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

Top 10 Things I’d Like to See in Chesapeake Shores’ Fifth Season

When I submitted my review of The Great Mouse Detective last week, it became the 175th movie review I’ve ever published! In honor of this accomplishment, I decided to write a Top 10 list, especially since I haven’t written one in quite some time! Back in February, in a Word on the Street story, I reported how Chesapeake Shores was renewed for a fifth season. However, because of the Coronavirus, the show hasn’t gone into production. On 18 Cinema Lane, I recap two of Hallmark’s shows, with Chesapeake Shores being one of them. While some areas of the world are slowly going back to creating movies and television shows, the O’Brien family may not appear on screen this year. This means that my Top 10 list will probably be the only Chesapeake Shores related content I create in 2020. As “Chessies” (the show’s fandom) waits for any news of the show’s return, here are the top 10 things I’d like to see in the fifth season! Before I begin, I want to say that this list is solely based on my opinion. There will also be spoilers for the previous season.

  1. Tone down the relationship drama

As I’ve said before in my Evenings At The Shore series, the first and second seasons of Chesapeake Shores contained a healthy balance between their character and plot driven narratives. But since season three, the show’s overall quality has plateaued. That’s because the overall narrative has placed its primary focus on the relationship drama between the characters. This decision has caused the plots to be put on the back-burner. One example is the fourth season’s fifth episode, where the plot surrounding Jess’s story didn’t make any sense. In Chesapeake Shores’ next season, I hope the screenwriters bring the show back to that balance from the first two seasons. This show has come up with some interesting plot ideas, but haven’t utilized them to their fullest extent.

2. A wedding for Jess and David

Before Kevin and Sarah got engaged in the fourth season, fans had never seen a wedding within the O’Brien family. This next step in Kevin and Sarah’s relationship was history in the making for the show. Because of the fourth season’s six episode run, wedding plans were replaced with an elopement and a reception dinner. This decision was a “bait and switch”, leaving fans cheated out of a historical moment they were promised. Kevin and Sarah were not the only couple to get engaged, however, as Jess and David became engaged at the end of the season. I’d like to see Jess and David’s wedding in the fifth season. Because the filming locations of Chesapeake Shores are photogenic, maybe they could receive an outdoor ceremony.

3. Get rid of the love triangle

It’s bad enough When Calls the Heart features a love triangle that seems to have no end in sight. Like I said in one of my Sunset Over Hope Valley posts, love triangles are a waste of time and creative energy. In Chesapeake Shores’ fourth season, the narrative introduced a love triangle between Abby, Trace, and Jay. This not only enables the screenwriters to continue emphasizing the relationship drama, but it also takes screen-time away from more intriguing plots. Hopefully, this love triangle will get resolved sometime in the fifth season.

4. A subplot for Carrie and Caitlyn

Speaking of When Calls the Heart, what this show does well is provide subplots for the younger characters. It gives the audience a chance to get to know them and view the story from their perspective. When it comes to Chesapeake Shores, Carrie and Caitlyn, the youngest characters on the show, have never received a story of their own. In fact, it feels like they’ve become an afterthought within the overall narrative. I’ve been waiting for Carrie and Caitlyn to receive their own subplot for a while, so I hope this happens in season five. It would be interesting to see what the screenwriters come up with.

5. More episodes

Earlier in this list, when I talked about Kevin and Sarah’s lack of wedding plans, I stated how the fourth season of Chesapeake Shores was only given six episodes. While Hallmark shows have received seasons with less than ten episodes before, a fourth season receiving six episodes is a bit concerning. This creative decision prevented certain subplots from being fully explored and made the story feel like more was desired. Personally, I think the fifth season should be given at least nine to ten episodes. That way, Chesapeake Shores will have enough time to flesh stories out and focus on telling well-thought out narratives.

Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

6. The fruition of Trace’s recording studio

Chesapeake Shores excels at featuring locations that have been brought up in the story. One example is The Bridge, a musical restaurant that Trace had been dreaming about for several years. At the end of the fourth season, Trace had expressed interest in creating a recording studio. While recording studios have been presented in the story before, this particular business was never shown in Chesapeake Shores. Because this show has a good track record when it comes to locations, I’d like to think Trace’s recording studio will become a reality. However, I still want to see this location brought to life.

7. For Bree and Simon’s paths to cross again

When Simon was introduced on Chesapeake Shores, he met Bree in her home country. At the end of the fourth season, Bree’s literary agent, Brian, wanted to bring her play to London. If this happens, Bree would be in Simon’s home country. This dynamic would be very interesting to watch, especially if Bree and Simon plan on revisiting their relationship. Should Bree decide to find a different significant other, I’d be curious to see which new British actor joins the show.

8. More appearances for Nell

Over the course of the fourth season, I noticed that Nell had such a limited on-screen presence compared to previous seasons. I was told Diane Ladd, the actress who portrays Nell, was experiencing pneumonia when this particular season was in production. As I indicated in the introduction, we don’t know when Chesapeake Shores’ fifth season will be filmed. Whenever that happens, I hope Diane is in better health. Nell is the one who keeps the glue of the O’Brien family together. Without her, things just wouldn’t be the same.

9. A Chesapeake Shores Movie

I know a Chesapeake Shores movie is on the way. However, it never went into production, partly due to the Coronavirus. Even though the film was originally about Abby, Bree, and Jess, I still want to see a St. Patrick’s Day themed movie in Ireland. Another possible film idea is a Chesapeake Shores Thanksgiving themed movie! Hallmark hasn’t created a Thanksgiving movie in several years. Also, Good Witch has capitalized on Halloween, while When Calls the Heart creates annual Christmas films.

10. Megan becoming a successful businesswoman

You’re probably thinking, “Megan’s not a businesswoman, it isn’t her forte”. However, when we look at Abby, Bree, and Jess, there is one thing they have in common: they are all successful businesswomen. While each sister has forged their own path in the world of business, they have let their passions guide them through this specific journey. For at least one season, Megan has expressed her passion for art. Toward the end of the fourth season, she had shown an interest in creating her own studio. If the screenwriters wanted, they could allow Megan to use her art as the basis for a small business. This could make Megan an independent businesswoman like her three daughters.

Chesapeake Shores poster image created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%203&episodeIndex=3001

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Crow Review

Because this review is for the “Love Goes On” Blogathon, I decided to write an open letter to The Crow. I know this isn’t my usual style of writing reviews and I know I don’t usually post articles on a Saturday, but I thought of trying something new for this post. So, without further ado, let me start this letter to The Crow.

The Crow poster
The Crow poster created by Dimension Films and Miramax Films. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Crow_ver2.jpg

An Open Letter to The Crow,

If you would have asked me years ago what The Crow was, I would have answered you back with this question; “You mean that animated show with the cavepeople”? Back then, all I knew was a cave boy named Cro ruling my television screen, wooly mammoths being saved from eternal freezing, and every episode receiving a ‘happily ever after’. While I knew you, this other Crow, existed, I didn’t know a lot about you. From a distance, you looked like you based your existence on seeking attention, shocking people, and causing controversary. I know it’s not right to judge a book by its cover, but I let myself judge a movie by its outward appearance. This is not something I’m proud of. However, I won’t be the first or last person to do this for a film. As time went on, I learned more about your truths and secrets that were hidden from me before. From Brandon’s untimely passing to the source material itself, this is information that came to me long after you had made your temporary, but successful, stay at the box office. During this 20+ year time period, I had heard people singing your praises. They said things like how you were their favorite movie to how you’ve earned your status as a “cult classic”. It wasn’t until I read the reviews about you from Pale Writer (from the blog, Pale Writer) and Terence (from the blog, A Shroud of Thoughts) that I finally decided to give you a chance. Originally, I had planned on watching you around Halloween. Because your story takes place around this holiday, I thought it would be an appropriate choice. Since you perfectly fit the criteria for the “Love Goes On” Blogathon, I chose to watch you sooner than I expected.

The Love Goes On Blogathon banner
The Love Goes On Blogathon banner created by Steve from Movie Movie Blog Blog II. Image found at https://moviemovieblogblogii.wordpress.com/2020/03/19/announcing-the-love-goes-on-blogathon/.

To show you how much I like you, I’ll talk about the things I liked about you as a film. I have to say the acting was one of the strongest parts of this project! A lot of people have said good things about Brandon’s performance. After seeing The Crow, I can wholeheartedly agree with them! Besides being able to pull off the action sequences, Brandon brought the emotional intensity required for a role like this. His performance was consistent and never faltered. To me, some of the film’s best moments were shared between Eric and Sarah. These moments almost made me cry as they felt so real, containing emotional depth and expressing the relatable ideas of grief and losing a loved one. Speaking of Sarah, I thought Rochelle Davis did a good job providing a balance between adorable innocence and cynical realism. In movies that deal with serious, real world issues, such as death, crime, and loss, it can be easy for a younger actor or actress to be told or directed to act so adorably innocent, that the performance comes off as too sicky sweet. These kinds of performances may be found in programs such as “after school specials” or a Hallmark commercial. The great thing about Rochelle’s portrayal of Sarah is how it felt authentic and genuine, like a young person in that particular environment would react. I was also impressed with Michael Wincott’s portrayal of Top Dollar! Michael not only brought a cool and nonchalant persona to his character, but he also showed how manipulative Top Dollar can be. One moment, he’s tearing up over a snow-globe his father gave him. Several moments later, he’s ignoring the warnings of his henchmen by belittling or killing them. Through Michael’s performance and the screen-writing, Top Dollar was presented as a chameleon with a sinister under-tone.

crow-1376188-640x480
Image of crow at sunset created by Rayudu NVS at freeimages.com. Photo by <a href=”/photographer/rayudu238-57835″>rayudu NVS</a> from <a href=”https://freeimages.com/”>FreeImages</a&gt;. Image found at freeimages.com.

Before watching you, I had done research as to what you were about and other aspects of your existence. But, when I watched you, I was surprised by the story’s presentation. It was presented as a mystery, with the pieces falling in place as the film went on. The details of the crime were incorporated in very subtle ways. One example is the portrait of Eric’s band hanging on a wall in Top Dollar’s club. This showed and told a connection between the victim and the perpetrator. As someone who enjoys mystery movies, this creative decision made me feel like my intelligence was respected. A concern I had before watching you was the setting being so dark, I wouldn’t be able to see what was happening on screen. I knew the darker setting was meant to match your tone. But my concerns come after watching The Dark Knight, where most of the action sequences took place at night and used very little lighting. I want to thank you for including an appropriate amount of light in your scenes! There was enough to see what was on screen, but also complement the overall tone and atmosphere. One really good example is after Eric had infiltrated Top Dollar’s lair. While looking for the last surviving gang member, the room is mostly dark except for a flashing light. The light itself helped me see the events unfolding, while the systematic pattern of the light’s inclusion added tension to that scene.

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Here is a screenshot of the Cro title card, the show I referenced in this review’s introduction. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Just because I like you, doesn’t mean I think you’re perfect. Throughout the story, questions emerged that I wish were answered or elaborated upon. How did Eric and Shelly come to know Sarah? Why was Top Dollar continually mentioning his father? How did Eric’s band-mates deal with the loss of Eric and Shelly? I understand there’s only so much story you can tell in 102 minutes. However, I felt myself wanting to know more when it came to these questions. When I was researching you, I learned the story took place in Detroit. Seeing Michigan/Detroit related “Easter Eggs” was something I was looking forward to. But, in this story, there were barely any references to this specific location. Sure, one of Funboy’s gang members mentioned “the Motor City”. However, this story could have taken place in any state’s major city and it honestly wouldn’t make a difference. I’ve also heard good things about Eric and Shelly’s relationship, from being labeled as “adorable” to being named the perfect definition of “relationship goals”. I think Eric and Shelly’s relationship is nice, but I didn’t really develop an emotional attachment with it. The majority of this relationship was shown through a series of short flashbacks. Because of this, I wasn’t able to witness Brandon and Sofia’s (the actress who portrayed Shelly) on-screen chemistry. The culmination of these two factors prevented me from becoming emotionally invested in their relationship.

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Cute Halloween border created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/halloween-background-with-fun-style_1310632.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.

So, now you’ve reached the end of this letter. I think you already know that I like you. When I look beyond your surface, the one that appears violent and darker in atmosphere, I realize you have something important to say. You used the themes of grief and loss during quieter, less action-packed moments. This gave me a break from the intensity of the action sequences. Even though I like you, I haven’t fallen head over heels for you or chosen you as one of my new favorite films. You have flaws that held you back from reaching more of your full potential. But, don’t beat yourself up over this, because every film can’t be a 10 out of 10. Now that I’ve given you a chance, I’ve developed a greater appreciation and understanding of you. I also get why so many people like you so much. You are one of those films that has the power to stick with people long after they’ve seen you. Maybe that’s what makes you so special.

 

Sincerely,

Sally Silverscreen

 

P.S. I’ll give you a score of 7.8 out of 10.

 

Here are the links to Pale Writer’s and Terence’s reviews if you want to check them out:

Rain and Revenge: The Crow (1994)

https://mercurie.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-crow-1994-putting-wrong-things-right.html

Take 3: Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance Review

As When Calls the Heart was walking away from its seventh chapter, the Matchmaker Mysteries series was embarking on their second installment! After its 2019 debut, this series has already found a place in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ collection of films. I have seen the first Matchmaker Mysteries installment, Matchmaker Mysteries: A Killer Engagement, and I thought it was a strong start to this series! It left me wondering where the story would go and how it would evolve over time. As I said in my review of Mystery 101: An Education in Murder, I have found Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ 2020 line-up to be strong. I’ve also enjoyed the majority of the films that have premiered so far. Since I liked the first Matchmaker Mysteries film, I felt there would be a chance I would like its successor!

Matchmaker Mysteries -- A Fatal Romance
Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Matchmaker+Mysteries+A+Fatal+Romance.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I’ve seen all of Danica McKellar’s Hallmark movies. The one consistent element I’ve noticed about Danica’s acting abilities while watching her films, including this one, is how her emotions seamlessly transition from one situation to the next. One great example is when Kyle shows up at Angie’s studio shortly after the murder victim is discovered. Danica, as Angie, goes from smiling and laughing at a friend’s joke to looking concerned when she notices Kyle’s presence. Lara Gilchrist also did a good job transitioning her emotions between scenes. This is because her acting abilities are versatile. A scene that effectively displays Lara’s talents is one where her character, Margaret, is sharing a personal secret to Angie. What helped this movie was how some of the cast members appeared in the first movie as well as the second movie. One of these members is Victor Webster. Throughout Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance, he appeared at ease in his role as Kyle. This was caused by Victor being familiar with the material.

 

Angie’s relationship with Ethan: In Hallmark’s films, the female protagonist usually spends a lot of time with the male protagonist. This is done in the hopes of having these characters end up together in a relationship. In Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance, Angie spends more time with her ex-boyfriend, Ethan, than with Kyle. By having the female protagonist associate herself with the male supporting character, this creates a unique dynamic from other Hallmark projects. It also helps that Danica and Dan Payne, the actor who portrays Ethan, had on-screen chemistry!

 

The locations/sets: Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance boasted some great locations, which lent themselves as sets for the project. At the beginning of the film, Angie attends a convention, where she is a co-host for a particular panel. This panel took place in a ballroom that has been featured in other Hallmark movies. The ballroom itself is spacious and grand. My favorite part of this place is the large windows, as they oversaw a golf course and let in a soft, natural light in one specific scene. I also loved the design of Beatrice’s house! The exterior had a cute Victorian look to it, from its pale-yellow hue to the wrap-around porch. The interior showcased impressive dark woodwork that complemented the space, especially on the fireplace! This was paired really well with the blue-green tiles found in this feature. Speaking of fireplaces, Angie’s father’s house also contained some eye-catching design features! One of them was a stone fireplace. Even thought this was never the focal point in the film, it was an interesting component of that space.

Happy Valentines day and heart. Card with Happy Valentines day a
Heart image created by Dashu83 at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Backgroundimage created by Dashu83 – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/happy-valentines-day-and-heart-card-with-happy-valentines-day-and-heart_1747001.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The matchmaking subplot: I know Angie’s matchmaking career plays a role in this series. In fact, placing this aspect within a subplot allows it to continue existing in the series’ identity. However, I didn’t find the matchmaking subplot in Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance interesting. If anything, it was predictable, coming off as a basic plot from an unaired Hallmark Channel movie. The story itself contains rehashed ideas that I’ve already seen from other Hallmark productions. This subplot, to me, didn’t add anything significant to the overall film.

 

Limited amount of suspense: In a typical mystery film, suspense is used to keep the audience invested in the story. While the first movie in the Matchmaker Mysteries series contained a good amount of suspense, the second film used suspense very sparingly. Moments of suspense were only found in a few scenes. While it was effective for those scenes, it also made the movie feel less thrilling.

 

A small amount of urgency: Having the protagonist talk to the suspects is an important part of any mystery. But in Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance, this part of the mystery-solving process was the most prominent of the story. It got to the point where it seemed like all the characters were just sitting around and talking to one another. Because of this, it made the film as a whole feature a small amount of urgency.

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Magnifying glass image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/magnifying-glass-with-fingerprint-in-flat-style_2034684.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/flat”>Flat vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance was a fine film. However, it took a few steps backwards from its predecessor. As I said in the introduction, I thought the first movie, Matchmaker Mysteries: A Killer Engagement was a strong start to the series. But this sequel didn’t leave as big of an impression on me as some of the other 2020 releases from Hallmark Movies and Mysteries have. The small amount of urgency and the limited amount of suspense has not helped this film’s case. While I appreciate this creative team’s decision to place the series’ defining element in a subplot, I was not a fan of the subplot itself. Even though this movie had its strengths, I think the overall project could have been stronger. It does take a while for each series to find its footing. But it also takes time for the next installment in each series to be announced. If there is a third movie in the Matchmaker Mysteries series, I hope it is better than the second movie was.

 

Overall score: 7.3 out of 10

 

Do you watch the movies from the Matchmaker Mysteries series? Have you seen any of Danica’s Hallmark films? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Just for You

Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 9th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Supporting Actor of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The next poll will be posted on the April 10th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

Now it’s time to choose the Best Supporting Actor of 2020’s Gold Sally Awards!

 

As I’ve mentioned before, When Calls the Heart is about a cast of characters. Over the course of seven seasons, many characters have been featured on the show. This creates a variety of people for the fans to choose as their favorite. For me, Tom Thornton is my favorite character, despite his limited presence on the show. Tom’s introduction is one of the reasons why I like the second season out of all seven of them. The more I watch When Calls the Heart, the more I notice there is something for everyone. With so many characters and stories, there is bound to be something that one gravitates to. When that happens, one could feel like the show is telling them, “hey, I made this just for you”. I wonder if this is another reason why When Calls the Heart has acquired the number of fans it has?

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart Season 7 poster
When Calls the Heart poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=When%20Calls%20the%20Heart%20Season%207&episodeIndex=7001.

Season: 7

Episode: 7

Name: Heart of a Writer

 

Major Stories:

Before recess ends, Lucas asks Elizabeth if she’d like to go to a book reading for an up-and-coming author named Virginia Woolf. He has two tickets to the event, which takes place in Union City. As Opal interrupts their conversation, since recess is almost over, Elizabeth tells him she’ll think about his offer. After school, Elizabeth shares this news with Rosemary. When she explains her reservations about going with Lucas, Rosemary asks Elizabeth what she wants to do. With that, Elizabeth decides to go the book-reading. She then visits Lucas at the saloon, where she tells him that she’ll go to the event simply as a friend. After agreeing to this condition, he informs her that he’ll pick her up at seven the next morning and that they will be attending a fancy restaurant following the event. The next day, Lucas picks Elizabeth up at her house in Henry’s car. During their journey, they stop in a nearby field so they can have a picnic lunch. Over this meal, Elizabeth learns that Lucas got the event’s tickets from a mutual friend. When they arrive at their hotel, the concierge mistakes Elizabeth and Lucas for a married couple. After they clarify that error, they receive their room keys. In the evening, Lucas and Elizabeth attend the book-reading. Following the event, they have dinner at the aforementioned fancy restaurant. While waiting for their food, Elizabeth and Lucas learn more about one another. Elizabeth shares that she, sometimes, misses her life in Hamilton. Lucas confesses that he’d like to have a family one day. When they talk about the book-reading itself, Elizabeth learns the real reason for Lucas’ desire to attend the event. It was more about wanting to spend time with Elizabeth than experiencing Virginia’s work.

 

When Nathan visits Elizabeth during recess, he tells her that he’ll be in Cape Fullerton during the weekend because he’ll be a witness on an upcoming trial. He also says that Allie will be spending time with Opal’s family over the weekend. The next day, while at Opal’s house, Ally sees Elizabeth leaving Hope Valley with Lucas. Nathan also comes home earlier than expected. When she visits Nathan at his office, Ally tells him what she saw. For the rest of the episode, Nathan appears to be disappointed, but doesn’t let other people know how he’s feeling. He minds his own business by chopping wood and going fishing with Ally. When Elizabeth and Lucas do come home, both Ally and Nathan try their best not to make their interactions with Elizabeth seem awkward.

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Happy reading place image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor Stories:

Because of Elizabeth’s weekend plans, Lee and Rosemary volunteer to take care of Jack. Since this is the first time Elizabeth and Jack have been apart for more than a few hours, Jack is more fussy than usual. Over the weekend, Lee and Rosemary misplace Jack’s favorite toy: a small, stuffed dog. They search everywhere for the toy, but have difficulty finding it. Until they can locate the dog, Lee purchases a stuffed toy duck for Jack as a replacement. Unfortunately, Jack isn’t impressed with the new toy. Lee and Rosemary try their best to make Jack happy, but most of their efforts fail to work. One day, while in town, they decide to pay Carson a visit. When they arrive, Carson is typing a document on his typewriter. During this visit, Lee and Rosemary notice how much calmer Jack is. This leads them to discover that Jack likes the sound of the typewriter, as it reminds him of his mom. When Elizabeth returns home, Lee and Rosemary are happy that Jack is reunited with his mother. Toward the end of the episode, Lee and Rosemary finally find Jack’s missing toy: it was located under the pillows on their sofa.

 

After Jesse and Clara arrive from their honeymoon, they immediately move into their new home: the house that’s connected to the café. When they bring their belongings into the house, Clara discovers Jesse only has one small box containing his things. When she asks where his favorite armchair is, he tells her he had to discard it, as he says it was broken. The next day, Clara sees Jesse giving some of his belongings to Kevin. One of these items is the aforementioned armchair. After she tells Bill about what she saw, Bill tries to figure out why Jesse has so few possessions. When Bill talks to Jesse about it, he doesn’t get an answer. Later in the episode, Clara tries to talk with Jesse over dinner. Unfortunately, Jesse doesn’t want to talk about his small number of belongings. The next day, Jesse comes home to find his possessions throughout the house. Clara confesses that she asked the people who received Jesse’s things to give them back to Jesse. Clara tells him that she wants their home to be a place where they both feel they belong.

 

At the beginning of the episode, Lucas notices he didn’t receive his check at the end of the previous month. When he confronts Henry at his office, Henry tells him there’s nothing to worry about. At the saloon, he asks Mike about the late payment. Mike reveals how he’s not in charge of the plant’s finances anymore, as Henry has now taken over that responsibility. Meanwhile, Henry goes to the Infirmary, telling Carson he has indigestion. During an examination, Carson discovers Henry has higher blood pressure. He tells Henry he’ll give him some medicine and advice to take a break from work. The next day, Carson finds Henry working in his office. Even though Carson is concerned about Henry’s well-being, he simply tells Henry that he can come to him if he wants to talk about anything.

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Heartbeat image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/medical-logo_763775.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/logo”>Logo vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • I was disappointed that the book-reading wasn’t shown on screen. When Lucas tells Elizabeth it will be held in a theater, I was hoping to see this location. Since this show takes place in the 1910s, the theater would likely have a grand style that is usually found in big cities. Hopefully, a theater like that could be featured on the show in the future.

 

  • Personally, I think Lucas over-showed his hand on his first date with Elizabeth. Talking about the future and sharing family history is not a bad thing. However, I don’t think Lucas should have brought these ideas up this soon in his relationship with Elizabeth. Despite the fact they are on a date, they are not officially dating. Lucas’ choice could scare Elizabeth away from building a romantic relationship with him.

 

  • During Lucas and Elizabeth’s conversation about the book-reading, Elizabeth mentions how her sister, Viola, gave her a copy of Virginia’s short stories. Even though we haven’t seen Viola since the second season, it was nice to see a former character being referenced on the show. Now, if only Elizabeth could reference her brother-in-law and her son’s uncle, Tom Thornton…

Red sunset clouds over trees.
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Do you like this episode? What has your favorite story-line? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas Review

For my last movie review of 2019, I’m going to talk about the newest film in the When Calls the Heart series, When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas! Since I reviewed last year’s movie, When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing and since I re-cap the show, I thought it would be fitting to keep up the continuity. While I liked the previous movie, I had lower expectations for this year’s project. This was caused by how unappealing the film’s synopsis sounded to me. In a Word on the Street story last month, I discussed how I felt about the synopsis for this movie. To me, it seemed like the screenwriters were running out of ideas and not taking advantage of beautiful story-telling opportunities. It also seemed like they were repeating the same mistakes they made in the previous film. But, like I do for every movie I watch and/or review, I watched When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas with an open mind. I thought that, maybe, the movie could be better than the synopsis made it sound. Was I right or wrong in my guess? We’re about to find out in this review of When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas!

When Calls the Heart -- Home for Christmas poster
When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas poster created by Hallmark Channel and Crown Media Family Networks. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=When+Calls+the+Heart+Home+for+Christmas.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Like last year’s movie, the acting in When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas was one of the strongest elements of the project! Everyone in this cast was talented, bringing their characters to life with a sense of well-roundedness. From newer characters, like Nate’s niece, Allie, to veterans of the show, such as Bill Avery, it was a pleasure to see these characters come back on television. What works in this cast’s favor is how most of the cast members have appeared on the show for at least one season. This helps keep up the consistency of both the performances and the overall narrative. It also shows how comfortable these actors and actresses were in the roles they were given.

Learning about backstories through Christmas traditions: At several moments of the movie, the audience got the chance to receive more backstories from some the characters through the sharing of Christmas traditions. With the incorporation of Hope Valley’s Christmas Festival, we learn that one of Lucas’ favorite memories was visiting a German Christmas festival with his parents. Another example is Nate’s Christmas present for Allie. For Christmas, he gets her a charm bracelet. Nate’s sister and Allie’s mom used to have a charm bracelet and would receive a new charm every Christmas. This was an interesting way to learn about these characters. It not only expands the character development, but it also gives the audience story material before the start of the next season.

The character interactions: Similar to last year’s film, I liked seeing the character interactions in When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas! One of the reasons why is because of the on-screen chemistry between the actors within the cast. But the other reason why I enjoyed watching these interactions was because they felt genuine and thoughtful. A great example is the interaction between Florence and Fiona. In this scene, they give each other Christmas gifts that are telephone related: Florence receives a telephone necklace and Fiona receives an embroidered piece of art about keeping people connected. This was my favorite character interaction because it showed Florence and Fiona putting effort into these gifts as well as the growth of their friendship. It was not only well-acted, but also well-written!

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Christmas Tree with boxes image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/christmas-tree-out-of-gift-boxes_1448089.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com

What I didn’t like about the film:

Too many plots: There were about eight plots found in When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas. Because the film was only an hour and thirty minutes, there was not enough time for these plots to be fully developed. Instead of lending themselves to an engaging story, they ended up competing against each other to see which one could be the most memorable. What also didn’t help was how almost all of these plots were basic and surface-level. Most of them felt like they could have been featured on any episode of the show, as they seemed ordinary and mundane. The only plot that had any amount of intrigue was Carson and Faith’s story.

Under-utilized characters: When a movie or television show has a cast this large, there are bound to be characters that receive more screen-time than others. But in this movie, there are some characters that could have benefitted from having their own story. Henry Gowan is a perfect example of this. Since Henry doesn’t receive his own plot, this gives him very little to do in the movie. It also doesn’t give Martin Cummins, the actor who portrays Henry Gowan, much material to work with as an actor. Jesse and Clara are another good example. They got engaged at the end of season six, so we could have seen them get married during Christmas-time. Instead, Jesse and Clara’s story was reduced to them saving Lucas Bouchard’s reputation. I understand that the show’s creative team wants to save some story material for the upcoming season. But a Christmas wedding could have been an eventful way to end Hallmark Channel’s Christmas line-up.

Plot points that don’t make sense: Throughout this film, there were some plot points that didn’t make sense. For this part of the review, I’ll give you two examples. The first involves a new character named Walter. He claims to be a struggling traveling salesman, selling his only coat for gas money and not having the funds for a new tire. If Walter is having that much trouble acquiring a steady income, then how he is able to afford a car? Vehicles require constant upkeep in order for them to run smoothly. For Walter to be able to maintain his car’s well-being, he would probably have to sell more belongings of his over a significant period of time. The second example involves Rosemary. After learning about a dilemma related to Hope Valley’s Christmas Festival, Rosemary complains to Lee about Lucas’ poor event planning skills. She then complains about how Lucas should have asked her for help. Ever since her introduction in season one, Rosemary has always been a determined and headstrong woman. No matter what happens, she finds a way to discover a solution to any problem. For Rosemary to not volunteer with any event planning and for her to expect to be asked for anything doesn’t make any sense with her character development.

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Birthday cake image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/chocolate-birthday-cakes-collection_765437.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/birthday”>Birthday vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

In 2018, I gave a good review to When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing. While I had issues with the film, there were things about it that I liked. With When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas, however, I can’t give it a good review. But I can’t give it a bad review either. At best, I found the movie to be ok. It had its strengths, like the acting and Christmas traditions serving as opportunities for character development. At worst, this film was a rushed “filler” project that tried so hard to say so much, but ended up saying so little. It felt like the creative team behind this show just wanted to get this movie done and over with so they could move on to the next project. If anything, it was less of a movie and more of an extended episode. After watching this film, I’m kind of concerned for the next season. It doesn’t help when the only thing that was shown in the commercial for season seven was Elizabeth looking at both Nate and Lucas. I’m hoping it is better than this movie was, but I’m starting to wonder if the show’s creative team is still passionate about this story?

Overall score: 6 out of 10

What did you think of this film? Are you looking forward to the next season of When Calls the Heart? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Nine Lives of Christmas Review

For Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s Happy Holidays Blogathon, I had planned on reviewing more than one film. However, after reflecting on how many movies I reviewed in November, I decided to talk about only one instead. When I signed up for this blogathon last month, I knew that I wanted to review The Nine Lives of Christmas, a Hallmark Channel movie that was released in 2014. Among fans of the network, this movie has caused the same reaction that 2006’s The Christmas Card has. From making repeat appearances in Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” line-up to fans of the film asking for a sequel, The Nine Lives of Christmas has gained a following of devoted audience members. Every Christmas season on 18 Cinema Lane, I try to review at least one past Hallmark Christmas film. This is to determine if my thoughts on the movie are similar to the general consensus. Last year, I talked about the aforementioned film, The Christmas Card. As I mentioned in that review, a lot of Hallmark fans love this movie. However, I found it to be just ok. So, it’ll be interesting to see how I feel about The Nine Lives of Christmas.

The Nine Lives of Christmas poster
The Nine Lives of Christmas poster image created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel Poster image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=The%20Nine%20Lives%20of%20Christmas&IsSeries=False

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: In most of Hallmark’s films, the acting from the entire cast appears natural and believable. That’s no different for The Nine Lives of Christmas! As I’ve said in my review of Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, it’s always nice to see Kimberley Sustad appear in a Hallmark movie. Even though seeing her in a lead role is rare, I know that Kimberley will bring her A game to every role she is given. In The Nine Lives of Christmas, Kimberley’s portrayal of Marilee was delightful! Through her performance, she was able to create a character that was relatable. This was done by bringing various emotions and behaviors to her role. I also liked Brandon Routh’s portrayal of Zachary! He effectively gave me the impression that his character was a tough man with a kind heart. This fit the idea that I, personally, have of firefighters; strong and selfless individuals who are ready to save the day. Watching his interactions with Ambrose, the cat, were very sweet. It allowed the character to make a transformation in his perspectives, which Brandon naturally portrayed through his expressions and on-screen personality. The supporting cast was very memorable! They were able to elevate the material and help make it memorable. This is what made the overall cast a solid group of actors and actresses!

 

The interactions between the characters: A great component of this film was the various interactions that took place among the characters! What made them work was how natural they came across on screen. Whenever Zachary was sharing a scene with his fellow firefighters, I could sense the camaraderie between these characters. It was nice to see them share funny moments as well as look out for each other’s best interests. Another character interaction that I liked seeing was between Marilee and her sister, Jaclyn. Even though their personalities were different, their relationship felt genuine. I was always led to believe that Jaclyn had her sister’s best interests in mind and that Marilee truly cared about her sibling. Because this group of actors was talented, this added to the enjoyment of these interactions!

 

The humor: For some reason, it seems like most of Hallmark’s Christmas films have been light on humor this year. So, I found the light-hearted and humorous nature of The Nine Lives of Christmas to be refreshing! There were several moments that made me burst out laughing. One example is the very first scene, when Zachary was having his picture taken for a charity calendar. What made the moment work was the dialogue among the characters. It was well-written and good-natured, which helped make it feel genuine. Even the moments with Ambrose were funny! A perfect example is when the cat sits on Zachary’s chair, even after Zachary told him not to. The overall humor of this film made my viewing experience very memorable!

Happy Holidays Blogathon banner
The Happy Holidays Blogathon banner created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2019/10/22/announcing-the-happy-holidays-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The villain: Within the first half of this movie, Zachary dates an unlikable woman named Blair. While the actress who portrayed this character, Chelsea Hobbs, did a really good job at bringing Blair to life and while it is rare to find an over-the-top villain in a Hallmark production, I found this particular character to be one-dimensional. I realize that the fault lies in the screen-writing, as that is where the structure of any character is built. In The Nine Lives of Christmas, Blair was a terrible person because she was a terrible person. I did not find this to be very interesting. Let me give you an example of when a villain/antagonist works within the story: in A Christmas Miracle, Emma’s boss, Valerie, is so desperate to impress her boss, that she steals Emma’s idea and tries to pass it off as her own. This leads her to make more choices that give the audience a reason to find her villainous. So, in that movie, Valerie is a terrible person because of her unlikable decisions.

 

An uneven build-up to Zachary and Marilee’s relationship: While Brandon and Kimberley had good on-screen chemistry and while Zachary and Marilee’s relationship was very sweet, I found the build-up of the relationship to be uneven. In the first half of the movie, Zachary and Marilee barely spent any time together. This caused the initial union of these characters to feel drawn-out. In the second half of the film, Zachary and Marilee spend almost every day together, which caused the relationship to feel rushed. The build-up didn’t have a sense of consistency and the transition was too abrupt.

 

Not a Christmas story: When I think of a Christmas movie, I think of a story that can only survive during the Christmas season. With The Nine Lives of Christmas, the plot felt like it didn’t need to belong within the Christmas holiday. Yes, there were Christmas decorations and festivities to be found. But no Christmas specific messages and themes were presented in the narrative. I felt like this exact same story could have been placed in any time of the year and it wouldn’t make a huge difference.

nature &amp; animals
Orange cat image created by Freestockcenter at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/ginger-cat_883376.htm’>Designed by Freestockcenter</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/gold”>Gold image created by Freestockcenter – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

I said in this review’s introduction that a lot of Hallmark fans love The Nine Lives of Christmas. After finally seeing this movie for the first time, I can understand why people like it so much! Sure, this film has flaws. But I still found it to be enjoyable. What I like about this movie is how different it felt from Hallmark projects that were released within the past two years. While The Nine Lives of Christmas had story-telling elements that are familiar to consistent movie-watchers of the network, it felt like the film’s creative team made an effort to try something new. This makes me wish that Hallmark could go back to that mindset, where they weren’t afraid to do different things even though they were starting to create their brand’s image. The Nine Lives of Christmas is not my favorite Hallmark Christmas film, as there are other movies that I like more than this one. But I do think it is an overall solid production!

 

Overall score: 8.5 out of 10

 

Have you seen The Nine Lives of Christmas? Which past Hallmark Christmas movie would you like to see me review? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Platinum Blonde Review + 150 Follower Thank You

Last month, I received 150 followers! But because of how much time and energy was devoted to writing my editorial for Pale Writer’s Gothic Horror Blogathon, I decided to publish this review in early November. The movie I selected, Platinum Blonde, was released on Halloween in 1931. Since I reviewed Vampyr for my previous blog follower dedication review, I chose Platinum Blonde because, based on the synopsis, it gives the impression that it has a lighter tone. It’s also the first movie of Jean Harlow’s that I’ve ever seen. I discovered this actress through The Jean Harlow Blogathon, hosted by the blogs Musings of a Classic Film Addict and The Wonderful World of Cinema. Even though I didn’t participate in this blogathon, I was introduced to Jean and her contributions to the world of film. Before I begin this review, I want to thank each and every one of my followers! I’m not only impressed by how quickly I reached this milestone, but also by your continued support of 18 Cinema Lane!

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Platinum Blonde poster image created by Columbia Pictures. Image found at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PlatBlonde.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I was very impressed by the acting performances in Platinum Blonde! This is because all of the portrayals were consistent and expressive. One good example is Robert Williams’ performance. Throughout the film, his portrayal of Stew Smith was charismatic. He almost always had something witty to say and also had an appealing persona. Robert had good on-screen chemistry with both of his female co-stars as well. Jean Harlow had a pleasant on-screen presence while portraying Ann Schuyler. Her personality was charming and she helped create a character that was different from stereotypical expectations. Jean also had a good on-screen relationship with her co-stars. I really liked seeing this film’s supporting cast! Louise Closser Hale was a standout as Mrs. Schuyler! She was very expressive and her performance was memorable from start to finish! This cast would not have been the same without her.

 

The set design: Most of this story takes place in and around the Schuyler home. Despite this lack of variety in locations, the interior and exterior of the house was spectacular! The layout of the entryway and foyer reminded me of Norma Desmond’s house from Sunset Blvd., from the metal gate to the large, curving staircase. Everything in the Schuyler house was massive in scale. This environment represented how larger than life the family is. Even the small details found in the home highlighted this lavish lifestyle very well. One perfect example is the carved artwork on Ann and Stew’s headboard. While the exterior was shown on screen for a limited amount of time, it had a pleasant presence on film! In the scene where Ann and Stew share a kiss for the first time, the backyard appeared as a private oasis. From the lighted fountain to the flower arrangements, this space looked very inviting.

 

The cinematography: I wasn’t expecting anything special in Platinum Blonde when it came to the cinematography. But I was pleasantly surprised by the cinematography I did find in this film. In some scenes, when a character would walk up the stairs, the view from the camera looked down on the characters. This presented an illusion that the environment surrounding these individuals was grand in scale. Another scene that had interesting cinematography was when Mrs. Schuyler and the butler, Smythe, were on the balcony looking down on the living room. Because the camera angle came from a ground level perspective, it gave the audience the idea that most of Ann’s family looked down on Stew, both literally and figuratively. It also alluded to the differences in socio-economic standing.

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Newspaper image created by Zlatko_plamenov at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-psd/newspaper-mockup_1386098.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/mockup”>Mockup psd created by Zlatko_plamenov – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Under-utilized characters: At the beginning of the film, the character of Bingy Baker was introduced. I thought he would experience one hilarious situation after another while also finding true love. Sadly, this particular character received a very minor role. It also seemed like he was there just for the sake of comic relief. Bingy is an example of how some characters in this movie were under-utilized. If this character were removed from the story, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

 

An unexplained conflict: The start of the film features a conflict about Ann’s brother’s, Michael’s, relationship with a dancer. This is how Stew came to be introduced to the Schuyler family. While the characters kept saying that the situation was bad, they failed to explain why it was bad. With the conflict of Ann and Stew getting married, the audience was given reasons why this was a problem through the visualization of certain events. But this was not the case for Michael’s conflict, as it evidently seemed to be swept under the rug.

 

A somewhat unhealthy relationship: As I already mentioned, Platinum Blonde’s major conflict revolved around Ann and Stew’s relationship. While there were times when it seemed like they cared about one another, there were also times when their relationship came across as unhealthy. For most of the film, Ann and Stew do not make compromises. The audience gets to see them talking to one another, but these two characters don’t communicate about important martial issues, such as which place they will call “home”. At one point, one member of this relationship becomes hypocritical toward their spouse. Even though this film was created in the early ‘30s, I still found elements of this relationship to be kind of concerning.

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Money image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/bills-and-coins-in-isometric-design_1065328.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

On Wikipedia, Platinum Blonde is labeled as a “romantic comedy”. But, in reality, the movie is a cautionary “fish out of water” tale. The reason why I chose to review this film is because I thought it would be lighter in tone. However, Platinum Blonde wasn’t as light-hearted as I expected. Sure, there was at least one romance and some humorous moments. But it wasn’t enough to live up to the title of “romantic comedy”. Despite this disappointment, I did like some elements of this movie. One of these was the cinematography. Because of the camera angles, the scenery was not only complimented, but ideas and themes were able to visually present themselves. Platinum Blonde wasn’t the worst thing to be put to film, but it definitely could have been stronger.

 

Overall score: 6 out of 10

 

Are you a fan of Jean Harlow? Which film from the ‘30s do you want me to review? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: Coming Together to Celebrate

Season finales are usually known as a sad time. Your favorite show is about to end, for now, and you have to wait a whole year for it to return. But season finales can also be a good thing. Creating any season of a television show is very time, energy, and financially consuming. There are risks involved with adding another chapter, as the future can be uncertain. However, with those things come rewards. Some of these are a season renewal, a new movie, or critical acclaim. Season finales can also stir up reflection. It causes one to look back on the current state of the show, as well as how far it has come. This is a time for celebration, when achievements and triumphs can get recognized. It’s also a time when we can tell our favorite and new characters “See you later” instead of “good-bye”.

Just a reminder: If you did not see the season finale of Chesapeake Shores, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

Chesapeake Shores Season 4 poster
Chesapeake Shores 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=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%204&episodeIndex=4001.

Season: 4

Episode: 6

Name: Watercolors, Wishes, and Weddings

 

Abby’s story: At the beginning of the episode, Mick approaches Abby with an offer to work at his construction firm. She tells him that she will think about it. The first person she tells about the business deal is Jay, with her sharing this news with Jess and Bree later in the episode. After discussing this piece of information with Jay, he invites her on a lunch date. She agrees to go by joining him at Sally’s Café. While Jay and Abby are there, they cross paths with Trace and Emma. Because of the awkwardness of the situation, Jay and Abby leave the restaurant. Instead, they go to a nearby shore. Abby shares with Jay how difficult it is to avoid Trace. He tells her that just because she has history with Trace doesn’t mean that she has to have a future with him. The next day, Abby, once again, crosses paths with Trace. He shares with her that he will finally build that recording studio he’s always dreamed of. Even though she’s happy for him, Abby still chooses to spend her time with Jay. At Kevin and Sarah’s wedding reception dinner, Abby reveals that Derrick, the CEO of the financing management who was introduced at the beginning of the season, has officially been indicted. She also shares that she isn’t going to lose her job at her current business firm. Despite this, Abby is still contemplating Mick’s offer. At the end of the episode, Abby goes to the same beach that Trace is at. Their interaction causes them to share a kiss.

 

Trace’s story: As Emma performs at The Bridge, Mark Hall arrives to watch the show. But that’s not the only reason why he’s in Chesapeake Shores. Mark approaches Trace with a proposal to help Trace record a song with Emma within the small town. Because Trace has no intention to make new music and because Chesapeake Shores doesn’t have any recording studios, Trace agrees to produce a single for Emma. He researches different venues for Emma to perform at and he contacts some of his friends in Nashville. Emma doesn’t feel ready to start a musical career, but Trace reassures her that she’ll never know if she’s ready until she takes that first step. Trace also makes the decision to build his recording studio. Later in the episode, he tells Abby about his plan. Trace also interacts with Abby when she and Jay went to lunch at the same time he and Emma are at Sally’s Café. Before the episode ends, Trace and Abby interact one last time. During their interaction, they share a kiss.

 

Mick and Megan’s story: Because of Abby helping Mick with his business situation, he asks her if she’d like to work at his construction firm. Abby tells him that she’ll think about it. Mick lets his brother, Thomas, know about his relationship with Megan. Even though Mick shares his concerns about the relationship’s longevity, Thomas ends up supporting his brother’s decision. When he spends time with Megan, Mick reveals that his former business partner has publicly announced Mick’s association. Meanwhile, Megan is buying art supplies and taking up sketching. She shares with Mick that she hasn’t painted since she was pregnant with Bree. Throughout the episode, they both attend Kevin and Sarah’s wedding reception and Bree’s play.

 

Kevin and Sarah’s story: In this episode, Kevin and Sarah continue their discussion on the size of their family. When they figure out the math, they both come to an agreement about having two or three children. Sarah’s family also pays them a visit. Because of their arrival, this makes Sarah tell Kevin how her family used to take road trips when she was younger. She also shares how she, sometimes, misses her family. This causes Kevin to agree to spend Christmas with her family and to go to Hawaii for their honeymoon. The episode ends with them attending their wedding reception and Bree’s play.

Theater seats image
Theater seats image created by weatherbox at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/weatherbox.”

Bree’s story: Before a presentation of her play, Bree meets a literary agent named Brian. He’s impressed by everything she’s been able to accomplish on her own. However, Brian wants to help Bree make the most of her career. With a lunch invitation, he encourages her to discuss her literary goals. Bree agrees to meet with him the next day. At this meeting, Brian informs her that he’s not going to lead her in any direction she’s not comfortable with. At the same time, he tries to get Bree to think about her career with a long-term mindset. Despite this, she has no idea where her career will be that far down the road. When the night of the play arrives, the show is a success! Not only does the play receive a standing ovation, but both Hannah and Bree are presented with flower bouquets. After the show, Brian shares that he wants to bring her play to London. This causes Bree to become excited about her future.

 

Jess’s story: During the official grand opening of The Inn at Eagle Point, Jess finds a ring in a small box. This makes her assume that David will propose to her. Shortly after their bed and breakfast’s grand opening, they receive a fine because of their unofficial grand opening in the previous episode. This causes David to attempt to solve this issue throughout the episode. Because this dilemma prolongs David’s proposal, it also causes Jess to become impatient . When the man who gave David and Jess the fine visit them, Jess convinces him to lift the fine. This plan ends up being successful, as they are able to run their bed and breakfast with no further issues. After this situation is resolved, Jess reveals that she knew about the proposal all along. Because of this, David finally asks Jess to marry him, which she immediately says yes.

 

Connor’s story: Connor tries to find a solution to the case that he was assigned in the previous episode. As Nell meets up with Connor at Sally’s Cafe, he expresses how he misses Danielle. When Nell mentions that her driver’s license has expired, this gives Connor an idea relating to the case. When he presents his findings to Linda, the lawyer from the previous episode, she’s impressed by his work. This causes her to give Connor a job at her firm. When he shares this news with Thomas, he reveals that Connor was to receive an even bigger assignment at his firm that was to take place in New York. Before their conversation ends, Thomas tries telling Connor that Linda may not be as friendly as she seems.

Jewels sparkle in the golden wedding rings lying on the leather
Fancy jewelry image created by Freepic.diller at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/wedding”>Wedding photo created by freepic.diller – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Like the third season, this season of Chesapeake Shores was just fine. But I was hoping that the show’s quality would improve by this point. I was told by Ruth, from My Devotional Thoughts, that there will be a fifth season! Hopefully, the creative team behind this program will learn from their creative mistakes and find a healthy balance between being character and story-driven.

 

  • As happy as I am that Jess and David got engaged, I was disappointed by how the dialogue spoiled the surprise. With Jess saying things like “till death do us part” and “happily ever after”, a moment that could have been surprising and memorable ended up being predictable. Hopefully, the audience can witness their wedding in the show. I also hope that the wedding ceremony can be more memorable than the engagement.

 

  • Even though I’ve mentioned that the Chesapeake Shores movie will premiere next year, I wonder if it will air before or after the next season starts? Since the film will just feature the three O’Brien sisters, I also wonder how their story will effect the rest of the show?

Starry night landscape with reeds
Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on this season as a whole? Do you have any predictions for season five? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: A Kite in the Storm

For those of you who follow my re-caps for Chesapeake Shores, I apologize for publishing this post later than usual. As I was writing my review of The Sky’s the Limit, I realized that I needed a short break from blogging. So that’s what I did on the Monday after this episode aired. So, now that this explanation is out of the way, it’s time to start this re-cap! In this episode, Abby tells Jay that she is like a kite in the storm after he shares that two of his students thought that Benjamin Franklin invented the kite. What Abby said could also relate to the other characters on this show. Everyone is just trying to get through the storms in their lives, whether it’s Mick trying to overcome his legal troubles or Bree wanting to face her writing struggles. But kites are controlled by the wind, an element that is beyond anyone’s control. Like kites, the characters on Chesapeake Shores are controlled by life itself. Sometimes, the characters catch a lucky break, such a Kevin and Sarah getting married. But there are times when things don’t go according to plan. A good example of this is when Bree and Simon broke up. But, at the one point or another, every character finds a resolution and survives the storm.

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

Chesapeake Shores Season 4 poster
Chesapeake Shores 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=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%204&episodeIndex=4001.

Season: 4

Episode: 5

Name: All the Time in the World

 

Abby’s story: Because of an upcoming deposition and because Carrie and Caitlyn have a scheduled day off from school, Abby needs one of her siblings to babysit her daughters. Kevin and Connor, along with Sarah, volunteer to look after Carrie and Caitlyn at different times of the day. At Sally’s Café, Abby receives free legal advice from Connor. Before he leaves, Jay pays Abby a visit. He asks if he can spend time with her after her deposition, in which she accepts his invitation. He also shares with her why he became a teacher, as the people in his life are what matters the most. At her deposition, Abby makes it difficult for the opposing side to get any answers from her. Because of this, they offer her a vice president position at their business firm if she turns her back on her current firm. Before she leaves the deposition, Abby shares that what she teaches her children is more important than her career. After the deposition, Abby and Jay share a picnic. When she shares the opposing side’s job offer, he reminds her that no one’s road in life is a straight one, as it does have twists and turns. She contemplates Jay’s advice for the rest of the episode. When Mick discovers her notes about her deposition, she gives him an idea that could help him in his legal situation. He recruits her to find a solution to his problems, with Abby agreeing to help. She also briefly interacts with Trace backstage at Carrie and Caitlyn’s play.

 

Trace’s story: Trace is still bothered by what Emma told him in the previous episode. When Emma apologized, she shared that she didn’t know that Mark’s offer could include trying to get Trace back on tour. Trace accepts her apology and reveals that, because of the music business, he’s become skeptical of people. He then invites her to lunch at Sally’s Café, which Emma accepts. During this episode, Trace tells Emma how his family doesn’t always express their emotions and feelings. He also talks about his experiences while on tour. Another situation that Trace deals with is Mick cancelling on their business meetings. Because of Mick’s legal situation, he hasn’t had time to participate in various activities. This makes Trace frustrated by Mick’s lack of attention toward The Bridge. In an attempt to find a solution, Trace offers to buy Mick’s half of the restaurant. When Mick hears Trace’s offer, he tells Trace that he’ll think about it. Trace also crosses paths with Abby backstage at Carrie and Caitlyn’s play. During this brief interaction, he shares that he learned about Abby’s legal situation from Connor.

 

Mick and Megan’s story: One morning, Mick is shocked to learn that Megan wants to take up painting again. Even though he’s taken off guard, he’s supportive of her choice. Throughout the episode, Megan is creating plans for her new studio. When she shares these plans with Nell, Nell tells her that she should recruit Mick’s help in this endeavor. Speaking of Mick, he is so caught up in his legal worries, that he has little to no time for anything else. This starts to affect other people, including Trace and Connor. When Connor asks if there is anything he can do to help, Mick tells him no. Trace starts getting frustrated by Mick cancelling meetings related to The Bridge. To help take some weight off Mick’s shoulders, Trace offers to purchase Mick’s half of The Bridge. Mick tells Trace that he’ll think about the offer. When he arrives at his house, Mick discovers Abby’s notes about her deposition. When he expresses to Abby how impressed he is by this discovery, she gives him an idea that could help him with his problems. Because of this, Mick encourages Abby to use her unique insight to help him.

 

Kevin and Sarah’s story: When Abby is looking for someone within her family to look after Carrie and Caitlyn, Kevin and Sarah volunteer. After an exciting game of badminton, Kevin and Sarah bring up the question of how many children they’d like to have. When they realize that they each have a different idea for the size of their family, they come to the conclusion that they need to take the time to discuss several important topics. When looking after Word Play, Kevin talks to Bree about how rushed his relationship feels. Bree reminds him to appreciate what he has and shares that she feels that everything is how it should be. Later in the episode, Sarah comes by to visit Kevin at Word Play. While they are sharing embarrassing childhood stories, they get alerted on a recent emergency. After the emergency has been taken care of, Kevin and Sarah talk about how their relationship has moved so fast. They also agree to have a larger family.

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Paint palette image created by Freepik at freepik.com <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/hand-drawn-artsy-tools_836777.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/hand”>Hand vector created by Freepik</a> Image found at freepik.com

Bree’s story: Bree’s book has placed in the top ten on a bestseller list and her play has been presented in front of test audiences. Hannah has been with Bree every step of the way, from helping her avoid awkward questions during Q & A segments to suggesting small but essential changes to the script. When it’s time to write a message about herself for the play’s program, she experiences a bad case of writer’s block. At Word Play, she realizes that she and Kevin have something in common; they feel that their lives are moving too fast. However, Bree feels that everything is the way it should be and that they both need to appreciate what they have. On another day, at Word Play, Bree confides to Megan that the version of herself in the play represented who she was. She wants to write about who she is now, which she’s having a difficult time trying to figure out.

 

Jess’s story: Jess and David start to settle into their new bed & breakfast. When Carrie, Caitlyn, and Connor surprise them with the sign from their original bed & breakfast, Jess and David decide to name their new place “The Inn at Eagle Point”. While preparing for the grand opening, the facility loses electricity. Despite David scheduling an electrician to show up the following week, guests have arrived early than expected. Without food, mattresses, or electricity, David and Jess try to figure out how to make their unofficial grand opening a success. When Jess asks Mick for assistance, he politely refuses. Meanwhile, David and Jess put all their refrigerated food in the sink filled with ice cubes. Toward the end of the episode, Nell volunteers to cook meals for the guests. The bed & breakfast also gets its electricity back. When Jess is not around, David hides a stuffed animal horse and a small bag in a drawer.

 

Connor’s story: At the beginning of the episode, Carrie, Caitlyn, and Connor surprise Jess and David with the original sign from their previous bed & breakfast. He also helps Carrie and Caitlyn practice their lines for their play. For the majority of this episode, Connor continues to do research for his uncle’s law firm. He uses his research skills to help Abby create notes for her deposition. He also asks Mick if he can help him with his legal issues, but Mick politely turns Connor’s offer down. When doing research work at The Bridge, he reveals to Trace that he broke up with Danielle. He also tells Trace about Abby’s legal situation. Later in the episode, Connor learns that Abby will be helping Mick with his legal situation. Feeling hurt after learning this news, he approaches the lawyer who lost the case from this season’s second episode. He wants to work at her firm because he wants to be a litigator. She gives him a chance to prove himself by giving him a case that they might lose.

06
Kite in the sky background 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.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • The conflict associated with Jess’s story doesn’t make any sense. How can someone make a reservation when there is no realistic way to do so? If the bed & breakfast isn’t open for business yet, that means that an official website wouldn’t be available for reservations to be accepted. Also, if the electricity is out, then that means an official phone number wouldn’t be working for people to call for reservations. It seems like the screenwriters cared so much about Jess and David’s relationship that the plot ended up suffering.

 

  • Is it just me or did it seem like Nell’s health issues were completely glossed over? I was surprised to see Nell with an oxygen tank, as I’m used to seeing her as an independent woman who usually doesn’t rely on anyone or anything for help. I’m not sure if Diane Ladd, the actress who portrays Nell, or just the character is dealing with a medical situation. Whatever the case, I hope that things work out for the better.

 

  • Back in February, at the Winter TCA Event, Hallmark announced that a Chesapeake Shores movie was greenlit. Because this season of the show only received six episodes, it was speculated that the movie would make up for the limited number of episodes. But I’ve heard that this movie won’t premiere until next year. So, this makes the idea of the fourth season having less than the usual ten episodes seem meaningless.

Starry night landscape with reeds
Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Are you looking forward to the season finale? What do you think will happen? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen