For the second part of my Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly double feature, I’ve chosen to review the 1957 film, Funny Face! Last September, when 18 Cinema Lane received 135 followers, I reviewed my first Fred Astaire movie. That was The Sky’s the Limit, which I thought was just ok. Speaking of firsts, reviewing Funny Face is a first for 18 Cinema Lane, as it is the first musical film starring Aubrey Hepburn I’ve seen! Even though I have seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Nun’s Story, those films would be classified as dramas. Since this was my first time seeing Audrey perform in a different genre, I was curious to see if she would be able to hold her own. When I read the synopsis for Funny Face, it sounded similar to another musical starring Audrey: My Fair Lady. Because I haven’t seen that movie, I can’t make a comparison between it and Funny Face.
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: The one word I’d use to describe the cast in Funny Face is comfortable. I chose this word because every actor and actress appeared comfortable in their role! This presented the characters as if they were real-life people dealing with real-life situations. Watching Audrey’s performance in this movie reminded me of her performance in The Nun’s Story for this reason: her character grows over the course of the movie. In Funny Face, Jo opens her heart and mind to a new chapter in her life that she never thought she’d embark on. She steps out of her comfort to not only follow her dream of meeting her favorite philosopher, but she also creates new dreams for herself. Audrey’s ability to adapt to any scenario helped her make Jo’s journey seem believable! As I mentioned in the introduction, I saw The Sky’s the Limit last September. Personally, I liked Fred’s character in Funny Face more than his character in the 1943 film. This is because Dick Avery had a better personality. He came across as easy-going and approachable, someone who you would want to tour Paris with. This made Dick Avery worth rooting for! Kay Thompson stood out to me as Maggie Prescott! While her character was no-nonsense and straight-forward in what she wanted, she was never cold-hearted or mean for the sake of it. This is different from other characters of this specific type. What’s also different is how Maggie was allowed to be silly, as could be seen when she and Dick are attempting to find Jo at the home of Jo’s favorite philosopher. This gave Kay an opportunity to apply her acting abilities to various situations!
The use of color: I love how color was used in Funny Face! Whenever scenes had a primarily plain color palette, like white or beige, objects or pieces of clothing were added to bring a pop of color to the space. The opening scene is such a great example! Each door of Quality magazine’s office was painted a bright shade of various colors, providing visual appeal to a mostly white lobby and hallway. Maggie’s office adopted a beige hue for about 85% of that location. However, certain pieces of fabric and even an assistant’s green coat add bold colors to a place that would have remained dull without them. This decision to use color was very detail oriented and showed how the film’s creative team really paid attention to how their project would be presented!
The musical numbers: Funny Face’s musical numbers were not only entertaining to watch, they also incorporated creative ideas that made them memorable. The very first musical number, “Think Pink!”, showed a montage of the different ways the color pink could be worn. Through the use of colorful visuals, it helped illustrate the point Maggie was trying to stress to her assistants as well as the audience. “Bonjour, Paris!” showed Maggie, Dick, and Jo simultaneously in a split screen shot. I have never seen a musical use a split screen before, so this detail is the one I remember the most! Each performer in these musical numbers looked like they truly enjoyed what they were doing! “Basal Metabolism” showed Audrey Hepburn having fun performing her dance trio. She appeared in her element and joy radiated from her routine. This definitely added to the overall enjoyment of Funny Face’s musical numbers!
What I didn’t like about the film:
No major conflict: While watching Funny Face, I noticed something was missing from this movie. That would be a major conflict, which I think would have made the story a little more interesting. Smaller conflicts, like finding a new face for Quality magazine, kept the film moving forward. But, because a major conflict was absent, it made situations feel like they worked out too easily in the characters’ favor. One idea could have shown Dick struggling to decide if he should continue to be a fashion photographer or become a stage performer. If this would have been a conflict in the story, it would have presented a mystery as to which career path Dick will choose.
A prolonged transformation: Like I said in the introduction, I haven’t seen My Fair Lady. Therefore, I can’t compare the two movies. What I will say about Funny Faceis how Jo’s transformation doesn’t happen until the film’s halfway point. In the first half of the story, Jo’s perspective starts to change, allowing her to expand her intellectual horizons. But the physical transformation, from bookworm to fashion model, happens a lot later than most movies of this nature. When a character makes a dramatic change to their appearance, that moment may be the audience’s most anticipated moment. If they are forced to wait too long, they may start to lose interest.
An attraction that happened too quickly: In my review of The Crow: City of Angels, I pointed out how, to me, Ashe and Sarah’s attraction for one another was a flaw of that movie because it came about so quickly. The attraction between Jo and Dick in Funny Face makes the same error, as it also happens too quickly. Minutes after meeting for the first time, Jo and Dick share a kiss. Shortly after this encounter, Jo sings “How Long Has This Been Going On?”, a song about falling in love. If this song had been sung later in the film, after she had spent more time with Dick, the song itself would have been more impactful. Even though it is somewhat predictable for Jo and Dick to form a relationship, it should have taken its time to come to fruition.
My overall impression:
Funny Face is a film I had heard of for years, but had never seen. Whenever I heard about classic films or even movies starring Aubrey Hepburn, this film has, more often than not, been brought up. Now that I have seen Funny Face, I have developed an understanding for why this is the case. This is not just a good musical or a good Audrey Hepburn title. It is a good movie in general! Creative ideas within this project help it stand out. Some examples include using a split screen and incorporating objects with color into scenes with plain color palettes. Musical numbers were well-choreographed, featuring performers that appeared to enjoy the material they were given. Every actor and actress seemed comfortable in their roles, giving their characters a life of their own. While Funny Face does have its strengths, it has its weaknesses as well. Just one example is how Jo’s transformation happens much later in the film. Despite having seen only two of Fred Astaire’s movies, I’d pick Funny Face over The Sky’s the Limit. I would even choose Funny Face over Take Me Out to the Ball Game!
Overall score: 7.8 out of 10
Have you seen Funny Face? Which Fred Astaire musical is your favorite? Please share your thoughts in the comment section!
Yesterday, on June 9th, Orion Pictures/MGM Studios released an official trailer of the upcoming film, Bill & Ted Face The Music! The studio also released an official poster for the movie! I haven’t seen any of the films in the Bill & Ted series, but I really like what I’ve seen and heard about this third film so far. The poster itself adopts elements that were found in film posters from the past; artistic visuals that come together to create a singular image conveying mystery and intrigue. As for the trailer, I found it hilarious, as it had the kind of random humor that I resonate towards. This marketing campaign makes me want to watch the previous two Bill & Ted films! As of June 2020, the film has an August 21st premiere date. Bill & Ted is not the only Hollywood IP that has received sequel related news. Two weeks ago, Chris Murphy from Vulture reports how Sonic the Hedgehog will get a sequel! According to the article, “Paramount Pictures and Sega Sammy have begun development on a sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog”, which means the project is in the pre-production stage. The producers who have signed on to the film are Neal H. Moritz, Toby Ascher, Toru Nakahara, Hajime Satomi, Haruki Satomi, and Tim Miller. The first film’s director, Jeff Fowler, and screenwriters, Pat Casey and Josh Miller, are coming back for the second movie. While I haven’t seen Sonic the Hedgehog, I think this is great news for Sonic fans and for people who support studios that put their customers first. Even Chris, from Vulture, says “listening to feedback can be incredibly fruitful for everyone involved”. Hopefully, the sequel can be just as successful as its predecessor.
Months after Coronavirus forced businesses all over the world to pause their operations, steps are now being taken to reach a state of normalcy. In an article from The Hollywood Reporter, Etan Vlessing discusses how “the Quebec provincial government and health officials have given the green light for film and TV production to resume on June 8 amid the coronavirus pandemic”. Before this decision was made, Manitoba had resumed film and television production in their province of Canada. Toward the end of May, Vancouver Island said “the industry can resume shooting by June”. Robert Buffam, from CTV News, writes about the precautionary steps film and television teams will take to work as safely as possible. Ric Nesh, a television show producer, shares “We may reduce, revise, rewrite scenes without the larger crowds. No we may, we will revise scenes.” In the United States, film studios and movie theaters are making attempts to go back to work. A Hollywood Reporter article from June 8th states “anxious theater owners — and Hollywood studios — are being given the go ahead to flip on the lights later this week by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and the Department of Public Health.” June 12th is the selected date when California’s cinemas may start their operations again. Similar to the film and television industry in Canada, safety precautions will be put in place. One example is adopting a 25% capacity limit “or no more than 100 people per auditorium”.
I know this piece of news relates to television. But because it’s about Hallmark going out of their comfort zone, the story became an exception. Earlier last month, Emre Kaya from The Cinema Spot reported how Hallmark Channel is creating a new television show! The article shares that this is the network’s “first high-budget drama series”, which “is a science fiction soap drama series set on a space colony.” Emre’s post doesn’t reveal much information about the project. As of June 2020, Hallmark has not made an official statement about the show. When I first read this story, I was excited at the idea of Hallmark creating a project that is very different from their norm. On several occasions at 18 Cinema Lane, I have talked about how Hallmark should take creative risks and think outside the box. It looks like they’re starting to pay attention to these ideas. Maybe this show could be the beginning of a new era where creativity and originality reign.
In recent days, the news about the release of the infamous “Snyder Cut” of Justice League has taken over the internet. Multiple Youtube videos have covered this story and the discussion of its arrival has been rampant on social media. It has even gone so far as to make Paul Feig consider releasing a new cut of his version of Ghostbusters. But among the articles, videos, perspectives, and comments, there is a cut of one movie that was left out of the conversation: the Tim Pope cut of The Crow: City of Angels. As you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering “What is the Tim Pope cut?” “Didn’t this film already receive a director’s cut?” In this editorial, I’ll answer those questions. I will also be sharing a list of reasons why now is the perfect time to release the Tim Pope cut of The Crow: City of Angels. This isn’t the first time I’ve brought this subject up. In my Sunshine Blogger Award post from this April, I said that one of my greatest wishes for cinema was for the full version of The Crow: City of Angels to be released. However, I honestly never thought I’d write an editorial about this subject. Since many people are not talking about the Tim Pope cut, I decided to do so. Besides, when life gives you lemons, it’s better to write a blog post about it while everyone else is making lemonade.
What is the Tim Pope cut?
Before I talk about the reasons why the Tim Pope cut should be released, I need to explain what the cut itself is. The Tim Pope cut is the 160-minute version of The Crow: City of Angels that was purposefully intended to be different from the first film. Unfortunately, this version never saw the light of day because the movie was heavily affected by “studio intervention”. In a video titled “Exploring The Crow City of Angels,” Cecil, the creator and narrator of the video, explains how the studio’s decisions prevented the film’s creative team from telling the story they wanted. It got so bad that the movie’s director and writer, Tim Pope and David S. Goyer, disowned their project because of the changes. While the film did receive a director’s cut, “it’s mostly just extended scenes,” according to Cecil. The original version of this movie is not officially called “the Tim Pope cut.” Supporters, including myself, gave it this name to make it sound more official.
Reason #1: The “Snyder Cut” Opens the Doors for a Winning Cycle
In an article from The Hollywood Reporter, Borys Kit reported that “a growing movement of fans, rallied around the hashtag #ReleasetheSnyderCut, had called, agitated, petitioned – even bought a Times Square billboard and chartered a plane to fly a banner over Comic-Con – for Snyder’s version to be released.” The reason why people wanted to see Zack Snyder’s version of Justice League is because the director had to leave the project due to a personal situation involving his family. This caused a different director, Joss Whedon, to step in and change Zack’s intended vision. Because of how vocal and passionate these supporters were, HBO Max is finally granting their wish. Borys says, in their article, the streaming service “will debut the project in 2021.” They also state that “whether it will be released as an almost four-hour director’s cut or split into six “chapters” has yet to be decided.”
Since the “Snyder Cut” is going to see the light of day, it opens the door for other films that have been creatively damaged, like Justice League, to receive the proper treatment they deserve. It also sets a precedent for a cinematic cycle where everyone wins. I provide an image of this cycle to give a visual for what I will be discussing. The following bullet-points show each part of the cycle and why its important.
Movie’s Creative Team – Given creative freedom, allowed to make the films they want, has option to incorporate fan feedback and source material if IP is used
Fans/Audience Members – Greater chance they’ll spend money on movie ticket if creative team and studio respected and listened to them
Studio – Will see good financial results on projects where creative team was given creative freedom and fans/audience members are respected
Reason #2: The Person Responsible for The Crow: City of Angels’ Destruction is No Longer in Control of This Film
In the aforementioned video, “Exploring The Crow City of Angels”, Cecil discussed how the film was a victim of “studio intervention.” They mention on several occasions how Tim, David, and even The Crow’s creator, James O’Barr, had always planned on creating a new story for the sequel. This decision was made to show respect toward the predecessor and its devoted fans. After the film had already been finished, “studio intervention” took over. Harvey Weinstein, who was a producer at Miramax at the time, “demanded the film be edited to be more like the first movie,” as Cecil says in the video. This choice single-handedly stopped the creative team of The Crow: City of Angels from making the film they wanted.
In 2005, Harvey left Miramax in order to create The Weinstein Company. This means that he gave up control of the studio. At the time, Disney had ownership over Miramax. It was the result of an acquisition that took place in 1993. Over the years, the studio has changed hands among various companies. On April 3rd, Jill Goldsmith, from Deadline, reported that ViacomCBS “closed on the acquisition of a 49% stake in Miramax.” This allows Paramount, which is owned by ViacomCBS, “an exclusive, long-term distribution agreement for Miramax’s film library and an exclusive, long-term first-look agreement allowing Paramount Pictures to develop, produce, finance and distribute new film and television projects based on Miramax IP.” What this means is Paramount/ViacomCBS is now in control over the potential restoration and release of the Tim Pope cut.
Reason #3: Paramount has Respected a Pre-Existing Fanbase Before
When Paramount chose to acquire Miramax, they purchased projects related to The Crow. With those projects comes a pre-existing fanbase. However, this is not the first time the studio dealt with a project where a pre-existing fanbase was a part of the equation. Last year, fans of Sonic the Hedgehog were not pleased with the way their favorite character looked in a trailer for a movie based on the famous blue protagonist. After backlash over Sonic’s design, Jeff Fowler, the director of Sonic the Hedgehog, announced plans to change Sonic’s look. In an article from SlashFilm, Ben Pearson shares the director’s tweet, which says “Thank you for the support. And the criticism. The message is loud and clear… you aren’t happy with the design & you want changes. It’s going to happen. Everyone at Paramount & Sega are fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be…”. This choice caused the film to be delayed until February of 2020.
When Sonic’s re-design was revealed, fans and potential audience members praised Paramount and the creative team behind the film. Two of those people were Kneon and Geeky Sparkles from Clownfish TV. In a video called “Sonic the Hedgehog is FIXED! Sonic Looks GREAT!”, Kneon and Geeky marvel over Sonic’s drastic change. They also approve of Paramount’s decision to put customers first. Geeky asks, “Look, if it looks really bad and the fans say it looks really bad, you want people to come to your movie, right?” She quickly answers that question by stating “So, um, you’re going to need to, uh, do things that make the fans happy.” Kneon says, “The Sonic fandom is very, very vocal. Ok, they’re a very passionate, vocal fanbase”. He and Geeky express interest in seeing the film due to Paramount’s efforts to make a better product. Because Paramount and Sonic the Hedgehog’s creative team took the time to show the Sonic fans respect, the film went on to, so far, become the second highest grossing movie of 2020! While a part of its ranking at the box office was affected by the Coronavirus, acquiring a domestic receipt of over $300 million is something Paramount should be proud of.
Reason #4: Fans of The Crow are a Dedicated Group of People
The Crow has a pre-existing fanbase that spans more than a decade. Whether drawn to the comic or a fan of any film, fans who love The Crow are dedicated, vocal, and passionate about their favorite IP. They will find an opportunity to talk about the story and have even pushed The Crow into cult classic status. One of these fans is Lee from the Youtube channel Drumdums. In his video, titled “The Crow: Legacy of a Cult Classic,” Lee says “I have been obsessed with this movie, really, since I saw it, in the theater, opening night, uh, in May of 1994.” He shares his personal experiences with the film, as well as praising the project. He even created a live commentary video dedicated to the movie. Another fan is Pale Writer from the blog Pale Writer. Last Halloween, Pale Writer published a review titled “Rain and Revenge: The Crow (1994).” They say in their article, “I first watched The Crow with my older brother when I was in my mid teens, and I’ve loved it ever since. I was an emo teenager with a love of the gothic, and my brother knew that.” Throughout the article, Pale Writer explores many different components related to the film. Because of how well-written and passionate the review was, it encouraged me to watch The Crow for the first time this year.
Within any fanbase, people have their own perspectives and opinions. The Crow’s fanbase is no different. There are people who are vocal about their love for The Crow: City of Angels. Take, for instance, the video, “1. City of Angels – The Crow City of Angels.” Looking through the comment section will show how fans care about this film. One commentator says “I loved City of Angels.” Another person shares “This is the only sequel I liked.” When talking about a piece of lost media, Jorge from the Youtube channel blameitonjorge, says, “It was something that a lot of people wanted to see.” This mindset is similar to the “Snyder Cut’s” journey. Fans wanted to see Zack’s vision come to life, so their desire drove that campaign. I’ve seen comments from fans of The Crow saying how they wish they could see the original version of the sequel. Even Cecil from GoodBadFlicks expresses an interest in finding it.
Reason #5: Studios Can’t Make a lot of New, Live-Action Projects RightNow
2020 has become the year of Coronavirus. Many practices have been put in place to stop the virus’ spread. One of these practices has been “social-distancing.” This has resulted in many businesses temporarily closing their doors, including those from the entertainment industry. Kate Aurthur and Adam B. Vary, from Variety, reported how Hollywood is planning on returning to work. They say that one of the plans is obtaining “medical-grade cleaning equipment and PPE.” This, along with other new procedures and practices “will balloon the hard costs of production.”
A studio like Paramount needs to make money. At the same time, they also want to move forward as safely as possible. While ViacomCBS has generated revenue from their streaming service, CBS All Access, their incoming funds are more limited than normal. The Tim Pope cut could give the studio content to release. There is an audience for it, so fans are willing to pay for this version of the film. Paramount could either place the movie on the streaming service or release it on physical media. No matter how this film could be released, it would give Paramount something to create.
Reason #6: People Need More Entertainment Options
As I already mentioned, the Coronavirus has forced people to “social-distance” and “self-quarantine.” Streaming services, cable, and the internet have provided instant entertainment for consumers as they are required to stay home. Because new content is not as common as usual these days, The Crow: City of Angels could become a newer entertainment option. I also mentioned that Paramount could either release this movie on the streaming service, CBS All Access, in a digital format, like Xfinity on demand, or on physical media. Earlier in this editorial, I said that HBO Max was planning on releasing the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League in 2021. If Paramount wants to release the Tim Pope cut of The Crow: City of Angels next year, it gives fans something to look forward to during this stressful time.
The road to the “Snyder Cut” was met with perseverance, determination, and ambition. While this journey lasted for a few years, the fans’ efforts proved worthwhile. This situation shows how studios, cinematic creative teams, and fans can work together to form a situation where everyone benefits. It also shows that the sky’s the limit for other films that have gone through a similar situation to Justice League. If Paramount doesn’t release the Tim Pope cut of The Crow: City of Angels, it makes the studio look hypocritical. If they could go the extra mile for the Sonic fans, it would only be fair for them to go the extra mile for The Crow fans as well. This is why we need to let Paramount hear our voices. If you are a fan of The Crow, someone who approves of studios putting customers first, support consumer advocacy, want to see creative teams receive creative freedom, someone who loves movies, or want to help set a “wrong thing right” (yes, Sarah’s quote was intentional), then please consider joining the movement to encourage Paramount to release the Tim Pope cut. I created an official image with the hashtag that you are welcome to use. The most important point is to spread the word, so please let others know about this cut. All I ask is to please be respectful while sharing this message.
Have fun at the movies!
Paul Feig Thinks Ghostbusters 2016 is Next Snyder Cut from Odin’s Movie Blog (this video contains some language)
City of Angels – The Crow City of Angels from Jared
Exploring The Crow City of Angels from GoodBadFlicks
The Crow: Legacy of a Cult Classic and The Crow LIVE Commentary | “Can’t Rain All The Time” from Drumdums
Lost Media Case Files Vol 1. | blameitonjorge (this video contains some language and sensitive material)
Sonic the Hedgehog is FIXED! Sonic Looks Great! from Clownfish TV (this video contains some language)
So, I wasn’t planning on writing a Word on the Street story today. The only post I thought I’d be publishing was the Best Actor poll of the Gold Sally Awards. But, because this news involves the Fast and Furious franchise and since I’m a fan of that franchise, I figured I should talk about it. If you’re interested, you can still vote in the current Gold Sally Awards poll. Also, because no winner was determined in the Best Actress division, I will re-post that poll next Friday, in order to give my readers, followers, and visitors a second opportunity to vote.
There’s no denying that the Coronavirus has heavily impacted the world. As a result, several films have had to delay certain screenings or reschedule their release dates. The next chapter in the Fast and Furious franchise is one of the latest titles to join this likely growing list. In an article from Bounding into Comics, John F. Trent reports that “the announcement was made via the Fast and Furious Saga’s Twitter account”. The aforementioned tweet reveals that the film has been postponed because “it’s become clear that it won’t be possible for all of our fans around the world to see the film this May”. It also stated “this move is made with the safety of everyone as our foremost consideration”. According to the tweet and the Bounding into Comics article, Fast and Furious9 will now be released in April of 2021, “with North America opening on April 2”.
Fast and Furious9 is not the only film to be delayed because of the Coronavirus. Two reporters from Variety, Manori Ravindran and Rebecca Rubin, discuss more movies that are departing from their 2020 release dates. Manori shares that A Quiet Place Part II “has been delayed amid concerns around an escalating coronavirus pandemic”. As of March 2020, an alternative premiere date is not known. Meanwhile, Rebecca reveals that three Disney produced films have also postponed their releases. These films are the live-action remake, Mulan, The New Mutants, and Antlers. Like A Quiet Place Part II, these films have not received new release dates. Bounding into Comics’ John F. Trent has reported a rumor that Marvel’s Black Widow could also be postponed as well. However, no one associated with the film, Marvel, or Disney has confirmed or denied this rumor as of March 2020.
What are your thoughts on these delays? Which movies do you think will change their release dates? Please let me know in the comment section.
The day after the Super Bowl is filled with reflection. People share their favorite commercials and talk about highlights from the game itself. In this post, though, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the movie trailers that aired for the Super Bowl. I referenced an article in my previous Word on the Street story that focused on movie studios trying to save money on game day advertising by choosing to show their trailers before or after the actual event. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch the Super Bowl, as I was working on a non-blog related project that took up a lot of my time. But I did record the pregame, postgame, and the game itself on my DVR so I could watch the trailers and write about my thoughts on them. While watching each trailer, I kept reflecting on the aforementioned article from my Word on the Street story last week. Out of all eleven trailers that aired for Super Bowl, more of them were shown during the game than before or after it. While there were five trailers shown during the pregame, none were shown during the postgame. Also, almost all of the trailers belonged to films that have already started their marketing campaigns.
During the Super Bowl pregame, five movie trailers aired between interviews, performances, and early predictions. Two of them were Sonic the Hedgehog and The Invisible Man. It makes sense that they appeared during this segment because both films have a February release date. With Sonic the Hedgehog, the marketing team had a good idea with having athletes introduce Sonic. The second half of the trailer featured clips from the movie. I thought the visuals looked really good, especially Sonic’s redesign! Even though I think this trailer could have tailored to better reflect the Super Bowl event (having former Super Bowl champions introduce Sonic as one example), it was a well-crafted commercial. When it comes to visuals, The Invisible Man’s trailer provided a good balance between the colors of black and white. Most horror movies adopt a darker palette for their collection of marketing material. Seeing lighter hues in the trailer for The Invisible Man was an interesting choice. Personally, I’m not interested in seeing this film. However, it did present the synopsis in a simple way through visuals.
Another horror trailer that appeared during the pregame is A Quiet Place Part II. I was not a fan of this trailer for a few reasons. While I haven’t seen A Quiet Place, I’m aware of what the story is about. Audio could be heard in this commercial and all the characters were talking. This defeats the purpose of the title as well as the events of the first film. The monsters are also shown in at least two shots. Despite having good cinematography, I found this trailer to be the worst one to appear during the Super Bowl festivities. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run was, surprisingly, the best trailer from this collection. Their self-awareness for their pregame placement and for the cost of Super Bowl ads added humor to the trailer. They also did a great job explaining what the film was about through a series of visuals. Top Gun: Maverick is another trailer that had good visuals, this time due to cinematography. Having voice-overs over the clips was an interesting choice, even though I would have had the theme music playing over clips and text. I wish this trailer had been presented during the game, especially since Walmart referenced Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in their commercial.
Like I mentioned in the introduction, most of the films presenting trailers during the Super Bowl festivities had already started their marketing campaigns. The only movie that didn’t was Minions: The Rise of Gru. In this trailer, the marketing team tried to do what The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run did with their trailer. However, they ended up showing random scenes with little context. At the end of this trailer, the words, “Trailer Wednesday” appeared on the screen. Why wouldn’t the marketing team make their Super Bowl ad the official trailer? To me, this commercial wasn’t utilized as well as it could have. Two other trailers I didn’t like were the ones for Mulan and the 25th James Bond film, No Time to Die. The biggest flaw of both trailers is how choppy the editing is. This made it difficult for me to see the various featured clips. I was also confused when the words “The 25th Bond will change everything” were presented in the trailer. If this is Daniel Craig’s last time portraying James Bond, why wouldn’t the marketing team capitalize on that piece of information? Both trailers do have another thing in common: they didn’t make me excited for their respective films.
One similarity I noticed among these trailers were how they felt shorter than expected. Fast & Furious 9’s trailer is a good example. Because of its time length, there was no context provided as to what the story could be about. It also brought up more questions than it was willing to answer. Why is Han in one of the clips? Will the story revolve around the Olympics? Despite not receiving its own trailer, Wonder Woman 1984 made a surprise appearance during the game. The brief marketing for the film served as a collaboration with Tide’s Pod commercial that emphasized waiting until later when taking care of dirty clothes. This makes me wonder if Wonder Woman’s image will be featured on Tide products closer to the film’s release date? Another female superhero that has an upcoming movie is the MCU’s Black Widow. Her solo movie also had a trailer during the game. The best part of it was the collection of visuals, as they were captured very well through good cinematography. Similar to Top Gun: Maverick’s trailer, voice-overs were relied on to create the commercial’s tone. Black Widow’s trailer was one of the better pieces of movie marketing that was featured during the game.
Have you seen any of the Super Bowl movie trailers? If so, which one was your favorite? Tell me in the comment section!
Originally, I was going to post my review for December’s Genre Grandeur. But, yesterday, I ended up watching Dora and the Lost City of Gold. So, I decided to review this movie instead. I’ll still publish my Genre Grander review, but it will appear on 18 Cinema Lane sometime this week. As I’ve said in two Word on the Street stories, Dora and the Lost City of Gold made Paramount, the film’s respective studio, lose money. One possible explanation lies in the movie’s less-than-stellar marketing campaign. Like a lot of people, I was not a fan of the film’s official trailer. To me, it felt like the studio didn’t understand the source material they were working with, similar to projects like Jem and the Holograms. This caused me not to see the movie in theaters. When I chose to rent it yesterday, I realized that the only theatrically released film from 2019 I reviewed was Avengers: Endgame. It became one of the reasons why I wanted to review Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Prior to watching this film, I have seen a few episodes of Dora the Explorer. But I don’t have fond memories of it like other people do. Let’s wrap this introduction up so we can go on a movie review adventure!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: I was pleasantly surprised by the acting performances in this film! I was familiar with who Isabela Moner was, as an actress, prior to watching Dora and the Lost City of Gold. This is because I have heard she starred in the 2017 film, Transformers: The Last Knight. She did a fantastic job at bringing the iconic Nickelodeon character to life! With a cheerful personality and a sunny disposition, Isabela helped carry this film with a well-rounded performance. Another memorable performance came from Madeleine Madden! In this film, she portrayed Sammy, a fellow classmate of Dora’s. Madeleine brought versatility to her role, allowing her character’s transformation to feel believable. Madeleine’s on-screen interactions with her co-stars also helped this transformation, showing that those with leadership qualities can also be contributing team members. Speaking of team members, Eugenio Derbez gave a stand-out performance as Alejandro. While portraying this character, he provided a balance of comedic and dramatic acting. Incorporating these two different types of acting is not an easy thing to do. However, Eugenio flawlessly pulled this off in his performance!
The scenery: For most of the film, the jungle provided scenery for this project. It helped make scenes involving this location visually appealing. The natural beauty of the jungle is captured well on film, allowing for the foliage to stand out and even compliment the movie. Within the jungle, there were structures that represented long abandoned places. It’s likely that these were constructed sets for the movie, but they looked very authentic. One great example is when Dora and her group encounter an ancient aqueduct. Because this location was shown above water and was also immersed in it, it shows the audience the original purpose of this structure and its place in history. This shows that the film’s creative team tried to make their film showcase this location as more than just a pretty place.
The messages and themes: At the beginning of the film, Dora’s father tells her that she should strive to be an explorer, not a treasure hunter. This piece of advice is a new take on the saying, “It’s the journey, not the destination”. But it also opens the door to several important themes. The ideas of sharing a unique experience, friendship, and teamwork come directly from the aforementioned advice. These themes are shown through actions instead of just said through words. They also have a shareability among audience members of all ages. The film’s messages and themes were one of the strongest parts of the movie, as it was executed well throughout the script.
What I didn’t like about the film:
Some of the CGI: For the most part, the CGI in Dora and the Lost City of Gold looked really good. However, there were some instances when the CGI looked poor. One example is when Dora is petting a baby alligator. If you look closely, you can tell where the animation was inserted into the scene. To me, this appeared off-putting, like the image of the alligator didn’t blend with the rest of the shot. While the encounters with poor CGI were few, I still was not a fan of that.
The jokes dragging on for a little too long: I found some of the jokes in this movie to be genuinely funny. But other jokes went on for a little too long. Just one example is when Dora’s father is imitating the sounds of techno music. This joke had the potential to be hilarious, but the length of the joke’s time ruined it for me. Had a few seconds of this joke been cut, it would have helped it reach the punch-line a lot sooner.
A somewhat confusing climax: I won’t spoil Dora and the Lost City of Gold if you haven’t seen it. But I will say that I found the climax to be somewhat confusing. This is because of two reasons. The first one is how some things are shown and talked about without being given an explanation. The second is how other things aren’t referenced before and/or after the climax. This made it difficult for me to remain fully invested in what was happening on screen.
My overall impression:
In the introduction of this review, I speculated that Dora and the Lost City of Gold became a box office failure due to a less-than-stellar marketing campaign. I find this to be a shame because the movie is better than I expected. Unlike what the trailer made me believe, the studio not only cared about the source material, but it seems like they tried their best to elevate it as well. The movie also has more heart than any of the marketing let on, providing messages and themes that can be revisited long after the movie is over. Dora and the Lost City of Gold is not one of my favorite movies of the year, but it definitely is a memorable one. I kind of feel bad that I didn’t give this film a chance sooner. However, I’m glad that I gave it a chance at all.
Overall score: 7.6 out of 10
Have you seen any theatrically released films from 2019? Has there ever a movie that you regretted not seeing in theaters? Please tell me in the comment section!
Before the end of November, I received 160 followers on 18 Cinema Lane! As I usually do when this occasion takes place, I take the time to thank all my followers for choosing to support me, my blog, and my blogging journey. My way of thanking them is by dedicating a movie review to each and every one of them. For this post, I have chosen a movie that was released in November of 2006. Since I haven’t talked about an animated film in three months, I decided to talk about a film called Flushed Away. This is a movie that I have heard of, but never seen. Prior to watching this film, I was aware of Aardman Animations, the studio responsible for Flushed Away. That’s because they have an animation style that is different from other studios. When I was looking for images to feature in this review, I discovered that, in the Chinese New Year, 2020 will be the Year of the Rat! So, talking about Flushed Away before the start of a new decade now makes a lot of sense.
Things I liked about the film:
The animation: In Flushed Away, I found the animation style to be visually appealing for a number of reasons. The first is how realistic some of the animation looked, such as the bricks in the sewer and anytime water is shown. Another aspect is the color palette that is used in the film. One of the movie’s most memorable locations, the sewer city, was filled with bright hues. This added to the visual appeal of the scenes where this area was featured. The sewer city also showcased interesting and creative elements, like a Ferris Wheel made out of teacups. What I also found interesting in this film was how the characters were created. Aardman Animations has a very distinct style that is rarely seen in mainstream cinema. However, I’m more familiar with this animation style appearing in stop-motion films. Flushed Away’s creative team used computer technology to construct their project. I found it fascinating to see this unique animation style incorporated in a different cinematic format.
The “Easter Egg” humor: Sometimes, in cinema, screenwriters will include “Easter Eggs” in their story in an attempt to delight and humor their audience. This was a pleasant surprise to find within Flushed Away! The jokes that were brought into the movie using this “Easter Egg” method were clever and genuinely funny. One example is when Roddy is falling down into the sewer system. During this process, Roddy comes across a small fish that asks him if he has seen his dad. This is meant to reference Finding Nemo, a movie that was released three years prior. Because of how well this type of humor was executed, this helped me maintain my focus in the film.
The overarching message: In some children’s/family-friendly films, there are times when a message can feel heavy-handed or preachy. I didn’t feel that way about the overarching message in Flushed Away. The idea that “everybody needs somebody” was written into the story very intelligently and subtly. It was also visually showcased through the use of situations and character choices as well as through dialogue. This choice to present the message in a “show and tell” style was handled better than if it was just verbally explained to the audience. The incorporation of this message showed that the creative team made an effort to put heart in their project.
What I didn’t like about the film:
The plot: Flushed Away is about a rat who is trying to return home. While this sounds like a simple story, I found the film’s overall narrative to be too simplistic. Even though there were other plots featured in the movie, I also found those to be on the simpler side. Because of this, it made the story feel like there was very little intrigue. It also made it difficult for me to stay fully invested in what was happening on screen.
The villain: Yet, another film I’ve recently reviewed where I didn’t like the villain. In the case of Flushed Away, I not only found the villain, The Toad, to be poorly written. I also found him to be unconvincing. Similar to what I said about Blair from The Nine Lives of Christmas, The Toad came across as one-dimensional. He also never felt like a legitimate threat to the protagonist and his friend, Rita. Both Roddy and Rita outsmart him and his henchmen every time, causing the villain to not be as powerful as the film’s creative team wanted us to think. If anything, The Toad just appears to be a goofier version of Governor Ratcliffe from Disney’s Pocahontas.
Some of the humor: While I liked the “Easter Egg” humor of this film, there was other humor that I was not a fan of. This came in the form of “gross-out” humor and injury related humor. To me, the “gross-out” humor felt it was there just for the sake of being there. Meanwhile, the injury related humor happened too consistently. There was one character that constantly got hurt throughout the story. However, I never found any of these moments to be funny. I know that comedy is a very subjective thing. But this kind of humor, at times, took me of the film.
My overall impression:
Before I share my thoughts on Flushed Away, I want to thank all of my followers for supporting 18 Cinema Lane! 2019 has been a great year for the blog. Part of that is because of my readers, followers, and visitors. Ok, now it’s time to share my overall impression of this film. Personally, I thought it was just ok. In Flushed Away, there were components that I liked seeing, such as the animation and the overall message. But there were aspects that held Flushed Away back from reaching its full potential. Just one example is how the overall plot was too simplistic for my liking. As I’ve said before, comedy and film are subjective. Yes, I enjoyed the “Easter Egg” style of humor. But I did not like the “gross-out” and injury related humor. While I think there are better animated films than Flushed Away, there are definitely worse children’s/family friendly films than this one. No matter the style or format of the animated project, I will continue to do my best at presenting the best movie reviews I can offer.
Overall score: 6 out of 10
What are thoughts on my blogging journey so far? Which review of mine has been your favorite? Tell me what you think in the comment section!
I’m not going to lie, it’s not always possible for me to write follow-up stories for Word on the Street posts. That’s because there’s only so much time and attention that I can devote to each movie news story that I choose to cover. However, I do try my best to provide follow-up articles when I am realistically able to write them. As the title indicates, one of these stories will relate to a piece of movie news that I talked about in the past. Like I do in all my Word on the Street posts, I will report on both stories as accurately as possible. But, only for the first one, I will share my thoughts on this latest development.
Last July, I reported that a live-action Rugrats movie was being brought to the box office by Viacom and Paramount. I also said that the movie would be released sometime in November of 2020. According to Deadline, it looks like Paramount has changed their minds. Erik Pedersen reported on November 12th that the legendary studio removed their cinematic Rugrats project from their box office line-up. After pushing the film back to January 29th, 2021, Paramount has decided to put a movie called Rumble in its place. As of November 2019, the studio “didn’t cite a reason for grounding the film”. When this movie was first announced, I was excited about the idea of a new Rugrats movie. But upon further reflection, I realize that maybe this decision is for the better. In a Word on the Street post from last month, when I talked about the ‘Barney’ movie, I mentioned that Dora and the Lost City of Gold made Paramount lose money. This movie, like the newly scrapped Rugrats film, was a live-action adaptation of a Nickelodeon property that was popular in decades past. It also was another reboot/remake released in 2019 that didn’t perform well at the box office. Based on these facts, it looks like Paramount cut their losses while they still had a chance. Hopefully, this encourages them to create a new film with an original and compelling story.
Here’s the link to the Deadline article I referenced in this post:
While looking for movie news stories, I came across one that had been reported on for the past two weeks. Because I saw very few people talking about this, I figured it would be a story worth sharing. On November 5th, a screenwriter named Alison Spuck McNeeley revealed on her Instagram account that she was working on a Hallmark Channel movie called “A Tidy Romance”. Based on the photo’s description, it appears that Alison will not only co-write the film with who I believe is Casie Tabanou, but she will also co-executive produce the project with Jill Wagner and, I believe, her husband, Kristofer McNeeley. A week later, on November 13th, the Twitter account, Hotline to Hallmark, and Rachael Ellenbogen, who is an entertainment reporter, announced that Jill Wagner, Victor Webster, and Brendon Zub will be starring in this film. In Rachael’s tweet, she revealed that “A Tidy Romance” will be a “Winterfest” film from Hallmark Channel! This movie is, currently, listed on Creative B.C.’s “In Production” page, as the production will end filming on November 23rd.
Here’s the links to the references I made in this post:
Type @alispuckmcneeley into Instagram’s search bar