highlight to this film!
The scenery: The scenery in this film is great to look at! Any scene that took place in the desert was filmed very well, making that environment appear beautiful. I also liked the architecture that was featured in the film. My favorite building in Lawrence of Arabia was the British offices in Cairo because that facility looked majestic and breath-taking.
Seeing World War I from a unique perspective: Whenever events from World War I or World War II are depicted in film, either characters are shown fighting on the European front or the conflicts of World War I or II are shown affecting various European countries. In Lawrence of Arabia, however, the effects of World War I are shown through the eyes of those stationed in Arabia. Like a lot of war movies or movies discussing the subject of war, there were several shared ideas in Lawrence of Arabia, such as looking out for fellow comrades, questioning the ethics of war, and individuals from various backgrounds coming together to reach a common goal. There were also ideas in Lawrence of Arabia that added uniqueness to this perspective, such as religion and the characters’ views on the two Arab tribes that were amongst Lawrence’s troop. These shared ideas and unique views of World War I make Lawrence of Arabia an interesting and compelling war movie!
What I didn’t like about the film:
An interesting four minutes: During the first four minutes of this movie, the screen was blank while the film’s score played. I was so caught off-guard by this, that I thought something was wrong with my television.
Some scenes feeling more drawn out than others: While watching Lawrence of Arabia, I noticed that some scenes were drawn out more than others. The scenes that were drawn out were any of them that involved the characters traveling in the desert. Because these scenes didn’t involve a lot of action or intrigue, this affected the continuity of my interest in the film.
A limited amount of battles: When one thinks of a war movie, the idea of the characters fighting in at least one battle is almost always expected. Before I saw Lawrence of Arabia, I thought it would contain two smaller battles and one big, climatic battle. However, this movie contained several military confrontations and political negotiations. While these things made the film interesting, I was expecting a little more action.
My overall impression:
One three-hour movie and a film review later, I can honestly say that Lawrence of Arabia was a good movie! However, I, personally, feel that it’s not as great as some people have made it out to be. Over the years, I think it has become a bit over-hyped. But, I can definitely see why people like it as much as they claim to. This film does have its merits and has stood the “test of time” for good reason. Lawrence of Arabia is a film that is worth checking out, whether it’s your first time seeing it or if you’re re-watching it for the billionth time. Looking back on it, Lawrence of Arabia does make a good war movie. Its unique perspective and cinematic qualities set this movie apart from all the rest.
Overall score: 7.7-7.8 out of 10
Have you seen Lawrence of Arabia? What’s your favorite war movie? Leave your thoughts below in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!
If you want to check out MovieBabble’s post that I mentioned in this review, you can visit this link: